Monthly Archives: February 2016

Search for your creative power

Search for your creative power depends on how much energy you put into reading and what you read. Certain books on thinking can make you better able to understand your mind and through such understanding enable you to make more intelligent use of your creative power. Creative power is about having the ability and power to manifest a creative idea. In particular it is about the power to cause something to come into existence which did not previously exist. Creative power is about consciousness directing a flow of creative life energy by how it focuses its attention and awareness.

Our mind is ours, and with it, we can create. We have created automobile, skyscrapers, airplanes, air conditions, television, satellite, and with it, we can create contentment, contentment in a joyful world in which we can harness machines to eliminate most of the dangers and hardships. Not only is it our potential to create a meaningful life, it is also our obligations to ourselves. And yet the quest for happiness is, to so many people, a grotesque traffic jam. The motor keeps running, but the car can’t move.

Too many people have renounced happiness; too many think that living has lost its kick for them; too many find no purpose in their lives. Why is this? Why people give up on life? Why do they give up on themselves?

“Individuality is dead”, some say. “The pace is too fast” others say. They talk about the hustle-bustle of city life, the speed with which people move around on working days. They criticize the changes in our ideas; about sex, about art, about dress. Who can keep up with these revolutions in thought?

All right, there is some truth to the criticisms of today’s world, but people have always lived with imperfection. Down through history we find people coping with problems; some lived richly, some were afraid to live. And so is today; there are people who live, and there are people who use rationalizations to keep them from living fully.

Criticisms of the modern world serve only as stumbling blocks if they lead people to turn away from life. There is no excuse for negative thinking which wastes human life. When a person drowns himself in such a pattern of thinking, he is committing an unspeakable crime against himself.

Yet in our complex civilization people too often live with boredom and anxiety rather than adventure. While I am writing this article on creative living, I would like to communicate to you my ideas on the meaning of life, about a good life which you can make reality. I want to share with you that zestful, optimistic living can be a reality for people today. So many people do not see this truth, yet it is as real as the table at which you eat; it is as real as you are male or female.

Contrary to what many think, truth can be pleasant:

  • Operating on your mind: There is more to life than a good physical image. There is another force which can sustain you amid the demands of living. It is a force that can remove scars of the mind. It is a force that can bring you a sense of security, even when events in your world go wrong, and that is your self-image.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “To take arms against a sea of troubles.”

To live creatively, you must “take arms”. You must arm yourself with powerful weapons which will not fire blanks when you need their support.

“The self-concept is a factual description of how you perceive yourself. If your perception is distorted, this description may not be an accurate depiction of you, but it IS an accurate statement of what you believe about yourself.”

  • Don’t let worries get you down: It is completely unacceptable how negative thinking can take hold of you, dragging you down into despair. When you substitute worry for living, you must take responsibility for it. Because it is really up to you. You can make your days thrilling, or you can make them miserable.

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” ~Dale Carnegie

  • The source of your strength: To bring health into your life, you need healthy self-image. You need to see yourself as a worthwhile human being; you must give acceptance to yourself. The image you have of yourself, the way you see yourself deep down, is fundamental in your adjustment to yourself and to the world you live in.

“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”  ~ Robert Collier

  • Sharpening your image of yourself: Deeply ingrained negative attitudes permeate our culture, and every day people we know may try to submerge us in them. You must not allow to be railroaded into adopting stereotyped, humiliating attitudes toward yourself. You must, to live creatively, redouble your efforts to support yourself, to give yourself credit for your accomplishments, your positive feelings, your positive actions, and your life building qualities. You must redouble your efforts to accept your shortcomings and to look humanely upon your blunders. Moreover you must examine yourself as you are, realistically, without falling prey to negative ideas which short-changes your estimate of yourself. If your self-image was never strong, you must work long and hard to strengthen it. If it was once strong but has deteriorated, you must eliminate self-destructive ideas from your mind and build it again, a logical continuation of what it used to be. You will encounter roadblocks from many sources, but you can overcome them if you adopt positive attitudes toward yourself, and if you see yourself as someone you like, as someone with whom you’d like to be friends. You must understand, first the incredible power of your mind, for good or evil. It is the simple concepts and images in your mind that can make you happy or miserable. Your thoughts, your concepts, your images, these are your most precious assets. You can buy a mink coat, or an expensive house, and yet be unhappy. You can travel around the globe a hundred times and make a million dollars, too, and still be miserable. You can strengthen your image of yourself and be content.

