What do you want out of life? Are you 100% happy right now or do you wish you had more? Wishing it, unfortunately, will not make it happen for you, taking action and changing your approach to life will.
Not all of us will be millionaires, but we can take steps to be financially and emotionally richer. By applying better levels of control over our lives, rather than expecting somebody else to do it, success and achievements are much more likely to happen.
Many people will use excuses as to why they are not achieving or reaching their full potential, but excuses are not actions and will not get you anywhere. You need to do something, make changes, believe in yourself and get to where you want to be.
By adopting a positive perspective, you’ll start to see things differently; good areas of your life will become great, great areas will become fantastic. Change is exciting and demanding, so you need to look after yourself, both mind and body to be able to go full throttle. Always remember, life is only as amazing as the way you choose to live it.
Step 1 – Taking control
How do you take control? A few years ago, after a visit to Egypt, I came down with a tropical disease which meant that I couldn’t work for a few months. It wasn’t a break by any means, as post fever I was left extremely lethargic having to sleep at least four times in the day. I had bought a self-help book some six months previous, but had never opened it. During my time out of work I started to read it. It spoke about the power of the mind and self-healing (which I tried and believed worked, but that’s another article), and also about having a life-plan.
Now, putting together a life-plan may seem very dull, boring and controlled and in complete contrast to the unpredictability of life, but if you start one you’re on the road to changing your life. I’m not talking about day-to-day detail; I’m talking about what you want out of life – bigger house, better job, your own business etc. I started to look at my life and what I wanted from it. I was very happy, with an amazing husband, a great job and a nice home, but another side of me that wanted more. So following on from the advice I had read, I started to write a plan for the next year, which gave me a time frame and key goals to hit. I decided my main goal was to own four properties within twelve months, I included in my plan when and how I would purchase these properties (including utilising my current assets, borrowing from family etc).
One year later I had four properties, excluding a purchase and sale. I had decided to take control of my life, apply a positive thought process and set goals for myself, which I focused on and challenged myself to meet. I now have a life plan and know what I want to achieve out of my life. It doesn’t mean I lack any spontaneity or excitement by any means, it simply means I know what I want and have a plan of how to achieve it.
Taking control of your life is recognising that you can determine the road you take and the achievements you make. It’s about being assertive and responsible about the things you can control. You should evaluate what you like about your life and what you don’t like and take appropriate action; if you want another job go and get one. If you feel an area of your life is holding you back, confront it. In contrast if something supports what you do, embrace it and cherish it. You need to establish what you want and plan how you are going to get it. Having goals is essential, because they give you direction and focus in life. As John Wooden, the basketball coach was fond of saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
Step 2 – The Confidence Trick
Many people will use lack of confidence as an excuse for why they are not successful. If you are one of those people, you need to create a new belief system, which revolves around you being confident; you’ll then start to feel different.
I’m not suggesting you just need to think you’re confident and you’ll be that way, I’m talking about taking a totally different approach to how you view yourself. There are many mind-training techniques and self-help books which can help you with confidence, but key to this is your belief in yourself. Confidence is about being content and happy with who you are and what you represent.
Take time out to think about why you are a wonderful person, make a note of all your positive traits and focus on them, see yourself through the eyes of your loved ones, and start to feel more positive about yourself. Once you feel good about yourself and what you have to offer this world, confidence will flow. You are a unique, special person and you need to believe that now. There’s only one of you and only you can do things exactly your way.
Once you start to believe in yourself, you can start to challenge yourself to do new things (which will increase your confidence even more). Being comfortable and at ease with ourselves and our surroundings naturally makes us feel confident. If you’re at a party make a point of talking to people you do not know – it doesn’t matter if you use the same questions of topic of discussion. Try this approach at work, when you go shopping, or at your local clubs. It may seem simple, but a conversation with someone you don’t know, every time you go out will help boost your confidence.
How we perceive ourselves affects how others see us. If you think you’re shy and retiring, many people will feel uncomfortable talking to you as they can sense you’re unease, or they may even think you are not interested in them. If you think you’re confident and engaging, people are likely to warm to you more as you’re likely to put them at ease talking to you. How we see ourselves is vital to how we live our lives and how we interact with others. If you want to become successful and stay successful, you need to think of yourself of someone who deserves it. Stand tall and proud and always believe in yourself and your role in this world.
Step 3 – Get Rid of the Fear
No matter how much you have struggled in the past, every new day, provides you with new opportunities.
Fear is a powerful emotion, which restricts us from doing things. Sometimes it’s useful, as it is nature’s way of telling us of danger, but a lot of the time it’s illogical and a result of irrational emotions. Many people are afraid of failing if they try something new, however failure is all down to perception and how you frame the outcome. If you do something and you’re not happy with the results, don’t reprimand or criticise yourself, what you should do is treat it as learning – try it another way. It really is a very useful technique and if you use it everyday, you’ll start to see the benefits and impact on others around you.
