Hard work, and lots of it

“But seeing effort as something shameful is a liability because effort is what takes our abilities to fruition. Since I wrote Mindset I got letters from people who were child prodigies. As youngsters they were told, ‘You’re so smart you’ll be this, you’ll be that,’ but effort was never mentioned. In fact, they thought their claim to fame was that they didn’t need effort to reach greatness. They were mistaken, and as a result they never made much of their abilities. Ability alone does not take you to success. You actually have to work for it.”

~ Carol Dweck

Brilliant assessment of what it takes to succeed: lots and lots of hard work.

Focus

“Even in math class, excellence is a journey, and natural ability is only a starting point. If you don’t like to drive—if you keep asking “Are we there yet?” every 45 seconds—then it doesn’t matter how fast your car can theoretically go. You probably won’t make it too far.”

~ Ben Orlin

Don’t worry how anyone else is doing. You’re on a journey for yourself. Focus on finding those one or two things that you can do well and enjoy.

Mindfulness for Marines

“The researchers found that the heart and breathing rates of Marines trained in mindfulness returned to their normal, baseline levels faster than those who had not received the training. Also, blood levels of a specific neuropeptide suggested that the mindfulness-trained Marines experienced improved immune function.”

“Furthermore, magnetic resonance imaging scans showed that the mindfulness-trained Marines had reduced activity patterns in brain regions known for integrating emotional reactivity, cognition, and interoception.”

~ Traci Pedersen

Basic training in mindfulness could play a positive role in recovery from stress for several occupational groups.

Very important info

“[Norman Doidge] made it very clear that the advent of neuroplasticity isn’t all good news. He has the analogy of a mountain with fresh powder being the brain. The more often we ski down the mountain, the more snow packs on certain trails. As we continue to ride over those trails over and over again, the faster we begin to go down those trails.

“In other words, the more we practice reactivity to our fears (e.g. from small fears to PTSD), the stronger the neural connections in our brains become that make us more likely to be automatically reactive to our fears. Or, the more often we practice automatic negative thinking, the stronger the neural connections become that lead to more automatic reactivity toward automatic negative thinking.”

“The other part of this news is that our brains are wired to look for danger and pay more attention to the unpleasant than the pleasant. If I were to pay you 10 compliments and then say something judgmental or critical, you are more likely to remember and ruminate about the judgment than the compliments. As you practice this, your reinforce the neural connections that reinforce the auto-pilot reaction.”

~ Elisha Goldstein

Consciously choosing to pay attention to positive things — taking ten minutes at the end of the day to focus on the good that occurred — can reset the brain to think in new and more successful ways.

Career Advice

  1. “If you’re working to pay for school, or gaining valuable skills on the job, you have a smart strategy.”
  2. “… if you have a system of continuously improving your marketable skills, you open yourself to a larger world of new job possibilities and you’re playing a game you’re likely to win.”
  3. “… any long-term career strategy should provide a path toward a flexible schedule, or at least flexibility in terms of what you do within your work day.”
  4. “Attractive people earn more money and have greater career opportunities than those who are beauty-challenged.”
  5. “Seek the type of projects that will teach you something useful even in failure.”

~ Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

In summary: look for positions that will allow you to continually improve your skill set, work toward having control of your schedule, and take care of yourself (eat right, exercise, and dress well/look good).