Category Archives: Success

The Pursuit Of Personal Excellence

Personal excellence is gained by the gradual result of always striving to do better.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

Personal excellence is not about being a perfectionist. It is not a goal to be reached, a project to prove anything to anyone, satisfy anyone’s expectations, or unnecessarily stressing ourselves through being obsessive and impatient. Personal excellence is a personal resolve to do whatever we are doing the best we can, in the moment with an openness to the possibility of better ways.
Personal excellence is the life-long process of developing specific mental skills that will lead us to increase the levels of our intelligent self-direction. It is a process of becoming the best person we can be and is reflected in how we are, as well as what we do. Personal excellence is a journey of positive development beyond one’s self. It manifests in self-defined and self-valued achievements that reflect one’s best efforts.
Personal excellence is indicated in people who develop their gifts and talents to the fullest, achieving a harmony in how they think, feel, behave, and believe that leads to productive relationships and outcomes.
It seems as if those pursuing personal excellence do go about some things differently. In some cases, these behaviours are planned and quite deliberate, while in others they are implicit and not done consciously. The good news is that many of these behaviours can be learned and cultivated as we pursue our own pathway towards personal excellence.
There is nothing more satisfying than overcoming a challenge that was previously deemed insurmountable; nothing more satisfying than looking back at who you are now and realizing that you have grown much more than you thought you could. To be human is to live to our highest potential.”

Personal excellence in virtually all domains is guided by mental factors. And the experiences of exceptional performers suggest that there are six critical elements of excellence: Commitment, Belief, Full Focus, Mental Readiness, Distraction Control and Constructive Evaluation. These elements combine to form a “Wheel of Excellence” that provides a working framework to guide the pursuit of personal excellence.

  1. Commitment: The first essential ingredient guiding the pursuit of personal excellence is commitment. To excel at anything we must have or develop a very high level of dedication, self-discipline, passion, joy or love for what we are doing. We must truly commit ourselves to be the best we can be and continuously strive to make personal improvements and meaningful contributions. We require commitment to persevere through the ups and downs associated with becoming our best and maintaining our best performance in order to achieve personal excellence.
  2. Belief/Self-Confidence: Personal excellence is guided by belief in our potential, our goal, the meaningfulness of our goal, and trust in our capacity to reach that goal. Believing in ourselves and having confidence in our capacity allows us to extend our limits, create our own opportunities and push through performance barriers. Where there is firm belief in our capacity to carry out a mission and absolute connection with our performance, doors are opened to higher levels of excellence. When negative thoughts interfere with trust, performance wobbles. In the same way that belief can unlock doors, doubts can place limits on possibilities and potentials. In the presence of belief our performance blossoms; in its absence we can never touch our potential.
  3. Full Focus: Focusing is the single most important mental skill associated with performance of personal excellence. It refers to the ability to concentrate fully on what we are doing, seeing, reading, hearing, learning, feeling, observing or experiencing while we are engaged in the activity or performance. Focusing fully not only allows us to connect totally with what we are experiencing, but also frees us to perform without being disturbed by distracting thoughts.
  4. Mental Readiness: Personal excellence requires us to become skilled at getting the most out of our daily learning and living experiences. This begins with a commitment to make the most of each learning and performance opportunity. Personal excellence demands that we develop an effective way to enter a high-quality, focused performance zone on a consistent basis. We need an effective mental plan that is capable of bringing us to an intensified state of readiness for learning and performance. To excel at learning, performing, or living, we must extend an openness to learn and a commitment to an ongoing personal growth. We must engage ourselves in a continual process of self- discovery, and act upon those discoveries that lead us to our best focus and best performances. Our focus is the leader. When we discover what works best and feels best, we must follow that path, even in the face of obstacles from others who may dictate another path.
  5. Distraction Control: The fifth element of personal excellence is controlling distractions. And it refers to our ability to maintain or to regain a positive, effective focus when faced with potential distractions, negative input, or setbacks. These distractions may be external, arising from our environment, or internal, emerging from our own thoughts or expectations. Maintaining and regaining a constructive focus is an essential part of performing to our capacity on a consistent basis, whether distractions occur before, during, between or after events. Developing our ability to refocus in a positive direction is an extremely important factor affecting the consistency of our performance in all areas.
  6. Constructive Evaluation: Personal excellence entails us to develop an effective process for personal evaluation, and act upon the lessons drawn from these evaluations. Constructive evaluation includes looking for the good things and targeting areas for improvement in ourselves, our performance, and our experiences. We can draw inspiration, confidence and joy from reflecting on positive experiences and personal achievements.

“To achieve something that you’ve never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.” – Les Brown


Positive Mental Attitude

We control our mental attitude by positive attitude not by rules.

