We all want success and to matter, however, we don't know many people around us willing to teach us what it takes to achieve something bigger. It's not our family's fault. They also didn't have someone teaching them ways to step up in this world and provide exponential value to lots of people. I've found that watching Ted Talks, interviews and by reading books, I've surrounded myself with digital mentors. Here are 5 things to know in order to start on the path of excellence.
1. Get Uncomfortable
Let go of what's comfortable. Let go of toxic fear, comforts, outmoded ideas, things out of our control like other's opinions or ideas of us, in order to let our own motivations drive us. We tend to let go of our own dreams in order to live the safe and secure adult day job world, but that stifles excellence. Become uncomfortable on a regular basis to get closer to who we were meant to be.
When kids get teased, they change themselves so other people will like them. Adults change so their peers will accept them more. But we don't know why people don't like us. We may just resemble their ex or something and they're projecting on us. So we have to stop being attached to the idea of being who others will like. Just be perfect the way you are because that's how you're meant to be.
The pain you carry around isn't yours and doesn't actually help you. Let it go. Freedom is letting go of negative attachment, but retaining the lesson that that negative experience taught us. That's the definition of excellence.
Ask yourself, "Who are you supposed to be, and what do you need to let go of, in order to achieve that? The need to be right? The need to be comfortable? The need to be liked by others?" Don't let chance slip through your fingers because of negative attachments you cling to.
Check out a book from Heather Hansen O'Neil called "Teams on Fire," about how to make your team kick butt and be more productive.
2. Be Open
Be open-minded. Open yourself to new people and experiences. Bohemians, for example, gave us new perspectives; Van Gogh taught us not to look at the world in absolutes, Rock and Roll taught black music and culture to the white audience, breaking down race walls, and Hippies gave us environmentalism, and the whole foods movement.
Choosing a safe option will make you feel diminished. So always reach for the brass ring.
Maybe it is crazy to drop everything and help save the dying. It's very hard for us to leave our cushy and safe job and just show up in India one day or somewhere else, and help take care of the diseased, dying, and dead.
The essence of all spirituality is helping others. The best way to get through to others is to be honest about your own story, and to be able to share it with others to connect with and help them. Use your addictions and afflictions of the past to help anyone with addiction. If you have a personal story of recovery to share with those suffering from addiction, then please share it! Don't let shame get in the way.
Share your story, never settle for a sure thing, reach for the brass ring, and thus protect the special gift you have been given.
3. Fear is an Epidemic
Fear is detrimental to our health and happiness (45% of people experience negative health effects from it), yet we spend 14 hours a week in fear. That's 12.5% of all our awake time in life; approximately 5 years of wasted time. People interviewed close to death, say that they wish they spent less time worrying in life. Makes sense, but it's not something we usually do anything to avoid.
Why do we experience so much fear? Because of an outmoded way of dealing with problems. If we have a problem as a kid, and we become afraid, our memories record that experience. The next time we get a problem, our brain says, "Do we have past experience that teaches us how to deal with problems? Ok, I activated that emotion, so I'll do that again." It's probably not the right course of action, but our brains do it anyway, and thus decades of fear are perpetuated for no good reason. Also, monkey see monkey do. If we see people fearful, we get fearful ourselves. If we see someone litter, we're more likely to do it ourselves.
What's the cure? Compassionate behavior. Researchers asked 4th and 5th graders to do random acts of kindness. At the end of the experiment, they found that the kids were happier, but also more welcoming, less fearful, less prejudicial to each other. And monkey see monkey do works this way too. People seeing each other less fearful and less prejudiced towards each other, encouraged them to act the same.
So live a fearless lifestyle, and remember that the way we live is a choice.
Check out Richard Dedor, author of Anything Is Possible.
4. The Importance of Communication
We need words to understand what we're feeling and thus what we want from each other. But our current words don't cover nearly the breadth of the human experience, and we're not making more words on demand typically. It's not that we can't understand our feelings to communicate them, it's that the words we do have, do not appreciate the magnitude of our feelings. We have the word "heartbreak" but that doesn't cover the full experience of heartbreak, which is the feeling of helplessness in the face of something that should not be, the failure to change it, and the desire to do something about it but remaining silent. The feeling of heartbreak when you look at war, at poverty, any tragedy.
We have to think beyond words, to think about what we more fundamentally want to communicate with each other. Only then will we be able to truly say how we feel and what we want and aspire to.
5. Finish What You Start
History does not remember those who start but don't finish. Three words define what cultivates success, ultimately. "You never quit."
We need to ask, what could we do to make our lives amazing, if we never quit? The distance between you and success, is your mindset.
What are some ways you have achieved some type of excellence in your life? Share your story in the comments section.
With Love, Dania