Posts Tagged With: Plan

Light Your Fire

A man was traveling and stopped at an intersection. He asked an elderly man, “Where does this road take me?” The elder one promptly questioned, “Where do you want to go?” The man replied, “I don’t know.” To which the old man opined, “Then take any road. What difference does it make.”

How true.

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​When we don’t know where we are going, any road will take us there. Enthusiasm without direction is like proliferating weeds in a garden. It will lead to frustration. A whole lot of energy is being wasted and nothing concrete is being seen. Goals give a sense of direction. Would you sit in a train or plane without knowing where it was going? Obviously ‘No’. Then why do people go through life aimlessly, without goals?

That was the easiest part. Because it did not require any effort to ask a question. But it is really challenging to find the solution. And for this riddle, there is no perfect answer. Some people know what they really want, but just haven’t pursued it. So, for them, it is only a matter to focus and realize what they wanted all along. Others will have a more difficult time. They have not yet figured out what their dream is. Or what they’d like to accomplish.

For those wandering aimlessly but would like to get a grip on things, it is best to start simple. Small steps, like thinking. Close your eyes and think about things. Deep inside, you already know what you want, only that it has not surfaced enough to be visible. That is why you have to go inside. Close your eyes and think.

Think about what’s important to you. Think about what you’d like people to talk about when you are no more. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Write down the things that come to mind. This should not be a one-time exercise. You will need to do it many times. Until you can see clearly. Your goal should be visible right in front and everything else will be a blur. Continue to explore your inner consciousness till you can see clearly.

This was the easier part. The struggle starts as you build a road map to get there. There are always several roads to get where you want to go. The ones that are easy have many shortcuts and compromises. The others will be difficult, treacherous and full of hardships and obstacles. But one has to walk down this street. There is a technique here which works – think backwards. From the end to the beginning.

What is the last thing you’ll need to do to achieve that outcome? What is the thing you’ll need to do just before that step? What is the thing you’ll need to do before that step? And so on, until you get to the first step. The first step is what you need to focus on.

On the best sunny day, the most powerful magnifying glass will not ignite the paper if you keep moving it around. But focus and hold it in place and the paper will light up. That is the power of concentration.

This was the easy part. Now you actually have to go and do it. You have your plan outlined. Surely you can now have the 1-2-3-step guide laid out too. What is needed and critically so, is to monitor how you stick to the plan. It could get very complicated keeping track of several goals with different time frames. What can be done to simplify things ? It is suggested to break down the goals into smaller components. And then monitor them. So you have just one small sub-goal one at a time. And several such sub-goals leading to a short-term goal. And a bouquet of short-term goals building up to your medium-term goal. A number of medium-term goals lead to a long-term goal and finally targeting the life-time goal.

The reason you focus only on one goal at a time is because it is difficult to follow many objectives at the same time. So, we sort them into actionable aims. When you need to accomplish only one thing this week, you actually boost your chances of success. As you can really focus more energy into making it happen. However and when you decide to do 3-5 things in the next two weeks, it is much more likely that you won’t do any of them.

When you achieve the short-term goal, select another one which is in line to get you to your medium-term goal. Once the medium-term goal is accomplished, choose a new medium-term goal to get you to your long-term goal. No sooner is your long-term goal accomplished, set your sights on a new long-term goal. Keep this up, and you will achieve your aim. Importantly, you won’t be wandering aimlessly anymore. You will have discovered purpose, hope, faith, confidence and success.

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Be An Eagle

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift itself higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

Be An Eagle

If achieving goals were easy, everyone would do it quickly and without difficulty. Even if your vision is clear and you can articulate a detailed roadmap, there are always obstacles in the path. ​

What stops you from achieving success is often yourself. With a little unwanted help from those around you. This lack of support from those closest to you – family, friends – plays a critical role in halting a challenge before it has even begun. ‘There’s no way you can do that’ is the classic response from these people, when presented with a potential challenge. Overcoming this barrier should be the first step on your path. 

An important key to delivering success is to dissect the challenge into a number of smaller steps. Each small step can be viewed as a short-term goal. Combining a number of short-term goals leads to the delivery of a medium-term goal, and combining medium-term goals leads to the completion of your journey, the delivery of your challenge and success! Goal-setting, by itself, is relatively simple. A goal should be challenging but achievable – it is important that you establish your goals at the beginning and make sure they are outside your comfort zone; don’t set your sights low. Having committed to the challenge, you must construct a plan to optimize each of the areas required to deliver success. Beware of the common risk that comes from friends who do not share your enthusiasm and continually offer you de-motivating lollipops. Do not leave anything to chance; success is not a chance event. Monitor your progress regularly. Celebrate each small successful step. 