Change your mental attitude, and the world around you will change accordingly

It is our own mental attitude which makes the world what it is for us. Our thought make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is in our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light. ― Swami Vivekananda

Mental attitude is the way we think and talk to ourselves. Our mental attitude plays more of a role in our life that we might think. What we tell ourselves and the daily messages we allow ourselves to take in make a significant contribution toward the creation of the person we are, end up becoming or will ever be.
Think of thoughts as opportunity creators. The more positive messages we allow ourselves to have or take in, the more opportunities we will be open to realize and take advantage of.
This is why it is important for us to do our best to deal with, communicate and listen to what is good and of value. Doing so frees our mind from negativity, deception, gossip and all other harsh messages that can be destructive to our efforts of maintaining a positive mental attitude and character.
Developing a mental attitude take courage and when we combine the two, we come up with mental courage. It takes a person of great courage to be able to control their thoughts and internal messages, and filter external messages deliberately and consistently especially while living in a society where it is far from the norm.
People with positive mental attitude can push themselves through the worst life’s challenges without feeling emotional intensity. On the other hand, people with negative mental attitude are always vulnerable to suffering. Even enjoyment is less pleasing to them, as they have to work hard to get out of darkness, just to see the light.
Here are some ways that we can all work toward developing a positive outlook on life.

  1. Focus on present: by concentrating on the present as much as possible, we can minimize the worries and fears that lead to negative emotions.
  2. Use Positive Language: It is very easy to fall into the negative language pattern.  Many of us do so without being aware of it. Have you ever realized that some people constantly complain about the weather, their job, their spouse, their children, and any number of other things? Language is central to our experience of being human. And studies have shown that the languages we speak profoundly shape the way we think, the way we see the world, the way we live our lives, and as a result the way our mental attitudes shape. As Willie Nelson said: “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results”.
  3. Stop negative thoughts: In order to maintain a positive mental attitude, learning to hit the reset button is one of the best techniques. Hitting the reset button is about taking a precautionary approach to how we respond to life and its challenges. And it prevents us from drowning in our own negative thoughts. It is the conscious effort of eliminating negativity and disillusionment as soon as it enters our mind. And it helps us not to let negative external thoughts and factors to control or affect us as much or as long.
  4. Accept things as they are: Not accepting things as they are is a fight against reality. It resists what’s real and keeps us thinking and analysing to try to make sense of it so that we feel better. But it doesn’t work, and it won’t bring us happiness. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, and rather than wasting our energy on negative emotions, it’s better to just accept that things didn’t go the way we planned or wanted.
  5. Find positive people: We tend to take in and reflect the emotions and attitudes of those we spend time with. If we’re hanging around negative people who complain and worry much of the time, then we are bound to catch their indisposition. So the more often we keep company people with positive mental attitude, the more likely it is that we will start to think and act in the same way.
  6. Find a reason to laugh: As Mark Twain said: “Humour is the great thing. The minute it crops up, all our hardness yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away”. Laughter is fun, it touches our souls, and it is a wonderful way to reduce stress, to connect with those around us, and to make us feel better all round. Even smiling affects us in positive ways.
  7. Contribute In a meaningful way: Time has taught me that helping others is one of the simplest ways to fill our life with joy and fulfilment. And I believe that one of the best ways to feel more positive is to contribute to a society to make life worth living. Sharing our time and effort with a cause will allow us a brief escape from our current problems, and perhaps may even allow us to see our troubles in a different light.
  8. Practice gratefulness: Express your appreciation for where you are and what you have in life right now, even if feels like you still have a long way to go. Positive psychology research proves that gratitude is strongly associated with the emotions that help us enjoy greater health and happiness. And People who embody gratitude into their daily lives have a more optimistic outlook on life.

Our mental attitude will determine how far we will go in life, and a positive mental attitude can help us deal with the inevitable bumps in the road that will be on our path to success and happiness. Creating and maintaining a positive mental attitude can give us the inner strength we need to overcome adversity of any kind. As Thomas Jefferson once said: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”


Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment is seeking the solution rather than fixating on the problem.

Personal empowerment is taking control of our own life, setting goals, and making positive choices.

Personal empowerment is a collection of beliefs, actions and skills all working together to help you live a life that you design.
“What is empowerment? It’s not something bestowed on you. Empowerment comes from within.” – Mark Felling
At a basic level, the term ’empowerment’ simply means ‘becoming powerful’. Building personal empowerment involves reflecting on our personal values, skills and goals and being prepared to adjust our behaviour in order to achieve our goals.
Personal empowerment is about looking at who you are and becoming more aware of yourself as a unique individual.
Personal empowerment also means being aware that other people have their own set of values and goals which may be different to ours.
If you’ve ever been stuck in a rut of inertia before, you probably know the sense of helpless futility that takes over your life.  You want your life to change, but you feel powerless to do anything about it yourself.  You may find yourself constantly making plans to improve your life, but never quite getting around to taking action because it seems so intimidating.
Though taking action can intimidate and frighten you, it can also empower you!  If you learn to use it effectively, it can provide the fuel to keep you moving forward toward more fulfilling life circumstances.  When you do this, you realize that there was never anything to fear in the first place, and you’ll never get stuck again!
Below are three simple steps that show you how to get started:

  1. First, take some time to examine your life. Where are you now and where do you want to be? Be sure you understand that your life is the way it is right now because of your hesitation in taking action!  This is important, because you’ll understand the importance of moving forward no matter how anxious it makes you feel at first. Then, decide on one action to take to get the ball rolling.  Think about your life right now, and ask yourself which situations you want to change first.  You might choose your career, relationships, health, financial situation, or anything else that makes you feel powerless and stuck.  Then think about one simple action you can take to inspire some positive change.  It doesn’t have to be a huge action, just SOMETHING to start building momentum.
  2. Once you’ve decided on your action step, you’ll have to push yourself to take it no matter what!  This may seem incredibly difficult or even scary, but remember that most often the things you fear are not going to happen.  In fact, you may not even have a clear reason for feeling scared – you’re just afraid of the “unknown”.  Give yourself a pep talk or push yourself in any way you have to in order to move forward at least a little bit.  After you take that first step, be sure to let go of any expectations of the things that will happen because of it, and allow yourself to feel great simply because you did something about it!
  3. Repeat with the same step, and/or others.  Once you’ve taken one step forward, you’ll need to keep pushing yourself to take others.  Consider this:  Even if you take a hundred small steps in a month, you’ll be putting forth positive effort to make changes in your life, which cannot help but bring about better circumstances!

