How many times have we said we wanted to do one thing or another but haven’t brought ourselves to do them in the first place?
How many of us complain of limited time, lack of ‘Me’ time or being constantly overwhelmed, yet when we get a half day available, we then resort to sitting down doing nothing but watch TV, surf the net or go out?
How many other half-days are we getting free but still complain of the lack of free time?
How is this affecting our psyche? What are we constantly telling ourselves as we see we’re unable to fulfill a commitment or another because of our perceived state of hurry and busy-ness?
I have come to see from my experience in coaching and in the outside world that there are a few reasons for holding us back from doing things we want to do. These reasons may be fewer than the things they are holding us back from doing, yet we still allow them to beat us into thinking they are plenty (of reasons why we couldn’t do certain things).
As a result, we may end up feeling constantly disappointed in ourselves, looking down at ourselves because we didn’t do the things we really wanted to do (or those that really mattered) or feeling frustrated that our state of perpetual busy-ness will always stand in the way from us fulfilling our dreams or committing to our goals.
Isn’t that more harmful than actually committing to something as often as we could? Because in the latter case, at least we are moving in the way of our wishes, just slightly in a slower pace (justified by our busyness).
Napoleon Hill says in his book “Think and Grow Rich”: “No man is ever whipped, until he QUITS – in his own mind“. No matter how busy we may be, persistence to committing to what we really want to do is key in lifting our spirits, allowing us to generate more self-respect and higher self-esteem, which form a rich fuel for succeeding in pursuing our goals. Those who quit have already admitted they’re incapable of beating their busy lifestyles, and therefore succumbed to them in a default pattern.
In the mind of a postponer, time is continuous, progressive and persistent. If s/he doesn’t do something now, they can always do it ‘later’. However, the fact that challenges every living being is that time is perishable. Time that elapses, does not return. Therefore, it is the power of harnessing the Now (i.e. living, planning and working in the present) that has the power of bearing the results you wish for in the future.
What I have repeatedly noticed is that people tend to postpone, delay or ignore goals they really wanted to achieve, always managing to find just the right justification for it. They generally shared similar unproductive habits that did not lead to fulfilling their goals, but would rather serve at temporarily distracting them during the time they had wanted to be doing them. These habits can be listed as:
- Lack of planning, which in turn wastes the windows of opportunity (time available) in one’s daily schedule that can be productively used to perpetuate one’s plan to fulfill one’s goals. For example: If one wishes to lose some weight, yet always complains of their busy lifestyle, then when one gets a free day or half-day, one can exercise, workout, detox, etc. Effects of the result can be experienced almost immediately. When one works out after a long period away from exercise, one can immediately start feeling they’re breathing differently, experience a firmness in their entire body muscles and enjoy a completely refreshing change in their schedule. As long as one has a plan, despite all busyness and distraction, one can gradually make a series of steps to get to where they really wish to be.
Hill in his book lists 10 major causes for failure, one of them is the inability to organize details. Hill says: [Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and to master details. No genuine leader is ever "too busy" to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as leader. When a man, whether he is a leader or follower, admits that he is "too busy" to change his plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he admits his inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with his position. That means that he must acquire the habit of relegating details to capable lieutenants.]
- Procrastination, Indecision and Failing to resist the temptation of doing empty activities on the expense of doing important ones. Empty activities are like watching TV without limiting it to a certain period of time, sleeping, eating, going out, etc. All these are activities that help distract and get an immediate escape from the commitments one may want to fulfill. Hill adds intemperance to the list: “intemperance in any of its various forms, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it”. Hill also points to wishing as opposed to willing as a major cause for prolonging one’s lack of ability to achieve success.
- Maintaining a negative framework of thinking: Thinking that you are a victim only makes you one. If you become one, then you start acting like it. This includes short-sightedness, failure, self-disappointment, and low energy. Shifting into a more positive perspective of thinking does miracles in comparison to negative thinking. Positive thinking inspires more effective and productive thoughts, refreshes one’s energy and most importantly renews one’s sense of motivation.
When one feels like a victim, one starts acting like one. This can never lead to success.
- Lack of a clear purpose in life: Hill argues that “there is no hope of success for the person who does not have a central purpose, or definite goal at which to aim.” Going on in life on autopilot mode allows results one has not wished or planned for. It also allows other powerful waves to shape one’s life, and hence, one’s future. Remembering who we really are fills us with a sense of motive and intent to become the person we had always aspired to be. However, not having a clear purpose in life, leads us to live each day’s events as they happen, allowing us little space to fulfill our own actions steps and goals that represent who we really are.
