Become who you are
We, humans, are social animals. Everything that we do is interconnected. As such, there’s always a pressure to do well relative to the society. Peer and social pressure can determine the way we live our lives. This, in turn, affects our ability to take control of our lives. We are always under the cloud of being judged and this seriously limits our potential for doing great things.
Most of mankind is on cruise control now. We go to school, achieve grades, go to college, and get a job until it’s over. But maybe, you are among the ones who have had enough of the cruise control setting, and just maybe, you have decided to take control of your life. This chapter will be a guide in your pursuit to getting a better control over your life.
Want to be successful in life? Do you want to be on the cutting edge of success? These personal development skills will give you the tools to do just that. Only you can define your success and become who you are. There are many success stories of people who have broken away from the shackles of society and reaped the benefits of personal development. Personal development has many benefits for people such as happiness derived from growth, control over their lives, a sense of contributing to the world by being a role model for others and a variety of factors that you may view as personal happiness.
Personal development eludes people for a variety of reasons. A major reason is that people tend to drown in their own lives and drama as age progresses. Fear of change is another impediment in gaining personal development. An accepting nature and being persistent is the key to overcoming the fear of changing yourself.
Misconceptions about personal development also affect people’s desire to achieve such growth. People need to realize that personal development is aimed at improving their lives and then, those around them. It doesn’t involve wholly changing the way people live their lives, but making appropriate and defined steps to contribute to self-growth.
Sadly enough, the society we live in today, does not accept personal responsibility or accountability. Quite frequently you will see others pointing a finger and playing the “blame game” which prohibits personal development in ourselves, and those around us. This creates chaos and stress within any environment. Many people often seek out and than see the negative in mankind, society, government, religion and other aspects of the world. They believe the world needs to change to accommodate them, their family and friends, their way. In order for humans to grow they have to come to the understanding and realization of the truth with regard to their own actions, or in many cases, non-action. We must accept responsibility and hold our self- accountable for our own thoughts, traits and actions. Is it the world that needs to change or is it you? Personal development steps will help you become who you are and who you want to become.
“People either like you for who you are or not… don’t be fake, Be YOU”!
What is personal development?
Personal development signifies the conscious pursuit by a person to achieve growth by expanding his or her knowledge and self-awareness, and improving one’s own personal skills. Personal development includes a set of qualities or skills that one tries to achieve in order to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. This is a very broad topic and can include anything that is even slightly beneficial for you.
There are many definitions for personal development, as everyone has their own definition of self and how they can improve that self. Personal development, in essence, is the process of developments of self-awareness, developing knowledge and wisdom, enhancing identity, and continual improvement of ones own accomplishments and personal goals. “The Cutting Edge To Success” will help you grow yourself in a positive manner with a fresh out-look.
Personal development involves continuous improvement of a person’s ability to master his or her own self. It is also a process of individual development that is concentrated on refining talents, enhancing awareness, utilizing talents, improving knowledge, using one’s marketability, and achieving aspirations.
You may have your own definition. For you, personal development may be about seeking happiness, peace with yourself, attaining knowledge, or knowing who you actually want to become in life. You may simply want to have a new outlook on life and the world. Whatever may be your definition, personal development essentially reflects on what your values, morals, and beliefs are. Our personal definition is basically a reflection of the things we want out of our lives, and how we can attain such a contentment level by ourselves. We must define ourselves to set our path in personal development within life.
Nine circles of personal development
The following nine personal development circles will be a guideline in which you can set your life on a path you envision. Pull out a pen, computer, a tablet or simply think about the following areas within your life.
1) Life philosophy and belief system
From when we first gain cognizance of the world around us, we start developing our own personal belief system. These beliefs are a result of both rational as well as irrational input. Irrational input refers to the development of belief systems based on personal experiences of the world.
This belief system matures as you mature. Everyone has his or her own personal philosophy in life. This philosophy shapes the way one behaves and feels emotions, guides the decisions and choices one makes, and dictates what a person’s motivations are. Have you ever wondered why someone was doing something or what motivated them?
Most of the successful people have gained impressive performance levels owing to their personal beliefs and life philosophies that they have developed over years of hard work and education. These beliefs and philosophies are the reason why successful people tend to be happy and receive what they deserve in life, while others do not. This is due to the collection of assumptions, convictions, and ideas that these people live out of – personal philosophies.
The clearer a person is about what he or she believes in and values, the happier and more effective that person will become. Beliefs denote our assumptions regarding others and ourselves around us, and how we want things to actually be. Beliefs denote how we presume things to be, what we believe is the real truth, and consequently what our reactions will entail in such situations. Understanding with clarity will enhance personal development.
Beliefs basically arise out of five reasons:
The 5 fundamental reasons we have a belief system can be studied for a more open and enhanced growth within ourselves on a journey to self-improvement.
Evidence based beliefs are derived by learning from experiences and evidences, and this is honed as we mature over a period of time. Evidence based belief systems are a derived form of our success, failures, and life lessons we have witnessed.
Traditional beliefs are handed down from families or societies. Cultural and family traditions are the primary reasons for the formation of a belief system in people. Although this is a primary reason many people learn to change or alter their belief system as they grow in life. Many times, breaking a traditional belief system that doesn’t fit oneself in today’s world will immediately alter life’s outcome in a positive manner.
Authority belief systems will steer beliefs. People who hold some authority in our lives from our perspective tend to affect what we believe in. These may be traditional or independent of traditions.
Another reason for developing specific beliefs is through association. The types of people we hang around with tend to affect our beliefs by reinforcing common philosophies and beliefs with the whole group. Association is one of them that is easily controlled in a persons life. Managing friends, groups, organizations, or associations with like minded people can truly affect the way in which we live our lives.
The final reason for development of personal beliefs is through revelations. This may be a hunch, an intuition, an insight, or even an imagination. This type of inspiration can strike you at any time, whether awake or while dreaming.
Most of the beliefs that you develop in your life may not originate from you, but from what is sensible to your understanding and experience at that particular time. Accepting ideas that come into our consciousness mainly develops our belief systems. This understanding can help us review our belief system, as it’s reasonable for the belief system to undergo growth and change as your knowledge increases.
