Updated: Jun 11, 2020
When you are in your twilight years, will you tell the story of your life with pride and enthusiasm? Will you feel comfort in the knowledge that you seized every opportunity? That you crafted the life that you wanted?
Your mind can be a destructive force or your greatest asset. Every challenge that you face is in your mind, and so is the power to overcome it. If you can conquer your mind, you can conquer everything else around you.
So how do you craft a great mindset? You can train your mind, just like you can train your body. To conquer your mind, you fight through the darkness. Only through personal struggle do we learn how to defend ourselves. To become more resilient, you test your self-perceived limitations and push through your boundaries.
Set your self personal and professional challenges.Achieving personal challenges fills you with an inner confidence that cannot be wavered by any person or event. Write them down. Take a risk and stand up for what you believe in.
Recognise your self-limiting beliefs. Before we break them apart, we are brimming with self-limiting beliefs. What we think we can do is a figment of our imagination, ingrained by our family, friends and society. What would happen if you could think beyond your limits? If you believed that you were capable of doing anything that you set your mind to? My friend, you would become the king of men. There are no limits to what you can create, or what you can become. Only a limited mindset limits your achievements.
You will stress and worry about meeting your goals. You will imagine what could go wrong. Write down why you might not succeed, and what would happen if you failed. Tear up the page and try anyway. We all fear taking risks. Your subconscious mind wants to protect you from the humiliation that failure brings. It doesn’t want you to feel or look inadequate. Your subconscious mind knows that if you don’t try, you can’t fail. Over time, you will recognise your self-limiting beliefs for what they are; a figment of your imagination.
Train yourself to have a positive mental attitude. Every time life throws you a curveball, think of it as a learning opportunity. Trust in your strength of personality to overcome the challenge. Over time, a positive mental attitude becomes second nature. Believe that everything happens as it is supposed to. Believe that every event in your life, both positive and negative, was sent to challenge you. You are who you are because of the negative emotions that you have overcome. Be grateful for them.
Reveal your true personality. We fear that we won’t be loved for who we really are. We act how other people expect us to act. We hide our true emotions, because we are afraid of how other people might perceive us. It takes courage to reveal your true self. Tell people about your dreams, fears and humiliations. Be yourself, always. You are unique. You are special. You are worthy of love.
Experience the full spectrum of emotion. There is only one universal predictor of human behaviour; we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Yet, to be human is to feel complex and painful emotions. That’s what sets us apart from animals. Painful emotions are powerful tools for personal growth. To be touch with your emotions, embrace how you feel. Recognise when you feel sad, afraid, jealous, or embarrassed. Don’t force your feelings deep inside where you can’t feel them any more. When you are sad, feel sad. When you are jealous, feel jealous. When you are angry, feel angry. It’s part of human experience, and not something to be ashamed of. Admit how you feel to yourself, and express it as eloquently as you can.
Always do your best; no more and no less. If you try your best, you have the right to view your failures as successes. Some days, your best will be wonderful. Some days, it will be terrible. That’s normal, because our best effort fluctuates. That doesn’t mean that you can never rest. Au contraire! Resting is part of peak performance. You can’t perform at your best without adequate respite. Everybody needs a different amount of rest to work optimally. Experiment until you find the right balance.
Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself how you treat other people; with respect. You are not a machine. You are sensitive and you have needs. What are they? Take the time to indulge yourself and make yourself feel good. Prioritise your own happiness before anybody else’s. You can’t help people if you are unhappy. The Dalai Llama said that, so it must be true! If you are miserable, you are of no use to anybody. An unhappy person makes everyone around them miserable too. In contrast, a happy person is productive and energetic. A happy person effortlessly makes the world a better place by spreading joy.
Don’t be modest. Take pride in your achievements. We underplay our achievements because we don’t want to seem arrogant. Modesty is detrimental to your positive mental attitude. Your subconscious mind believes what you say, so you stat to doubt yourself. Accept compliments graciously, but don’t value them. Achieve your goals for your own esteem.
Help people and tell nobody. Random acts of kindness are a powerful tool for self development. It boosts your self worth, and (if done right) that of the receiver. You get to feel fantastic about yourself, and you start to notice positive changes in your life. The more positive energy you expend, the more you receive. You don’t have to spend money to help people. Sometimes, a kind word is all it takes.
Forgive everybody that harmed you. Bearing a grudge eats your energy and hampers your personal development. Close your eyes and imagine the painful situation. Relive the pain. Feel it. Then repeat “I forgive you” out loud a few times. Release them from your heart, and feel a weight lifted! Remember to forgive yourself. We all hurt people. That’s how we learn.
Be grateful. Every day, think of three things that you are grateful for; big or small. This morning I am grateful for coffee, the big oak tree outside my window that makes me feel close to nature, and the opportunity to write. Stick a note on your bathroom mirror which reads “What are you grateful for today?” Ask your child what they are grateful for before they go to sleep. Get in the habit of being grateful whenever you start to feel impatient. You will soon feel your heart rate slow!
Embrace your new self. We hate change, because we have a fixed sense of identity. We feel safe in how we feel, how we think, and who we are. We don’t want to take risks, or act out of character. This is an illusion; we are in a constant state of change. No person is the same as they were a decade ago.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable. There is no bravery without fear. True courage is taking a leap of faith, knowing that you might get hurt, and despite imminent failure or ridicule. These brave people change the world, and everybody around them for the better.
Do something that terrifies you. Face your worst nightmare, and come out the other side. You will receive a gift that no money can buy; the gift of personal development. What frightens you the most? Is it public speaking? Or perhaps it’s calling someone from your past. Whatever the challenge is, just thinking about it should make you cringe. The more difficult the challenge, the more opportunity for growth. The best challenges are the ones that cripple you with anxiety. The more challenges you overcome, the more resilience you build up. Small challenges done frequently are also powerful, such as striking up conversations with strangers.
I challenged myself to write “The Female Orgasm”. Publishing this section fills me with dread. I will always remember the time I spent time on the floor, paralysed by fear. So why do I publish? Because my drive to empower women is stronger than my shame. And because I trust that I can handle any negativity that will stem from it. Whether you think me brave or naive is irrelevant to me. When it comes to personal challenges, the only opinion that matters, is your own.
Appreciate that all negative emotions stem from fear. The braver you are, the more you open yourself up to criticism and ridicule. Constructive criticism is powerful. Welcome anybody who takes the time to explain how you could improve. Thank them from the bottom of your heart. Also know that some people need to criticise to make themselves feel better. This stems from a lack of self worth. Pity the doubters and the haters, and wish them the courage to face their own challenges.
I wrote HEALTHY HAPPY 100 with passion. That makes it controversial. I heard somewhere that if you don’t get negative reviews, your book wasn’t bold enough. I will try to rejoice in them. That will be my next personal challenge. What will yours be?