“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy
“I don’t know how” is a crappy, unacceptable excuse.
When you say you don’t know how to do something, what you’re actually saying is you’re not determined enough and lack the discipline to learn how. You’re also saying you have low self-esteem and don’t believe that you can learn how to do it.
Is this what you mean to say?
Other Excuses that Mean the Same Thing as “I don’t know how”
- ‘I don’t have the resources’
- ‘I don’t have the skills’
- ‘I don’t know enough’
- ‘I’ve never done it before’
- ‘It won’t make a difference’
“Every Next Level of Your Life will Demand a Different You”
Nobody is born knowing how. We all have to learn how to do anything.
Every next level of your life will demand a different you. That different you will require reinforcement that may or may not be in your current skill set.
“I don’t know how” is, therefore, an excuse you simply cannot afford to make. It denies your potential and holds you back. Not to mention, it steals your dreams right from under you.
What They Can’t Teach You in School
Robert Maynard Hutchins said.“The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
You should not and cannot depend on a formal education to teach you everything you need to know. Why? The world is ever changing. The rules of success are not fixed. Technology is evolving faster than ever.
You are also evolving. What you may have thought is your life’s path then, may no longer hold any allure for you now. That is fine. You are allowed to change your mind.
Call To Action
“I don’t know how” is simply the excuse you’re making to avoid having to take action.
John Locke said that “All wealth is the product of labor.”
However you define wealth, none of it will ever be handed to you. You must work for it. If you work a little you get a little. If you work a lot, you get a lot.
You are the author and editor of your destiny. If you don’t know how, now is not the time for excuses. No one is coming to show you how so go figure it out.
Figure out what you do know and what you don’t know and then go in search of how to fill the gap. It’s how all those who’ve been there and done that, did it. They are no more special than you.
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ~ Steve Maraboli
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“Do not let dream killers dim your vision and steal your joy.” ~ Skip Prichard
Dream killers are everywhere.
You know many of them: Fear. Insecurity. Uncertainty. Inertia. The past. Negativity. Low self-esteem. Over-analyzing. Underestimating. Overestimating. Procrastination.
You know them. You’re prepared for them. You have a ‘what to do’ plan when they show up.
Then there are those dream killers that catch you off guard. They occupy your inner circle. Some by virtue of familial connection – grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, etc. Others by intentional or accidental selection – friends, best friends, friends who become family, ride or die friends, etc.
Dream killers have mastered one skill. Doubt sowing.
Doubt from an external force is one thing. Seeds of doubt being planted by those nearest and dearest can cause damage that is hard to reverse.
You figure that they know you best and therefore conclude that the seeds of doubt are actually seeds of truth. They are not.
Spoken word poet and poetry author, Rudy Francisco says, “muscle is created by repeatedly lifting things that have been designed to weigh us down.” However, there is such a thing as carrying unnecessary weight. Not every thing designed to weigh you done was intended for you to carry.
In pursuit of your dreams or in response to your purpose, there is muscle that you must build. Muscle like confidence, persistence, and courage to name a few. That muscle is necessary weight. Dream killers of the familial and friendship variety are most certainly unnecessary weight.
Family will always be family. Ther’s no changing that. However, it is not your job, in any way shape or form, to convince them to validate your dreams. In pursuit of your dreams or in response to your purpose, there is only one person who must sign on. You!
Family members who consistently cause you to doubt yourself do not need to know everything that is going on in your life. If things get really tough though, never forget that some family members can be loved from a distance. If they notice and care to ask why. Be honest. Tell them that they are sucking all the joy out of life.
“Fire False Friends as early as possible. Do it before they dig out the dream seeds you’ve planted! The earlier, the better; the quicker, the safer!” ~ Israelmore Ayivor
When it comes to your friends keep in mind the following. Human beings are creatures of habit. We don’t do good with change. Our friends might be dream killers but we rationalize the relationship by saying that at least they are the devil we know as opposed to the devil we don’t.
