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Last Updated on June 16, 2020

How to Form Your Success Formula to Get Unstuck in Life

How to Form Your Success Formula to Get Unstuck in Life

Life can come as a roller coaster sometimes. It is tough to be the best version of yourself as you constantly meet with obstacles and life’s changing dynamisms. To move on to a different plateau, you may need to be more strategic and systematic in your approach to life.

I have been there. I know how it feels to get stuck and having nowhere to go. Yes, you may feel lost and don’t know how to come out from that hole. One thing I know though is that you can always get out and find a solution. It all starts with changing your thoughts and actions.

These steps are not hard but can be a simple success formula which when taken can create lasting changes in your life.

1. Be Realistic

There is nothing that can move you forward in life until you are realistic enough to admit something is broken. Everything is not okay, you don’t need to pretend or butter the truth.

You have to be completely honest with yourself, take full responsibility for your life at this point and push forward.

You have to admit that you’ve made poor decisions, you have made some mistakes and may not be working as hard as you should be. Yet, there is hope if you can be brutally honest with yourself and move forward from there.

2. Make That Choice to Be Different

Perhaps you are stuck with doing the same routine, going to the same places and being in the wrong circle. It is up to you to point your life in a new direction.

Yes, you could already be disgusted with the current one and need to do things differently. It is important for you to get fed up with the world you are in, so you can make a choice for something better. Making such decisions has a way of changing everything!

3. Look for Something You’re Really Good At

Your life may be boring in certain areas, but it doesn’t have to be boring in all areas. Y

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ou may need to shift your mindset and go back to those things you have always been fond of. When you can find such passion, you should make that decision to become better at it.

Change can be a slow process, but continually putting in the work every day could see your life change full circle.

4. Ask the Right Questions

“What could I do to be better?” “How can I make the most of your time?” “Where and when did it go wrong?” “What am I not doing right?”

You can’t take it away, asking the right questions will always lead to great answers.

You really need to be introspective when asking those questions about your life, where it is now and how you can position yourself for it to be better. The answers you get will be what leads you to finding a surer and more certain path to become happier and more successful.

You could also ask others what you are really good at and what role they see you taking on. You don’t need to simply ask anybody, ask the people who are already living the life you desire. Surely, they should be able to point you at the right direction.

At the end of the day, know that it is your duty to seek the life you desire, and perhaps asking smart questions could be what leads you there.

5. Push Your Mental Powers

Your thoughts have a way of guiding you to living the best life. You become what you think about most of the time. You shouldn’t just accept things the way they are, do something about it.

Don’t complain about how terrible your life has become, rather do something about it. Look for ways to be better at what you do.

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By thinking right and positively, you will certainly take charge of your life and respond actively to those things that happen to you.

Remember, to every setback, there is a way out. If you are failing at your career or job, you may need to gain new skills. If you are broke and do not have the money to live the best life, go out there and look for a job or learn something.

There is always a way out of that dead-end job or relationship if you constantly apply yourself to thinking.

6. Get a Mentor

It is an age-old principle of success to find yourself a mentor, someone who will act as a guide in helping you actualize your dreams.

Find someone doing well in a particular area in life, yes, you want to be like them and embrace their tutelage.

Having someone you can look up to inspires you to be better. They certainly would have a thing or two to tell you that would empower you to get out there to accomplish great things.

So go out there, look for positive role models that can certainly have a major impact in your life. Here’s how to find a mentor that fits you:

A Good Mentor Is Hard to Find: What to Look for in a Mentor

7. Be Responsible

Complaining or playing the blame game won’t take you anywhere. If you want to stop feeling stuck, you have to learn to take responsibility for your actions and where you are now.

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You don’t have to drain your energy with complaining or any negative vibe. Look at the bright side. Know that if you really act responsibly you will get out of any hole you are in.

8. Be Aware

Knowing yourself helps you win a thousand battles. Self-awareness is pivotal to living the life of your dreams. Such knowledge about yourself helps you find those things that can push you forward to great accomplishments.

