Achieving your full potential is about being the best person that you can be. Knowing yourself will be the most beautiful and useful thing U will ever do for U.
Taking responsibility for your life begins with an accurate assessment of your current skills and performance.
Because your sense of who U are determines your actions and what U end up getting out of life, it is extremely important for U to define the terms of success for yourself and have an honest opinion of yourself.
Take a moment to write down your two or three greatest strengths and your two or three most significant weaknesses.
While most people can detail their strengths, they often struggle to identify key weaknesses. This exercise involves meaningful self reflection and an honest evaluation of yourself.
Self-reflection and evaluation should occur often. This needs to be an ongoing process because, as U progress, U will face new challenges and demands and your responses to these difficulties should be continually evaluated to insure you are meeting them in a manner that serves U best.
Sources and Citations
“The only way you can reach your full potential is if you open up and allow your self to be exposed to how you really feel.” ― Turcois Ominek
What do U do on a daily basis to live a full life? If you’re struggling to think of anything, that’s okay, you’re not alone. Here’s the thing – U aren’t going to enjoy every minute of every day, bad things will happen – whether it’s a car accident, a fall, illness, financial struggles or the loss of a loved one.
But that is just a part of life and these things shouldn’t stop U from living your life to the fullest, and there is also no need for a monumental achievement daily to tick that box.
The Big Three Questions If you’re trying to determine what it is that U really want from your life and what will help U live a full life, then ask yourself these questions and rely on your intuition to understand what you’re trying to tell yourself.
What Does Your Heart Want Right Now? Right now, at this very moment – what do U want? Empty your feelings onto a sheet of paper and review it later. At first, it might not make a whole lot of sense; it’s essentially free writing to direct U. It isn’t about doing something because your brain is telling U to do; it’s about relying on your intuition to lead U.
What Are U Feeling Right Now? Follow your intuition and sense where U are being led, no matter where it may be guiding U. Emotions aren’t always wise, but your intuition is, so listen to your gut. This will help U filter out some of what U have written as you’ve let yourself flow onto the paper. It’s part of the process required to make sense of what you’ve written.
What If It’s Different Than I Imagined? Nothing is ever as U expect it to be. If U are truly following your purpose it won’t matter whether it unfolds as U imagined, there’s a good chance that it will be even better. It’s important to remember, though, that even when chasing your dreams there will be bumps along the way. Life can never be perfect, but there is something about life’s imperfections that make it worth living.
What Limits U
We all feel held back by assumptions and expectations at various points in our lives. We are comfortable in the barrier or box that we have created, at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. In truth, we’ve allowed ourselves to become trapped. What assumptions could be limiting U from making progress in life?
I can’t earn less than X to live a happy life
I’m too old for this
I’m not good enough
My marriage won’t survive this change
I don’t have what it takes
I don’t have the necessary skills
I don’t have anything to offer
I’m too tired
My life won’t be better than this
There’s nothing special about me
If you’re considering something career related, why not volunteer in a place related to that purpose? It’s a great way to see if it really is what U want and get a better feel for things. Alternatively, U could shadow someone who is in the career U want for yourself and see what happens.
If your purpose isn’t career-related, it should be much easier to launch yourself headfirst into it. When U are lying on your deathbed, those limits won’t mean much.
The key to living a full life is finding out what really matters to U, determining what U want, and going after it full force.
“We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.” ― Terence McKenna
Understand, it takes courage to discover who U really are and to follow your own convictions. From an early age, U are often inundated with expectations as to how U should behave and what U should do with your life. It is easy to succumb to what others want for U and forego what U want for yourself. It takes courage to follow your own personal vision. When you assume other’s opinions of U to be the ultimate truth, problems will arise. No one knows U better than yourself. To forge your own trail, U will need to be dedicated and persevere when the path is not clearly defined. Achieving your full potential is about committing yourself to the process of self-improvement; it’s not a single task. The commitment to discover U is necessary if U wish to be your own person. Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before U, will only lead U to someone else’s destination.
Following your dreams and being yourself requires courage, fearlessness, commitment, conviction, tenacity and the willingness to look in the mirror and take stock in what U really want out of life. Up until now, it may have been much easier to live in denial, than actually explore what U really want and desire. Often, it is much simpler to hold on to what is secure and not ‘rock the boat’.
To live a life fulfilled means standing up to yourself, listening to your innermost self rather than suppressing or denying yourself what U truly love. Granted, it is so much easier to settle for a life that is mediocre simply because we wish to avoid fear and repercussions from yourself and others. However, ‘settling’ is no way to live.
Heart Driven vs. Head Driven
Your heart will tell U what U truly desire because the heart functions by recognizing what we love and truly desire. On the other hand, the head is much more analytical and will soon put the brakes on as it operates on rationale thinking and is more in tune with what is practical and realistic. If U are ready to follow your heart and listen closely then U will need to let go of everything U think you know and understand.