Therefore instead of trying to distance yourself from your dream-crushing friends, find other friends to add to your circle. What will end up happening is that over time you will start to spend less and less time with friends who have chosen to crush your dreams instead of cheering you on.
You’ll know that this is working when those so-called friends start saying things like “We don’t hang out anymore.” To which your response, if one is needed, will be succinct. “I know.” Without apology or indication that this is going to change.
Will the above be tough to do? Absolutely. That being said though, the pain you feel now will pale in comparison to the pain of an unrealized dream.
That pain will subsequently ruin any relationship that was prioritized over it.
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If you remember only one thing today let it be this.
Nobody. Absolutely nobody can motivate you long enough to do anything worth doing or to have anything worth having.
Any achievement worth talking about, writing about or reliving, takes time to create. The type of motivation required to make that time and stick with it is primarily an inside job.
Wait a second.
What about all those people who are out there making a killing motivating others?
I’m glad you asked.
For the few people who change their lives after listening to something motivational, there are many more people who go back to living their lives at status quo. This is because there are two types of people who seek out motivation.
There are those who are already motivated but need a kick in the pants. Motivators make a good living from them but not much because once the kick is delivered, it will be a while before you see them again.
Then there are those who have been convinced that someone else is responsible for getting them to do something or become something.
How can you spot them?
They stop working when the boss stops looking.
They hire a trainer and skip a workout when the trainer takes a sick day.
They stop when they are tired and there is still work to be done.
They live by other people’s schedules.
They ask stupid questions.
… How long do I have to do this for?
… Why are they not doing this?
… Did you do this?
… Do I have to do this, I don’t feel like it?
They start all action statements with ‘we.’
… We should do
… We should go
… We should try
This segment of the population is powered by borrowed motivation and are responsible for making motivators millionaires.
What Does Internal Motivation Look Like In Real Life
It looks like Jennifer Phillips X Factor audition in 2015.
Jennifer had the opportunity to change her life. That opportunity put her in front of four judges. One of whom was Simon Cowell. She had a plan. The judges, starting with Simon Cowell, of course, did not like her plan. They made her change it. She did and she absolutely killed it.
If Jennifer had been powered by the external motivation of her singing coach or friends and family she would have buckled because they were not there at the moment when she was asked to change the plan.
External motivation does not keep your schedule or any schedule for that matter. When you need it, you must go in search of it. Unfortunately, life does not wait. Neither does opportunity.
Internal motivation, if you’ve built it, will always be there. Bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting to propel you forward.
Call to Action
Let today be the day that you let whomever you had tasked with the responsibility of motivating you, off the hook for failing miserably. They were never adequately equipped for the task at hand.
Let today be the day that you hammer the following quote into your soul. “You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.” ~ Stephen Richards
James Clear says that the “environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.” So let today be the day you start to build your internal source of motivation by creating an environment in which it can grow and thrive.
That environment requires the following.
You are required to have big goals. Great goals. Scary goals. You are not required, by anyone, to have big, great or scary ways to achieve said goals. The self-induced requirement that things have to be achieved in difficult environments, stunts the growth of internal motivation.
Set big goals and keep the process of achievement simple and easy and most important, part of what you already do.
The gym should be on your way home and not in the other direction. The healthy food should be at home and the junk food in the store and not the other way round. The good books should be by your comfortable chair and not in the library down the hall.
Alex Mathers writes that “Life is movement. Everything moves. Everything is in a constant state of flux. You must align with such constant change, to align with reality. If you don’t move, you are no longer real. And life will punish you for that. You will feel it.”
One form that punishment will take is having to rely on the motivation of others to do anything or be anything. How awful is that?
Once thinking has been done create an environment that allows for more doing.
For example, once you decide to save money, getting the money to your savings account should be automated. If you have to think about it, you create the opportunity not to act.
