The Land Of Dreams (William Blake)

Awake, awake my little Boy!
Thou wast thy Mother’s only joy:
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?
Awake! thy Father does thee keep.

“O, what land is the Land of Dreams?
What are its mountains, and what are its streams?
O Father, I saw my Mother there,
Among the lillies by waters fair.

Among the lambs clothed in white
She walked with her Thomas in sweet delight.
I wept for joy, like a dove I mourn—
O when shall I return again?”

Dear child, I also by pleasant streams
Have wandered all night in the Land of Dreams;
But though calm and warm the waters wide,
I could not get to the other side.

“Father, O Father, what do we here,
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the Morning Star.”

Define Yourself, Instead Of Trying To Find Yourself

Authenticity, and being ourselves, are incredibly important. So we try our best to find out who we are. How do we go about this? We think of self discovery and authenticity as a process, journey or quest, so we create a plan of action. This plan basically involves going out into the world, living your life and trying to look for signs as to who and what you are. This approach gets you nowhere.

Think for a moment about what is happening when we follow the above course of action.  We essentially put ourselves at the mercy of others, and passively become what the world decides we should be. Instead, we should be actively deciding who we are, before taking decisive action to become that person.

You must decide who you are and live your life in a way which reflects that decision.

Sounds simple, so why aren’t more people actually doing this? People fear being labelled as a fraud or an impostor. They fear that if they consciously decide who they want to become  and take action to make that a reality, that they would be regarded as inauthentic and living a lie. The truth, however, is that you cannot find yourself by going out into the world and waiting to be told who you are.

Stop waiting for your family, friends or boss to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life. Stop waiting for others to tell you you are or aren’t good at. However well meaning it may be, it’s just their personal opinion and not a statement of fact.

  • Reflect on who you believe yourself to be. What makes you happy? What motivates you? What are you passionate about? What direction do you want your life to take? What are the strengths and weaknesses in both your character and skills.
  • Decide what you want to excel at, and where you want life to take you.
  • Set your goals, create a plan for how to achieve them, and then take determined action.

Decide who you are and what you want. Then take action to make that a reality.

Self discovery is all about making decisions. You must play an active role in shaping who you are, and your future. Don’t wait for others to define you. It is up to you to decide who you want to be and back this up with the consistent actions which will forge that life.

You don’t FIND OUT who you are, but you DECIDE who you are.

Life is not a passive journey, it is intentional. Self discovery is about deciding where you want to go, and along the way learning and growing into the person you decided to become.

Make a decision about who you want to be. Visualise this vividly in your mind. You should be able to close your eyes and see this future you in all its detail. Now, take action to become that person.

You can reinvent yourself at any time. This is important, because as we learn and grow, our priorities change. Successful people are those who decided who they wanted to be, and did whatever was necessary to become that person.

It’s YOUR decision. It’s YOUR life. Only YOU can decide how that life will be lived.

If you wait for the world to determine what you become, you will become average. The world wants you to be the same as everyone else, but if this is not for you and an average life is unacceptable, it’s in YOUR hands to do something about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love’s Secret (William Blake)

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.

Strengths and Weaknesses

We all have our strengths and talents but, as nobody is perfect, we also have weaknesses too. Conventional wisdom tells us that we are only as strong as our weakest link, and must address our weaknesses in order to live life at its fullest. That makes sense, but what about our strengths, though? Surely, if we devote all of our attention to our weaknesses, there is a chance that our strengths might start to go a little rusty. Work on both then, I hear you say.

The first thing we need to do is determine which of our strengths and weaknesses we should work on, in which area and why. There are two areas in life, in which we have both strengths and weaknesses. How we work on these not only determines our quality of life but also how much value we bring to the world and enrich the lives of others. The first of these areas is our character. Character is who we are as a person and how we relate to others and the world around us. The second area is related to our skills and abilities. Our skills and abilities determine the value which we provide both for ourselves and others.

Traditionally, we focus on our weaknesses when it comes to our skills, and our strengths when it comes to our character. What if there was a better way, though? While this tried and tested approach works, I strongly believe that if you want real transformational change your focus needs to shift.

When we focus on our skills- related weaknesses, it takes time and during this time our strengths can go rusty. It’s far better, then to use this time and focus on our strengths when it comes to our skills. Invest in your strengths, work on them daily and watch them grow. This is how to provide greater value for others as well as yourself. Working on your weaknesses takes time and attention away from our strengths, which lose a little of their power. The result is a varied skillset in which you are between average and good at many, but excel at none. Better to have a few skills in which you are particularly strong and can make a real difference.

The opposite is true of our character. We focus on our strengths when it’s our weaknesses which need our attention. Focusing on improving our weaknesses while maintaining our strengths will help us to become the best version of ourselves. When you work on your weaknesses, you become more empathetic and compassionate towards other people and the world around you. At the same time, you also evolve and develop a more rounded character. This is what will help you to forge more meaningful and deeper relationships with people, both personally and professionally.

There is so much advice out there on strengths and weaknesses that it’s confusing. Here are a few pointers to get you started;

  • Determine your character and skills strengths. Reflect on where you believe your strengths lie in both areas and write them down. On a separate sheet of paper, ask family, friends and colleagues where they feel that your strengths lie. Write these down too, and compare both lists. Decide which ones you will take from both lists, and compile a final list.
  • Determine your character and skills weaknesses. Follow the same steps as you did for your strengths.
  • Draw up a plan of action. Now that you know where your skills-related strengths and character-related weaknesses lie, how are you going to work on both? Is there a book you can read? A seminar you can attend? Somebody who could coach or mentor you?
  • Take action daily to become the best version of yourself and provide value to yourself and others. 