“To live happily is an inward power of the soul.” ~ Aristotle

  • Real meaning in your life: Life is something different for each person. Sad to say, some people hide, afraid to come out into the daylight. Others may both take refuge in safe, dull activities which will protect them from both punishment and real human experience. But life should be adventure for you today. Life should be exciting for you today. Life should be purposeful for you today. You must understand that, though we seem to hear mostly the negative, there is always two sides to the coin. Even within the many confines of civilization, the human being may still be free and joyous.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The life of man is the true romance, which, when it is valiantly conducted, will yield the imagination a higher joy than fiction.This is written in nineteenth century, but it is still accurate—if one’s life “valiantly conducted”.

Preparation for rich living cannot start too soon. NOW, now is the time. NOW is the time to reappraise yourself—who you are. Where you are going. NOW is the time to see what you can do to improve your life.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” ~ Bob Proctor

 


Change your thoughts and you change your world

Change your thoughts and you change your world.  / Norman Vincent Peale

In life, you are always filled with choices. You may opt to have a pessimist’s view and live a self-defeated life or you may decide to take the optimist’s route and take a challenging and fulfilling life.

So why nurture an optimist’s point of view? And why now?

Optimism is an outlook in which we view the world as a positive place. In doing so, we realize that a wonderful life is worth loving. Optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to academic, athletic, military, occupational and political success; to popularity; to good health and even to long life and freedom from trauma. Sometimes, we get caught up in the trap of negativity and we may feel that everything is working against us, we might feel overwhelmed and out of control, but it doesn’t mean that we have to let them control our feelings. It is all a matter of choice whether we want to make optimism a habit of our life.

Here’s how optimists are in action and researches that back up why it really pays to be an optimist:

  • Optimists always expect the best, they believe that bad events, which will last a long time and undermine everything they do, are their own fault. The truth is that optimists are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world too. What differs them is the way they explain their misfortune. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.
  • Optimists tend to focus on and plan for the ‘problem’ at hand. They view negative experience in a way that can help them to learn and grow. Such people don’t get frazzled by bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder. They won’t say “things will never get better,” or “If I failed once, it will happen again”. Positive expectancies of optimists also predict better reactions during transitions to a new environment, a sudden tragedy and an unlikely turn of event. If they fall, they will stand up. They see opportunities instead of obstacles.
  • People respond positively to optimists. Optimists tend to make things happen, instead of waiting for things to happen. They are less dependent on others for their happiness. They don’t find need to control or manipulate people. They usually attract people towards them. Their optimistic point of view towards the world can be contagious and influence others around them.
  • Optimists typically maintain higher levels of subjective well-being during times of stress than others who are less optimistic. In contrast, pessimists are likely to react to stressful events by denying that they exist or by avoiding dealing with problems. Pessimists are more likely to quit trying when difficulties arise.
  • Optimists have Perseverance, which is the key to success. They just don’t give up easily, they just keep on keeping on, as they are committed to their goals. This ability leads them to unexpected discoveries and expands their knowledge, both about themselves and about the field of their endeavour. They are also known for their patience. Inching their way one step at a time closer to their goal or elusive dream.
  • Optimists are healthier and live longer. Numerous studies support the belief that people with positive perspective tend to be healthier and enjoy longer lives than those who are generally gloomy and cynical about the future and always expecting the worst in every situation. As having a positive outlook can cause a measurable increase in the body’s ability to fight disease, an optimist tend to age well and get to outlive those prone to negative thoughts.

