“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
On a beautiful sunny morning, while walking to work, you meet someone, who asked you for a small loan, months ago, but haven’t paid back yet. He smiles at you, says a nice “good morning”, and keeps walking.
How would you react in this situation?
You might think:
“What is he thinking? Does he think that I have amnesia?”
“He might at least show some respect, and say that he is doing his best to pay me back the loan.”
The encounter with him might ruin your day. You’ll probably keep thinking all day long about the friend and the loan you gave him, while feeling angry and resentful.
Every day, we go through many similar incidents. Some of them are easy to deal with, some are a bit unpleasant, and some are annoying, disturbing and sometimes, unbearable.
You need to make a choice.
You need to make a choice and stand by it, to accept to be unhappy or to choose to feel happy.
- You can choose to dwell on an unhappy event all day long. You may also choose to refuse to think about it, and focus on other events that make you feel happy and bring a smile to your face.
- You might have experienced unpleasantness. You might have suffered from some humiliation, disrespect or anger, but you do not have to let them influence your reactions and feelings.
- You might not be able to change people’s behavior, but you can control your reactions, your response, and whether to let their behavior and their actions affect you.
If you let external events influence your moods, you will be at the mercy of these forces and influences. You will lose your inner poise and your happiness. You will allow your happiness to be determined by other people and by external influences.
Choose happiness, contentment and joy as a way of life.
Choose to be happy, and strive, no matter how difficult it might be, to reject, ignore and refuse to associate with unhappy thoughts and feelings.
This would require some effort on your part. Sometimes, you might fall back into the habit of dwelling on unhappiness, but gradually, you will learn to be happy and content.
Choose to free yourself from outer influences. Prefer happiness to unhappiness. It is your attitude that makes you feel happy or unhappy.
Inspiration comes in many forms and can strike randomly. Some days we have an abundance of creative energy which comes naturally, other days it’s not so easy. Writing, music, art and design all help me foster internal creativity, and I know you probably feel the same way.
There are a ton of blogs dedicated to inspiration, and while that is not the main theme I write on here, I do enjoy sharing some of my philosophies on life with you from time to time.
I find it extremely useful when other bloggers write quick lists highlighting articles they enjoyed writing because it is pretty easy to miss a post if you follow a lot of blogs.
The importance of keeping your mind sharp cannot be overstated. We’re all part of a fantastic intellectual and information economy, which thrives on ideas, creativity and intelligence. Keeping your mind sharp is sure to give you the edge over the competition, and more importantly lead to your own higher levels of happiness.
When your mind is in top shape, you will:
- Have greater motivation and focus
- Get more done
- Come up with more creative ideas
- Find inspiration more often
- Remember more
- Experience a better life
I’d like to share a few practices I’ve found are extremely beneficial in keeping my mind sharp and can help you as well:
1) Continue reading, absorbing knowledge and experiencing culture
Sorry to use a clichéd quote, but education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.It should be something pleasurable and done for intrinsic reasons above all else. Read blogs on subjects both within your field and in new fields you know nothing about; read books; watch lectures on fascinating new subjects; read about ancient societies; take in a new form of art you’ve never experienced; you get the idea. Challenge your mind to continually broaden your horizon and soak up new information like an infinite sponge (that’s pretty much what it is, you should use it to do just that).
2) Learn a skill or craft you’ve never tried before like playing an instrument, composing music, painting, building a model airplane, or even coding computer programs.
Engage your mind in learning a new skill. You’re never too old to do this, but this is definitely something you should start as young as you can. I started composing my own music at around 17, and in retrospect I wish I had started even younger. You’d be surprised how much learning a new skill will open up many new paths in your mind and help you become even better at whatever you are already an expert at. You’ll also open yourself up to tons of new connections and intellectual social circles by engaging yourself in a new hobby, form of art, or trade.
3) To improve memory don’t write everything down
If you can, try this for a week: write down everything you need to do at the beginning of the week, as you normally would, but take your list and put it out of sight. Instead of keeping that list visible at your desk, internalize your projects and simply remember and know what needs to be done, prioritize it in your mind, and do it. Your brain is extremely powerful and you’ll find that, in time, you may not have to write anything down to remember everything (you can still keep a list for reference, but it’s great not to need it).
4) Give your mind time to assimilate knowledge
We live in a culture where we are constantly experiencing and learning new things and taking in new information. This is a great thing, I’m not going to go into the information overload spiel, I don’t really believe in that anyway (you are in total control over how much information you take in at once). But in your process of absorbing new skills, knowledge and life experiences; internal analysis of yourself, what you have learned and where you are going is vital to put everything in proper perspective. Some people do it well during running, others through listening to music, and some people through making art. Find your own place that allows you to assimilate all you have learned and frequent it often.