Benefits of positive beliefs
People see what they believe. Like attracts like… They attract themselves to the experiences that match their existing beliefs. As such, you have to change your thoughts so as to expand your mind and improve the quality of your life. You may wonder why you end up in similar situations that tend to re-occur in your life. You may have heard the saying; “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt”. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You need to replace those beliefs that restrict your personal development with positive ones that assist in your growth. A black cloud is not following you, bad luck is not upon you, and the world isn’t out to get you. What you focus on you will attract. One of the most amazing gifts we are given in life is the ability to visualize. Through this visualization we attract that which we want to have in our life.
Positive beliefs can guide you to the right path of personal development. If you are accompanied by the right beliefs and philosophies in your journey through life, then you can be sure of turning out a better person on the whole. With the correct set of beliefs, a person can achieve anything he or she puts effort into. Beliefs also tend to turn results into goals, which are the cornerstones of success in life. A person having strong beliefs cannot deviate from his chosen course and will see the deed done. A goal without a belief in something will not yield the same results.
If you believe that you are somehow restricted due to your education, background, age, and so on, then you will actually be limiting your potential. The truth about beliefs is that a person can be anything, learn anything, and do anything if he or she believes so. The first step is creating such a belief and one that will profoundly give you the happiness you seek in life itself.
Finding others with similar beliefs
It is very important to surround yourself with people whose beliefs and philosophies match your own, or the ones you are trying to understand to achieve. Hence the term like minded. As I mentioned earlier, belief through association can be a huge factor in developing personal philosophies and beliefs. Your immediate circle of friends and acquaintances has a huge role to play in developing your own beliefs. Some say you become that which to read and those you hang around. These wise words can guide us in the right direction.
When in a group, people tend to have the same beliefs, “like minded” and motivations for doing things. As such, if you are surrounded by people who share your beliefs, you can be sure that all of them share the similar basic goals and will help you in staying on your course with much less confusion, distractions and stress in life.
2) Improving your mental and physical conditioning
Mental and physical conditioning are some important factors of personal development. No type of personal development can be achieved without proper mental and physical conditioning. With mental and physical development at your side, you get one step closer to attaining complete personal development for yourself. The equilibrium of the mind and body can assist a person on a their path to the stairway of personal development.
Mental fitness involves being in a fit mental condition to control one’s actions, emotions and choices one makes in life. With proper mental fitness, a person can control all the areas of their lives, from removing the physiological mess from their closets to living life a whole new way!
Mental fitness, both results to and from personal development. Mental fitness requires perseverance on the part of an individual. When embarking on the journey to improve yourself, you will find that the journey has molded you in the process. The destination is the goal, but the journey and pleasures in life are where the lessons are hidden for us to find. With a proper goal in mind, and unwavering commitment to it, you can be sure that you won’t falter in your endeavors. The following points will guide you in your pursuit of mental fitness:
Exercising for about half an hour daily can help re-energize your brain by delivering oxygen to it, thus improving memory, reaction, and reasoning abilities.
- Reading often can provide exercise for the brain and improve its fitness levels while challenging the thought process.
- Accept challenging and entertaining tasks like solving puzzle pieces, playing chess, crosswords puzzles, learning a language, or even playing chess. This can improve your mental power as well as social life.
- Resting regularly reduces the number of stress hormones in the brain and helps in keeping it fit.
- Engaging in conversations over varied topics can also test your mental abilities and lend to its growth.
- New hobbies and crafts can also contribute toward your mental fitness by giving a workout to the gray matter in your brain.
- You can also test your brain against others to test your knowledge and build your mental capacity in a positive way.
Physical fitness is also an important factor in the personal development of people. Being physically fit ensures that you are in the best physical frame to carry on with your goals of personal development without worrying about your physical potential to achieve them.
There are lots of benefits of staying physically fit. It helps control weight, stress, health concerns and reduces the chances of getting sick. It can also improve the mood in a person, make them sleep better, and boost their energy level.
In terms of personal development, physical fitness contributes towards honing your mental skills, creating discipline, achieving goals, and maintaining your health. Physical fitness exudes the aura of a person who can take charge of their body, care properly for it, and push it to the limit, so as to challenge their own self and build discipline.
The advantages of being physically fit are such that those who can successfully attain fitness also tend to fare better in other aspects of life. Fit people apply successful beliefs, choices and goals in all parts of life and in general are wealthier and happier for this reason. The attitude behind personal development and physical fitness are one and the same, and being successful in one contributes to the success of the other.
Unfit (mentally or physically) people generally blame the world for all their problems rather than taking control of their lives. They are defensive in nature and do not see nor accept the error of their ways. This kind of attitude limits their scope for improvement in the other walks of life as well.
Our physical frames are the perfect place to understand and develop the various principles involved in personal development. Physical fitness can be seen and measured. As such, you can easily notice if you are progressing or not. The recipe for success in physical fitness involves a healthy diet, building resistance, and cardio routines such as martial arts, swimming, running or biking. If you are not seeing the results of your efforts, then chances are that your goals aren’t up to the mark. Some of the ways you can increase your physical fitness are:
- Motivation: The first step in achieving physical fitness is getting motivated. You need to have clear goals and motivations before you begin a fitness program. Motivation is key!
- Action: After starting a program, you should follow it religiously. Action turns into achievements, achievements help us attain goals.
- Water: Drinking lot’s of water increases your intake of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Remember. Everything in moderation.
- Work Outs: There are many methods to working out. Find one you enjoy, they will be easier and much more fun. Workouts will induces sleep and you can benefit from a good sleep.
- Food Consumption: Eat healthier and eat less than the average American. Once again, moderation is key.
3) Read and Read More – You Are What You Read, Your Education Is Up To You
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” – Issac Assimov
True, 100% true! Things that you teach yourself have an impact on you for the rest of your life, no matter what. These are the things you teach yourself because you choose to. They are governed by no preset curriculums, predesigned courses and come without the standard cruise control option in life because it is your own free will, your choice. They shape up your personality and are therefore an effective tool for personal development.
