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Forged by Fire: The Road From Addiction to Success and Happiness

Forged by Fire: The Road From Addiction to Success and Happiness

The claws of addiction are long and sharp — once they grab ahold of a mortal heart, prone to sin and overindulgence, you’ll find their grip incredibly difficult to escape. Now, this is not to say that it can’t be done, but overcoming addiction is not a journey to be undertaken without a well-structured plan, plenty of commitment, and a strong support network.

There is a silver lining here, though — it is through all the trials and tribulations that a recovering addict goes through that an iron will is forged, and it is this grim determination to overcome adversity at all costs that can serve as a powerful tool later in life.

In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the ways people overcome addiction and the psychological tools and tactics that help them do so, as well as how ex-addicts can use their newfound strength of character to attain success and happiness in life.

Making the initial leap of faith

One of the hardest things in the world is admitting your own faults and mistakes, and this is even more difficult for someone with an addictive personality. When you’re used to escaping the grim reality with the use of your chosen drug, after a while you can’t even remember what it feels like to go about your day with your body chemistry set on default.

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Admitting that what you are doing is bad for you and the people around you and that, no, you can’t just quit whenever you want, is a huge victory. It is also a hard-won victory that is preceded by hours upon hours of self-doubt, fear, sadness, and frustration. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to change the way you see and define yourself, and this initial step — laying bare before you all your transgressions and weaknesses and deciding to change who you are — will lead to an immense mental shift.

The gruelling road towards recovery and lessons learned

Depending on your poison of choice, the process of going back to normal can be anywhere from “hard but doable” to “insanely uncomfortable and nerve-wracking.” For me, it was a matter of quitting cigarettes, giving up high-calorie junk food, and limiting my alcohol intake — which is no walk in the park, but is nowhere near as gruelling of an experience as quitting and fully recovering your body from extensive drug use.

However, I know a few people who had started to lose grip with reality and sink deep into the dark void of addiction — and then managed to pull themselves back. Some never quite return and keep falling back into old patterns, some are so determined to proceed with their kamikaze fall into oblivion that it’s nearly impossible to help them, but those who overcome their addiction have some incredible lessons to share. The human mind truly undergoes some major changes during recovery, both on a chemical and psychological level, and it’s interesting to see just how these changes can affect a person.

Some of the best life lessons I’ve picked up from ex-addicts can be applied to a wide range of circumstances and make anyone’s life better, and they are as follows:

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  • If you want to make progress, you need to stop lying to yourself.
  • Humans are not loners by nature; you need the support of your loved ones.
  • You need a single clear goal that you are focused on 100% if you want to succeed.
  • Every little victory counts, and you’ll need to achieve as many of them as you can.
  • A single failure does not mean utter defeat — don’t ever quit because of a setback.
  • If you want to change your lifestyle, change your circle of friends.

I’m sure that there are plenty of other little gems of wisdom that those who’ve overcome addiction could share with us, but these are just some of the most important ones that I’ve found to be highly beneficial.

The Survivor Mindset and how it carries over into the business world

The world of business is a cutthroat affair where only the strongest survive, but it is also a unique playground where all manner of different ideas can thrive. The mental toughness, determination, and ability to learn from failure that is developed through recovery can all be more than useful in an entrepreneurial context, but there’s more to it.

There is an interesting concept proposed by Per Wickstrom, the founder of Best Drug Rehabilitation and an ex-addict-turned-entrepreneur himself, of running a business more like a drug rehab clinic in order to attain success through making the customers happy, actually caring about their needs, and believing strongly in your own set of morals.

Focusing on helping others, developing emotional connections, and not straying away from your own core beliefs or deceiving others just to make a quick buck can actually help you build a strong business foundation and a likeable and trustworthy brand. The ability to determine which life choices are ethically questionable and which ones can help both you and others around you, while trying to stay well away from the dark side, is something that a recovering addict must quickly become adept at.

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Another thing ex-addicts have going for them is that they understand how toxic people’s minds work, how to spot them a mile away and deal with them effectively, which helps them avoid a great deal of stress and problems in the workplace. All this can help you a lot in any type of business setting.

How overcoming addiction and staying clean builds a happier mind

Apart from making you much more realistic, determined, and ambitious when it comes to business, overcoming addiction can also help you become a much better and happier person in your private life as well. Here are a few big positive changes that you will experience after successfully defeating addiction:

  • You develop thick skin and a fighting mentality.
  • You develop a deeper understanding of yourself and others.
  • You no longer take the little things for granted.
  • You’ve seen rock bottom and never want to go back there again.

There is an endless source of motivation to be found in the mere fact that you know what it feels like to be sad and alone with no prospects at the bottom of that black pit of misery and addiction, and you gain a great appreciation for the beauty of life and all those inspiring little moments that most people take for granted.

When combined with the ability to understand just how troubled and lonely someone can be, to connect with others on a deep emotional level, and to never let small things worry you too much, all this can turn you into a wonderful human being if you can just keep pushing forward.

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While drug addiction is an incredibly serious problem, it is not an impossible obstacle to overcome — it just takes lots of courage, determination, and patience. Going through the process of recovery is not just about going back to normal and integrating back into society; it also brings out the survivor mindset from deep within you, and that kind of mindset brings a lot of unique benefits with it.

As long as you apply the same intensity and strength of conviction to other aspects of your life, you will be able to achieve great things.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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