The good news is that taking action quickly begins to build momentum.Just as chronic non-action can create a cycle of negativity and stagnation over time, being proactive can create a positive cycle that continues to grow! It gets easier the more you do it, which eventually makes it seem almost effortless – and you continue to empower and strengthen yourself with every step you take.


Personal Motivation Is the Key to Success

Personal motivation is what pushes us to achieve our goals, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life.

Personal motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. 

Personal motivation is the key to success. It is a combination of determination, expertise, and purpose to maintain in order to achieve a high level of success.

Self-motivation is the inner power, an internal drive that pushes us to keep moving forward, to develop, to produce, and to achieve. When we find ourselves ready to quit something or we just don’t know how to start; it is our self-motivation which pushes us to go on. It is the internal voice that says, “I am an autonomous person who has power over my choices and my actions. I can affect positive changes in my life if I work for them”.
“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it is possible to achieve your dream”
“Personal motivation is an internal, impalpable force that causes a person’s effort, drive and persistence toward the achievement of a worthwhile goal. The degree and strength of an individual’s personal motivation is the single most important factor in determining the extent to which he or she will commit to do what needs to be done to achieve the desired result. Without personal motivation, little of any significance is usually achieved in spite of the existence of the necessary knowledge skills and resources. With it, anything is possible regardless of whether or not those elements are present”.
It is easy enough to dream and plan, but many people get stuck in this phase indefinitely and avoid taking action.  Planning and dreaming might make you feel like you’re doing something about your goals, but if you never actually take a step forward you’ll never achieve them.  In order to see measurable progress, you have to step out of your comfort zone and take action.
“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents” –Andrew Carnegie
When you finally do gather your courage and begin moving forward, what usually happens?  You realize it’s WAY harder than you thought it would be, right?  It feels like you’re trying to run uphill.  You keep tripping over obstacles, facing setbacks and delays, dealing with fear and anxiety, and fighting a daily battle to find motivation to keep moving forward.
It’s during this difficult phase that most people give up.  They decide that “it isn’t meant to be” right now, so they set their goal aside and promise to try again later.  Or worse, they resign themselves to a mediocre life because they don’t believe they have what it takes to succeed.  They’ve “failed,” so they’re not going to try any more. Have you done this?  Most people have! However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the story.  You can pick up your dreams, dust them off and try again.  “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run”.
Most people quit during the difficult phase because they think it’s ALWAYS going to be this hard.  What they don’t realize is that every effort they put toward the achievement of their goals will build on the previous efforts.  With every step forward the process gets easier and easier.  Finally, they’ve put so much energy and effort into the process that the internal drive begins to take over.  Suddenly they realize that they don’t have to push so hard to keep moving forward.  It becomes fun, even easy to achieve their goal.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” ― Michael Jordan
This same experience can be yours!  All you have to do is keep moving forward. Keep working toward your dreams and never quit.  Your internal force WILL take over eventually!
If you want to get that force working even more quickly for you there are a few ways to do it, but they can be summed up in one sentence:
Be willing to work harder, faster and take bigger risks than you have in the past
“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.” ― Albert Einstein
The reason why this internal drive can be delayed, is because sometimes many people take very tentative steps toward their goals.  They’re afraid to really give it their all, so they hold back much of the energy and power they could be devoting toward their goal.  Even if they’re not aware of it, they may feel more comfortable working at a slower pace, so they avoid taking big risks and instead they take baby steps
There’s not a thing wrong with this approach if it suits you!  However, if you want to make faster progress and to achieve your goal quickly, think about taking bigger steps and giving your full energy and focus toward making it happen.  By doing so, you’ll push through the difficult beginning and find yourself coasting before you know it.
 “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
As Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily”. Whenever you’re struggling to get things done, turn to that quote for the inspiration and personal motivation you need to be the best you can be.


Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Enjoy life to the fullest, it has an expiration date. Life today should mean pleasure, but our modern concept of living is often just the reverse; negative in concept and implying the resignation of one’s self image. Modern living often means abandoning satisfaction because of a phantom called “twentieth-century anxieties”.

“Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” ~Horace

Life should be a happy vocation. People should be useful to themselves and to others. Pleasure must be part of us; like our heart, our eyes, our hands, and our feet. It should know no race, no creed, no colour, no status, no age. The good feelings to life belong to us and there is no moral aspect to it except that it is immoral for people to fester in unhappiness.  “Live life to the fullest because you only get to live once”.