There is another wonderful thought put forward by Henry Ford. He says that people who keep learning stay young and those who stop learning grow old, whether they are of 80 or 20 years old. Isn’t keeping your mind young the greatest thing in life? So how do you keep learning? How do you stay young forever? Do you use an age-reversing treatment or stay in college forever to keep learning? No, you do none of these. What you do is you read. You read and read more; you read to know how the world works, read to get a “know-how” of the world and how things effect you, and you also read to know how to mold yourself into a delightful human being. You are what you read. So why not read to be the best and be who you want to be, today?
Personal development is an on-going quest and reading the right books will be a great help in this journey. With a little reading on the things you’d like to work on – health, knowledge, fitness, self-esteem, and time management. If you’re not quite sure where to start from, just pick up a good book on the broad topic of personal development and get started!
How does reading a good book aid in personal development
Makes you wiser
This probably didn’t even need a special mention. Reading makes you smarter. A paper by Carnegie Mellon was published in Neuron, which stated that people who read regularly produced more white matter than the brain of those people who were not regular readers. Another paper by Anne Cunningham states that reading keeps you smarter and sharper even as you start aging. Have you ever met someone who continually makes poor choices and wonder why? Reading helps develop you as an individual and helps people make the right choices in life for themselves, families and friends. Reading itself is an exercise.
Decreases stress and increase calmness
When it starts to feel like life is beating you down, picking up a book to read is one of the most tranquil things to do. It relaxes you down instantly as you lose yourself in the book. Choose anything that distracts you in a stressful situation and calms you down. It can be a self-help book on how to deal with the situation you’re facing; it can also be a gripping work of fiction. No matter what type of book you indulge in, you’ll soon get used to never allowing yourself to elevate your stress once you make reading a habit. This will help you incorporate peacefulness even in a chaotic situation, as a way of life.
Helps in confidence building and improves analytical reasoning
Reading more and more good books opens your mind to a lot of new things. You come across a ton of new words, thoughts, ideas, and ideologies, which increase creativity, broaden your knowledge base, and enhance your communication skills, inspiring new confidence in yourself and keeps the mind open and young. Studies show that since avid readers have improved general knowledge, they are able to spot patterns much quicker, giving them significant advantages in analytical and critical reasoning over others who don’t read.
Helps you choose your priorities
Reading gives your mind a chance to drift freely; away from the routine things that you worry about, and lets you peek into your subconscious mind. You start to realize what you truly want to do and become in life. These books show you the road your heart and mind truly want to follow.
A good book will help you get in touch with the real ‘you’. You’ll be able to decide for yourself what you did or didn’t like about an idea, a thought, a character, or the book in general. It’s always fruitful to take lessons from them, inculcate in yourself the things that impressed you and remember to stay away or study the things that were not to your liking.
The best of these books will help you see life from a new perspective, provide good advice on how to handle life’s difficult situations and emerge a victor. Choosing a well-written book would be the key here. Remember to do a little research on these books and choose the one with good reviews since a poorly written book will do you more harm than good. You can check your local library or search the web for a good read that fits you well. Life stops when learning stops, so remember to keep reading, learning, and improving.
4) Enhance family, friends, and significant other relationships
Life’s greatest pleasures and deepest sorrows are curtseying a good or bad relationship. These relationships can lift you up, beat you down, or make you feel lonely in a crowded room, or help you find peace and solace even when alone. They can make an angel out of a monster or a monster out of an angel. Yet, the amount of time we spend working on our relationships is very little, compared to the amount of time we tend to spend running behind other fleeting things. So how do you work on making a relationship even better? Investing time and energy in them would be the simplest answer.
You will only get what you give and how much you give. Building good personal relationships will help you build your own self. You’ll see them, learn from them, try to soak in what you like and eliminate what you don’t.
Good relationships don’t just happen. They are made good, one day at a time, by two people, who value each other and are willing to take time out from their busy lives to nurture them. These are the relationships that keep you afloat in life. They can be your immediate family, extended family, friends, co-workers, or just about anybody who instills confidence in you and makes you believe that life is beautiful and things are going to be alright.
So let’s learn to invest in good relationships. And let’s do it the right way. And though they say life doesn’t come with a handbook, you can keep in mind these simple things to make sure your relationships go long and strong. Set a goal to find one or more “like-minded” friends. Don’t give up on the world because they all don’t think like you do. Get out and build relationships.
Listen and don’t just hear
A good communication is the backbone of any good relationship. Listening properly is one of those small things that show how much you care. Don’t just hear sound, listen. It is an essential art, which will go a long way in shaping not only your personal but also your academic and professional relationships.
Include the five stages of listening,
Recognizing the 5 stages of listening is a great fist step.
- Receive: The first tier of listening is receiving, the foundation of listening. As humans we receive the information by listening and by body language.
- Understand: The second tier of listening is understanding, the deciphering of what you have heard. During emotional times, understating how to decipher can be challenging.
- Remember: The third tier of listening is Remembering, the ability to organize your thoughts and transition them from short term too long term memory.
- Evaluation: The fourth tier of listening is Evaluation; the ability to comprehend and analyze what has been said or gestured.
- Responding: The fifth and final tier is Responding, the action needed to keep the listening and conversation alive.
When you sit down to hear out someone whose place in your life you cherish, show interest. Use active listening skills when dealing with children and keep connected. Remember that we were not born with these skills, they truly are leaned attributes.
Ask for what you want
Ask for help, advice, and more time; ask for anything you think you need from the relationship. Don’t just expect the other person to know what your heart and mind wants and give it to you. They’re human too after all. Unrealistic, high expectations will choke the life out of a healthy relationship.
Ditch the blame game
The blame game is another thing to avoid, when working on enhancing your relationships. Whether at work, home or with your friends, apologize when you’re wrong and keep shut when you’re right. The latter of these two can have higher negative consequences. It is as simple as that, right? Discuss how to solve and create a solution and not who or what created the problem at hand. No need to point fingers and blame, it does nothing but damage relationships. Learn your patterns.
