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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career? If you’re ready to take responsibility for your life, then you need to tap into some principles for success.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their passion and purpose way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you reach your goals and live a rich life on your terms.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand[1].

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work[2].

Give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life and help you focus on goal setting.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

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Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

To use this principle for success, take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it. Is it what you really want? If it’s what you really want to be doing, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP, the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life, it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut[3].

Silencing your inner critic is one of the best principles for success.

    To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

    This is one of the principles for success that will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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    5. Embrace Your Inner Self

    Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid people will find out how odd or strange we are. However, our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths.

    Odds are that you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

    • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
    • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
    • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

    The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

    Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

    6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

    I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you, but you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

    To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

    Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

    A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

    Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

    Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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    7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

    Pretend I’m your fairy godmother, and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

    What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

    8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

    Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time[4].

    Furthermore, a Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere[5].

    What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

    These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

    9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

    Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

    This is one of the most powerful principles for success for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

    Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

    “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

    To learn more about how to get off autopilot and take specific actions towards your goals, check out this video:

    10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

    Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

    Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

    You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, and you can succeed again.

    Final Thoughts

    Eleanor Roosevelt said,

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

    Following these principles for success will help you find the time and energy to achieve your goals and live with clear intention.

    Stand still, get quiet, and listen. Your life is constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rock star potential in life and business. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

    More About Success in Life

    Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Dr. Michelle Millis Chappel

    Michelle is a psychology-professor-turned-rock-star who has helped thousands of people create successful meaningful lives by using their superpowers.

    Feeling Like It Might Be Too Late To Pursue Your Dreams? Think Again 17 Ways for Building Resilience and Staying Tough 10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life How to Become Goal Oriented and Achieve More in Life Scientists Find 15 Amazing Benefits Of Listening To Music

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    Last Updated on April 14, 2021

    4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It)

    4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It)

    Are you someone who has succumbed to the victim mentality trap? Ask yourself, when bad things happen, do you take responsibility for them, or do you blame other people or the world?

    If it’s the latter, you likely have a problem with the victim complex. When challenges occur in life, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you and assume that the world is out to get you.

    It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself occasionally when life gets tough. However, if it gets out of hand, it’s easy to start floundering in victimhood.

    It is impossible to be the driver of your life if all you do is play the victim card. In the end, this is the fastest way to lose your power. You have two choices: believe that life is happening for you or to you.

    What Is a Victim Mentality?

    People who have a victim mentality believe that life happens to them rather than for them. As a result, they are quick to feel victimized when something doesn’t go as planned.

    Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize or consider themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others.

    At its core, a victim mentality is a form of avoidance. It’s a way of saying, “I refuse to take any responsibility for myself or my life.”

    As a result, you may avoid stepping outside of your comfort zone, making difficult decisions, or doing anything to improve the state of your life. In short, you remain stuck and paralyzed by fear. I think we can all agree that this sounds like a bad place to be.

    Steve Maraboli said it best:

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    “The victim mentality will have you dancing with the devil, then complaining that you’re in hell.”

    Unfortunately, there is a huge payoff to adopting this mindset. You are given the space to have a pity party, to ignore messy emotions, and to get sympathy from others. The fact that there are benefits of being a victim makes it difficult to move away from this habit.

    It’s only when you are ready to shift your perspective and see the events of your life as fully in your control that you can step into your power.

    How Do I Know If I Have a Victim Mentality?

    Let’s look at four signs that you have a victim mentality and find ways how to break free from it.

    You Catastrophize All Your Problems

    Individuals who catastrophize problems are always thinking the worst. Catastrophizing your problems is when you allow yourself to believe that even the smallest inconveniences are the end of the world and can be a sign of victim syndrome.[1]

    If you always assume that the worst will happen, the Universe will listen to you and give you precisely what you’re asking for. The next time you catch yourself thinking about how awful something is, work to put your experience into perspective.

    Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” This will help remind you that the outcome may not be as bad as you expect it to be.

    You Feel Powerless

    One of the hardest things to deal with when you live with a victim mentality is feeling helpless. When bad things happen, it’s easy to feel like you have no control over the situation.

    When you find yourself in one of these situations, focus on the things that you can change. Finding something that you can control can help you feel like you have some of your power back, and that’s a big step.

