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5 Steps to Figure Out How to Break Free From Whatever Is Holding You Back

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Superman might leap tall buildings in a single bound, but even he can’t ward off its paralyzing effects. Is there something in your life you consider kryptonite? Maybe it’s, a person, someone who always brings you down when you reveal your true self. It’s almost as if they have the ability to suck the blood out of your soul, like a living Dracula.

They take your otherwise positive outlook and transform you into what they are: a negative, defeated person. It could be a boss or co-worker who prompts you to feel you can’t do anything right. Whatever the case, you are rendered powerless and weakened.

Maybe your kryptonite isn’t a person; maybe it’s a deadbeat job. It could even be a certain food you can’t resist, and you overindulge and gain undesired weight. It could be drugs, alcohol, or smoking. Even peer pressure from friends and loved one’s can be a disguise for those looking for their own benefits from you. 

Perhaps you replay your past failures and missteps which can wreak havoc on your present holding you in fear of the next step. The results in all of these examples are the same: they drag you down and paralyze you from taking control of your future. Ask yourself, “What am I getting from all this?”

Instead of allowing you to reach your full potential, your kryptonite pulls you into its world. At this moment, the true inner you ends up muted and struggling to get out to be free.

Do yourself a favor and break out! Even if you stumble and fall, rise to your own expectations and be the true you. Whatever your kryptonite may be, take steps now to separate yourself from the circumstances that hold you back. Identify possible issues in your life, see them for what they are, and bring clarity forward in your heart and mind’s eye.

Take time to sit in a quiet place and think it through, the answer lies within you. You already know what it is however,  you want to be sure about this before you move on.  Knowledge combined with your experience provides the clues here in filling in the blank. This is one place where the past can provide you with some answers. Think it through from front to back before you prepare to apply this knowledge to change things for your future.

You’re already on track with this one. You recognize the situation, now see it for what it is and change it. Simple enough right? Nonetheless, this requires you to not only decide but commit to avoiding the issue that holds you back and avoiding its power over you.   You must turn this into a “must do” and not a “should do” otherwise you will slip backwards into the kryptonite’s clutches once again.

 

Step up, not down to the problem. It’s time to act and move forward with precise action towards where you want to be and whom you want to be.  No more giving into the paralyzing effects of what’s held you back.  Break free to be the person you know lives within you, take action now, empower yourself, separate yourself through blood, sweat, and perseverance for your chosen future.  

It’s time to believe in the person looking back at you in the mirror. Reality check, kryptonite isn’t real and neither are these handcuffs. We put these on ourselves as excuses to fall back on when things get tough. It’s not a matter of whether you consider them real or not. It’s the meaning and influence you allow yourself to attach to them that changes your course or halts your progress.

You have a choice to let these handcuffs dissolve before your eyes or stay chained to your fears. No matter where you are or who you are; you have the key. Decide today to unlock your true potential and leap to your destiny, it’s up to you.

 

Michael Annese is a battalion chief for a South Florida fire department. Originally from the Boston area, he spent years pursuing a career in the music industry before embarking on a career in the fire service. Through fierce determination and practicing the principles he has outlined in his book, The Victory Cycle: 7 Progressive Steps to Forge a Lifetime of Everlasting Personal Growth and Change, Michael has created a successful career and fulfilling life. Michael is now paying it forward by sharing his personal life-tested techniques and experience in leadership within The Victory Cycle. For more information, please visit www.michaelannese.com.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Darren Ewers

    Jul 28, 2017 at 11:18 am

    By knowing clearly what you want and what you have to do to achieve it.

  2. Kevin Rodriguez

    Jul 27, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Set your eyes on your goal. Don’t let anything hold you back or distract you. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Mike Annese

      Jul 28, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Hi Kevin,

      You’re right on the money my friend, be unstoppable ; ))

      Michael

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Life

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

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In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

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5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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