Give a compliment and accept a compliment
Why save your praises for a rainy day? Notice the small things your friends, family and co-workers do for you and acknowledge them, praise them, and compliment them. Do you notice when someone has just had their hair cut, lost weight, a manicure, or when it is their birthday? Similarly, be thoughtful in every little thing you do. These small words and acts of kindness show how much you admire the person in your life, how fond you are of them or that you truly care about them as family or as a friend. It makes the bond you share stronger.
Graciously accepting a compliment is equally important. Don’t try to belittle the compliment you get. It only makes the person feel foolish about having admired something that you now say is not that great after all. Smile, say thank you, and let them know how happy their compliment made you feel. Similarly, convey your gratitude. Say it out loud so that they know how thankful you are for everything, big or small, they do for you. How happy you are to have them in your life?
Forgive, forget and then let it go
Arguments, mistakes, fights, and actions that hurt you are all bound to happen. It is important not to take them personal, nor to hang on to them. Treat them as learning experiences that will only help you understand each other better down the road and not as an excuse to drift apart. Forgive them, forgive yourself, forget the problem (not the lesson you learnt from it though!), and move on. Learn when to let things go and leave them behind.
There is an old eastern story. Two monks, a master and his student were traveling to a monastery days away they continued down the path until they came upon a river. They heard crying from a distance and were surprised to see a woman sitting by the river. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross the river to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that in doing so the river would sweep her away. Monks were prohibited from looking at, speaking to or touching women. Ignoring the sanction, the master monk hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the surging river–assisting her journey and saving her from being swept away. She smiled and bowed with gratitude as he fought his way back across the stream to rejoin his fellow monk. The student monk would not look at the master monk nor speak to him for days on their journey back to the monestery. On the final day of their trip. the young monk burst out yelling, “Master how could you do that?” The master monk softly spoke, “what is it that I have done”? The young monk was now furious and said, “You know we are forbidden to look at or even touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around!”
The master monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all through the day. The young monk continued speaking of the monestary teachings on women. The masters mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds, and watched the animals play in the wild. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for the evening. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by the student monk. “How could you carry that woman?” his agitated voice yelled out. “Someone else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk, and have broken so many rules!” “What woman?” the master monk inquired softly. “Don’t you even remember? That woman you carried across the river,” the monk quickly snapped out. “Oh, her,” laughed the master monk. “I only carried her across the river. You have carried her all the way back to the monastery.”
In this story, you can see clearly who needs to let go and who needs to forgive and forget to keep their relationship alive. Life is about letting go as much as it is to hanging on. We just have to make the right choice and have the proper timing. On our path in life we will all come across hardships, decisions, and many life altering varibles. Some of these will not be easy while others you make without knowing. As human beings we must move on and no carry the buden of a wrong decision. Our goal to personal develooment is to learn from it and move on in life.
Also, remember to be happy with yourself. In the story, was the student monk battling within himself what he should of, or should not of done? These relationships are not tools to solve your self-esteem or ego issues. No body else, no matter how much they care about you, will be able to let the sunshine into your life, if you keep holding on to the clouds yourself. Family, friends, loved ones and co-workers all play a large role in life. Incorporating relationship enhancement in your personal development plans will help you grow into a more mature, more compassionate person. Be happy, stay committed to the relationship, and invest some quality time in it. You’ll always get the best of all your relationships.
5) Change Lives by Being a Student of Change
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill
You must have probably already heard that change is the only thing permanent in this fleeting world. The world is changing everyday, right before your eyes; to keep up with it, you have to change too. You cannot allow yourself to become stagnant or just treading water in life. We’re all students of life with a need to change with the times, life teaches us a lesson or two every now and then along our path in life, no matter how old we are. Being a student of change and understanding, however, is a personal choice. And for those of you who aim to constantly keep working on themselves, growing up, and not just growing old every day, being a student of change is necessary and a part of your being.
What should being a student of change mean to you?
People have the ability to change the world, once they have changed themself. A student of change can stimulate and lead people to realize their potential and change the world for the better. A student of change is a revolutionary person who dares to think and dream beyond the present state of affairs and to make a move for the better in a forward linear direction. One who complains and avoids change will typically circle in life, many times with a bad attitude.
Making a change is never easy. Leaving old habits is tough; breaking old patterns is not easy. And most people can never do it alone. They need a motivator, mentor, instructor or a person who will show them how to do it, an agent who will be by their side, lest they should get stuck somewhere. And being this person, this agent, is what being a student of change should mean to you. Once you have accepted that you are a student of change, changing lives is a path that will open new doors in life.
Why should you be a student of change?
It takes big deeds to make big changes and it takes a big heart to care about the big deeds. Being a student of change, to change lives, is a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Like a rock thrown in a pond, every small positive thing you do creates a ripple effect around you and others, inspiring those around you to continue to propagate the good to other people. It’s the circle of happiness and joy that your positive thoughts, words, and actions have on the minds of other people, which acts as a protective sheath shielding them from the pain and negativity within the world today.
One of the finest things that can happen to a person is that he’ll learn how to accept changes in his life and understand how to change himself to help others, for the betterment of mankind. Be a student of change to help people understand how to identify if there’s a need for change. In life you may only meet a few people who carefully observe others, learn from them, and then make an attempt to change themselves to become something similar. But most of us are quite the opposite, set in our ways and living in denial. We’d rather spend long hours trying to assure ourselves that we are perfect and need no change, but the world around us needs to change, rather than acknowledging the need for a personal change within ourselves.
As a student of change, you can learn to realize that there is no shame in changing for the better. Learning by living is how life goes best. We should be willing to learn from each day we live and at the end of the day be able to decide if there is something we feel, say, or do that needs to change. Teach yourself to avoid taking the need to improve, too personally. Take it as an exercise, which is only going to make you better.
Teach them to lose the fear of change. Familiar things and habits are no doubt warm and comforting, but they need to be done away with to make room for newer, better things and habits. Help them have faith that it’s only a matter of time before which these changed things and habits will start becoming familiar and comforting.
You will be able to help others around you change for the better. Help them envisage themselves a new person, the person who has already made the change that needed to be made. This is a great tool to motivate and prepare people for the change. Once you see the change in the larger perspective, you don’t mind the small discomforts and sacrifices you have to go through in the road to becoming that person who you envisaged. These are just a few things that you can do for other people to transform into better people that they themselves would love. When around them, you’ll find a ton of other small favors you can extend out to make the journey easier.
