Tell me if you’ve ever heard things like this:
“I’m not a math person.”
“I’ve never been good at learning new things quickly.”
“I don’t have the time, the money, the connections or resources to be successful.”
People seem quick to admit their shortcomings. But in the process, they come to believe they can’t be happy until things are “just right”.
This is like saying, “I’m a victim of my surroundings, and don’t have any way to make things better.” I understand we all have “trigger” problems, but we also have a responsibility to improve how we react to them.
The ability to respond in a healthy, thoughtful way is crucial for leaders, whether for a healthy marriage or a thriving business. If you want to improve in this area, you’re the type of person we want in our mastermind groups. Click here to apply to join one.
You Must Not Relinquish Your Power of Choice
When life gives us storm clouds, it’s easy to revert to negative “thought trenches” we’ve carved out.
In case I haven’t made it clear, how we respond is the most important choice we can make! As a Christian life coach, I know we’re meant for much more! We’re able to create a desired end state, and choose how we’ll go about achieving it.
We can even change our immediate surroundings, in search of a better life. I know many people who’ve moved across great distances to pursue their dreams.
These people look around and see - their current environment discourages their development and prosperity. Instead of saying, “I can’t just up and move,” they think it through - and then, they act decisively.
To me, the scariest parts of surrendering the power to choose are the long-term effects. It reminds me of the old dirt roads that run through mining towns. When the weather’s good and the sun’s shining, the dirt road’s easy to drive. When rain comes, however, vehicles lay deep, messy tracks - making them hard to navigate.
Our minds work the same way. When life gives us storm clouds, it’s easy to revert to negative “thought trenches” we’ve carved out. These tracks speed the downward trend. Since we typically follow the path of least resistance, we don’t see any reason to choose differently.
These thoughts and feelings are heavier and more frequent in isolation. But if you surround yourself with a group of caring people, they can help you slow down enough to think. Click here to apply to join one of our online mastermind groups.
Train Yourself to React Positively
Do you want to know one of the clearest signs of the vast chasm of difference between human beings and animals?
Some people say we’re just “highly evolved monkeys,” but I’d like to know … when’s the last time a monkey chose to accept hardship because it would build his character?
The monkey doesn’t say to himself, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
Only people mature and improve, by embracing challenges instead of running away from them. That’s the point Stephen Covey makes in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Two of the most powerful habits in that book are the first and seventh ones. This illustrates the need to start strong and finish strong. The first habit is “Be Proactive,” and the seventh is called “Sharpen the Saw.”
Let’s see how developing them helps you exercise your power of choice more effectively.
When you practice Habit One and become proactive, you exercise your freedom to choose. You develop self-awareness, which is a fundamental part of choosing. If we had the same level of self-awareness as monkeys, we’d never embrace difficult things.
When you choose proactivity, it’s best to focus on things under your control. Don’t stress by trying to regulate things beyond your control. Understand, you only have so much energy. How is that energy best spent?
Accountability to commitments is proactive. Many people deteriorate because they can’t make commitments to anybody or anything. It’s easy to live a passive lifestyle, when there’s no accountability.
Move forward by making a commitment you can believe in. Share it with someone you trust, and ask them to hold your feet to the fire. Lock the door behind you, and throw away the key.
Meanwhile, when you follow through on Habit Seven and “sharpen the saw,” you choose a lifestyle of continual improvement. It’s hard to get to the top and live out each habit. It’s even more difficult to keep honing them.
Oliver Cromwell once said, “He who stops getting better, stops being good.” Don't make the mistake of thinking that you’ve “made it” or that you can “flip the switch” and practice good habits whenever you want.
It’s up to you to look for areas you can enhance. To make it simpler, Covey shares something he calls “The 4 Dimensions of Life.” Let’s see how these dimensions can improve by sharpening the saw.
A balance of physical activity and healthy diet play a huge role in your effectiveness. Disregard your health at your own risk. If you fail to keep your machine well-oiled, you’ll break down on the side of the road. That’s no place for someone like you.
Ever since humans walked the earth, we’ve longed to learn new things about our environment. Nowadays, they aren’t as dangerous as what our ancestors faced. Make the choice to learn new things, and reflect on them to sharpen your mind.
Boy, do I miss sharpening this saw anytime I’d like! With COVID-19 restrictions carrying over into 2021, sharpening the social/emotional saw is more challenging.
At times, there’s a tendency to isolate, to figure things out on your own. But why solve problems with one brain, when you could combine the power of many by being more social and connected?
It may take some creativity, but you can still find deep connection and meaningful relationship, even in the age of a pandemic. Our masterminds are a great example of it.
Steadfastness in your beliefs and values helps you resist the world’s nonstop chaos and distraction. Have you ever made a list of what you stand for? What characteristics are most important to you? Meditate or write in a journal about their importance, and how you can live them out each day.
Mastery doesn’t happen by accident; it takes careful planning and dedication. If you want to improve your life, you stand a better chance among a group of allies aiming for the same thing. You can find people like that in our mastermind groups. Click here to apply to join.