Have you ever dreamed of doing something new with your life but kept thinking that you didn’t have what it takes? Have you ever heard yourself say that you have lost your motivation after a set-back? Have you ever postponed something and provided a hundred excuses why you cannot do it?
Well, if this sounds familiar, instead of giving in, wouldn’t it be better to start by examining what it is that you are currently doing. Let the summer of 2011 be the time that we can all raise to new heights, develop new awareness and realise that we have everything we need to succeed. Sounds like a cliché – it was, ever before I wrote it.
The massive impacts from thinking positive have been commercialised throughout the world through the international best-sellers such as, ‘The Secret’, and ‘Think and Grow Rich’; and the ‘Conversations with God’ series of books take the concepts even further. (Incidentally, one of the more concise and beautiful books comes in the form of ‘The Four Agreements’ – life changing to say the least).
In addition, all over the planet, the most successful business men and women say that the core and fundamental key to their success comes in the form of thinking, which is a heightened, connected and extremely positive one. It is one of attitude, and the attitude shift is where we all start to get anything done or achieve those things that we have for so long wanted to do. It comes more naturally or easier to some rather than others. It depends on how strong the desire is to raise above the challenge and go for what you want. The positive approach is also the core trigger to fuel that desire.
Often the first step is the hardest, and like some sort of exponential curve with a steep climb it evens off after a while, therefore with each step we take, it actually does become easier. It also requires us to step outside of our comfort zones at times – and this is not something that can be taught – it arises from a definite decision to take the first step and then each next one after that, noting not to take oneself too seriously along the way, as the first time we attempt anything new it will not be our best effort, so stretching ourselves in the first step knowing that we will not be perfect at the first few tries; in fact we have to dare to be rubbish sometimes and smile at ourselves along the way; if we don’t try, we will never know.
Sometimes we may even think to ourselves that we cannot see the end point; so we could think of it like this instead: It is like driving by night, one is clear about the destination to which they are heading, yet the entire route is not visible before them, all one see’s as they are driving is only the short distance ahead of them on the road that has been illuminated by the headlamps, and yet as one keeps following that seemingly short view, each next part of the route becomes visible before them. As the driver keeps following the lights, taking the appropriate turns at each bend, the next piece of the road becomes clearer. All that is important is to keep going and trusting that the entire route will keep revealing itself.
And independent of the route or the outcome, maintaining a positive mental attitude not only makes one feel good about themselves, it also boosts self-trust, faith in ourselves and our determination which leads to pursuing our chosen tasks with the tenacious resolve that they deserve.
It is true that it does take determination and sometimes we struggle as we think we lose motivation or we experience what we have perceived as setbacks. But the thing is that once we set our heart and soul on something, and we know we are coming from that place, it is not possible to truly deviate from the direction of our souls.
In my experience, there is no such thing as losing your motivation, it resides deep within you, and therefore unless you lose a part of your invisible insides then your motivation is with you for good. It may hide temporarily but that is all it is. The same applies to your core inspirations, incentives, innovation and creativity. Problems can arise when we forget their core existence. But these can again be brought to the forefront by stilling our minds enough to allow the gateways to open to what our hearts truly desire.
We may also conclude that there is also no such thing as falling off the band wagon. We may have relapses or deviate from our chosen resolutions – and believe me I know this, I once spent the best part of ten weeks with the duvet firmly over my head before I emerged again; I got up, brushed down and motored on, one of the key things here was that I surrounded myself with encouraging and positive people in order to do so, it provided the energy injection that I had needed; and those of a negative influence became the dinosaurs of my past. Not an easy decision to make.
I guess I had realised that the trick to achieve what I want is not to worry about making a mistake or a wrong decision, it was about learning when to correct. Of course, detecting the deviation and understanding the underlying cause as early as possible makes it easier to deal with when you are only slightly off track.
When something doesn’t work, it is our own responsibility to understand why it is not working, look at our methods, examine our resources and if what we are doing is not working, then we need to do something different to get a better outcome, a more desirable one. As we go down a particular path, it may well be that we have not yet discovered the right approach that will get us to where we want to be. After all, we don’t have to see the entire route, only follow the bits that are illuminated before us and let each part unveil itself with each step we take. But we do not have to give up on our goal or resolution.
It is also important that we don’t beat ourselves up if we go off track. It is temporary. Know that often success is actually achieved when there has been enough learning from enough setbacks. We only have to open any history or science book to see the proof of this. Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”.
So we just have to think about succeeding and rising up again when any of us perceives that we may have failed. For example, when we learn to walk, we fall over time and time again, but I do not know one person who decided to give up on learning walking as a result of falling down. Equally once the child has mastered the new skill of walking, he or she will not go back to crawling again, they have learned a better method of moving themselves from one place to another. We can learn a lot from children.
When a child falls over, we do not call them failures, we praise and encourage them to get up again, and we applaud the one or two steps that they did take. As adults we don’t tend to award ourselves the same privilege, we are hard on ourselves when we perceive a mistake, we look for approval and we can let small set-backs stop us from taking the next step. Therefore it is very important to keep the end in sight and when we have a set-back keep trying new ways to get the result we want.
Inspiringly, a story that has stuck like glue in my head for several years now is that of Thomas Edison; he had more than 10000 attempts in inventing the light bulb. When Edison was criticised and asked why he just didn’t give up on this apparently foolish dream, he responded by saying that he had not failed, he had merely identified thousands of methods that would not work, which meant that every time he eliminated another possibility he was one step closer to a successful invention. That is positive thinking!
What I learned from this is that successful people experience more set-backs that most people, the differences are that successful people focus on succeeding.
It is vitally important to also be surrounded by other encouraging people and learning to effectively remove ourselves from those who have a negative impact or outlook. There are those that are there for our good and there are those that are simply negative no matter what way we look at it, it is easy to recognise either. Besides nobody is perfect, at the end of the day anyone else’s opinion, criticism, or their ideas of perfection are only perceptions. Can any of our attempts be categorised as good or bad? Moreover does failure exist or is it just our thinking that makes it so?
The success really lies in achieving the mindset of the person you want to be. Whatever your resolution, the changes you make can be life-lasting. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see.”