The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery

The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery
By Robin S. Sharma (Author of “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”)

(1 through 32)

1. Sleep less. This is one of the best investments you can make to make your life more productive and rewarding. Most people do not need more than 6 hours to maintain an excellent state of health. Try getting up one hour earlier for 21 days and it will develop into a powerful habit. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity of sleep that is important. And just imagine having an extra 30 hours a month to spend on the things that are important to you.

2. Set aside one hour every morning for personal development matters. Meditate, visualize your day, read inspirational texts to set the tone of your day, listen to motivational tapes or read great literature. Take this quiet period to vitalize and energize your spirit for the productive day ahead. Watch the sun rise once a week or be with nature. Starting the day off well is a powerful strategy for self-renewal and personal effectiveness.

3. Do not allow those things that matter the most in your life be at the mercy of activities that matter the least. Every day, take the time to ask yourself the question "is this the best use of my time and energy?" Time management is life management so guard your time with great care.

4. Use the rubber band method to condition your mind to focus solely on the most positive elements in your life. Place a rubber band around your wrist. Each time a negative, energy sapping thought enters your mind, snap the rubber band. Through the power of conditioning, your mind will associate pain with negative thinking and you will soon possess a strongly positive mindset.

5. Always answer the phone with enthusiasm in your voice and show your appreciation for the caller. Good phone manners are essential. To convey authority on the line, stand up. This will instill further confidence in your voice.

6. Throughout the day we all get inspiration and excellent ideas. Keep a set of cards (the size of business cards; available at most stationary stores) in your wallet along with a pencil to jot down these insights. When you get home, put the ideas in a central place such as a coil notepad and review them from time to time. As noted by Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

7. Set aside every Sunday evening for yourself and be strongly disciplined with this habit. Use this period to plan your week, visualize your encounters and what you want to achieve, to read new materials and inspirational books, to listen to soft soothing music and to simply relax. This habit will serve as your anchor to keep you focused, motivated and effective throughout the coming week.

8. Always remember the key principle that the quality of your life is the quality of your communication. This means the way you communicate with others and, more importantly, the way you communicate with yourself. What you focus on is what you get. If you look for the positive this is what you get. This is a fundamental law of Nature.

9. Stay on purpose, not on outcome. In other words, do the task because it is what you love to do or because it will help someone or is a valuable exercise. Don't do it for the money or the recognition. Those will come naturally. This is the way of the world.

10. Laugh for five minutes in the mirror each morning. Steve Martin does. Laughter activates many beneficial chemicals within the body that place us into a very joyous state. Laughter also returns the body to a state of balance. Laughter therapy has been regularly used to heal persons with varied ailments and is a wonderful tonic for life's ills. While the average 4 year old laughs 500 times a day, the average adult is lucky to laugh 15 times a day. Revitalize the habit of laughter, it will put far more living into your life.

11. Light a candle beside you when you are reading in the evening. It is most relaxing and creates a wonderful, soothing atmosphere. Make your home an oasis from the frenzied world outside. Fill it with great music, great books and great friends.

12. To enhance your concentration and powers of focus, count your steps when you walk. This is a particularly strong technique. Take six steps while taking a long inhale, hold your breath for another six steps, and then exhale for six steps. If six steps is too long for the breaths, do whatever you feel comfortable with. You will feel very alert, refreshed, internally quiet and centered after this exercise. So many people allow their minds to be filled with mental chatter. All peak performers appreciate the power of a quiet, clear mind which will concentrate steadily on all important tasks.

13. Learn to meditate effectively. The mind is naturally a very noisy machine which wants to move from one subject to another like an unchained monkey. One must learn to restrain and discipline it if one is to achieve anything of substance and to be peaceful. Meditation for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening will certainly provide you with exceptional results if regularly practiced for six months. Learned sages of the East have been advancing the many benefits of meditation for over 5000 years.

14. Learn to be still. The average person doesn't spend even 30 minutes a month in total silence and tranquility. Develop the skill of sitting quietly, enjoying the powerful silence for at least ten minutes a day. Simply think about what is important to you in your life. Reflect on your mission. Silence indeed is golden. As the Zen master once said, it is the space between the bars that holds the cage.

15. Enhance your will-power; it is likely one of the best training programs you can invest in. Here are some ideas to strengthen your will and become a stronger person: a. Do not let your mind float like a piece of paper in the wind. Work hard to keep it focused at all times. When doing a task, think of nothing else. When walking to work, count the steps that it takes to get all the way to the office. This is not easy but your mind will soon understand that you hold its reins and not vice versa. Your mind must eventually become as still as a candle flame in a corner where there is no draft.

b. Your will is like a muscle. You must first exercise it and then push before it gets stronger. This necessarily involves short term pain but be assured that the improvements will come and will touch your character in a most positive way. When you are hungry, wait another hour before your meal. When you are labouring over a difficult task and your mind is prompting you to pick up the latest magazine for a break or to get up and go talk to a friend, curb the impulse. Soon you will be able to sit for hours in a precisely concentrated state. Sir Issac Newton, one of the greatest classical physicists the world has produced, once said: "if I have done the public any service, it is due to patient thought." Newton had a remarkable ability to sit quietly and think without interruption for very long periods of time. If he can develop this so can you.

c. You can also build your will-power by restraint in your conduct with others. Speak less (use the 60/40 Rule = listen 60% of the time and speak a mere 40%, if that). This will not only make you more popular but you will learn much wisdom as everyone we meet, every day has something to teach us. Also restrain the urge to gossip or to condemn someone who you feel has made a mistake. Stop complaining and develop a cheerful, vital and strong personality. You will greatly influence others.

d. When a negative thought comes to your mind, immediately replace it with one that is positive. Positive always dominates over the negative and your mind has to be conditioned to think only the best thoughts. Negative thinking is a conditioned process whereby the negative patterns are established over and over. Rid yourself of any limitations and become a powerful positive thinker.