U are unique in this world and U have something special to give to others and to the world. To reach your potential and share the gift of U, U must tune in to your heart and identify what U love.
Own Your Journey and U will Own Your Destination
Exercise To assist U in identifying what your heart wants:
Ask yourself if you are living authentically, truly in line with your values, beliefs and dreams.
Write down your inner wishes and desires.
Take inventory of what you love about U.
Write down everything U love to do.
What is your dream, your greatest aspiration?
If you could have anything in life, what would it be?
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs
Setting goals is an important part of achieving success and reaching your full potential.
The Basics of Goal Setting
The basics of goal setting will involve deciding what U really want to do to assist you in reaching your full potential. The basics of setting a goal is an open secret known by top-caliber athletes, successful businessmen and businesswomen and all types of achievers in all walks of life. The rationale for setting goals is for U to have short-term and long-term motivation and focus. Goal setting helps U set focus on the acquisition of required knowledge and helps U plan and organize your resources and your time so that U can get the best out of your life.
Here are some pointers that should be taken into consideration in setting goals and achieving them:
1. Attitude and motivation play a very big role in setting and achieving your goals.
Set goals that motivate U. Motivation and attitude are key to achieving your goals. There should be intrinsic value in achieving the goals you set for yourself otherwise U won’t put in the effort to reach your goal and U will risk self-doubt and criticism. These emotions will only further your inability to reach your potential.
U must ask yourself if any part of U or your mind is holding U back from completing your goals? Is there are any part of your behavior that is acting as a hindrance or putting your plans into disarray? If U do have problems in these areas then the immediate thing to do is to address the issues. A solution may include speaking with someone about your self-defeating behaviors which are preventing you from setting and achieving your goals.
2. Set “SMART” goals
Specific – Your goals should include a step-by-step approach to reaching your full potential. Your goals should be very specific in order to be achievable. Clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it in the first place. Include both short-term and long-term goals in your plan.
Measurable/Manageable – Break down your goals into smaller, manageable and measurable targets that will lead U towards achieving your lifetime goals. Setting clearly defined short-term and long-term goals will enable U to measure your progress and achieve personal satisfaction upon meeting your goals.
Attainable – Your goals must be attainable. If your goals are unrealistic, you will fail to reach them.
Relevant – Your goal should be important to you. If it is what someone else has in mind for you and you can’t relate, you won’t follow through. U simply won’t put in the time and effort if the goal doesn’t mean anything to you.
Time Bound – It is way too easy to put off what can be done tomorrow if U don’t set time constraints/deadlines on achieving your goals. Once U have your list waste no time in tackling your goals.
3. Write your goals on paper
Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. Charting your progress on paper will enable U to actually see the stages of completion leading to the actual realization of your goals. This will alleviate the feelings that you may have at times that the process is simply a long and pointless grind towards achieving your goal. As U become more aware of your capabilities and meet your short-term goals, your self-confidence and level of competence will also improve.
4. Make an Action Plan
Plan for all of the steps that are needed along the way. This requires that you break down each long-term goal into short-term goals needed to achieve your life goals. A good way to have a manageable list is to have a daily and weekly set of goals. By doing this U will be always in the position of moving towards your long-term goal. Everyday will give U the opportunity to fulfill a certain goal giving U the feeling of accomplishment.
By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is demanding or long-term.
5. Keep on Track
Keep on track. Always review your plans and prepare for contingencies. Goal setting is an ongoing process which should be measured, reviewed and adapted as need be to meet your full potential. The destination may remain the same but what you do and how you do it may change significantly in the course of working towards achieving your goals. Goals will change throughout a lifetime. Always insure that your goals remain relevant, motivating and they are what U want for U.
Sources and Citations MindTools.com – https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm
“You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.” ― C.S. Lewis
Design the Life of Your Dreams by Setting Specific and Attainable Goals.
From losing weight to setting a lifestyle goal, people often fail to realize their goals. In many cases these goals are attached to lifelong dreams that an individual is very passionate about.
So why is it so difficult to achieve your goals?
Why do you see other people realizing their dreams right and left, while U struggle to do so? It’s not that U are lazy. U have put in plenty of time, read all the goal setting books and taken courses.
If you are spending a lot of time and energy chasing your dreams, U are to be congratulated.
This means U don’t mind working hard to attain a result that is valuable and important to U.
What may have slowed U down on the path to realizing your dreams are the following 7 common reasons why people fail to meet important goals they have set for themselves.
U set goals that were impossible for U to achieve. If U are 7 feet tall, weigh 400 pounds and hate horses, U are probably never going to be a jockey. Your goals should be challenging, realistic and actually achievable.
You think of your goals as negative statements. The human subconscious is what works on your goals. It doesn’t understand negative thoughts. If U set a goal of “not being a doormat in relationships”, your subconscious hears “being a doormat in relationships”. Profess your goal as a positive statement, such as, “I will enjoy healthy relationships where both partners are equal.”
