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Never Forget Your Past Successes

Never Forget Your Past Successes

trophies awards past successes

    The first award I ever won in my life that I remember was a yellow second place ribbon for an egg and spoon race when I was in senior Kindergarten. I actually still have that ribbon among other similar little awards I received during my childhood years. They have been safely stored in a metal candy box all these years.

    Significant certificates, diplomas and even university degrees have also been placed in file folders in my home office as well. Work related awards like plaques I received for corporate sales performance were bundled together in a tote bag. Although I use to display them on my wall when I was still in corporate life, I no longer have them out since I decided to go for a more artistic home styling with real artwork instead.

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    Not Just Dust Collectors

    In my case, the bulk of my awards are in the form of a few hundred trophies of varying sizes from a few inches to a multilevel one that stands almost eight feet tall. These trophies plus many plaques and medals were won from my long career in martial arts competition that spanned over twenty years.

    When I use to live in smaller high rise condo apartments, I had no choice but to have these trophies lined up a few rows deep that took up an entire living room wall. I even had some of the plaques in my bathrooms. Needless to say, this sight overwhelmed a lot of my visitors especially when they came to my place for the first time.

    Although most of my guests were very impressed, I did receive some negative reactions, usually from girlfriends after a certain dating period. Once they were comfortable enough with me, a few of them actually told me that I should throw my trophies out since they were just taking up space and collecting dust.

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    These women were obviously thinking from a home decor point of view and in some ways, their point was valid. However, at the same time, they also completely missed out on something important. There is a reason why I, along with many other people in this world, have not thrown out the awards we have won. These awards are not simply just dust collectors.

    Reminders Of Past Successes

    Past awards and other mementos of our achievements serve as reminders of our past successes. Everybody goes through ups and downs in life. It is during those down periods when past successes become especially helpful.

    Instead of just sitting there sulking when we are down and challenged by whatever life throws at us, we should be remembering how we have conquered obstacles to become successful in the past. We should recall despite the challenges, how we were able to work through them and still achieve victory.

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    Physical reminders of past victories such as trophies or certificates act to trigger these events back into our minds. We will then feel a surge of confidence as we realize that if we were successful before, then we can become successful again.

    These reminders help us remember that although we might lose the odd battle, we can still win the overall war. Past successes do not have to be exactly related to current challenges either. My past successes in martial arts continue to help boost my confidence in many different challenges I face and many of these are not related to martial arts in any way whatsoever.

    So keep all the reminders of your achievements so that you never forget your past successes, especially during times when you can really use a boost.  Although you don’t necessarily have to display them in prominent locations around the house, at least have them somewhere where you can easily access them to rekindle the wonderful memories behind them.

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    I did not keep my trophies to impress anyone. I kept them for myself as reminders of past successes when I need them. The only thing different these days is that I have a bigger house and therefore do not have to have my awards in my living room and bathrooms anymore. I now have a separate trophy room in my basement. This should keep the girlfriends from complaining.

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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