16. Make an effort to be humorous throughout the day. Not only is it beneficial from a physical viewpoint but it diffuses tension in difficult circumstances and creates an excellent atmosphere wherever you are. It was recently reported that members of the Tauripan tribe of South America have a ritual where they awake in the middle of the night to tell each other jokes. Even tribesmen in the deepest sleep wake to enjoy the laugh and then return to their state of slumber in seconds.

17. Become a highly disciplined time manager. There are roughly 168 hours in a week. This surely allows plenty of time for achievement of the many goals we desire to accomplish. Be ruthless with your time. Set aside a few minutes each morning to plan your day. Plan around your priorities and focus on not only those tasks which are immediate but not important (i.e., many telephone calls) but especially on those which are important but not urgent, for these allow for the greatest personal and professional development. Important but not immediate activities are those which produce long-term, sustainable benefits and include exercise, strategic planning, the development of relationships and professional education. Never let the things which matter most be placed in the backseat as compared to those that matter least.

18. Associate only with positive, focused people who you can learn from and who will not drain your valuable energy with complaining and uninspiring attitudes. By developing relationships with those committed to constant improvement and the pursuit of the best that life has to offer, you will have plenty of company on your path to the top of whatever mountain you seek to climb.

19. Stephen Hawking, one of the great modern physicists of the world, is reported to have said that we are on a minor planet of a very average star located within the outer limits of one of a hundred thousand million galaxies. Are your problems really significant in light of this? You walk this Earth for but a short time. Why not become devoted to having only a wonderful experience. Why not dedicate yourself to leaving a powerful legacy to the world? Sit down now and write out a list of all that you have in your life. Start first with your health or your family - the things we often take for granted. Put down the country we live in and the food we eat. Do not stop until you have written down fifty items. Once every few days, go through this list - you will be uplifted and recognize the richness of your existence.

20. You must have a mission statement in life. This is simply a set of guiding principles which clearly state where you are going and where you want to be at the end of your life. A mission statement embodies your values. It is your personal lighthouse keeping you steadily on the course of your dreams. Over a period of one month, set a few hours aside to write down five or ten principles which will govern your life and which will keep you focused at all times. Examples might be to consistently serve others, to be a considerate citizen, to become highly wealthy or to serve as a powerful leader. Whatever the mission statement of your life, refine it and review it regularly. Then when something adverse happens or someone tries to pull you off course, you quickly and precisely return to your chosen path with the full knowledge that you are moving in the direction that you have selected.

21. No one can insult or hurt you without your permission. One of the golden keys to happiness and great success is the way you interpret events which unfold before you. Highly successful people are master interpreters. People who have attained greatness have an ability which they have developed to interpret negative or disempowering events as positive challenges which will assist them in growing and moving even farther up the ladder of success. There are no negative experiences only experiences which aid in your development and toughen your character so that you may soar to new heights. There are no failures, only lessons.

22. Take a speed reading course. Reading is a powerful way to gain many years of experience from a few hours of study. For example, most biographies reflect the strategies and philosophies of great leaders or courageous individuals. Read them and model them. Speed reading will allow you to digest large quantities of material in relatively small periods of time.

23. Remember people's names and treat everyone well. This habit, along with enthusiasm, is one of the great success secrets. Everyone in this world wears an imaginary button that screams out "I WANT TO FEEL IMPORTANT AND APPRECIATED!".

24. Be soft as a flower when it comes to kindness but tough as thunder when it comes to principle. Be courteous and polite at all times but never be pushed around. Ensure that you are always treated with respect.

25. Never discuss your health, wealth and other personal matters with anyone outside of your immediate family. Be very disciplined in this regard.

26. Be truthful, patient, persevering, modest and generous.

27. Soak in a warm bath at the end of a long, productive day. Reward yourself for even the smallest of achievement. Take time out for renewal of your mind, body and spirit. Soon all your more important goals will be met and you will move to the next level of peak performance.

28. Learn the power of breathing and its relationship with your energy source. The mind is intimately connected with your breathing. For example, when the mind is agitated, your breathing becomes quick and shallow. When you are relaxed and focused, your breathing is deep and calm. By practising deep, abdominal breathing, you will develop a calm, serene demeanour that will remain cool in the hottest of circumstances. Remember the rule of the Eastern mountain men: "to breathe properly is to live properly."

29. Recognize and cultivate the power of autosuggestion. It works and is an essential tool inmaintaining peak performance. We are all performers in one way or another and it is particularly valuable to use such techniques of athletes and public figures for our own enhancement. If you want to become more enthusiastic, repeat "I am more enthusiastic today and am improving this trait daily". Repeat it over and over. Purchase a legal notepad and write out this mantra 500 times. Do it for three weeks with regular practice and feel that this quality is developing. Very soon it will come. This is a strategy that Indian sages have employed for thousands of years to aid their spiritual and mental development. Do not be discouraged if the results are not immediate, they will certainly develop. The spoken word is a powerful influencer of the mind.

30. Maintain a diary to measure your progress and to express your thoughts. Writing out not only your successes but your troubles is one of the world's most effective methods of erasing the worry habit, staying in optimum state and developing precision of thought.

31. Stress is simply a response which you create in the interpretation of an event. Two people might find that a given event results in quite different responses. For example, an after dinner speech might strike fear into the heart of an inexperienced speaker while a strong orator views it as a wonderful opportunity to share his thoughts. Understanding that the perceived negative effects of an event or task may be mentally manipulated and conditioned towards the positive, will allow you to be a peak performer in all instances.

32. Read "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. It contains a wealth of wisdom and powerful insights into further developing your character and
enhancing your personal relationships.

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