So What Is Success?
If you polled everyone that you could stop in the street, they will tell you they want to be healthy, happy, and rich. Some may have one but very few of them have two out of three, and almost none of them have all three. Why should that surprise us?
So some years back, I started determining what I could about how to be prosperous and build a row of achievements. As a very rational, logical person, working in an environment that actually depends on rules, guidelines and best practices, I looked to breakdown the process, so that I, and others, could understand it. Now, none of this, I learnt, was new. In fact, most of what I learned had its roots in the bible and other early religious teachings as well as early literature, and had been commented on throughout the ages.
And a quote I once heard had a profound effect on me; “Good enough, seldom is” accredited to Malcolm Forbes (1919 to 1990) was publisher of “Forbes” magazine. I adopted that for my work and personal life and things started to change.
Only describable as indiscernible, the traces of change were not immediately evident and I could not tell you the moment or day, week or even month that things started to change, but change they did. The world had not changed. My work had not changed. But things changed for me. How? Quite simply the change was due to my personal outlook on the world and its events. It was not what I saw, but the way in what I saw. It was not what happened to me, but the way I interpreted to myself what had happened to me.
Yes, you need self-belief. You need to believe you can achieve your goals. You have to believe in what you are doing and that that thing does not conflict with your rules or firm beliefs thus compromising your integrity.
The power of belief can move mountains. Without a firm belief in something, we will always find ourselves attempting things half-heartedly. Having a belief is knowing something is true, or can be true, deep in your heart. How do you know you want money? A bigger car? A large, detached house? Are they musts like food and shelter or are they “would be nice” thoughts, dreams, wishes? If they were a “must” item, then why haven’t you got them already?
You do not necessarily use the entire skill every day, or push it to its limits, but often you may find yourself working up to it like an athlete. A high jumper would never appear at an event and for their initial jump, set the bar at six feet; because that’s the highest they have ever jumped. They always start lower and allow themselves to focus on the fundamentals before pushing themselves higher, allowing themselves to build their confidence.
What would happen if their belief was such that they knew that six feet was the highest they could jump? Guess what? They would never jump any higher. We all have limiting beliefs such as too old, too young, too qualified, not qualified, too poor, too rich, male, female, too tall, too skinny, too fat, too short, am a parent, don’t have kids and a whole host of others that we use as excuses for not doing anything.
You may recall the story about Thomas Edison and his quest for finding the incandescent light bulb. After many thousands of failed experiments, a reporter asked him if he was going to give up. After all he had failed over five thousand times so far. Edison knew that feedback is not failure and responded to the reporter saying that he hadn’t failed, he had merely found five thousand ways not to do it.
Whatever has gone before, whatever circumstances stood before, it was in the past. It was a learning experience and should be treated as such. Tony Robbins says, “The past does not equal the future”. Profound, but true.
Affirmations are designed to help you believe in something and they reinforce what you now want to believe.
Tony Robbins often quotes that repetition is the mother of skill, well repeating affirmations is the mother of belief.
When done effectively affirmations have the power to radically transform everything within you, even what may now seem impossible. It has been argued for millennia by various spiritual masters through time that we are able to transform our physical being with words.
That understanding extends itself into the realm of miraculous healings and profound mental shifts within a person’s psyche.
If you examine the work done by scientists on the study of language on the human aspect is outstanding. It is being discussed in every forum and the knowledge is revolutionising the way we see ourselves and our capabilities.
It is now believed in the field of science that our DNA can be programmed to alter the physical structure of the body by mere words. Nothing invasive is necessary only our own words said at certain frequencies can redesign our body.
The emphasis on frequency makes the difference between a successful program and one that is just feedback.
Additionally there is a science behind Binaural Beats, tones that can increase productivity, energy levels, focus, relaxation and much more. Search for them on “Improveyourcondition.com”.
As a special gift for you, we have free relaxation sounds for you at http://improveyourcondition.com/home/free-ambiant-sounds-for-relaxation-meditation/
Back to Affirmationss …
Reflect a moment on the old saying “If you repeat it often enough you will start to believe it.” This is often, in fact, used in a derogatory way when someone is suspected of lying or making something up, yet it is the foundation of belief. Religions throughout the world have mantras, chants, hymns and psalms which all add up to one thing – affirmations. What do affirmations do? They affirm, or remind you of what you believe in by “positive” reinforcement. Repetition of the beliefs of the group, cult or society according to their teachings. Does this mean there are no holes in their buckets? No, simply that by re-affirming the good parts marginalizes or even shrinks the perceived holes so they do not appear to leak as much. In reality, people will overlook the odd conflict or crack in a theory if the rest of it seems sound. This is called blind faith.
Blind faith can be in people or machinery or fate or anything else that can be “trusted”. I first came across blind faith when I served in the Royal Navy. I was part of the electrical department and when I was on duty, at sea, part of the job was to get up at regular periods throughout the night to do “rounds” of running machinery compartments. This involved checking the temperatures, oil and water pressures and the general well-being of the space as well as signs of flooding, fire or other hazards. We would then have to log our findings, if any, and sign to say that all was well. I knew of some people that would get up, go directly to the rounds book and sign it without doing any checks whatsoever, then go back to bed. Their thinking was if there had been a problem, the variety of alarms would have alerted somebody. They had blind faith in the system covering for their ineptitude and laziness.
Does blind faith work? Well, yes if you are happy to accept it as true and want to do nothing more with it. There are three types of people in this world; those who make things happen; those who watch what’s happening and those who wonder what is happening. Which do you want to be?
Holes in your beliefs are not there by accident. They are the product of your upbringing, by conditioning. Not that any of these “holes” were placed there maliciously by anyone, they are simply a result of the system or culture we live in. If anyone does well in the UK, they are judged by others to have “been lucky”, “know the right people”, “on drugs” or are “ripping people off somehow and lining their own pocket.” Success in the UK is frowned upon unless you lose it all to the taxman and go to prison, when you become some sort of folk-hero.
One man with a belief is more efficient, productive, focussed and deliberate than ten men with a vague interest or curiosity. Handled correctly, beliefs can influence our lives producing good and worthwhile things. Leaving them to chance is the single most destroyer of potential.
A person with a belief or faith can literally move mountains. How is this possible? A belief is an emotion. It is a culmination of previous experience and expectation for something we visualise as happening. The expression “I wanted it so bad I could almost taste it” describes this perfectly. Desire creates all of the necessary parts of a goal in your mind and stimulates all of your senses so you physiologically live having done the action or achieved the result beforehand. Emotion pre-courses motion. Emotion puts the energy into motion. Emotion dictates to your body what you need to achieve the result.
As I mentioned before, beliefs are conditioned into you by your upbringing and childhood experiences. If we take your feelings and beliefs about money and success, we can soon find many wakening or debilitating beliefs that work against you.
These beliefs are deep-seated, powerful and negative, and in many ways are illogical. They make no sense to you or your real desires, they are simply misquoted or jealously devised sayings that make you stop trying.
If you want to do something but find you cannot find the enthusiasm to do it, you will undoubtedly hold a belief that acts like a scuttle on a ship, or a sea anchor – a bucket attached to the boat by rope - which hold you back.
Everything you can conceive have attached or associated with it certain beliefs. These associations are often forged illogically or incorrectly in the past, but you will not have realised that they were being formed.
Given an exact replication of any situation by any of your senses can trigger not only emotions but also the associations in your mind.
The smell of freshly baked bread or coffee makes you think of that holiday in France or Italy when you did so and so. It took you ages to save up for it and you nearly didn’t go because your car was damaged by that person with round glasses who rammed you when you were stationary. There is that guy at work with the round glasses, you have never liked him. And those bosses at work who cut back your overtime, most of them wear glasses. Is it a conspiracy by people that wear glasses to ruin your life?