To combat these unproductive habits, here’s a list I’m quoting from Hill’s book, as I found it perfect for solving them and creating successful results by shifting one’s perspective into a more productive / positive one:
|Persistence is a state of mind, therefore it can be cultivated. Like all states of|
|mind, persistence is based upon definite causes, among them these:—|
|a. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE. Knowing what one wants|
|is the first and, perhaps, the most important step toward the|
|development of persistence. A strong motive forces one to|
|surmount many difficulties.|
|b. DESIRE. It is comparatively easy to acquire and to|
|maintain persistence in pursuing the object of intense desire.|
|c. SELF-RELIANCE. Belief in one’s ability to carry out a plan|
|encourages one to follow the plan through with persistence. (Self-|
|reliance can be developed through the principle described in the|
|chapter on auto-suggestion).|
|d. DEFINITENESS OF PLANS. Organized plans, even|
|though they may be weak and entirely impractical, encourage|
|e. ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE. Knowing that one’s plans are|
|sound, based upon experience or observation, encourages|
|persistence; “guessing” instead of “knowing” destroys persistence.|
|f. CO-OPERATION. Sympathy, understanding, and|
|harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence.|
|g. WILL-POWER. The habit of concentrating one’s thoughts|
|upon the building of plans for the attainment of a definite|
|purpose, leads to persistence.|
|h. HABIT. Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind|
|absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it|
|feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by|
|forced repetition of acts of courage. Everyone who has seen active|
|service in war knows this.|
A few remarks made by one of my most creative coachees once that still ring in my ears: Everyone already has all they need, but they don’t realize it. They keep looking out there for fulfillment, but they don’t look at what they already have that they can make the most of.
This has made me apply this perspective on everybody around me and everyone I had dealt with. I realized that it was true. Most people thought they needed to learn more things, earn more money, lose some weight, etc. to be happy and fulfill their goals, but what they haven’t realized yet is that they already have the most important components that allow their brains and bodies to take them to where they wish to be. All they needed was acting upon those components!
Can you imagine what a great and positive shift in perspective you’d have if you just believed you already had what you needed?
Can gratitude and keeping a daily “I’m Grateful For” Journal help you achieve that?
Alternatively, does stopping to look outside for reassurance be the key?
In my opinion, the combination of all of these can be extremely powerful if we just believed in it!
Why abuse and bully yourself, your partner or your kids for things you think are necessary? Why not harness what you all have and act upon that positively (i.e. productively)? This means that we positively (not judgmentally) support one another to achieve what we’re inviting them to achieve.
Love of others happens truly after self-love exists. So trust yourself and love it for whatever it is, then you’ll start seeing the world from a positive perspective. At the end of the day, what’s the point of proving everyone else guilty or wrong? False sense of victory?
Cheer up, count your blessings, feel grateful for them and choose the right actions to make the most out of them.
The Four Seasons of Life, The Four Seasons of Love
Often times in conversations with friends or clients, I have used the analogy of the four seasons to assimilate the happenings of daily life and relationship challenges that happened in my as well as their lives. It is a positive thinking exercise and a very effective tool that can help one handle upsetting situations cleverly and realistically.
Life is not about what ‘we’ want it to be. Life is a free-flowing force that is so powerful, wise and miraculous. We can’t simply belittle it just because we may not get the wisdom behind it sometimes. Things happen for a reason, and things eventually fall into their places. So why push, pull, precipitate, complain, and so on. Repeating such unproductive/ negative attitudes only serve as a poison we inject into our blood.
The Four Seasons of Life, The Four Seasons of Love Exercise:
Image via Wikipedia
This is a visualization technique that I use to help me – and my clients - see incidents for what they are, make life more manageable and overcome challenges with positivity.
Here is how it goes.
In the past, whenever I had a gloomy day at work, or with my family, I’d look at it as a grey and cold winter day, with strong winds sometimes. Similarly, whenever my partner and I entered a gloomy phase of mutual discomfort, due to some misunderstanding, in which I felt I had not caused in any way, or if the subject of argument to me was no big a deal – instead of cursing the day and firing out my rage right at him – mentally, I’d declare it a grey winter day. On such weather, I’d go back to my comfort zone, treat myself to a hot and comforting drink, and stay in till the sun came out. Meanwhile, I’d contemplate what happened, why, and how we can solve the problem. If I realized that the problem had been caused by me in any way, I’d start thinking of a solution or a way to make up for what I did. If the result of my reasoning was that it was something my partner did or said that upset me, or if it was a simple misunderstanding – which as silly as it sounds can lead to major and upsetting arguments- I’d wait until it is the appropriate time to address and discuss it calmly, find a solution for it and then makeup.
