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How to Get What You Want by Raising Your Standards

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How to Get What You Want by Raising Your Standards

Your life is a direct reflection of the standards you hold—both for yourself and for others.

This is a nearly universal truth that applies to every aspect of your life. From your profession, to your appearance, your relationships and your finances, they’re all governed by the standards you hold them to. Most of the time these standards are set unconsciously, either adapted from the environment or indoctrinated into you by your family, and your standards are usually set far lower than what you’re able to achieve.

standards

    In the words of Tony Robbins, “If you don’t set baseline standards for what you’ll accept in your life, you’ll find it easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes and a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.” It’s not difficult to see that this is the norm, not the exception.

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    Will you make the decision to stay in the norm, or will you decide to hold your life to higher standards and become an exception?

    Identifying Your Standards

    Finding out what your standards are for different areas of your life is a simple as taking the time to just observe that part of your life.

    The best example is personal appearance. However you look at this moment reflects your current standards for your appearance. It doesn’t matter what you look like, and there are no judgement involved here. Once you start judging you get defensive and you begin viewing reality through a protective film. There is no right or wrong at this moment: it just is.

    A sumo wrestler has strict standards for his appearance; he needs to be a certain size, and anything under that size is unacceptable. He doesn’t let his weight drop because it’s an ingrained part of his identity. It would be great to be bigger—in fact he has goals set to gain weight—but there’s a breaking point where anything smaller becomes intolerable. The same is true for rock climber, except a rock climber expects himself to weigh beneath a certain number so he can climb with ease. Lighter is better, but there’s a baseline he won’t deviate from.

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    If you’ve ever gained or lost too much weight, and immediately started taking action to reverse the process, you are experiencing the fundamental effect of your standards on your appearance. You will not let yourself deviate so much from your standards because it feels wrong and unacceptable.

    Another good example is finances. How often are you late paying your bills? Is it OK to miss a payment here or there? Again, look at it without judgement at first to prevent yourself from getting defensive, and gather objective data about your income, spending habits, and financial responsibility.

    How about your relationships? Think about how much time you spend with those you love, how others treat you and how you treat others. Is there a trend that makes you feel uneasy, defensive or the need to justify and explain?

    Raising Unacceptable Standards

    Chances are you’ve identified one or two standards that are abysmal to say the least. You may look at your finances and say “I should really save more”, but you never do because you see yourself as a person who has never been able to save.

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    If you decided instead, with 100% conviction, that you were the best money-saver in the world, you would achieve your savings goal and your standards would raise. Now you identify yourself as an awesome saving machine instead of a person with the inability to save. Because you made that fundamental identity shift, you took action to stay true to who you are (i.e. a money saving machine) and you ended up with a ton of money in your bank account.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick and easy way to change your standards: this is an internal shift and it can’t be faked. You may try to fake it for a while, but you won’t create lasting change, and eventually you’ll revert back to what your core beliefs really are.

    It’s not easy, but we can facilitate this internal shift and it starts with changing what we perceive to be our identity. Let’s go with the savings example above.

    First, identify the limiting belief about your identity that is preventing you from achieving your goals, and rewrite it so it reflects what you want it to be.

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    1. Current belief: I not the kind of person that can save.
    2. Alternative belief: I’m a money-saving machine.

    Then, find all of the examples that support this belief. Both in your actions and in your emotional response to the actions of others and/or facts.

    • You have $5 in savings. You’re a money saving machine.
    • You skipped Starbucks yesterday and put that money in savings. You’re a money saving machine. 
    • You talked to a friend who’s been able to save up $20,000 and feels so free. You want that feeling so badly. That’s why you became a money saving machine. 
    • The more money you have in savings, the more you can earn in interest without doing anything. That’s another reason you’ve become the most awesome money saving machine ever.

    Make it clear what will happen to you if you don’t change this belief—make the consequences as visceral as you can.

    • I’m going to end up in a nursing home by myself.
    • I won’t be able to take care of my children in the event of an emergency.
    • I’m going to lose my house.

    Lastly, begin to act like a money saving machine in every way.

    • Talk to an adviser or do research to create a plan tailored to your individual needs. Stick to the plan like white on rice.
    • If someone asks you if you save, say that you do and you’re damn good at it.
    • Stop thinking that you ‘should’ save money and think instead that you ‘must’ and ‘do’ save money.
    • Pretend you already have $20,000 in the bank and identify all the things you’re going to do with the money you have saved up.
    • Hang a modified bank statement on your refrigerator, mirror, rear view mirror in your car.

    Pretty soon, you’ll really start to feel like a money-saving machine, and not long after that you’ll actually be a money-saving machine.

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    Again, the only way to raise your standards is to have an internal breakthrough where you feel compelled to change, no matter what. This feeling of total conviction coupled with a strong emotional desire behind your reasons for raising your standards will to make it impossible for you not to do so. You’ll know when that really happens because when it does, you can’t go back without losing a part of yourself in the process.

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2021

    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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    10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

    We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

    A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

    So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

    • honest
    • reliable
    • competent
    • kind and compassionate
    • capable of taking the blame
    • able to persevere
    • modest and humble
    • pacific and can control anger.

    The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

    1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

    All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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    But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

    2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

    How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

    I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

    “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

    Abigail Van Buren

    3. How does this person take the blame?

    Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

    You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

    5. Read their emails.

    Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

    • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
    • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
    • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
    • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
    • Too many question marks can show anger
    • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

    6. Watch out for the show offs.

    Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

    7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

    A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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    Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

    8. Their empathy score is high.

    Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

    People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

    9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

    We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

    “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

    Stendhal

     10. Avoid toxic people.

    These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

    • Envy or jealousy
    • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
    • Complaining about their own lack of success
    • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
    • Obsession with themselves and their problems

    Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

    Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

    Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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