Next time you start to smell that freshly baked bread or the coffee aroma when you are in the supermarket you may well start looking at or avoiding all the people with glasses on.
Worse still you might even ram them “accidentally” or beat them to the tinned beans, so that you can get yours first.
Let’s not get paranoid about it, but you can see how a thought process can lead to associations being made in your head without you realising it. Constant reliving of these emotions and thoughts drive home your thoughts until they become emotional triggers or anchors.
Whenever you smell the bread, you start looking at the optically challenged in a very special way.
Another way to form an anchor is by repetition in a physical way. At school you may have had a teacher who prodded you with a ruler in your arm or shoulder when you were not paying attention or doing something wrong.
Every time that happened they reprimanded or humiliated you in front of your peer group. This formed an anchor. A negative anchor that triggered off anger or verbal abuse. You swore that you would prod him back, one day.
Perhaps years later, in a social situation, someone prods you with their finger in exactly the same way, in exactly the same place to get your attention or to ask you to move out of the way to let them pass with their drinks they are laden down with.
Your nervous system, which never forgets, sends a message to your brain, which recognises the situation after searching your memories for an instant and you suddenly feel angry, but you don’t know why! You may snap at them or just blush as your brain re-evaluates the threat and controls you to abide by the social “rules” mentioned earlier.
Many things could happen. You have probably heard people say “I just saw red” or I lost control for a moment and exploded.” They were not quick enough at the re-evaluation and acted on emotion.
Anchors are being formed all the time in your brain. It is up to you whether you allow these anchors to compact and bring with them a unique truth, a belief that they are true or not. An anchor that is reinforced time after time is called stacking an anchor.
The higher the stack, the more you will believe it is true, and the more you will react to the stimulus in the same way, becoming predictable.
Do you have a certain piece of music that you play at specific times? Perhaps you share a track with your loved one, an “our song” of your own which places you in the mood whenever you hear it.
If you are fortunate to be in a romantic setting, and at peace with your loved one every time it is played, you will stack the anchor until it gets to the point that whenever it is played, your mood, your emotions and ultimately your action will change to suit your known “response”, how you know you should, and always do, act when you hear it.
Advertisers do this to you all the time to try and control what you associate to certain products, and by doing this affect buying patterns. That’s why Pepsi paid Michael Jackson fifteen million dollars for fifteen seconds of his music.
Whenever people hear Michael’s music, they feel good. No they feel good! Real good. Then the advertisers slip in a can of Pepsi to make you associate Pepsi with feeling good. Pepsi – feeling good. Feeling good, Pepsi. It works. If advertisers want to make an association with something that is macho or dramatic, they might use something like “Eye of the Tiger” from the Rocky Film.
If it is to promote something sporty, they will use Queen’s “We are the Champions”. Whilst the music moves your emotions, the product and the famous or perfect people using it will be flashed on the screen or created verbally if on the radio. Why do they place food adverts at nine o’clock at night? Obviously because they couldn’t fit them all in during the day? Perhaps not.
Sometimes images and a certain simple slogan are used, as in the case of Chanel No5 – share the fantasy. Would every woman who bought it, dress in a red riding outfit, walk through a huge marble floored hallway and tell the wolf to be quiet? I doubt it very much, but it is fantasy and provides escapism.
In 1999 the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) launched their advert to stop child abuse. They used scenes of well-known childhood people and objects hiding their eyes whilst things happened by insinuation verbally, mentally and physically abused on the screen.
This created an immense outcry from the public who were disturbed by these scenes. The point is – it worked. It did all that adverts are supposed to do, have an impact and stay in the mind.
Anchors are not always formed for good or bad, positive or negative reasons. I know of a lady who had a non-fault accident in her new car. The car was written off and replaced with an identical one.
Another accident happened, again with no fault of her own and the result was that her belief was formed that this type of car was a magnet for trouble. In fact, as a result of this experience, she found it hard to be a passenger in anyone else’s car because she did not feel in control.
She would go through seven kinds of hell each time she was in that position. She couldn’t trust the driver not to hit somebody else or have an accident by themselves. How is that for making negative associations and building illogical beliefs? The strange thing was that she would still drive by herself.
She would entrust complete strangers in other cars to keep to their side of the road, or keep their distance. Through showing her the fault in her logic, by asking her questions and helping her see the damage she was doing to herself, I helped her overcome this fear.
Beliefs are anchors to associations and these can also be inaccurate to the point of being ridiculous. I want to show you some beliefs people have on certain subjects. Rather than list them on their own, which only serves to repeat, reinforce and compact them, I have provided them them with countermanding and empowering alternatives for you to consider. First the old belief and then the new empowering belief.
Money doesn’t grow on trees: but using my skill and knowledge for the good of my family and friends it will appear to do so for me .
Money is the root of all evil: in the wrong hands, but by using it to create wealth, employment and security for my family and friends it is a valuable tool.
It’s lonely at the top: there is more room at the top.
To get to the top you have to tread on the little people: By helping others work to their full potential and growing with them, we will all raise our limits.
The higher you climb the further you fall: The higher I climb the more support I will have from those I have helped along the way. My house of achievement will not be built on sand.
I am too old: Maturity is providing me with experience and insight, fuelling my achievement.
I am too young: My youthful energy is providing the impetus for my achievement.
I didn’t get a good education: My education consists of helping others which qualifies me for greater success than any paper certificate.
I am too well educated: My education has provided me with the firm foundations which I can now combine with action to achieve my goals and help others achieve theirs.
By changing your beliefs from excuses to reasons why you can, you feel better about your future. Your brain starts thinking of ideas and solves problems you thought were insurmountable when you thought the other way. As you think of these beliefs and your mental images form, are they bright? In full contrast? Rich with colour? Often people say that the before picture was black and white, fuzzy or ill-defined, but once they started believing in reasons why, they could do something, their pictures became brighter and more colourful. Your future is always bright, isn’t that where you want to be?
A Success Journal can be any notebook or other recording facility, but I have found that electronic journals do not always work as well. There is a mystic connection between pen and paper to do with you reading and thinking about what you write. I use bound and specific journals, but it can be a spiral notepad. What it is is not important, what it does, is critical.
Whenever you think of something, as soon as you can, enter it into your success journal. Thoughts are ideas and ideas are plans in the making.
By keeping a journal you have a record of your thoughts to learn from, refer back to, use in your MasterMind Group (see classacts.org) and leave to others as a legacy
Journal writing is a powerful self-improvement tool. When one picks up a pen to do journal writing, what he or she writes is what comes straight from the mind and heart without being tampered with. When you do journaling, you get a realistic view of what really lies within you.
Everyone needs a safe place to express themselves without judgment or ridicule. In a private journal, you have a trusted confidante who you know will not spill your secrets. It’s up to you to keep the journal in a safe place.
You can begin to express your creativity and individuality by carefully selecting a journal of who you are. It does not have to fancy or expensive, just feel good for you. The design and texture of the journal not only reflects who you are but also should give you immense pleasure when holding it and thus writing in it. This makes a big difference in how often you will use it. For it to be effective, you do have to use it regularly.
Do not use an electronic counterpart, as the physical use of a notebook is a key ingredient to making it work, and it is something tangible to pass on to others; leave a legacy of thoughts, ideas and experiences.
The act of writing your thoughts down on paper, gives them legitimacy. It is a great time to really get to know yourself and take your hopes, dreams, and wants seriously.
It has been known to heal broken hearts, and has been a great source of strength for people undergoing certain changes.
