Have you ever wondered how people like Elon Musk are able to run several companies and still have time to throw giant parties with knife throwers and fire sticks? Do you feel like you’re swamped with to-do’s and no end in sight? Have you ever wondered how you can work smarter and not harder so that you can STOP overwhelm, and turn the page in FINALLY starting a chapter where YOU’RE calling the shots, not your stress and overwhelm?
No matter where you are in life, whether you’re simply trying to survive, or if you’re looking to level-up on your productivity—this episode is a MUST READ.
Today we’re going to take a look at the Top 6 Success Hacks That Will Change Your Life.
There are three main points in this podcast:
- First: Your brain likes strategies and rituals.
- Second: Strategies and rituals in and of themselves won’t work. You need the 6 success hacks I’m going to teach you today.
- Third: The 6 success hacks you are going to learn today will help you to reduce stress, reduce overwhelm, reduce anxiety, and pivot you away from worrying about what your life will be like if things don’t change. These success hacks will increase your productivity, increase your sense of calm, and pave the way for more income, more satisfaction and more opportunity to meaningfully contribute in this world in the way you feel called.
Let’s start with the first point by expanding on the topic of strategies and rituals including what they are and why they are not enough.
Ritual is a word that means ceremony, or a dance, or a performed series of actions according to a premeditated order. Our brains THRIVE with ritual. The concept of ritual goes back to our earliest records of human history, and rituals have been observed in all known human societies (REFERENCE).
Rituals add a richness to the human experience, and structure to a brain that has the capacity to receive 11 million bits per second of information from the body—and that does not even include data coming into your brain from your ENVIRONMENT.
Whether you are a planner or enjoy the whimsical freedom of flying by the seat of your pants your brain NEEDS ritual or structure.
If you aren’t intentional on drawing the map for how you think and feel and function, your brain will create it for you.
Here is an example of a ritual that I commonly see in my consultation clients:
Wake up, check email, panic at 300 unread emails, stagger out of bed, drink coffee, scroll through morning news, panic over the president’s latest tweet, check your watch, realize you’re late, shove a burrito down your gullet, and leap into the car with your shirt on inside out.
Okay, maybe it’s not always that extreme, but seriously, look at your daily routine.
- When you wake up, what is typically the first thing you think of?
- What is your initial impulse?
- What is your ritual?
Your brain loves habits. In fact, I did a whole podcast on how your brain loves habit so much that the average person spends 95% of their time on autopilot. If this is as shocking to you as it was to me, check out my podcast: “Wake up: How to wake up and live the life you were meant to live.”
Ritual cuts down on the input of noise going into your brain, so that your brain can concentrate on whatever is the most important in the moment.
Having rituals is evolutionarily favorable. For example, let’s say that you are gathering in a forest, and a hungry bear comes out of the bushes. In order to keep you alive, your brain goes into what is called autonomic arousal, where, even before you have engaged in any critical thinking, your muscles are primed to run, your heart is pounding and sending more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, and your airways open and are ready to pull in lots of extra oxygen to keep up with the frenzied demand. You run away from the bear, diving over branches you didn’t even really see, turning corners and missing trees that came too fast for you to assess, and you quickly get out of harm’s way and into safety. The greater ability for your brain to go into autopilot, the greater likelihood of survival.
In a world where we’re running from dangerous wildlife, this is totally sufficient. But in the 21st century, there’s a whole different layer of demands, and this is where we come to our second point:
Strategies and rituals won’t get you the results you are looking for without the 6 success hacks I’m going to teach you today.
In order to explain what I mean; we’re going to talk about mimes.
I promise. It’s going to be great.
Imagine a mime spinning plates. In her right hand, balanced on each of her five fingers, are two spinning plates each. She has another plate spinning atop her head, and then ten more in her left hand.