In addition to preparing people to readily accept changes, another thing to do is to teach them the benefits of remaining positive all the time. The way you see the world greatly influences the way you react to it. Keeping a positive outlook elevates your day and keeps the hope alive. One positive word said a day could change others outlook in life.
6) Believe to achieve your vision
Dreams require a lot of commitment and real life action on our part if we want to fulfill them. Dreams are the first step towards realizing goals and achievements in our lives. Everything starts from the heart and mind. All great achievements first start as a seed in the mind of a person. These are the people who dare to dream and believe that they can fulfill their dreams. They don’t live in a stagnant world, but at the same time they are proactive and not fairytale dreamers. They are people of passion and action.
Thinking big is a pre-requisite to achieving great success in life. You have to slow down and start to ask questions like “What if?” There will always be negative thoughts when you pursue your dreams, but you have to avoid letting these thoughts discourage you in your pursuits. You will be tempted too listen too, act upon and engage in negative thoughts and actions, don’t give in to it.
You have to become a dreamer and dream about the potential for you, your loved ones, and for other people. If ever you had a dream that you thought you could not achieve, start reigniting the flames! In this life time the clock is ticking and time is running out, from the day we are born. So dream and dream big. Become your dream and let your dreams become reality.
Believing in your dreams is a must if you want to fulfill the dreams. The dreams you have should be something beyond your present capacities, but should also be believable. You have to believe that if events occur, you get help from others, and you are willing to work hard, then any dream can be achieved. An example for a person who believes in his or her dreams can be a college-dropout who dreams of creating a multi-million dollar empire.
However, if a 100-year-old person with arthritis believes that he or she can run a marathon, then it could be a false belief and may not get the person anywhere. Therefore, we should ensure to dream big, but the dreams should be believable. Caution yourself and be aware, of those that are dream crushers. These individuals are those around you that emotionally affect your dreams with even the simplest of negative words.
Importance of believing in your vision
If you view yourself as a dreamer, then it is essential to have a belief system to create your dreams so as to make them a reality. This type of confidence needs a little building-up. You have to first work on a belief system. It is very important to have a positive belief system. When a person chooses to believe that he can’t achieve his dreams because they’re impossible, then that person will start accepting it as the truth and stop believing in his dreams. Is the glass half empty or half full? Your sole belief in your life long dreams will be relevant to how your mind and how it rhetorically engages in a optimism or pessimism views.
To change your belief system, you need to surround yourself with people and ideas that mirror your own dreams. For instance, if you plan to be wealthy, you need to hang around more with the wealthy people, or if you want to be an entertainer, then you should hang around more with the creative crowd. Learn from these individuals and how they have shaped their vision and the path they had taken. The key here is to stay around things, groups, and people that propel you towards your dreams, goals and desires. What will keep you focused, excited, and pro-active on your path in life is what will drive you forward.
Building dreams requires a positive input from people. This includes what the person reads, listens, or watches around him. If you are inputting the negative junk from around you in your mind, then you will fail in your quest to start believing in your vision. As such, you should input things that build your beliefs in realizing the dreams that you have.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘we are what we eat’? Unless you live in a cave, you’ve heard the saying. 24/7 our minds are like a sponge, absorbing what we hear and what we see in todays fast paced world. Watching television, news, reading, listening to music, social settings, and a fragmented wave of information and data all play a role in who you are as a being. ‘Mana eva manushyanam’ –As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind. This is an old sanskrit saying. All of your experiences in life, what you hear and what you see is what you will become in life. Pay close attention to what you allow yourself to listen to and see, it is a conscious choice.
The human mind is naturally predisposed to a negative mindset. As such, it requires a lot of effort to change the input to positive vibes so as to benefit from them. Start today and become ruthless about what is accepted into your mind. You have to keep your senses in the positive direction and put stuff diligently in the mind that build up confidence. This will help you in realizing your dreams.
The three basic steps involved in believing in dreams are:
- You have to love what you are doing. It is the first step in believing in any dreams you have. You have to ensure you know what you love and are passionate about, and then go for it.
- Whenever you think about something, make sure to put it down on paper or on your notes on a tablet. This initial draft has to then be refined until you feel it to be right. When you are equipped with the knowledge of what you are looking for, then there’s a state of certainty in you that can cut through all doubts in your mind.
- When you have a dream, it may burn off in a few hours. So, it should be continually practiced to keep it in your mind at all time. As you realize one step at a time, you gain more belief in your vision.
7) Indomitable spirit
Being successful is more than simply being smart and offering a good handshake every time. Though charm and smartness never hurts you, you should always bet on the people who are fuelled by an inner burning desire and will do what it takes in order to achieve their goals. This is the “indomitable spirit” in these people. This spirit should be ingrained into children from a young age. The benefit of perseverance while pursuing your dreams is something that everyone absolutely needs. Developing the indomitable spirit needs one to conquer his or her fear of three crucial aspects in life.
You can follow the steps given here to overcome such fears and realize the true potential of their indomitable spirit.
Human condition is such that we are bound to make mistakes. Our egos, on the other hand, don’t like making mistakes and getting embarrassed after that. As such, the ego will go to great lengths to insulate itself from doing mistakes and so does a lot to avoid them. Some people understand that if they are given enough preparation and time, they are capable of accomplishing almost anything. These people also realize that the path to success is fraught with mistakes. They take the mistakes as learning opportunities and put their effort into learning the lessons as fast as they can. This should be followed by everyone along their path in life.
Whenever we make a mistake, we should view it as a learning opportunity. By learning from mistakes, we are better prepared for further challenges. You have to understand that honest mistakes are nothing to get embarrassed for.
The fear of getting rejected prevents most people from accepting their plans or ideas as something tangible. This happens because people have realized that asking others for something may result in rejection, and this cause them pain. In children, we can imbibe the quality of being answered to nicely when asked for something. Positive body language can lead people to believe that rejection of their ideas does not mean a rejection of them as a person.