So, if you feel that you are doing all that you can but making slow progress, turn conventional thinking and advice on its head. Work instead on your skills strengths and your character weaknesses, and see where that leads.

Good luck!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Count That Day Lost (George Eliot)

If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went —
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay —
If, through it all
You’ve nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face–
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost —
Then count that day as worse than lost.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don’t worry, be happy is the name of an old song by Bobby McFerrin. I have it on vinyl and it’s my go-to song if i’m having a bad day because when I put it on, I can’t help but smile. Once that smile takes hold, my worries fade away and I am happy again. Why do I love this song? It’s uplifting, but more importantly it has a very important life lesson which I sometimes need to be reminded of. That lesson is that we all endure tough times but worrying about them just makes everything worse.

We worry about our finances, health, relationships, careers and everything in between. Worrying comes naturally to an overwhelming majority of people, and it’s not always bad. On occasion, worry can provide the motivation for us to take action and rectify a bad situation, or better yet, preventing it from happening at all. It can prevent procrastination and inspire us to work harder and smarter than ever. The problem, however, is that there is a fine line between worry which is motivational and transformational, and that which is destructive and ruinous.

At it’s worst, worrying can destroy your confidence, rob you of your happiness and fill your mind with doubt and negative self-talk. This, in some cases, can be the start of a slippery slope which leads to anxiety and even depression.

Worry, however, is all in the mind. It’s the fear and anticipation that something could go wrong. We fixate on a potentially negative outcome or situation , and in doing so we assign much more importance to it than we should. It gets blown out of all proportion. Most of the time, when a situation actually arises we realise that it wasn’t as bad as we anticipated and that we worried needlessly. Our confidence took a beating and we lost sleep for no good reason.We need to stop doing this to ourselves by shifting our perspective.

We actually have the power to choose whatever it is that we focus on. It takes a bit of work, but the quality of life you will enjoy afterwards is worth the effort. By focusing on things that could go wrong in the future, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be happy and enjoy the present moment. This negativity affects our mindset and, as a result, other areas of our lives suffer. Nothing good can be gained by focusing on things which you have no influence or control over.

So, it stands to reason that if you want positivity and progress in your life, you need to focus instead on the things which you can control.

  • If you currently worry about ever meeting that special someone, quit worrying and take action. Work on your physical and mental health, striving to become the best possible version of yourself. Do that and “the one” will eventually find you.
  • If you worry about your finances, audit your spending habits. Worrying about bills doesn’t help, you have to take action. If you are being careless with your money, then more money won’t solve anything. You’ll just have more money to waste. Track your spending in an app or a journal, every single penny, and regularly revisit it to identify spending habits. You will become more aware of areas where you are spending money unnecessarily, and the knowledge that you track all your spending can also help you to avoid making impulse purchases.
  • If you worry about career progression, there is so much you can do to improve your prospects. Read or complete a distance-learning course that can help you to gain knowledge and acquire new skills. Network. Undertake a project which could provide value to the organisation and also help to get you noticed by the relevant people.

If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.

~ Ernest Hemingway

Worrying is a choice. Successful people have the same concerns and fears as the rest of us mere mortals, but it’s what they do about it that sets them apart from everyone else. Rather than fixate on what could go wrong, they focus on themselves and what they can do to ensure the best chance of success. Is there knowledge which they could acquire? A skill that they could work on? Instead of worrying unnecessarily, they focus on becoming the best version of themselves. This, in turn, attracts positive outcomes and helps them to develop a positive mindset. Worry is replaced by personal and professional development. which leads to fulfillment and happiness.

As a wise man once said “Don’t worry, be happy”

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

~ Guillaume Apollinaire

I love the above quote from Apollinaire. It’s so beautiful and so true. Fear of the unknown leads us to play it safe in life, and avoid risks. It’s hardwired in all of us but causes so much pain and regret.

The two biggest drivers in our lives are pleasure and pain. We are drawn to pleasure, and avoid pain wherever possible. This is why we are so risk averse. We stick with what we know, or what we think we know because it’s comfortable and familiar. Taking risks, however, is taking a leap into the unknown, no matter how well researched the risk is. We weigh up what could go wrong, at which point we decide that taking a leap of faith could lead us into a painful, negative situation. So we decide against it and stick with what we know. The fear of loss, failure or embarassment is too great.

The problem is that in order to lead a fulfilled life in which we constantly push the boundaries of that which we are capable of, we need to take chances. We need to step into the unknown. This is where amazing things happen. We either taste success or are left with a valuable experience from which we can learn and grow.

So, stop selling yourself short and dare to achieve greatness. Take chances, expecting success while also being prepared to greet failure as an old friend and wise teacher;

  • Ditch your ego
  • Drown out the negative voices, and just believe in your abilities.
  • Stop taking pride in what you know, and instead open your mind to the possibility of learning and experiencing something new
  • Take that leap of faith.

I Gave My Heart To A Woman (William Ernest Henley)

I gave my heart to a woman–
I gave it her, branch and root.
She bruised, she wrung, she tortured,
She cast it under foot.

Under her feet she cast it,
She trampled it where it fell,
She broke it all to pieces,
And each was a clot of hell.

There in the rain and the sunshine
They lay and smouldered long;
And each, when again she viewed them,
Had turned to a living song.

Good Old Pen And Paper

Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.

Jack London

Everybody nowadays is a technophile, with their own smartphone or tablet loaded with the latest and most popular apps. Technology is wonderful because it can help us communicate more efficiently than ever before, become better organised and become more knowledgeable.

