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5 Strategies To Reach Success While Battling Depression

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Depression is a challenge, it can affect everyone from your everyday person to celebrities. It’s not a choice to suffer from depression, but there is a choice in how you react to it.

Ernest Hemingway eventually chose suicide. He decided he didn’t want to confront the demons of his depression any longer. Sometimes even the strongest can fall.

Depression isn’t a joke and it’s certainly not a weakness. It can wrap its large hands around your neck and strangle you into submission. It’s not fun to suffer and you can’t “just get over it.

It’s a battle, a war. You may not be able to switch your moods with the snap of your fingers, but you can choose to drop your gloves against this crushing illness.

Depression can help create mystical stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s. It can help create awe inspiring paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s. It can help create beautiful music like Beethoven’s.

Many have suffered, in many professions. Actor Marlon Brando (of The Godfather) suffered from chronic depression his entire life. Billy Joel checked himself into a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Becoming the “President of The United States of America” while suffering from major depression is even a possibility, like Abraham Lincoln did.

Unfortunately, most people who suffer deeply enough turn to drugs and alcohol. I turned to alcohol. The reason drugs and alcohol are the dark alleys people linger down is because it’s a form of self-medication. It’s no different then the guy who comes home after a long day of work and drinks a six-pack of beer while watching mindless television. He’s self-medicating himself to avoid the issues — loneliness, job dissatisfaction, stress, etc. — that are being presented directly to him.

The list of famous people who suffer or have suffered can go on and on. What needs to be understood is that you can be very successful while getting punched and kicked by this bully that invades your mind.

As you can tell by Poe, Van Gogh, and Beethoven, depression can carry certain benefits if you are a creative artist such as a writer, a painter, or a musician. You just have to be careful you don’t get too deep like Hemingway and Billy Joel.

But what if you’re a CEO or everyday worker? Can you still live a successful life while dealing with the daily grind depression can bring?

In a society where power and hiding from your vulnerabilities rule all, hiding from depression is a common problem. Success can come with glorious benefits, but certain fears also tag along. It all depends what your goals are, what YOU are about. If you are about respect, compassion, kindness, and love, you are on the right track, and yes, you can become a wealthy person living by those traits. If you are solely about power and money, a laundry list of insecurities will clench onto you, potentially leading you down a disastrous path.

You can be anything while suffering, it’s been done. A powerful CEO or a single mom working two jobs to get by. The key is to fight back and never give up.

Here are some ways to fight depression while living a successful life:

 

1. Keep Up With Your Health

You don’t need crazy workouts to be healthy, that’s just a myth created by the fitness industry. All you really need is a sensible diet and some regular activity that gets you moving. Go for a long walk, do some simple bodyweight exercises, or enjoy an activity that gets you sweating. You don’t have to squat 400 pounds to be ‘fit’, that’s just macho, ego talk that persuades people to be scared of fitness.

Self-medication is a dangerous outlet when it comes to mental illness. Alcohol was my form of self-medication. For many celebrities, hard drugs is an addiction they fall into to escape the reality of their mental demons. When money and access are not a problem, it becomes far too easy to believe drugs are the best way to forget about your struggles.

Drugs and alcohol can kill. They can be used as a form of delayed suicide. Be conscious if you’re falling into that trap and seek help immediately if you are.

 

2. Read…A lot

I recommend a minimum of an hour a day. Read stories about people who have suffered, read strategies you could use in your life, read some good fiction. Keep your mind working.

Letting depression force you into a dark corner is far too easy. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you have no control, but you do. It may be a moment to fight, but reading good books can help teach you and inspire you to keep going.

 

3. Live Aggressively

Facing our fears feels harder than climbing Everest. It’s scary. Fight the urge to stay in your room and go out to dinner with a friend. Start building momentum, understand depression doesn’t have to hold you back.

Living passively is the worst way to handle depression, it keeps you tied down. When I first started talking openly about my depression I was scared. Just the thought of sharing my feelings caused my body to pour sweat. I aggressively worked through my sweat drenched clothes and talked. It helped. It actually speed up my recovery because, whether people understood or not, they knew how I felt.

