Asking the wrong question

I’ve worked out one of the biggest mistakes I have been making for years…

I kept asking myself the wrong question.

wrong

I spent years preparing to make changes, carefully planning what I would do to in my life and being really clear about what I wanted.

But…

And it’s a big ‘but’….

I didn’t follow through.

The more I think about it, the easier it is for me to see why I was so reluctant to fully commit and make sure that I actually took real, sustained action.

You see, the thing is… I spent far too long focusing on what the challenges, difficulties and problems might be.

I now focus on the opportunities, chances and potential!

It is a fundamental shift in mindset, and it sounds too simple to work, but it does.

This is the question I focused on in the past:

What could go wrong?

I had a defensive and negative point of view.

I was focused on what I could lose and all the things that could possibly go badly.

Now, to some people (including me in the past) this is not about being a ‘glass half-full’ sort of person.  It’s more that they feel that if you anticipate what could go wrong, then you can take action to prevent it happening.

The problem with this idea is that as the great man, Tony Robbins says:

“Wherever focus goes, energy flows!”

In other words, if you decide to focus on the negative then you tend to look out for circumstances that validate that concern.  Basically, you actually create worries and negative experiences by the very act of focusing on them.

Now that is definitely what I spent my time doing.  How about you?

I can remember coming up with some plans that really excited me and then I would suddenly be hit by…

The ‘What if’ Truck

The ‘What if’ Truck speeds into your life every time you are on to something good.

You are speeding down the highway of life and everything seems great and then…

BANG!

The ‘What if’ Truck side-swipes your dreams.

You start to ask yourself:

 

What if I don’t succeed?

What if no one likes my idea?

What if people laugh at me?

What if I try really hard and still don’t get what I want?

 

And so it goes on!

This is an example of your own focus on the negatives limiting your possibilities.

I know, because I did exactly that.  In fact, I still have to keep an eye out for the ‘What if’ Truck as it’s always out there lurking in the back streets of my mind!

A better question…

What could go RIGHT?

This is what I try to ask myself now.

It instantly sets you up to look for hope, opportunity and chances.

When you think about it, why are we worried about making an effort and hoping to improve our lives?

Let’s analyse it a second…

Most people decide they don’t like how things are, so they begin taking action in order to make some positive changes.

So far, so good!

The trouble is it gets challenging.  Any worthwhile change requires effort and some determination to succeed.

That’s when the ‘What Ifs’ kick in..

We question whether the effort will be worth it?

In our minds, we basically say “I do want to make this change, but if I put in the effort and it doesn’t work or it seems REALLY hard, then I don’t think I want to do it”

Sound familiar?

The thing is, the effort is it’s own reward.

I can honestly say that even attempting to change is a great feeling!

Let me ask you this…if you don’t try to change how will you feel?

If you’re like me, then probably frustrated and annoyed with yourself.

So…and this is the biggest thing…

TRY IT.

Seriously, just give it a go.  That is all you need to do.

Results will come but simply having a go is enough for you to feel SO much better.

Because YOU are in control and running YOUR OWN life.

You no longer will let life toss you around.

I’d love to hear how you keep motivated too!  Please comment in the box below.

Cheers for now,

Tony

 

The Mediocrity Trap

Customer service evaluation form with tick on averageA friend asked me a difficult question the other day: “Why aren’t you satisfied with what you’ve got?”

Here’s my answer.

I would like more in my life, not because I am ungrateful and selfish, but because I want to be the very best version of myself that I can.

Then I will be able to help more people and make a difference.  That’s not selfish is it?

But it occurs to me that the reason my friend asked the question is because we have been brain-washed into thinking that if we strive too much then we must be selfish and ungrateful.

I’m sure it starts at school.  We are all encouraged to do well, up to a point.  It’s okay to be ‘quite bright’ as long as you don’t make everyone else feel bad by really succeeding.

That’s why we end up in…

The Mediocrity Trap

This is where you are doing ‘okay’ and really don’t have any reason to moan, but you are hardly living a truly passionate and purposeful life where you feel you are really making a difference.  You are doing…(dreadful word)…FINE.

To me, this is a state that we have to really guard against.

Surely life is about being excited and energised and challenged to be the very best we can, not an ‘okay-ish’, mediocre, reasonable existence.

So I make no apology for striving and wanting to change.  I know that I will make my own life better and everyone else’s life too.  I was meant to shine…

…we all were!  So let’s do it!

Tony Robbins says that if you are excited or scared, then you can change, but you need to worry about being okay.

The other thing to beware of is when you start seeing others as being grasping or careerist maniacs on a mission.  If you think they are trampling over you to get where they want, it may actually be that you are standing still and they are just going past you.  You aren’t in their way, they have just moved forward in their life and you have stayed exactly where you were.

And that’s not their fault is it?

This is why we have to guard against being average.  We are worth more than that.