5) Eat well, sleep well and exercise often
Giving your mind the proper rest and energy is essential to getting the best performance out of it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but people often forget that you need proper fuel and proper rest to function optimally. Also, putting your physical body through the paces is a surefire way to rejuvenate yourself mentally. If you’re ever feeling stressed, out of inspiration, or depressed, a few days of nutritious food, good sleep and vigorous exercise will put you back to your full self soon enough.
Don’t worry if you make mistakes. Only people who dare, try, and persevere, complete tasks and achieve success.
It is so comfortable to be passive, make no effort, and stick to the familiar. However, by doing so, we allow external influences shape your life.
Daring, trying new things, and making changes, seem intimidating. It is more comfortable to suffer, complain, and stay in the same place.
Why Daring Is Intimidating?
- You afraid you might make mistakes.
- You are afraid to look ridiculous.
- You want to avoid criticism.
- There is a lack of self-esteem.
- There is a lack of self-confidence.
If you wish to let the above list intimidate you, and therefore, be unhappy, complain, and stay where you are, this is your choice. However, if you want to live a greater life, you should consider taking a step beyond your fears and start daring.
It is not so difficult to do.
It is a matter of attitude. It is a matter of changing your mindset. As the saying goes, ‘it is all in the mind’.
After the first step, it would seem less intimating to dare, even if you make mistakes and bad choices.
All people who achieved success, any kind of success, dared to try. They did mistakes, and they failed over and again, but they did not give up. Continue reading
“I don’t know how.”
“It probably wouldn’t have worked anyways.”
“I’m too busy.”
How often do you catch yourself making excuses. Instead of doing something, you come up with ways to explain your inaction. Excuse-makers are usually seen as weak, lazy or cowardly.
I believe this is an unfair generalization.
We all make excuses once in a while. Sometimes we make excuses and other times we stop rationalizing and take action. I’m sure most of us can remember times when we procrastinated and wasted days before starting a project. I’m also sure most of us can remember times we started immediately, and finished ahead of schedule.
The differences between these two cases could be described as a difference of willpower. When you procrastinated, you lacked willpower. But that isn’t helpful. If willpower is outside your direct control, then claiming willpower as a solution isn’t going to work.
Instead, I believe that the answer to stop making excuses lies has two steps:
- Organizing your priorities.
- Breaking large, uncomfortable steps into manageable pieces.
Organizing Your Priorities
What’s more important to you right now? Expanding your finances? Succeeding academically? Improving the quality of your relationships? Excuse making is the result of conflicting priorities. When you don’t have a system for making decisions, the tendency is to just go with whatever feels best in the moment.
You can clear this up by defining what your priorities are. The purpose is to aid when one event conflicts with another. If you have to decide between working on a school project or going on a date, you need to look at your priorities. Which ranks higher? Relationships or academic success.
Priorities clears up the need for excuse making, since it simplifies decisions with conflicting values.
With priorities it’s important to define your major focus and minor focuses. A major focus should get the benefit of any extra attention you have to devote to it. Minor focuses shouldn’t be abandoned, but your goal is to put them on autopilot so most your mental energies are devoted to your major focus.
To give an example, my major focus right now is this business. Earlier this year I realized that if I put a concentrated effort, I could tip the slide to where this business could support me full-time. I’m close to there now, but not quite over the line.
My minor focuses are my health, relationships, social life, Toastmasters and school. These minor focuses continue to be worked on while I improve my income. But most my mental attention is going into ways I can expand this website and offer more value.
Splitting your priorities into a single major focus and several minor focuses makes it far harder to put out excuses. Whenever a conflict arises where I would normally offer an excuse, I can simply think of my priorities. When priorities are clear, it is difficult to justify departing from them.
Breaking Down Discomfort
Mixed-up priorities are only a part of excuse-making. Unwillingness to step into uncomfortable situations is another. Success in almost any effort requires taking risks and facing failure. Becoming a great public speaker requires you get up in front of a big audience and possibly deliver a terrible speech.
The problem is when your priorities dictate you need to take a big step, and you can’t do it. This could mean wanting to improve your business, but not being willing to make cold calls or marketing your product.
What results is excuse-making. You find easier tasks to do and excuse your procrastination. Rationalize away the feeling that you don’t feel comfortable going forward.
The fix here is to break down uncomfortable steps. Laziness is just another manifestation of fear. So if you can’t take the next step, break it into smaller parts you can handle. If you can’t get up on stage to speak, try delivering your speech in front of a few friends. If you can’t make a cold call, try calling someone you already know.
Sometimes, however, a step can’t be broken down. You either need to face it entirely or not at all. In these situations you need to get leverage on yourself. Give a friend $100 of yours to hold onto until you follow through. Make a public commitment. Any of these steps will work.
