Posted in Coping, Learning, Life, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential

Fear – What Are You Afraid Of? Use Fear To Make Yourself Better

Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

— H. P. Lovecraft

People are capable, but we are afraid. We can deny it, but it is true.

Think about all the things you want to do, either in the past or right now. What excuses do you have for not doing them?

It’s easy to make excuses. We may not realize that we are afraid because we make all sorts of excuses, but at the core of the reasons, you will find fear.

Fear is a basic human emotion. Fear does protect us, but it also limits us. In today’s ever-changing world, there are many reasons to be fearful, but we cannot let that rule our life.

There are three types of fear: Illogical fear, healthy fear, and real fear.

Healthy fear is instinctual. I think of it as caveman fear. We automatically feel it when we are in a dangerous situation. It comes from the physical world and warns us of actual danger.

Real fear is a valid fear because it is associated with real-life events. We are fearful of death, pain, and change. We like to live a stable life, so we are afraid of the events that affect us in those ways.

Illogical fear is something we believe will happen, but there is no basis for it; it is made up in our mind. Most often, we are afraid of failure; we are scared of the unknown, and what someone else may think of you. We restrict ourselves by fearing something which in reality does not exist.

We can overcome our illogical fear by actually doing what makes us afraid. It takes work, but it is possible. There is nothing to be scared of; we are the ones who are allowing this kind of fear to control us.

If you are afraid of public speaking, make an action plan on how you can overcome that fear. You can take a class or practice in front of a mirror. Read your speech over and over until you are comfortable. Then ask a friend to critique you. You will be ready to tackle your first speech and you will have alleviated your fear.

Use irrational fear as an opportunity to grow. We all have our comfort zone, and irrational fear can keep us entrenched there. We need to work our way out of that. When we do, we will realize there was nothing to fear. We will gain the confidence to do other new activities.

Giving in to fear can take away opportunities and leave limitations in its place. Fear places boundaries and is a stepping stone to failure. Fear creates more fear.

No one wants to fail; it stings, but what we do not know, or we forget, is that when we fail, we have the opportunity to learn. You have probably heard many times that a failure is a tool we can use to become better. You pull back from the failure, dissect it, and use what you learned to move forward and do a better job the next time. Each time you fail, you can become better, stronger.

Fear is a powerful emotion and can keep us from achieving our goals and reaching our potential. When we learn to take a step back and think a moment and ask why we are afraid, hopefully, we will be able to discern the forgery staring back at us. Our fear is a figment of our imagination. Look fear straight in the face and laugh at it. Move forward into a new reality of your real ability.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

~ Nelson Mandela

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Be fearless today!

Posted in Inspiration, Learning, Life, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Perfection – It Does Not Exist – Be Perfectly Imperfect Instead

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Perfection itself is imperfection. 

Vladimir Horowitz

My son and I were just talking about perfection yesterday afternoon. He was starting to restore the finish on a vintage Volkswagen Beetle, and was working hard to get the finish as perfect as possible. He understood that it was not going to be a perfect result. There were too many existing flaws that could not be worked away so it would be perfectly imperfect.

Our conversation lead me to this article. We want to be perfect but there really is no such thing.

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist”

― Stephen Hawking

Throughout school and work you may have been required to take a personality assessment. I was always labeled a perfectionist. Did I agree with the results? Heck No! But there you have it; that was my label.

The point being that society has taught us to strive for the impossible; perfection. Working hard to do the best possible job is not a bad thing. I think that should be everyone’s goal.

The problem is no one can attain perfection and we should not be 100% judged by that standard. We are told by our parents, our teachers and our bosses that our work has to be perfect. If you play sports of any kind, the goal is perfection.

As a result individually we push ourselves to do just that; be perfect. We are our own best and worse judge. We work hard to achieve the perfect test score, present the best project presentation, and win every game.

When we fall a little short, we are our worse critic. We continually evaluate ourselves, and we wonder how we are being judged by others. It is a constant fear that we are not measuring up. When you set a goal and you do not quite get there you feel as if you are a failure.

Instead of understanding that you cannot be perfect you continue to push yourself and start to feel that you are incapable, that you are not smart enough. You feel incompetent. You are frustrated with everything and you are stressed. You spend a lot of time thinking about how you could have been better or done something differently.

You fail to recognize that you are doing a great job and are successful. When someone tells you that you have done a great job you do not acknowledge, or accept, the fact that they are right; you did do a great job. In your mind you are not good enough; you are not perfect.