By forgetting the mistakes of the past, you can live each day to the full.  You can find pleasure in working, in living, in friendship, and every other aspects of your life, if you feel that you have a right to enjoy yourself. I am not a great believer in sin, but if there is sin, it is for people who sit around, finding fault with themselves for the mistakes they have made; mistakes which are only human.  “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing” ~George Bernard Shaw

There are so many people who waste the wonderful power of their imaginations and torturing themselves with their past blunders. It is sad but true that many of us who blame ourselves so severely have in reality lead lives characterized by hard effort and a constant attempt to be decent human beings; yet we give ourselves no rights.

When we criticize ourselves, we deny ourselves pleasure. Yet we have the right to feel free of fear, to feel free of guilt; to feel pleasure. In order to enjoy our lives to the fullest we have to find resolution within our minds to be happy. It is a victory of one’s positive thinking-imagining forces over negative thinking-imagining forces. We prepare ourselves to enjoy our lives as we strengthen our images of ourselves each day. We live vitally, allowing ourselves pleasure because we feel that we deserve it. “I have decided that no matter what is happening in my life, I will choose to be happy! Not because everything is perfect, but because I deserve it”.

Through strengthening your self image, through seeing yourself at your best, through encouraging your success instincts, you can create pleasure for yourself. But the unfortunate fact is that many people do not feel that it would be fair for them to be happy. They do not feel they deserve it, and they use rationalizations to explain their misery:

If only they had money…..

If not for that financial catastrophe……..

If that accident hadn’t happened…….

If not for that childhood disease which only they had contracted……

A tragic event from the past is dredged up and used to explain all the pain, all the lack of their pleasure in life. But what they don’t realize is that everyone knows tragedy, everyone knows pain; fate didn’t single them out for punishment. Successful, happy people know pain, too, but they just keep pushing forward through pain to pleasure. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

Imagine a man sits at his desk; he is an executive for a large company. His desk is full of menus, letters, contracts, and other papers. Two lights on the side of his telephone flicker on and off, indicating people waiting to talk to him. He is in conference with two men who sit, waiting for his attention. He looks at his appointment book and notes that another vital conference is set for this day, and he must devote a few hours to a project which is behind schedule, and also he must dictate letters to A, B, C,….

The enormity of these pressures might overwhelm many of us. “It is too much for us” we’d say. But not this man. He feels pleasure and he enjoys doing it. He refuses to let a daunting imagination ruin his effectiveness. Instead he sees in his mind the successes that his day will bring. He Turns warmly to his visitors, listens attentively, does his best to respond to their needs and demands. He answers the phone, and getting to the heart of communicating instantly, returns to his visitors. He tells them what action he intends to take on the matters under discussion, dictates a message into a machine, turns back to them to ask if they are happy with his decisions. They are, and he ushers them to the door, shaking hands warmly. Nothing phony, simple pleasure in a direct, effective moving toward goals. This man projects his imaginations into action in a positive way. He accepts his right to feel happy and be successful. Many people fill their minds with destructive, depressing thoughts; and pleasure is caught in a squeeze in which it is crushed. They worry about disasters that never or rarely happen. The feelings of happiness and satisfaction from their work are not tolerated, and they obviously cannot function in the successful way that this executive does. They do not enjoy their work; they do not enjoy their life either. “We call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life. Pleasure is our first and kindred good” ~ Epicurus

We must enjoy our lives to the fullest. We can feel pleasure in our every day of living. We can sing in the shower and feel musical thoughts in our minds and generosity in our hearts. It is a question, basically, of what we will allow ourselves. We must not block the attainment of our legitimate satisfactions. No years can be creative if we deny ourselves the principle of happiness and enjoying our lives to the fullest.

“If you think positive, any sound becomes music, any move becomes dance, any smiles becomes laughter, and the entire life becomes a huge celebration. So always think positive and live your life happy to its fullest”


Continuous Personal Growth

Continuous personal growth involves a lifelong of reflecting, connecting, and learning which enhance our understanding of who we are, the world around us, and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve our quality of life.

To be able to improve we have to accept that something about us needs to be changed, and when we are ready to unlock the perceptions that we have created over the years, then we can start living a joyous life of change and growth.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust

As we go through life, our main attention is usually on external world and the material possessions, but the reality is that the most important thing that we have to focus our energy on, is the development of self into the person we want to become. And when we achieve a real connection to our authentic self and realize our true purpose, all the external achievements and successes will pursue anyway.

“Personal development is your springboard to personal excellence. On-going, continuous, nonstop personal development literally assures you that there is no limit to what you can accomplish.” ~ Brian Tracy

Over the years, I have learned to practice and focus my energy on the proven track of actions and beliefs that had helped me to improve the quality of my life and the state of my mind.

Here are the strategies that have worked well for me . . .