Jerry Bruckner says in his book, The Success Formula that, “Once you know your goals you should measure your progress to achieve them. Seeing your favorable progress will serve as positive reinforcement to continue your hard work and seeing negative progress will alert you to something you should change to get you back on track.”
Knowing that you are on the right track, that you’re getting better, does wonders for your internal motivation.
Figure out how to measure your goal. Keep in mind that you are not measuring activity but progress. Not all action is forward and forward is the only action that counts in the pursuit of internal motivation.
For example, measuring how long you worked out is more beneficial than measuring the mere fact that you did work out. Of course, this measurement assumes that working out is a thing that you already do. If it’s not, then measuring how many days you worked out is a better place to start.
Humans are either moving towards pleasure or avoiding pain.
It’s tough to avoid pain when you set big, great and scary goals. Even if you have set the easiest of achievement processes. As you continue to challenge yourself it’s going to get hard. Real hard. You’re going to need to keep your eyes on a reward to keep going.
The habit of focusing on a reward releases dopamine. Psychology Today defines dopamine as a “neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards but to take action to move toward them.”
The reward you establish should not counter the efforts that went into achieving it. That only serves to set you back.
For example, don’t choose to reward yourself for saving money by buying something that empties out your savings account. Don’t reward yourself for achieving a particular weight loss number by gorging yourself on twice the amount of calories.
Celebrate the small things that you’ve done. Celebrate the big things that you’ve done. Celebrate it all. “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate,” says Oprah Winfrey.
The reason for your celebration was not accidental. You intentionally put yourself outside your comfort zone and kept pushing until what you wanted to happen, happened. This act of perseverance should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Celebrations feed the insides where internal motivation resides. Celebrations make you stop. That moment you stop to celebrate your success creates a moment of gratitude. Gratitude is that delightful gift that keeps on giving.
Celebrations are not required to be big, flashy or go on for days. In fact, it’s best if they are kept brief and to the point so they don’t hold you back.
The best time to beat a winner afterall is when they are celebrating.
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Every Friday morning I receive an email from the good folks at Medium telling me how I did the past week.
Today’s email was extra extra special.
How Medium Said I Did It
According to Medium, the following stories helped me reach this great milestone.
1. You’re Measuring Your Progress using Your Egomedium.com
Advice on life, living and everything in between.medium.com
“If we are willing to be still and open enough to listen, wilderness itself will teach us.” ~ Steven Harpertheascent.pub
How I Did It
I did what others tell you to do in the pursuit of becoming a better writer. That information is everywhere so I won’t repeat it. You can find it if you’re really interested.
I recently celebrated the 2-year anniversary of my WordPress blog www.excellencewithyouinmind.wordpress.com. That’s where I started writing for public consumption.
My friend Jose told me about Medium. I was hesitant to add anything to my plate as my personal blog was in its infancy. I eventually did join Medium and posted my first article on December 11, 2015. Nobody read it.
Prior to embarking on a new career path, part of my due diligence involved talking to key individuals in the field I…medium.com
If you’re brave enough to read it now you’ll see why. I had no idea what I was doing. However, I was interested and I stuck with it.
Honestly, though, I didn’t stick to it too well. I let life interfere more often than I should have.
I got my act together. Took the writing seriously and turned interest into commitment. The only way to do this is in my opinion, is to make a schedule and stick to it. So I did
In time the writing led to multiple freelancer writing gigs via Upwork (I learned about Upwork on Medium) and surprisingly, a social media management gig. Now this.
Denzel Washington was not lying when he said, hard work works.
If you think I’m bragging. I am. Only for a little bit though. I’m comforted in my extreme short-term bragging by the words of fellow inspiration top writer Todd Brison who says in this article titled 7 Life Formulas to Get You Moving that you should “… love the process. But love the rewards as well.”
I LOVE THIS REWARD !!!
Thank you to my WordPress blog readers/followers. You knew me when.
Thank you to Medium for creating a great writing platform and taking the time to recognize a writer’s efforts.