You do not have to feel obligated to write every day, but it is a good idea to try even if it is just a short paragraph or two.
Sometimes, you may want to wonder if some people are born leaders or positive thinkers. The answer is a simple no. Being positive, and staying positive is a choice. Building self-esteem and drawing lines for self-improvement is a choice, not a rule or a talent. God wouldn’t come down from heaven and tell you “George, you may now have the permission to build self-esteem and improve yourself.” You have the right to believe in you and make your choices on where you want to be. If you are not the lead husky in a pack, your outlook is going to remain pretty much the same.
In life, it’s hard to stay tough especially when things and people around you keep pulling you down. When we get to the battle field, we should choose the right weaponry to bring and armaments to use, and pick those that are the most protective. Wearing a bullet proof vest ideally means ‘self-change’. This is the kind of change which comes from within. Life’s options give us arrays of more options. Self-Change changes 3 things: our attitude, our behaviour and our way of thinking.
Building self-esteem will eventually lead to self-improvement if we start to become responsible for who we are, what we have and what we do. It’s like a flame that should gradually spread like a brush fire from inside and out. When we develop self-esteem, we take control of our mission, values and discipline. Self-esteem brings about self-improvement, true assessment, and determination. So how do you start putting up the building blocks of self-esteem? Be positive. Be contented and happy. Be appreciative. Never miss an opportunity to compliment. A positive way of living will help you build self-esteem, your starter guide to self-improvement.
10 questions you should ask to yourself
“Be the best”: the British Army slogan. Quite often it is much easier to settle for the contented way things are and not push yourself any further. Still I aspire for something deeper and more meaningful.
So we’re all pelted with problems. Honestly it shouldn’t even bother or even hinder us to becoming all we ought to be. Aspirations as children should continue to live within us, even though it would be short-lived or as long as we could hold on to the dream. They say you can’t teach old dog new tricks; but can you? I believe you can if that dog wants to learn new tricks.
So, ask yourself;
The question of the ages. So many things you want to do with your life and so little time to spare during the day. Decide on what you actually and specifically want, not just wish for, but really want.
Ideally, if you can find something that you are good at can help realise that small step towards improvement. Diligence is the key to know that it is worth it.
Changing you is the only major factor that you have total control over, and it is also the major weapon in your war against mediocrity and struggling. Becoming a millionaire is important enough in itself, but it is not about the money, it is about becoming the person you need to become to earn that first million.
What’s the bright side in all of this?
With so much is happening around us there seem to be no room for even considering that light at the end of the tunnel. We can still see it as something positive without undergoing so much scrutiny. And if it’s a train at the end of the tunnel, take it for a ride and see what makes the world go round!
Am I comfortable with what I’m doing?
There’s always the easy way and the right way when it comes to deciding what goes with which shoes, shirt and whatnot. It doesn’t take a genius to see you as someone unique, or else we’ll all be equally the same in everything we do. Variety brings in very interesting and exciting questions to be experimented. Examine your values and beliefs.
Have you, or is there something more you want to do? Discontentment in every aspect can be dangerous in large doses, but in small amounts it can spur you on and you’ll be able to see and do things you could never imagine doing.
It’s an unfair question so let it be an answer! Perhaps you love being a good and loving parent to your children, then try to take it up a notch! Your children will love you forever. The same goes with everyday life!
So maybe I don’t have an answer to that, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try it, though. Whether you shape-up, change the way you wear your clothes or hair, or even your attitude towards people, you should always remember it will always be for your own benefit. If you are an interesting, caring person, your inner beauty will show through to those who really appreciate it for what it is.
I suppose in this case there is no such thing as having things too much or too little, but it’s more a case of how badly you really need it. I’d like to have lots of money, no denying that, but the question is that how much are you willing to work for it and what would you use it for?
What motivates you? It’s an answer you have to find out for yourself. There are so many things that can make everyone happy, but to choose one of the may be the hardest part. It’s not like you can’t have one serving of your favourite food in a buffet and that’s it. Just try it piece by piece.
So, what really makes you tick? You can be just about anything you always wanted to be, but to realise that attaining something that may seem very difficult is already giving up before you even start that journey. Although you will change (hopefully for the better) you have to want to become this “better person” so you can be a “better person”. Always remember, that self-improvement is not just about the physical or philosophical change you have to undergo, but it’s something that you really want.
Another change you have to make is your attitude. In fact if you change your belief to the positive and back it up with affirmations, you cannot help but improve your attitude. I hear the seasoned veterans reading this book thinking we are going to discuss the damned glass of water being half full or half empty. I am telling you now, your glass is half empty and if you don’t do something soon it will leave you thirsty! Personally I am fed up with seeing my half full glass of water and decided to make my cup runneth over.
Complete attitude change is hard. It is difficult. It takes work. You have to overcome your conditioning – the Murphy’s Law mentality. The sort of thinking that if you get a pay rise you will then have to pay it out on a new set of tyres for the car, a new washing machine, cooker, fridge or whatever. The sort of thinking that makes you think; “Why bother?” How many people have you heard say “The more I do, the more they expect.” Or “Why should I do more, I don’t get paid for it?” Have a guess who the first people to find themselves with all the time in the world on their hands when the company downsizes or lays people off. I am not advocating you work for nothing, far from it, but by understanding that you will always be looked on favourably if you do more than your peers, or finish the job before going home perhaps twenty minutes later, will pay dividends alone. Additionally you will also feel good in yourself for having finished the task, knowing you have a fresh start tomorrow. If you look for parts in your job that you enjoy, it will not seem like work and time will pass quickly. Picasso said, “When I work I relax.” Mark Twain said make your vacation your vocation.” Workaholics love their job; they enjoy the challenges and are enriched by their results.
By changing your attitude toward work you can reduce stress. If you are unsure of exactly what is expected from you, ask your boss for a description of what your job entails. A Terms of Employment letter or definition of your job will provide you with the precise parameters and authority you are permitted within that company or department. Stress, an over-used and abused word in the nineties, is caused by people not knowing what they are expected to do, why they are doing or where it is taking them or their company. They have no control or understanding of their role.
Stress can also be caused by people doing things consistently that annoy or irritate you – so don’t let them. Yes it may be distracting, but simply ignore it. We ignore so much in our world every day that another little item is hardly going to cause you a problem. Every day you delete things that are what you do not want to see or hear, or are so familiar that you do not pay them any notice at all. Do you know of anyone who does not listen to you properly when they are watching TV, reading the newspaper or doing the crossword? Perhaps people at work, when they are busy, don’t really hear that damned phone ringing? Of course you are not like that, but perhaps you know of someone who is.
A quick quiz for you if you drive to work. Take a sheet of paper and write down every road sign or signpost that you pass from home to work and what it says on it. Not an easy task for most of us to do. Check your list next time you drive to work to see what signs you missed, but please do this safely.
Do we really miss those signs? No, you probably see them and obey their instructions automatically (perhaps not all the speed restriction ones though) but you do not remember seeing them, every gear change, glances in the rear view mirror, minor traffic jam or queue at junctions. Unless something out of the ordinary happens at these times you delete the seeing them from your mind, they are unimportant. When dealing with other people and their idiosyncrasies, try deleting them as well.
Have you ever found yourself trying to explain an event to a third party and the co-storyteller disagreed to its location or timing?
“It was Wednesday afternoon.”