  • Be present: The method for being present is really simple, but it needs practice. When we practice something regularly, we become good at it. It becomes like a mode of being rather than a task on our to-do list. Whatever you’re doing, at any time, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts. It might become tiring at the beginning, if you’re not used to it. Let yourself rest if you grow tired and come back and practice it again. After a while you realize how your worries fade away and you enjoy your present task much more. When we learn to be joyful in whatever we’re doing, grateful that we’re able to do that task, and appreciate every movement and sensation of the task, then we become aware that anything can be an amazing experience, anything can be a miracle. ‘Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
  • Stop seeking approval from others: When we have a need for approval we value the beliefs and opinions of others above our own, it becomes addictive and we can quickly develop a need for more. Once we stop worrying about how other people would think of us, how our decisions might disappoint others, or how they might judge us, we become free to be fully authentic selves. The biggest irony with approval-seeking behaviour is that it usually causes the opposite results to those which are intended. If you take a moment to observe those people whom you respect most, you will find that one of their strongest traits is their ability to be true to who they are. There is usually so much pressure from society, peers and media to conform to certain standards and ideals. But if we are led through life always and only really doing and being what we’ve come to believe is ‘expected of us’, then, in a way, we cease to exist, to live, and be real. When you cease being worried about people’s disapprovement of you, a whole new world of personal possibility opens before you.
  • Reflect on Transformational Moments: We all have critical and determining moments in our lives. We come to a fork in our life, and we make a choice that will affect everything since. Once the choice is made, we can never withdraw and start over again because circumstances and people involved change. Words have been said, lives affected and these can never return to the original form. Looking back on those focal points in our past is a great way to look at how far we’ve come, and to discover where we want to be in the future. Always evaluate your options, and consider how they will affect your principles and values. Each one of us has a set of values that define who we are. If one option has you compromise your values, no matter how profitable it may be, it will not be worth the risk. There are a number of people who have reflected, after picking a fork in their road, “There was just something that didn’t feel right, but I did it anyway.” If it doesn’t feel right, you can’t force it to be right. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest” ~ Confucius
  • Move past failure: “The major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure” ~John C. Failure is a part of testing the limits of what we know, and it’s an opportunity to learn how to take that next step forward. The truth is that when we experience failure, we’re growing, stretching, and expanding. Each setback, whether small or large is an opportunity for growth. When we change our perception toward failure, then we will be able to use it as stepping-stone to success instead of a stumbling block. But first we have to acknowledge it. Our initial tendency is often to blame others or some uncontrollable, external factors. But rarely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step. After we accepted our failure, then we can look back at them as simply feedback that can take us to another level of awareness. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill’
  • Teach, and learn by teaching: “The beautiful thing about teaching is that our legacy is defined in what we give and empower others to do, not only in what we do ourselves”. Wisdom is understanding where we have been, and how we got to where we are now. All of us have experiences and wisdom worth sharing with others. One of the best way of personal growth and change is to listen to other people’s experiences and sharing ours. Have you ever helped a friend through a difficult time and then you became aware that you feel better and happier? Our most lasting and fulfilling achievements in life are often earned by helping others fulfil theirs. As if when we help, encourage, and enable others to reach their dreams, we can also achieve our dreams along the way. Giving and helping others is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. And it may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. “Making the conscious commitment to empower yourself by directing your thoughts, energy and focus toward what you most want and the goals you need to achieve is the first step towards creating an extraordinary life.” ~ Tony Robbins

 


Setting Goals

Setting goals is an important part of being human. Most people understand the importance of goals in living but are too harsh in their demands upon themselves. They feel that their goals are too insignificant, that their achievements will hardly be counted for anything if they are not able to end racial prejudice or the world poverty.

This is a mistake. While we might not be the president of United States, making decisions of global importance; or Richard Rodgers, working on a new musical which millions may see; we are individuals also, we too are made in GOD’s image, and endowed with a wonderful body; we too have mind, feelings, needs, aspirations. We too mean something, if we mean something to ourselves.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score” ~ Bill Copeland

Often, we have trouble getting started with our goals, or we discover that achieving them is going to take more time and effort than we thought it would, and we start to lose our motivation. But we have to realize that living without having goals or plans to reach them, is like a ship which is set to sail with no destination.

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping-stones out of stumbling blocks.” ~ Jack Penn

If you are a teen-ager, there is no shortage of goals for you. Mastering a skill, exploring an alien subject matter, hitting a baseball, making new friends, learning a popular dance. And within the span of these broad goals, you can pinpoint daily goals that are satisfying for you.

If you are in your twenties, thirties or forties, your broader goals may change in terms of specifics, but they are nonetheless potentially satisfying. You may be involved in enlarging your vocational scope, raising a family, managing money skilfully, learning hobbies, from day to day, you may aim at achievements within framework of these larger goals, or spontaneously which are fun. You should think in terms of daily goals too, not just life goals.

If you are older, cooking a good meal for yourself and your spouse is a fine goal; it may be commonplace, but it is productive. You give him or her satisfaction with your labour and the more creatively you work with your ingredients, the more pleasure you give him (her) and yourself. Painting a picture may give many people days of enjoyment, even weeks. Mixing the paints, organizing your materials, brushing on your colours, shading and shaping for subtle effects. It is not Rembrandt? That is not the point. Are you putting the best you have into your picture? Would you like to frame it and hang it in your living room? It is more important to you than the next flight into outer space. And it should be. “Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

You must not block yourself off from your goals, and you must move every day, feel a sense of direction toward a goal every day, no matter how small that goal might be. You keep moving in the streams of things, doing the best you can. And if you have no goal, you keep moving anyway, and a goal will catch up with you. Your sense of direction is forward.

The reality is that no matter how smart we may be, we cannot predict the future. Things are moving so fast and we’re so interconnected that it is impossible to predict where we’ll end up five years from now. We just don’t know. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we will not be basing our choice of direction based on a forecast that’s likely to be wrong. By recognizing and accepting the unpredictable nature of life, we can stop over-thinking and over-analysing and start living more in the present moment. This helps us to open our mind up to new areas of possibilities and conquering the limitations which we have imposed on ourselves. You’ll be making your choice on what’s really important to you, right here and right now, not tomorrow.

