We all can admit that it’s hard to one day break out of our shell and start taking responsibility for our own life especially if we always have someone to rely on to help make things happen for us, or, if we have been in engaged in the stability and comfort of that certain thing that makes us unhappy for far too long i.e. a job that kills our soul but pays well, a rollercoaster-ride relationship. These are two different scenarios but they both require the same action - deciding that we’re going to take charge of our own life.
What we need to realize is that by staying in comfort because it’s less scary, less terrifying, and more convenient, we let others take away our own personal power. When you always rely on something or someone to help you all the time, you don’t grow your own personal power. Whatever is sharpened gets sharper. Whatever we focus on expands. Whatever we exercise gets stronger. If we never ever do things on our own and just rely on luck, someone , or something else to help change our situation, we would never get to exercise our own courage, self-discipline, and build our self-confidence.
Now are you ready to start taking charge of your own life? How’s how you can start doing so.
1. Realize that it’s important to start taking charge of your own life.
Whoever you rely on - whether it be parents, partner, a friend, a job, or even God - they are not going to be there for us forever and not 100% of the time. One day they may leave us. One day they may pass away. One day the friendship may end. Then when that happens, you may feel like breaking down if you have always relied on them for help. When that suddenly happens, it will not be easy for you to adjust. You will not have the inner power and capability to deal with the weight of matter that life throws at you. Building one’s mental strength takes time. It’s like building muscles - you’re not going to be muscular after lifting weights for a week. It takes months and years of practice and stamina training. Our brain is the same. Our mind is the same. Our soul is the same. You need to start taking care of it and build its strength so that it can be ready to tackle when you really need it to be.
2. Say ‘No’ to help.
Some of us are blessed with family and friends who always want to help us. It is a blessing and it is also a curse because you’d never get to start taking complete charge of your own life until they take their hands off you. Some people find satisfaction and fulfillment in life by helping others. To them, helping others is a way to build bond and connection with other human beings. But what they don’t realize is that their help is making others weak and stay in the state of being weak and helpless.
Like the saying that says,
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
It is very true. If our parents always cook for us, how can we know how to cook? We need to learn to cook ourselves so we can cook when they’re no longer there.
The earlier we can learn to say no and decide to take charge of our own life, the better. Those kind friends and family might freak out at first as their helping hands get rejected. Explain to them that you love them but you want to start building your own strength and deal with life’s problems on your own. Why would you want to deal with that ? - they may ask. Sometimes the best thing you can do to get yourself into discomfort and start growing is to move somewhere new, so that asking for help becomes harder to do. It can be scary, but it will surely build your mental strength, independence, self-reliance, and increase your ability to listen to no one else but your own intuition and the voice in your own head and heart.
3. Say ‘No’ to choices that make you unhappy.
Sometimes it’s easy to keep staying where we are even though it makes us unhappy - this is because the soul-sucking situation provides some sort of comfort - comfort that comes with not making change; comfort of the familiar; comfort of the known and the predictable. But unless we start taking charge of our life and building our courage to get up and leave the current situation, life will never get easier. Only when you build your strength, life gets easier. And strength does not magically grow, it needs to be built.
When we’re scared of making change, it’s mostly because we overestimate the cost of taking the risks. We imagine the worst possible outcome which consequently makes us scared and keeps us in our own shell. Imagining the worst outcome and not taking the plunge is the result of not believing in your own personal power (which you may not have at the moment). But, let’s face it - you will not have the power until you build it.
We are who we confidently tell ourselves we are. We are who we practice and build ourselves to be. Staying in the state of helplessness, we enable our weakness to get stronger and our strength to get weaker. Just like the heart and legs get stronger as you run more, the mind also gets stronger as you build its power through practice.
4. Realize that you only have the power you decide to build.
We aren’t born with personal power; we build it. You may be scared of making change because you don’t feel confident in your abilities. Whatever you want to have in you, you need to build.
If you want to be confident, you need to practice confidence and put yourself through challenges where you can grow your confidence.
If you want to be more courageous, put yourself into situations where you have to get out of your comfort zone.
If you want to be smarter, surround yourself with people smarter than you and keep learning.
If you want to be strong, you need to practice and grow your muscles and mind.
If you want to be sociable, go to social events more often until it feels comfortable to start conversations with strangers.
If you want to be open-minded, learn to listen to different opinions and beliefs with the intention to understand and without judgement.
