Sleeping, Thinking, and Speaking Well to Success
by Byron M. Vidal
1. SLEEPING WELL
Sleeping well is an essential element to success. Sleeping well leads you to thinking well. Many students and laborers tend to give up sleep in order to achieve more. But studies show that it is better for the brain to sleep for a shorter number of uninterrupted hours than a longer number of fitful ones. We depend on our cognitive skills in our professional lives and when we fail to get a good sleep, our abilities to focus and concentrate, reason, remember and make good judgement is impaired.
Nothing is more essential to the brain’s physiological health and everyday maintenance than healthy sleep. Researchers at the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York found that that our brain performs a nightly flush where the brain rids itself of all metabolic by-products and waste that the brain cells produce as they work. This waste that gets tossed into a fluid area between tissue cells that make-up 20% of the brain is what is flushed out during this cerebral downtime that happens while we sleep.
Compared to good sleepers, poor sleepers tend to struggle to concentrate, are more likely to experience low mood and are more likely to be irritable. This could result to strained relationships, reduced productivity and a range of mental and physical health problems.
So the next time you are tempted to work late and burn the midnight oil, remember that sacrificing sleep could actually put you to a disadvantage. Putting in regular hours of sleep with a clear mind leaves you more focused and productive the next day, and you’ll feel healthier for it.
“Sleep is the one-third of our lives that affects the other two-thirds. Sleep well, live well.” -Dr. Safwan BADR, former president of the American Academy of sleep medicine.
2. THINKING WELL
The world’s most successful people have one thing in common: they think differently from everyone else. This is how John C. Maxwell introduces his New York Times bestseller, How Successful People Think.
- Thinking is a discipline. If you want to be better at it, you’ve got to work at it. Thinking well is the hardest work. Melt and trim the unnecessary fat and plant and reap from your thinking well.
- Spend time with people who challenge you. Smart thinkers expose themselves to different ideas and type of people.
- It’s one thing to have an idea, another to follow through. “Ideas have a short shelf-life and you must act on them before the expiration date.”
- Thoughts need time to develop. Don’t just settle on the first thing that comes to mind. Thoughts need to be shaped until they have substance and they need to stand the test of “clarity and questioning”
- Smart people collaborate with other smart people. Thinking with others has its benefits. It’s like allowing yourself a shortcut to experiencing everything and learning from them.
- Reject popular thinking (or not thinking at all)
- To appreciate others’ ideas, you need to value other ideas. Don’t think that you are always right. Be open to other ideas so you can have room to expand your own.
- Engage in reflective thinking to allow yourself perspective and confidence in your decision-making. As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
- Get over negative self-talk. Winners think in terms of “I will” and “I can” Smart people see possibilities, and not limitations. Former baseball star Sam Ewing once said nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”
- At the end of the day, it’s important to remember we can all change the way we think.
Learning how to master the process of thinking well leads you to productive thinking. If you can develop the discipline of good thinking and turn it into a lifetime habit, then you will be successful and productive all your life.
3. SPEAKING WELL
Thinking is useless when we don’t use the best words and best tools for it. Think well and speak best with accuracy. Brevity is the soul of wit, as less is often more. The best we select our words, the more we improve, leverage, and maximize our thinking device. Like software, it’s GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Selecting the best words in every moment of your life with creative, innovative, and expressive best words that you can define with accuracy not with vagueness is a must. Select and define best words with accuracy daily or many times of the week, even if it is just an exercise.
When talking you must remember these things:
- Organize your thoughts. Think before you say anything
- Say what you mean
- Get to the point and say exactly what you want done
- Be concise and use the shortest, most familiar words
- Be real. Communicate clearly through your own personality and let the real you come through. People will be more convinced if you are more comfortable with yourself and what you represent.
- Speak in images. Use words that will help people visualize concepts.
Listening well is the other side of speaking well. In order to deliver the words that your audience want to hear, you must be able to feel their pulse and put yourself in their shoes.
- Show genuine interest and attention. Concentrate so you increase your retention and comprehension.
- Use your eyes to communicate. Look for feelings so you can see the real intentions not communicated verbally.
- Observe nonverbal signals so you can ask the right questions.
- Make the other person talk with ease and not fear being judged.
Not sleeping well for success, not thinking well, and not selecting the best words for every moment of your life is dangerous, as they encourage us to fool ourselves and others. I say, “Sleeping well for success, thinking well, and the habit of selective and usage of best words is the recipe of true success.”