The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, ask yourself? Does this fit within my priorities? If it doesn’t and you still find yourself making excuses ask yourself if there is any way you could push yourself through the next step.
Life isn’t a steady escalator. Sometimes getting better requires that you first get a lot worse. If you can’t admit to yourself that you suck at something, chances are it will hold you back from future improvements.
Pride, ego, fear of rejection, call it what you will. The result is the same. Part of you likes your temporary holdout in life. It isn’t the work that scares you, or even the unknown. It’s the fact that in order to move forward you have to get your hands dirty.
Examples of “I Suck” Moments Creating Progress
I’d like to argue that “I Suck” moments aren’t the rarity. Letting go of what you already have is a crucial part of many improvements. Here’s just a few examples of how failing to utilize “I Suck” moments could hold you back:
The Dead-End Job
You want to start a business. But you don’t know anything about business. In fact, you’re pretty sure it can’t compete with the salary you are already earning. Your job is comfortable, but it doesn’t make you want to leap out of bed each morning. Your choice is either to face the inevitable “I Suck” moment, ignore your pride and get started with your business. Or go back to working the job that will eventually suffocate you.
The Dull Relationship
You’ve been together for months but the passion isn’t there any more. But you haven’t been dating in awhile and you’re worried you can’t do any better. Your choice is either to stick with someone who isn’t right for you or admit you suck at dating but go through with it anyways.
The Out-of-Shape Body
It’s been years since you’ve hit the gym. Now you want to get back in shape, but it will mean departing from your days of youthful fitness. Your choice is to either admit you suck at exercising and struggle out with the basics of fitness and willpower others have mastered – or continue to live an unhealthy life.
The examples of “I Suck” moments being the deciding factor are numerous.
I have personally had many “I Suck” moments in my own life. As a shy, introverted kid it took a lot of pride-swallowing to admit I had to learn a lot about communication and socializing. I started on the bottom and faced more than a few failures. Now I have hundreds of friends and consider it to be a personal strength.
When I started this blog I was only Nineteen and new to writing, blogging and hardly an expert. I had to face up to the “I Suck” moment and work hard to gain traffic. Looking at months of virtually no subscribers was just a small part of the ego-dissolving I needed to do.
How to Push Past the “I Suck” Moments
Nobody wants to be bad at something. Nobody wants to take a step backwards. Nobody wants to move from a comfort zone where you already kick-ass to one where you feel out of place. But sometimes it needs to be done.
Here’s just a few ideas I’ve found helpful for pushing past “I Suck” until you can eventually say “I’m Great!”
- Cut Denial – The hardest step is admitting you have a problem. Admitting that an area of your life isn’t as great as you want it to be. Or facing the truth that your current direction, while comfortable, isn’t taking you anywhere.
- Face Your Pain – Don’t fight it. If you feel crappy, search through it. Don’t dilute your depressed or uncomfortable feelings about a bad area of your life. Write out your thoughts and feeling. Admit “I Suck” liberally. It will substitute a chronic pain for an acute one. But facing those thoughts is the only way through them.
- Start at the Bottom – Push through your pride and start back at the bottom. If quitting your boring job to pursue your dreams means a cut in salary, you might have to take it. Losing one relationship may mean you need to stumble in your dating life.
- Find an Anchor – Find something that gives you self-worth. Anchor yourself in something more permanent so your self-esteem doesn’t crash when you face the “I Suck” moment. This could be family, spiritual beliefs, knowledge, close friends, skills or even the present.
You Don’t Really Suck
“I Suck” moments are an illusion in themselves. As painful as they are, once you go to the other side, you can’t imagine not having done it sooner. Although it may appear to be a dip in quality of life, the opposite often occurs. Looking back, the “I Suck” was more brief than it had first appeared.
WHAT ! you see right now,what’s going on right now,where you are right now, none of those things represent what you’re truly capable of. whether its the most wonderful time in your life or you’re in the pits doesn’t matter if you’re focused on your destiny
Keep on pushing ahead because there is more inside you than what you are right now. sooner or later,caterpillars turn into butterflies,tadpole turn into frogs,and eggs turn into chickens. let your vision of your destiny draw out of you the person you really are. when the appointed time comes, you will transform into the fullness of what you were created to be.
Remember, keep looking towards whats ahead while you draw on the strength of lessons learned from the past.Have faith in yourself and in God,there is something inside you yet to be discovered,……..FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON GETTING IT…..
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT,IF YOU FOUND IT SCINTILLATING,AND LIKE OR RE-BLOG THANKS…..
By Kenzii peters obiadi
Focus-Decide what deserves you. Arriving at destiny involves separating yourself from your gift.
Many times people confuse who you are with what you do. differentiating between who you are and what you do is critical for your well-being. as I’ve traveled in inner circles with highly visible people and Continue reading