If you want to be patient and calm, put yourself into situations where you have to wait and force yourself to stay calm and relaxed.
We were born as blank canvases. Those with traits and characters you wish you had weren’t born with those; they had to go through experiences that help them build those - and you too can build whatever you wish to have in you.
5. Know that life is a journey.
A lot of us are scared of taking charge of our own life because we’re scared that we may fail and we may make mistakes. So we stay in our own comfort zone because it feels safer. If you really want to start taking charge of your own life, you need to trust in fate, in destiny, and most importantly in yourself. Remove the fear, doubt, and expectation that life will always go as planned.
Change your perception and your mindset towards life from expecting it to be perfect to hoping for inner strength to deal with whatever comes and for adaptability so that you can adjust the lens which you use to look at the world. Whatever happens in life, you will be okay, you will be fine. Positive events come in to give us joy. Negative events come in to be our teachers. Disappointments come in to close the door that is wrong for us and push us into the direction to find the door that is right for us.
When you look at life this way, you won’t fear mistakes and disappointments as much. Instead, you will learn to embrace them and feel empowered. After all, you are in control of your own destiny - and whether this statement is true or not, it starts with you deciding to take charge of your own life.
I hope that in the new year you’re ready to say that the direction of your life depends on you and that you’re ready to build whatever traits you wish to have in you.
Every once in a while we stop and think about the routines we have fallen into, the lives we have become comfortable with, and the surrounding we are accustomed to. Sometimes we feel a little lost in the direction we are headed. Sometimes we feel a little stuck. Sometimes we feel like we are not being honest with ourselves and are not living the life we actually want to live if money was not an object.
There are so many things we wish we could do but we haven’t come around to doing it. We feel like there is more to life. We feel like we might be wasting our time if we don’t do it, yet, we feel stuck. There are so many reasons that we seem to be telling ourselves why we haven’t come around to doing it. We may feel like we don’t have enough time, but if we don’t make time for it, when will we ever make it happen? We may say that we don’t have enough money, but do we really need so much capital to begin with or can we take a leap of faith in ourselves and let life lead the way? We may feel like the time is not right, but if we keep waiting around, when will it ever be right? We may feel like we’re not ready, but we will never feel ready until we have already done it once.
When these doubts or feelings occur, ask yourself these questions to help you determine what you really want out of life, where you are headed, and what you should do.
1. If not now, then when?
2. What would you do if nobody would judge you?
3. Have you done something worth remembering lately?
4. Time or money?
5. What is the one thing you are proud of but would never put on your resume?
6. In 20 years from now, what do you want to remember?
7. What is something that you have always wanted to do since you were a kid?
8. When did you first realize life is short?
9. What memory from the past makes you smile the most?
10. Are you proud of what you are doing or what have you done?
11. In one year from today, how do you want to be different?
12. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you are doing?
13. What do you need to do to make it happen?
14. What do you absolutely love in life?
15. Has your greatest fear come true?
16. What is success for you?
17. What makes you feel great about yourself?
18. What do you admire most in the world?
19. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like doing?
20. When was the last time you started something new?
21. In order of importance, how would you rank happiness, money, love, health, fame?
22. What was the thing that didn’t last forever, but was still worth a while?
23. What has fear or failure stopped you from doing?
24. In one word, how would you spend the last month of your life?
25. What do you want to be known for?
26. What are you thankful for?
27. What do you need to let go of?
28. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
To actually sit down and answer all of these questions might be harder than you think. But I hope that after doing this self-discovery exercise, you now have a clear direction of what you want out of life and what you should do.
We are constantly on the look out for ways to improve our lives, ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. No matter how many hacks there are to implement, things to learn and to ponder upon, there are a few simple things that if we learn to start doing now and everyday, they will become valuable habits for a lifetime.
1. Learn to control impulse spending
Buying shoes because they’re on sale. Grabbing that shiny gadget because it’s just come out and you’d look cool being the first to have it. Splurging on alcohol simply because… err… you’re already drunk?!?
How much would you have saved if you could actually control your impulse spending every time the urge occurs?
The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.
- Stephen R. Covey
When you get rid of the desires to buy things you can live without, you will feel more in control and life will get easier. After all, a lot of the time when we feel life is hard, it’s because we haven’t managed our finances well enough - we’ve bought too much clothes, spent too much on the weekend, ate out too often, and simply just have a bad habit of spending beyond our means. Once we learn to stop impulse spending and make it a natural part of who we are to realize that “less is more” and enjoy minimal living, life will feel a whole lot easier and 80% of the stress we have in life will be eliminated.