Perhaps you have been talked down to or doubt yourself, think about what you could do with your life. The people talking down on you or telling you that you can’t are really not the problem – you are actually.

And if you are the problem, you can also be the solution too. When you know who you are, what you want and where you are going, no one can stop or deter you.

So study yourself, accept your role in the events of your life and see how you can better your strengths to face the challenges that would come your way. Take a look at this guide and learn how to be more self-aware:

Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

9. Assume Total Control of Your Life

On the path to success, nothing should be left to chance. Your life is your responsibility. You are the one in the driver’s seat. You have control over the decisions you make. You also have control over how you respond to events or other people’s actions.

Certainly, there will be obstacles along the way, however you should have a guiding philosophy or ideology that will take you forward.

How you want to be is what you will be anyways. You may not be able to control a lot of factors in your life, but you can control your destiny if you assume control of your attitude, personality and aspirations.

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10. Improve Your Circle

Your circle could be a mirror of how you view the world. If you are in a negative circle that robs you of your joy and self-esteem, you are not really going to attain much.

Improve your circle of friends. Focus on quality rather than quantity. People that push you to become the best version of yourself or make you feel good about yourself shouldn’t be traded for anything in the world.

11. Get Motivated

There are a lot of audio materials and self-help books that would help you find direction even when you are lost. Such food for the soul could help you see your strengths and abilities after all.

Yes, no matter how drained and down you are, there is always something you have to offer. Motivate yourself by listening to or reading positive materials. This way you can know that others have been where you are and they survived.

Stop listening to the naysayers, start listening to those who have the “I can” spirit.

The Bottom Line

No matter how you like it or not, change is a slow process. Not everything you wish for will come all at once. But those consistent daily efforts could make a lot of difference.

It starts with accepting where you are right now and being willing to put in the work to get out of your current position.

Feeling lost is a state of mind anyways. Making those necessary changes could create a lasting change in your life and take you to the right direction after all.

Featured photo credit: Austin Pacheco via unsplash.com

More by this author

Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

It has been said that rarely am I short of words, and yet I’ve rewritten this article on positive and negative reinforcement five times. Why?

It’s not as if I have a lack of thoughts on this subject. It’s not as if I don’t spend my days enabling people to communicate powerfully and get what they want in life. So why the rewrites?

I’ve found myself thinking about the diversity of people I’ve coached and how different we all can be. Usually when I write for Lifehack, I’m able to see instant commonality in the subject that means I could share some ideas that would resonate wherever you are in life, whoever you are, regardless of what you were looking to achieve or what adversity you may be facing.

However, with this, it’s a “How long’s a piece of string?” answer, i.e. I could probably write a whole book’s worth of words and still have ideas to share.

Let’s look at some key points:

  • You will have times in your life where you need to get someone to do something.
  • You will have times when someone needs you to do something.

Let’s look at how positive and negative reinforcement would work. In both of these situations, you can face some big obstacles:

  • Someone may resist your desire for them to change.
  • Someone may challenge your authority or leadership.
  • Someone may be at risk of getting hurt.

The important thing to remember is that, in life, we all have to be influenced and influence those around us, and some ways will help us get the result we want, and others won’t. However, that may differ on where you are, who you are talking to, and what you want to see happen!

So, how do we know when positive reinforcement is effective[1], and can there ever be a time when negative reinforcement is good?

Worryingly, if you get positive and negative reinforcement wrong, you can risk your career, your business, your relationships, your reputation, and your brand.

Positive and negative reinforcement each have their merits, so it’s imperative to know when to employ them. Interestingly, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, we still rely on the wrongs ones in society, business, and even in parenting.

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The 4 examples below showcase the use of positive and negative reinforcement, and whether they personally apply to you right now or not, they will resonate and be very useful to you personally in every area of your life.

For each we will look at:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What have you tried?
  3. Now what?
  4. The results!