When Thomas Edison was asked how he felt at having had seven hundred unsuccessful attempts to invent the electric light bulb, he responded:
“I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. I will find the way that will work”.
This is a wonderful quote and fantastic attitude to have towards life. Only by experience do we know how to do things better. If you don’t try something new, how will you ever know what it would be like? Do you want to hide in the shadows and watch others make a success of their lives, while you sit back and watch because you’re afraid it might not go your way? Are you going to let an emotion control you and prevent you from achieving what you know you are capable of? Strangely enough, many people do not believe they deserve success or great wealth or even happiness. Adopting a positive approach to your life and taking control of it will ensure you are not one of those people. If you programme yourself to be successful, you will be successful – you just need to believe in yourself and put yourself out there. Once you do, you will be able to handle what ever challenges life offers you with a sense of ease and confidence
Step 4 – Positive Thinking
You are not born a negative person or a person, although you may believe you were. Your mind has been programmed to be a certain way, by those influences you had around you growing up and even now. You may have been brought up being told that you should always be prepared for the worst, not to get your hopes up or be content with what you’re given. As such, the little voice in your head repeatedly says such things to you, so you become entrenched in a negative world. Here’s the thing, the little voice in your head is YOU and only you can control it. Your mind is powerful, but you own it! Changing your perspective on life and how you approach it will have a profound effect on both your happiness and your successes. You need to get rid of as many of the negative generalizations you have made over the years and replace them with positive ones.
It’s very easy to wallow in the negative world, most of us enjoy moaning and asking for comfort from others. Talking about someone behind their back, whingeing about the weather, moaning about your weight, money, hair or whatever are all negative acts that have no goal other than to breed negativity. If you think about the people in this world that inspire you, how do you feel they conduct themselves? Do you think they’re interesting and fun to be around, or do you think they moan, wallow and generally walk around with an air of negativity? Most people who are successful are confident, engaging happy people and those traits aren’t the result of the lifestyle they currently lead (although that no doubt helps), they’ve always been that way. Determined to succeed, building relationships with people where applicable, believing in themselves and thus remaining positive in every approach they take.
Rather than looking at life for all its downs, why not look at it for all its ups? For every bad experience you’ve had, think of a good one and then focus on that. Think about what you have, who you love, what makes you smile. If you do something and you’re not happy with the outcome, simply take a note not to repeat that action again, don’t reprimand or criticise yourself, treat it as learning – try it another way. This approach really is very useful and if you use it everyday, you’ll start to see the benefits and impact on you and others around you.
If a negative thought enters your head, control it and flip it so it takes a different angle e.g. “this doesn’t work” turn into “this could work better” or “I’m broke” turn into “I need to think of how to make more money”. When you wake up each morning, smile and appreciate everything you have. If you’re not happy about something in your life, change it (no one else will do it for you). Rather than seeing a new challenge with fear and trepidation, look upon it as exciting and something wonderful.
If you see life as fun and a journey of learning, you’ll get so much more out of it. Laugh at yourself more and with others around you. Don’t get caught up in negative conversations about people, what does that achieve? If others engage you in negative conversation, turn the conversation around into a positive – always avoid the perpetual whiners (it’s up to them to change their life).Every encounter with a person, food, travel, any aspect of life, provides you with the knowledge of what makes you happy and what doesn’t – what works for you and what doesn’t. The more you learn and recognise how to change things to be happy, the happier you will be!
Step 5 – Look After Yourself
Regular exercise and eating healthily are important to your state of well being and mental performance. Lack of energy, due to poor diet or lack of exercise will manifest itself in your day-to-day life. If you want to take on a new challenge you need to look after yourself. Power Naps are a great way of refreshing your brain – just taking 15-30mins time out can help you re-boost your energy levels. You should exercise at least 3 times a week and I don’t just mean going for a walk, I mean aerobic or anaerobic exercise – pushing your body. Exercise releases endorphins which give us a natural high. You’ll definitely get a buzz each time you do it and you’ll feel better about yourself.
To be healthy human beings and to function at the peak of our potential, we need to achieve a balance of mind and body. If we serve our outer needs without allowing ourselves time for the person within, and especially if we ignore the need to slow down and take a break, we’re likely to get ill or run-down. Exercise is a great way to take a break or you could use relaxation techniques such as meditation, to control any stress levels.
Healthy eating doesn’t mean just eating salads and low fat foods, it means eating a varied diet providing all the vitamins and nutrients you needs – fish, poultry, veg, nuts, and plenty of water should be part of your diet. Please don’t think popping vitamin pill after vitamin pill will do the job, these can be part of your diet, but shouldn’t be used to replace the natural products. If you really need that chocolate fix, go for it, but try to limit the times you need it or even better think about why you actually need it? Would an apple not suffice?
By taking control of our lives, believing in ourselves, eliminating any fear of not achieving, using positive thinking and looking after ourselves we are completely set to life success. Always remember, life is only as amazing as the way you choose to live it, as Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it”.