One more way to stop this fear of rejection from surfacing and influencing your decisions is to stop taking things personally. You have to realize that most of the no’s are not absolute: they can mean not now, or that the person you’re asking things from is not the right one to do so. Most no’s are the stairway to more saying yes. You will come to realize the positivity even in rejection. Remember the saying some will, some won’t, so what? Well, you can’t hang on to the no’s in life or you won’t be able to move forward with your personalized development plan.
Our natural tendency as humans is to shy away from pain as soon as we feel it. Most of us are generally familiar with pain of physical nature, but pain isn’t limited to this type only. There is a pain of discipline, which is also known as delayed gratification. This pain involves sacrificing your short-term gains in favor of long-term pleasure. For example, we can take the case of a dedicated bodybuilder. The person will sacrifice any short-term gains like desserts for specific diets that are very strict about the amount of calories they can include. These people push their muscles to the limits and are not likely to quit early. This happens due to their inherent indomitable spirit and vision.
What motivates such people is the understanding that if they shirk away from feeling the pain of discipline now, then they will have to face the pain of regret afterwards.
The fears of pain, rejection, and embarrassment are very real and are present in every individual. There have been lots of people in the past who have done great things that they once feared. Mahatma Gandhi used to fear going to courts when he was a lawyer. Joan of Arc had been a poor peasant before going on to rewrite the history of Europe. These figures and many others had to face similar fears as you do now. The key for them was an intrinsic passion as well as an indomitable spirit to attain their achievements and goals.
If you understand that irrational fears will always be there to stop you from realizing your dreams, then you can avoid, step over and eventually, overcome them and live a more confident life that makes waves around them. Start facing those fears and managing them today.
8) Don’t be a victim
Learning from mistakes requires you to first admit that you have made the mistake. When you blame people around you for your mistakes, you are inadvertently distancing them from yourself. But once you get courageous enough to accept responsibility for your mistake and actions, you will slowly move towards the possibility of learning from those errors. Admitting your mistake, even in private, can make it possible to learn by focusing towards understanding rather than assigning the blame on someone else. Those that blame others and personally feel they are the victims tend to make the same mistake multiple times. Many times these individuals carry drama and a bad attitude throughout life that weighs them down considerably.
A bad attitude is like a defect, sometimes there is a recall to fix it and other times it is tragically fatal. -Tracy Lee Thomas
The wise always accept their own mistake, as they know it accelerates their progress. They find solutions to enhance their ability and performance to correct their mistake for their future self-growth. They typically won’t repeat the same mistake. Those needing work in this area will tend to shut down, become quiet, act busy and can’t answer the questions as to why they did something. They may feel they are being picked on when something occurs within their life and they are asked to answer why they did something. Many times, they feel they are the victim. While others can see they are not accepting responsibility. These individuals tend to repeat the same pattern in life where it typically takes a life-altering situation to change the pattern.
Mistakes are not shameful. From a very early age, we are taught that failure results in being guilty, and we should avoid it at all costs. This shame, coupled with the thought of setbacks on making mistakes, is what stops most people from working towards their goals. What people are lacking is the belief that the greater the magnitude of challenges, the more will be their mistakes and setbacks. With big ambitions, you are naturally inclined to overcome and learn from mistakes.
But there are a lot of reasons that make admitting mistakes a very difficult task. It is implied in our cultures that failing some test makes us a failure. We have always been valued on the grades we have scored in tests that are unforgiving of the mistakes. For people who have never discovered their deeper identity, based on courage but not lacking in mistakes, on compassionate intelligence, creativity, and commitment, life can be a frightening place. These people feel safe only by not getting into any trouble, by not breaking any rules, and by not taking risks that in their hearts they know they should take.
There are three things required to learn from mistakes:
- Putting yourself in circumstances where you are likely to make some interesting mistakes.
- Building the confidence to accept responsibility and owning the mistake.
- Being brave about changes.
Analysis can’t replace confidence in us. When a person makes a mistake, which is visible one and which impacts others around him or her, and then it is quite natural to doubt his ability to give good performance the next time. You have to move past these doubts. You can use your past experiences to learn from mistakes and practice for circumstances you expect, thus making changes accordingly. Studying the past helps in broadening your perspective. One has to realize that many people in the past have made big mistakes and still managed to carve their place in history.
A way to understand that you are in a healthy mentality is through sense of humor. This may take some days, but at the end, you can always see the funny part in mistakes. For instance, most of the funny stories are the ones of our friends making mistakes, right? When you have a sense of humor about your mistakes, then you understand that you have accepted the responsibility and are not judging yourself by a single event. This type of perspective can help a lot in avoiding potential mistakes. Humor can loosen your mental state and stop you from thinking about the past for too long.
The key lesson here is knowing that mistakes are quite inevitable, and you have to learn from every mistake as you go along, as this will help you avoid making potential mistakes in the future. Whatever happens will happen, and you can derive value from it. This can be applied later to other scenarios. Progress isn’t always a straight line, and if you are willing to learn along the way, then you will surely see more successes. You will reduce your mistakes and the ones you make will assist you in your quest for your goal.
Learning from mistakes
You can learn from mistakes by following the steps given below.
- Accepting any responsibility can make the learning possible.
- Do not equal mistakes to your being a failure.
- Mistakes can’t be changed, but you can change the way you respond towards them.
- Growth begins when there’s room for improvement.
- Try to understand the reason why it happened and what factors led to it.
- How could you have avoided making the mistake?
- Are there small mistakes that lead to a bigger mistake?
- What were the alternatives you could have considered?
- What sort of changes you have to make to stop this mistake from happening once more?
- What type of changes do you find difficult?
- How you think you will respond to similar situations in the future.
- Work towards understanding the mistake till you can see a sense of humor in it.
- Avoid over-compensating – future situations will not be exactly same as the past.
9) Seek out a mentor
At one point or the other in life, all of us need help. This type of help can be best given by a mentor. This person is one who is generally more experienced than you in some specific philosophy, belief, and aspect of work or life itself. A mentor will provide guidance and assist you in your growth and development. Some of the major benefits of getting help from a mentor are:
Sharing experiences and realizing potential
A mentor is typically a person who has already achieved what you are trying for. As such, they are in a good position to share experiences and knowledge with you. This makes your path to success easier.
