You are where you are right now because of the actions you’ve chosen to take, or the inaction you’ve chosen to make. Are you frustrated because you are waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds? It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Frustration and chaos are poison to any worthwhile goal.
You’ve been given the innate power to shape your life, but you cannot simply speak change into existence, you must live change. Intentions paired with action will build your bridge to success. And you can’t just want it; you have to do it, live it – be it. Success isn’t something you have, it’s something you do! If it entertains you now, but will actually hurt you someday, it’s a distraction. Do not settle for instant gratification. Are you exchanging what you need in the long run for something you kinda-sorta want in the moment?
Don’t confuse poor decision-making with destiny. Own your mistakes. It’s okay; we all make them. Learn from them so they can empower you! Study your habits. Determine where your time goes and delete the toxic distractions. Your complaints, your drama, your victim mentality, your whining, your blaming, and all of your excuses have never moved you even one single step closer to your goals or dreams. Let go of your nonsense and the self-entitled delusion that you deserve better and go out and earn it!
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Small Steps. Big Difference.
We are living at a time when the world is getting a massive reset. Literally everything – all aspects of our lives – are being recalibrated. Called into question, so we can reconsider all of our values and our structures. Everything is changing. It has never been more apparent than right now that the earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. We were not put on this earth to remain stagnant. All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. Taking small steps can make a big difference, especially in tough times, and there’s no getting around the fact that taking these steps is often incredibly uncomfortable. That’s why so many people often don’t do it – at least not initially. This is where we need to remind ourselves that just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable because that’s where all the growth and healing happens.
In order to get something in life, we often have to give up something else. In order to change our situation for the better, we have to take some action that’s not necessarily going to be easy or fun. Too often we shy away from taking the next step because we’re afraid it might not be worth the discomfort. It’s scary and uncomfortable to upset the status quo, even when it’s in service of something better.
“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
What's it Worth?
It all comes down to a single question: what is worth suffering for right now? Is the change you’re wanting to implement – finding a new job, reinventing yourself or your business, ending a relationship, or something else – truly going to help you move toward the life you want to lead in the coming weeks and months? If so, then this is your sign it’s time to step forward, and it’s probably worth enduring some extra pain and discomfort to get there.
Changes of this magnitude do not come easily for any of us – especially as we collectively deal with the realities of a global pandemic. The key here is to have an honest conversation with yourself about what you want to change in your life going forward. Clarity will make it easier to direct your full energy towards overcoming your present obstacles. When we focus on all the good that will come from making the change we desire, the sacrifices we have to make to achieve that change shrink in importance.
“How much you can learn when you fail determines how far you will go into achieving your goals.”
Adapting to change, and getting unstuck from an unhappy or unhealthy present situation, is fundamentally about becoming comfortable with discomfort. It’s about choosing to embrace that discomfort, not because you want to make your life overly complicated or difficult, but because there are some things that are worth suffering for. It’s about suffering a little bit more in the moment, in order to suffer a lot less in the long run.
If you want those six-pack abs, you also have to want the hard workouts and the healthy meals. If you want a successful business, you also have to want the long days, the stressful business decisions, and the possibility of failing. If you want to reinvent your life and adapt well to a “new normal” starting now, you simply have to give up certain ideals, comforts, routines, and so on, to get what you ultimately want.
When you give something up, you automatically create an opening in your life for something else. By saying no to everything that’s not aligned with your priorities, or the present reality, you make room for what is. In other words, if you want to achieve a significant outcome in your life in the weeks and months ahead, you have to give up the things that conflict with it starting today. You have to sacrifice something that you value less than whatever you ultimately want to achieve.
“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”
Change: The Parent of Progress.
Changing your situation is about not sidestepping the issue or avoiding the elephant in the room. It’s about moving into uncertainty with openness and honesty and realising that this choice might bring with it some anxiety, discomfort, and even pain. It’s about being willing to accept what comes, and being vulnerable. By being open to this kind of honesty and vulnerability, you also open yourself to a sense of renewed freedom, peace, and emotional richness that otherwise may never have entered your life.