2. Always be active
When you start working out consistently, you’ll notice increase in your energy level. And just like how it takes us several weeks and months to build a good habit, the mind and body also do the same.
When you work out, your metabolic rate goes up, your blood gets pumped up, and your heart muscles get stronger. The adrenaline rush and the sweat also help you get rid of stress and recharge your brain.
Isn’t heart the most important organ in our body? You bet.
Here’s my theory on exercising,
Exercising without an adrenaline rush is like having sex without reaching an orgasm.
Moreover, when we are active, we feel fit and confident from within which helps us get more things us and feel better overall in all areas of life. When we feel fit and fresh, we speak more confidently, hold better posture, and become more productive at work too. Isn’t that just wonderful?
3. All the hard work will be worth it
There are two main reasons for this;
Everything you are good at now, you were a beginner at one point. Soccer? Guitar? DJing? Rock-climbing? Golf? Making sales? Writing? Building a website? Managing staff? Public speaking? Analyzing data? Not as much fun in the beginning…but it will definitely get more enjoyable and easier as the days go by. It’s all about how you look at it.
They make you stronger. All the emotional tiresome you have to go through in the initial stage of doing something new, the tedious long hours you trade in for something else you want, the willpower you have to build, the motivational phases you keep pushing yourself with — all of these make you stronger.
4. You are what you eat
Sometimes we forget and overlook these things we studied since primary school. We don’t just need food to give us energy to get through the day — this is why a lot of people eat junk food.
We need vitamins and minerals because our bodies cannot produce these. They are vital for the functioning and growth.
Therefore, we must obtain them from food.
Hence, JUNK FOODS DO NOT GIVE YOUR BODY ANY OF THESE!
Let’s see what these vitamins and minerals are for;
Vitamin A = hair, skin, and vision
Vitamin B = blood
Vitamin C = teeth, gums, and muscles.
Vitamin D = bones and teeth.
Vitamin E = blood, eyes, skin, liver, and lungs.
Vitamin K = blood to clot when we get a cut.
Calcium = bones and teeth
Copper = iron, blood, transportation of oxygen
Germanium = immune system
Iron = red blood cells, energy
Magnesium = heart, blood pressure, and nerve function
Manganese = bones, the metabolism of enzymes in the cells, protein and amino acid digestion and utilisation
Phosphorus = synthesise protein for growth, maintenance, and repair
Now, does this make you want to forever stop eating junk food with no nutritional value? ;)
5. Do one thing that makes you happy — every day
Whatever it is that makes you happy, take time to do.
Sometimes we’re bombarded with responsibilities that we forget to give ourselves joy. Happiness in every day can be derived from simple things like cooking, sitting down with a nice cup of tea reading a magazine, relaxing with your partner, playing with your kid, reading a book before bed, having a glass of red while watching your favorite show, playing football with the boys, or going to a comedy show.
Bills and responsibilities are to be taken care of. But don’t forget, that ‘YOU’ come first — you, your health, and your happiness. Take at least 10 minutes to an hour a day just to simply enjoy you.
6. Minimize drama, anger, and negativity
Drama and anger are sometimes somewhat inevitable as created by someone else in your life. What you can do is to try your best to put your mind at ease and let it go. Shift your focus. Learn to become resilient and handle the flame.
Stop associating with people who shove drama and pessimism down your throat.
7. Question how something can be done better
There is always an alternative to achieving something. Make it a habit to ask yourself question “How can this be done better?”.
This could be a process at work, at home, or just in one’s self.
How can I finish this task in a more efficient way? Can I create a new way of doing this? Can I come up with a better way that delivers the same or even a better result?
How can I get from point A to point B on a different path - different from what everyone else is doing? Is there a way to hack this?
How can I accelerate my personal growth? How can master this skill before everyone else does?
Write down your goals. Big goals. Big aspirations. Big dreams. Then think about how you can achieve those goals — via route A, B, C. Question everything and every process to find a better way of doing something. Google is your best friend. Ask questions. Ask better questions. Because the better questions will give you the better answers. Stay curious. Do your research. Give it a go.
8. Learn from experiences and mistakes
Throughout our lives, we will make several of what might seem like mistakes and failures. The secret is this — failure is not a failure. Failure is a part of the process. Without mistakes and failures, you don’t learn anything. You can protect yourself by learning from others’ mistakes. But what if your way of doing things was a new way? What if no one has done it before so you can’t learn it from others’ stories?