It does have its downside though. Technology can become addictive. How many times have you seen people develop tunnel vision, to the point where they are so focused on their phone as they walk down the street that they do not pay attention to their surroundings and trip over and fall?! Technology can also malfunction, deteriorate over time and needs its battery to be regularly recharged.

This is why I always have one of my notebooks or journals with me at all times. This is something very simple yet incredibly beneficial. It is one of the factors which have helped me in transforming my life.

Instead of carrying around multitudes of thoughts, I write them down. Throughout the day, I write down ideas, make observations, reflect on the progress I am making towards my goals and how far I have still to go and I also write down any decisions which I have to make but am not certain how to proceed. It’s always better to write things down because when you see a decision or situation on paper, it becomes much easier to gain perpective and find a solution.

Notebooks are great for creativity too. When inspiration strikes, just open your notebook and start writing or sketching. Collect ideas or thoughts for your blog or the book you plan to write. Reflect on your thoughts and feelings.

All this means that the humble notebook, if you actually use it, can help you in your quest to make constant improvements in your life.

Give it a go. After a few days, you will find it making your creative juices flow. If, as I was for much of last year, you are battling depression, putting all of your thoughts and feelings into a notebook can help you to make sense of them and see light at the end of the tunnel. Not to overlook the benefits of helping you to organise your thoughts amd gain a deeper understanding of yourself and who you really are.

The Bell (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.

Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.

To house of God and heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder’s fires.

And soon thy music, sad death-bell,
Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind
That sweeps my native shore.

You Are What You Think About Most Often

The seeds which you plant in your mind today, will become tomorrow’s reality. Sounds like a rather bold and far-fetched statement when you first hear it, but it’s true. The quality of your life depends very much on what you choose to feed your mind. Whatever you feed it, your mind will work to turn that into your reality through your thoughts, beliefs and actions.

If you fill your mind with negative input, you become negative and pessimistic.

If you occupy yourself with mindless activities, you will become mindless and go through life on autopilot.

If  you carry out the bare minimum amount of work on your personal and professional development, just enough to get by, then the life you lead will be strictly average.

If, however, you fill your mind with positive input, you will develop an optimistic mindset and lead a positive life.

Furthermore, if you work hard on your personal and professional development, constantly striving to learn, adapt and grow, you will lead a successful and fulfilled life

Which would you prefer?

You can’t blame anybody else but yourself for where you find yourself today. After all, you can’t reap the benefits if you haven’t taken the time to sow the right seeds in the first place. That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, though. It’s never too late to start turning your life around.

You are your own creator. When people talk about the power which we all possess, this is what they are talking about. Each of us has the power to shape our own individual destiny. Our lives, and our current circumstances, are the physical manifestation and result of our beliefs, decisions and thoughts. Those who do not realise this fact often find themselves working for, or idolising, those who understand this truth and live their lives accordingly.

Grab a pen and paper and audit your thoughts and decision making processes.

  • What kind of input do you mostly feed your brain? Positive? Constructive? Helpful? Negative? Mindless?
  • What do you spend the most time thinking about?
  • Do you often reflect on how difficult and unfair your life is? Or do you think about how your potential is limitless, and how incredible your life would be if you applied yourself and put in the necessary work?

Your thoughts dictate your actions which in turn determine the quality of life which you will lead. Feed your mind with knowledge and positivity. Expect good things of yourself, and then get out there and work for them.

Each and All (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown,
Of thee, from the hill-top looking down;
And the heifer, that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton tolling the bell at noon,
Dreams not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor’s creed has lent:
All are needed by each one,
Nothing is fair or good alone.

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;—
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave;
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me;
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
And fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore
With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.

The lover watched his graceful maid
As ‘mid the virgin train she strayed,
Nor knew her beauty’s best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white quire;
At last she came to his hermitage,
Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage,—
The gay enchantment was undone,
A gentle wife, but fairy none.

Then I said, “I covet Truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood’s cheat,—
I leave it behind with the games of youth.”
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet’s breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Above me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird;—
Beauty through my senses stole,
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

The Small Things

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things

Kurt Vonnegut

We live in an age of opportunity, and it’s exciting. Anything is possible if you are prepared to put in the time and effort required to succeed. There is, however, the very real danger of getting so completely consumed by the pursuit of your goals, that you forget to live your life too.

As with anything in life, there needs to be a balance. In this instance, you need to find a balance between your personal and professional development, and everything else that’s important in your life. Focus too much on your journey, and you risk causing irreparable damage to your personal relationships and health.

One thing which always struck me as a teacher, was how children take time to pay attention to the world around them. They touch, smell and explore everything. They ask questions so that they can better understand the environment in which they find themselves. And it makes them happy. Somewhere along the line, however, education conditions this curiosity out of them and they are taught instead to develop tunnel vision, only focusing on that which is in front of them. Herein lies the problem.

Developing a laser-like focus will help you to become disciplined and successful in whatever you choose, but it also robs you of so much of life’s beauty. We only have so much time and energy to give each day, and focusing it all in one area, means that other aspects of your life get neglected.

Of course, you may well achieve the status and level of wealth which you crave, but you face losing precious time which could be better spent with friends and family. Life can be cruel, and we have no idea how much time we have with those closest to us. Ask yourself, is that which you chase more important than spending time with your loved ones? Is it more important than your physical and mental health?

If you don’t spend time with those you love, you will regret it if tragedy strikes and they are no longer there. You will remember the times when you chose your goals and work over spending time with them, and this hurts because it was avoidable but now there is nothing you can do to put it right. Neglect your partner and they might end your relationship because they refuse to play second-best to your dreams any longer. Again this is pain which is avoidable. Is money and status really more important than the people who you claim to love? If not, then prove to them that you love them by giving them your time and attention. All of it. Put your phone away and be with them.