Thank you to Jose for introducing me to Medium.
Thank you to Awesomely Luvvie for the advice.
Thank you to all the readers who are familiar with my work and to those who shall discover it going forward.
To all future creators, I say simply. Once you find something that you’re interested in, commit to getting better. Make a schedule and stick to it. There is a place for you in this noisy world.
“Professionalism is a frame of mind, not a paycheck.” ~ Cecil Castle
Amateurs work from the outside in. They want to be noticed and therefore seek immediate gratification. Professionals work from the inside out. They want to influence and impact so they focus on building a legacy.
Amateurs are always hunting for motivation and inspiration to create action. Professionals are powered by their habits.
Amateurs are imbued with a permanent sense of haste. Professionals are masters of the long game.
Amateurs want to arrive so they practice as much as they have to. Professionals want to progress so they never stop practicing.
Amateurs focus on how good they are. Professionals are driven by how good they want to be and are always looking for a chance to get better.
Amateurs are ruled by the fear of failure and run from it at every chance. Professionals are empowered by failure and always choose to face it head on.
Amateurs live by default and major in minor things. Professionals are deliberate and intentional and never get caught up in the thick of thin things.
Amateurs put a clock on learning. Professionals are enrolled in lifelong learning.
Amateurs address the urgent. Professionals focus on the important.
Amateurs wait to have time and therefore let life set the pace and prioritize their schedule. Professionals make time are therefore ruthless with their time and schedule their priorities.
Amateurs have a casual relationship with the rules. Professionals have an intimate relationship with the rules. They know which rules to break and they know when and why to break them.
Amateurs opt to quit when the work gets hard. Professionals take a break when the going gets tough.
Amateurs know how to get things done. Professionals know why a thing should be done. How gets things done. Why gets the right things done.
Amateurs relive the past. Professionals move on for the know what got them here will not get them where they must go.
Amateurs act big to achieve small things. Professionals act small to achieve big things.
Amateurs act from a state of convenience. Professionals show up each and every time. Whether it’s convenient or not.
Amateurs underestimate the power of rest. Professionals acknowledge that without rest they are shortchanging themselves so they schedule it.
Amateurs have a plan for when things go right and are running smoothly. Professionals have a plan for when things go wrong.
Amateurs get ready. Professionals stay ready.
Professionalism is a state of mind. It does not require a title, a suit or a tie. It has less to do with how you behave in front of an audience of many and more to do with your performance in front of an audience of one – yourself.
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“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
1. Do not worry about comparing your thing to their thing. A habit of external comparison is rewarded with envy. Envy will rob you of the creative energy required to make your thing great.
2. Do not worry about whether things will get easier. They don’t. The higher you go and the further you reach you’ll discover that difficulty is built in. However, it is not there to disqualify but to qualify. To help you understand the level of commitment and sacrifice required to get through. Add commitment and sacrifice to intentional practice and you will get stronger and better with each passing day.
3. Do not worry about the past or about the future. Said Roy T. Bennett, “No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” Orient yourself to the present. It is the only moment you have. However, it is the only moment you need.
4. Do not worry about being fully ready for the next step. No one ever is. Take the step and jump. Grow wings on the way down. If you get knocked around remember. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue and the cracks are where the light comes through.
5. Do not worry about the people who choose to leave. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Reasons change. Seasons change. You change. Appreciate what was and make room for what is to come.
6. Do not worry about getting acknowledgment for your work. Everything you create has its own voice. Focus on value and in time your work will speak for itself and be sort out on its own merit.
7. Don’t worry about what they say when you ask for what you need. People do not come equipped to read the minds of others. Many want to help. They just don’t how. You’re the only one who can tell them. You’re the only one who knows exactly what you need.
8. Don’t worry about rejection. Rejection sucks. However, rejection is more ‘not yet’ than ‘never’. Don’t let rejection knock you out of the race and be where your story ends.