It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.
- Stephen R. Covey
Think about this….
You don’t know what feeling “satisfied with food” feels like until you experience “hunger”.
You don’t know what “joy” feels like if you’ve never been “sad”.
You don’t know how painful a “heartbreak” is if you’ve never been in love.
You need to go through the bad to appreciate the good.
Behind every mentally strong person is a struggle and strong willpower that has been consequently built upon it.
Learn from those experiences. Don’t simply just move on. Give yourself a pause. Learn what went wrong.
9. Learn from people you encounter
Every new person you encounter teaches you something or get you to see something in a slightly different way because everyone is different. The new friends you’ve met over the year — What have you learned from them?
Make it a habit to be open-minded and really listen.
Did you learn something about their hobbies or interests?
Did you learn something about their work?
Did you learn something from the way they do things?
Did you learn something from the way they think?
Did you spot any differences in perspectives, attitudes, and beliefs? Could this spark any interesting arguments or shed some light?
10. Take time to self-reflect
I have been a strong believer in the Inside-Out approach since my father gave me The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book to read. It is one of the best paradigm-shifting books that has influenced me until today.
We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.
The key to self-mastery is self-discover. We try to change habits. We try to do things better. But at the end of the day, it all starts from the way we see things. Because the way we see things affects how we feel which affects how we behave.
We can only achieve the quantum improvements in our lives as we quit hacking at the leaves of attitude and behaviour and get to work on the root, the paradigms from which our attitudes and behaviours flow.
At the core what we do, act, and show to the world is our paradigms. They are the foundation that hold everything we are up. They are the source of our attitudes and behaviours. We cannot act with integrity outside of them. We simply cannot maintain wholeness if we talk and walk differently than we see. No matter how busy your life is, take some time off to reflect.
With self-discovery at the core of self-mastery, you can feel complete and whole from within — from the inside out, rather than outside in
Regardless of where you are in life, you feel proud of yourself for your achievements and your actions - whether it’s good or bad. Because life is not about going from one point to the next. Life is about the journey - and the key to loving life is to enjoy the journey.
You’re proud of yourself and for everything you’ve been through, because every turning point in life leads you to another. Every change leads to a new destiny. When one door closes, another door opens. No matter what happened in the past, you are who you are because of everything that’s happened and you’re proud of who you’ve become.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll
2. You feel happy with where you are and where you’re headed.
You know that you’ve done well in life when you’re happy with where you are and where you’re headed. You might not be exactly where you dream of ending up, but you’re happy that you’re on the right path. You know who you are and you’re making decisions that align with your values. You don’t do things that go against who you are at the core. You are in touch with your soul, with yourself, and you know that no matter what happens, you will be okay. Life will lead you down the right path.
3. You are better than you were yesterday, last week, and last year.
You might not be the best you could be yet, but you’re better than you were yesterday and the day before. Sometimes we do stupid things. Sometimes we make decisions we should not have.. But as long as we realize this and aim to become a better person each day - mentally, emotionally, physically, and intellectually — then we are further along in life than many people.
“The minute you stop improving yourself is the minute your life becomes stale. Never stop challenging yourself to become the best you can be.”
- Mo Seetubtim
4. Your relationship with your family has improved.
Not everyone grows up having the perfect relationship with their family. Most of the time we don’t. Personality clashes are common occurrences, let alone if you have controlling parents or abusive parents, who don’t seem to have it all together. While growing up, sometimes we need to push our family members away in order to grow and become mentally strong and well. Sometimes we have to ignore them in order to discard the pain and the burden inside of our hearts. But as we get older, we realize that no matter how bad our parents might seem, they’re still our parents. They might not be amazing at parenting. They might not be as selfless and caring as other parents. But often, they have our best interest at heart. And even if they don’t, we learn to accept it and understand why they are the way they are. We learn to understand their circumstances and how their upbringing shaped them as people. We are now mature and wise enough to manage our emotions and handle conflicts with the only people in our life we can never completely detach from - our parents.
As we get older, we realize that there’s not much time left for us to be with them. So instead of feeling bad about the hurtful past, we re-create the bond with our parents and make sure they know how thankful we are for the love and care they’ve given us. Because after all, we wouldn’t be here today without them.