Do you take time to sit in the garden, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds? Do you listen to your body, and pay attention to your activity levels and what you eat and drink? Or is your mental and physical health less important than whatever goal you are currently working towards?

Time is precious and once it is gone, it is completely gone. So, it’s best to use it wisely. There are enough hours in the day that you can work towards your goals AND take time to smell the roses or spend quality time with loved ones. Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but at the end of your days would you not rather look back on a fulfilled and happy life? This is surely better than the alternative, full of loneliness, ill health and a trail of broken relationships.

The choice is yours, so choose wisely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tact (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

What boots it, thy virtue,
What profit thy parts,
While one thing thou lackest,
The art of all arts!
The only credentials,
Passport to success,
Opens castle and parlor,—
Address, man, Address.

The maiden in danger
Was saved by the swain,
His stout arm restored her
To Broadway again:

The maid would reward him,—
Gay company come,—
They laugh, she laughs with them,
He is moonstruck and dumb.

This clenches the bargain,
Sails out of the bay,
Gets the vote in the Senate,
Spite of Webster and Clay;

Has for genius no mercy,
For speeches no heed,—
It lurks in the eyebeam,
It leaps to its deed.

Church, tavern, and market,
Bed and board it will sway;
It has no to-morrow,
It ends with to-day.

Be Selective About Who You Give Your Time And Attention To

Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great

Mark Twain

Each if us has the same 24 hours every day. No more, no less. Sounds like a lot, and it is plenty. In those 24 hours, you can sleep for 8, work for 8, work out for 1 and still be left with around 7 hours to chase your goals, spend time with friends and family, and just  relax.

The more you do with the time you have, the more chance you have of ending the day with a sense of fulfilment, and the satisfaction of having taken steps closer towards your goals. Who wouldn’t want that?!

The people who we spend time with can have a huge impact on whether we make progress towards our goals or not. Surround yourself with high achievers and caring people who support your goals and ambitions and you will thrive. If, however, you are spending time with negative people who make fun of your ambitions and gossip about you rather than support you, you will suffer as your confidence takes repeated blows.

We have previously looked at how to grow your network and surround yourself with likeminded people who push you to become the best you can be. Friends, colleagues, partners, clients…these are some of the people whose presence in our lives we decide. If they are toxic, we can make the conscious decision to stay away from them. For the most part, we choose the people we spend time with and we also choose how much we share with them.

There is, though, one group who we can’t rid ourselves of even if their absence would be a blessing. This group is your family. Most of us are blessed with very good immediate family (parents, siblings and grandparents) who only want the very best for us. Even if they are not as optimistic as you are about your goals, they will support you in whatever way they can. You can’t ask for much more than that, really. It’s with the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins that there can be an issue.

At its very worst, this group can be disgustingly judgemental. Normally, we have pretty thick skins which allow us to ignore others’ criticisms. It becomes harder to ignore, though, when the criticism comes from those closest to you. People have their own motivations for speaking and behaving the ways in which they do. It could be that they do not fully understand the journey which you are on. It could be that their negativity is a reflection of their own limitations and fears. Or, it could be that they are unhappy with their own lives, and find it easier to belittle your ambitions than it is to improve their own circumstances. Whatever their reason for being so judgemental, it’s not your problem. So, how do you deal with them?

  • Limit your time with them. Easier said than done, though. You could limit yourself to seeing them at big family occasions, but the rest of the time, seek the company of other more supportive people. This, however, is not always an option because people can be very close even of they don’t support one another’s dreams.
  • Limit what you share with them. You do not need to share everything with everyone, especially if you can’t count on them for any support or understanding. If they keep probing about your journey and you don’t want to share, just change the topic. Answer with something as ambiguous as “so far so good, happy with things are progressing” then switch the conversation back to them by asking about something which interests them.
  • Stop placing so much importance on the opinions of others. Understand that people can only affect your confidence with their words if you let them. When they speak, nod, smile and then forget about it. Have faith in your ability. If you are to hold on to another’s discouraging words, do it with the aim of proving them wrong and use those words as motivation to keep going when times get tough.

Sometimes, we can’t choose who we spend time with. We can, however, choose how much influence we allow others to have over us. Understand that, for example, just because an aunt doesn’t support your goals and dreams that they are not any less important or achievable.

Stop looking to others for validation, but just have faith in your ability. Surround yourself as much as possible with people who do support your vision and can help you to become the best version of yourself. Take small steps every day in the direction of your goals but, most of all, don’t let a few negative voices discourage you from achieving great things, no matter who those voices belong to.

 

 

 

 

 

Substance over Style

Fake it until you make it. Dress like you already have the job or lifestyle which you want. Copy these 5/ 6/ 10 habits of highly successful people if you want results. Dress this way. Read this, watch that...The list goes on. If, however, you are serious about becoming the best version of yourself and achieving great things, then this is advice which is to be avoided.

The problem is that this advice is superficial and cosmetic. Furthermore, it’s a waste of time. The time which is wasted on dressing a certain way to impress others, for example, could be better spent working on yourself. This definitely does not count as working on yourself, because all you’re doing in this instance is putting on an act. Copying the behaviour of famous people won’t actually help you to become more like them. It won’t make you rich or famous. It won’t get you any closer to your goals, either. Instead, it could derail your progress.

If your ultimate goal is fame and fortune, then you are doing it wrong. The journey which you embark on should be one of self-discovery, learning and growth. The aim should be to achieve the big goals which you set yourself, while also growing personally and professionally along the way. If all you crave is money and status, then there is a very real danger that you will neglect your principles and forget who you are as you sacrifice everything in the hope of becoming rich.