9. Don’t worry about failure. It’s only permanent if you choose not to get up. Be motivated by the words of Napoleon Hill. “Most great people have attained their greatest success one step beyond their greatest failure.”
10. Do not worry about going after what you want. Nothing comes to us except death. It is the only achievement that is pre-assigned. Everything else we must go out in search of.
11. Do not worry about saying no to what others want for you and pursuing your own dream. Said Richard Koch, “Most of our failures are in races for which others enter us. Most of our success comes from races we ourselves want to enter.”
12. Do not worry about the goal. Set it and forget it. If the goal was well chosen, the only thing that requires your focus and energy is the process. Build the habits required for the process and the goal will be accomplished.
Worrying is not an action but a reaction. Figure out what it is that you are reacting to and deal with it.
“Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.” ~ Hal Elrod.
The start does not dictate the finish. It does, however, dictate the trajectory. Monday is the first day of the week. Here’s how to optimize the trajectory that stems from it.
1. Be Punctual
“Promptitude is not only a duty, but is also a part of good manners; it is favorable to fortune, reputation, influence, and usefulness; a little attention and energy will form the habit, so as to make it easy and delightful.” ~ Charles Simmons
Do not allow yourself to be late on Monday. If you’re late on Monday chances are more likely that you will be late the rest of the week.
Set your alarm to wake you up and set your alarm to give you a 15-minute countdown to when you must leave the house so as to be on time.
2. At Work Prepare to win Monday on Friday
“Why not seize the pleasure at once? — How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!” ~ Jane Austen
If you work a Monday to Friday schedule make sure that before you leave the office on Friday that you have completed all the weekly tasks especially those that can add to the stress of Monday.
Also, check your calendar for the coming week so that you know what you need to prepare for. Surprises are for amateurs.
3. At Home Prepare to win Monday on Sunday
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” ~ Andrew Jackson
Thinking takes time. There are thoughts that push us forward and there are those that keep us in a holding pattern consuming valuable irreplaceable seconds. Minimize the latter to set Monday on a winning trajectory.
Do this by:
Figuring out what you’re going to wear on Monday and setting it aside. Setting it aside is crucial because where you think it is might end up being a false memory that slows you down. There’s an extra bonus for planning for the entire week.
Figuring out what you’re having for breakfast on Monday morning and setting it out.
Putting your packed lunch together.
4. Go to Bed Early
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” ~ Thomas Dekker
Human beings are powered from the inside out. Sleep revitalizes us physically, emotionally and mentally.
Go to bed early enough so that you wake up feeling rested and full of energy to set Monday off on the right course.
5. Load up on Inspiration and Gratitude
“For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Inspiration is borrowed courage. Borrowed courage is still courage. When the body is willing but the mind is weak, inspiration plugs the holes and keeps you moving.
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
Gratitude makes everything enough via contentment and not complacency. It creates positivity and positivity always propels.
Both inspiration and gratitude should be a daily practice. If you are new to the practice, however, commit to doing it at least every Monday morning and build from there.
6. Do not Procrastinate
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” ~ Mark Twain
The number one way to set Monday off on a losing trajectory is to procrastinate. To take the unpleasant, difficult or boring yet important tasks (frogs) and keep rolling them down the week. You must fight this temptation with every single fiber of your being.
Tether your frogs to the first slot in the morning and get it over and done with. If you have more than one frog to address, prioritize but get them done. No exceptions.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” ~ Henry Ford
1 Thing That Will Sell You Out
“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.” ~ Martha Beck
Your character is the sum total of your habits. Daily, repetitious, unconscious habit. You can only pretend for so long before your habits come crashing through and reveal the real you.
2 Things That Will Change your Life
Elon Musk is building rockets today because he read a lot of books about rockets.
“You are what you read. The information that you input into your mind informs your thinking patterns, and it influences your output in the form of the decisions you make, the work you produce, and the interactions you have.” ~ Zat Rana
Repetition is the path to mastery. It is and will always be King.
