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3 Life Mistakes You Are Making Today That’s Impacting Your Success

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3 Life Mistakes You Are Making Today That is Impacting Your Success

As a psychiatrist in New York City, the folks I see in my practice commonly have come to NY to achieve a level of success.  Many are seeking financial success, artistic success, or success within relationships.

There is no doubt trying to achieve a semblance of success here is quite challenging, frustrating, and draining to our egos.  It doesn’t come easy for many.

As I assist in navigating the course with my clients to achieve success, I tackle various aspects of the human condition that are risks for decreasing one’s ability to feel fulfilled.  Many folks walking through my door have difficulty mastering control of their thoughts, their usage of language, and regulating their emotions.

I am always humbled when someone picks up the phone to contact me to participate in their journey to help them achieve their goals they are hoping to achieve.

Here are three common presentations to my office that commonly impact our ability to achieve success:

 

1. Stop living your life on pause

After my clients and I discuss their long-term goals and what they are looking to achieve, I ask how else do they spend their time? For many, they look at me with a blank stare as if not spending every moment focusing on their goals seems a waste of time.

This is extremely detrimental. Awaking each day solely looking to work towards the long-term goal minimizes and under appreciates other wonderful smaller life moments. Yes, you may not update on facebook how you held the door open for someone or gave your subway seat to an elderly person, but by not doing so and loving yourself for the small moments in life, you will exhaust yourself and feel low for not “achieving” the larger life goals you have set.

Learn to value the small steps. Work on loving yourself for the small successes and “live” in each moment. This is equivalent to walking up a mountain and keeping your head down solely awaiting the peak. By doing so, you miss all the various plant and animal life that make this mountain unique. Keep your head up.

Robert Collier

2. Pay attention to your narrative

We all walk around with the story of our lives. This is where attitude comes into the picture.  Pay attention to the way you use language; within yourself, your inner voice as well as the way you share you narrative with others. For example, I find anyone who moves from another city or a small town to NYC are already incredibly successful. What an achievement. Think of all the steps it took to move here, find an apartment, and make NYC your home.

Unfortunately for many folks, they will tell their narrative along the lines of: “I moved here and nothing has happened.” Though they are not acknowledging how they found a job, pay rent, and developed a social network. They will also say, “Everyone appears to have a better life than me.” Though they have their own albeit small company, or that they were cast in a small film, play, or had their work shown at a gallery.

Focus on if your narrative leans negative.  If so, you are creating a risk for not feeling successful. I question if your narrative regardless of achievements, will ever be enough. By not incorporating positive narratives through small successes, you are not raising your healthy platform; the platform that grows as you continue to take risks and achieve a flow needed to fulfill your long-term dreams.

Be patient.  Love yourself and your story, especially when small successes are achieved.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

3. Be curious like a cat

I understand finding the right mentor to assist you obtaining success is ideal. Who wouldn’t want the CEO of a corporation, the Hollywood actor, or the fashion guru to speak one on one with you and give you absolute guidance? If we are waiting for this type of guidance -guess what?  Life mistake!

There are mentors all around us, including you and I.  We each all have valuable life experiences. It may not be what folks spend top dollar on like they do with a highly popular mentor but it can be just as valuable.

I find we minimize how much we can all learn from each other. A subtle piece of advice about any aspect of our day to day may maximize our positivity to make one part of our life easier, leaving more mental room to focus on obtaining your dreams!  Take note of those around you in your everyday life. You never know what others have seen or learned from their experience.  It can be the guidance you needed to overcome that hurdle! Be curious!

 

Thank you for reading my article. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Dr. Johnny Lops is a practicing psychiatrist in Brooklyn, NY.  He is the former team psychiatrist for the Brooklyn Nets.  His new book is Reinvent Yourself: Essential Tools from a Brooklyn Psychiatrist Who has Seen it All (Tailwinds Press, May 2015).  An accomplished actor and film producer, Lops has starred in numerous stage productions, as well as commercials for Sprite, Budlight, and the NY Knicks.  He is the medical advisor for the boxing website, thesweetscience.com and the medical advisor to the new independent film in production, Life Hack.  He can be reached at www.drjohnnylops.com as well as @drjohnnylops on Twitter

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    These are some great lesson that can help many improve their chances of success and finding happiness within their lives. I really like the one where you sated to live in the small moments and dwell entirely on your long term vision. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of this because I get wrapped up on how I want to my life to be in the future and forget to enjoy those little moments with the people that truly matter to me. When you balance your life, success will come a lot easier. Thanks for this reminder. Great post.

    • Dr. Johnny Lops

      Jun 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Lawrence, thanks for the reply! I agree; we all love to dream and contemplate the big moves ahead, but it’s super important to take it day to day. Keep going strong!

  2. osaretin

    Jun 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I am a student and sometimes I feel down when I look at my cgpa lol, and the road that I have to face if I don’t do so well. But I have dreams to be an IT entrepreneur working on something like a social network with a friend now. It is nice to feel good about the things you have achieved even though they don’t seem so big at the moment. Life is what you make it I believe. Nice piece btw

  3. Joseph Mutori

    Jun 13, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Beautiful article, loved it. I get what somebody should be doing but I didn’t really get what living your life on pause really is about.

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    Jun 13, 2015 at 1:04 am

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  5. kani

    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Nice piece, it’s totally amazing how we refuse to give ourselves credit for tiny daily victories. The courage to attempt a huge task will be easier gotten if we celebrated the little courage it took to achieve the little task.

  6. Diego Cardona

    Jun 12, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I have been living in this beautiful and blessed country for about 10 years,I live in NJ, I have a great job as a welder in Queens NY, and some times felt like behind in my life, like I can do more, achieve more, without realizing everything I have and how blessed I am,since my beautiful family, house, and cars, even a dog, not everyone can afford it. Lol, thanks Doc for Opening my eyes.

  7. Jose Retana

    Jun 12, 2015 at 4:07 am

    “Be curious like a cat” -> Love this one haha If perfectly true! Always seek for that information around us (:

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Life

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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Life

How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost

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A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.

Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Why Problems Overwhelm Us

As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?

Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.

How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.

Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.

Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie

How to Take Action in the Face of Problems

Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”

In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”

To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:

1. First, I acknowledged the feeling

Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”

Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.

2. Next, I prepared for the worst

We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.

In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.

The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Lastly, I examined the situation

Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.

I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.

Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.

The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.

Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.

Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.

How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!

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8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing

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You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.

Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.

With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.

Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.

2. Stay Physically Active

As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.

You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman

3. Get Sufficient Sleep

Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.

Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.

4. Develop a New Hobby

Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.

Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.

5. Eat Healthy

Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.

Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.

6. Laugh Your Heart Out

Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.

And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?

7. Try Relaxation Techniques

‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.

Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.

“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy

8. Count Your Blessings

We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.

You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.

There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.

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Life

How You Can Use the Power of Gratitude to Your Advantage

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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)

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