Mistakes we all make knowingly or unknowingly. You are not mistakes, failures or challenges. It is not a matter of if you will make mistakes; it is a matter of when. Mistake 1 (v.) mid-14c., “to commit an offence;” late 14c., “to misunderstand, misinterpret, take in a wrong sense,” from mis- (1) “badly, wrongly” + take (v.) or from a cognate Scandinavian source such as Old Norse mistaka “take in error, miscarry.” It is not about the number of mistakes you make but the lessons and insights you would learn from your mistakes. Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results. You made a mistake, but you are not a mistake; you failed, but you are not a failure; you are going through some tough, trying times right now, but this too shall pass.
The runner’s high 1 describes a euphoric state resulting from long-distance running. According to David Linden, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The experience is usually attributed to a burst of endorphins released during exercise. “Exercise has a dramatic anti-depressive effect; it blunts the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress. By making running or jogging (or any aerobic exercise) a regular part of your routine, you stand to earn more than just physical gains over time. Voluntary exercise is the single best thing one can do to slow the cognitive decline that accompanies normal aging. 2
American country music singer Lee Ann Womack’s song “I Hope You Dance” is one of my favourite songs for uplifting myself during trying times. Womack sings, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” I love the song’s uplifting message of faith and not forgetting to live with wonder. She reminds us to dance and wander, especially in a world constantly trying to make us live an unexamined script. As children, we live every moment with joy, curiosity, and wonder. However, with time, we get domesticated, indoctrinated, programmed, and imprinted with the societal script of what it means to grow up.
The leaders we respect the most are those who stood for something and were able to stand for their convictions even though the general consensus was against them. They were willing to die for what they stood for and they ultimately paid for their courage to stand for their conviction sometimes with their life. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his values, Muhammed Alli refused to be drafted into the military owing to his religious beliefs and ethical opposition to the Vietnam War in turn not fighting for four years and not performing at the height of his career, Rosa Park’s civil disobedience to resist bus segregation sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, President Abraham Lincoln preserved the American union through the civil war and abolished slavery, and Martin Luther King Jnr. had a dream but ultimately paid with his life.
Some of the most complicated people to enforce our boundaries with are our close family and friends; saying no and following through with it is challenging. It is not enough to set boundaries; at some point, you must enforce the consequences of people not following your rules. It is not your job to continuously announce your boundaries; it is simply to enforce the consequences when your boundaries are crossed. We are what we tolerate if you set a standard for people close to you to continuously treat you as a doormat and take you for granted. If you don’t like how you are being treated, set healthy boundaries, and if they get crossed, enforce the consequences.
Most of us often suffer from destination disease; we believe changing our environment, status, position, or relationship would significantly change our lives. Although that is possible, it is not a given. If you move to a new city but don’t have an open mind and explore the opportunities in the new city, you will still be who you have always been because wherever you go, there you are. The new city would not magically change you without you deliberately changing. Nothing moves until you move; leadership is an inside-out job.
We all have a choice: get better or bitter, get the lesson or let the situation lessen you, get the message or stay stuck with the mess. It is not what happens to you; what matters is what you do with it; Turn your pain into gain, look in the mirror, not focus on the window, work on yourself and stop comparing yourself with others. Change happens from within not from the outside, you make up your mind how well any situation turns out by the story you tell yourself.
In his classic book, As a man thinketh, author Jame Allen asserted “A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.”
The Alchemists: The INEOS Story – An industrial giant comes of age is an autobiographical account of how British billionaire, chemical engineer and businessman Jim Ratcliffe built INEOS from a single site in Antwerp to the fourth-largest chemical company in the world and Britain’s largest private company. According to Forbes, Ratcliffe is the 77th wealthiest person in the world and the second richest Briton.
American radio speaker and author Earl Nightingale asserted, “One hour per day of study in your chosen field is all it takes. One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years, you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” My personal development journey started when I heard these great words by Natingale, and it has changed my trajectory, outlook and worldview ever since. To change your life, you will have to change your mindset; we are the story we tell ourselves. Nothing moves until you move; to change outwardly, you will have to change inwardly. Leadership is an inside job.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If no one has reminded you of late, You are a king, queen, and royalty; you exemplify excellence and exude greatness. We all started life tabula rasa as a blank slate without any inbuilt mental construct, indoctrination, programming, imprinting and domestication. While growing up, we had wild dreams about what we could become and aspire to be. We answered the question, ” What do you want to be when you grow up? With much zeal, with answers ranging from pilot, engineer, doctor, astronaut, architect, etc. We answered the question based on what we saw around us, our family and friends’ job positions, media, religion, and counselling sessions.
I deactivated all my social accounts in February 2018, and it is by far one of the most challenging and exciting decisions I have ever made. I have a love-hate relationship with social media networks; they are one of the best innovations of the past 20+ years and one of the most incredible time-wasters of our time. Before deciding to leave social media, I dug deep into the literature on what social media does to us through overstimulation, self-comparison and inability to focus on what matters. I was influenced by authors like Cal Newport, Jaron Lanier, Adam Atler, and Nir Eyal.
One of coach John Wooden’s favourite saying is this: “As long as you try your best, you are never a failure. That is, unless you blame others.” Coach Wooden defined success 1 as the peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Coach Wooden understands success having experienced it in his illustrustrious career and also understands what it means to wait before succeeding. He won ten NCAA national championships, seven of them in consecutive years, and had four undefeated seasons, including an 88-game winning streak. Before he achieved this remarkable feat, his team did not win a national championship for the first fourteen seasons.
In The Comfort Zone: Create a Life You Really Love with Less Stress and More Flow, Founder/CEO of the Power of Positivity Kristen Butler writes extensively about the comfort zone.