So why not be an optimist today? And think positively towards a more fulfilled life. Why not look forward to success in all our endeavours? Why not be resilient? Like everybody else we are bound to hit lows sometimes but we don’t have to just stay there. We can carry ourselves out of the mud and improve our chances of getting back on the right track. And why not inspire others to remove their dark-coloured glasses and see life in the bright side?

Our thoughts not only create our reality, they also influence the reality of those around us. Let the currents that flow through us be those of positivity and love. Choose thoughts that reflect of what we want to see and experience in the world. Be the reflection of our dream life and watch it manifest before our very eyes.

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny”


Becoming a better you

Becoming a better you requires willingness and open-mindedness for change and growth. One thing about life is that it is never static. Change is inevitable, it happens all the time. If you ever want to become that person you ever wish to be then you have to keep pace with changes. On my person, I have a favourite phrase: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become”. It has made me a better person; not perfect but every day I have something to be proud of.

Many are the days we are driven by abstract situations and we do not want to accept reality or the changes that we are expected to make. In that we can never become a better person. Yes, there are so many hurdles to being good but losing the ‘self’ in you is detrimental. I do not want you to lead a bad path (I have seen many people get lost for good) and that is why I share a week’s formula to become a better you;

Be a servant

How often do you serve others? There is a lot of gratification in giving service to others. Be there for those close to you or those who need you. It does not matter your position but be a servant.

“Service to humanity is the act of making sacrifices for people we don’t necessarily know or have any close connection with, simply by virtue of our spiritual connection to them as part of one universal spiritual family. It is an act that, when replicated by many, results in material progress and the advancement of human civilization. Additionally, the act of service to humanity has the power to unite the hearts of all mankind, as individuals and societies develop their spiritual capacities.”

List your values

You are more valuable than you think. You have priceless values and every decision or goal you make should resonate with those values. Your 2016 resolutions should underline your values and it will be a year of change that you will live to remember.

“No one can determine your value except you. Stop on self-limiting beliefs. Embrace your self-worth”

Know that you have a purpose

You are not just wandering all over the world waiting for you date with death. You have a purpose and finding it will make your life worth living for. It doesn’t matter what age you are. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you do. As long as you wish to live a more meaningful and conscious life, a life purpose is for you. For example you could   inspire and unleash creativity in some individual, help people discover their worth, break their barriers, and realize their hopes and dreams, or educate and enable people to achieve their best health and hence, live a happier and healthier life. Find it and you will never regret a single day.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Appreciate your strengths

You may not be the best you wish to be but you have strengths that nobody else has. No matter how insignificant you think your strengths are; someone else wishes they were you.

“Each and every individual in this world is unique and different from others in his/her own way. Each one of us possesses distinct talents and our strengths and weaknesses vary from others. Once you have identified your strengths, take a look at your current role and assess whether or not you are playing to your strengths. If not, assess whether it would be possible for you to adapt the focus of your work to make more of your strengths.”

Grasp your passions

Deep inside, you really know what you want to become. Nobody knows you better than you do and that is why you should keep your passions alive. Do not be discouraged by failures; they are just there to test you mettle. Be steadfast with what you want and that is what you will get.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”  ― Nelson Mandela

You have needs, know them

Many people live and die without ever knowing their needs. It is stressing to live a long life and deep inside you do not know what your needs are. If you want security or freedom then these are your foremost needs. Those called heroes and fathers of our nations knew their needs, changed the world and that is why we remember them centuries after they died.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” ― Anne Frank

Live from within not without

There are those people who know much about others and the world but they do not know themselves. If you want to be better, start by knowing your inner self. Take time with nature, be alone and go for soul searching.