I could be who I was. It was freeing. If I had a bad day it was easier to acknowledge it, and work through the day with it.

Living aggressively doesn’t mean taking an axe to everything in your path. It’s not a violent or vicious path. Living aggressively is living intently. Simply intend on moving past your depression and get to work.

We have one life. Don’t allow depression to keep you down.

 

4. Be Better Today Than You Were Yesterday

It’s okay to struggle, but it’s not okay to quit.

How you improve at anything is through constant tiny steps that eventually turn into one, gigantic success.

It’s the same with battling depression. You have to work at it. It doesn’t just disappear. You have to work through your issues and make small improvements as you go.

“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.” – Christopher Hitchens

Depression will knock you back down along your journey, that’s guaranteed. The key: to get your ass back up. I used to let depression knock me out for weeks, sometimes months. It was horrible. Once I started working on myself, I was able to start making a little progress and feeling a little better.

Then, I was better. It didn’t happen on a scheduled date, it just happened. I just believed I was better, and I was. I don’t really have an explanation for it, that’s just the way it happened for me. After years of tiny improvements, I finally felt like I had just defeated my enemy.

But it starts small. Sometimes just getting out of bed is that small step. Do it. Throwing off the covers and sliding out can be a successful day while you’re fighting. Create a positive mindset around that success and begin building momentum.

 

5. The Search For Personal Greatness

Being in a deep depression allows you to laser focus on the present. Every thought about your life is on display and available for analysis. A major factor in overcoming depression is coming to grips with who you are.

This can be life’s greatest struggle. Most highly successful people lose their way in the search for more money or more power; however, we must remember, deep seeded happiness comes from within, not from materials. Yes, materials and ego boosting delusions that associate with money and power help, but that happiness is only as strong as the current feeling towards your material items or ego. If they crash or lose intensity, so does your happiness.

Being successful doesn’t mean being a millionaire, it means being happy. Battling with mental illness will be the hardest fight of your life, but it’s a fight worth putting your full effort into. As you claw out of your personal dark dark valley you’ll find new aspects of yourself and accept that person.

The law of impermanence reminds us we will one day pass, be gone from this life. Focusing on material and ego based power is dangerous and could lead to disaster. Experiencing life and learning about your true self  will lead to a successful life filled with happiness.

 

Mental illness can ravage a life, but you don’t have to let it. The stigma surrounding mental illness is an incredibly dangerous one, keeping many quiet about their struggles. That’s why I write openly about mine. We must let people know that it’s okay to struggle, but it’s never okay to quit.

Daniel is a writer who struggled with both depression and anxiety for many years. His mission is to crush the stigma related to depression and build awareness that it's okay to struggle, but it's not okay to quit.

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65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. Paul

    Aug 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Success doesn’t care if you’re happy.

  2. TUSHAR PATIL

    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

  3. Martha

    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Ryan

      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

  4. Sean

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

  5. Blurblurlimu

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy

    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.
    Amy

  7. kritika

    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Blurblurlimu

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Kritika,

      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • lavesh

      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  8. kin

    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

  9. ryan

    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

  10. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    http://www.successandjoynow.com/increase-happiness/

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  11. hasibrahman1

    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  12. Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  13. Npmac

    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  14. meikedoliver40

    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  16. Wally

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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Life

7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan. (more…)

Meghan Olsgard is the creator and writer of www.infinitesoulblueprint.com where she writes articles about self-empowerment and creating a fulfilling life. She shares her personal experiences and the obstacles she has overcame to help and inspire others to do the same. You can get more information at her website or follow her on Facebook.

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65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. Paul

    Aug 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Success doesn’t care if you’re happy.

  2. TUSHAR PATIL

    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

  3. Martha

    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Ryan

      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

  4. Sean

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

  5. Blurblurlimu

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy

    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.
    Amy

  7. kritika

    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Blurblurlimu

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Kritika,

      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • lavesh

      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  8. kin

    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

  9. ryan

    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

  10. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    http://www.successandjoynow.com/increase-happiness/

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  11. hasibrahman1

    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  12. Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  13. Npmac

    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  14. meikedoliver40

    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  16. Wally

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

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Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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Life

7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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