This is how your mindset determines your success!
Have you ever asked yourself why certain goals simply stay as goals or rather ideas? What happened to new year’s resolutions from 2021 or 2020? What is the story you are telling yourself? Or, more importantly, what happened to the dreams you had in your early 20s? Did they change, or did you stop working on them?
For a while, I lost sight of my goals and dreams. Life became pretty serious. Society calls it growing up, and I call it BS. Growing up, you are taught that there is just one way to become a thriving community member. Usually, it is a combination of stepping into a specific career, building a family, having children, developing a routine, etc. Pretty much repeating what the generations before have done. These social achievements are usually attached to a specific timeline, and if you are not aligned with this timeline, you are generally not perceived as successful. More so, you don’t perceive yourself as successful.
The reason for that is quite simple. Somewhere along the way you and parts of society have become one. You adapted to your environment and learned to step into specific roles through socialization. That’s when your goals became dreams that turn into distant memories. In addition, anxiety, depression, physical illnesses, and or simple dissatisfaction (with life) can result from social adaptation.
Generally speaking, the human mind wasn’t created to experience constant joy and happiness. But the make-belief that suffering is part of life is just one way of keeping you aligned. Life isn’t hard. It is people who make life hard – and often far too complicated.
At the same time, the question remains how do you create meaning in life? Does society’s structure give you meaning? Is that what you have internalized?
How is that working for you so far? I guess it’s not going as expected; otherwise, you wouldn’t still be reading this article. But going your path hasn’t worked out too well either, right? At least that’s how it feels at times.
Staying self-motivated takes a lot of energy. I understand that, and even after years of walking my path, at times, I feel exhausted (more on this later). Nevertheless, I know that the other choice isn’t a choice at all because it is not my choice.
Here is what I have learned over the past years that helped people like you – high-achievers, thrivers of change, innovators, explorers, and dreamers – to move forward with content and joy.
The story you tell yourself.
Is it a story of duty and following society’s steps, or is it the story of choices and growth through self-development?
If you are on the path of finding fulfillment and joy, ask yourself if your decisions are based on your own terms or on what society made you believe how success can be achieved.
Taking responsibility for your choices
“It wasn’t my fault.” “I am so unlucky.” “I don’t know how this happened.” “This is typical, something had to happen.” “It was too good to be true.” “Such unfortunate circumstances.” Usually when I hear sentences like these my alarm goes off. It shows that the person lives in a dualistic world: wrong and right, black and white, bad or good. Though life isn’t that simple: it is not a linear journey that we undertake, rather a circular one. While circumstances might have been extremely difficult, we have taken certain decisions that created or co-created this situation.
Suffering, or anxiety, stress or however you want to name these unpleasant feelings, starts with pushing your responsibility aside and blaming an invisible force. Or worse blaming someone else.
So, what can you do when you face a difficult situation?
- Stop judging. It is what it is.
The circumstances are not bad or good. You might be facing obstacles, but don’t label them as such.
Just stop for a moment and think of the last difficulty that you had to face or are maybe going through currently. How does it feel if you don’t label it? My guess is that you start feeling a lot lighter.
- Don’t ask “what if”. You know what you know at the moment of making a decision. That also means that you don’t know what you don’t know. The last is even more important because it shows that you are on a continuous path of learning. Learning means that you need to make “mistakes” in order to get better at it. Life is a continuous loop of improvement.
- Take responsibility. Point 2 is only relevant and helpful, if you understand your own responsibility. Responsibility means “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone”. Responsibility doesn’t mean that you solemnly caused this situation. It means that you understand that you need to take action to resolve it. You can sit back and feel sorry for yourself. Well, you can, but that won’t change anything.
- Stand in your power. The power concept is the most difficult one to accept. Especially when you feel powerless. I’ve been there. These moments when you simply just don’t know what you can do. But you need to understand that no one can take away your power: because no-one can control your thoughts, if you don’t let them. Power means the ability to control how you feel. Remind yourself of past successes, the difficult moments that you have overcome.
You wouldn’t be where you are if you had not previously had the ability to come up with a solution.
- Practice positivity & kindness. Negative thoughts and words place you into a defensive mood. As research in positive psychology shows, positive thoughts allow you to use different [multiple?] brain regions simultaneously (links to research below). This allows you to come up with solutions and create optimism. And, optimism allows you to have a wider understanding of your emotional state, which in turn gives you the ability to distance yourself from difficult emotions, and develop a holistic understanding of what is happening.
Changing the story you tell yourself, not only changes how you feel about yourself and others, it also changes the outcome. Being open-minded and understanding that you can take actions in [although I like the concept of ‘action sin’] order to create change empowers you and creates confidence.
And confidence means that you understand that you can tackle whatever comes your way.
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