This is why the current advice, like the above, which is being peddled by all the leading personal development speakers and authors is so very wrong. It misleads people into thinking that all they have to do is copy a celebrity to become more like them. Style over substance. Don’t worry about knowledge and experience, just dress like Steve Jobs and you can follow in his footsteps. Ok, so i’m over-simplifying but I hope you get the idea. When you prioritise style over substance, it’s like having a large double-fronted house with 4 cars on the driveway, but nothing of any value inside. It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, the clothes and nice watch, but what’s inside. Your values, drive, determination and character. The things that make you…you. Those are important.

Rather than focusing on material gain, I strongly believe that the ultimate goal of a personal and professional development journey should be to become a person of value. If you are self-aware and can provide value to others, then good things will come your way if you continue to work for them.

This is why it makes no sense whatsoever to simply copy famous people and hope for the best. It seems to me bizarre to simply dress a certain way, then sit back and wait for success to come and find you. This will never happen. If you want to progress in life and achieve great things, then you have to put the work in. But you also need to be self-aware, knowing who you are and what you want to achieve in life.

This is all part of the reflection process, which comes before you even set your goals. Doing the reflection first, and becoming self-aware, is crucial because it ensures that throughout the journey on which you will embark, you will never forget who you are and what is important to you.

This is substance over style. Instead of compromising who you are, you stay true to yourself. This helps to forge and strengthen relationships with other people who will feel themselves able to trust you, and more inclined to help and support you. Moreover, it ensures that the goals which you set, the decisions you make and the actions which you take will all lead you to become the best version of yourself.

Forget about what others do, say, wear or eat. Nothing can be gained from merely copying them. Instead, aim to become a person of substance and someone who is self-aware, honest and trustworthy. This, along with determined action in the direction of your goals, is what will bring you success. The world needs more substance, and less mimicry.

I Will Arise (Chrstina Georgina Rossetti)

Weary and weak,–accept my weariness;
Weary and weak and downcast in my soul,
With hope growing less and less,
And with the goal
Distant and dim,–accept my sore distress.
I thought to reach the goal so long ago,
At outset of the race I dreamed of rest,
Not knowing what now I know
Of breathless haste,
Of long-drawn straining effort across the waste.

One only thing I knew, Thy love of me;
One only thing I know, Thy sacred same
Love of me full and free,
A craving flame
Of selfless love of me which burns in Thee.
How can I think of thee, and yet grow chill;
Of Thee, and yet grow cold and nigh to death?
Re-energize my will,
Rebuild my faith;
I will arise and run, Thou giving me breath.

I will arise, repenting and in pain;
I will arise, and smite upon my breast
And turn to Thee again;
Thou choosest best,
Lead me along the road Thou makest plain.
Lead me a little way, and carry me
A little way, and listen to my sighs,
And store my tears with Thee,
And deign replies
To feeble prayers;–O Lord, I will arise.

Urgency

Urgency doesn’t sound as cool as “hustle”, “grind” or any of the other popular phrases we hear so often, but that doesn’t make it any less important. If you want to become successful, then a sense of urgency is essential. Putting essential tasks off until later, so that you can watch a movie now, won’t help you get to where you want to be. It just delays your progress.

Do you think Richard Branson and Elon Musk take a laid-back approach to business, frequently putting off until another day those things which they could do now? Of course not. They understand that the world of business is fast-moving, so they act quickly and decisively.

Unlike most of us, successful people are not selective in what they approach with a sense of urgency. They adopt that same approach with everything, so as to avoid the disappointment of missed opportunities. How do they manage to do this and still find time for their families and personal interests? They prioritise.

In order to be of service to others, you need to take care of yourself first. This means guarding your time. Throughout the day, every day, we get bombarded with requests for help from other people. High achievers, however, don’t stop to deal with each one but they have the courage to say no when that task would distract them from their own goals. They take care of their own priorities first, and then serve others if they have enough time and energy left.

Successful people have to-do lists for their days, which helps to avoid distractions and getting side-tracked. They also prioritise their activities to make sure that if they don’t complete everything, at least the most important tasks get completed. Most of all, though, they act with urgency in everything they do. This means that that by the time that they sit down to relax in the evening, they are able to reflect back on the day with satisfaction because they have taken positive steps towards their goals.

If, for example, your goals are to get a new job, lose weight and become debt-free in 2018, you need to give your all, in all 3 areas, every day. This is what helps you to achieve more, because you are constantly striving for improvement. Rather than taking one at a time, you fire yourself up and tackle all 3 because there is no time to lose. Momentum builds, experience is gained and progress is made. This, in turn, keeps you motivated and the fire burning to keep going and challenging the limits of what you are capable of achieving.

Better yet, when acting with a sense of urgency in all you do becomes a habit, it benefits you in other ways too. Of course, it has the potential to bring quicker results from your efforts, but it is also a great way to build momentum and boost your confidence. You will find yourself becoming more driven, focused and productive. You will find your work ethic increasing, and as a result, opportunities for personal or professional development will present themselves. Best of all, you stop procrastinating or deferring important tasks to another day. Your mindset changes, and you strive to complete as much as you can today, in order that you can push yourself harder and achieve even more tomorrow.

All of this is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Create a to-do list for the tasks that will get you a step closer to your goals each day. Then attack each one with an equal sense of urgency, and watch the magic happen.

Remember, a rolling stone gathers no moss.

Let It Enfold You (Charles Bukowski)

Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious
upbringing.

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at, I had no male
friends,

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents,spain,
france,italy,walnuts and
the color
orange.
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
and
addled
mind.

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn’t different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
grievances,
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
empty,
darkness was the
dictator.