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    Another way to break free from feeling powerless is to practice saying no. You don’t have to do everything that is expected of you. It is okay to put your own needs first.

    You Engage in Negative Self-Talk

    Self-doubt is intimately connected to a victim complex. Once someone falls for the victim mentality, they will subconsciously self-sabotage their best efforts so that they are congruent with their conscious mind.[2]

    If you believe that you aren’t worthy, you will always feel as if the world is out to get you. Destructive beliefs will nourish victim behavior to the point where putting yourself down becomes the norm.

    You Think That the World Is out to Get You

    If you feel like the world is constantly trying to hurt you or make you miserable, you know that you have spiraled into victimhood. Life isn’t out to get you. In fact, it’s always trying to work in your favor if you choose to adopt a growth mindset.

    Sometimes things will happen in life that are out of your control. It’s your job to decide how you are going to respond to those events. When you start seeing challenges as opportunities for growth, you start noticing that life is forcing you to level up, which is a blessing in disguise.

    How to Stop a Victim Mentality

    The first step to breaking out of a victim mentality is understanding and accepting that you have one.

    The next step is to shift your thoughts from feeling like a victim to realizing that you are a survivor. It’s incredibly freeing when you realize you are no longer a victim of your life circumstances.

    If you want to be a true survivor, you’ve got to focus your attention less on safety and security, and more on developing positive self-beliefs.[3]

    Survivors know that they are the CEOs of their lives, meaning that they take full responsibility for everything that happens, both good and bad. Also, instead of seeing the world through a black and white lens, survivors are open to new ways of thinking and behaving if it will support their growth and evolution.

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    1. Identify and Challenge Limiting Beliefs

    Beliefs are conditioned perceptions that are built upon old memories of pain and pleasure. These memories are based on how we have interpreted and emotionalized our experiences over time.[4]

    If these beliefs are disempowering in their nature, they lead to self-sabotage and a feeling of helplessness. If you want to stop being a victim, you first have to identify the critical inner voice that created feelings of victimhood and injustice.

    When did feelings of self-pity, low self-efficacy, and false blame first take shape in your life?

    A victim mentality can usually be traced back to one’s childhood, as a survival mechanism or as a learned behavior that we observed from our parents.

    When you start to understand why you feel the way you do, you take responsibility for thoughts and realize that you have the power to change and shift the narrative from one of a victim to a victor.

    For this to really work, you’re going to have to build up the courage to take action. For help with this, check out Lifehack’s Free Guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen.

    2. Take Responsibility for Your Life

    When you take responsibility for your life, you take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You design life on your terms because you know that you have the power to create your reality.

    The moment that you stop blaming the world is the moment that you shift from victim to victor. All of a sudden, life starts working in your favor because you chose to show up for yourself.

    3. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

    A victim mentality is grounded in a feeling of lack, as if there is never enough of something. The opposite of lack is abundance, which is where gratitude comes into play.

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    The quickest way to stop being a victim is to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Make a habit of asking yourself, “What am I grateful for today?”

    Gratitude is simply the conscious acknowledgment of what brings you joy in the present moment. When you stop obsessing about your own stuff and look at the bigger picture, you start to realize how lucky you really are.

    Take a look at these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

    4. Think Positive

    A victim complex thrives on negative thoughts. The best way to shift from victim to victor is to change your thinking and take care of your mental health. Instead of looking for the bad in something, find the silver lining amidst every challenge.

    Your thoughts create your reality. When you start focusing on the good, you attract more positive things into your life.

    That is the moment at which you will open yourself up to live an abundant life of positive growth and change that has the potential to transform your life.[5]

    In the words of Martin Seligman,

    “Optimism is very valuable for a meaningful life. With a firm belief in a positive future, you can redirect your life towards what’s most important.”

    Final Thoughts

    If you’re tired of playing the victim, decide that you are ready to become the master of your life and then act on it. You are capable of great things if you believe in yourself and act on your beliefs. Now is the time to take back control of your life and move away from the destructive victim mentality that has been holding you back.

    More on Thinking Positive

    Featured photo credit: Remy_Loz via unsplash.com

    Reference

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