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5 Steps You Can Take to Put Your Dent in the Universe

5 Steps You Can Take to Put Your Dent in the Universe

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.

SEE ALSO: 63 Ways to Build Self Confidence

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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  • 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)

More by this author

Steve Errey

Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

New Years Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence 7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat I Like You a Lot How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them Stuck in Rewind. 7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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