At all times, I’d try to stay away from that gloomy weather as much as I could, since rain and cold make us sick. Similarly, going back to a heated situation – especially when one is not yet ready- can only make it worse. Arguments can have toxic effects on both parties, and may eventually cause us to become ill, whether emotionally or physically. So, by exercising such way of positive thinking, I have learned to make the most of life’s happenings, and instead of wasting a long time being upset and sad around a particular matter, I’d see it assertively as a winter phase, which will end sometime in the future, and the sun would come out again to shed on the world abundant positive feelings, like friendliness, empathy, gratitude, loyalty, happiness, etc.
Meanwhile, by visualizing that I was staying in, enjoying my treat, contemplating what had happened, I’d give myself and the other person (my sibling, partner, child, co-worker, etc.) a chance to calm down and reflect on what had happened. Instead of obsessing about it all day, I’d go about living my regular life in the most ordinary way. One bad thing, in my opinion, should not and does not deserve to spoil the other aspects of my life. Things fall into their places, when we handle them wisely. However, the least I can do in any heated situation is to mainly reflect on the part I had played in it. No one is perfect and certainly misunderstandings happen.
On the other hand, some challenges may be the product of a purposeful harmful act by others, and that too deserves contemplation, so we learn how to handle it. Yet, if we are going to allow ourselves to get dragged into an escalating negative emotional havoc, we then may not be capable of finding a solution for it. So at all times, stay away from negative energy and angry situations for a while, reflect then choose the right time (when the clouds clear out) to handle it.
The winter analogy can also be applied to one’s disrupting their diet. We are all guilty of that one time or another. We love our bodies, yet sticking to a regime may be challenging sometimes. Treating a messed-up dieting day like a tough winter day, on which it was difficult to commit, helps free us from the blocking feelings of guilt and self-loathing. You may have needed the comfort of a hot chocolate, a chocolate bar, a creamy soup, etc. This is certainly not a sin. It is OK. Life will go on, and you can go back to your regime, when the sun comes out, and you feel energetic, determined and active.
Certainly, this technique wasn’t there all my life. I have developed it through experience as a way of seeing problematic situations as “temporary” occurrences.
Living life as is, and not as ‘it is supposed to be’, may make it easier for us to accept its challenges, and rather rise above them with resilience. Unrealistic expectations, dreams, myths, gossip, etc. may never solve a problem, and most importantly, they may never become real. What we are left with then is illusion, and this is very lonely and cold place to be in.
What about the other seasons? They all work. This is how.
In fall, it is chilly yet it doesn’t take our eyes much time to see the beauty behind that cool weather. Similarly, some misunderstandings between two friends, sisters, brothers, etc. can occur but it may not take them a while to realize that the beauty of their friendship is worth coming forth and resolving the problem at hand.
How about spring and summer?
Well, in spring, things start to green and brighten up. The skies clear up, and the trees start to blossom. Similarly, this is usually the phase where a friendship or a relationship start showing off its beauty, and reflecting that in enjoyable feelings, whose sweetness we savor at all times. Usually, this period of bliss leaves the best memories especially that they mark their contrast upon happening after a period of coldness, absence from your loved ones (at work, on a business trip, normal everyday business, etc.) or fights. When winter resolves, spring shines its happiness in our hearts, and warms the body with blood that is pumped in it with strong palpitations.
Summer is usually a hard-core fun time (a trip somewhere nice, a good phase of achievement at work, some cool gatherings, etc.) This is where we regain our balance and renew our energy, or refill some trying to save for upcoming winter times. These happy deposits forge their memories into our hearts, souls and brains, and they are the ones that help us give the other person benefit of the doubt, when negative/unhappy occurrences happen.
There’s so much beauty in the world for the eyes to behold. It’s just a matter of observing it or not.
No one is perfect, not us nor them. So why assume that in the first place? This is only bound to hurt us more than them.
Hope this technique helps you like it has helped me. Allow your soul to embrace the beauty of other souls and things around you.
~~Peace upon you all~~
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