I know, by definition, not everyone can be above average.  But you are already better than most people because you are unusual enough to care about creating a compelling and wonderful future and taking consistent action to make sure it happens.

Have you noticed that children rarely talk about things being quite good?  To them, everything is ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Rubbish!’  We need to start seeing things with greater clarity and emotional significance and stop wallowing in a grey puddle of mediocre sludge.

NLP To The Rescue!

Luckily, we have Neuro Linguistic Programming to help us.  All you need to do is keep a careful look out for average thoughts and average words.  Try to be aware of moments when you are settling for ‘okay’ and using language that limits you to a ‘satisfactory’ life.

For the next few days, listen to the words other people use and see how limited their expectations are.  Most people are now acting in a defensive mode where they see the world as a scary place and life as a struggle where they can lose what they have.

It’s much better to live like you see life as a game where you have nothing to lose but everything to gain as you aim for an extraordinary life!

You can be playful and committed to achieving goals.  They are not mutually exclusive.

The thing about seeing life is a game is that, just like in chess for example, if you are not doing well, you can reset the board and start again.  You can learn the rules and study strategies to get better.

That’s got to be a much better way to see life than a constant unending struggle where you are always in danger of being crushed.

Switch how you see the world, and life becomes lighter and more full of possibilities instantly!

Back to Gratitude

The reason that I know that I am not selfish and ungrateful is because I have actually started making gratitude a conscious willed choice that I make.

I spend time every day mentally listing all the things that I am grateful for – the skills, experiences, friends, family, hopes, challenges and resources I have that make me feel truly alive.

So I know that I am very thankful for all I have and will be more grateful than most people for the future successes I hope to enjoy.

I would love to hear how you try to avoid the Mediocrity Trap in your life.  What do you do to avoid being distracted by the average herd?  How do you keep true to your mission?  Please comment and let me know.

 

Hang in there – find your WHY!

a little scottish fold kitten is hanging on the ropeI’ve had some real challenges recently and things have not been as positive as I hoped.

I had the results back from some tests my doctor sent me for, and it turns out that I have an underlying condition.  I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

To be frank, it was a bit of a shock.  I am still in my early 40s and this particular condition is more usually diagnosed in much older people.

My initial reaction was fear – I wanted to know what how this would affect me and whether it would shorten the length of my life.  I also wanted to know how I had got it.

My doctor was very reassuring.  He told me that as long as I continue to live a healthy life and (crucially!) avoid smoking completely, then there is every possibility of it not affecting my life or limiting the length of it! Phew!

He explained that it was most likely caused by a combination of smoking for 20 years and not controlling my asthma properly in the past (I used to forget to take my inhalers).  Hearing this caused me to experience a powerful and very unhelpful emotion…guilt.

Basically, the reality is that it is at least partially my fault that I have this chronic disease.  This made me feel real regret mixed with anger at my stupidity as well as shame for not stopping smoking much earlier.  And this cocktail of emotions is quite a powerful one!

So..what did I do?

I did two things, and they both really helped:

1). I went for a long walk on my own to think it all through.

2). I forgave myself.

I admitted to myself that I had done a very stupid thing (smoked 20 a day) for a long time, but I made an absolute vow to myself that I will NEVER smoke a single puff of a cigarette ever again.

I explained to myself that I learned from the mistake I made in the past and would now use this knowledge to create the best life possible for me now and for the future.

Now, if I’m honest, when I first found out I did think, “Right!  There’s no point me carrying on trying to be healthy if I have this disease.  Why don’t I have a beer and just enjoy myself?”

And it was a powerful suggestion – I was very tempted!

But… I went for my walk and started seeing things differently.

I realised that I have already improved the quality of my life and that I feel so much better living a healthy life and being much more positive.

Also, I realised that if I stop living positively then I will be back to being my old unfit, negative self, with the addition of a chronic condition,  Not a good plan at all!

So, I made the conscious, willed choice to accept responsibility for my past mistakes, learn from them, forgive myself and move forward with strong intention and determination to be better.

I think the thing that really kept me going was my WHY.

The more I study self-development, the more I realise that the thing that keeps everyone on the path to a better life is having a compelling reason to change, or a WHY.

What is a WHY?

Your WHY is simple… What Heals You?

I think it’s essential that when life throws crap at you…and it will!… that you have a compelling reason to keep going.  And that’s your WHY.

Once you know the thing that will make you feel whole again and like the real you, then you have found What Heals You!

For me, it is all about being healthy, happy and authentic.  Hence the blog tagline!

The healthy and happy are very clear for me – I want to be doing things that make me feel energetic and alive as well as things that I genuinely enjoy doing.

And the authentic part is me saying that I need to be honest, genuine and real.

Not just on here when talking to you, but also when talking to myself!

So that is my WHY and it’s keeping me on the path.

I’m not going to let an illness define or limit me.

It’s actually a positive thing, because it allows me to show myself just how far I have come and that I truly know where I am heading.

Good luck finding your own WHY!

Cheers for now,

Tony