GOD didn’t put you on this earth to languish in misery; He gave you the success impulses which you have to use them. If you have problems, if you meet obstacles, then you are just like most people. Most of us are familiar with the life of Hellen Keller, who overcame staggering physical handicaps to rise to her incredible achievements. You may not know that Florence Nightingale, the famed nurse, was a confirmed hypochondriac whose services of mercy involved convincing herself first that she was not dying.

The biggest difference between successful people and others isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen. We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure, but we have to trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out. “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~ Honore de Balzac

If you learn to believe in yourself, and do what you want to do, your accomplishments may amaze you.  Remember that by moving forward and taking small steps each and every day, putting aside over-thinking, and realizing that you have everything you need deep within, you can find the right direction in your life. And while it may not be the direction you expected, it will work out just fine.

Now set goals and make them happen, and when you reach your goals take time to enjoy them and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way. Life is a learning process! Keep your spirit up and be the best of yourself.

“Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground” ~ Ralph Marston

 


Building Self Confidence

Building self confidence involves encouraging a positive but realistic attitude toward yourself and the world around you and appreciating your worth, while at the same time behaving responsibly towards others.

“Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings” Samuel Johnson

The confidence one has in himself, the way he sees himself down deep, is fundamental in his adjustment to himself and the world he lives in. My aim in writing this article is to help you strengthen this self confidence so that you will tackle your life situations healthfully, without allowing prejudice against yourself to eat his way into your mind.

“Self confidence is a learnable skill, like typing or riding a bicycle. You develop it with practice” Brian Tracy

There is a story about the great Michelangelo. Working in a stone quarry in Italy, the great sculptor was overjoyed at the sight of a huge, oblong block of stones. He touched it. Within it he saw the spirit of Moses. After many, many hours of working on the stone, chipping it, shaping it, he brought forth his great work of art, his great creation of Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Now may I ask you to be your own sculptors, your tools compassion and understanding, so that you can see in your mind’s eye the best that is in you, as Michelangelo pictured Moses, so that you can work to make and keep this best image of yourself as a reality. For your self image and how you value yourself is closely linked with your self-esteem and self confidence.

“Don’t be your own worst critic.  Be your own best coach.  Learn from your mistakes, but encourage yourself to new heights. Each time you fall down, be the first to pick yourself up.  Confidence is a habit you can grow.  The seeds are the thoughts and beliefs that empower you to take action.”

It is your self confidence, which, more than anything, can guide you to years of dynamic living. If you give yourself acceptance, if you see your success and try to perpetuate them, if you believe in your capability, life will hold no great fears for you, and you will remain in the mainstream of life, doing, feeling, relating, connecting.

“Building self confidence is like building muscle, you start with basic structure and then you build on it”

You can think of confidence as a muscle, then pay attention to all the chances you get to flex it throughout your day.  It even starts with how you get out of bed.  If you don’t think of yourself as confident, then act “as if” and gradually you’ll find your groove.

Keep in mind that while competence breeds competence, confidence comes first – you have to believe to achieve.  Above all, don’t anchor your confidence on external people or things.  Flow it from the inside out, starting with your own belief in you.

I offer you the Ten Commandments for a purposeful and creative living: C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-E:

  • C: Concentrate on a stronger self image.
  • O: Offer it full partnership in your life.
  • N: Never let it disappear; you must work to reinforce your sense of self.
  • F: Fulfil yourself with your self image; it is your best friend.
  • I: Infuse your self image with compassion when you meet setbacks.
  • D: Develop it every day; only your true sense of self can make you strong.
  • E: Elevate yourself with your self image so that you need not fear competition.
  • N: Nourish it; don’t let a false sense of selflessness convince you that it is not basic to your happiness.
  • C: Create a climate in which it can grow; spend time every day thinking, with humility, about yourself and your world.
  • E: Enjoy it; continually reactivate the success instincts, the success mechanism, within you.

“Self-improvement without self-love is like building a house upon sand. You can build and build, but it will always sink” Vironika Tugaleva

Remember this: Only you, with the self confidence you build in yourself, in your mind, and which you carry with you into life, in your mind, can create giving relationships with people, productive relationships in the world of work and interests, which can make your years bubble with life.

Confidence implies forgiveness. You feel too big to be threatened, too self-reliant, too nimble at relaxing away emotional hurts. So you are able to forgive.

You forgive others with no strings attached, a clean slate, and no vestige of condemnation. A difficult task, but you can do it.

And you forgive yourself as you forgive others. For forgiveness is but another reflection of confidence, instant confidence.

As you go through the process of improving your self-image and increasing your self confidence, try to think of yourself as a separate person. Picture yourself as a stranger who is on a path toward positive change. Be sure to celebrate this person’s accomplishments.

“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy” Brian Tracy


Active Living

Active Living is about getting more out of life by giving more of yourself every day. Having lived by this philosophy for as long as I can remember, I know firsthand how life changing it can be. We all have the power to live a life that we love, and achieve amazing things.