Not only does perfectionism not exist, being locked in the round-robin of constantly pursuing it, it is detrimental to our health and well being. Studies have found that perfectionists have higher levels of stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression. One such study published in Medical News Today in 2018 explains in more depth how perfectionism can seriously harm your mental health and overall well being. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323323.php

No one is perfect. We all have flaws and imperfections; we make mistakes. That is normal and should be expected. If you are a perfectionist, or lean n that direction like I do, you need to accept who you are. Realize that life would be boring if everyone was perfect. It is our quirky little imperfections that make us interesting and give us character.

When you make mistakes it is important to accept them and to use them to learn. Look at what happened, why it did not work, and then look for ways that you can improve. It is a growth opportunity. Use that information in the future.

When you receive compliments be receptive and don’t discount your abilities. Pay attention to what they are saying and you will realize that others do respect and appreciate your abilities.

All of us are imperfect. You can still strive to be the best in what you do. There is nothing wrong with that and I think it is a positive way to live life. We are individuals who bring something different to whatever we do. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Each of us make an impression because of our imperfections. Strive to be Perfectly Imperfect.

Stop trying to ‘fix’ yourself; you’re NOT broken! You are perfectly imperfect and powerful beyond measure.”

~ Steve Maraboli

As always, thanks for reading my blog. Have a Perfectly Imperfect day.

Posted in Inspiration, Learning, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Consistency And Why It Is Important – A Strategy To Try

Photo by Nicola Ricca on Unsplash

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”

  ― E. James Rohn

For success in business and every aspect of our life, we talk about doing many things.

We read about and listen to virtually the same nuggets of information over and over again. Such as:

We need to be learning new things by taking classes, reading books, and listening to webinars. We have to set goals, be willing to change, and adapt to every situation.

We should be aware of what is going on around us, be able to present ourselves in a certain way, and be able to read and understand body language.

We should not fear competition and use it as a challenge to do better. We need to believe in ourselves and we should find support, such as a mentor, family members, and friends.

We should always keep trying, and if we fail, we need to look at what did not work, make some changes, and try again. We can use failure as a challenge to do better.

We should value diversity, not be afraid of what might appear different, be willing to change to be better, and respect the ideas of others.

We should always live in the moment, not dwell on the past, or focus on the future; focus on today.

We should set goals and maintain a schedule.

These are all exactly what we should be doing. Most of do these things or attempt to on some level. What brings them together, and what helps us to be successful is consistency.

Consistency is like the glue that holds everything together. When we practice being consistent, we can develop a routine and build momentum. Being consistent develops new habits.

That is where I think we let ourselves down; we do not follow through. We set goals, and we have our schedules, and we may do them for a while, but then we stop.

We all have goals that we do not follow through on. Mine is exercise. I have no excuse, I have the time, but I always push it off to do something else; like writing. I will get on my treadmill a couple of times a week; better than nothing, but far from enough.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

― Anthony Robbins

Is there a magic pill that will help you be consistent? No, but I did read about something this morning that makes perfect sense. I’m not sure it will work for you or me, but it is worth a try.

It is called the paper clip strategy. I found this article this morning published in Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/the-paper-clip-strategy-2015-4

It tells the story of a 23-year-old stockbroker who was successful because of a strategy he used. Each morning he would place two jars on his desk. He filled one jar with 120 paper clips and the other was empty. He would make business phone calls, and each time he completed a call, he would transfer one paper clip to the other jar. He continued making calls, doing no other tasks, until all the paper clips had been transferred into the other jar.

The use of the paper clips or any other object you might choose gives you a visual cue. Being able to transfer all the paper clips each day consistently will form a habit, and it is an easy way for each of us to keep motivated and feel successful.

So how am I going to incorporate this technique? There are some suggestions in the Business Insider article that resonated with me because I need to do them. I need to drink more water, and I am not good at doing it; I focus on it for a day or two, and then I conveniently forget. Of course, there is the treadmill that sits right around the corner from where I am writing. I could also set a goal for the number of words to write each day or the number of stories.

I am going to give it a try. How about you? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.

Robert Collier

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a paper clip day!

Posted in Inspiration, Learning, Life, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential

Quote Of The Day

“Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.” ―Richard E. Byrd

―Richard E. Byrd
Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Posted in Excitement, Inspiration, Joy, Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Quote Of The Day

Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature”

Steve Maraboli
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

As always, thanks for stopping by. Plant some seeds today!