Your goals are not written down. There are countless stories of people who have achieved their goals after writing them down. Don’t underestimate the power of writing out your goals and reviewing them daily.
You’re not measuring your progress. If U don’t know where you’re going, and how far you’ve gone, how do U know when U will get there? Break large, long-term goals into smaller, short-term goals. Recording your progress improves your chances of success.
U don’t celebrate small victories. The huge bonfire of achievement that signals the accomplishment of your goals must be built up slowly. Give yourself periodic encouragement as U achieve small victories on the way to your major goal. This continually stokes the fire of your desire which gives U the willpower and determination to realize your dreams.
You are in an environment which is not conducive to U achieving your goals. If your family, coworkers, friends and neighbors are not supportive of your dream achieving efforts, all your work may be for naught. The same can be said of your physical environment.
Your goals are too vague. Setting a goal to “be rich” will probably never be achieved. Change that goal to” I will earn $120,000 per year as a copywriter in the health and wellness industry within 2 years” is very precise. Your achievement of this laser targeted goal is much more possible.
“If you expect more from yourself than from others, you are saying that you are better than others and, therefore, must perform at a superior level. I do not mean that you should not set goals for yourself. Rather, the question is, how do you react if you cannot meet these goals? Honestly admitting that you may have not done your best is not judgement. It is judgement when you draw a conclusion about yourself based on your ideas about failure.
Honesty involves taking responsibility; judgment has to do with blame. To view yourself as bad or a failure because you did not accomplish what you set out to do is judgment. To state clearly and simply that you did not accomplish your plan is taking responsibility.” ― Judith Hanson Lasater
Life can turn on its head at any given moment. Be prepared for setbacks.
Setbacks in life are normal especially when it comes to following through and sticking with plans to reach your full potential.
Enthusiasm and Resolve Are Not Enough
Yes, U may be ready for change and willing to put in the work necessary to meet your goals. U may approach your goals with enthusiasm and resolve. Understand your enthusiasm may fizzle if U thinking STARTING to work on yourself is going to be enough. Resolve and opening up yourself to change is only the beginning.
Setbacks Are Stepping Stones
Reaching your full potential might take a lifetime. Be prepared for setbacks by tossing in a dose of reality at the outset. Before U begin to work on changing and becoming the ultimate U, it’s important to recognize that U will experience some setbacks along the way. Despite the best laid plans and intentions, setbacks are virtually inevitable and that’s OK.
Recognize it’s how U view your setbacks that will define U and determine whether or not U reach your goals. Where U are compared to where U would like to end up may seem like a long and arduous journey. If U define your setbacks as failures, you will give up and never realize your desires because the end goal seems too far off.
Break the journey down into feasible and manageable steps and congratulate yourself for how far U have come rather than focusing on far U have yet to go.
Self Improvement Takes Time
When U are discouraged take a break, allow yourself to recoup and assess what needs to be done differently rather than rush the process and jeapordize your journey.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Failure is only one aspect of life. Defeat and disappointments have a way of slowing U down or causing you to break too soon. The key to your journey is to continue to move forward and not spend all of your time focusing on the barriers in front of U.
Life is Not A Race
Don’t forget to enjoy the view along the way. There is no sense of placing needless pressure on yourself whereby U need be at a certain place at a certain time in life. Reaching your full potential and living life fully is not a timed event. Self discipline, self control and your strength of character will allow U to withstand the hurdles U will face. Allow yourself to grow emotionally and learn from whatever life deals U. Rushing past and through feelings just because U or someone else has told U you need to move on is not in your best interest. Experience life while U live it and allow yourself to benefit from the lessons it holds.
Imagine the Future U Desire
Your mind is a wonderful thing. I recently watched the Winter Olympics and was mesmerized with the athletes and the time they took visualizing and physically acting out their performance before they actually competed in their sport. Visualization and mentally preparing yourself for success have a profound impact upon outcome.
Focusing on the past and your setbacks will determine your future and will influence every aspect of your life. If U dwell on the past, U will not be living in the present moment nor will U be able to plan for the future U.
“I will not be distracted by noise, chatter, or setbacks. Patience, commitment, grace, and purpose will guide me.” ― Louise L. Hay
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
Fear of making mistakes can cripple U. This fear can keep U from developing and maintaining wonderful relationships. It can limit your potential career-wise, and create mental stress and anxiety that lead to physical problems. So, how do U overcome the fear of making mistakes? The following tips and practices are proven to psychologically help U deal with your fear of failure, and move past it.
Realize That U Are Going to Make Mistakes
Human beings are imperfect in so many ways. That’s why we make mistakes. However, without trying to accomplish things we aren’t sure that we can achieve, our growth is stifled. U are going to make mistakes. Everyone does. Come to grips with this unavoidable fact of life and move past it.