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. – Alexander Pope
Expectation (n.), “state or condition of waiting or awaiting with confident anticipation,” from French expectation (14c.) or directly from Latin expectationem/exspectationem (nominative expectatio/exspectatio) “anticipation, an awaiting,” noun of action from past-participle stem of expectare/exspectare “await, look out for”.
We hold expectations as a form of attachment to specific outcomes. We have expectations of people while society, our parents, religion and acquaintances hold expectations on how we behave or coordinate ourselves. One of the keys to happiness that I have found most compelling is reducing your expectations of people. Humans will always be humans; they will show you their true colour; your job is not to tell them how to act; your job is to let to be who they want to be.
Panic (n.) 1 “sudden mass terror,” especially an exaggerated fright affecting a number of persons without visible cause or inspired by trifling cause or danger, from French panique (15c.), from Greek panikon, literally “pertaining to Pan,” the god of woods and fields, who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or people in lonely spots. Panic is a sudden state of fear which often leads to frantic anxiety and rapid thinking, prevents logical thinking, fight-or-flight reaction and leads to logical lapse.
The price of greatness is sacrifice and responsibility; it will be a dogfight; you will question your sanity some days and even want to panic as your funding is getting low and you are getting little or low traction. Keep pushing, don’t panic; you are closer than you think. When you panic, you can’t think straight, and you tend to think irrationally in this state, with rapid thinking and lapsed judgment; solving the real issue is challenging. On your path to the top, the going is going to get tough; it is going to get tough at some point; don’t panic because it is when it gets dark that you can see the light.
In the words of author and leadership expert John C Maxwell, Courageous leadership is developed when “Poise that is more unshakeable than panic.” He observed:
Courageous Leadership Simply Means I’ve Developed
- Convictions that are stronger than my fears.
- Vision that is clearer than my doubts.
- Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion.
- Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection.
- Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure.
- Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo.
- Poise that is more unshakeable than panic.
- Risk-taking that is stronger than safety seeking.
- Right actions that are more robust than rationalization.
- A desire to see potential reached more than to see people appeased.
One of the hallmarks of anxiety is rapid thinking 2. Because you are focusing on some issue so deeply and for so much time, you assume that you are also thinking through the issue thoroughly and arriving at the most likely conclusion. However, the opposite is happening.
You’re experiencing a logical lapse. You’re jumping to the worst-case scenario because you aren’t thinking clearly, and then you are engaging your fight-or-flight response because the worst-case scenario makes you feel threatened. This is why you obsess about that one, terrifying idea. Your body is responding as though it’s an immediate threat, and until you “defeat” or overcome it, your body will do its job, which is to keep you in defense mode, which is really a heightened state of awareness to the “enemy.”
When you experience a logical lapse, the climax becomes the conclusion. You imagine a situation, you figure that you would panic, and then because you’re scared, you never think through the rest of the scenario. You never think about how you’d get through it, what you’d do to respond, and how you’d eventually move on with your life afterwards. If you were able to do this, you wouldn’t be scared of it, because you wouldn’t think it had the power to “end” you.
Author and editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine, Jason Feifer 3, asserted that:
Staying calm is tough when things are going hard and you can’t think of a way out of your situation. Think it through, leave it for a while, sleep over it, talk it over and keep taking steps that would take you closer to solving the problem. Nothing moves until you move, take action, and resolve to do your best in any situation. You can and will solve this issue; stay calm and don’t panic.
Everything in life comes down to how we handle those crucial seconds. 4 When psychological, physical, or emotional pressure redlines, your adrenal glands go haywire, and you are no longer in control. What separates a true savage from everybody else is the ability to regain control of their mind in that split second, despite the fact that all is still fucked!
That’s what people miss. Our lives aren’t built on hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Hell Week is 130 hours, but it’s not the hours that kill you. And it’s not the pain, the ex- haustion, or the cold. It is the 468,000 seconds that you must win. It only takes one of those motherfuckers—when it all becomes too much and you just can’t take it anymore—to bring you down.
Life, like Hell Week, is built on seconds that you must win, repeatedly.
Never quit when your pain and insecurity are at their peak. If you must retreat, quit when it’s easy, not when it’s hard. Control your thought process and get through the most difficult test first. That way, if you do bow out, you’ll know it wasn’t a reaction based on panic. Instead, you’ve made a conscious decision based on reason and had time to devise your plan B.
The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short. But that isn’t a reason for unremitting despair or for living in an anxiety-fueled panic about making the most of your limited time. It’s a cause for relief. You get to give up on something that was always impossible—the quest to become the optimized, infinitely capable, emotionally invincible, fully independent person you’re officially supposed to be. Then you get to roll up your sleeves and start work on what’s gloriously possible instead.
- Daily Calm with Tamara Levitt – Technique
- It is important to keep our intention on developing our technique in practice rather than focusing on a particular outcome. It is easy to get focused on all type of goals that we’ve heard about or other people’s experiences. Each of us has a different mind or body, we have varied experiences and outcomes, and those experiences change from day to day, Month to month, year to year; therefore, we want to let go of our expectations because when we become fixed on particular results ; we lose our ability to practice with proper technique.
- Hold patience and trust that your practice will work as it should for you in its own way, in its own time.
Daily Jay with Jay Shetty – Catch the Sunrise
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.” The more I interact with people, the more I agree with the word of Emerson, and I have concluded that Love is Behaviour. Your behaviour is more important than what you say, as actions speak louder than words. You can call yourself a friend, but that would be determined during the trying times; you can say you are family, but we shall know the depth of your support during the trying times. One of the unintended consequences of grief is that it mostly re-orders your address book as people would show you their true character and colour.