The Boss

Okay, you may not be a boss, but everyone will have times in their life where they need to get people organized and working together to get the best result. Often, leaders say things like this to me:

  • “I’ve told them until I’m blue in the face not to do that!”
  • “They constantly refuse to use the new system.”
  • “They just don’t listen.”
  • “They don’t respect me.”

What Did the Boss Try?

Often, I hear “We’ve tried everything!” No matter who is reading this, trust me, you’ve not tried everything. (That’s the first thing to accept.) When you accept that, you then need to look at what you have tried to move forward.

The boss has tried:

  • Giving the person training.
  • Spending time with them and showing them how to do it.
  • Telling them it wasn’t good enough.
  • Telling them we aren’t doing that any more.

Now What?

The above situations create tension between the two as you constantly battle to maintain your position on the situation. If you are looking to get someone to do something, and they constantly resist, you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What have we tried? This helps you to understand what they are good at, so you can utilize that in the conversation.
  2. From their viewpoint, what could prevent them from doing what I’ve asked? What could they fear, and how will we allay those fears?
  3. What do they want? Seeing their viewpoint enables you to use their terminology and language so they feel listened to.
  4. What do they believe? Do their beliefs prevent them from seeing the benefits? Beliefs can be changed but not by force—coaching is very powerful for this.
  5. How do these answers differ from my beliefs and views? Bridging the gap helps you to see both views and communicate more powerfully.

In my experience, rarely does a boss or leader need to say the word “No.” If someone is not doing what you want them to, the quickest way to see results is to ask questions and listen. Often, when you really listen, you discover a big gap between what you think you are saying and what the other person is hearing.

The reasons why someone is not doing what you want can include:

  • They don’t know how to do what you’ve asked them to do.
  • They are scared to get it wrong.
  • They fear what people will think of them.
  • They don’t have the confidence to come and tell you they need help.
  • They are scared that someone will tell them off.
  • They don’t understand where the boundaries are.

People tell me, “But I said that to them!” If you are too close to the situation, then how likely are they to take notice from you? Here’s what you can do:

  • Get out of your usual environment – Neutral environments make difficult conversations easier. They can take you both off your guard, which can be good.
  • Start by making that person feel safe to say anything. Start with ground rules like “This is a confidential conversation” and “I won’t make any judgement on what you say, I just want to understand.”
  • Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t realize.” When you do this, positive and negative reinforcement can be used.

Learning how to coach people instead of tell people is key. Enabling the other person to see the benefits of what you want for them (and not you) is quicker than trying to dictate action.

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  • Lay out expected outcomes.
  • Create boundaries.
  • Explain what support and help you will provide.

The Results

This style of reinforcement is about utilizing both positive and negative reinforcement. It enables someone to feel safe to explain why they’ve not been taking action and helps them to overcome the limitations they feel while safe in the knowledge that they will get the support to change with the positive results explained in a way that matters to them.

The Young Child

If you’ve ever found yourself on the wrong end of a relentless tantrum of a small child, you will know it can feel impossible to get through to them. While many elements of The Boss scenario could work, there are times where you may need some negative reinforcement.

What’s the Problem?

My children are now 15 and 18. I can honestly say that, while we have had some challenging behaviors, our parenting means I have two children I’m very proud of–great communicators, great work ethic, kind, funny, considerate. The point is that, for my children, this stuff works. And, to be honest, when I’m with other people’s children, they often say “How did you get them to do that!”

Young children are amazing. It’s like they’ve just woken up in a new body and have been told to go touch, feel, experience everything–every emotion, every taste, smell, experience, texture, the lot! They are curious and keen to know more. They sap up everything, and a lot of that we don’t want them sapping up!

When they go to put a pencil in an electric socket, or let go of your hand as you cross the road, it’s imperative they get the learning and knowledge they need fast. I once was talking to a parent that said I was wrong to say no to my children. I asked, “At what age would you like me to introduce them to that word?” to which they had no answer.

While I agree that there are usually a lot more words than just no for children, “no” is a word that kept you and I safe when we were small.

What Have You Tried?

