Archive for August, 2012

Breaking habits and not being afraid to fail leads to success

August 21, 2012

Breaking habits can lead to personal success

Everyone’s life is different, with an infinite number of factors contributing to success or failure. And there are patterns in the ways in which we interact with our experiences. Over time, those patterns define our results and become unconscious habits that may no longer benefit us.

Habits are hard to change.  Many of us talk about the need to change; change our life, change our attitude, change our results, change our approach. The basis of the self-help movement is providing strategies for change. Often this involves a decision about taking another path, usually out of our comfort zone, for the first time.

Our comfort zone provides the protection of the familiar and the easy. We become complacent and blinkered to opportunities that are presented to us. Even when we do make the break, it’s easy to snap back unless we work hard to make a permanent change.

A simple approach is to look at opportunities differently. While commitment and persistence are important, not every opportunity will be right for you. So the next time you want to explore an opportunity, ask ‘Am I prepared to try?’.

When you take up a challenging opportunity, there may be little chance of initial success. Failure may be inevitable. But is it worth the risk? Many times it is.

This approach to life is to take a risk, learn from it, and apply the new knowledge and understanding to the next stage of the journey. Develop your skills and keep going until you’re successful.  Failure is an essential part of this strategy.

Many people aren’t prepared to fail so won’t start, or quit when things become difficult. Ask any successful businessperson, entrepreneur, sportsperson or entertainer if they had a perfect run to the top. Do you think they learned more from everything going perfectly or in those times when things went off the rails?

Taking risks requires failing, but calculated risks are the essence of achievement. You have to fear failure enough to work hard to make the risk pan out successfully, but not so much that you don’t risk in the first place. Viewed through the lens of learning, failure is at least as beneficial as success. Working only on things you’re pretty sure will work significantly limits what you can achieve. Instead, take risks. And then see what happens.

Consciously successful

August 15, 2012

… consciously and with purpose

In our last post we discussed the importance of positive thinking and how it clears the pathway to success. The next key is to use will power and continuous activity to reach success. Every outward manifestation is the result of applying your will, but this is not always used consciously.

Mechanical will allows us to function within our comfort zone, responding to the familiar and supporting the status quo. Conscious will is used to enact change; it’s ‘swimming upstream’ and requires determination and effort. Just ask anyone who’s tried to lose weight or give up smoking.

Conscious effort is going against your programmed habitual response. This is what’s required for change; saying no to your favourite food, going for a walk rather than relaxing on the couch or reading rather than watching TV. It takes action. We don’t set goals for things we do every day; it’s the things we wish to change that require conscious effort. The source of your success is volition.

Conscious willpower is a vital force accompanying determination and effort. This is the source of your personal power. Apply it to your goals by selecting something you currently can’t do. Select something small to start; as your confidence grows you can set the bar higher.

Set something that is realistic, achievable and important to you. Refuse to submit to failure and devote your energy to achieving one thing at a time. Do not divide your focus or energy and don’t leave something half done to begin something new.

Decide. When you decide, you make a commitment and cut off any other outcome as acceptable. Don’t say ‘I will try to’ or ‘I would like to’ or ‘I will start to’ because this is not a commitment. Say ‘I will do this’, and it works best when you add ‘by this date’.

What can you commit to do today to take your first step towards your goal? And when will it be done by?  If those questions makes you nervous, good – this is the first step outside your comfort zone. Will you follow through? That depends on how important the goal is to you and whether you’re really ready to change. So are you?

Positively successful

August 7, 2012

Glass half full or half empty?

We create success or failure according to our most prominent thoughts. When thinking about ourselves, our lives and future prospects, which is stronger – success or failure, positive or negative, optimism or pessimism?

Everybody runs the spectrum of positive and negative thoughts. With everything that goes on in our lives and the myriad of external influences over which we have limited or no control, it would seem impossible to maintain a permanent state of happiness and positiveness. We enjoy moments of euphoric joy and excitement and moments of depression and disappointment.

Taking away the extremes, it’s possible to determine whether a person is generally positive or negative in their thoughts, behaviour and composure. Some see the bad side to everything, refuse to try because they will most certainly fail and struggle through each day with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Others have a positive outlook on life and face the world with enthusiasm and excitement. Each day is an adventure with the probability of moving towards their goal, achieving something significant and learning from their experiences.

If your mind is usually in a negative state, the occasional positive thought isn’t sufficient to attract success. Negativity and scepticism can be a habit that’s hard to break. It appears to be socially unacceptable to many to admit happiness or enjoyment of work and life.

How are you? Not bad (a double negative), alright for a Tuesday I guess, fair to middling, could be better, will be better next week, not real well … and many other similar negative sentiments. Misery enjoys company and if you’re not careful will drag you down into a mire of negativity that kills motivation, creativity and achievement.

This results in feeling sorry for yourself or blaming the world or others for everything that has ever gone wrong in your life. This leaves an undertone of helplessness and hopelessness that precludes taking responsibility for yourself and what happens to you. You become a victim at the whim of circumstance and taken advantage of by others.

We all know people that appear to attract such negative results that just about everything seems to go wrong. They embrace failure with enthusiasm and find great solace in telling others about it and having them feel sorry for them. A self-perpetuating cycle of negativity; the glass isn’t just half empty, it’s smashed on the floor.

Others appear to be ‘blessed’ and everything they touch turns to gold. They’re happy and positive and seek the best from life and usually get it. When things go wrong they see this as a setback, not a failure; there’s a positive correlation between attitude and success.

Taking responsibility for ourselves, our actions, attitudes and results is one of the fundamental keys to success. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

Breaking habits and not being afraid to fail will lead to success

August 1, 2012

Will you jump out of your comfort zone?

Everyone’s life is different, with an infinite number of factors contributing to success or failure. And there are patterns in the ways in which we habitually interact with our experiences. Over time, those patterns define our results.

Habits are hard to change.  Many of us talk about the need to change; change our life, change our attitude, change our results, change our approach. The basis of the self-help movement is providing strategies for change. Often this involves a decision about taking another path, usually out of our comfort zone, for the first time.

Our comfort zone provides the protection of the familiar and the easy. We become complacent and blinkered to opportunities that are presented to us. Even when we do make the break, it’s easy to snap back unless we work hard to make a permanent change.

Sometimes it isn’t about black or white, success or failure. The next time you want to explore an opportunity ask ‘am I prepared to try’.

This approach to life is to take a risk, learn from it, and apply the new knowledge and understanding to the next stage of the journey. Develop your skills along the path and keep going until you’re successful.  Failure is an essential part of this strategy.

Taking calculated risks are the essence of achievement. You have to fear failure enough to work hard to make the risk pan out successfully, but not so much that you don’t risk in the first place. Viewed through the lens of learning, failure is at least as beneficial as success. Working only on things you’re pretty sure will work significantly limits what you can achieve. Instead, take risks. And then see what happens.