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7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Keep Your Character In Check

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In this day and age, it often feels like people are far more obsessed with their Facebook newsfeed lives than actually plugging in to what matters. With the rise of social media & sleazy dating apps, have we forgotten what makes a life worth living?

While these forces can be used for good, it’s vital to check in on your character more than you check in on Snapchat. After all, what really matters when it’s all said and done?

Below are 7 critical questions to make you reflect on your character in today’s world:

1. Do you help when nobody is watching?

Take a step back and put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a change. Remember how it feels to be the new guy? We’ve all been there in one way or another and it makes a world of difference to have someone extend a helping hand. You never know how much of a positive impact you could make on someone’s life by simply giving them the time of day. Those little things can actually change a person’s life.

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” – C.S. Lewis

2. Do you look for glory or seek to be a good person?

Most of us care what people think to a degree. After all, it pays to have people like you in the business world or in any world for that matter. Yet, if you’re constantly trying to look good for the higher ups, how does that really make you feel? Do you sleep better at night knowing that your words are merely skin-deep?

Ultimately, being a good person will always connect you to the right people in the end. And those people will have your back instead of turning on you later.

 

3. Are you obsessed with who you are?

On the road to success, it’s easy to become obsessed with your own self-image, forgetting what really matters. Yet, it’s not all about you. While you’re in the gym getting ripped and ready to take on the world, remember why you started. Maybe it was to help others with their confidence or to become a role model to the little guy. Hustle hard, but don’t make it all about you. You’re happiest when you make life about others.

 

4. Do you remember where you came from?

There are way too many grown adults that act like they’re still trying to sit at the cool table in the high school cafeteria. Why waste your life being that superficial? If we could stop trying to impress, we could actually have a real conversation about real things that matter. Don’t ever get too self-righteous to think you’re better than others. Embrace where you came from, because it’s way better to be real than to waste life trying to win over people that only care about all the wrong things.   

 

5. Do you believe in grit?

Nothing in this world can replace hard work. At times, it may feel like you’re spinning your wheels and nothing’s paying off, but true grit will ALWAYS get you through. Throughout your life, you won’t always love your work, but giving it 100% anyway says a lot about your character. Working hard in the little jobs now will push you to do more of the work you love and make you appreciate it later.  

 

6. Do you believe giving is what matters most?

If you make success only about yourself, you will ultimately end up being unfulfilled. If you look back on your life at the times you were most full of joy, it was likely when you focused on giving to others. Contrarily, during times of depression, you were likely nitpicking everything about yourself. The moral of the story here is that focusing outward will give your life far greater meaning.

“The secret to living is giving.” – Tony Robbins

7. Do you have faith in something greater?

Lastly, we must ask ourselves, did we make this life about something greater than just ourselves? Give this life everything you’ve got, but remember to make your mission about something bigger than yourself. Working towards something greater will give you that last leg of energy when you’re so close to giving up. Make your story about something beyond your own success and you will create a life worth living.

Which question do you think is most important to your character? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Jessica Brewer founded Think Train to help entrepreneurs execute an online presence through digital marketing. Her passion lies in helping companies & individuals pinpoint their purpose & further this message via online mediums. Follow her on instagram @jess_l_brewer or check out her website at www.thinktrain.io to learn more.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Naman Kumar

    May 23, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Well wisdom is a thing everyone should have. It makes you a great person.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • Jess

      May 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Naman! Great to hear that you enjoyed it. Character is what matters when it’s all said and done. No one can take that away from you.

      Hope you have a lovely day!

  2. Jess

    May 22, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks Tim! I definitely believe that there’s something more to life than what we can currently see. Our actions matter and that’s why I’m always trying to find where I can help people more and find more purpose in life. I desperately believe in those things.

    Also, love your articles..and website…and overall mindset. Can’t. Get. Enough.

    Keep em coming.

  3. Tim Denning

    May 22, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Jessica, for me, number seven is the most important one. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset and think that human existence is very simplistic. I believe that I am destined for something greater than my current circumstances and I have faith that I will discover what that is. The other questions you mentioned are also very powerful. It’s amazing how when you answer each question honestly, you really get a good indication as to where you’re at.

    I always enjoy your articles Jessica. Thank you!

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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