One thing we all have in common is the desire to continually grow and evolve. Making progress is a sign we’re headed somewhere in life.
Since an early age in life, we’ve been able to use our imagination to dream of the things we want to do, experience or have. Whether we’ve been able to achieve or live our dreams or not is an indicator if we’ve lived a good life or not.
There are important differences between those who dream up a dream and achieve it versus those who don’t achieve their dreams. It’s been said that a dream cannot come true if we don’t have a dream to begin with.
What often makes a dream more concrete is to convert it into a goal. While dreams are often intangible and unquantifiable, goals on the other hand, are more tangible and measurable. A simple distinction is a goal is a dream with a deadline.
Having dreams means we:
- Have something to aim for.
- Are challenging ourselves to grow.
- Have a desire for something better.
- Are keeping ourselves motivated.
- Are not settling for what we already have.
Knowing how to stay focused on our dreams and be able to get back on track if we start heading in the wrong direction is beneficial if we want to get closer to and eventually achieve our dreams.
We all go through difficult times in life and how we deal with them often defines who we are and who we become.
The better we can handle tough times, the better our chances of not letting those experiences slow us down or stop us from making progress towards what we want. As the saying goes, “Tough people are built for tough times.”
The challenge we face is that if we don’t handle the difficult times in our lives well, it can:
- Create unnecessary mental anguish.
- Cause us to have mental or emotional breakdowns.
- Place additional strain on our relationships.
- Cause us physical pain or trigger other symptoms in our bodies.
- Lower our motivation to do the things we want to.
Having reminders whenever we go through a difficult time will help us cope better and also overcome it easier and faster.
Our capacity to produce the results we want and be the best we can be is closely related to the way we use our mind.
The better we use our mind, the more effective we’ll be, which will translate to the type of results we achieve. The more cluttered our mind, the less effective we’ll be.
If we have too many things cluttering our minds, it means our units of attention, or our ability to focus, is being taken up by different things, which will result in less attention being given to the things we want to do.
In order to more effectively use our minds, we have to give it better attention. Our thoughts form the key contents of our minds. The better we learn to harness our thoughts, the more effective we’ll be.
We’ll never get rid of all our thoughts and it should not be the objective. Our objective should be to free up mental units attention so that we can direct more attention to doing the things that’ll cause us to have greater progress in life.
Our ability to influence people determines how much of an impact we can make.
If we want to make a bigger impact in the world, we have to become better at influencing other people. The dictionary defines influence as “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviour and opinions of others.”
Influencing someone can often be mistaken as trying to manipulate a person but there is a significant difference. Manipulation is getting someone to do something in an unfair or forceful manner, whereas influence is getting someone to buy into something that can be a benefit to everyone involved.
When done correctly, a person who has been influenced to take a particular action, should feel they’re taking that action because they want to, and not because they were forced or manipulated into doing it.
Some of the benefits of becoming a more influential person includes:
- Expanding other people’s vision of what’s possible.
- Leveraging resources, knowledge and skills to reach outcomes quicker.
- Guiding others to look at things from different perspectives.
- Becoming a more confident and powerful person.
- Assisting others to achieve what they want in life.
Having strong influence skills can make a huge difference in our lives. On the other hand, if we make common influence mistakes, it’ll be challenging to achieve what we want, which will also affect others getting what they want.
Learning to not take things personally can be very challenging because we’ve been conditioned from a young age to be influenced by external situations.
Taking things personally means an event or experience that didn’t go the way we expected it to, has caused us to feel some type of negative emotion, whether it’s sadness, disappointment, frustration, anger or lower motivation.
Why do we take things personally?
Some of the reasons why we take things personally include:
- We allow an event that happened to mean something about us and our identity.
- Our beliefs and values, which we conclude to be true for us, have been violated in some way.
- We’re insecure and find it difficult to accept the aspects of ourselves that are imperfect.
We’re all doing the best we can to live life. The danger of taking things personally is that we’re being influenced by external situations or things outside of ourselves. Instead of living from the inside out, we’re living from the outside in.
One of the most valuable things we can learn in order to have a higher level of self-awareness is to not take things personally, especially when things don’t go as planned.
One thing we know about life is that change is constant. Every day, we witness and experience change.
As we get older, our bodies change, as does our perceptions and beliefs. As technology advances, the way we live our lives is also changing and evolving.
The more open we are to change, the better our chances of using what’s changing around us to our advantage. If we’re resistant to change, it’ll be much more difficult for us to incorporate the benefits of the changes happening into our lives.
On a podcast interview I recently listened to, one of the founders of the ride company, Lyft, shared that they have a vision to change everyday road travel around the world.
One of the biggest paradigm shifts for vehicle owners will to be consider not owning a vehicle but instead, sign up to a ride service that a company like Lyft provides for an annual or monthly fee. It’ll be like having a ride on-demand.
We’re always receiving feedback in the form of our results. Whenever we’re not creating the results we want, we know we have to do things differently.
Similarly, we can learn to give feedback to others if they’re not making progress or meeting deadlines. Being able to provide feedback without destroying a person’s self-confidence is really valuable, especially if we’re in any type of leadership or managerial role.
I remember when I had a corporate career, performance management sessions was something I dreaded, both as a receiver and as the giver of feedback. There was always a level of discomfort going through the process because as human beings, being challenged or questioned by another person can be uncomfortable.
The good news was I always survived those sessions and they always helped me improve and I was also able to help my team members improve.
We tend to prefer positive feedback. Receiving negative feedback can be awkward at times.
How Most People Deal With Negative Feedback
- They either reject or ignore the feedback.
- They may get angry at the person providing the feedback.
- They may feel discouraged by the feedback and choose not to improve.
The whole purpose of giving or receiving feedback is to improve and continually move forward towards agreed objectives. In order to prevent someone from feeling discouraged as a result of negative feedback, there are specific things we can do.
Our level of confidence plays a big part in how we live our lives and the things we’re willing or not willing to do.
Confidence is both a belief and a feeling. When we’re confident, we know things will work out well because of our abilities, competence and capacity to figure things out.
When a person has low self-confidence, it means they lack belief in their ability to do or carry out what they want to do.
The Costs of Low Self-Confidence
- Frustration or disappointment.
- Lack of progress in life.
- Additional strain on personal relationships.
- Unwilling to take new risks.
- Poor communication behaviours.
As our level of confidence dictates so much of what we experience in life, we must be aware of things that may be causing us to have low self-confidence.
We often hear about people letting their fear of failure prevent them from going for their dreams or following their passions.
While the fear of failure is commonly known, the fear of success is just as powerful but not easily recognised.
At a conscious level, most people would say they want to have more success in their lives, depending on how they define success. However, very few people will admit or even know, they may have a fear of being more successful.
All fears are internally generated. In order to become more aware of our fears, we have to be willing to spend time doing some self-reflection and introspection.
Causes of the Fear of Success
While there may be many causes or reasons for someone to have a fear of success, some of the ones to be aware of are:
- Not wanting to be seen in a bigger way.
- Not wanting to be taken advantage of.
- Not wanting to stand out or be perceived as better than those around us.
- Not wanting to embrace the truth that we have greatness within us.
- Being comfortable playing small and conforming to what others expect of us.
The reasons behind our fears are almost always untrue. Once we start challenging them, we’ll find they’re simply ideas we’ve made up based on our past experiences or things we’ve learned.