“At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ― Lao Tzu

You do not have to be the president of the most powerful nation in the world to be better. You can do it in your small ways. Change your life and see what the real value within you is. Try today to know yourself and what is worth your life.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have” ― Margaret Mead


Love Is A Symbol Of Eternity

Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.                                                                                  

Love is a type of eternal bond in which one tries to bring joy for other at the sacrifice of his own happiness. Love lights the heart of people and stops violence. Love can kill all the miseries of life like pain and sorrow. Love brings peace and happiness in life. Love brings desire to live life. Love is not only between husband and wife but it is the relationship between two individuals who have consideration for each other. It can be between father and child, mother and her son, brother and sister, or between friends.

Husband loves his wife, mother loves her child, and saint loves GOD. Love is the gift that you can give your dear ones. Love is like a precious pearl and the people who understand the meaning of love will never let it fell down.

A person who has not loved anyone is incomplete in himself. If you have never loved anyone, if your life is full of sorrow only love is a weapon by which you can kill all your miseries and bring happiness for yourself and to others also.

You can kill the enmity of your enemies just by saying few words of love. You can kill the quarrel just by love.

“Love… What is love? Love is to love someone for who they are, who they were, and who they will be.” ~ Chris Moore

But above all is the unconditional love which is the complete acceptance of all flaws, selflessness, and steadfast devotion, with no conditions attached.

Let’s examine some possibilities, beginning with parental affection. We might imagine that the idealistic feelings a mother first has for her baby should include unconditional love, meaning that no matter what the child does or says, her love for her child remains unwavering. If her child makes mistakes, she still loves him. Whether rich or poor; fat or thin; successful or struggling; she loves her offspring. Despite disagreements or different beliefs, her love for her child remains unchanging. Unconditionally means just that: No conditions or requirements attached.

So when we find someone who loves us as we are without any condition, and we are able to love them the same way, it is an amazing experience. They may be different from us in many ways. They may view the world differently and have habits that we don’t share, but we can embrace these differences because they are part of this unique person we love.  We will be able to love each other regardless of sickness, mistakes, financial hardship, or any other of life’s inevitable trials and difficulties.

But this kind of love requires an unconditional love of oneself first, so we have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. . It means that first we have to love ourselves, feel good about ourselves and acknowledge the positive qualities that we can bring to a relationship. If we won’t have that confidence in ourselves as a valuable and capable person, then our insecurities will affect our mutual happiness and our relationship.

Perhaps, while reading this article, you’ve struggled with the concept of unconditional love because you’ve suffered an abusive upbringing, or you were juggled between orphanages, foster care environments, or step-parents’ homes. Perhaps you left an abusive relationship and started a new life in a different country. These circumstances make you special and spiritually strong, but not any less capable of experiencing love.

I’ve seen amazing examples of remarkable souls who’ve experienced horrible abuse, torture, and neglect, only to develop into the most kind and unconditionally loving humans.

I believe in unconditional love. I believe it’s possible to love our children, our spouses, and our fellow human beings–unconditionally. Perhaps the question is not whether we can try or whether it’s possible; perhaps it’s simply a question of putting our love into actions.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ~ Maya Angelou

 

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through our head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of our self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that we create because of lack of information.

If the thoughts that run through our head are mostly negative, our outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If our thoughts are mostly positive, we’re likely an optimist, someone who practices positive thinking.

Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best happens every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment. Positive thinking generates positive feelings and attracts positive life experiences. Have you ever heard this saying, “He who controls his mind, controls his life”. We cannot control what others do or what happens around us, but we can control our own mind. And when we control our mind, we will be in control of our thoughts, our emotions, our beliefs, our attitude, our actions, the word we say, and the images that run around our head.

Now that we understand how powerful our mind could be in relation to the pattern of our thoughts and our outlook on life, why not train our mind to embrace the power of positive thinking and a good result.

It has been argued in medical circles that up to 90% of disease has psychological origins. It’s a fact that our psychological outlook can have a dramatic effect on our overall health and longevity. Positive thinking can be a useful, powerful tool to get through difficult situations that life can bring and it can also be used to help improve the overall quality of one’s life. Having a positive outlook enables us to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on our body. Those who believe in the power of positive thinking, such as motivational speakers, life coaches, and self-help gurus, claim that taking an optimistic approach to life has shown great benefits. Some of the benefits that believers of positive thinking claim to experience are more stability during stress, physical and psychological well-being, recovery from illness, and healthier relationships.