A mime-companion comes along with some pretty amazing looking plates and he offers them to her. She’s skilled at spinning her plates, she’s got it down to a pat, but she would love to give these new ones a go. So… she squats down, her bottom touches the floor and plates still spinning, she is now sitting with both knees pointing upwards. The second mime places a spinning plate, one upon each of first mime’s knees. She is now feeling a little overwhelmed, and the plate on top of her head is wobbling.
A third plate-wielding-mime appears, these plates even more appealing than the last. Her brain bounces its awareness to the plates in her right hand, then to the plate on her head, the plates in her left hand, and then down to the plates on her knees. She starts to sweat, and her mind is racing for ideas. She could decline the amazing opportunity to try her skills with these new plates, she could risk dropping the plates she has for the chance to add two more to her routine, or was there a different option?
Have you ever felt this way?
She’s not haphazard. She’s allocated her plates appropriately, she’s structured in her methodology, but she is feeling extremely overwhelmed, and thus, has a glass ceiling preventing her from taking on more opportunities. Dropping the plates won’t kill her, but they can represent a loss of everything she has worked for.
Have you ever felt like you were navigating so many tasks, or spinning so many metaphorical plates that you were worried you were going to just lose it?
I have. I was building my private practice in integrative psychology, running a successful preceptorship for budding physicians, leading clinical medical rotations, writing a new psychology curriculum for a medical school, and teaching didactic classes. All the while, talking with my medical students about prioritization and essentialism- topics we’ll get to later in this podcast.
But what about all those people, who were achieving 10 times more than me, and in the same amount of time? Was I just not working hard enough? Was I too inefficient? What kind of super human would I have to be in order to spin all of these plates?
Can I get a witness? Are you with me?
Well, it turns out, I’m not a superhuman. But that wasn’t my problem. My problem wasn’t even that I wasn’t structured. I was organized. I had a good routine going. But my problem was that I didn’t know the 6 tools that I’m going to share with you today, and boy did it show.
I eventually dropped a lot of plates. I mean, porcelain everywhere. And sitting there on the metaphorical floor, platters scattered about me, I knew that I had to figure out what I was doing wrong.
I found the answer by looking at who was doing it right.
This is where we come to the third and main point of this whole podcast.
If you are looking to INCREASE your effectiveness. If you want to DEFEAT overwhelm. If you want to WIN the game of showing up in the world in a way that you have only ever previously DREAMED, and if you’re ready to DITCH the habits that have been holding you back….Then get ready.
Because I’m about to share with you my top 6 Success Hacks That Will Change Your Life.
These success hacks come from some of the most successful and achieved humans on Earth, and you can start using them to transform your own life, RIGHT NOW.
Hey loves, if you’re anything like me, you want results, like, YESTERDAY and you’re eagerly anticipating solutions that you can start putting into play NOW. I have created a 3-Minute Hack to Stop Stress and Overwhelm. This masterclass is designed to help you maintain composure instead of self sabotaging. And I’m giving it to you totally for FREE. You’re going to get access to the proven 3 step process from the ACT Method that puts you back in control when emotions are elevated and difficult to manage, start transforming your breakdowns into predictably beneficial breakthroughs that deepen your connection to yourself and others. Watch the FREE 3-Minute Hack to Stop Stress and Overwhelm now!
Picture two screens, on the left, is my poor baby-doctor self, surrounded by dozens of broken plates, and on the right screen is our mime. She’s sitting on the floor, knees up, spinning all of those plates like a super magician. One of her compatriots is standing to the side cheering for her amazingly astute plate-spinning-wizardry, and another has approached with yet another set of porcelain.
In this metaphor, the plates are tasks, opportunities, and jobs, and spinning takes attention, focus, band-with, and stamina. Our mime is at the crux of a decision here. She’s totally overwhelmed but she is thinking, “what about those mimes who can spin 10 times more plates than me? How do they do it?”
I have an answer to that question.
So, let’s just ask our mime to hang on for a few minutes while you and I talk about billionaires.