Do not dilute the truth of your potential. We often convince ourselves that we cannot change, that we cannot overcome the circumstances of our lives. That is simply not true. You have been blessed with immeasurable power to make positive changes in your life. Before you can do that, you may have to give up some of the stories, beliefs, ideals, and assumptions you’ve been clinging to about yourself and your current situation. Remind yourself that giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak or wrong. Today, it simply means you’re strong enough and smart enough to let go and move forward with your life.
Do not let your today be stolen by the ghost of yesterday or the “To-Do” list of tomorrow. It’s inspiring to see all the wonderfully amazing things that can happen in a day in which you participate.
If you want more passion and joy in your life right now, do something about it right now.
Put your heart and soul into something!
Not into “the next opportunity,” but the small opportunity right in front of you.
Not into tomorrow’s work, but today’s work.
Not into tomorrow’s workout, but today’s workout.
Not into tomorrow’s relationships, but today’s relationships.
There is plenty in your life right now that’s worth living for. You have people and lots of little circumstances you’re taking for granted. You have an endless reservoir of untapped potential within you, just waiting. Stop waiting! Do the uncomfortable things. Suffer a little to gain momentum again. There is no next opportunity, only the one you have at this moment.
It’s Never Too Early or Too Late
No matter how old you are now. You are never too young or too old for success or going after what you want. Here’s a short list of people who accomplished great things at different ages:
- Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
- Mozart was already competent on keyboard and violin; he composed from the age of 5.
- Anne Frank was 12 when she wrote the diary of Anne Frank.
- Sir Isaac Newton wrote Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica at age 24
- Albert Einstein was 26 when he wrote the theory of relativity
- Michelangelo created two of the greatest sculptures “David” and “Pieta” by age 28
- Alexander the Great, by age 29, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world
- JK. Rowling was 30 years old when she finished the first manuscript of Harry Potter
- Amelia Earhart was 31 years old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
- Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 when he wrote the speech “I Have a Dream.”
- Mark Twain was 40 when he wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and 49 years old when he wrote “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
- John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he became President of the United States
- Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
- Seuss was 54 when he wrote “The Cat in the Hat”.
- Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III was 57 years old when he successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009. All of the 155 passengers aboard the aircraft survived
- Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise
- R.R Tolkien was 62 when the Lord of the Ring books came out
- Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President
- In 2019 age of 97, Iris Apfel signed a modelling contract with global agency IMG
“The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.”
The Science of Success
Research has shown that there are seven blocks to achieving success. If we can overcome these, along with our tendency to find other ways to sabotage ourselves, we can create new neural pathways for achieving things in a new way. It requires three things: commitment, discipline, and repetition.
The mind is like a muscle, which means we need to expend conscious energy every day for several weeks in order to lay down a new neural network. Concentrating or focusing our conscious awareness takes energy. The brain is very conservative and efficient in its use of this energy. This is why changing habits and unwanted behaviours can be difficult.
The good news is that after a few weeks of dedication and repetition, new behaviour drops into our subconscious programming as the neural networks are built to store the data. If it didn’t work this way, we would have to re-learn the alphabet every time we wanted to read a new book! Once new neural pathways have been laid down, our behaviours become automatic and our energy is freed up for new learning. The bad news is that there are other neural networks that seem to sabotage our efforts to change.
“Success comes from the inside out. In order to change what is on the outside, you must first change what is on the inside.”
7 Psychological Blocks to Success.
1. It’s Too Difficult
Even after creating a vision and an action plan, one of the greatest roadblocks to success is the lack of sustained, consistent effort. The pain-pleasure principle lies at the core of everything you do, and of everything you are. Your beliefs, values, and psychological rules are all built upon this principle. The decisions you make, the actions you take, and the habits you indulge in, are all based on this principle. Our natural tendency is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Unfortunately, work tends to fall at the pain end of the spectrum so we avoid stress and dedication. We would rather do what is fun, easy, interesting, and immediate for instant gratification.
The most difficult thing to do is to discipline ourselves to focus and concentrate, especially when a more immediately gratifying activity beckons. A sure sign of maturity is the ability to delay gratification in order to achieve a goal. However, it is also important to take time out to relax and have some fun. Balance is important because work depletes energy while rest and play restore it.