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain in the
dark.
the less I needed
the better I
felt.

maybe the other life had worn me
down.
I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the
asking.

I re formulated
I don’t know when,
date, time, all
that
but the change
occurred.
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.
i no longer had to
prove that I was a
man,

I didn’t have to prove
anything.

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
cafe.
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.
then- it was
gone.

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I’ve missed too many
days.
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, ‘I am going
to have to let you go’

‘it’s all right’ I tell
him.

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children,
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
sunshine.
the whole day is
mine
temporarily,
anyhow.

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,
disillusioned)

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, breasts,
singing,the
works.

(don’t get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
itself-
this is a shield and a
sickness.)

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I didn’t fight them off
like an alley
adversary.
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I made them welcome
home.
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
ragged,
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby’s
butt.

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
others,
unheralded,
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the tote board waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife’s head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the
covers.

I kissed her in the
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the
hill
past the houses
full and empty
of
people,
I saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me.

When Are Habits Helpful?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle

There are two types of habits, one is good and the other..not so much. Good habits are the ones which are productive and helpful, such as drinking more water or waking up earlier. Then there are the ones which are frowned upon, such as smoking. Naturally, in a blog devoted to striving towards your potential and making the most of your life, the focus here will be on the good habits.

Why are good habits such a big deal?

In an average day, our brain is working furiously for as long as we are awake. It controls our thought processes, our decision making processes, our actions and also how we interpret everything going on around us. Being this busy, any help it can get to reduce the workload is definitely a good thing. This is where the healthy habits come in, and if those habits can become daily routines, then that’s even better. When a habit becomes a routine, we no longer think about it, because it just happens. This means that some of our brain power can be turned towards focusing on other tasks or issues.

Healthy habits and routines not only ease the burden on our brains, but they also help us to structure our days. This means that we find ourselves with a number of things which we do because we want to, without thinking, and they help to get us closer to our goals. Adding structure to our days is essential, because it prevents procrastination and wasted time. It can stop us from putting off things which we could do now to propel us forward. Essentially, it can help to prevent us from becoming complacent and lazy, instead keeping us working to build and maintain the momentum which can bring positive results.

If you’re wondering just how to get started with developing positive habits and routines, there really is no secret. Just get started. It’s a matter of trial and error, keeping that which works and learning from that which doesn’t. Habits vary from person to person depending on who they are and the direction in which they want their lives to be headed. For me, I want to push myself to test the limits of what I am capable of. I want to keep learning and developing all the time in order that I can become the best version of myself and provide value to everyone around me. I want to raise myself up, before reaching out to raise others too.

To do this, I can’t allow myself to just take my days as they come. By the time my head hits the pillow at night, I want to know that I have achieved something with my day. Of course, I make sure I have enough downtime during the day for entertainment and relaxation because the least thing I want is to burn out. Here are a few of the things I do every day, which work for me;

  • Get up at the same time each day. On a weekday i’m up at 5:30 to shower and get ready for work. On the weekends, I am up at the same time. I don’t have lie-ins. Firstly, it keeps my body clock in good working order. Secondly, getting up early allows me to fit more into my day. Tired? Go to bed earlier. When I used my weekends to catch up on sleep, I would be exhausted on Monday morning and this is not a good way to start the week. I had allowed my body two days of sleeping late but was now asking it to spring into action early again. By getting up at the same  time every day, your body doesn’t need to adapt to anything. Simple, but effective.
  • Make your bed. Yes, you read it right. Making your bed takes a matter of seconds, yet it gives you the satisfaction of completing a task before you’ve even had breakfast. Plus it looks nice.
  • Gratitude journal and to-do list. While my coffee is cooling down to a temperature which won’t incinerate my insides, I write down 3-5 things for which I am grateful and a brief explanation why. This is a wonderful exercise, and puts you in a positive mental frame of mind for the day because you can’t write down your blessings and not feel happy. I also have a look at my to-do list for the day, which helps me to prepare mentally for the day ahead and also prioritise the tasks on the list. By the time I get to my desk, I know what I have to accomplish that day, and in what order.
  • Physical activity. If I can’t make it to the gym, i’ll go for a walk in the park. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I do something which involves getting active. When I get moving,  I clear my head and de-stress.
  • Journal and to-do list. In the evening, i’ll set some time aside to journal. This is where I reflect on the day, my decisions and their outcomes, my progress towards my goals and any issues I have encountered. This helps to clear my head again, and a clear head means a good night’s sleep. After journalling, I grab a separate notebook and make a to-do list of important tasks for the next day, so that I don’t forget anything or get distracted. If it’s on paper, then I will make sure it gets done.

All this makes for a busy but productive day. It keeps me learning, reflecting and growing. More importantly, though, it keeps me working hard on my goals. When bad things happen, I am too busy to wallow in self-pity so instead I reflect on what I can learn from the experience, apply it and move on.

I share this with you today, because it works for me and can work for anybody else. You don’t need any equipment, specialist skills or knowledge. All you need is to decide which habits you want to develop, identify how they can help you on your journey and get to work on them. Repetition and discipline will turn these activities into habits and later into routines. Once formed, these habits and routines will help you to build and maintain the momentum which will propel you towards your goals. You just need to want it bad enough that you are prepared to put the work in. Every day.

 

 

 

 

For The Foxes (Charles Bukowski)

don’t feel sorry for me.
I am a competent,
satisfied human being.

be sorry for the others
who
fidget
complain

who
constantly
rearrange their
lives
like
furniture.

juggling mates
and
attitudes

their
confusion is
constant

and it will
touch
whoever they
deal with.

beware of them:
one of their
key words is
“love.”

and beware those who
only take
instructions from their
God

for they have
failed completely to live their own
lives.

don’t feel sorry for me
because I am alone

for even
at the most terrible
moments
humor
is my
companion.

