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6 Lessons I’ve Learned From Staying In A Place That You Want To Escape

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6 Lessons I've Learned From Staying In A Place That You Want To Escape

“Purgatory” is my own personal nickname for the hometown I’ve been shackled to for so long. In purgatory, there is no good and no bad, just endless, drab waiting.

In my hometown, you wait and wait until you’re old and grey, and then you die, confused and angry.

Here are the 6 lessons I’ve learned in trying to escape this place and live a life of color:

 

1. Never waste opportunity

Opportunity can be fickle. For some, it never seems to stop coming along. For others, it has to be created. If you want to have an easy life, don’t allow opportunity to slip through your fingers. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 55, there’s no excuse to opt out of an opportunity to create a better life. If you’ve got a good gut feeling about it, go for it.

I’ve been given opportunities quite a few times in my life, and I wasted every last one because I either couldn’t see them for what they were or didn’t take them seriously. Hindsight is 20-20 they say, but I can tell, looking back, that my biggest problem was always my cocky attitude. I never thought opportunities would stop falling into my lap. Silly me.

To not let opportunity pass you by unnoticed, humble yourself enough that you take every possibility seriously. Don’t think that you are above anything or that you deserve better just because it isn’t ideal. Life is never truly ideal; get over it and make a move.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

2. You never do it alone

This isn’t a world that you can flourish in by isolating yourself. Everything that you could possibly want in this life, you can more easily get by knowing the right people. Everybody says that you should walk the walk instead of talking the talk, but talkers get a lot done too.

Is it your goal to land a job or start a business? Knowing the right people can help you with that immensely. What about excelling at a particular talent or sport? Knowing an expert and getting involved in the right community will set you on your way with that as well.

This rule applies to everything. When it comes to socializing, always seek to expand, never contract. What I mean by this is that you should always be reaching out as much as you can to meet new people and get to know the people already in your life. You’ll be surprised by how things turn out when you do!

 

3. It’s all about the end result

Forget “The Journey.” You can start enjoying your journey once you start succeeding, but until then you’ve got to stay focused and angry enough to make it happen. Yes, anger is your weapon (see below).

When you start thinking about it as a journey, you lose focus. It becomes a “lifestyle” and not something that you’re starving to move forward in. Maintaining some sense of equilibrium while trying to enact major change is an oxymoron, and you will sabotage yourself if you’re not willing to let yourself get obsessed.

Stephen Covey
 

4. Knowing how to use knowledge is more important than knowledge itself

I learned a ton of things in school, but only apply about 10% of it in my day-to-day life. Logically, this makes it all a massive waste of time. I could have just researched into what I wanted to know on the fly; it is the age of information. Even if you were to go on to college or university, there’s always more money to be made from going into business and creating your own income. This applies before or after your schooling. If I were to go back to school though, I would go with an in-demand trade and start getting paid sooner than later.

The exception to this is experience. If you have experience in a money making skill like sales or marketing, you have a real leg up in making money in many many ways.

Having a lot of knowledge isn’t what makes someone a genius. A genius is someone who brings a new perspective to the table, and does things a little differently. They can use knowledge in new and creative ways to create solutions and become a leader in their field.

There is no right answer to how to use knowledge. Once you understand that, you’re one step closer.

 

5. Suffering doesn’t mean you’re moving forward

Suffering is just the passing of misfortune. Suffer enough, and you can become delusional, and start to think that you’re paying the price for success. You are not. Only taking control of things and improving your situation is moving forward, and this is especially so when you’re in a situation that causes you to suffer.

I’ve been through many difficult situations which caused me to suffer. Eventually, I started thinking that this is just how life is going to be for me, and that I gained something from going though hardship. Well I did,  after many difficult years of the same old crap, I finally learned that I can refuse to suffer anymore.

Get in the mindset of refusing to suffer. Sure, do what you gotta do to get where you’re going but never confuse that with pointless suffering. If there’s nothing to gain, you don’t need pain. We all go through some rough patches, but don’t ever let yourself start thinking that it’s just something that you have to put up with forever.

“Better be wise by the misfortune of others than your own” – Aesop

6. Anger is how you save yourself

When the going gets tough, the tough get angry. When all else fails, anger will keep you on your feet and pushing you forward. It is the great useful emotion that gives you the power to do more than you thought you could before.