“Each time you repeat something, you notice something different. Each time you repeat something, there’s some piece — now stored in your long-term memory, instead of being frantically processed by your short-term memory — that just comes easier.” ~ David Kadavy
3 Things You Need to Rethink
Where Confidence Comes From
Old thinking – Confidence is a product of success.
New thinking – “Confidence is, in fact, a product of repetition … but not a product of success — it’s a product of failure. It’s knowing what the fall feels like and being familiar enough with it that you can be comfortable with the risk.” ~John Gorman
Read more about that here.
Being the Best
Old thinking – Focus on being the best.
New thinking – Focus on being the best at getting better.
When you focus on being the best and are, you feel happy. If you’re not careful too much of that happy feeling can make you complacent.
On the other hand, if you focus on being better and fail you feel sad. If you’re not careful too much of the sad feeling can make you depressed.
Read more about that here.
Old thinking – Failure is falling down.
New thinking – Failure is staying down.
We don’t fail because we get knocked down but because we stay down. Failure is built into the process. If you’re not failing at something chances are you’re not challenging yourself hard enough.
2 Things You Can Stop Doing Today
Stop Seeking Perfection
The pursuit of perfection always takes and very rarely gives. It steals your joy and makes sure that achievement is always unattainable.
Elizabeth Lombardo in this article offers nine reasons why perfectionism is a bad thing.
… You are never done.
… You are stressed and discontent.
… You don’t take risks.
… Your creativity is suffocated.
… You strive to keep everyone happy.
… You’re highly critical of others.
… You can’t delegate.
… You personalize everything.
… You never rest.
Regret is a terrible thing. It crushes you from the inside out. Stop waiting. Act now.
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen
In the same breath, stop wishing, wanting and hoping. No amount of wishing, hoping or wanting is going to get you what you want. You either make it happen or it never happens.
Matt Cutts found out that 30 days is just about the right amount of time to add a new habit or subtract a habit.
Today can be your Day One. Today you get a new thirty days to change your life by adding something new that pushes you forward and takes away something old that was holding you back.
Playing to win and playing not to lose are only similar in the eyes of an amateur.
… Pushing beyond the edge of comfort.
… Focusing on what inspires you.
… Focusing on the gains. What you do want.
… Focusing on your efforts. What you do.
… Focusing on the future. Where you want to be. Letting it drive you.
… Embracing risk.
… Finding new ways to say yes
… Being proactive. Owning the decision.
… Maintaining a competitive edge.
… Subjective well-being. Controlling the mind.
… Asking continuous improvement questions.
… Creating the fit.
… Being accountable.
… Believing in yourself to do what is needed.
… Making time to do.
… Assigning the environment a ‘challenge’ label.
… Mentality – Own the day.
… Maintaining the status quo.
… Preserving the comfort zone.
… Playing it safe.
… Protecting what you already have.
… Focusing on the present. Where you are. Letting it stop you.
… Missing opportunities.
… Finding new ways to say no.
… Not finishing what you start.
… Focusing on outcomes. What you don’t want.
… Being reactive.
… Letting them decide.
… Creative destruction. The mind controls you.
… Making self-serving statements.
…. Manipulating the fit.
… Finding a scapegoat.
… Believing in others to let you do what is needed.
… Having time to do.
… Assigning the environment a ‘threat’ label.
… Mentality – Just get through the day.
Are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose?
Hands down, no one, will ever be able to criticize you more than you criticize yourself. This is not always a compliment.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “Unrelenting self-criticism often goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety, and it may even predict depression.”
Psychologist and author Golan Shahar, in his book titled Erosion: The Psychopathology of Self-Criticism, says that “self-criticism is a trait that has been shown to lead to numerous forms of psychopathology: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder symptoms. It can lead to psychosomatic symptoms whereby the mental struggles manifest in physical problems, such a chronic fatigue and pain; and under the weight of the mounting mental health burden, some take their own lives.”
