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Time to Write a New Chapter in Your Life? Five ways to get you started

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Time to Write a New Chapter in Your Life? Five ways to get you started

 You Are the Author of Your Life

Our life, including our career, is like a book. Some chapters are phenomenal and others leave a little to be desired. You’d like to skip right over those. Yet, every day adds a new page to our overall journey.

Until the final sentence has been written, there’s still time to change the story.

As we flip through the pages of our life, we live through an array of emotions, actions, and circumstances. We have our ups and downs. We laugh, we cry, we win, we lose, we falter, and we grow strong.

But when you are on the last page, what will your book say about you? What story did it tell?

  • Who were you as a person? What was it about you that people value?
  • What are your values?
  • What have you achieved? Where did you work? Where did you live?
  • What added meaning to your life and gave you a sense of fulfillment?
  • How did your life unfold in these areas: family, friends, significant other, career, health, and your emotional and physical well-being?
  • Where did you travel? What did you do for fun?
  • What advice did you pass on to a younger generation?
  • What is your favorite memory in life?
  • What gave you the greatest motivation?
  • What was your passion?

Will your life book be powerful and compelling or will it be full of pages that didn’t have much of an impact to you?

Your story continues to unfold.

The Past is the Past and Our Power is in the Present

If you don’t like how the story is unfolding, change it. You can’t rewrite life but you can start a new chapter.

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The “what if” syndrome is non-productive and a good waste of mental energy. What’s done is
done. A critical assessment of your life and career lessons can be useful as you build your future. But, spending time going backwards is simply not logical. Nothing to see there. Life is a forward progression; our power comes with the control we have today.

And, that power belongs to us. We own it.

Today is Never Going to Happen Again

Future achievements are prepared for in the present moment. Let today be the standard for your personal theme of success. Don’t let five years or even one more year go by while you keep looking back with regret.

If you will ever live the way you want in the future; you have to live in the present first. Make things happen now. There’s no control over the past but there is control over the present which leads to control of the future.

George Bernard Shaw tells us “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”

Five Ways to Write Your Story

Consider everything that has happened up until this point as character development.Now build on that and write something new.

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A good book takes the reader on a compelling journey. It grabs you. You keep turning the pages because you want to see what happens next. It gives you a satisfied ending. And, you connect with the characters in all their glory and even with their weaknesses.

1. Give Yourself a Powerful Voice

Stephen R. Covey said “One word expresses the pathway to greatness: voice. Those on this path find their voice and inspire others to find theirs. The rest never do.”

Give yourself a voice. Flex your vocal cords. The voice is what carries you through in the story. It permeates every page, paragraph, and sentence. How you express yourself is a direct reflection upon how people experience who you are and what you represent.

Your voice defines you. Don’t let your individuality be misrepresented because your voice doesn’t communicate your soulful essence. Your voice gives you clarity in your life’s direction. It gives you the freedom of expression without holding anything back. It’s power.

Knowing your voice gives you strength of character. It enhances all areas in your life from your personal relations to your career choices.

2. Surround Yourself with Notable Characters

A captivating book has more than just a main personality. It’s filled with memorable characters. They can make the most mundane day fresh and exhilarating. Unforgettable characters make the story come alive and they’re one of the most important aspects to a good story. They’re distinctive to every book and they make us feel emotions. They help us see the world in new ways. They help us to re-think our own lives and motivations and affect us in a manner so that they live on in our memories for years.

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Who do you surround yourself with in life that gives you a different perspective? Who inspires you? Who motivates you? Who helps you step outside of your comfort zone so that you live more experiences?

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, tells us that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Who are the people you spend time with?

Are they happy, grouchy, ambitious, optimistic, and enthusiastic? Evaluate the characters in your life to make sure these are the people you want in your book.

3. Write a Great Story Line

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” –Abraham Maslow

Make them laugh and make them cry. It makes no difference what elements play into what a great story personally means to you. The point is that you believe it’s exciting. You’re invested in the plot and in the characters. You are living an engaged life and sometimes that makes you want to stay up until 2:00 a.m. because you are not ready to put the book down.

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4. A Vibrant Setting

Your setting, both work and personal, ground the story. The setting adds to the details of your book. It helps people understand who you are. Settings set the mood, influence the way characters behave, predict events, and invoke passionate responses. Without a setting, it’s just events.

A setting provides a world in which your story plays out. It’s not just important, it’s vital.

5. Think About the Ending and Then Come Up with the Middle

If you get stuck on a chapter, skip ahead. Decide how you want your story to end and then work backwards. That way, every decision along the way will be a lot easier to make if you know the end goal and what you are working to accomplish.

It doesn’t matter what chapter or phase of the book you are currently in because each day presents another opportunity to write something new.

It’s up to you. This is your life and career legacy. Write your story the way you want to live it.

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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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