I don’t know you, but I strongly believe that you don’t simply want to live your life and then disappear without a trace, impact or legacy. I think you want to make a difference in your life; that you want to leave your fingerprints on the world, in whatever measure.
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So here are 5 steps you can take to put your dent in the universe:
1. Use What You’ve Got
You’ve gone through a lot and learned a heap. You’ve developed skills you didn’t start out with. You’ve gained strengths you can apply to get great results. Today, you’re at the point where you’ve learned, known, experienced and grown the most you ever have in your life.
That’s why you’re always in credit when it comes to your experience, skills, strengths and talents, and it’s those very things – the things that are now woven through you – that will give you the very best chance of putting your dent in the universe.
Don’t let what you’ve got go to waste.
2. Practice What You Don’t Have
If you want to become a great tennis player but have never played tennis before, your only choice is to learn how to play and get out there and practice.
Get better at what you’re already good at. Look at how you can leverage your strengths and experience in developing a new skill. Put in place strategies that will help you develop what you need to develop in order to get involved with what matters to you.
You have an extraordinary ability to learn new skills, strategies and strengths. You can even learn and practice new ways of thinking to replace old patterns of thought that just don’t cut it any more.
Learning and practicing is to be cherished in the same manner as the fruits derived from those new abilities.
3. Figure Out What Matters
Figuring out exactly what it is that matters to you can be surprisingly elusive, but it’s extraordinarily important for one simple reason.
You can’t put a meaningful dent in the universe without knowing what matters to you.
So what’s always been there, exerting a pull over you? What breaks your heart when you see it? If you could make a simple, graceful difference to a person, a group or a community, what would it be?
Don’t overthink this. There might not be one single answer. The point is to look for something that resonates; something you connect with; something that just might be compelling enough to get involved with.
Chances are you already know what matters. Sometimes you just don’t let yourself believe it.
4. Get in the Game
When you have that thing, you’ve got to get in the game.
As opposed to goals (which are an idea of something out there in the distance that may or may not happen that you may or may not even want), to play a game you have to choose to get involved right now. You have to pick up that racket and swing. You have to put on your sneakers and run. You have to roll the dice and see what happens.
Playing a game requires a choice to participate right now.
So make a deep choice to get involved in what matters to you and to make a start (however small) right now. You can make plans along the way; you can set targets along the way; but neither of those things will amount to a hill of beans unless you’re engaged with a game that matters first.
5. Mind Your Head
Your brain can be a tricky beast, thwarting you in all kinds of clever ways you might never know about. Here are just 3 tiny examples that demonstrate how your brain makes all kinds of choices on your behalf, choices that can create an experience of life you never wanted:
- Spot something risky, see something going wrong or sense you might lose out, and your amygdala will fire-up and tell you to fight, fly or freeze. As your amygdala lights up your pre-frontal cortex (the part of your brain that allows you to think deliberately and clearly) powers down, making it all to easy to respond automatically.
- Listen to old assumptions or expectations about what will happen, how others will behave or how they expect you to behave, and you can trigger automatic patterns of thought that can take you somewhere you never expected or wanted.
- If things don’t turn out as you expect, the drop in dopamine can send you into a spiral of negative thinking that can fuel thoughts of not being good enough or not being up to the challenge.
So start to be gently and non-judgmentally aware of your own thoughts. Notice the thoughts that disable and those that enable. Acknowledge where your thinking is focused and see if that’s useful or not. Start to be aware of the thoughts that take you out of the game.
That awareness gifts you with choice.
Don’t wait for the world to give you your place; make a start.
Together, these 5 steps are how worlds are moved. This is how extraordinary ideas are brought to fruition. This is how you can put your dent in the universe.
What’s stopping you?
(Photo credit: The World in Your Hand via Shutterstock)