Do our thoughts shape our lives? Albert Einstein believed so. He said, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” James Lane Allen, author of the book “As a Man Thinketh” states, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
It’s easy for us to focus on the negative parts of our lives. In doing this, we sub-consciously shape our future responses toward the negative. If you want to move in a positive direction, you have to shape your thoughts with positive thoughts. One way you can focus on the positive is to have a pride-experiences list.
List past experiences that are positive for you; things you are proud of, that energize you as you recall them. Include your earliest memories. They can be anything from building a house to drawing a picture or running a race. It only matters how you feel about it. The standard for items on this list is your own pride in feeling, “I did it myself.”
Examples of pride experiences are:
- Coached my baseball team to a winning season
- Created an innovative new procedure and trained staff how to use it
- Designed a go-kart with 2 friends and won first prize in a race
- Doubled the sales volume in my product area in a two-year period
- Earned enough money to travel through Europe by holding three part-time jobs
- Helped solve an important personal problem for an employee or neighbour
- Initiated a program, product or procedure at my job
- Learned to swim and dive at age seven
- Organized and led weekend Girl Guide camping outings
- Raised $1,000 organizing a raffle for my children’s school
- Remodelled and redecorated part of my house
- Set up and ran a summer business that earned enough profit to pay for my school tuition
- Successfully managed a difficult project to completion
- Taught myself how to create a web site by studying a how-to book
- Wrote an innovative database program to help my class manage a research project
This is not merely a mental exercise; write the list on paper or in your mobile device. Refer to the list regularly. In particular, when you feel negative thoughts coming on, pull out the list and remind yourself of the things you have and can accomplish.
A successful life doesn’t happen by accident. A successful life is the result of deliberate focus of your time, energy and thoughts towards what you want to accomplish. Rather than accepting what comes along as unavoidable use these seven keys to create a successful life today.
Simplify your life. Having “too much” takes energy from productive actions. Whether it’s too many commitments, too many possessions, or too many calories, you need to trim these things back to a manageable level. The you will have more energy and time for the goals you are trying to accomplish. In order to create a successful life, you will have to make room for it first.
Always give your best your best effort. Don’t settle for second best in your endeavours. You may have to evaluate how you spend your time or money. You might have to redirect the extra energy freed up by simplifying life.
You can spend your days responding to the next crisis that grabs your attention or you can set priorities to using your time effectively. You need to know what is important in moving your towards your goals. Then, eliminate those things that prevent you from meeting your priorities.
A lack of energy will hold you back. Once you have simplified, build on that. For example, once you have eliminated any unnecessary tasks, see which of the remaining tasks can be delegated to someone else. Look from the most efficient ways to process all that must be completed.
Get rid of distractions. Up to 75% of your mental energy can be tied up in things that are draining and distracting you. Reading through e-mail may seem productive, but it’s not going to help if your goal is to three chapters of a book. If need be, turn off the phone, shut down the computer and throw the television in the garbage. Free up your mental energy for the things that are important to you.
Eliminate negative thinking. Control your thoughts to accept the possibility that what you are working toward will happen to you. Your belief in the outcome dictates how successful you are. Highly motivated people have goals and work to achieve them. Whatever you think, you accomplish. Listen to your self-talk and, if necessary, change what is being said.
Just do it. The old adage says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You have to start. You can dream, think and plan, but if you don’t get moving, it will never happen. There’s no better time to start than today. Don’t wait for circumstances to improve or become “just right” start your journey to success today.
How many of you begin your week by writing a to-do list to
track the things you want to accomplish over the next seven days?
How about writing a weekly ‘To Be’ list capturing
the kinds of personal characteristics you would like to exhibit in the upcoming
A ‘to-be’ list does not focus on scheduled
activities, but rather, focuses on discovering or developing who we are. We are
often defined by what we do. When asked about our lives, we’re more likely to
respond, “I’m a student,” or “I’m a graphic designer,” than, “I’m
compassionate, supportive, or hard-working.”
Similarly, it is easier to write your weekly
to-dos. In some way doing seems more concrete and objective than being.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. In
fact, these aspects of our lives have a kind of symbiotic relationship. The
things we want to accomplish work best when they are aligned with what we what
our lives to be.
I recognize this subject generates considerable
philosophical discussion. Rather than revisit those arguments, I’ll give you
quotes from greater minds:
- “To do is to be” –
- “To be is to do”
- “Do be do be do”
– Frank Sinatra.
Leslie M. Bosserman shares her thoughts on this practice in an article posted at Holstee.
Why not make this a life experiment for the next 8 weeks?
This week, I want to:
- be the best husband I can be;
- be less critical of those with whom I disagree;
- listen more and speak less;
- be supportive of friends going through difficult times;
- more responsive to the requests from the people I serve.