If you had to guess, what the wealthiest people on the planet have in common—that is, besides a disposable income?
One word: LEVERAGE.
In crisis, or states of stress, overwhelm, or when we’re spinning too many plates, the brain shuts-down what it sees as a lower priority and focuses on the issues at hand.
With advancing neuroscience and research into the brain, we can learn how to LEVERAGE our brain’s response in a way that frees up space—or bandwidth—in your brain.
And as you’re probably gathering by now, it’s NOT just about scheduling. There’s way more to it than that.
Some of the most respected entrepreneurs of our time attribute a great percentage of their success to their ability to leverage their brains through the creation of ritual and structure.
STRUCTURE is not the same thing as LEVERAGE. Many make the mistake of structuring their time in such a way that they feel boxed in. Their creativity and freedom is stripped away by route routine and their sense of joy and well-being is buried under a series of 5-minute alarms. If not used wisely, structure can be binding and can add to your pile of spinning plates.
On the other hand… If LEVERAGED properly, structure will set you free.
For example, billionaire, and one of the wealthiest people on Earth, Bill Gates breaks his daily schedule out into 5-minute intervals. He gets up at the same time, has a mastery morning routine, and his routine stretches throughout the entirety of his day and throughout the week. But digging in a little deeper, you’ll see our 6 success hacks dappled throughout his day.
Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX also schedules his day in 5-minute slots. He wakes at 7:00 am and he says that one of the habits that has had the best impact on him is showering every morning. But that’s not the end of it. Musk uses our 6 success hacks, too.
Let’s get to our SUCCESS HACKS. There are 6 important guidelines when creating a life that will LEVERAGE success:
They are: AUTOMATION, BATCHING, SCHEDULING, PRIORITIZATION, DELEGATION, AND ENRICHMENT.
Let’s touch on each of these one at a time.
Automation is a method, technique, or system that takes the place of your logical and mental intervention. This might look like you doing the same task the same way every time so that you do not have to think about it.
The more you can automate the more room your brain will have for what really matters.
This also offers the side benefit of muscle memory. Automation can also involve using software or other mechanical devices that can operate independent of functioning. Here is a super basic example of automation in my practice: I have a big team of amazing humans that help me share the word about the Anxiety Breakthrough Program, and all of our amazing services, and instead of sending hundreds of emails, we use software that coordinates deadlines, sends reminders, and enables prioritization and delegation of tasks. This takes a ton of pressure off me and my team so that we can focus on what really matters: YOU.
A big part of my job is getting the word out on social media about all the awesome stuff that you can do to heal your brain, reduce your stress, and conquer anxiety.
Batching enables you to focus on one key action item or way of thinking, and then set that aside when it’s time to focus on the next type of task.
Because my time is better served writing content and working directly with clients and my team, we use software that enables us to upload a big batch, or ton of content all at once, and the software will slowly trickle it out so that you don’t get totally overwhelmed by 100 posts in one day about how to send your anxiety back stage. Instead you can see a few neat things each day and absorb that and be ready for tomorrow’s super charged tip.
Scheduling centers around building intentional time blocks where you can perform specific tasks during your brain’s optimal performance times.
For example, I tend to be more creatively inclined in the morning, and so I block off my schedule to write in the mornings. In this example, I am leveraging my time to write, not only a certain amount of time, but at a pre designated time when I know I’ll perform that task best.
At the beginning of each day, or week, schedule out times for specific action items that you want to complete. When creating this schedule, make sure to include specific times to respond to emails and texts. CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, always checks his messages and emails in the morning. It helps him to prioritize what he needs to do for the day and removes the distraction of unanswered messages throughout the rest of the day so that he can focus on the task at hand.
Greg McKeown, author of the book entitled Essentialism is quoted as saying: “Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” This means that instead of being a doer of all and master at none, you will achieve more and with greater satisfaction, efficiency and less stress and overwhelm, by starting each day prioritizing your to-do list.