Posted in Communication, Curiosity, Inspiration, Learning, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How To Be Successful As An Introvert, I Was, So Can You!

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“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.”

~ Michaela Chung

The quiet one, I was the quiet child who became the quiet adult. I always enjoyed being alone and you could often find me buried in a book. I was comfortable and content.

There was nothing wrong with me, but I was worrisome for my mother. She felt I was too quiet. I went to a small parochial school in a nearby town, and I had no friends near home. My quietness became an issue. As a result, my parents decided to send me to the local school.

Did I make friends? Sure, but it made no difference to me. I was who I was. In my mind, there was no problem, ever. It was my mother’s problem, not mine. I did the same crazy things other kids did. However, I was still the kid who was quiet and spent most of my time reading. To me, that was a perfect world.

Slowly, as I got a little older, I became a little bit more open. Not that much, but it started to become more necessary. Group discussions, debate sessions, reading something I had written to the whole class, all made me squirmy and uncomfortable, but I had to do it.

So the progression began from school and then to work. I always did well, and my performance reviews were always good. I was smart, I was determined, and I was focused. Give me an assignment, and I was committed to doing the best job I could, even going beyond what was required. I always excelled at anything written. It was the group interaction where I was uncomfortable.

That pretty much describes an introvert. Introverts may be quiet, but we are great listeners. When we speak, we give well thought out answers. We are very observant and may learn more about someone by just watching their body language. We may not say much, but we are always focused and are very aware of everything that is going on around us.

Introverts are self-sufficient because we like being by ourselves. We like figuring things out by ourselves. We are great thinkers, and we love to read, are curious and eager to learn new things.

People will refer to us as a reserved person, quiet, thoughtful, and they may think it is difficult to get to know us. We do prefer to sit back and observe, and we are uncomfortable drawing attention to ourselves. I remember it so well when I would be in a meeting listening to everyone else, and I wanted to ask a question or offer an idea but I just could not.

So how do introverts succeed in business?

After a meeting, I would sometimes send an email, call, or stop by someone’s office for a one on one conversation. I would say that I had taken some notes, thought about it, and had developed a plan that I would like to discuss. There was safety with that approach because I did not have to talk in front of the whole group.

I slowly learned to step outside of my comfort zone by using that technique. I decided to take a speech class. Speaking in front of a group is one of the biggest fears people have. It was a small class, which made it much easier, and I worked hard to be more comfortable. Every time I had to present something in class, I would practice. I would have something prepared, and I would stand in front of a mirror and do it over and over. That made it so much easier. That practice served me well going forward in my career.

The most challenging experiences I had were the work-related social get-together’s. I was required to attend, and it was excruciating. I hated small talk, and I could not wait for it to be over. There was nothing easy about it.

I would try to find one or two people that I was friendly with, or I knew they felt the same way I did. I even tried to think of things I could ask people ahead of time. If I knew someone had a particular interest, I would ask them about that. If they were involved in an organization or charity, I would ask questions. I could not wait to leave and would do so as quickly as I thought I could get away with it. That was the best I could do at that time. Now looking back the best suggestion I can make is to relax. In the scheme of things, how important is it? It is not a life ending event. Smile. It is always more comfortable when you smile. You may want to hide in the bathroom, but I think the best practice is to decide before you arrive to walk up to people and hold out your hand, shake theirs, and say hi, how are you. Get it over with and then relax.

Social networking was also the pits for me, and I relate to it just like the required get together’s. I think it is easier now than when I was working. There are so many ways to find information on other people and to reach out to them online. An example would be Linkedin. You can establish a relationship before you meet them face to face, which will make it so much easier when you do. You can use this technique with business associates as well as customers.

When you are at work, you do need to put yourself out there. Be friendly, smile, be social by asking questions. Be approachable. If someone walks by, say hi and ask how they are. It is an easy, natural gesture to adopt.

Your body language is a big tell-tale. You want to appear confident and competent. Do not slouch or avoid eye contact. The way you hold your body and the movements you make all tell a story, and it is a story that everyone reads.

To be successful as an introvert, you have to put yourself out there. Take baby steps, and you will learn to be more comfortable, and you can keep pushing yourself to move forward. You can still be you, but you need to stretch yourself. As you continue to push yourself, people will notice. They will see your strength and your capabilities.

I started my job with a customer service organization in an entry-level position, and I slowly pushed myself to succeed. I worked full time as a single mother and went to college part-time. I used all the excellent introvert skills I had to move up the ladder into a management position. I was named the employee of the year and was a speaker within my organization, as well as outside of work. Was I comfortable doing all of that? Not at first, but by the time I retired, it all felt natural and very, very good.