It’s about becoming the people we would like to be.
It’s about becoming the person I would like to be!
I didn’t start keeping a journal until I was in my thirties. I’d grown up thinking only girls wrote in diaries. However, once I overcame that misconception and got started, I quickly discovered the benefit and pleasure that came from keeping a journal.
Journals can be effective tools in helping one get organized, in the creative process, or in developing a new habit or skill. However, keeping a journal is a habit in and of itself, and needs to be developed.
Here are 5 tips to help you keep momentum and get the most from your journaling habit:
- Do it your way – There is no “best way” to write in a journal. Correction: there is a best way to write in a journal and that is, what ever works for you. You are not striving for perfection, but for self-expression. Don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar. Turn off the internal editor.
- Be honest – This is the place to be honest with yourself. Write about the way you feel, not the way you think you should feel. This is not the place to worry about what others might think of you. Even if you have problems showing your true self to others, you owe it to yourself to be honest in your journal.
- Go deep – That is, let your feelings out. You can keep a journal which merely records the events of your life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, or you can add to its benefit by recording how you felt about what was going on. Your feelings can be symptoms of things not working well, which need to be corrected or adjusted. Your feelings can be celebrations of accomplishments, which motivate you forward to your next goal.
- Experiment – Find the format that suits you best: loose-leaf binder, cheap notebook, Moleskine (aff), leather-bound diary, all can work. Should you write first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Are you more comfortable in the quiet of your bedroom or in a public coffee shop? You can fill a page every day, or like Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project (aff), keep a one-sentence journal. Experiment with the process to find what is best.
- Relax – Keeping a journal should not be a grim chore. If you see it that way, you’re not likely to keep it up for too long. Approach it in the spirit of creative play; an enjoyable, quiet-time gift to yourself.
Enjoy your journaling!
Sometimes being an effective employee is easy and sometimes it’s not —work responsibilities and circumstances vary, as do relationships with co-workers. One thing is certain: your attitude makes a big difference in how successful you are at work.
A positive attitude is a requirement of all of the following tips for improving your chances of succeeding at work.
Communicate positively and co-operate with others
- Be friendly, supportive and co-operative. Develop a reputation for being easy to work with.
- Contribute to the team. Everyone appreciates it when you help others who are swamped with work.
- Treat everyone as your equal. The Golden Rule applies. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Compliment others when they deserve praise.
- Don’t discus anything you would not want repeated; especially personal weaknesses or those of co-workers.
- Ask for help when needed. People don’t mind explaining or demonstrating tasks if it is obvious that you have already tried to work the problem out on your own.
- Be a good communicator. Give people your undivided attention during discussions, let them finish what they are saying and make sure you understand what has been said before you respond.
- Be aware of your body language. Communication problems arise when what you say doesn’t match what your body is communicating.
- Never criticize people in public. When you give feedback, do it in private, in an objective, constructive manner that helps people understand what they should do differently instead of just making them feel bad.
- Communicate in a relaxed, patient and pleasant manner. People respond much better to calm discussion than to anger, sarcasm or commands.
Look and act the part of a responsible worker
- Dress appropriately for the job. Consider the type of work you are doing, how your co-workers dress and the company image.
- Look and act confident. Speak calmly, clearly and loudly enough to be heard. Look at people when they speak to you. Try not to appear flustered when things get very busy or when you are doing something for the first time.
- Keep your work area neat and clean.
- Be productive. Be on time for work. Don’t take extra-long coffee breaks, look after private business while you are on the job, or spend excessive amounts of time socializing. Let your employer know if you are going to be unavoidably late or absent, and use sick leave only when you are sick.
- Finish important tasks even if it means working through breaks or occasionally staying past quitting time.
- Use your time wisely. Plan ahead and do the most important tasks first. Organize your workspace and concentrate on one thing at a time, if you can. Take advantage of quiet times to do things you can see need to be done.
Set high work standards
- Do good quality work of an appropriate quantity. Meeting work standards, quotas and deadlines goes a long way toward earning the approval of your supervisors and encouraging customers and clients to come back.
- Make sure you understand the instructions before you start work on a new task. If there is a chance you will forget, write the instructions down.
- The first few times you perform a task, follow instructions precisely. Ask your supervisor to check if you are doing things right before potential mistakes become a problem.
- Be thorough. Do your work as correctly and carefully as possible. Check your work before handing it over. Don’t hesitate to do a job over if you think it might be unsatisfactory.
- Work at a steady pace. Be a person who always gets things done.
- Learn the “tricks of the trade” from senior staff and be open to new ideas about how you can improve your work.
- Take responsibility for completing your work. When you have finished one task, move on to the next activity without waiting to be told.
Positive attitudes toward work and the people at work will help you to get your work done effectively and creatively and establish relationships that are pleasant and co-operative.