The hard truth is that we often do not achieve what we want out of life, because we are our biggest critics. We often stand in our own way, due to doubt, disbelieve, and fear. When we do this, we limit ourselves to these negative beliefs, instead of excel ourselves in the direction of upward mobility. We often become unfulfilled as a result and we settle for good enough.
But that is not living. Each of us has a purpose and we all can experience a good life, no matter what our circumstances are.
It’s about having a positive mindset.
When I get stuck in my head, I often think of the story of “12 Years a Slave,” where a free black man, named Solomon Northrop was stolen from the north and held as a slave in the south for 12 years during the time of slavery. While there, he met a fellow slave named Patsey, through despite being frequently raped by her master, perceived as the villain of her mistress, had lesions on her back from being brutally beaten along her small fame, and whose body was put through torturous treachery day in and day out by picking cotton in the cotton field, she managed to experience some level of happiness. I often remind myself that if she can experience happiness, we can too.
And while Patsey died while being held captive, her spirit for those who want to experience true happiness lives on.
Here are a few strategies that should help.
Establish a morning ritual. I’m always amazed with people who can just get up in the morning and start their day. They don’t have any preparation and they just move from one thing to the next. The most successful people don’t operate that way. The most successful people have some form of routine that they do before their day even begins. This includes things like prayer, meditation, working out, and reading/journaling. These things help to clear their mind from whatever baggage could be holding them back and opens them up for new products and opportunities. It also encourages us to think outside the box and establish new routines, take risks, and just do something
Never be the brightest light in the room. As a child, I never understood why my mother used to tell me this, but now I understand more than ever. When you’re not surrounded by people who are doing better than you, you’re not going to be motivated to do better yourself. Because of the “acceptance factor,” there’s a temptation for people to compromise their own values and skill sets when they’re surrounded by people who cannot achieve what they’re able to do. People want to feel accepted and when you’re around people with less potential than you, they need to be accepted by them can be overwhelming.
Consider this recent study of gorillas that demonstrated this. In this example gorillas were socialized within different groups. When one gorilla was taken out of a group and placed in another group, he was tested to see how he would function. Even though he carried with him, characteristics from his first group into the second group, he changed what he was doing to suit the second group, even though what he had learned in the first group was more effective. That just goes to show you how important it is to feel accepted in your environment, even when you know have to underperform to do so.
Write your goals down. One of my favorite quotes is “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is because, you need some form of blueprint to follow in order to achieve your goals. Whether it’s a business plan, a vision board, or just a plain old list, it’s important to have something tangible that you can reflect on as you are trying to achieve your goals. First, and foremost, research frequently indicates that if you can see something, you can achieve it. It is for this reason that it is important to have things that are written or visible that you can reflect on throughout the process of trying to achieve whatever goals you are attempting.
Living your best life is challenging enough. Don’t let fear get in your way and make it harder. If you would like one of our therapists to support you through in an effort to achieve your goals, please schedule your free, 15 minute consultation today.