Anger works because it is a state of strong discontentment. “I’m not happy with how things are going, and  I’ll fight to make a change.” With this deep burning to make a change driving you forward, it really becomes possible. A lot of us have been conditioned to not experience strong anger so easily. You have to break this conditioning. Use this exercise: Think about a situation where you were treated particularly unfairly, and allow yourself to experience the spark of anger from this. Focus on this emotion and learn to cultivate it. Repeat this exercise over and over, and soon enough you will have much easier access to your own anger.

Don’t be afraid to unshackle the chains society has placed on your emotions. These limits only serve to hold you back and homogenize your soul. Let your rage show in all it’s burning glory!

 

Thank you for reading my article. Please leave your comments below!

Chris Turner is someone who bet his future on obsessively learning and moving forward- particularly when it comes to all things moneymaking, rather than taking the normal, "traditional" route. He writes about what he's learned from his struggles and successes at his blog, unhappyinvalid.com.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Monik

    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Well written Chris. I agree with your points, specially on using anger in your favor to over come being stuck.
    I would also add: Don’t complain about the place you are in or the people you are surrounded with. But identify what best the situation has to offer and utilize it to the maximum. There is always something that can be used in your favor to escape the situation. Complaining makes us focus on the bad stuff and prevent us from identifying the opportunities.

  2. Rachel

    Jul 26, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Wow Chris,

    Brilliant post. It really resonated with me. I too agree that anger will pull your out of complacency and into action. I have however got the great gift of motivation, when I found what I wanted to create and where I wanted to go. I get the start of your post with never miss an opportunity because it gets delivered in overalls and it looks like hard work. Right on.

    Your right about going against the grain when you say it is about the end result and not the journey. I do agree to a point. Because once again it circles in that lifestyle, relaxed mode. However I think you can remain focused and spirited in your work and develop the skill set you have when angry so that you get an all round win. I don’t want to have that anger all the time, but I certainly want that fire to keep me going, to keep it real.

    For me whenever failure seems to sit me on my butt, of late I have this in built mechanism that keeps reminding me it is only a day and it will pass. Like the depths of this belief is real. Thanks again, I like your straight up, don’t mess about attitude, it is refreshing.

    Rachel.

  3. Rose Costas

    Jul 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Thanks Chris for this great post. I can relate so much to being in a place I want so badly to escape from but I also learned that life sometimes put us in uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately too many of us surrenders and choose to suffer when that’s the time we should be fighting our hardest. I have been there and done that and I am now learning not to accept suffering as normal.

  4. Cynthia

    Jul 10, 2015 at 1:25 am

    This article is definitely one I can relate to!!! The part about when the going gets tough the tough gets angry….Angry enough to go harder for your goals. This article has definitely boost me 1000 to keep achieving my goals. Keep them coming!!!

  5. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I really like this article because it’s different. I havent read too many articles that state that knowing hot to USE knowledge is more important than knowledge itself. I also think that knowledge is only the stepping stone to power, while action is the true culprit to power. These is some great information. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Jacob S.

    Jul 7, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Great article, Chris! I identify most with #6 and how anger can drive you, but in a healthy way of course. This is something that I use often and work to not let it get to me, but rather place it into something worthwhile and healthy. Thanks Chris!

    • Chris

      Jul 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Anger is ugly and chaotic, just like life. Whenever I’m angry, I feel like I’m more in touch with life in general. You have to “get it” to get it.

  7. Elita Torres

    Jul 7, 2015 at 1:31 am

    Great choices of lessons. You Never do it Alone – Sometimes people are focused so much on moving forward, they pay no mind to the people they are pushing down to get there. Help enough people get what they want and you get what you want.

    It’s about the end result – This a powerful message. When I first read it in the “Seven Habit of Highly Effective People”, it put a lot of things in perspective for me.

    Thanks for the article

  8. Nick

    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    This Article is brilliant.

    “Its all about the End Result”. This is very true. Thanks for writing!

  9. David

    Jul 6, 2015 at 4:13 am

    LOVE IT!!!! Great Article!

