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Set Yourself on Fire

Set Yourself on Fire

Set yourself on fire to achieve real success in life

    Have you heard of a guy called Fred Shero?

    No?  Until recently, me neither. I’m not a big sports fan and Fred was a hugely successful Canadian NHL player and coach with a string of many hundreds of wins and numerous awards and accolades to his name. Pretty good going, but it’s not his sports record that I admire.

    What I love Fred for is something that he once said:

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    “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire.”

    Reading that sent lightning bolts through my spine, as there have been many times in my life when I’ve been sitting back, subconsciously waiting for the world to bring me the success I thought I wanted. To be completely honest with you, even now I sometimes find myself expecting someone else to ‘set fire’ to me, waiting for spontaneous combustion rather setting myself on fire and finding my own success.

    I have to catch myself when I slip into that way of thinking before it sets in, because Fred’s absolutely right.

    People all too often wait for success to happen to them. “If only it would fall into place…”, “Surely someone will discover who I am and what I can do soon…” or “Just a little while longer and it’ll all come good…” are examples of the things we say while we’re waiting for success to come along.

    Of course, the big thing I’ve come to learn is that it doesn’t work that way. Finding success – real success – isn’t a passive thing. It’s not something that happens to you like watching a movie or getting your hair cut. Finding success is something that happens in you.

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    Here are 4 things for you to think about:

    1. What does success look like to you?

    What comprises success? How much of it is material? How much of it is emotional? How much of it is spiritual? Get specific about what success does and doesn’t mean to you.

    2. Imagine yourself towards the end of your life

    Picture yourself towards the end of your life as happy and content as you can be. What is it about that future you that tells you as clear as day that they’re happy and content? Picture yourself walking up to them and asking them what it is that allowed them to reach that point. What single piece of advice can they give you?

    3. How focused are you on working on your success?

    What are you willing to do to get the kind of success you want?  What are you waiting for the world to deliver to you so that you can have that success?

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    4. Are you driving your success?

    How would it be if you were driving that success rather than waiting for it?  What changes do you notice in how you do things and how you feel about things?

    I’m not suggesting for one minute that you can’t ask others, the world, the universe or whatever higher power you happen to believe in for help.  I’m not even suggesting that you become wholly focused on working towards your success. That’s missing the point.

    The point is that we humans tend to be focused on working towards happiness and success and assume that until it comes along we have to spend time being unhappy, suffering or struggling.

    You don’t have to struggle…

    The truth is that things happen much easier and more readily if we don’t struggle, suffer or assume unhappiness – the assumption that you need to struggle or fight for your success is a false one. Real success comes much easier and becomes more consistent when you operate straight from that place of success instead of assuming it’s out there in the world somewhere.

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    Go after what’s important to you and get going on all those shiny things you’d love to have, do and be in life, but recognise how much more pleasureable it’s going to be when you’re feeling happy and successful rather than unhappy and unsuccessful.

    Fred got it right. Don’t wait for spontaneous combustion or for someone to set light to you. Dive into your own happiness and success, engage with those things and operate from a place where they’re real and present.

    Don’t wait, set yourself on fire.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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