5. You’re passionate about your job, your hobbies, and your life.
After all, what is there to enjoy if we don’t enjoy life? You know you’ve done well in life when you love your job, have hobbies that you enjoy, and just love waking up everyday. You feel excited about what the day will bring and who you will meet. Isn’t life just wonderful?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
- Steve Jobs
6. You live in the present.
Instead of focusing on the past and wishing things were different or worrying too much about the future, you focus on the present. You realize that everything is fleeting and that life is uncertain. The only thing you have control over is the present moment. You know you’ve done well when you focus on making each moment the best moment it can be. You are mindful and you know that our wandering thoughts can create illusional emotions that shouldn’t be there to start with. The only way for us to truly enjoy life is to live in the present.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” - John Lennon
7. You know who your true friends are.
One of the most beautiful things in life is true friendship. Your true friends are the people who accept you for who you are and no matter what happens, they’re there by your side. True friends are the rarest gifts, and we should show our appreciation to them more often. You know you’ve done well in life when you know you have a group of people you can turn to celebrate your success and to be your shoulder to cry on. They are the people you can trust wholeheartedly. Having these people in life means that you’re a true friend to them as well. Being a true friend is a reciprocal process. You just don’t form a strong friendship if you only take and take - you have to give as well. If you have a group of people who are there by your side for years to come, you know you’ve done well in life.
8. You realize that you’ve become less judgmental and open-minded over the years.
One of the things that can show our maturity is how we care for others. Over the past years, have your eyes become more open? Has your horizon been broadened? Have you become more open-minded, less judgemental, and more understanding of the world and of people around you?
No matter who you are as a person, no matter what you do - if you have no sympathy for others and no understanding of the world, then you might be missing out on something good in life. Life is more than just about work and play. Life is about experiencing and understanding other human beings and other cultures. Life is about experiencing love, joy, happiness, tears, and sadness. Life is about escaping from suffering, as much as it is about pleasure.
You know you’ve done well in life when you no longer judge people for what they’re wearing or for what they’re doing. Rather, you try to understand. After all, everyone’s story is different. You never know what they’ve been through and what happens behind closed doors.
9. You know how to manage your emotional well-being as well as your mental well-being.
As good as it sounds to be smart and successful, it is never a true success if your home is a mess, your family life is in chaos, and your emotional health is declining . Your emotional intelligence is even more important than your intellectual intelligence. It doesn’t matter if you are a successful businessperson who can close any deal if you are aggressive and abusive to your employees. It doesn’t matter if you are the breadwinner of the family if you abuse your wife and scream at her under pressure.You know you’ve done well in life when you have your emotional well-being under control and when you no longer feel like you’re falling apart inside because you’re breaking down. Stress is inevitable. However, learning to manage it is crucial and essential to a happy and healthy living.
10. You do things that are good for yourself, body, and mind.
Some people work so hard that they forget to take care of the most important things in their life - their health, body, and mind. Without good health, life is not enjoyable. What’s the point of being wealthy if you don’t have time to enjoy life with the people you love? You know you’ve done well in life if you make your health and well-being your priority. You make sure you eat well, exercise, and take some time off to relax and recharge. You meditate. You read. You do things that revitalize your soul. At the end of the day, no matter how big your home is, your body is your true home.
11. You don’t regret anything you’ve done because life is about moving forward, not backward.
There are always things we have done in the past that we are not proud of. If we could turn back time, we might have acted differently. However, there is no point thinking about it this way. If you’re smart, you learn from your past and become a stronger and better person because of it. There’s no point in looking back and regretting, because everything happens for a reason and leads you to where you are today.
You know you’ve done well in life if all you look forward to is moving forward. You focus on making today and tomorrow better. That’s the only outlook on life that one should have.
12. You feel thankful and are excited about life and the future.
Your life can be truly amazing and wonderful. However, if you don’t appreciate what you have, then you will never feel truly happy. You know you’ve done well in life if you feel thankful for being alive and appreciate what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Life is a gift in itself. The key to this is to view it with gratitude. After all, it is what it is. Everything and every person has come into your life to teach you something. See it as a passing experience and learn from it. Be thankful for whatever has happened because without it you would not have grown and be as equipped as you are today.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Personal Branding - The Secrets to Managing the Brand called YOU!
Branding is the mechanic behind why you buy the brands you love. Regardless of age, position, and the business we’re in, we need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me co.
To be in business today, we are the Head of Marketing of the brand called You.