“It was Wednesday because ”
Ask yourself; is it critical to the story what day it was or where you stood exactly? In most cases it is not and even if you are right, you have successfully managed to embarrass them in front of another. It is better to let the story progress and let the other person realise that they were wrong, than thrashing them publicly. It is pointless arguing which brings you into direct confrontation with another person where only one person can win. When tempers flare, things are often said without thought of the consequence and are simply meant to hurt, degrade or shame the other person into submission. Remember that thoughts are causes and conditions are effects and that they sometimes have a further reach than we anticipate. As Lord Chesterfield said; “Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so.”
Remember; No one likes to be told they are wrong, no matter how trivial it may be.
Attitude is key to your success. A positive mental attitude can carry you forward when you can see the good things in life and value what you have. You are a millionaire already if you simply take stock of your life and your worth to yourself and others.
Review your daily question card and try to place a price on each element; you cannot. Every single item on that list is priceless, not just in its physical or material being, but the fact that it either belongs to you because you have worked for it, or you own those feelings because they are what you have skilfully made them into over the years. Add to all this the beautiful things around you; the flowers; trees; the golden sunsets (or sunrises); mountains, lakes, countryside and everything which enriches your world and you realise that you are truly a multi-millionaire if not a squillionaire. A good way to approach any situation would be to say to yourself; “Would a millionaire let this thing bother them?” I am sure in the majority of cases the answer would be no.
There are a number of ways to approach this attitude shift and I have found that these are to become a friendlier person it pays not to criticise or complain whenever you meet someone, in fact when they ask the obligatory “How are you?” if you respond with “Fantastic” you can almost see their negative inner self wince and shrivel away from the positive aura you exude.
Give honest and sincere appreciation. Adopt the practice of finding someone doing something right, and telling them. Even if it is simply a new piece of clothing or doing their hair differently, tell them they look good, they won’t sue you for it.
Be genuinely interested in the other person, ask them about them. By doing this you will generate an eagerness to want to be a part of whatever you stand for. Positive treatment of others makes them want to be seen with you and they will more eagerly assist you when you have a problem.
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound to them in any language. If you remember their name and use it often, show real interest in their lives and ask them open questions, they will feel more alive and important. Do not do what many people do and walk on by muttering platitudes, people see straight through that and despise you for it.
When you have people’s respect and attention, try to win People to your ways of thinking and remember to show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never criticise them, only their behaviour. This also means that you never say, “You’re wrong” but if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
Start all discussions in a friendly way and get some minor agreements so they start to say “yes” a few times to your statements. This is how car salesmen get you to buy their cars, by getting you to agree on minor points first until you feel obliged to keep your stance and buy all the add-ons and extras. Let the other person do most of the talking and try to see things from their point of view. Remember there are techniques for encouraging them to talk such as repeating the last few words back to them as a question. Also try asking “really?” and “How do you mean?” types of responses, they will then justify their statements.
Travelling to London once on a train very early in the morning, I met one of my former shipmates from my Royal Navy days. A few years younger than me, he had remained in the RN whilst I had left after twelve years. He confided, almost confessed to me that he had always tried to live his life much as I had. I was astonished and flattered to hear this, but asked him what he meant and he said that I had always asked people to do things, never barked an order (unless circumstances dictated in an emergency situation) and that he had always respected that. And this was many years later. I was touched.
So if you must bring people to book, begin with praise and honest appreciation. Call their attention to the mistakes indirectly and sometimes talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.
Always ask questions instead of giving direct orders and if at all possible, let the other person save face. This will be a penance for them to admit they are wrong, there is no need to rub salt into their wounds by embarrassing them further. And when they do put things right, praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Remember what Charles Schwab said; “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
You have to live an exemplary life and provide the other person a fine reputation to live up to. By doing this and standing up straight, at all times, you will make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. If there are any errors in their execution, use encouragement at every opportunity and try to make the fault seem easy to correct. Let’s face it, in 50 years we will be dust. In fifty days we will be dealing with entirely different challenges.
How you spend your time is an indicator of how successful you’ll be.
Time management is very simply a set of principles, practices, skills, tools, and even systems combined in a methodology to help you get more value out of your time with the aim of improving the quality of your life from a productivity and quality perspective.
A major and important point to make a distinction on is that time management is not always about getting lots of things done or ticked off; it is making sure that you are working on the right things, at the right time and ensuring that the things that truly need to be completed are addressed in order of priority.
Becoming a good time manager is actually quite easy and you will find that in a matter of days, sometimes only after one or two, you will not only get a lot more done in less time, but you’ll feel more relaxed, focused and in control of your life.
You’ll be able to use your time in a much more balanced and effective way, and you’ll be able to make time for the people and activities that you love. When you get to the end of a busy day, you’ll feel a strong sense of accomplishment from everything that you actually got done.
Improving your time management skills can even help you get better results by doing less work, because you’re focusing on the things that really matter rather than all the low-priority busywork that just keeps you busy.
After having a rare weekend away from any work that I would normally be doing. On Friday evening, my wife and I attended an Institute dinner in the next town. On Saturday from early morning we had our two grandsons by our eldest daughter for 24 hours, they are four and two; great fun but full on. After they left at about eleven this morning we then had to prepare one of our bathrooms for some work we are having done tomorrow and my wife went to work. She’s a staff nurse and work’s shifts, thus giving me some time to put pen to paper. Was all this planned out? You bet it was, however, clearly, it doesn’t all have to be work; work; work!
You have to learn to prioritise things in your life to be effective and to decide what is urgent and important, what is non-urgent and important; what is urgent and not important and what is non-urgent and not important. And is best described in the Steven Covey Classic “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People ”but hopefully I can give you an idea in figure 1
You are about to start your day with seemingly insurmountable tasks: there are bills waiting to be paid, reports to be submitted before 12 noon, calls to be made, a long grocery list for the weekends, a barbecue party, endless post-6 p.m. meetings, tasks, tasks, tasks…and even more tasks.
You are an overworked and stressed out machine and you feel the weight on your shoulder. Your biggest enemy is not your boss, nor is it your children’s math teacher; but you and time, or the lack of it, to finish all your responsibilities and activities.
Gadgets and modern tools, like mobile communications (smartphones), laptop computers, and tablet computers like the Apple IPad and Asus Transformer, Samsung Galaxy etc. have made our lives easier and have given us the necessary advantage to lessen our time to work on certain tasks.
Better and better connectivity to the internet and mobile networks have increased our production capability to what we would have classed as downtime before. The connectivity of people through mobile technology, as well as the vast and efficient transportation system in industrialised and currently developing countries, leads to faster communication and social linkages.
Changes like these have highlighted and brought to everyone’s attention (again), the importance of time management and a creation of a more organised and practical lifestyle.
Time is still a constant and this constant provides you with twenty four fresh hours every day. That’s one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes, or eighty six thousand four hundred seconds per day. No one has any more, no one has any less. What is important is how you manage your activity in this time. That is what time management is all about; activity management.
A technique I personally use is the To-Do List and the ABCDE method, as taught by Brian Tracy, personal development trainer and developer.
Now, To-Do lists have rules and if you just added things to it each day, you could well end up with a list of urgent and stupid things that get you nowhere. Please bear with me as the rules are simple.
So what tools do I use for this exercise of self-discipline and motivation? Quite simply, all I use a pen and pieces of paper.
My To-Do list contains a number, a couple of lines and a tick box at the end. Then there appears the next number with a couple of lines and a tick box. I have up to 24 sections like this on a page.
I write my items on each line and add to it throughout the day, if necessary.
At the end of the day, usually before going to bed, I will write out a fresh list, discarding the completed tasks and then prioritising the remaining tasks.
I use the ABCDE method to evaluate the priority.
The ABCDE method is simple and effective and works like this;
A – Top priority, a must be done task – urgent or important (or both)
B – A secondary priority – would be good to do it or progress it (important)
C – A nice to do task but one that has little consequence on my productivity or performance
D – Delegate or defer – adds little value to anything
E – Eliminate – not worth even re-writing – a no value or even negative value issue.