Understand That No One Is Watching, and No One Really Cares
Many times, people are scared of making mistakes because of what others will think about them. The truth is, the world is not centered around U. Your mistakes are your own, no one else’s. It may be a sobering reality, but the world is not waiting for U to fail so they can laugh at U. In most cases, no one is concerned about your failure but yourself, so swing the bat. Who cares if U strike out?
Failure is a Stepping Stone to Our Successes
Thomas Edison failed a reported 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. In school his teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from his first two jobs because he was unproductive. What if Edison had given into those early mental setbacks and stopped inventing?
Arguably one of the most important inventions of human history came about because Edison couldn’t care less whether or not he failed. When a reporter once asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times before he successfully discovered how to harness electricity for light, Edison said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Understand That Failure Never Produces the Disastrous Results U Are Picturing in Your Mind
The human mind is hardwired to protect us. When U contemplate failing at a certain endeavor, U inevitably over-exaggerate the results of a possible failure in your mind. This is a survival instinct that dates back to the caveman days. Failure back then meant getting eaten by a bear, starving or freezing to death.
We still have that mechanism in our brains today, but for most of us, our survival is fortunately not on the line when we make decisions. Think about the times you’ve failed in the past. Odds are the horrific outcome U had created in your mind was totally overblown. The results of failure are almost never as disastrous as we expect they will be.
“When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.” ― José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love
Have you ever received a gift which you felt wasn’t necessarily meant for you? One Christmas my husband and I received a portable GPS from our sons. At the time, I didn’t understand the need. The boys said every vacation we took, we somehow found a way to get lost while traveling and the GPS would come in handy. It was true; we often would get lost and a heated discussion would often ensue as to which way we should go to get back on track. However, what our sons didn’t realize was we often intentionally wandered from the beaten path to explore back roads and alternate routes to take in the scenery and the often-overlooked sights.
When reviewing this article and trying to help readers find meaning in it, I thought of our habit of getting lost while traveling and how similar this was to life’s journey. We often get lost as we experience life. We take risks and sometimes we lose our way simply because we wish to explore and take part fully in life. At other times, we may approach life and make decisions without the necessary tools at hand to guide us and lead us in the right direction!
It is true; life can be compared to a road. There are long and short roads, smooth and rocky roads, and crooked and straight ones. U will face many roads as U journey through life. There are roads that lead to fame and fortune on one hand, or isolation and poverty on the other. There are roads to happiness while other roads lead to sadness. Some roads will lead U towards victory and jubilation, and other roads may lead U to defeat and disappointment.
Just like any road, there are detours, switchbacks, U-turns, dead-ends and new road construction that happen in life, too. Perhaps the most perplexing and difficult road that U will encounter in life is a crossroad. With four directions to choose from and with limited knowledge on where the roads may lead, which road will U decide to take? What is the guarantee that U will choose the right path? Will U choose a road randomly or simply stay right where you are; parked at a crossroad?
There are no guarantees in life
U never know where a road will lead U until you take it. There are simply no guarantees. This is one of the most important things U must realize about life. Nobody said that choosing to do the right thing all the time will lead U to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that love will be returned. Achieving fame, fortune and success does not guarantee happiness. There are too many situations and too many variables that U may encounter in life to make guarantees. Often, U are not in control of where life may lead. The only thing you do have power over are the decisions U will make, and how U will act and react to the situations you will face.
Hindsight is always 20-20
If U know U were about to make a decision that wasn’t in your best interest, would U have gone along with it anyways? Most likely not. After all, why would U choose a certain road if U knew U would end up lost? It is only after U have made a decision and reflected on it that U realize its soundness. If the consequences or outcomes are good for U, then U have decided correctly. Otherwise, U will realize your decision wasn’t in your best interest. U need to realize if the outcome isn’t what was expected, U can still learn from the experience.
Take the risk and decide
Since life offers no guarantees and U will never know if a decision you make is wrong until you have made it, then U might as well take the risk and decide. Right? If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. It is definitely better than keeping yourself in limbo and stuck at a crossroad. Lack of direction, decision making or movement will get you to the place you have always been; no further. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get U lost, it could also be that such a turn could be an opportunity for an adventure and lead you to new roads and paths to explore. It is all a matter of perspective. U have the choice between being a lost traveler or an accidental tourist of life. But take caution that U don’t make decisions haphazardly. Taking risks is not about being careless and irresponsible. U have a responsibility to yourself to weigh your decisions before taking action. Eventually, however, action must be taken if you wish to move forward in life and seek out new directions.
Here are some pointers that could help U choose the best options when facing life’s crossroads:
Get as much information as you can about your situation. You cannot find the confidence to decide when U know so little about what U are faced with. Just like any news reporter, ask the 5 W’s: what, who, when, where, and why. What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why am I in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask to know more about your situation. This is important. Oftentimes, the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation.
Identify, create and write down your options.
What options does the situation provide for U? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But what do U do when U think that the situation offers few, if any, options? This is when U need to spend time defining your options. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas and possibilities. Do not shoot anything down when an idea comes to your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help U identify your options and even identify more possibilities for U. Just be sure to make the decision for yourself in the end.