How can you become like your favourite brand? - be it Apple, Virgin, Nike, Audi, Coca-Cola, Hugo Boss, Rolex, Converse, Chanel, etc.
1. Start by asking yourself the same question the brand managers at Apple, Nike, or Audi ask themselves
What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?
What are the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or your colleagues?
What is the “feature-benefit model” that the brand called You offers?
What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?
What do I do that I am most proud of?
What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about?
What do I want to be famous for?
2. Increase the visibility of your brand
If you’re McDonald’s, Cadbury, or Lays that usually means a full flight of TV and print ads designed to get billions of “impressions” of your brand in front of the consumers. If you’re brand You, you’ve got the same need for visibility — but no budget to buy it. So how do you market brand You? There’s literally no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your profile.
Sign up for an extra project inside your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills — or work on new ones.
Take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people.
Try teaching other people. You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests and more opportunities to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re good at writing, blog and contribute a column or an opinion piece to a publisher in your field. Create a slideshare. Tweet. Once you get started, you’ve got a track record that you can use to snatch more chances.
If you’re good at talking, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop.
Create your own channels! There are several channels you can broadcast your expertise for free; Tumblr, Wordpress, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on.
3. Maintain consistent communication messages
When you’re promoting brand You, everything you do and everything you choose not to do communicates the value and character of the brand –What you have to say and how well you get it said. Your business cards also matter. Is the design of your card and logo YOU and demonstrating who you are?
4. Use your own power. Create influence and reputational power.
One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. As a consumer, you want to associate with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you.
Remember that power is largely a matter of perception.
If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, act like a credible leader. When you’re thinking like brand You, you’re leading You!
5. Increase your brand’s value
Think like big brands do. Imagine yourself a brand manager of Apple: When you look at your brand’s assets, what can you add to boost your power and felt presence?
Would you be better off with a simple line extension — taking on a project that adds incrementally to your existing base of skills and accomplishments?
Would you be better off with a whole new product line?
Is it time to move overseas for a couple of years, venturing outside your comfort zone, tackling something new and completely different?
6. Regularly check up on your brand value and brand perception
Instead of making yourself a slave to the concept of a career ladder, reinvent yourself on a semiregular basis. Start by writing your own mission statement, to guide you as CEO of Me co.
What turns you on? Learning something new? Gaining recognition for your skills as X? Shepherding new ideas from concept to market?
What’s your personal definition of success? Money? Power? Fame? Or doing what you love?
Search relentlessly for job or project opportunities that fit your mission statement.
Review that mission statement every six months to make sure you still believe what you wrote.
Remember that YOU are a BRAND. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today.
When you’re a teenager, you feel like searching for who you are is the key psychological change that’s going on in your life. You seek to establish your identity and find out what you like and dislike doing. You think that as you get older you will be more sure about who you are, what you do, and what you should do. But as you get older, you realize that you’re still trying and not feeling certain about the outcome of what you do. You change jobs. You move countries. Your relationships fall apart only to start blossoming again with someone new. You give something a go, you try your best, it may fail, and you move on.
Everyone is trying to figure out their sh*t just like you. Even ones that seem most assured are as confused, dazed, and unsure deep down inside as you are. They just pretend that everything is okay. Some people feel ashamed of displaying their feeling of uncertainty, thinking that it’s showing vulnerabilities and a sign of weakness. Some people are open about their trial-and-error path, believing that it leads them to finding themselves more and more as they go.
Whatever your path might be like, you realize that as you get older, you still have to keep figuring things out and don’t really know where you’re actually going. You might think “No, this is bullshit. I know exactly what I want to do and what I’m doing.” But no, deep down you still feel uncertain and unsure - you just suppress the feeling.You may have thought that as you get older, you will become more assured and know exactly what you’re doing, but it doesn’t seem that way. Your parents who you thought were the most assured when you’re growing up are probably as confused as you are. They’re still figuring out what to do with their retirements and when they should retire. They get more and more scared of illnesses that are creeping up to them. Some are also looking for new love to replace the old one that has died and are probably more confused than you are about relationships, love, and life.
When you realize that life is trial and error and that it will continue to be that way, you feel more acceptant of life and circumstances that life throws at you. No matter what comes into your life, it will go. No matter what you decide to do, it will either make your heart grow fonder or languish - you live and learn. No matter what risk you take, you will be okay.
Instead of trying to feel certain about life, you learn to embrace uncertainty. Because once you do, you will feel the most certain about yourself and life. After all, that is the only constant in life.