Sometimes, small tasks will emerge and these I will deal with quickly. In ten minutes I can whip through them and get them dealt with. These might be responding to a small query, sending a document, providing an opinion or recommendation. There is a large value to your efficiency if you can “Single Handle” tasks – i.e., do them and get rid of them in one quick flurry of activity.
Once I have identified the tasks I will then number them 1 to x to sub-prioritise them and then they are ready for the next day. I write the list out in priority and number order, making sure that I add in any ideas that may spring to mind whilst doing this mundane task. I note in the left hand margin A1, A2, A3 etc. and that gives me an ordered list to deal with. There is, however, a magical link between writing out your To-Do list and your brain starting to look for answers.
Overnight, I know my subconscious will work on the list and provide some answers for me in the next morning. It is key to keep some notepaper somewhere near you to write down these “inspirations” or “ideas” as they come to you.
By completing the tasks in this order, I am achieving my highest value goals, or at least activities towards these goals, and the final; golden rule is that you never start a subordinate task until all of the previous category are completed or advanced as much as possible.
So that, in a nutshell, is the basis of planning your time, setting your strategy and identifying the pathways to your goals for any area of your life. When you start to get the sense of achievement that you only experience as tasks are ticked off your list and plans materialise before your eyes; when you become effective and efficient at doing what you can do in the best possible way, everything starts to look positive, it relaxes you and helps you sleep at night. Stress is caused by people doing things that they either don’t understand or don’t know why they are doing them. You can change all that for yourself.
“From greater physical energy springs greater mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. If success is your goal, your first priority must be to pump up your physical energy.”
Now, before you switch off, I am not going to lecture you on dieting, nor am I qualified to advise you how to do so.
However there is a lot of evidence to prove the better ways of doing things and to attack the myths that have grown up around dieting, weight loss and ultimately, greater energy.
Eating one meal per day isn’t sufficient for the whole day’s activity. Each meal should provide you the nutrients that are essential for every day dosage. If you deprive yourself from eating three meals a day, your body can get weaker and lose its immune defence capability in no time. Eventually, you may soon start to resist food intake which will then drive you into starvation mode.
Do Carbohydrates make us fat?
Eating foods low in carbohydrates is what we usually see in diet programs and advertisements nowadays. They claim that with lower carbohydrate intake, consumers will see a rapid improvement. But is that so?
Carbohydrates do not generally make us fat. This is a common misunderstanding by most people who want to lose weight. Perhaps some are just mislead to the idea because carbohydrates contribute a lot to the blood sugar content of our body which, if unconsumed will be deposited and stored.
It is a simple calculation; energy in minus energy used leaves a result. So how can we solve this? We make sure we burn calories as much or more than we take in. We can get rid of the unwanted excessive deposits of sugar and calories in our body then by enjoying a proper diet, drink the correct amount of water and participate in an appropriate amount of exercise.
Foods with high levels of sugar mostly include chocolates, cakes, pastries and other desserts. However, we know for a fact, these foods alter your activity levels and concentration ability for a short period, but when the sugar burns away, you go onto a sugar low, almost depressive state. The lesser sugar intake will be a lot better.
Food cravings typically happen when you go on a diet plan. When your body feels there is a danger of deficient nutrients in your food intake, your brain tells you that you need to find certain foods that contain the trace elements that you seek.
Is Eating More Protein better than Eating More Carbs?
Protein plays a vital role in diet and exercising. It composes the amino acids that aid in building and repairing your muscle tissues. Similarly, amino acids form enzymes and hormones which support better metabolism, maintain healthy immune system and help the other body functions.
On the other hand, eating carbohydrates enables an active and energetic exercise life. It is one of the nutrients that our body needs for energy. It is the source of blood sugar that energizes your body organs and tissues. Additionally, eating more carbohydrates allows the storage of extra sugar to the liver and the muscles for later needs.
You need to understand how both elements of carbohydrates and protein function so you’ll know when you need the other more than the other. You have to be cautious about the contributions and effects of these two essential components to your body so you can prepare proper meal as deemed necessary by the anticipated activity levels you may face.
Is water alone a safe to lose weight?
A water diet is not in any way safe even if you take vitamin supplements. Water (or mainly water) diets do not solely solve weight loss goals but rather supplement other diets that you may be undergoing. Typically a high water/soup diet is taken to assist the effects of other diets. High water diets can be an effective and safe extra but not if it is used as a stand- alone diet.
What is the key to successful weight loss?
You think you have done everything to lose weight and yet nothing lasted? The secret way to a successful weight loss is to have the right support.
One major negative factor for any healthy program like exercising or dieting is the feelings of embarrassment, shame or inferiority that you may develop initially. In most cases, you worry unnecessarily as at a gym, most people are supportive as you are there to try and lose weight.
If you attend diet groups, everyone there can empathise with your situation and are generally supportive and not judgemental. It all starts always with that level of acceptance and empathy that you get from that company and then everything follows a lot easier. They can help you motivate yourself especially when you are down and you can do the same for them in return too.
it pays to have that sense of belonging you feel around your community. Not only does it boosts your confidence but it keeps you going not only for yourself but for them as well. Naturally everyone will always want to develop themself and be a model to everyone else. Anyone can start but not all can finish the job. You can always make use of the others support to help you accomplish your goal.
In most cases, its the teamwork and encouragement that makes it last. Doing something together as a team is as good as having a party. Doing activities together like betting who loses the most % of weight over two months and setting a reward, or trying for a specific clothing size or any other form of healthy competitions will keep you on track. Moreover, these can be some strategies that helps ignite that leader quality in you.
Exercise - go for a 30 min walk everyday.
Start making sure you eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables every day.
The Case For Exercise
Contrary to the some people’s beliefs, channel surfing and running to the bathroom during commercial breaks is not what generally considered as adequate exercise. Exercise is raising the heart rate, above 120 beats per minute, for an extended period of time, a minimum of twenty minutes, realising the benefits of increased muscle gain and energy being burned.
Although many people don’t consider a leisurely stroll around the park, or walking up the stairs in their building, as significant exercise, in reality, it is exercise and most beneficial as well. for some people it is the only exercise they get. So when you sit down and think about what you do for exercise, what do you come up with?
The case for exercise
Why does exercise have to be such a big part losing weight? The answer is quite simply because the only real formula for weight loss is eat less and exercise more. Exercise, above and beyond what we typically do, is the only way to burn off the calories that we eat.
However, that’s not the only thing that exercise does for us. It keeps us healthy by exercising our heart and lungs. Our heart is a muscle and the more it gets worked the better shape it is in.
Stress levels have been proven to be lessened with the increase of regular exercise. Studies show that regular exercise helps to reduce stress levels as it often gives you time to think and can help you feel better about yourself, your work and your life.
You should always consult your personal physician before changing your routine or if you have ANY medical condition at all.
You can exercise in your own home, without having to go to the gym, and it doesn’t take much effort to find some space and it is cheaper than gym costs. The downside on this is the lack of belonging or support from others at the gym, but if your lifestyle is such that regular trips to the gym means you wouldn’t really interact with these people anyway, what have you to lose?. Remember, the idea is to start burning more energy than you have in the past, so what kinds of things can you do?
You probably won’t believe it, but you can get a calorie burning chart for household chores. There are calories burned by child care, cooking and other things you do. Here is a look at what you can burn with an hour of activity each.