“We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation” ~ Mary Augustine

How do you spend your day? The minutes and hours that tick away on your wristwatch, are they your opportunities or your burden? Or do you move towards life activities, eager seeking new adventures, mastering new concepts, and understanding more about human fellows? Time move too fast for you, you can’t get minutes and hours to embrace your interests in the world.

“Life” is a misleading word because people do so many things with it. The person who frets in self-pity and vegetates while others pass him by is half alive. If you are like this, don’t be ashamed, you have millions and millions of people for company. But realize that you must try to change so that you have a chance to know what happiness is. “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” ~ Wayne Dyer

For there is happiness, there is power in life activities. There is joy and strength in moving forward, toward other people, toward the processes around which civilization has festered its approval or its permissiveness. When you wake up in the morning, you must alert yourself to the day ahead, to the possibilities for joyful living that the coming hours will bring if you use them fully. The things you do during this day may not shake the world, but they may make your world.

Unfortunately, however many people are passive to life and they withdraw from its pleasures. It is this, the moving away from life attitude that must be reversed; it is this rejection of people’s creative potentials that must be exposed as absurd.

When you want to, go fishing and salute the sunshine, but actively not passively, otherwise even the fish will say, “I won’t bite”. Can’t you move about a little more?

Let us first talk about the hysterical flight from work at about five o’clock each day, a flight as urgent as one from an approaching hurricane or from a Marine invasion. Is work such an affliction? Many people these days seem to think so. Work is like an alarm clock to them; they are clock watchers who cannot wait for the signal to get away. I really disagree with this concept. I think that productive work is one of the true goods of life; when you work productively, you manufacture more than money, you also manufacture a sense of self-esteem for yourself. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist-historian wrote: “Blessed is who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness… Even in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony the instant he sets himself to work.” I agree with his opinion as I have seen people functioning harmoniously in the world of work whose souls perished once they lost or gave up their jobs.

It is true that some people work at jobs ill-suited to them; their work is enslavement because they do not enjoy it.  They work only for money. They do not feel the exultation of a person who pours his most productive powers into his work.

If this is your situation, you must think about remedying it because your chances for a creative living are slim if you feel dead in your work. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~ Steve Jobs

May be you haven’t given your job the attention it deserves. May be you haven’t opened your eyes completely to the potentialities around you. May be you are not aware of the fact that you, not the job, might be at fault. Try to remember that in many instances, you create the opportunity, not your job.

If your job is at fault, then you have to try to find another line of work if you can. Even a small cut in pay may be worthwhile if you are able to switch to work which makes you feel more alive. If it is impossible you may convert your work productivity in enriching hobbies. Never withdraw from productive work into sluggishness. You are a human being, not a mattress, and you should utilize your human resources all your life to attain a feeling of completeness. “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.” ~ Johnny Carson

Your Time Is Yours to Enjoy:

When you finish work you have the gift of time, but what will you do with this gift? Chances are that your hours are shorter than they used to be, even if you are a house wife, so you still have more time to enjoy yourself.

But you may say, “I don’t know what to do with my time”. This is a terrible problem, or I should say that, time is not the problem, you are the problem. You have to realize this and do something about it. Sometimes a small child in a fit of temper might destroy a genuinely loved object, but if you are reading this article, I assume that you are not a small child, and your period of experimentation is over. You must now know what you are doing. You have tools at your command. One is wisdom, the same values gained from your years of living. Surely you can see the preciousness of your free time. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of”. You must learn to use this life-stuff, to fill it with active living, not with boredom, apathy, resignation. Would you empty your wallet or pocketbook into a trash can? Then why throw away time, which is also valuable? You must use your time energetically, productively, to enhance your feeling of true participation in and enjoyment of the life process.

You must realize that leisure time is just as important as work time. You are a whole person not a working machine, and you and you alone have the opportunity within you to keep yourself whole. Leisure time may mean many things – sport, painting, cooking, card games, gardening and a lot of other activities. You must realize that leisure belongs to you, like your eyes, your heart, take it. You must find one aspect of leisure which will help you reach self-fulfilment. Take a look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself, who you are and what you are doing with yourself. This self-confrontation needs an answer. You can’t be on the fence of indecision. Once you honestly make a response, you will find the activities that will make you happy.  Once you find the activity which makes you happy, then play it to the full. Concentrate creativity on the activity. When you play tennis, play tennis. When you are gardening, garden as if it is for the moment the most important thing in your life. Concentration doesn’t mean exhausting yourself with too many activities. Choose one, and master that, then move on to another. You will find great satisfaction from these leisure-time activities, which you have made them a part of your new creative life.

“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

 


Self Image

Self image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. ~ Maxwell Maltz

“Uncertainty” is the key word in our lives. We must live with uncertainty and lead our ship through life’s rugged path, or retreat from life into a womb, an illusion since there are few guarantees to reassure us. We must learn to master these dangers to the best of our ability, and still live contentedly.

“Life Is Like Riding a Bicycle. To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving” ~ Albert Einstein

After the “traumatic” process of our birth, we live the uncertain, minute-by-minute moments of infants in which a tolerant smile is followed by an indignant roar of rage and a howl of laughter, all within the space of thirty seconds.

Then it come the uncertainties of childhood, in which we depend on our parents, where destinies fluctuate according to complex economic, emotional, and sociological factors which we cannot yet understand.