It can lead to psychosomatic symptoms whereby the mental struggles manifest in physical problems, such a chronic fatigue and pain; and under the weight of the mounting mental health burden, some take their own lives.”
The society which we live in is also not helping matters. It’s propagating a self-destructive message. A message that takes root early in life. That being hard on ourselves and being ashamed of our actions gets results. This has given birth to the mentality that unsubstantiated deflating self-criticism is the preferred path to success.
The goal is not to get rid of self-critique. Self-criticism is a powerful self-improvement and personal development tool. Its successful application lies in making the critique constructive.
Following are four habits guaranteed to silence your heartless inner critic and make self-criticism constructive.
1. Practice Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is a habit that you must give yourself permission to indulge in. It is not a selfish act. Self-compassion creates within you, a judgment-free zone. The whole world is already judging you plenty. You do not need to join them. They are giving out enough to go around and then some.
In a judgment-free zone, you develop the confidence to take risks and try new things. You learn not punish your future for the mistakes of your past or hold the future hostage with the events of the present.
To develop your self-compassion, embrace your humanity. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. Exercise active mindfulness and power thinking.
Active mindfulness is reveling in the present without wishing for days gone by or hastening the arrival of future days. Future days you think hold more pleasure. Power thinking is recognizing and understanding that something is neutral until you assign it meaning.
Building and practicing self-compassion is the essence of self-love and as Rupi Kaur said, “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.”
2. Want What You’ve Got
In this age of hyper-consumerism and instant gratification, wanting what you’ve got is radical thinking. When you focus on what you don’t have, you give your inner critic carte blanche to whittle away self-worth.
Be grateful for what you do have. Be grateful for where you are in life. Celebrate all your achievements especially the small ones that are often overlooked. If you can’t appreciate what you have, you will not appreciate fully what is to come. Thereby guaranteeing your heartless inner critic an all-access pass to your life.
3. Focus on what You have the Power to Change
Your destructive inner critic does not discriminate. It criticizes both behaviors and attributes alike. Constructive self-criticism requires you to focus only on your habits.
Behavior is built by habit. You have complete control over your habits. You can change any that do not find to your liking.
Attributes, on the other hand, are completely out of your control. You get what you get. Complaining about them precludes you to the fact that they have nothing to do with how great you can become.
In the pursuit of success, the issue is never time. It’s what to do with the time we’ve got. Learning to play the hand you were dealt in that regard gives you a running head start. While others are complaining about their height and their ears, you’re plotting how to turn your first million into a second.
As Jim Collins said, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, as it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.”
4. Create a schedule for your goals and not a deadline
Christine Comaford writes that humans crave “safety, belonging, and mattering… Mattering means each of us contributes individually in a unique way.”
To this end we set goals. To those goals, we attach deadlines. When we fail to meet our deadlines, we proceed to wallow in the ensuing negativity. The feelings created in that cesspool are premium fodder for your heartless inner critic.
Try something different. Instead of attaching deadlines to your important goals, set a schedule. Schedules enable you to progress consistently towards your goal. With each step of your advancement, your feelings of accomplishment will effectively silence your inner critic.
Life doesn’t wait. Opportunity doesn’t wait. Goals help you get ready. Schedules keep you ready. What does this look like in practice?
It looks like Lebron James. 3 time NBA championship winner. 4 time NBA Most Valuable Player. 3 time NBA Finals MVP Award winner. Who whilst on vacation, can be found in the gym.
“The critical voices in our own heads are far more vicious than what we might hear from the outside. Our “inside critics” have intimate knowledge of us and can zero in on our weakest spots.
You might be told by the critics that you’re too fat, too old, too young, not intelligent enough, a quitter, not logical, prone to try too many things…
It’s all balderdash!
Some elements of these may be true, and it’s completely up to you how they affect you. Inside critics are really just trying to protect you. You can:
Learn to dialogue with them. Give them new jobs. Turn them into allies.
You can also dismantle/exterminate them.”