Based on a 13 St 7lb, (190-pound, 13st 8lb or 86.3Kg) person;
Fixing your car 259 calories
General do-it-yourself repairs/remodelling 302
Heavy housecleaning (vacuuming, scrubbing) 388
Mopping Floors 193
Regular housecleaning (dishes, cleaning, dusting) 302
Light housecleaning (washing clothes) 216
Moving furniture 518
Raking the law 345
Walking at a moderate pace 287
Painting, Inside Projects 66
Gardening, Weeding 287
Car Washing 234
Cleaning Windows 180
Chopping Wood 415
Walking up & down stairs, moderate 516
This is probably going to be the one area that you will be able to incorporate into your daily routine, to get your heart going and the calorie burned off.
A leisurely bike ride will burn 345 calories in an hour.
Stretching for an hour 345
Walking your dog 302
Mowing the lawn 474
Jumping rope (slow) 690
Treadmill walking or jogging 518
Playing with children (running around, etc.) 345
This will include everything from aerobics to biking, and some of which can be done in the comfort of your own home. The calorie numbers are based on one hour of the activity.
Aerobics – (low impact) 43
Aerobics (high impact) 604
Biking (12-14 mph) 690
Stationary bike (moderate effort) 604
Golf (carrying clubs) 474
Hiking (moderate terrain) 518
Jogging – 604Jumping rope (moderate) 863
Running (11 minute mile) 776
Roller skating 604
Rowing machine (light effort) 819
Basketball Game – 388
Push-ups and sit-ups 690 (inc 10 min rest)
Many of these activities are just an extension of some of the exercise we have talked about earlier in this chapter. The only difference is the amount of physical exertion you are putting in to them. We have also included a few activities you can take on and the amount of calories they are going to burn. You might be able to get your 500 calories deficiency by competing in them only three or four hours per week.
Biking (16-19 mph steady pace for one hour).
Canoeing (over 6 mph) 1035
Running (6 minute mile) 1380
Ice hockey– 690
Jumping rope (fast) 1035
Cross-country skiing – between 600 and 1400
Swimming (from treading water to the butterfly stroke) 500 to 950
Finding an exercise program that is right for you
This could be the tough part. We all live busy lives and most of us find it difficult to squeeze an hour out of the day to sit and relax, let alone spend it getting exercise. The unfortunate fact is you are not going to be able to lose weight and keep it off forever, if you don’t make some sort of commitment toward making exercise a regular part of your life.
Just keep in mind it doesn’t have to be anything that has you huffing and puffing but everyday things that you do, including household chores and playing with the kids take energy. If you do them with a little more effort and try to expend even more energy, you would be doing yourself the greatest of favours creating the 500-calorie per day differential you need to start losing weight.
In summary, you have to realise the benefits of regular exercise are far greater than just losing inches off of the previously increasing waistline. I would recommend anyone who lives a sedentary lifestyle to get out and enjoy some sort of physical activity at least twice a week, even if its only going for a long walk for an hour.
“Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.”
Darwin P. Kinsley
Deep inside many of us, hiding from some form of rejection, often carried from childhood, a wound that may have been innocently made, but struck into our consciousness. It could be that remark from an infant school teacher that said we would never be any good for anything. One of my own was a teacher telling me to stand at the back, you can’t sing.
For many of us, this rejection could also come from a false belief we picked up along the way. Whatever it may be now is as good a time as any to look within you to ask, why? Or maybe even; why not? This fear of rejection can stop you wanting to change and that in itself becomes a fear leading to a fear of success among other things. The fear of success is so prevalent in today’s society, messages we picked up along the way like being warned that because of inflation we’ll never be able to afford a nice house in a nice area, so instead we settle for something far inferior to what we really attain if we were not afraid of failing or being rejected.
There are times when it is very difficult to feel good about yourself, if you are carrying too much baggage, damage maybe from sometime in the past. If this is the case, it may be advisable to get counselling or advice from your doctor.
So how do you stay calm, composed and maintain and build your self-esteem in a tough environment? Here are some tips you may to consider as a starter guide to self-improvement.
Imagine yourself as a Dart Board. Everything and everyone else around you may become Darts, at one point or another. These darts will destroy your self-esteem and pull you down in ways you won’t even remember. Don’t let them destroy you, or get the best of you. So which darts should you avoid?
Dart #1: A Negative Work Environment
Beware of “dog eat dog” theory where everyone else is fighting just to get ahead. This is where non-appreciative people usually thrive. No one will appreciate your contributions even if you miss lunch and dinner, and stay up late. Most times you can work too much, getting little or no help from people concerned. Avoid this; it will ruin your self-esteem. Competition is at stake anywhere. Be healthy enough to compete, but in a healthy competition that is.
Dart #2: Other People’s Behaviour
Bulldozers, office creeps, gossipmongers, whingers, backstabbers, snipers, people walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, exploders, patronising wannabes, and slouches; all these kinds of people will radiate bad vibes for your self-esteem, as well as to your own self-improvement scheme.
Dart #3: Changing Environment
You can’t be a red rose on a snowy field. Changes challenge our paradigms. It tests our flexibility, adaptability and alters the way we think. Changes will make life difficult for a while, it may cause pressure and even stress, but it will help us find ways to improve ourselves. Change will be there forever, we must be accepting and welcoming to it.
Dart #4: Past Experience
It’s okay to cry and say “ouch!” when we experience pain. But don’t let pain transform itself into fear. It might grab you by the tail and swing you around. Treat each failure and mistake as a lesson. How many chances do you give a baby to walk? Answer: Until it does. Learn from this.
Dart #5: Negative World View
Look at what you’re looking at. Don’t wrap yourself up with all the negativities of the world. In building self-esteem, we must learn how to make the best out of worst situations. Notice the good things about an event.
Dart #6: Determination Theory
The way you are and your behavioural traits is said to be a mixed end product of your inherited traits (genetics), your upbringing (psychic), and your environmental surroundings such as your spouse, the company, the economy or your circle of friends. You have your own identity. If your father is a failure, it doesn’t mean you have to be a failure too. Learn from other people’s experience, so you’ll never have to encounter the same mistakes. Don’t re-invent the wheel and don’t copy losers.
Some Inspirational quotes regarding self-esteem
Mark Twain Quotes
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes
“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only and extemporaneous half possession. Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.”
“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Jim Rohn Quote
“To have an incredible increase in self-esteem, all you have to do is start doing some little something. Just make a commitment to any easy discipline.”
Wayne W. Dyer Quotes
“Accept that you are enough. You don’t need to be anything that you are not.”
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”
Other Authors Quotes
“It is necessary to the happiness of a man that he be mentally faithful to himself. E. Cummings. · Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.”
“The greatest success is successful self-acceptance. Ben Sweet. · We are unhappy because we no longer have our self-esteem. We are unhappy, because we no longer believe we are a special miracle, a special creation of God. We have lost faith in ourselves.”
“He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”
“Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.”
“Self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.”
“Well-ordered self-love is right and natural. Saint Thomas Aquinas. · Self-esteem and self-love are the opposites of fear; the more you like yourself, the less you fear anything.”
“Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world. Helen Keller. · The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.”
“To love oneself is not contradictory to what Mahayana Buddhism teaches. It is not saying one should not love oneself. Renouncing oneself and cherishing others is not contradictory to loving oneself. In fact, practicing the Mahayana teaching, bodhicitta, is the best way to love oneself, to take care of oneself.”
On Loving Oneself by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.”
“Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.”
“I am an artist of my own creation. I like myself.”
“Listen to your heart above all other voices.”
“If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will.”
“Put all excuses aside and remember this: You are capable.”
Zig Ziglar, Master motivator
“Self pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game n the world making the most of one’s best.”
Harry E. Fosdick.