The period of adolescence that follows is even more uncertain. Are we children or adults, or what we are? How should we behave toward adults? What is this called sex; is it good or bad and whose opinion do we ask and what do you do about it? Why do my parents still treat me as a child? Am I grown up, or am I?

Adulthood brings with it new problems, new uncertainties. The choice of vocations, the decisions to be made about marriage, marriage partner, and children, about business commitments and political views, insurance protection and community participations, or non-involvement, gambling or non-gambling strategies. I could write pages and pages on the conflicts a responsible adult must face and the uncertainties surrounding his decisions and the outcomes of his considered choices.

Throughout their lives most people worry about tragedy striking, the breadwinner losing their jobs, a fire that wipes out one’s home, an automobile accident in which a loved one is crippled, and these are real possibilities that one must learn to live without burying his head in the sand.

What is the answer to this dilemmas of life? It is simple, really, more life, reaffirmation of life, while there is life – life, with the help of a healthy self image that will give you the sense of certainty you need.

Some day we will all die, that is GOD’s law of life and there is nothing we can do about it. But while we lived, did we truly live?

Did we really live or just occupy space while we went through motions of living? Did we enjoy every year, every month, every week, and every day – or did we manage to passively endure the dull moments? Did we see the green trees, smell the beautiful flowers, share with our friends, taste our lamb chops, love our work – or were we so obsessed with worry that life could not enter into our troubled minds?

“Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it” ~ Leo Buscaglia

As babies, we are born with smile coming through the first howl of pain, while we live, we must live constructively so that time and again a smile might break through the pain.

Now what about friendship – one of the chief ingredients of a rich life? There is a saying to the effect that “dog is a man’s best friend,” but I do not automatically fall in this silly sayings like this. I am fond of dogs, but if my observations are correct, a dog will be far from your best friend if you do not take care of him in the style to which he is accustomed.

Man’s best friend – any man’s best friend, is his self image. If he sees himself as a good guy, he is on the road to contentment; if he doesn’t, he will cause his own downfall.

“Love yourself and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. You deserve the same love you give others”

John or Mary or Tom may be your friend and may be a valued friend, but your best friend is your self image. Another person may like you, may even go out of his way to help you in a crisis, but he cannot participate completely in your joys and  heartaches; more he cannot give you the capacity for success or failure, for self-acceptance or self-esteem. Your self image can give you this capacity and a sense of certainty as you live. If you see yourself as agreeable, if your picture of yourself is satisfying, you live with marvellous form of certainty; the conviction that when uncontrollable factors go against you and events temporarily oppose your desires, you will support yourself.

There will always be moment of adversity hitting you from the external world, as well as self doubts plaguing you from within. The real test of friendship for yourself is whether you rally to your own aid when you need the consoling sustenance of your best friend – YOU.

When you are sure of this internal cushion in crisis, then you know how to be certain in this uncertain world.

“We can learn to be our own best friend.  If we do, we have a friend for life.  We can buoy ourselves up, give ourselves comfort and sustenance the times when there is no one else” ~ Mildred Newman & Bernard Berkowitz

You can say to yourself “But the uncertainty is real; how can I relax?” You may protest that my point of view is not realistic. But I assure you that it is. And I assure you that I, too, know of life’s dangers as I have experienced them a lot in my life. We all go through grief, loss, shock, horror, and misfortune at some stage of our lives. There may be times in our lives that we feel tired, depressed and even walking sometimes seems an effort. Our thoughts may be incoherent and we lose contact with reality and retreat from the world of people and pain. But finally we realize that we have to continue with our life. We begin to see friends again. We learn to laugh again, and pick up the pieces and put them together. This is the way you must live your life. You must survive struggles, survive uncertainty, pick yourself off the floor, and go back to a creative living. But you need a friend at times like this, your self image, for a proper self image is the powerhouse within you that enables you to stand up under stress. Indeed, the power of your self image, intangible as it is, can outdistance the uncertainties with which you may wrestle.

Life holds many surprises for us, not all pleasant, and the person who would live creatively in today’s world must develop a strong self image. You cannot rely on luck and you cannot base your life on the opinion of other people. You must do it yourself and do it in a world full of frustrations and dangers. You must constantly work to improve your mental image of yourself, to feel better about yourself. You can do this if you are willing to work hard, without preconceptions of magical solutions, following these suggestions:

  • Every day you have many occasions to look into mirror; when you brush your teeth, when you wash your face, when you shave, when you powder your nose, or comb your hair. Go beyond these simple functions and use the mirror to help you, to become reacquainted with the outer image of a self you may have lost sight of in the rushing pace of life today.
  • Learn to accept this physical image of yourself and the inner self behind it.
  • You must recover your sense of self. Many people have lost this sense and do not understand that they have lost it or the sorrowful consequences of this loss.

You have to understand this: You can have expensive house. Two cars, a sizable bank account, and real estate, and still feel poor, if you have lost touch with a wholesome self image of yourself.

If you feel poor, then uncertainties will frighten you, and you will find them all around you.

Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman writer, once commented that “the only certainty is that nothing is certain”.  But the life insecurities need not worry you; they need not keep you from full living. Not if you feel that you are a worthwhile person. You must be able to allow yourself joy. You must feel at one with yourself. Then a sense of security will replace worry, and you will be able to live happily with a minimum of uncertainty.