Generally, we challenge ourselves in physically measurable terms – losing weight, running a marathon, developing a beach body – but the brain is central to the delivery of success whatever the challenge. It is our loss of belief, commitment and motivation that leads to failure. This psychological trio conspires together to lead you astray. Believing you ‘can achieve your goal‘ provides the foundations to overcoming your challenge. With belief comes the commitment to invest – the time, effort and resources to make sure you continue to deliver your short-term goals. And success in achieving these goals increases your motivation.

A bizarre tool to stick yourself on the chosen path would be to make a contract. With yourself.  To deliver success. This simple commitment can become a pillar to lean on when you are struggling with belief or commitment or motivation. Your contract re-iterates the importance of your goal. It is a measurable deliverable and It indirectly induces the motivation needed to invest the appropriate amount of work until you have completed the tasks at hand.

Use your own priceless resource. Your brain. Thinking about your problems is the only way to really beat them. There’s no better place to apply expansive thinking than on issues holding you back. Quit banging your head against the same brick wall over and over. Take time to think things through and find creative solutions that bring fun and progress to the grind of obstacle removal. Discipline yourself emotionally, commit time and effort to your benefit regardless of external factors. Make the obstacle the No. 1 priority and focus on it every day until it’s gone. It’s the joy and journey of clearing those obstacles that makes life rich, and helps people feel truly accomplished when they finally reach the pinnacles of success.

Understand that obstacles come in different colours. There could be obstacles outside your control such as the economy, natural disasters, physical limitations, etc. Then, obstacles could be one-time issues but you have direct control over them, such as resources, cash flow, time availability, needed skills or talent. And finally, there are habitual obstacles. These obstacles reflect how people get in their own way. They can only be removed with behavioral change.

If you don’t see the obstacle or believe it’s a hindrance, you’ll never reach your goals, blaming everything and everyone but the real cause. So, pause and reflect from time to time. Evaluate, monitor your progress. Search for probable impediments that could disrupt your progress. Be patient. Learn to bide your time. To ride the storm, the most effective time would be to rise above when the storm actually hits. Hence, timing is crucial. The tougher the obstacle, the more time it might take to overcome. Observe the small progressions. They should encourage you to put in more effort. With time comes momentum. And momentum is the best way to knock off the obstacles.

When the storms of life come upon us, like the eagle, we can rise above them. What is your greatest challenge now? Write it down. Then let it lift you higher.

Categories: Worldly Whorls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Bigger The Mistake, The Bigger The Opportunity

The Bigger The Mistake

We waste a lot of time and energy – first in trying not to make mistakes, then in trying to hide the mistakes we make, and finally in feeling guilty about these mistakes, either beating ourselves up or allowing someone else to do so. All this energy is completely wasted. One cannot live this life without making mistakes. It’s simply not possible. One also cannot hide mistakes indefinitely. It’s possible to get away once in a while, but sooner or later, one would be caught. Feeling guilty about a mistake does absolutely nothing but prevent one from actually fixing anything. Continually wallowing in such guilt paralyzes any actions to move forward. A person in such a condition is not able to be productive or solve problems.

We are all human. We all make mistakes. Some of us make lots of mistakes. Some of us make the same mistakes over and over and over. Some of our mistakes can have long-lasting, possibly permanent, consequences. Some of the consequences of our mistakes affect many people, not just ourselves. We need to simply accept those as the facts. Accept that you will make mistakes. That’s just the way it is.

When you see that you have made a mistake, just admit it. Admit it to yourself and to as many other people as were involved. Apologize to anyone you may have hurt, including yourself. Forgive yourself both for having made the mistake and for the consequences it brought you. Make a plan to try not to repeat that mistake in the future. Pause and reflect on what you learned through the experience. Open your mind to the possibility that your mistake may actually have benefited you in unexpected ways. Accept that you may end up getting opportunities that you never had.

Do not wallow in your mistakes. Do not grovel and prostrate yourself in hopes of forgiveness. We all make mistakes. Apologize and move forward. Do not replay the event in your head. Do not continue to beat yourself up. Do not profusely explain, defend yourself, make excuses or blame. After you apologize, do no more explaining; never explain more than once — ever. When you keep explaining and rehashing you just keep your mistake alive. Learn your lesson and adjust your behavior and move forward. Let people see you overcoming your mistakes with integrity. Most mistakes that seem huge in the heat of the moment are quickly forgotten. We often even further bond with others through surviving our mistakes together. Big mistakes are an outstanding opportunity to showcase your ability to recover and have grace under pressure. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the opportunity. This is how you turn it all around.” ~ Bryant McGill

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