“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”
“Think positively about yourself; ask God who made you to keep on remaking you. Norman Vincent Peale. · Where you are and what you are right now has to be made right, even if you don’t like it that much. By criticizing and negating the current circumstances, what you are saying is that you are not okay.”
“I was right not to be afraid of any thief but myself, who will end by leaving me nothing.”
I want you to do an exercise in self-appreciation and involves you asking yourself some simple questions each day. Take a 3” by 5” card and write the following questions down in any order you wish.
Who loves me and how does that make me feel?
Who looks up to me and how does that make me feel?
Whom do I love and how do I feel about loving them?
What in my life am I thankful about and how does that feel?
What was the last thing I did for someone without expecting a reward of some kind? What good feelings does that make me experience?
“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values…”
Martin Luther King Jnr.
Insert Values List
Something that people rarely consider or ask themselves is; what are my values? To be honest, it hasn’t been brought to your attention regularly apart from job interviews. These values actually predetermine the way you will react to events and, if known by others, they can predict your behaviour in certain circumstances. Your values are the things that you believe are important in life. They are the things we give priority to in our lives; they are the backbone to our motivation. Most of us aren’t fully aware of our personal values or core values. Many don’t even know specifically what our partner’s values are.
Values provide the choices that guide our decisions, and our decisions ultimately guide our destiny.
Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. Planning for success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.
Origin: Who you are
A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, I’m Bill and I am a marketing manager.” It does not tell you about who Bill is; it only tells you his present occupation. To gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside from your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status. Moreover, you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. Upon introspection, Jean realise d that she was highly motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field. Furthermore, she believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human dignity.
Destination: A vision of who you want to be
“Who do want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing Bill’s story, after he defined his beliefs, values, and principles in life, he decided that he wanted to have a life dedicated in serving his fellow man.
Vehicle: Your Mission
A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogised to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Based on Bill’s self-assessment, he decided that he was suited to become a doctor, and that he wanted to become one. His chosen vocation was a medical doctor. Describing his vision-mission fully then became: to live a life dedicated to serving his fellow man as a doctor in conflict-areas.
Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude
Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. Bill realised that he needed to gain professional knowledge and skills on medicine so that he could become a doctor. He knew that he was a bit impatient with people so he realised that this was something he wanted to change.
Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives
Landmarks help you confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years. Going back to Bill as an example, he identified the following landmarks in his life map: completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 25; completing medicine by the age of 31; earning his specialisation in infectious diseases by the age of 34; getting deployed in local public hospitals of his town by the age of 36; and serving as doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 39.
Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes
The purpose of your life map is to minimise hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But often times our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Sometimes there are rock slides that delay us for a while. Like any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly.
This is an exercise which should not be taken lightly. To do it properly you will need to take time, a lot of paper and possibly a change in your work methods.
Goals are initially a list of what you want to have, do or be in a certain time-scale. The goals may change in their value, quantity or level, but the reasons why you want them will not, unless you have a massive external influence. What like? Simply, you may describe a certain car – a Jaguar XJ6– and they stop making that model. You may want to be the top performer in your company, but the company goes bust or relocates and you decide against going with it because it doesn’t fit in with your goals.
The important thing with goals is be prepared to change and adapt. Re-evaluate as the world you create changes. What may seem like a challenge to you today, may seem or become easily achieved in a year’s time. This often happens to people in a relatively shorter time when the setting and achieving of mini-goals or objectives brings on a self-realisation that these things are possible in easier and faster ways than originally planned for. In an ever-changing world you need to be what I call “Rigidly Flexible”, That is to say – stay focussed but be prepared to alter, adapt and overcome as you move along your planned highway of life.
Sometimes we all get into a situation where we allow things to overwhelm us. Our state of mind or mental “state” is what I then liken to a canoe being paddled upstream away from some white water rapids. If we become defocused it isn’t long before we are crashing down the rapids, being buffeted by the current and smashed against the rocks. What’s more, not only are we going backwards, but we can’t see the problems until we collide with them, by which time it is too late. Water is pouring over us and there is no where to get a stroke from our paddle to stabilise us. We lose control. External forces are controlling us
Losing control is one reason why I would never take drugs. Drugs render the user out of control. They take away your ability to plan and act on what you want. Drugs alter your body’s reaction to your nervous system, sending it false and inaccurate signals. Drugs alter your state quicker and more effectively than any other influence, except fear. And fear is a very important element in our lives. Drugs alter your body’s physiology – temporarily – to make you feel good and happy about yourself. Whilst under the effects of drugs you may well be in ecstasy, if you will pardon the pun, but afterwards you suffer immense trauma both physically and mentally. This trauma can be so bad that you want to get back on the drug again. More about drugs later, but as a last thought; have you ever felt really wonderful? Fantastic about yourself in such a way that you felt elated? On top of the world? We have all had feelings like that at some point, whether it was a sporting achievement, qualifying in your profession or even passing your driving test, we have all felt at least a moment of elation. What is the key to these feelings in these events? What is it that makes you breathe deeper, stand or sit more erect whenever you remember it? What makes you smile to yourself? The answer is emotion, feelings, and passion. It is the chemical reaction in your brain and the electrical charge in your nervous system that alters your physical body and then you start to remember those “special” moments. Emotion makes a wish into a desire. Emotion sparks the imagination to review past experiences and project a picture of you and your desire coming together in your “minds eye”. You can almost smell and touch it. Emotion is key to your goals. Emotions are what cause you to do what you do. Whatever you feel like doing in life will always boil down to one reason – it makes you feel good.
So if emotions control our actions and thoughts, wouldn’t it be a good idea to control our emotions? The same was these emotions control our physiology, isn’t it possible that the reverse is true. Could we not control our emotions by directing our physiology? You bet we can. If you have ever been in the forces or any disciplined force, you would at some stage have had to been on parade or inspection. You would have been told (or screamed at usually) to stand up straight, head up, shoulders back and stomach in. Why? Is it to make you look good? Well – yes. It also makes you feel alive, important and instils a sense of pride. How many people do you know that go around staring at the ground, or sit slumped forward in their chair or car. Imagine how they feel. No – don’t. It is negative. Where do you think the expression “crying in his beer,” comes from?
You need to plan some quiet time. Unplug the phone and prepare your materials. Turn off the TV and the stereo and the mobile phone. Unless you are an expert typist, do not try and type your goals, it is better to write freehand, because you may need to change, delete and alter certain parts as you go through. If you make a mistake it is easier to see through a lined out section than undelete and entire section of text on a word-processor. If your family is around, impress on them that you do not want to be disturbed or even better, get them to join in with you and set goals alongside you. They will thank you for it in the future.
Make sure you have a pad of paper, two pens or pencils and a clear rested mind. If you need to have a drink with you ensure it is water or fruit juice. Definitely no alcohol and no full sugar fizzy drinks. Do not attempt this after a large meal either, the reasons are fairly obvious but if you do not know why I say it, please trust me and I will cover this later.
To start we are going to construct a dream list. This list is simply an inventory of what you, in your ideal world, will have, be or do. It will be your designer world. As in all of nature, there has to be a balance. Someone who wants all material things can appear shallow and will attract the label of greedy or a show off. These people appear to others of not being deserving of their array of toys and trinkets. Someone who has all spiritual or self-development types of goals will appear a very deep and often unapproachable. Similarly, someone who is constantly work or business orientated will be accused of not having a life or interpersonal skills. So a balance of goals is imperative so you can grow in all areas of your life.