A variation on the “It’s Too Difficult” block is the “It’s Taking Too Long” theme. This is probably the number one reason people don’t stick to their goals. The payoff simply is not coming quickly enough. If you look back over your life you will notice that the things that are most important and valuable to you most likely took a considerable amount of time and effort to achieve. However, even the most stubborn habit can be changed with 90 days of disciplined effort — and the reward is certainly worth the effort! Steven Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, stresses that we should always begin with the end in mind when setting out to accomplish a goal. We need to have a clear picture of what it is we are working for and keep it visible at all times.
2. I Don’t Deserve It
Self-worth is an integral part of achieving success in life. We can only pursue and keep what we think we deserve. Consequently, low self-worth will unconsciously sabotage attempts at success. When you have low self-worth, an internalised critic (Critical Parent Ego State) will attempt to thwart your ambition through self-doubt and disbelief. Changing this inner dialog is integral to achieving success.
Many people with self-worth issues experience a sense of impending doom when things are going too well. This is also a manifestation of the “I don’t deserve it” block and it is a signal that there may be some deeply rooted toxic shame.
3. I Don’t Have the Resources
It’s much easier to make excuses for not being able to achieve our goals that centre on not having certain resources or advantages. In Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams, Steven Scott insists that people who achieve “impossible dreams” are generally not very different in resources or advantages from the average person. They don’t have higher IQ’s or better education, and they do not have better backgrounds and connections than you. They simply learned and use some specific skills and techniques that enabled them to dream big and then take action to achieve those dreams.
4. I Don’t Have Time
Another huge block to success is having multiple goals in conflict. One conflict is having so many goals that it becomes impossible to know which one to pursue at any given time. This can cause us to become overwhelmed, which leads to inaction and sometimes to depression, since pursuing one goal feels like abandoning the others.
Another goal-conflict is the result of two goals that oppose each other. For example, perhaps you want to start a new business but also want to take more time to relax and have fun. Or you want career success in a highly competitive field but you also have a high priority to avoid rejection at all costs. Clarification of values, prioritisation of goals, learning to delegate, and knowing when to set aside a less pressing goal, will all help to resolve these conflicts.
5. I Can’t Do It
A well-known theory to explain internal blocks is Seligman’s Theory of Learned Helplessness: The theory that people develop feelings of helplessness when they perceive that the consequences of their behaviour occur independently of their action and are, therefore, beyond their control. This leads people to lose ambition and motivation to the extent that their sense of helplessness becomes their general condition. This condition depends upon the person believing that they are inherently flawed and incompetent.
More common than the general sense of overall helplessness is the sense of helplessness in specific areas. Incompetence and helplessness are not exactly the same; incompetence is temporary, helplessness is forever. You may not be able to play the piano – yet. But you can learn if you want to put in the time to do so. If what we are considering is important to our values and our goals, then we need to change our self-talk from “I can’t do it” to “I am learning to do it” or “I am getting better at doing it”.
6. They Don’t Want Me to Do It
Hypersensitivity to the role others play in the pursuit of our goal tends to impede motivation. It gives us the sense that other people control our situation and, as a result, our effort is contingent upon their participation, encouragement, and approval. It can also be tempting to blame other people for our own lack of motivation by claiming that other people will be jealous, angry, or overly needy if we succeed.
While this may help you escape responsibility for your lack of action, it will cost you your autonomy in the process. If other people are to blame for your failures, then these same people are also responsible for your successes. The best way to resist sabotage by others is to develop a sense of autonomy. Either walk away from negative people or “teach them how to treat you” by establishing strong boundaries. Some people simply don’t know how to be supportive. They need you to tell them what does and does not work for you.
When people who want to be supportive exude tremendous pressure on you to achieve a particular goal, they may have very good intentions. However, pressure frequently creates resistance. For some people, the more pressure they are under to do something, the more difficult it becomes. Other people seem to thrive on stress and pressure (even though their bodies do not appreciate it much).