I am a dog walking
backwards

I am a broken
banjo

I am a telephone wire
strung up in
Toledo, Ohio

I am a man
eating a meal
this night
in the month of
September.

put your sympathy
aside.
they say
water held up
Christ:
to come
through
you better be
nearly as
lucky.

Keep Knocking On Doors…

..long enough and eventually someone will open up to let you in. This applies to everything in life. You will often fall short in your first attempt at anything, and that’s ok. It’s all part of the learning and growth processes. Don’t let failure or rejection stop you from chasing after whatever it is that you really want, though. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going.

Job hunting is a prime example, whether you are seeking your first role, a better role or a totally new career. You find the ideal role advertised, and it is a perfect match with your experience and skillset. You apply and if you’re very lucky, you get shortlisted for interview. More often than not, however, you get a generic rejection email. Or maybe no response at all. You find another role for which you believe you are a perfect fit. Same thing happens again.

This can be a kick in the teeth for anyone. Left unchecked, it erodes your confidence and you find yourself reluctant to apply for more roles. Those which you do apply for, you only put minimal thought and effort into, because you already anticipate rejection. This is a vicious cycle which only serves to keep you from finding the right job.

This cycle can be broken, though, through persistence and a bit of good old review and reflection. If your efforts have fallen flat so far, change your approach. Think about it – when you hit turbulence while pursuing your goals, what do you do? You reflect on your approach so far and what you’ve learned, you seek advice and feedback and get back to work. The same applies to your job hunt.

Applying for jobs is a numbers game. Along with yourself, there could be tens or even hundreds of others all applying for the same role. The recruitment software that companies use to sift through CVs and application forms will cut that number down, and a panel will review the remainders and shortlist the lucky ones. In my own experience, the response rate to job applications is between 10 and 16%. This, however can differ for you, depending on your industry, qualifications and experience.

What does all of this mean? Well, when you hit a brick wall in your job hunt;

  • Take some time to review your personal statement, cv and cover letter. What messages are you sending? How well are you selling yourself to a prospective employer?
  • Seek help. There is plenty of good advice available online about how best to apply for jobs according to each industry, but don’t just rely on the internet. Make friends with recruitment consultants. Register with the main recruitment agencies according to your industry, and get feedback on your CV and cover letter. These are the people who will be approaching companies on your behalf, and their feedback and advice is priceless. Alternatively, ask friends, family or your professional network to help you.
  • Review your approach. Apply directly to companies which interest you. Apply via job boards such as Totaljobs, CV Library, or Indeed among others. Sign up with recruitment agencies. Check trade or industry-specific journals. Go to networking events. Speak to your personal and professional networks. There is no one right method to search for your next job so use as many as you can. Don’t just sit in front of a computer and wait for the right job to come to you. Get out there and hustle for it.
  • Keep applying. Don’t just apply for one or two jobs and then sit back and wait for a reply. Keep searching and keep applying. The more the better, because the more jobs you apply for, the better able you will be to sell yourself to prospective employers. Furthermore, when you have applications pending and are finding more jobs to apply for on a regular basis, you won’t be downhearted when you get rejected. And if you do have a high success rate, with lots of interviews? Then, you will gain a wealth of interview experience and will be in the envious position of choosing your next move.

So, if your job hunt is taking too long and you’re becoming frustrated, just keep going. Review what you have been doing so far and learn from it. What is and isn’t working for you? Why? What can you do about it? Who can help you? Put the work in to improve your personal statement, cv and cover letter and then get back to work.

The more doors you knock on, the more people you talk to and the more jobs you apply for, the more chance you will have of landing your dream role. Want more? Then do more!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget (Charles Bukowski)

There is always somebody or something
waiting for you,
something stronger, more intelligent,
more evil, more kind, more durable,
something bigger, something better,
something worse, something with
eyes like the tiger, jaws like the shark,
something crazier than crazy,
saner than sane,
there is always something or somebody
waiting for you
as you put on your shoes
or as you sleep
or as you empty a garbage can
or pet your cat
or brush your teeth
or celebrate a holiday
there is always somebody or something
waiting for you.

keep this fully in mind
so that when it happens
you will be as ready as possible.

meanwhile, a good day to
you
if you are still there.
I think that I am—
I just burnt my fingers on
this
cigarette.

Rid Yourself Of The Limiting Beliefs Which Are Holding You Back

Go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom. you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.

David Bowie

When it comes to identifying opportunities to improve our lives and circumstances, and taking advantage of them, we are our own worst enemies. Every decision we make can potentially be the first step to something wonderful, but for this to happen we need to be prepared to take calculated risks. I’m not suggesting that we should be reckless and rash with our choices, but that we should weigh up our options and be willing to step out of our comfort zones.

Yet, we don’t take chances, but instead make safer choices. So, all that we want for ourselves remains a dream because we fail to act upon it. After all, taking action towards our goals forces us to leave our  comfort zones. We fear the unknown, so comfort zones feel good. When in your comfort zone, you feel in control. You know, from experience, what to expect and there are no unwelcome surprises. This is a place reserved for people who are happy as they are, and have achieved all that they set out to in life. This is for those who want to save their energy and time for their families or interests.

Comfort zones, however, are the enemies of progress. If you want more out of life than you currently have, if you want to become more than you currently are, then you can’t afford to become comfortable and complacent. You can’t afford, either, to keep making the rubbish excuses which you use to justify remaining in the comfort zone. Of these, there are plenty, but I want to look at just three; background, circumstances and experience.