Being an introvert is not a bad thing. I would say we are pretty awesome because we are.

An introvert is an asset in every aspect of life. Here are a few quotes about the benefits of being an introvert:

Creativity – “Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune into their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.” Susan Cain

Academic Performance – “Quiet people have the loudest minds.” Stephen Hawking

Health – “For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.” Jonathan Rauch

Business Success – “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Susan Cain

From one introvert to another, thank you for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Looking For The Best You? Clear Your Mind And Push Hard To Open The Door To A Better You

Photo by Mohit Sharma on Unsplash

Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.

Unknown

Did you think it would be easy? Welcome to reality. Life is wonderful. It’s also hard. It takes work. Sometimes the work is easy and sometimes it is mind numbing hard.

We do not pop into this world all set and ready to go. We have to learn to do everything. Doing anything new always requires work of some kind. The great thing is we can learn. We just have to be willing to put in the effort.

Sometimes we are scared to try something new. What if we fail? The answer to that is just keep trying. Good things are well worth the effort required.

What about the door? There will be many doors we believe are closed but are they really? We think they are and in our mind we have decided they would be really hard to open. It is up to each of us to open ourselves to change so we become stronger and start to believe we can push the doors open.

When we attempt to learn something new and we really suck at it we automatically want to give up. We look for an easy way out. We don’t want to put in the work required and sometimes we are just comfortable with the way things are. Why change?

If we just take some time to understand our reaction we would realize that we are making excuses. We learn new things all the time and don’t think about it until we are faced with something that is a challenge.

Remember when you were a kid and you quickly learned so many things? We did not even think about it, we just went for it. Why? Because we weren’t scared to do new things. We had not learned to be cautious or scared. We thought we could do anything.

What happened to that positive attitude? Life happened. We may have tried something and were hurt. Our parents or friends told us not to do something. Someone said it was scary. We tried something and it did not work or we did something in front of someone and became embarrassed. We are influenced by others.

We need to stop being so easily influenced by the negativity of others. We should not listen to others or to the voices in our head that tell us we can’t. Try it anyway. We’re adults now right? So we can make you own decisions.

It’s time to be open minded. It is time to try new things. We should be excited to try something new. Sometimes we are, but most of the time not so much.

What do we have to do to embrace new experiences? How do we become open to trying?

  • Accept the fact that there may be a better way to do things. Recognize that you do not have the answer for everything and that you may not always be correct. Sometimes you are just too comfortable with where you are. You have done well at your job or in relationships, You’re great at doing multiple things like playing a great game of basketball or writing and presenting projects at work.

The question is can you be better. The answer is more than likely, yes, you can. You can be better in what you already do and you can be better doing something new and different as well. You will be expanding your life.

  • To make changes to the way you think it is necessary to make yourself vulnerable. You have opened yourself up to the possibility of change and possible failure. There is risk involved. Scary, isn’t it.
  • When you become more open minded and are trying new things you will probably makes mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning. You have probably heard the saying, “Fail Forward”. It is a proven fact that we learn the most when we fail.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”

– Morihei Ueshiba
  • You become stronger by opening up yourself to change. When you do something that is new, something that scares you, it can be life changing. If you are successful that is certainly a win. If you try and fail and pick yourself up and try again that is an even bigger win. Each attempt you make you learn and become a stronger person. You are better for it.
  • You become more confident. It is a great feeling to be open minded and open doors to new ideas, new people and new experiences. Your life is richer. It may not necessarily affect you monetarily. Your life will be richer because you are experiencing so much. You feel good about yourself.
  • It may not be easy to learn to think differently but it is so important. Look for new ideas and new ways to do things. Read, but read something different. Listen to other people, but not the same people. How about joining a discussion group. Watch something different instead of the same old stuff on TV. How about webinars, like TED talks. Open Your Mind. Expose yourself to the wonderful diversity of life.
  • The most important part of being open minded is knowing what is important. How you conduct your life will help determine how successful you are opening doors. Are you friendly and are you sincere? There is a t-shirt I really like which states, “In a world where you can be anything…Be Kind”. Are you kind? Do you help people or are you in it for yourself? The way you approach life and how you conduct yourself has a big impact on how easy it is to open doors. Opening a door for someone else may lead to you having a door opened for you as well.
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As always, Thank You for reading my blog. What good will you do today?