The topic of positive thinking has been studied by many people. Here are some of their thoughts. The law of expectations says: “Everything you expect with full will come true.” In other words, we do not necessarily get what we want, but get what we expect. If people develop the habit of positive expectations, they will be amazed at the influence it will have on them and the people around.

The law of gravity says: “You are a living magnet; you always attract people, ideas and circumstances that harmonize with your main ideas“. One of the most important habits in this regard, is a habit to fill the consciousness of a positive picture of your life and the world.

The law of correspondence says: “Your outer world is an accurate reflection of your inner world.” It means that people get what they think most of the time.

The law of attraction says: “I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative” this means that whatever comes into our life, we are attracting it into our life by the power of our mind, both positive and negative experiences. It’s attracted to us by the images we’re holding in our mind, because pictures or images are thoughts!

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that we keep our head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that we approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. We think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

It is simple to learn of how to change negative thinking into positive thinking. But it needs time and practice, as we are creating a new habit after all. Positive thinking is like exercising a muscle. Only it gives us a mental workout. The more we use it, the better we will become at it.

Here are some tips that we can use to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

  • Identify areas to change. If we want to get more involved in the habit of positive thinking, we have to identify the areas of our life that we usually think more negatively about. Whether it is our work, a relationship or our finances. We can focus on each area one at the time and approach it in a more positive way.
  • Check ourselves. We have to stop, check and evaluate our thoughts regularly during the day. If we realize that our thoughts tend to become negative, we have to find a way to change their direction into a positive way.
  • Be open to humour. It’s okay to back off from the intensity of our life from time to time, and see the humour in life’s situations. We have to learn to laugh more often, especially during hard times.
  • Surround ourselves with positive people. People have a huge impact on our lives. There are people who can suck out our happiness, energy and maybe some of our tangible resources. It is important to be with people who can enrich our lives, and inspire us to be a better person. “Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx
  • Practice positive self-talk. Most of us usually are in constant mental chatter. We talk to ourselves all day long and, unfortunately, this self talk is frequently negative. Often it is tainted with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future. This negativity can destroy any seed of hope that we may otherwise have in striving for our dreams. We must not say anything to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with ourselves and use positive affirmation whenever we say something negative, whether in the mind or verbally. Affirmations are positive statements of a desired outcome or goal. They are usually short, believable and focused. By repeating them over and over again, we build inroads into our subconscious mind, opening up the possibility of a new state of thoughts.

“Positive thinking is more than just a state of mind, it is the way we embrace life“


Life’s Obstacles

Life’s obstacles could be perceived as excuse for our failure or the reason behind our success. Part of human nature is a desire to make progress, or positive change. We all want to improve some area of our life. Perhaps we want to improve our finances, relationships, health, or education. We may want to control our emotions, develop self-discipline, or grow more tolerant. But why is progress so slow?

Part of the reason lies in asking the above question. That is, rather than ask what’s holding us back, we shrug our shoulders and sigh, “Well, I guess that’s what is meant to be.” However, what happens to us is not the result of what is meant to be, but the result of the actions we take or fail to take. So, if we find ourselves in less than satisfactory circumstances, let’s start by considering the major obstacles to our success.

And once we have identified them, let’s ask ourselves how we can overcome those hurdles. Finally, after arriving at a solution, let’s act on it.

Thus, a simple 3 Step Plan can launch us on our way:

Identify what is holding us back.

Figure out what steps we need to take to overcome the obstacles.

Take action! Implement our plan.