Allowing yourself a ten minute maximum (an egg timer may come in useful at this point), I want you to clear your mind of how and why you may want things, material and otherwise, and simply describe what you want. Allow your mind to run free like an eight-year-old, just before Christmas. Do not think of the price, feasibility, and practicality or where you would be able to store it, just list the item concerned. It is important you do not go into too much detail that can come later. Keep your pen flowing throughout. Even if you do not know why you want something – put it down anyway. Sometimes we put things down that are of no use whatsoever, so what? If you want it – it can be yours.
Below is a typical list that may assist you;
Car - Mercedes/BMW
Sauna in your home
Holiday Home in XXX
Own a business
learn to use computer
Learn a new language
Have time for charity work
Earn XXXX per year
Take 3 foreign holidays a year
Once you have your dream-list constructed, it is necessary to categorise them under the three main areas of your life. Those should be Family, Career and Personal Development and Financial, giving you the why, how and what in your life. Without a balance of goals in your life you will not fully appreciate the achievements you make for you or your family, present or future. If you are too heavily biased on financial goals you will become too materialistic and may have a lot of money, but you will have no one to share it with! Take five minutes to categorise your dream-list under these headings.
Goals are vital to your success. By using Goals you will bring in the skills and expertise you need to build your plane, learn to fly and provide the money for the airport charges.
It is based on the age-old formula of GOSPA, but takes into account elements that other systems seem to take for granted. It is a blueprint of how to structure your personal development needs.
G – Goals
O – Objectives
S – Strategy
P – Plans
A - Action
These are what I call mini-goals or milestones. This practice is known as critical path analysis and is an exercise that is conducted whenever you plan a large (or small) goal. If you want to do an evening class, they will provide you with a timetable where certain things will be covered or learnt by certain times. You can apply this synopsis approach to your goal setting. Let us assume you want to save a specific amount of money by a certain time. The overall amount of money may be a staggering amount and this can have a negative effect on you. Breaking the ultimate goal down to years, months, weeks and even days makes it more believable, easier and more convincing. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. How do you eat an elephant? Just one mouthful at a time. If you fail to meet the objective one-month, do not, under any circumstances, add the difference to the next month. This just puts you under unnecessary pressure and creates self-doubt if the new target is short. Simply add the difference to the remainder and divide it by the time period left. The small increase will still be achievable and focus you a little more on the overall goal being achieved.
There is a tendency for all of us to stop trying when we have done what is required. If you have achieved your monthly or weekly target you should not stop whatever it is you are doing as you will lose momentum. Starting from cold is always much harder. I liken it to a canal boat. The inertia needed to get it to move is tremendous, but once moving, you can keep it going with little effort. Persistence pays in the longer term.
Winston Churchill was addressing the graduating class in a well-known public school, when one of the pupils asked him to sum up his fantastic success. He replied that he could answer that question in seven words. He stood up, resting heavily on his cane he announced in his gravely voice; “Never give up. Never, never give up.”
Your general procedure. Unlike plans, this is simply an overview, the ground rules of how you intend to proceed. By taking your goals one at a time you have defined exactly what you want, when you want it and the measurable steps along the way. Now you need to write down the how you can see this goal being achieved overall. The strategy could be saving £1.55 a day for two years to get £1,200 over a two-year period with a 5% interest rate. It could be more complex and variable to fit your lifestyle or expected promotions, cost of living pay rises etc. Without a strategy and a purpose it will not happen. It will be a wish, a hope, a dream. Why do you think companies have a corporate strategy and mission statements?
Strategies need not be defined to the nth degree. Treat it as a summary of what is intended or a general planning meeting covering what is expected to be done over a period of time working toward your goal at the end date. Don’t get hung up if your strategy seems a little vague at first. You can always return to it and revamp it as necessary. Re-writing it in its entirety is certainly allowed. All successful people think on paper.
Defined as: a table of proceedings or scheme of arrangements before any construction is attempted. This area is time and mind intensive. This is the engine room of goals. This part is hard work and where most people will falter, but not you. You have a clear idea of where you are going and can visualise the journey. You just need to work out the exact route. Additionally, a number of people will realise that by committing it to paper may put them in a position of failure if they do not do it. A sort of “told you so”. Fear of failure is common to all. Nobody likes to fail at anything, but there is one simple lesson that I hope will change your perspective of success and free your mind. That lesson is simply that you cannot succeed without failing. You cannot appreciate success unless there is failure and strife along the way. Success is hollow with no effort or fear of failure.
By this final section you have already formulated the things you know you should do. In this part you have to list and prioritise the day to day tasks that you need to do to make the rest of your goals happen. Often these things may be tedious, boring and mundane, but with repeated achievement of these tasks you will build a cumulative power, driving you onward and upward. If you have ever trained in the martial arts, your teacher, mentor or instructor will always refer you back to the basics time and time again. Until you master the basics you will never progress. Until these moves are automatic you cannot learn more adventurous moves. Driving a car requires constant repetition of the basics, making a sandwich require you start the same way each time and if you don’t, you end up with a plateful of disorganised food. Even a highly complex computer can only add or subtract numbers. It may do this very fast and provide an array of colours, shapes, whizzes and bangs, but every time a key is pressed it performs fundamental routines over and over again.
Now, comes the real work. Starting with your first goal, on a clean sheet of paper, we will utilise a system called DELVE.
Firstly describe and list the characteristics of the item (size colour etc.). Once you have given it a picture in your mind and an exact description on paper, you have a complete idea.
Secondly you now have to experience owning, using or feeling the associated with having mastered the object such as pride, confidence or happiness etc.
Thirdly write down the loss you will have if you do not attain, achieve, own or learn this item. Really feel the emotion within you at the sense of loss you will suffer if you do not make it a must.
Then attach a price or value to this item, not in currency but perhaps on a scale of one to ten. How important is this item to you now and in the future. Be honest, is it a necessity or a luxury? Will it help your business life, home life or perhaps it will just be a status symbol, a trinket.
Finally decide what you are prepared to exchange in your current life to achieve this new goal. An extra hour at the office per day? Night school? Getting out of bed earlier? Everything worthwhile has a price attached to it and you must be fully committed to paying the price or it will never happen.
It is vital that you conduct this exercise on a new page for every goal. You will be adding to this page or pages as you build up a complete file for each goal. This is important so you can review each goal in its entirety and have the complete picture to hand. This will remind and reinforce to you why you desired it in the first place. When you re-read your goal the pictures and emotions you originally described will come flooding back to you, giving you the drive to carry on toward their attainment.
“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” Jim Rohn
The price you have to pay is in taking on-board extra skills, extra knowledge and greater responsibilities and these are mainly self-imposed. The money is only a small part of what goal setting and self-development is all about. I learned that there are many levels to the same message.
As Disraeli said, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
“Do not suppose opportunity will knock twice at your door.” Nicolas de Chamfort.
“Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.”
Somebody who has planned their goals, set their strategy and worked out their ideals would have a greater chance of success. But people cannot be bothered, because they are in that comfort zone. Successful people break out of their comfort zone and push themselves beyond their parcel of understanding, and that way they learn more. Most people fear what they do not understand.
“Always do what you are afraid to do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.”
St. Clement of Alexandra
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
Arthur C. Clarke
To stretch ourselves beyond the normal limits of our beliefs is daunting if not downright frightening. To make that judgement call to drive us up and beyond, to make our mark and to stretch into the unknown takes a mixture of wisdom, courage and benevolence. As the eternal spokesman of wisdom, Confucius said; “The man of wisdom is never of two minds;
the man of benevolence never worries; the man of courage is never afraid.”
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” Matthew 7:7
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.
“Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.”
“They can because they think they can.”
“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield
“The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well.”
Henry W. Longfellow
“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
“Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.”
“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”