Weigh the pros and cons of every option. Assess each option by looking at the advantages and disadvantages it offers U. Assess and write down the pros and cons of the situation. By doing this, U will begin to recognize the best path for U.
Trust yourself and make a decision. Once U have assessed your options, trust yourself. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are always identified in hindsight. So choose… decide… believe that U are choosing the best option for U at this point in time.
Now that U have made a decision, be ready to face its consequences: good and bad.
Your decision may take U to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that U have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive audience to your own life. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that U always have the chance to make better decisions the next time around.
When on this road called life, arm yourself with all of the available tools to point U in the right direction. Recognize that all of the roads you choose in life may not lead U to where U want to be. They will, however, allow U to explore and discover the best and worst of what lies ahead.
Finally, if U are willing to explore, take risks, make mistakes, change directions and continue on your way the path will surely be more worthwhile than remaining in park and going nowhere.
“…I see myself at crossroads in my life, mapless, lacking bits of knowledge – then, the Moon breaks through, lights up the path before me…” ― John Geddes, A Familiar Rain
When U look at a certain object, a photography for example – U won’t be able to appreciate everything the artist has put into the photograph, appreciate it for what it truly is or see the photo as a whole if the picture is only an inch away from your face. You’ll have a clearer vision of the art work and see what the artist intended to create, once you have gotten outside of your own head and examine the photograph as a whole.
In life, until U reach a point when U are ready for change, an opportunity for change can be staring U right in the face but you won’t see it. As humans, we often wait for our lives to get better on their own when, typically, our lives will only get worse without any intervention on our part.
Years ago, I worked for a company whose management style was, what I like to refer to as, “management by crisis”. Nothing was ever done about issues the companies faced until the problems reached crisis proportions. Then and only then did the company take action and, often, the end result fell short of completely repairing or solving the problems at hand. As a result, employees were negative and the work atmosphere wasn’t pleasant. No one wanted to be at work – management or staff. Once employee morale caved so did work productivity which only led to additional company problems and dissatisfaction as a whole.
It’s sad to say but we often employ the same life management tools; we don’t begin the repair process until the situation smacks us in the face and we find ourselves in crisis mode. We finally begin to see the warning signs and signals once things become difficult and we are miserable. The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart around us. We behave this way because change isn’t easy and settling for mediocrity, even if we are unhappy and unfulfilled, is so much simpler.
Unfortunately, change becomes even more painful when we ignore it…take the frog principle for example:
Place Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment – the water’s temperature. Place Frog B in luke warm water, then turn the gas stove on. Wait until the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks “Ooh… it’s a bit warm in here. Time to move”.
People are like Frog B in general. Often we don’t feel the need to engage in change and self improvement as long as things don’t get too hot. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our life – and we will need to unlock our self improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realize it’s for our own good.
Now, you don’t have to feel tremendous heat before realizing the need for self improvement. Unlocking your self improvement power means unlocking yourself from the cage of thought that “its just the way I am” and “I don’t have a choice in life”. Of course these thoughts are just excuses used when we fear and resist change. In actuality, we have the potential to be whatever we wish to be. However, to realize our full potential we must fully participate in the process. It will require effort, tenacity, and our willingness to fail again and again.
Self improvement may not be everybody’s favorite word nor will it come easily. Change will happen, like it or hate it. Still, if we approach change willingly and with a happy heart, we will have a greater chance of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days hoping for improvement to land squarely in our lap.
“Standing on the fringes of life… offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
At the precipice of success is failure…your choices keep U from slipping off the edge.
Everything that happens to U happens for a purpose. Sometimes it is difficult to see the positives when, seemingly, one negative thing after another occurs and soon the molehill becomes a mountain. Often, this leads to inaction and focus on the negative. Instead of locking yourself up in your cage of fears and focusing on past heartaches, embarrassment and failures, treat them as your teachers and they will become your tools in both self improvement and success.
I remember watching the movie, Patch Adams. Hunter “Patch” Adams is a medical student who failed to make it through his board exams. After months of suffering in melancholy, depression and suicidal attempts – he decides to seek medical attention and voluntarily admits himself in a psychiatric ward. His months of stay in the hospital leads him to finding ways of treating his own ailments. Eventually, he realizes he has to get back on track. One morning he decides, even after all the failure and pains he has gone through, he still wants to become a doctor. He follows through with his dream and brings with him his positive attitude which leads him to self improvement and success. The best part about his journey is he not only improves himself, but he also improves the quality of life of his patients and others.
So, when does self improvement become synonymous with success? Where do U start? Try these tips…
Stop thinking and feeling as if you’re a failure, because you’re not. How can others accept U if U can’t accept U?
Stop focusing on your outward appearance as an indicator of self-acceptance. Self acceptance is not just about having nice slender legs, or great abs. Concentrate on your inner beauty and what you are able to offer the world.
