You! Yeah, you!
How come you have a hard time making friends? Why do you always have this nagging anxiety? How come your mind just blanks when you talk to new people?
What is actually stopping you from becoming the most confident, social, ass-kicking hero there is?
Well, you are.
You are the key to everything. You are the limit and the potential.
In your life, everything starts and ends with you.
Having lots of good friends, becoming successful and filled to the brim with confidence, will start with developing yourself. No easy task.
But let me help get on the way. I learned improving myself by getting a lot of help as well. So I made an extensive list (people love lists) of the most valuable elements in developing yourself. Of becoming a better person – the best you, you can be! This as part of an ebook I am writing. But I wanted to share the knowledge in advance.
You are still developing yourself to the next level. It is not changing who you are, but growing what is already there. All the time and effort I put in myself has gotten me to a great place.
At first, I was a shy geeky kid. I used to be afraid of meeting new people. I avoided everything that scared me. Freezing up when talking to new people. I always felt other were better than me. Talking to girls was the worst of all. Shaking, sweating, stuttering,…. to name a few symptons.
Nowadays I feel confident, I have an awesome girlfriend. Furthermore, I really enjoy meeting new people. I am not afraid to let my opinion be heard. At work, amongst friends or to strangers, doesn’t matter. Just feeling good and make people around me smile.
You too can make this transition. For getting to this good place I got my guidance from a wide variety of sources. This is me returning the favour, by helping you as well.
Some of it is tough love though, just so you know it. Not too much sugar coating today.
This extensive list is split into a few parts. The first part is about how you see the world and you in it. As well as a brief introduction to goals, habits and the self-development process.
Important because how you see and acknowledge the world and yourself, determines your experience.
Some of the information is a bit paradoxical. But nothing in human nature and culture is straightforward that one rule will always apply. So please bear with me. Most of it is a collection of learning from all kinds of philosophers, coaches, leaders and innovators.
In the future, I want to share more elaboration on these subjects. But in the meantime, don’t hesitate to do your own research! Learn, move on, get better!
Putting on the right pair of glasses – reframing the world and yourself
1. Accept everything
First of all, accept the world as it is. Don’t deny the way things are. As much as you want to shield yourself from harsh realities and uncomfortable truths. Start accepting the world as it is.
It might be a hard. You might have to shatter some illusions. But it is essential in growing.
Things seem to be unjust or unfair, but what point is there in judging reality. The world just is.
Fairness and justice are abstract concepts of the human mind anyway.
We project our subjective feelings upon everything. And though they are essential for your experience, don’t deny objective facts that are.
Get out there, face and accept the world as it is! Breathe it in.
Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”
2. Take responsibility
Responsibility, for your life and where you’ll go from now on.
You got yourself to blame for where and how you are. More importantly, you are responsible of what direction you are going.
You can’t be the victim of circumstances any more. Upbringing, education, toxic friends or crappy circumstances might have made a mark on you in the past. But they should not limit you any further. Learn to let go and move on.
Probably you have not been dealt a favorable hand. Start playing your cards wisely. In hard mode, you can also save the princess.
Carve out your own path. There is not a bigger power that is deciding your path, you have your own free will!
Were you go and end up in the world is up to you. The thing is, the only thing you can control directly are your actions and thoughts. You are able to shape your destiny. So take the wheel! Be conscious and deliberate while choosing your destiny!
3. Be honest about were you are but positive of were you can go
This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
4. Don’t pity yourself
Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. […] – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. […] I almost once wanted to publish a self help book saying ‘How To Be Happy by Stephen Fry : Guaranteed success’. And people buy this huge book and it’s all blank pages, and the first page would just say – ‘ Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – And you will be happy ‘.[…]”
5. Eliminate Failure by Reframing it
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Yes a overused quote.
True none the less. I don’t care you heard it 10,000 times before.
People are pretty hard on themselves when they fail. Social triggers? Performance culture? Whatever the reason. Stop seeing failure as a fault and shame. Life is all about growing. If we fall all we got to do is get back up! Not wallowing on the ground in shame and pity.
Reframe your thoughts. If something you do does not work or backfires, you just learned something.
Toddlers don’t stop trying to walk after one head-first-crash with the ground. They get up and try again,… and again,… and again. Hardcore winners! They go on untill they can walk, run, jump and dance! Yes there is crying sometimes, but hey, they still go on.
Remember, so did you! So why would learning for any other skill be different? Failure is a learning oppurtunity. Don’t beat yourself up about it, it doesn’t help.
No matter what kind of endeavor you undertake, failure will be a part of the process.
And fuck the social stigma around it. People may laugh at you failing once, twice, infinite times. That all doesn’t matter when you succeed in the end.
You succeeded because of your failing.
6. Be honest and ethical
When you learn and becoming a better person through self-development, don’t forget to have integrity. Be honest and ethical!
You learn a lot about what motivates people. Don’t use this to be a manipulative little bitch. Nobody likes those. Neither will you like yourself for it.
Instead use it to make things better for yourself and people around you!
“Spider-Man!”, Writer: Stan Lee
The world as your gym, train yourself – Purpose, Goals, Systems and Habits
7. Know your purpose through living
Now, let’s get serious. Why are you on earth?
Yes, I expect you to answer that!
Well, maybe not now. But eventually. It is a pretty hard question. And a lot of great minds have broken their brains trying to crack it.
So again, what is YOUR purpose?