Even though you may know yourself well, your views regarding what you believe you can or cannot achieve is often quite limited. In this position, a mentor can show you your weaknesses and strengths, and specifically those that you don’t know yourself. They can then offer good advice on the changes that can be made, and this will have a huge impact on you.
Bouncing of Ideas
Ideas are the first step towards success. With a mentor, you can bounce off your ideas with someone who understands and appreciates them. This process will give you feedback on the ideas and thoughts. Also, a mentor will be objective and won’t judge you based on your ideas.
A mentor will have successfully dealt with situations that you may experience in your quest for your target. Such a person could be a role model for you to take inspiration from. A mentor also encourages you to take responsibility and actions for your life. He or she can be a springboard that encourages you to continue even when the road gets rough.
When working on self-improvement, there is no one else to answer to than you. Although progress is still possible when working alone, you are at the risk of getting complacent when performing the activities. For example, you may start skipping things that you shouldn’t. A mentor will help you by holding you accountable for all your actions, while keeping you on your path. You may feel they are frustrated with you and they just might be, but they see something in you that you may not see. Holding one accountable is a great way to lead.
A mentor opens your connections to new people who can assist you in your goals. When your mentor trusts somebody, you can trust that person more easily than relying on a new face that you yourself found.
When working with your mentor, you already have a person who genuinely wants you to succeed. This person will be there in the corner, cheering you, supporting you, and giving good feedback to you at times when the results are not as you may have expected.
Honest with you
When you seek help from people close to you, they are likely to help you with what they can. Family and friends can be great sources of getting support at various points in life. But these people will be involved emotionally with you and won’t give you honest feedback about how you are performing or how your plans are. A mentor will, in this regard, tell you the truth and not what you want to hear.
Tell me the truth, as it will grow me as a person. Tell me what I want to hear and you will grow my ego. – Tracy Lee Thomas
Another major benefit of having a mentor is that the mentor will help in expanding your perspective. Your thinking will be stretched when you combine yours and your mentor’s ideas, and this will ultimately lead to a gain in your acquired knowledge.
Qualities that make a good mentor
A good mentor is someone who has great patience and listening skills. He or she will actively listen to what you have to say, and will not get emotionally attached to the topic. The mentor will speak only after you’re done. Advices offered by a mentor are generally task-oriented and practical. These advices will help in ensuring that you are continually advancing toward your goals.
A good mentor will give ideas, suggestions and solutions that have basis in his or her personal experiences. Their guidance can help you discover unique solutions for yourself. A mentor is effective when he or she can provide good feedback that goes on to improve your overall performance. They do this by commenting on the behaviors of people and not their character.
A good mentor will be always there for you. Even when the person is busy, he or she will find the time and initiative to advise you again. If you get a really great mentor, you can be sure that you have someone experienced to guide you in your endeavors – someone who has personally experienced the same scenarios and is aptly suited to show you the path.
Personal Development Plan
The first question that this topic brings to mind is how do I know if I need a Personal Development Plan (PDP)? Let me answer that for you. Do you feel not so satisfied or stressed about some aspect(s) of your life? Do you want to make a change somewhere and are not quite happy with how far you’ve gotten till now? Have you looked back on your life’s path and feel not much was completed? Are you over whelmed by your daily tasks: If yes to any of these, then yes you do need a PDP.
People who have ever tried to seriously achieve something in life have always tried it with a plan. As Winston Churchill said, he who fails to plan is planning to fail. It is important to have a PDP to steer you the right way, in your pursuit of personal development.
You don’t need to brainstorm much in the beginning of making a PDP. All you need to know is that you are craving a change in life. It’s okay if you’re not sure what exactly the change should be. Let me help you get started.
Jot down important dimensions of your life
Your personal, social, and professional life as well as everything else that you find is important to you. Maybe it work, religion, family and any dimension of your life you would like to improve. Jot it down now not tomorrow and the results will be self-rewarding.
Assess how satisfied you are in these areas and rate them accordingly
Create a numbering system that rates them by your importance level and then rate them where you are at with each one. All areas that get a rating above or below average have scope for improvement. Depending on the order in which they are important to you, make a list of areas you need to work on.
Write down very specific short and medium term goals pertaining to these areas.
These goals must be realistic and tangible, so that you can measure your performance and reward yourself or work hard on them accordingly. Make a list of everything you’ll need to be able to achieve these goals and get started. Review your progress from time to time and never lose perspective of why you’re doing what you’re doing. This’ll help you get through the tough days when you don’t feel particularly hopeful. Just follow your personally developed PDP religiously and success will be yours.
Passion and Meaning
‘One person with passion is better than 40 merely interested’, said E.M. Forster, well known novelist and evangelist. History shows us that in the absence of passion success tends to be elusive. Think about it and you will see that the journey you undertake to achieve goals that you are truly passionate about seem to be short and interesting. But when you are not really convinced about a specific outcome or activity, doing it seems to be doubly tedious and the process seems lengthy and difficult.
Passion is not just for those who have huge goals in life. Whether you want to own your very own multi million business or you simply want to become a more positive, happy person. No matter what your goal is, success becomes easier to achieve when you are passionate about your goal.
Work… It’s only work for those that think it is work. Yet a passionate man, with a passionate job, understands how to work. Work is what we make of it and the results of our work determine who we are because of our passion. -Tracy Lee Thomas
Passion motivates you to keep forging ahead
It is passion that keeps you motivated to stay on track with your action plan. It is passion that ensures that no matter how many obstacles you face en route, you never look back or accept defeat until you reach the goal post. A passionate person is never demoralized or demotivated and that means he or she is always full of enthusiasm in his/ her work. This mind- set ensures that he/ she adapts to changing circumstances, proactively deals with challenges and forges ahead despite problems and hardships. If you want to stay motivated about your goal, it is imperative that you keep your passion intact.