When others are feeling down and in despair, help them elevate themselves. Don’t go down with them. They’ll pull U down further and both of U will end up feeling inferior.
Understand, your time on earth is simply a series of lessons. U have a choice, U can focus on your failures or your successes. However, there is no need to wallow in your failures and focus on the negative. There’s always a next time. Make room in your life for success and continually strive towards self improvement. Always continue to move forward whatever your circumstances.
Take one thing at a time. Change doesn’t happen in a single moment, it is a progression; a series of events and happenings. Self improvement is a “one day at a time” process. Always remember that there’s no such thing as ‘overnight success’. Practice, practice, practice!
Celebrate and appreciate your daily successes and victories. It is all too easy to believe U haven’t made any progress when, in fact, U have had many successes along your self-improvement journey.
Self improvement results in inner stability, personality development and dig this …. SUCCESS. U will improve yourself when U become more self confident, appreciate yourself and others. Your self esteem will flourish when U believe in you and your abilities and actions.
Set meaningful and achievable goals. Your hopes and aims and consistent action to make your dreams a reality will result in an improved and better U.
Doing little things for others can mean so much to them. Sometimes, we don’t realize that the little things such as smiling and saying “hello”, greeting someone “good day” or giving someone else a compliment, are simple things that mean so much to others. When U are being appreciative of your environment and other people, U also improve your own sense of self worth and your outlook on life which positively influences how successful we feel in life.
When you’re willing to accept change and go through the process of self improvement, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is on board. Accept and be aware that others may wish to impose their own sense of what they want for U. Ultimately, recognize that U need to choose what U want for your life.
Remind yourself about your specific goals on a daily basis.
Keep this quote in mind: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Be willing to open yourself up to improving yourself and your responses to life circumstances. Introspection, self-reflection and being honest with yourself are necessary for self-improvement and will help U move towards your definition of success. If U are willing to be honest with yourself and make the necessary changes, U will increase your chances of reaching your full potential. Keep going until your goals are your new reality (the changed you).
“We do not get to choose how we start out in life. We do not get to choose the day we are born or the family we are born into, what we are named at birth, what country we are born in, and we do not get to choose our ancestry. All these things are predetermined by a higher power. By the time you are old enough to start making decisions for yourself, a lot of things in your life are already in place. It’s important, therefore, that you focus on the future, the only thing that you can change.” ― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability
Make the most of it! Keep working at positivity, as it has so many benefits for your life.
Negativity can discourage us, add to our stress, put strain on our relationship, make us less productive, and reduce our overall happiness. Positivity on the other hand has many benefits across our lives in terms of our health, relationships, and careers.
But, how do you become more positive? Is it really that simple?
Here are four key steps to help you to develop a more positive mindset:
Keep a thought journal
If you have a negative internal dialogue constantly keeping you down, you need to take action to banish these thoughts. If you have difficulty identifying this negativity within your own mine, a simple first action can be keeping a thought journal. Write down a random sample of thoughts you say in your own mind about yourself, events, people around you and other things that happen throughout your day.
Then analyze these thoughts by reading the journal every night and establishing your thought patterns.
Do certain events trigger your negative thoughts? Take note of these and the next time you are faced with a similar triggering situation, think more carefully about how you are approaching it.
Banish negative self-talk
After keeping track of your thoughts for a week or two, you will soon notice how consuming your negative thoughts potentially are. The next step is to banish these all together. Next time you go to write down a negative thought in your thought journal, try to rephrase it to that it becomes a neutral statement.
For example, “Bob forgot to take out the trash again so I had to do it and it ruined my evening” could become “Bob forgot to take out the trash. I did it.” This is a small but effective way to train yourself.
Don’t just do this exercise on paper in your journal; begin to rephrase your negative thoughts into neutral ones in your mind.
See the positive side
It can be incredibly challenging for many people to jump straight from negative thoughts into positive ones, which is why that neutral-thought stage is so crucial. By banishing negative self-talk, you are now in a great position to genuinely see the positives, in different situations.
Refer back to your thought journal and particularly examine the negative thoughts you have had. Putting aside all of the things you so obviously dislike about that thing, try to think of at least one positive.
For example, if you dislike your boss because they speak badly to you, think about the way that you are actually developing more resilience and ‘thicker skin’ by being in that situation, which is a positive result from a bad situation.
It can be hard to find benefits within challenging circumstances, but there is always a way to see something good.
As the Dalai Lama once famously said, “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” Sometimes a lot of effort might be required, but it’s worth it!
Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is an incredible way to take stock of all of the wonderful things around you. Every evening write down all of the things in your day, and life more generally, that you are grateful for.
Perhaps you are grateful to your friends for their support, for the warm bed you are able to sleep in, or for the great weather you had that day. Write it all down.
If someone gives you a compliment that you appreciated on any particular day or said something very thoughtful, write it down in your gratitude journal too. Then when you find yourself being negative or critical, open up the journal and read over all of the positive things in your life that make you feel grateful.