How many times have you dreamed of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, opening your own restaurant or having your ideal job? More times than you can count, right? And what have you actually done about it?

For a number of people, their dreams remain just that. Dreams. Not because they lack the knowledge, skills or work ethic, but because they talk themselves out of even starting to work towards making these dreams a reality. They don’t apply to the bank for a loan to open a restaurant because they believe that their current circumstances will only earn them a refusal. They don’t apply for their dream job because they lack experience, or believe that their background will make it difficult to relate to others and fit in. This negative self-talk needs to stop as it destroys your confidence. The truth is that you don’t know anything for certain unless you try. Even if somebody else from a similar background, for example, has tried what you want to do and failed, it means nothing. Everybody is different, and you may very well succeed where someone similar to you tasted defeat.

The reality is very different. We now live in an unprecedented age of opportunity. Your background, circumstances and experience can actually be a source of strength. So what if your parents aren’t millionaires?! Talk to them and learn from them about their struggles and how they overcame them. Instead of being embarrassed about a modest upbringing, use it to fuel your hunger for success. Aim to work yourself into a position that you can now provide a comfortable life for your parents and your own family. Strive to succeed so that you can ensure that your family will no longer struggle.

“But my current circumstances are bad, so I can’t help anyone let alone myself” I hear you say. Rubbish. We all go through difficult times in our lives. I have hit rock bottom several times, each new time worst than the last, but have always bounced back. As can anyone else. If this is your excuse for not trying to do and become more in life, you need to stop wallowing in self-pity and take action. If you are unhappy with your current circumstances, you have in your hands the power to change them. Leave a toxic relationship, get a new job, start exercising regularly…Identify whatever it is that is getting you down, and tackle it. A bad week or month does not lead to a bad life if you do something about it.

How about experience then? This really isn’t as important as people believe, because experience can be gained. Whether you lack experience in relationships or want to change career, don’t let that hold you back. Have the courage to go after what you want, and let your passion and dedication show. You will find doors opening for you, and you will get the experience you need. If you want to change careers and work in an industry where you lack experience, focus on what experience you have gained in studying and working and how that could help you in this new role. This is what will make you an interesting prospect for an interview panel.

Overcoming these limiting beliefs is one area in which reading the biographies of successful people could help. I am against the idea that copying the greats and trying to be more like them will bring you success, because it makes no sense. You could match their work ethic and ingenuity and still fall short because they succeeded in a different country, or even era. The only way you will succeed is by being you, and giving all you have in pursuit of your goals.

What these biographies can do is highlight how to people can succeed despite their background or circumstances or anything else which could have held them back. They didn’t let the negative self-talk take over and dissuade them from their path. Instead, one thing that many of the greats have in common, is their determination that they would succeed, regardless of the start they had in life or the circumstances in which they found themselves.

Like many of the other limiting beliefs which hold us back, background, circumstances and experience are not fatal to our progress. What does matter, and does determine how far we will go in life, is the courage, commitment, dedication, passion and hard work which we are prepared to put into the pursuit of our personal and professional development.

 

 

Expect great things of yourself

Have you ever stopped to think carefully about what standards you are setting for yourself personally and professionally? If not, now is the time to start. What do you expect of yourself? Are you living up to your expectations? What behaviours and influences do you allow from other people?

Not enough time and consideration is given to the expectations we set for ourselves. This can lead to us falling short of our potential or entering into toxic relationships with people who don’t respect us. The truth is that we either live up or live down to the expectations we set for ourselves. Subconsciously, we determine what we are prepared to accept in our lives and our actions and words are adjusted to reflect this.

You can identify someone who has set low expectations for themselves by the language they use. They hope, wish or wonder if something is possible. This screams self-doubt. The message that they are sending is that they would love it if they could achieve whatever it is that they are focusing on, but they are not convinced that they can do it. This will then show in their actions. They won’t commit fully to a course of action because they don’t believe that they have a realistic chance of success. And then they wonder why they fell short of their goals, convincing themselves that they did all they could and it just wasn’t meant to be. I know this scenario very well, because I have been here more times than I care to remember.

On the other hand, when you set high expectations for yourself, your mindset becomes more positive and your actions more determined. Expect great things of yourself because when you expect success, you attract positive results. Without realising it, you will  put everything you have into whatever you do, which in turn will give you the best possible chance of succeeding in pursuit of your goals. You expected to succeed, so you put every ounce of effort you could muster into making it happen. Not only that, but when you set high expectations for yourself, you tend to find yourself drawn to like-minded people. Instead of being drawn into toxic relationships with people whose insecurities and agendas will bring you down and damage your confidence, you will find yourself among people who inspire you and support your goals and your direction.

Stop hoping. Stop wishing. Stop wondering. That is for dreamers. Know that it will happen. Expect that it will happen. And then work relentlessly for it. That is as close to a recipe for success as I can give you.

If you are serious about changing your life, you need to change your views on greatness and success. Instead of thinking about them as something to be hoped for, learn to think of them as something which you expect. This leads to a shift to a positive mindset, and with this mindset you will naturally be inclined to do everything within your power to achieve that which you expect. Set yourself high expectations and you will find yourself doing whatever it takes to meet them. Set them low, and you will find yourself forever dreaming about what others are achieving.

Ok, so here comes the hard part. I have some homework for you. Grab a pen and paper, and write down what you currently expect of yourself, what you value and what you allow into your life. Now think about how you could raise those expectations. Where are you selling yourself short? Create a list of new, high expectations and set about achieving them. Believe that they will happen, and your actions will reflect this because if you expect great things, you will do whatever it takes to achieve them. It’s hard and takes a lot of practice, but once those wins start coming, you won’t be lowering your expectations again. Ever.