While young children are incredibly intelligent, explaining the merits of your preferred course of action is not going to keep them safe. Tying them to your waist isn’t working. Punishing them and telling them there’s no more park time until you walk next to me doesn’t work either. So how do you say no and keep them safe?

Now What?

Sometimes negative reinforcement is essential[2]. For instance, my son (who adored Bob the Builder when he was little) was playing with his plastic tool kit and discovered an electric socket…I didn’t stop to explain the merits of how that could be dangerous. I said calmly, “No, that’s dangerous!”

Here’s the important point: It’s not just about your words. With young children, it’s important that your body language clearly says the same.

The Results

I did feel like the luckiest parent on the planet to have two children sleeping through the night, but that didn’t tell the full story. I can remember spending a few weeks calmly picking my daughter up with no eye contact, no overly big hug, no conversation, just saying, “Sorry darling but now’s bedtime, so back we go.” And yes, being the strong-willed girl that she is, there was sometimes a good hour of that until she got the message that Mum really isn’t going to play, turn into a dinosaur, sing, or read a story.

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The thing with positive and negative reinforcement is that you need to have faith it will work, and you are doing the right thing.

Of course, when I went in to get her from her cot the next morning, I had a big grin on my face that said, “Wow, what a grown up girl you are staying in your bed all night!” I used positive reinforcement to get the day started.

The Teenager

What’s the Problem?

If I’m honest, I don’t have problems with my teenagers. However, I think that is in no small part to my style of communication. Having respect for them is key, and appreciating how much change is happening in their lives really helps–as someone who helps large teams of people deal with change, I know how hard it can be.

However, when I wrote the article How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive, I was inundated with stories of hellish behavior from other parent’s teenagers, tales of staying out all night and not phoning home, abusive behavior towards parents and teens–I really felt for all involved.

What Have You Tried?

The problem with teens is they know exactly how to wind you up like a little clock-work toy. And if you’ve had a tough day, the last thing you want is to have to deal with someone who can’t even communicate with words, let alone put their dishes in the dishwasher.

Losing it is never the option, but it can easily happen. Shouting, bribery, and doing it yourself because it’s just easier really don’t work in the long run.

Now What?

If you consider everything we’ve covered, you can see that you need to communicate using positive and negative reinforcement. In life, there are consequences to all actions, and teens have a ton of stuff to learn to become effective, successful, happy adults.

Before you embark on any course of action, consider how the other person perceives the world. What are they going through?

You may have loved being a teen, but that doesn’t ensure your children will. Likewise, in life, there are things you love that others will loathe–seeing the world through other people’s eyes really helps you to understand the best way to communicate.

The only big difference for teenagers is to use emotion with caution. I personally let my children see all emotions–I’ve not hidden my tears when I’ve lost a loved one as it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. However, if a teenager in a foul mood can spot a weakness, they may just take advantage of it.

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The Results

My kids love to tell everyone I’m a scary mom. I’m not, I just have high standards, and I’m not prepared to drop them.

We shy away from telling people what we expect and then wonder why we are getting as stressed as the other party because no one knows where they stand.

I’m happy for my children to take over the TV room and eat far too much sweet stuff and binge on a box set. Just don’t put cups on the carpet, we have places for drinks. It’s having the confidence to say this is the rule.

People think negative reinforcement is a bad thing. However, how can someone change if they don’t know what they are doing wrong? And that’s the issue: so many of us are fearful of saying “Stop doing that!” If you lack confidence, find your voice because people aren’t mind-readers.

Final Thoughts

Before you start considering whether positive or negative reinforcement is best for others, ask yourself what you respond better to.

Personally, I respond far better to negative reinforcement–I can improve and be more successful and happier if I know what I’m doing wrong. Furthermore, I know that sometimes negative reinforcement works better with some clients who really don’t want to look at the issue–but it’s always done with respect and love.

Coaching people is also a great representation of when positive and negative reinforcement is best. We are looking to find ways to increase the positive action with positive reinforcement and ways to reduce the negative results with negative reinforcement–and usually my clients keep those changes for the rest of their lives.

More on Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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