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How to Commit and Change Your Life

How to Commit and Change Your Life

Achieving even the simplest of goals requires us to learn the meaning of commitment.  Throughout our life, we are reminded of commitment, whether it’s related to personal or business goals, and we realize that without committing, we can’t achieve anything.

When you think about it, everything you ever achieved sprouted from a commitment you made; whether it’s your children, your degree, your job, or even your house.Learning how to commit is not simply about making commitments, however, it’s about keeping those commitments in the face of foreseen and unforeseen hurdles.

Here are a few of my favorite tips that will help you Get “Commit” Right & Change Your Life:

#1 Don’t be involved, commit!

Doing things half @$$ed is the mother of everything that can go wrong.

“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”

When you want your project to succeed, you invest yourself in it fully. Why? Because you can’t afford to only be involved; being involved means you’re not committed enough, and if you’re not committed enough, that thing you’ve been working on, won’t see the light of day. Don’t chicken out.

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You can’t work on several things at the same time and expect excellent results. Make sure you’re doing one thing, and you’re investing all you’ve got.

#2 If you won’t learn how to commit, someone else will!

There’s someone out there who knows everything you know and they’re probably not alone.

“Competing in sports has taught me that if I’m not willing to give 120 percent, somebody else will. “ Ronald Mark Blomberg (Boomer)

We live in a highly-competitive environment and truth be told, it’s exhausting. So what are you going to do? Are you going to quit? Probably not, but why? You’re wired to keep on fighting—every time you think you’ve reached rock bottom, you connect to an inner mechanism based on millions of years of evolution whose sole purpose is keeping us alive. It can be either by running and hiding so you’ll be able to fight another day, or by making you fight tooth and nail to get what you need.

You probably heard about this fight-or-flight instinct.

In fight-or-flight mode, your pupils dilate, your heart rate goes up, and blood pressure increases with the purpose of getting more oxygen into your brain and muscles. This response allows you to give much more in a competitive environment… but guess what? the same happens inside the other guy’s body. That’s why the one who’s more committed will be the last one standing.

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#3 Never give up, never give in!

Quitting is also a lesson; a really expensive lesson, if you ask me. You pay for that lesson with the time you lost, the energies you invested, and a major blow to your ego. However, sometimes you find yourself with your back to the wall and you need to take drastic measures to save the day.

Sun Tzu (the ancient Chinese author of The Art of War called it “desperate ground”:

“Throw your soldiers into positions fro whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight.  If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength.” Sun Tzu

Do you know why people quit? There are 3 major reasons:

  • Perfectionism.
  • Lack of faith.
  • General inability to keep commitments due to a history of failures.

All three are bound to each other. The more you fail, the less committed you become. If you’re less committed, you have less faith. If you don’t have faith in what you’re doing, every non-perfect condition can break your resolution. It’s that simple.

Fight Perfectionism, fight lack of faith (whether in you or in others) and fight history to stop it from repeating itself!

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“Never give in! Never give in! Never, never, never. Never—in anything great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Sir Winston Churchill

#4 Free your mind, and the rest will follow!

Once you’re committed to something, your mind becomes like a homing beacon. There are no more choices to be made, just a focus on the target in front of your eyes—smooth sailing.

“The resolved mind hath no cares. “ George Herbert

But what happens when you suddenly change your mind? When the choice you’ve made is no longer as attractive as you previously imagined it would be?

According to Neo (Matrix), choice is the problem.

You know of course what I’m talking about; that thought that you could’ve made a different choice, or as Neo said in the first Matrix “Why didn’t I take the blue pill”. That’s why when you make a choice, weigh it heavily, commit, and never look back.

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#5 Commit to something bigger than yourself

If you have problems committing, it will be beneficial to commit in a group setting.  The most likely way to overcome the fear of commitment is to commit to something bigger than just you, and in a group, you’ll be to draw upon others for both motivation and support.

“Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. “ Vince Lombardi

In a committed group, everyone works for the benefit of that group. A perfect example is trying to teach a child to swim on his own vs. with a group of kids his own age.

In conclusion, commitment allows us to fulfill our most basic needs and achieve our most sought after dreams. It gives us purpose. It’s never too late to learn how to commit.

 

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

1. Know Thyself

One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

An unexamined life is not worth living.

I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

2. Figure out What Matters to You

What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

4. Listen to Yourself

It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

6. Make Time for Reflection

It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

  • What went well today
  • Something you’re grateful for
  • What would make tomorrow even better

Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Arguably the most important step of all:

Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

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