7. I’m Afraid – of Success or Failure
Many people fear the unknown. Most fears that inhibit motivation stem from low self-worth. In this regard, the fear of failure and the fear of success are integrally connected. Atkinson’s Michigan Studies of Fear and Failure (1987) states that the tendency to avoid failure seems to dampen the effort to perform well. Consequently, the fear of failure is counter-productive since it essentially furthers the likelihood of failure.
For some people, the fear of failure is so great that it seems safer to not attempt anything at all. Often, these people have experienced a failure that felt devastating, and they still haven’t worked through the emotions. Similar to the fear of failure, the fear of criticism and the fear of change can lead to inaction. Whenever a person has been subjected to a constant barrage of criticism, especially during childhood, they tend to internalise it and hear the critical voices over and over in their mind.
Change may be seen as a loss of some part of our self, causing unconscious resistance to change. Fear of success occurs when a person has so much self-doubt that success itself can trigger overwhelming anxiety – a sense that the success is not deserved or that it cannot last (low self-worth). In these cases, the person will consciously or unconsciously destroy the success in a bid to destroy the anxiety, resulting in self-sabotage. How often do we read about those who rose to the top so rapidly only to blow it with alcohol, drugs, or some other self-defeating behaviour? Fear of failure and success are blocks that can generally be removed unless they are part of a larger problem related to emotional health, in which case they should be treated by a professional.
The thing about the seven blocks to success is that they all lead to inaction. Strong evidence (Gilovich 1993) found that when elderly people are asked what their greatest lifetime regrets is, 63% of them say they regret their lack of action in various ways. Stop wasting your time looking for the key to happiness… the door is open and unlocked… just walk through it. Interrupt your thoughts of “I should”, with your action of doing.
“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.”
10 Tips to Achieve Anything You Want in Life
Life is a balanced system of learning and evolution. Whether pleasure or pain; every situation in your life serves a purpose. It is up to you to recognise what that purpose could be. You cannot continue on the same path and arrive at a different destination. Make the choice to have your actions reflect your goals. Live your vision and demand your success.
1. Focus on Commitment, Not Motivation.
How committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.
2. Seek Wisdom, Not Results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring, and experimenting, your motivation will always be fueled. However, if you only focus on results, your motivation will be like a tiny sailing boat – the small puffs from the results you get along the way will only get you so far. Focussing on the journey, allows you to tack into the most favourable breezes. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.
3. Make the Journey Fun
The reason for existence is delight, not misery. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere that says you have to take life seriously. The minute you make it serious, there’s a huge chance it will start carrying a heavy emotional weight, which will make you lose perspective and become stuck again.
4. Master Your Mind
Thoughts influence feelings and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone).
5. Use Your Imagination
When things go well, you are full of positive energy. And when you experience challenges, that is your cue to be even more energetic! Reframe your situation. If you keep repeating, “My work is so boring”, guess which feelings those words will evoke? Use your imagination! You can always find something to learn, even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. We have a great exercise for you: For the next three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
6. Stop Letting Yourself off the Hook
Action brings results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want in the time you expect. So, you let yourself off the hook. You wait for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you drive yourself into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do the very thing you are afraid to do.
7. Delete Toxic Distractions
Determine where your time goes and delete the toxic distractions. Learn to focus on what is important. Everything you do either moves you towards or away from your goal. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.
8. Cancel Co-dependency
Never expect other people to do it for you, not even your partner, friend, or boss. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all up to you.
9. Plan Effectively
Know your next three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to schedule. Review how each day went by what you learned and revise what you can improve.
10. Beware of Burnout
It’s easy to burn out when we are truly motivated. Respect yourself enough to recognise any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you schedule relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar. Do diverse tasks, keep switching between something creative and something logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or simply take deep breaths, close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.
“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”
If at first, you don’t succeed, you’re doing it wrong. Try again, but with a different approach. What do you think will be more effective when it comes to succeeding, believing you can, or knowing that you will? Let today be the last day you took timid steps of belief and start taking confident steps of purpose-driven knowing! Let today be the day you stop having conflict between your actions and your goals and finally align your greatest intent with your purposeful actions. Create a universal symphony to serenade your every success!
“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.”