Passion fuels the fire of action
If consistent action towards achieving your goal is the keystone to success, passion is the fuel that keeps the fire of action burning bright. When passion wanes, so does the fire, and as a consequence, you fall short of your goals. At the very least, when you start losing your drive to achieve your goal, the process slows down immeasurably and you may never be able to make up for the lost time and or get back the lost opportunities. However, to keep your passion alive, it is imperative that you truly believe in the cause you are working towards.
Meaningful goals that you truly believe in
No mission can be a success unless you believe in it whole heartedly. Only when you are completely convinced about your objective can you feel passionate towards it and keep the fire of passion burning bright all the way. This conviction gives you the confidence to keep moving on despite criticism or discouragement from peers, family or society. When are you truly convinced about a goal? It is when it has some special meaning for you, when it touches a chord deep within you, cementing your desire to achieve it.
A toddler who truly believes that he will find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow works towards it no matter what comes in the way. Irrespective of how many times he falls, how many people tell him he can’t do it, he keeps trying to get to the rainbow. He is firmly convinced in his belief and the magic of it strikes a chord deep within him. This fuels his passion to get to the rainbow and find that pot of gold.
Even when the mother picks him up and takes him inside the home, his belief remains intact and he will try once more as soon as he has the opportunity.
As an adult, this kind of conviction can only exist when the goal or the cause you are fighting for is meaningful for you. Only then do you feel passionate towards the cause and find the inner strength to overcome all obstacles to achieve success!
Learning When to Move On…
There is a common saying: Rome was not built in a day. Anything worth achieving is bound to take time, patience, perseverance and incredible mental strength. It is this mental strength that is sorely tested when you face failures during your journey to success. When you face a big setback, it is often very difficult to build up confidence to tackle your goal once again. Many people simply give up although they may be very close to their final objective. The biggest factor behind their decision to abandon the journey is fear. The fear of failing again, the fear of ridicule prevents them from staying committed to their plan. To get rid of this fear, it is important for you to move on.
To move on from failures and set backs, first you need to overcome denial. There are two ways in which denial prevents you from seeing the truth. First, you may be in denial that you have suffered a failure. In this situation, your denial propels you further down the path that has taken you away from your goal, that has proved unsuccessful.
Second, denial may prevent you from seeing the facts behind the failure and your share of responsibility in the setback. When you are unwilling to accept and acknowledge that certain action or inaction of yours has contributed to the failure, how can you prevent the same from happening again?
To move on from failure, stronger and wiser than before, it is critical for you to first overcome denial and accept the whole truth.
Once you do realize that you are partly or completely responsible for the setback, it is inevitable to develop feelings of self loathing, frustration and guilt. None of these are conducive to success. In fact, these feelings will only prevent you getting back on track. Forgiving yourself helps get rid of these negative emotions and start viewing the failure or set back in a more positive light. Remember Thomas Alva Edison’s famous words “I have not failed. I have just discovered 10,000 ways that don’t work”. Looking at failures as stepping stones to success is a constructive approach to a discouraging event.
Often, when we want to get back on track after a huge setback, our ego gets in the way. Ego does play a role in supporting our denial about things that are going wrong or about our share of fault for a failure. But even after we have forgiven ourselves, ego can keep us from moving on. There are many reasons why this happens. We may feel that the world will ridicule us for trying to achieve our goal despite such a dismal failure. We may fear that another failure will be simply too much to take and that it would become impossible to face the world. A bruised ego can be a powerful deterrent, often overwhelming your passion to achieve the goal. But it is entirely in your hands to see beyond the partial knowledge that your ego forces you to see and realize that when you move on, despite set backs, you prove yourself worthy to the world.
Failure is only a learning experience that hones your skills, makes your pathway to success clearer and easier. Keep in mind that the harder you have to work to achieve your goal, the greater your entitlement to its rewards. The more challenges you overcome, the richer your experience is during your journey to success.
When you look at someone who has achieved incredible success in a very short period of time, do you tell yourself that he or she was destined to get there? More importantly, when you wonder why you are unable to achieve the same kind of success, do you makes excuses, telling yourself that it is because success is not in your destiny? This is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy and the more you keep telling yourself that success is never going to be yours, the further away from success you go.
Inspiration from a tale
Now, what if we told you that each and every one of us is hard wired for success. That our destiny is to achieve our dreams, attain our most cherished goals? Difficult to believe? Let’s tell you the story of a boy who was born with partial paralysis of the facial nerves. A sickly child, the boy spent his early years witnessing constant fights between his parents about who would take care for his needs.
As a teen, he went through a stressful phase when his parents divorced. Despite the facial paralysis, the teen nurtured a desire to act, but understandably, the roles were simply not coming in. The setbacks did not quite deter him and the aspiring actor poured his energy into writing movie scripts, one of which was the block buster movie Rocky. Playing his cards right, he stipulated that he would be the main star in the movie and that a share of the profits would be his. When Rocky hit the theaters and became a runaway success, the kid with the facial paralysis had finally arrived and Sylvester Stallone became a household name overnight.
Had Stallone allowed the birth defect to convince him that success was not in his destiny, would he have managed to preserve through so many problems in his early life? Would he have stayed committed to his dream of becoming an actor despite the poor response he got initially from the movie marketplace? No! It was his absolute conviction that he was born to achieve his hopes and dreams that fueled his efforts to make a name for himself on the silver screen. It is this conviction that each of us is destined for success that is lacking in so many of us.
Hope carries mankind to the next day and is a driving spirit in which many people lift themselves from the challenges in life. – Tracy Lee Thomas
Working towards your destiny one step at a time
Success does not come easy even to those who believe they are destined for it, although it may seem that way to outsiders. The fact is that when you believe you are born to succeed, you start working towards it every day of your life taking one small step at a time. This constant, consistent movement towards your fondest dream becomes instinct and it shapes the way you think, the way you view things and the way you approach every single activity that you carry out. In fact, it may not be wrong to say that making progress towards that ultimate goal becomes a way of life for you. Over time, this accumulated effort is bound to get you where you aspire to be. And it all starts with believing that your destiny is to succeed. Once this belief is firmly entrenched in your heart and mind, there is simply no way that you can keep from achieving success in life.