This is a sure-fire way to re-ground you, make you gain perspective and make you realize how insignificant that particular trigger may be in the larger scheme of things. Context is important, so keep shifting your mind towards the positive.
Practicing these four simple thoughts can help you to transform the way that you perceive the world around you. Positive perception has the power to change your life, improving your attitudes and the ways that you respond to stress triggers.
“Please believe that one single positive dream is more important than a thousand negative realities.” ― Adeline Yen Mah, Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals.
If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Inspiration begins within U. Take note of where U are in life right now. What’s working for U, what isn’t? What can U do better? What do U like? What do U love? This is an exercise to become more self-aware. Take notice but don’t judge yourself.
U may find that your life has become a habit and U are simply going through the motions. Day to day, U may be going from one responsibility to another without paying attention to the subtle hints U are given as to what U really want from life. Your inner spirit may have long forgotten what it wants or requires to thrive and live life fully and with purpose. Listen closely to the spirit within U and the subtle messages that present themselves to U to become more aware of your aspirations and dreams. Rarely, will the skies part and U will receive your “ah-ha” moment. You must be in tune with yourself and what you want out of life.
Surround yourself with what inspires you; make it a part of your daily life.
Inspiration for your life is often all around U; in your daily activities, events and the simplest moments. Discover what or who inspires U. It can be an individual, music, a specific event, a positive affirmation or quote, your participation in a specific leisure activity or exercise, watching an inspirational movie or video or simply spending time in nature or visiting a special place that U love.
Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. There is nothing so uninspiring than going through life never having tried new things or involving yourself in new experiences. U will only be able to determine what U really want out of life by having placed yourself in new, different and challenging circumstances. Change your environment, surround yourself with inspiring people, change up your daily routine, push yourself and try something new.
Inspiration or Aspiration?
Setting goals and realizing them can be less than inspiring at times. U may find yourself wanting more. U may be asking yourself what is your life purpose. Perhaps you are seeking a deeper awareness of who you are and what life’s plan is for U. Aspiring to a life that is greater than U could ever imagine is one of the greatest gifts U can give yourself. Reach for the stars!
Recall when U have felt most inspired in the past? Write down every inspiring moment U can remember.
What matters most to U? What do you hold dear to your heart?
List individuals U find inspiring. What is it about these persons that you find inspiring? What qualities do they possess? Is it their values and beliefs, their actions or how they treat others that you find uplifting?
Listen to what you tell yourself and what you tell others. Do you carry on a different conversation inside your head than what comes out of your mouth? Are your thoughts in tune with your speech? Sometimes just noticing your own voice and thoughts can help you identify what U find inspiring.
Carry around a small notepad. Inspirational moments occur throughout our day. Often we fail to recall what has inspired us each and every day. Write down your inspirational moments so U can remember them later.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein
A third of Americans are dissatisfied with their lives. So, if U are dissatisfied in life, how do U become motivated?
The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal, apply the 5 second rule. Interrupt self doubt, procrastination, bad habits, negative thinking, speaking or acting before thinking along with fear and its resulting inaction. The five second rule requires you to focus and interrupt patterns of negative and habitual behaviors which happen on autopilot. Awaken your brain – the part that you need for change; trigger yourself to shift gears to learn a new habit which will facilitate change.
Want what U seek
U must be hungry and driven to achieve what U undertake. If U aren’t passionate about what U want, U won’t find the motivation or drive to meet your goals.
Tackle one task at a time
Rather than becoming overwhelmed with what needs to be done, tackle one task at a time. U will get more done, be happier and feel far less stress.
One goal at a time
Spreading yourself to thin will never get U anywhere. Only move on to your next goal when U have accomplished your present goal. Identify what is most important to U. Eliminate everything else to simplify the process. This is the beginning step necessary to meet your long range goals and ambitions.
Have a positive mindset
Become more aware of your negative self-talk and reframe your thinking by creating positive thoughts.
Be kind to yourself and others
Kindness is a habit and it will help U feel better about yourself as a person. Do something kind for yourself every day. U are worth it. In addition, your interactions with others should be kind, friendly, and compassionate.
Help others. It is amazing how doing for others can help U feel better about yourself.
Focus on becoming fit
Exercise will make U feel better about yourself and help U become more confident. Feeling confident and self-assured leads to better success and making positive changes in your life.
Exercise provides U with a break from work and your daily routine. This leads to better physical and mental well-being in your life.
Focusing on a physical task gives our mental and creative processes a break. This is necessary to foster creativity and motivation in your other areas of life.
Establish a daily routine to help develop momentum
Start your day the same each day and have a routine to end your day every evening. This brings order to your day and your life. A routine will help U focus on what’s important and allow U to get the things done that U feel are most important. To organize and begin to find success in your life, begin by making each days’ beginning and ending a routine.