Major Obstacles that Slow Our Progress

  1. Living by default instead of by design.  

That is, rather than plan our actions, we usually just automatically react to whatever happens to us at the moment. And when we act automatically, we just continue doing what we have always been doing, which is the definition of NOT making progress. The solution is to stay alert, vigilant, and think before we act. Before acting, ask yourself if what you are about to do will improve your life, keep it the same, or make it worse.

  1. Making excuses instead of making plans.

Success is not a matter of luck that happens to us. Rather, it is created by us because of the actions we take. When we accept responsibility for our actions, we empower ourselves, but when we deny our shortcomings and rationalize our poor behaviour, we condemn ourselves to mediocrity or failure. For as Shirley Chisholm wrote, “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”

  1. We listen to our Inner Child instead of our Inner Adult.

We constantly hear two voices within us. One suggests how we can improve our lives. This is the voice of our True Self, Inner Adult, or Inner Wisdom. Unfortunately, the inspiring words of our Inner Adult are often drowned out by our Inner Child, which is the stored memory of our childhood. Our Inner Child is a “fraidy cat” or scaredy-cat. It is afraid to try anything new or to step out of its comfort zone. When you act without thinking, you usually turn over control of your life to your Inner Child. To succeed in life, we need to listen to our Inner Adult and act courageously.

  1. Fear of being wrong.  

As children, we were afraid of making mistakes, being criticized, denied affection, appearing stupid, breaking the rules, or being punished. For when we were ‘wrong,’ we were made fun of, humiliated, or scolded. Unless we remain vigilant, these childhood fears will carry over and direct our present action. Remind yourself that you are no longer a child and resolve to act courageously.

  1. Fear of our own inner power.

We all know we have vast inner power. We know this by observing the great deeds of others. For we share the same human nature. If others are capable of greatness, so are we. But we are afraid to use our power. Marianne Williamson explains:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Why are we so afraid?  

Here are some reasons:

  • If we acknowledge our power we have to accept responsibility and can no longer make excuses or blame others for our failure.
  • We may be afraid of working hard and prefer to loaf.
  • We may be afraid people will expect too much from us or take advantage of us.
  • Friends may become jealous of our success and abandon us.
  1. Lack of self-reliance. 

 In childhood we learned that we could not take care of ourselves. We relied on mom and dad to provide us with food, shelter, and safety. They told us what we had to do, when we had to go to school or see the doctor, when to go to bed, when to go out and play, and when to study. As a child we came to believe we could not look after ourselves and we had to rely on others. If we do not remain careful, remnants of those early beliefs will remain, and as adults we will continue to search for help outside of ourselves instead of relying on our inner resources.

  1. Chasing after what we want rather than what we need.

For example, satisfying our craving for sweets instead of our need for nutritious food is self-defeating and will sabotage our plans for good health.

  1. Making poor choices.

For instance, students partying instead of studying, young working men purchasing expensive sports cars instead of saving for the future, and families spending more than they earn and going heavily into debt. Wrong choices weaken our stance and make us ill-equipped to handle future emergencies.

  1. Allowing our past to rule our present.

Tom’s parents divorced when he was just three years old and his single mom had to work two jobs just to survive. Tom received very little guidance from his mother because she was away working most of the time. Today, Tom is confused and not very successful. “I can’t help it,” he says, “I never received proper guidance, so I’m all screwed up and don’t know how to succeed.”

Tom is allowing his past to rule his present. It’s true that we cannot change our past, but we can change how we perceive it. Instead of focusing on the lack of guidance he received from his mother, for example, Tom could have focussed on his mother’s self-reliance. Even though Tom’s father wasn’t paying child support, his mother worked hard enough to raise him. He could learn a lot from his mother’s devotion, dedication, and perseverance. Instead of interpreting his past as depressing and discouraging, he could have found it inspirational by learning from his mother that we can survive even in very tough situations. Besides, Tom is no longer a child. What’s to stop him now from going to the library or bookstore to get the guidance he didn’t receive in his youth? If he were to do so, he would be receiving guidance from the top experts, giving him the edge over most of his peers.