Instead of saying “yes” and doing “all of the things,” where do you need to say no, and where do you need to be focusing your attention in order to produce the greatest impact?
Prioritization is followed by delegation. One of the biggest challenges of high achievers and perfectionists is that they want to do it all. But that is not always reasonable or even efficient. McKeown summarizes this eloquently by stating: “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” A big mistake we often make is that everything feels too important, but if you can relinquish that mindset and identify the area where you feel you can make the most impact you will be able to make a bigger impact.
Delegate what is not your top priority in order to free up your mind and band-with so that you can focus on what really matters the most.
Your productivity is contingent upon the health of your mind, and the health of your mind is contingent upon the health of your body.
Enrichment includes things like exercise, nutrition, unwinding, and even having FUN. Both Musk and Gates schedule time for reading and personal enrichment. Musk shares that one of his favorite titles is the Lord of the Rings, and Gates shares his favorite reads on his blog. Warren Buffett plays the ukulele. Walt Disney loved model trains.
What can you do to enrich your life?
Let’s go back to our mime.
She was spinning plates, which, in our metaphor, represents all of her responsibilities or tasks or obligations. When someone approached with an additional appealing opportunity, her overwhelm mounted and she worried about the future and what might go wrong if she said yes to the opportunity.
So, how could our mime apply the 6 SUCCESS HACKS in her life?
I went to a show once, where a master-juggler demonstrated automation beautifully. He did this by, instead of juggling each item himself, he balanced over a dozen spinning batons—that were on fire—atop vertical posts. As the juggler went to work adding more and more amazing items to his juggling routine, the automated batons continued to spin. By automating some of this show, our juggler was free to demonstrate his skill beyond the capacity of a single human in a single moment.
An example of batching in the metaphor of juggling is shown in the above example where the juggler batched out a dozen spinning batons which entertained the audience while he focused on other parts of his routine.
If you’re juggling on commission, you want to make sure you’re positioning yourself for the biggest bang for your buck. Make sure you’re pursuing your passion when people are out and about, and be sure to schedule yourself during TIMES when you feel agile and energized. If our mime was to juggle in a bar 6 am, she might not get as many tips as she would if she, for example, did her routine in the town square around dinner time.
One of the secrets of longevity is to know your ikigai. This is a traditional Japanese concept that represents your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. It is broken into 3 parts: What sets your soul on fire, what you’re good at, and what the world will pay for. When you’re saying yes to tasks, make sure it satisfies your Ikigai. If our mime focuses on prioritization of her ikagi she will be juggling the plates in a way that feels complete and fulfilling, and she won’t be as likely to get FOMO if someone comes in with snazzy new porcelain.
What if our mime had gotten help from the audience? Maybe she could have spun plates on their heads, knees, and fingers? Now that’s delegation. Getting help when you need it most, so that your brain and band-with is free to explore what really makes you excited.
Instead of staying in the same old same old, expanding your world through experiences, personal development, boredom and exploration will provide you a world of opportunity. What if instead of spinning plates our mime had gotten into something even more exciting and unique? What if she was actually missing out on new exciting experiences because she was so busy maintaining what she was already doing?
Today we talked about The Top 6 Success Hacks That Will Change Your Life
Remember, structure is important, but what sets the status quo apart from the status setters is LEVERAGE.
You can leverage your choices and your life in a way that will reduce stress, reduce overwhelm, reduce anxiety, and pivot you away from worrying about what your life will be like if things don’t change. These success hacks will increase your productivity, increase your sense of calm, and pave the way for more income, more satisfaction and more opportunity to meaningfully contribute in this world in the way you feel called.
REGAIN YOUR COMPOSURE quickly even in stressful situations without popping pills or losing your cool using this 3-Minute Brain Hack for Stopping Stress and Overwhelm.
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Go watch it NOW and let’s get you started on a life that sets your soul on fire.
Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational video e-courses, books, and exclusive free Facebook group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.