So take risks…. because it’s not a big deal if you fail. It’s just another error. You can try again.
2. Life has its own flow.
Have you heard of the saying that timing is everything? Well, that’s what I’m talking about here. As you get older, you realize that you can’t force time. Life has a way of unfolding at its own pace. Life has its own natural rhythms.
Every little thing in life is building you up for something bigger. Those achievements you had at school built your self-confidence and self-esteem. The junior roles you had when you first graduated prepared you for the bigger roles even though you felt like you were doing minor tasks most of the time. Those people you dated led you to knowing more about yourself, what you want and don’t want, and what you’re compatible with.
Life has its own pace. You can have it all but not all at once. And if you don’t keep your focus right, you might not achieve anything.
3. Life has its own energy.
Everyone wants to be happy. In the path to happiness, you seek to understand who you are, where you stand, what your nature is, and what your interests and passions are. When you get to do what comes naturally to you - whether it be handy tasks, creative hobbies, or adventurous activities - you feel most alive.
Unfortunately, many people don’t allow themselves to flow with life. They fight life. These people may be working hard towards some goal - maybe academic or professional success. They put aside their flowing, their natural love, and their passions in life in order to reach this goal. They haven’t let life run at its own pace and fuelled by its own energy. As a result, they feel stressed, tired, worn out, and drained which leads them to find something that could help bring them back to a normal state of energy. Some rely on sports, meditation, yoga, and a moderate amount of alcohol consumption. Some have lost their souls to overindulgence in alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, and drugs.
Life has its own energy and when the energy flow is blocked or abused, you feel stressed and lost - you feel like you need control. Turning to bad influences for emotional uplifts, you feel like you’re in control once again - that you can control how you feel. However, regardless of how good the emotional assistance makes you feel, relying your emotions and energy on them only leads you to losing control of yourself and your life even more.
4. Life gets easier when you can manage your emotions better.
In the early years of your life as an adult, you might feel like you’re still finding your feet and that life will get easier as you get older. However, as you get older you realize that life doesn’t get easier. In fact, what gets easier is managing your own emotions as your mental strength develops.
My Dad always said to me …
Everyone was born with the ability to become successful. But on the path to that, the obstacles and challenges everyone has to face are their own emotions. The ability to manage one’s emotions and develop self-discipline is what determines whether they will be successful.
On another note, if you have signed up to my mailing list, you would have gotten a prompt email asking you for topic suggestions. I have received quite a few responses and most of them are related to how to deal with stress and negative emotions and thoughts.
Life gets easier when you become more positive and more resilient - when you know how to bounce back from setbacks in life, combat negative thoughts, stay calm in irritating situations, and let go of bad people whom you may have loved.
Being self-disciplined is not easy. It requires a lot of self-control. However, I believe that when you live life in flow - when you do the things you love and are naturally good at and move at your own natural pace - you don’t feel like you need to heavily rely on something that can instantly fix your energy. You just flow. You feel energized. You feel passionate - and in this case, you work hard towards your goal because your passion intrinsically motivates you. You feel happy.
5. Life’s end goal is not to find happiness.
The goal in life is not to search for happiness. In fact, all you have to do is to stop trying to find happiness and just be happy. When you feel like the current state is not good enough, you’re not happy enough, you start looking else where. This is when the search for happiness keeps going on forever and you wonder why you never feel happy.
It all starts with acceptance - the acceptance of self, of circumstances, and of situations.
Life will never be perfect. But life seems perfect when you’ve accepted that life is not perfect. Happiness comes when you accept the imperfection, the flaws, the ups and downs, and enjoy the moments in life. Realize that everything is fleeting - the good thing will pass, the bad thing will pass - just accept life as it is. Adjust and adapt yourself to situations as much as you can - if you’re tight on money this month, then spend less; if you hate your job, then quit or plan to quit; if your partner is abusive, then break up with him/her; if you’re prone to sickness, then start exercising and eat well.
Life is not meant to be perfect, nor is it meant to be easy.
Life is a game. You are the player. And the players pride themselves in their ability to beat challenges.
You may not realize this but we seem to constantly find challenges for ourselves to get through - whether it be getting to the top of our career, buying a car, owning a house, moving to another country, having a kid and then another kid, starting our own business, investing in businesses, learning another language, or doing triathlon.
Life has its own flow. Find your natural self. Do what you’re good at. And let life take its course.