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Tricking Yourself Into Success In Life

Success in life is difficult without the correct upbringing and opportunities

Some are born into this type of environment, so they will have great success in life just by living in their parent’s home.  While I’m not sure if it’s good to be raised in such an environment (sometimes, it seems stressful), I do know that many of those kids will grow up to be the very successful.

While I had an excellent childhood for learning about frugality and the dangers and proper uses of credit cards, the drive for being successful was lacking.  Perhaps it was because my family was too busy running a business.  I would spend a lot of time with babysitters, and was even shipped off to Delaware in the summer to spend time with my aunt and uncle. 

While overall, my experience growing up was good, it didn’t really help me develop that killer instinct that is so critical in being a successful entrepeneur and employee.  Nor did it teach me to really stick to one thing, everything was in a constant state of change for me.

So as you can imagine, when I started college I didn’t have the training I really needed to excel.  so what did I do?

I tricked myself (really a form of brainwashing) into being successful!

In computer science, after I got past the freshman and sophomore years of college, the classes got very hard (actually all of the computer classes were difficult, with the failing rate as high as 80 to 90% for some classes).

So when I knew all my friends were out partying, I would get depressed trying to read complex programming textbooks.  Many times, I would want to say “forget this” and go out with my buddies.  So I had to develop some coping mechanisms which I will outline below.

Here is what I would do:

  • I would imagine that I was in prison and there was nothing else going on.  This was easy when I lived in a bachelor’s pad.
  • I would mimic the voice of friends that were foreigners in my classes just to encourage a different perspective and pronunciation.  Hey, it works!!!
  • I would take resting breaks where I would lay in my bed and close my eyes and let the solutions come to me.  This was much better than beating my brains all during the day, and then only to figure it out after I went to sleep that night.
  • I would implement a crude reward system.  For example, if I finished writing  a computer program, then I would go out with friends for the evening (or later that week).

Later, after getting my foot in the door at my various employers, I would use similar tricks.  But this time, I would focus on the work and ways to make it more enjoyable.  So at work, I viewed each problem and project as a puzzle or I would pretend that I’m the only one that could figure the issue out (like in a detective). 

It just takes little changes on the way you view the task at hand, to make that task enjoyable.

These are just some of the techniques that I use to create a sense of motivation for myself.

Readers, do you use any special tricks that make you more of a success in life?

-MR

9 Responses to Tricking Yourself Into Success In Life

  1. Sometimes I am reminded of the van by the river in which I will be living if I stop working entirely.

    But small rewards are great. To-do lists are great. Breaking big tasks into smaller ones are good.

  2. Computer programming can be so frustrating. I hate when I plug away at something for a couple hours, and then the answer jumps into my head when I take a little break. I am one of those people that has a hard time walking away from a program if it has the slightest bug, even if it doesn’t have to be implemented for weeks. I can’t leave things undone.

    Anyway, my inner motivation was to not repeat the cycle I grew up with. My purpose was to have choices when I grew up. I didn’t date people that I thought drank too much or anything because there were many alcoholics where I grew up. I just knew what I wanted, and I was determined to get it. It wasn’t always easy, especially since I paid for college myself. However, just having that sheer determination of knowing what I DIDN’T want got me what I ultimately wanted.

    • Have a strong, determined mind is often enough in itself, to get what you want!

      I’m a hesistant starter on things but once I get started I have a hard time stopping until it is complete. Although, in college it was hard because most of my friends weren’t in an analytical major, so they enjoyed their college experience more (or so I believe).

  3. I have to push myself past the “don’t be silly” stage to accomplish anything. I’m pretty hard on myself. Luckily, I’m also motivated in super spurts, so the “just jump in” spirit overrides the “but you can’t” hump once in a while or I’d never get anything started, lol.

    • Getting a computer science degree was hard for me back then. I was way more athletic and liked hanging with friends.

      I admit I haven’t really been taxed like I was when I was in college coding. But perhaps I should try those tricks again, just to see where it takes me…

  4. I exchanged brownies for people to write my code. I guess that didn’t end up being a good tactic long term as it may have been one of the few skills I might be using today blogging.

    My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. I’ll get fixated on something and not be able to move onto something else until it’s done. This is great when you plug along, but can be crippling if you hit a roadblock. There are times where I SHOULD work on something else, but my mind is still fixated on the other task.