  10. Samudra Kumaratungga

    Jul 6, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Great article! and the anger part, i really do love it, while i don’t particularly agree in rage for advancement, i do agree in major discontent being the driving force; I mean really what else sparks change, right? But I also focus that discontentment into excitement, and getting really really pumped up for the change that I’ll be making. Everyone is different in the driving force of their success, but discontentment with one’s current situation seems to be the common ground that people have for change.

    It’s like the obsession for bettering lives, it’s so congruent with what people are meant to do in this world, It’s freakin bad ass, I love that mindset.

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:07 am

      There’s many ways to get motivated, but in my experience anger is the best way to not allow a difficult situation to crush you. It has absolutely worked for me.

  11. Jimmy Roos

    Jul 5, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Hey Chris, great article with a number of very points. I agree with most of them except “anger” and “it’s all about the end result.” Anger can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. You need to know the balance between letting the anger fuel your drive and not becoming angry about the life and what it is dealing you. There’s a very thin line. You have to be kind of a a psycopath in a way to get it right.

    As far as not enjoying the journey and focusing on the end result. It is again about keeping the balance.To me, enjoying the journey is about being grateful and appreciating life, rather than remaining unhappy with life because I have not achieved the end result. I have found that, that can actually delay the end result.

    It is said that “success is shy,” … and I have found that it comes much faster when you’re not continually focused on it.

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:16 am

      Agreed. Self awareness is key.

      A balanced life is that of a normal person. You have to be exceptional to get exceptional results like success. You can feel however you like about it, but keep your eye on the prize. It’s easy to be lead astray.

  12. Heitem Ak

    Jul 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Wow, this is gold!

    “something that you’re starving to move forward in.”

    As soon as I read this, I pulled out my notepad!

    Keep them coming! 😉

    Best,

    Heitem Ak

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:18 am

      Glad you like it Heitem. This is all real stuff; no fluff or theory.

  13. Ibra

    Jul 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    What about not enough money to seize a great opportunity ?

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:20 am

      Anyone with a brain and some discipline can turn money into more money. This is about getting started.

      • Ibra

        Jul 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        That’s true but, for example, a soccer player who needs money to travel abroad for achieve his dream to become professional can be blocked in his progress cause of lack of money

        • Chris

          Jul 7, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          A lot of life is still dumb luck. Even if he has talent, he might not be provided the answer to such difficulties while still young enough to excell. The will without the means is no good.

          I don’t know much about being a professional in soccer but if traveling is all it takes, the cost should only be in the thousands- possible for your average working man. The first step may instead be to learn an in-demand trade- a ~2 year investment that makes you much more employable(be sure that it is in demand though). Again I don’t really know what it takes exactly but hope this helps put things into perspective.

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Life

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

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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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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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Life

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

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how to achieve your goals
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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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Monik

    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Well written Chris. I agree with your points, specially on using anger in your favor to over come being stuck.
    I would also add: Don’t complain about the place you are in or the people you are surrounded with. But identify what best the situation has to offer and utilize it to the maximum. There is always something that can be used in your favor to escape the situation. Complaining makes us focus on the bad stuff and prevent us from identifying the opportunities.

  2. Rachel

    Jul 26, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Wow Chris,

    Brilliant post. It really resonated with me. I too agree that anger will pull your out of complacency and into action. I have however got the great gift of motivation, when I found what I wanted to create and where I wanted to go. I get the start of your post with never miss an opportunity because it gets delivered in overalls and it looks like hard work. Right on.

    Your right about going against the grain when you say it is about the end result and not the journey. I do agree to a point. Because once again it circles in that lifestyle, relaxed mode. However I think you can remain focused and spirited in your work and develop the skill set you have when angry so that you get an all round win. I don’t want to have that anger all the time, but I certainly want that fire to keep me going, to keep it real.

    For me whenever failure seems to sit me on my butt, of late I have this in built mechanism that keeps reminding me it is only a day and it will pass. Like the depths of this belief is real. Thanks again, I like your straight up, don’t mess about attitude, it is refreshing.

    Rachel.

  3. Rose Costas

    Jul 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Thanks Chris for this great post. I can relate so much to being in a place I want so badly to escape from but I also learned that life sometimes put us in uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately too many of us surrenders and choose to suffer when that’s the time we should be fighting our hardest. I have been there and done that and I am now learning not to accept suffering as normal.