  1. The wrong mindset.

It is surprising that many people continue to believe that their suffering is caused by external events, failing to realize that it is their attitude that is the cause of their problems. More than 1,800 years ago Epictetus taught, “Men are disturbed not by things but by the views which they take of them.” Similarly, around the same time, Marcus Aurelius taught, “If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.” Instead of bemoaning your present problems, why not rejoice  which you can do simply by adopting the attitude, or mindset, that no matter what happens to me, I’m going to benefit from it one way or another.

  1. Postponing future success for immediate gratification. 

It’s silly to deny ourselves the exhilaration, satisfaction, and pride of lasting success for temporary pleasure. But our brains are programed to favour pleasure over the ‘pain’ of making an effort to succeed. That’s why procrastination is rampant. But procrastination is the postponement of life. That doesn’t make sense does it? Despite our programing, we can override it by making conscious decisions to make the effort to succeed. After all, the rewards of success far outweigh the ‘rewards’ of partying, TV, playing games, and other diversions.

  1. Not willing to pay the price. 

We don’t seem to mind paying for the tickets of sports events, concerts, and the theatre, so why do we resist paying the price for success? We cannot succeed unless we first recognize that anything worthwhile has a price. So before you begin any endeavour, cheerfully promise yourself that you are willing to pay the price for success. If you’re not willing to put in the time and effort, you’re just wasting time dreaming about success or making half-hearted attempts.

  1. Avoiding problems.

Problems aren’t the problem, but avoiding them is. Why don’t we already have the degree of success we want? Because there are problems, obstacles, and hurdles blocking the way. Isn’t it obvious we have to solve the problems before we can succeed?

  1. Lack of resilience. 

The path to success is not smooth. There are bumps in the road. We are bound to stumble, trip, and, perhaps, fall. Successful men and women are resilient. They know how to get up after each fall and how to maintain a positive attitude, regardless of the difficulty. If you could use more help in developing resiliency, I heartily recommend this book: The Resilience Factor, 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles by Karen Reivich.

  1. Trying to overcome our weaknesses instead of building on our strengths. 

Working on improving yourself is great, but the biggest payoffs flow from our strengths, so keep building on them.

  1. Giving up too early. 

To repeatedly do what doesn’t work is foolish, but it is equally foolish to give up too early. Setbacks are not for sitting back and doing nothing, but for learning. Setbacks are normal, to be expected, and part of life. That’s how we learn what works and what doesn’t, what to do and what to avoid. Remember, temporary setbacks are not permanent failures.

  1. Talking instead of listening. 

We don’t learn anything by telling people what we know; rather, we learn by listening to what they have to say. So, stop talking and start listening. Before you speak WAIT; that is, ask yourself, “Why Am I Talking?” (W.A.I.T.)

  1. Feeling helpless.

If and when you’re feeling helpless, help someone. It will get your mind off your problems, make you realize others are worst off, and make you feel powerful. Remember, it’s impossible to help others without helping yourself.

  1. Mistaking useless action for progress.

Doubtlessly, you understand the importance of progress, for it is what narrows the gap between where we are and where we want to be. But we mustn’t mistake aimless action for progress, for as Alfred A. Montapert wrote, “Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”

  1. Inaction.

Another reason for the importance of progress is that we are either progressing or regressing. There is no standing still in life. Charles Caleb Colton explains: “He that is good, will infallibly become better, and he that is bad, will as certainly become worse; for vice, virtue and time are three things that never stand still.”

  1. Believing you are a failure.

You are not a failure, but a person experiencing a failure, setback, obstacle, hurdle, or roadblock. Setbacks are temporary and pave the way for comebacks.

  1. Not understanding the nature of life.

Here is what Henry Ford has to say about the subject: “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” (Henry Ford)

Life is full of challenges, obstacles, detours, road blocks, ups and downs, and everybody has setbacks in their life, and everybody falls short of whatever goals they might set for themselves. That’s part of living and coming to terms with who you are as a person.