The media continuously exposes us to the amazing achievements of superstar athletes and business tycoons. These individuals almost appear to have some sort of unfair advantage when it comes to success in life. We consider them anomalies and one off occurrences and yet there is no shortage. Certainly, they couldn’t have WORKED that hard to get where they are without some sort of outside influence such as luck, could they?
Many times we take the mindset that we shouldn’t even bother starting to hone a new skill, make a healthy change to our diet or practice an instrument or sport because we MUST be at a disadvantage compared to the highly accomplished celebrities the media allows us to subject ourselves to on a constant basis. Or, that we won’t catch that necessary break or have some NATURAL, INNATE ability that these superheroes seem to possess.
By doing this TO OURSELVES, we are creating EXCUSES to stay where we are in life. It subconsciously gives us permission never to improve our lives or strive for a different mindset or better perspective. How SAD this should be to EACH and EVERY one of us. It often happens without us giving it more than a passing thought. If you have anything you wish to change in your life, you MUST pay ATTENTION to this when it occurs within your mind.
Several books I have recently read point to the fact that any skill can be mastered if you focus and practice that skill for 10,000 hours. My first reaction was WOW!, that seems like a tremendous amount of time! However, as I read the stories about these individuals and their success, it was clear that the people mastering their craft never counted or measured those 10,000 hours. Those hours accrued EASILY over time because these individuals found something that they were PASSIONATE about and LOVED every minute of what they were doing.
Whether it is Bill Gates, a superstar lawyer or Canadian hockey players, the book ‘The Outliers’ made it clear that there was a snowball effect of developing a skill AND increased environmental support that helped these individuals obtain success. Some of the environmental support is due to timing, but I believe that most of this outside assistance comes to the individual due to their PASSION and FOCUS! This PASSION and FOCUS manifests a series of helpful events to accelerate SUCCESS! So how does this translate to us improving our lives?
Based on my own personal experience, I believe that whatever we decide needs to change in our lives requires a constant focus. A constant focus on easily achievable actions and goals. Taking the initial step, deciding that we need to take action, is AWESOME! Making that decision means we’ve started the process of overcoming the internal EXCUSES we have made with ourselves based on unrealistic images, pre-conceived shortcomings or advertising. However, that decision requires constant focus and reexamination for it to remain long lasting. It must become a LIFESTYLE.
For example, I decided at the end of 2012 to GET HEALTHY. I was 40-50 pounds overweight and at first glance, the goal seemed daunting. However, based on an inspirational movie and several amazing books (see below) I decided to start changing my diet and to get more exercise.
The most important part of this decision was an additional checkpoint I added. I made a commitment to myself to ADD in more POSITIVE actions or to modify the current actions to make them more challenging and more effective EVERY two weeks.
This post is not to go through every step of my changes (but be on the lookout for a free guide I am putting together to get you started). However, I can tell you that six months later I am 30 pounds lighter and have an IMPROVED outlook in all areas of my life. This is because I made a LIFESTYLE change that went beyond losing weight.
Every two weeks I kept my commitment to myself and made more positive changes. They weren’t all around the weight. In fact, although I have a goal weight I was very flexible with how much I lost each week. This was due to the commitment to constant improvement in overall health and outlook. FOCUS was KEY in turning my life around to the point I am now.
Look, it is EASY to maintain our negative habits. This is due to our addictions to the emotions that we obtain from disappointment, anxiety, depression etc (read more in my post here). Many of us know someone that maintains a constant focus on the negatives in their lives. Whether they continually complain, expect the worst situations, or glorify unhealthy choices. When you step back and think about it you CAN see that the FOCUS is there (albeit in the wrong direction)! We do not realize how intense that focus is because it has become unconscious and habitual. A LIFESTYLE in the negative!
To maintain any sort of positive and healthy LIFESTYLE, whether it is weight loss, learning a new instrument, language or whatever, you need to not only make the decision to start but also commit to keep it INTERESTING FOR YOURSELF! Understand that you deserve the change, that you deserve the health and the joy and bliss that come from breaking your negative habits and meeting your goals!
As always, multiple books and movies inspired the topic of today’s blog. I have linked them below if you would like to check them out in more detail for yourself. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have or leave feedback in the comment area!