  4. Cynthia

    Jul 10, 2015 at 1:25 am

    This article is definitely one I can relate to!!! The part about when the going gets tough the tough gets angry….Angry enough to go harder for your goals. This article has definitely boost me 1000 to keep achieving my goals. Keep them coming!!!

  5. Lawrence Berry

    Jul 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I really like this article because it’s different. I havent read too many articles that state that knowing hot to USE knowledge is more important than knowledge itself. I also think that knowledge is only the stepping stone to power, while action is the true culprit to power. These is some great information. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Jacob S.

    Jul 7, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Great article, Chris! I identify most with #6 and how anger can drive you, but in a healthy way of course. This is something that I use often and work to not let it get to me, but rather place it into something worthwhile and healthy. Thanks Chris!

    • Chris

      Jul 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Anger is ugly and chaotic, just like life. Whenever I’m angry, I feel like I’m more in touch with life in general. You have to “get it” to get it.

  7. Elita Torres

    Jul 7, 2015 at 1:31 am

    Great choices of lessons. You Never do it Alone – Sometimes people are focused so much on moving forward, they pay no mind to the people they are pushing down to get there. Help enough people get what they want and you get what you want.

    It’s about the end result – This a powerful message. When I first read it in the “Seven Habit of Highly Effective People”, it put a lot of things in perspective for me.

    Thanks for the article

  8. Nick

    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    This Article is brilliant.

    “Its all about the End Result”. This is very true. Thanks for writing!

  9. David

    Jul 6, 2015 at 4:13 am

    LOVE IT!!!! Great Article!

  10. Samudra Kumaratungga

    Jul 6, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Great article! and the anger part, i really do love it, while i don’t particularly agree in rage for advancement, i do agree in major discontent being the driving force; I mean really what else sparks change, right? But I also focus that discontentment into excitement, and getting really really pumped up for the change that I’ll be making. Everyone is different in the driving force of their success, but discontentment with one’s current situation seems to be the common ground that people have for change.

    It’s like the obsession for bettering lives, it’s so congruent with what people are meant to do in this world, It’s freakin bad ass, I love that mindset.

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:07 am

      There’s many ways to get motivated, but in my experience anger is the best way to not allow a difficult situation to crush you. It has absolutely worked for me.

  11. Jimmy Roos

    Jul 5, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Hey Chris, great article with a number of very points. I agree with most of them except “anger” and “it’s all about the end result.” Anger can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. You need to know the balance between letting the anger fuel your drive and not becoming angry about the life and what it is dealing you. There’s a very thin line. You have to be kind of a a psycopath in a way to get it right.

    As far as not enjoying the journey and focusing on the end result. It is again about keeping the balance.To me, enjoying the journey is about being grateful and appreciating life, rather than remaining unhappy with life because I have not achieved the end result. I have found that, that can actually delay the end result.

    It is said that “success is shy,” … and I have found that it comes much faster when you’re not continually focused on it.

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:16 am

      Agreed. Self awareness is key.

      A balanced life is that of a normal person. You have to be exceptional to get exceptional results like success. You can feel however you like about it, but keep your eye on the prize. It’s easy to be lead astray.

  12. Heitem Ak

    Jul 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Wow, this is gold!

    “something that you’re starving to move forward in.”

    As soon as I read this, I pulled out my notepad!

    Keep them coming! 😉

    Best,

    Heitem Ak

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:18 am

      Glad you like it Heitem. This is all real stuff; no fluff or theory.

  13. Ibra

    Jul 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    What about not enough money to seize a great opportunity ?

    • Chris

      Jul 6, 2015 at 3:20 am

      Anyone with a brain and some discipline can turn money into more money. This is about getting started.

      • Ibra

        Jul 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        That’s true but, for example, a soccer player who needs money to travel abroad for achieve his dream to become professional can be blocked in his progress cause of lack of money

        • Chris

          Jul 7, 2015 at 9:10 pm

          A lot of life is still dumb luck. Even if he has talent, he might not be provided the answer to such difficulties while still young enough to excell. The will without the means is no good.

          I don’t know much about being a professional in soccer but if traveling is all it takes, the cost should only be in the thousands- possible for your average working man. The first step may instead be to learn an in-demand trade- a ~2 year investment that makes you much more employable(be sure that it is in demand though). Again I don’t really know what it takes exactly but hope this helps put things into perspective.

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Life

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

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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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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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