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Don’t Wait for a Breakthrough Moment: Create One!

Don’t Wait for a Breakthrough Moment: Create One!

    Potential and Possibilities

    We’ve all had breakthrough moments in our lives. Moments when a switch flicked, a light went on and a door to a new world of potential and possibilities opened up for us. For most of us, the door was always there to be opened but, for a range of reasons, we never turned the handle. Until that day.

    Ignoring Reality

    Invariably, the switch-flicking and door-opening (the internal shift) was the result of a situation, experience or circumstance that we found ourselves in. And it was usually an unpleasant one. My first big breakthrough moment came after many smaller and less embarrassing, but similar, moments. It’s fair to say I was (am) a slow learner. The lessons, the signs and the indicators (to change, to listen, to pay attention) were all there for me, but for the longest time I did my best to ignore them. I never allowed reality to get in the way of the stories I told myself.

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    And what stories I told.

    One of my favourites was the “it doesn’t matter that you weigh more than your teachers and you’re only fourteen” fairytale. I fooled not only my friends but also myself.

    Or so I thought.

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    The Beginning of the End

    For me, the beginning of the end (of my fat, unhappy self) came at a school swimming carnival when I found myself standing on a starting block at the end of a pool next to seven other kids who weighed as much as my breakfast. It was the painful reality check I needed but clearly, didn’t want. It’s hard to hide 90kgs (200lbs) of teenage lard when you’re semi-naked and perched on a block of concrete with hundreds of people staring at you. Humiliation would have been a pleasant improvement on what I felt in that moment.

    Transformational Pain

    Although that experience was a painful one for me, it was also something that led me to make decisions and embrace behaviours which transformed my life (on many levels), and I believe, changed the course of my destiny. If I hadn’t experienced that feeling, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. I am grateful for that experience because it forced me to step into reality, to acknowledge who and what I was, and to take charge of my mind, my body and my life. And yes, it happened in that order (mind, body, life).

    Even though I had that revelation at a relatively young age (fourteen), I often look back and realise that I always had the potential to create incredible and lasting change. Over the last thirty (or so) years I have consciously and diligently worked to make the decisions, changes and adjustments before I found myself standing on that starting block again.

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    So to speak.

    The fit, lean, stronger, happier, more productive and creative (version of) me was always in there; I just needed to let him out.

    I don’t know (most of) you, but if you’re like the majority then I know that you have more ability, potential and possibilities than you have ever imagined. If amazing (and lasting) results are what you’re after then my advice to you is:

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    Don’t wait for a breakthrough moment: create one!

    So, why don’t you choose to make a breakthough this week? Just because you can.

    Tell us about your breakthrough moments (in the past or present) or just say hi and share your thoughts on this post. And yes, that means you Lurkers (non-commentors) too.

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

    Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics How to Stop Being an Over-Thinker

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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