Do What U Enjoy
Seems simple enough. Often time is spent working versus engaging in leisure pursuits U many find fulfilling and rewarding. If life has become dull, U need to identify which activities are rewarding for U and do them regularly.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
As described in the dictionary, TENACITY means to have the quality or fact of being very determined; determination. The quality or fact of continuing to have the strength to exist; persistence. TENACITY is the quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit — who keeps trying until they reach their goal.
Growing up, I was often called stubborn and bull-headed. I prefer to think I am tenacious and strong-willed and these two traits have served me well; especially in times of difficulty.
When it comes to setting goals, identifying your purpose and striving towards reaching your full potential, no other behavior will help U continue to move in the direction U seek, than being tenacious in everything U do!
IF YOU REMEMBER ONLY ONE THING PRESENTED IN THIS SERIES, REMEMBER THE POWER OF BEING TENACIOUS:
U can identify your strengths and weaknesses and look within to help U find your life’s purpose,
U can become motivated and inspired,
U can set goals,
U can take action,
U can be aware of and prepare yourself for pitfalls and setbacks in life,
U can learn to accept your mistakes and forgive yourself,
U can eliminate negative thought patterns and think and act more positively,
U can enlist friends and family for support,
U can find success and
U can have the courage to begin again when U fail.
IN FACT, U CAN DO EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST AND NEVER REACH YOUR GOALS AND LIVE FULLY. IF U DO NOT REMAIN TENACIOUS IN YOUR APPROACH AND U DO NOT HAVE THE STAYING POWER, LIFE WILL GET THE BEST OF U. IF YOU DO NOT CONSISTENTLY FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE STEPS PRESENTED IN THIS PROGRAM AGAIN AND AGAIN, LIFE WILL GET THE BEST OF U. IF YOU DO NOT REMAIN STEADFAST IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULTIES, LIFE WILL GET THE BEST OF U. IF U DO NOT HAVE THE WILLINGNESS TO ENDURE, LIFE WILL GET THE BEST OF U.
LIVE A PURPOSE AND INTENTION-FILLED LIFE AND NEVER, EVER GIVE UP!
“The most difficult decision is to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“Very few individuals have the tenacity and the love to propel them beyond everything they know and can trust to face the unknown, let alone be absorbed in it.” – Frederick Lenz
I watched a movie last week with Shirley Maclaine entitled, The Last Word. In the movie, Shirley portrays Harriet Lauler, a wealthy advertising mogul who is forthright; always speaking her own mind whether it be brazen or brash. She is unapologetic no matter the recipient.
After a near-death experience, Harriet realizes that very few people, if any, would mourn by her death or attend her funeral. She set’s out to make things right and employs an obituary writer to write her obituary while she is still living. Harriet instructs the writer that to have lived a life worth remembering requires four things:
U should be loved by family and friends.
U should touch someone’s life in a significant way.
U should live a life that is true. After finding her love of music, Harriet becomes a disc jockey. On air, she signs off the air with these words…”To my listeners… don’t have a nice day. Have a day that matters; have a day that is true and means something.”
U should play your WILDCARD. A WILDCARD is whatever U are holding back from experiencing life fully.
Harriet then sets out to rewrite her own life and have the last word. In the process of enmeshing herself in her self-professed edicts of life, she is able to die without regret.
Do U play it safe? Are U concealing your WILDCARD? Are U holding out for the right time to play your WILDCARD?
Instead of holding back and waiting for the right moment, surprise others and yourself with who you are capable of becoming. Don’t conceal your skills, your ambitions, your dreams from yourself and others so that you can play them at a later time when it may be more convenient, less riskier, safer and easier to lay them out on the table for all to see. Use your WILDCARDS to their greatest advantage.
Why is it that U save the best for last; holding on to your WILDCARDS so as to have a contingency plan for use when all else fails?
Often U know what it is U want to do, but U still don’t do it. Why? Because, U are afraid of failure. U choose what is comfortable and familiar. Living in the moment just because the moment is safe isn’t really living. Maneuvering around every life risk and withholding your WILDCARDS because it is more comfortable and less scary certainly protects U from LOSS, FAILURE and DISAPPOINTMENT but it also prevents ACCOMPLISHMENT, SUCCESS and HAPPINESS.
Here’s the scoop. It’s never the right time to jump in with both feet. U may never have enough money, enough time, enough courage, or enough of anything else that U feel is necessary to meet your life’s goals and reach your dreams. U must learn to strike the right balance between risk and reward and the only way to do that is to experience life and weigh your risks as best U can. Risk nothing and U can expect a lower return on your life’s investment. Risk too much and lose everything U have planned. Hedge your bets and risk wisely in your skills, your ambitions and dreams and U will find your sense of purpose and that is reward enough no matter what anyone else thinks, feels or believes.
Never conceal or forego your dreams and the U you wish to become. LIVE ANDY PLAY YOUR WILDCARDS for all their worth, play them while U still can and U will find HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT IN EVERYTHING YOU DO! IT’S TIME TO PLACE YOUR BETS!