I first concluded, there is no universal purpose to life or my life. A bit gloomy,… but if there isn’t any given purpose, that means you can create your own!
Maybe you have a more spiritual view of the world. And will find your purpose in that.
Tolstoy, not the least of thinkers, concluded this.
I understood that if I wish to understand life and its meaning, I must not live the life of a parasite, but must live a real life, and — taking the meaning given to live by real humanity and merging myself in that life — verify it”
Or as I interpret his words; the meaning of life is living! And through living you can create your own purpose.
Take your time. Live, think, ponder, philosophize! Nonetheless, search for it, design it or let it fall on your head (though if it hasn’t fallen on your head yet, get your but moving and start searching).
Define your why!
Be fearless in deciding your purpose! What if nothing could stop you? What if you could not fail? What would you choose to accomplish? That is what you should aim for!
It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
When you find or define your purpose, you still have a long and winding road ahead of you. Your purpose might be as straightforward as raising a happy family. Or as complex as being the first settler on Mars!
Whatever it is, make it awesomely compelling to you, it is your point on the horizon. No matter if you take a detour or go in a straight line, let it guide you!
Let your purpose not only be the destination Your purpose is the road, your purpose is your vehicle! You embody your purpose.
Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
8. Set goals
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
In order to work on your purpose. You need to make goals.
Setting goals helps you in a few distinct ways.
Goals allow you to have focus. A way to have measurable progress. Setting yourself up for going in a discreet direction.
There are many methods to proper goals setting. But the act of simply setting and reminding yourself of your goals alone, helps tremendously to move forward.
Be courageous in choosing your goals. Aim high and take all the time and effort you need to get there.
9. Create strategies, tactics, and techniques.
In order to reach your goals, you have to work out how to achieve them. Think and write down what steps you need to take.
The goals and strategy may be overwhelming first. But break them down into smaller steps. Think of tactics and then of techniques. Still to overwhelming? Break it down even more. The moment you see actionable and approachable steps you are good.
You now have the big picture and the steps to get there as well.
From here on out you can take a small action every day. Slowly but steadily you can work towards your goals.
You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”
10. Role models
Look around, what you want to achieve, has it been done before? Probably.
Has someone achieved similar success? Definitely.
So what the fuck did they do?
They must be able to teach you a thing or two. Look at these role models! Analyze their actions. Learn, adjust and adapt their behaviour. If somebody else can do it, so can you! See what inspiring role models you have in your environment. As well what the big bad wide world has to offer. There are so many awesome examples out there for everything! Read about them. Talk with them. And let their examples lead the way.
And while becoming a better person, become a role model for others as well. Nothing teaches you as much as teaching others.
Find someone who has a life that you want and figure out how they got it. Read books, pick your role models wisely. Find out what they did and do it.”
11. Replace negative habits by positive habits
Habits make or break you.
Think about the things you do compulsively on a daily basis. You don’t even think about most of your behavior. Brushing teeth, smoking, sports, whining, whatever. Your habits are either destructive or constructive.
Change this for the better. Cultivating positive habits is a great way of growing consistently. You may have some negative habits right now, learn to override those. And put positive habits in place.
There are a few tricks to do this. Keep track of it. The Seinfeld tactic is mentioned a lot on the interwebs. Every day draw a cross on the calendar when you act on your habit. Once you get a streak you want to keep it going.
Think about what habit you need to master in order to achieve your goals.
Start slow, do a little bit a few days a week. Step by step do a little more and more often.
Once the snowball is big and rolling. It is much harder to stop than when it is still small. Use this to your advantage.
Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
12. Learn about willpower and how to use it
We all have it. But definitely not everybody is using it. Willpower.
The power to change and override your automatic behavior.
But it is a limited resource. Try doing the dishes, washing and fixing the car hard after a long day of work. Nope, not gonna happen.
You need to replenish it. By resting your body and mind.
Willpower is used to override your automatic and lazy behavior. You will need this resource to change your habits and actions.
13. Morning ritual
Your morning will make or break your day. So start them off powerfully. A good start is half the effort.
The best way you can jumpstart your day, is by having an empowering ritual in the morning.
You can do your most important tasks first. Or do something that uplifts you for the rest of the day. I prefer working out for instance. Wakes me up and energizes me for the rest of the day. No guessing if I have discipline to work out after office hours. Already checked it off!
The morning is the best moment to start implementing new behaviors, because your willpower is strongest then. This way you can start each day progressing towards your goals. You will feel productive and positive!
Fitness in the morning, writing first thing in the morning, meditating at sunrise. Whatever you need to do to achieve your goals and feel stronger.
Doing something in line with your primary focus will keep you motivated, disciplined and invigorated in the short term, but also in the long term.
This is one of the best ways to effectively use habits and willpower!
14. Discipline over motivation
Motivation is awesome. It fills you with energy and power to take action.
You do what has to be done! You succeed 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, and then motivation fails.
When motivation fades you will need to have habits ingrained. Or the discipline to follow through. Because your bed is very comfy, tell me about it. Or the weather sucks AND it is a Monday. You already worked yesterday, or you just don’t feel like it. These and a million more excuses will present it self. No doubt you will be able to justify and rationalize them all.
But this won’t help you one bit in achieving what you set out to do. What you need then is plain and simple discipline! Motivation won’t last forever. But your discipline will pull you through!
So get disciplined! Keep yourself on the right path. Don’t rely on motivation alone.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
15. Balance learning, practicing, and doing
The best way of learning about anything is by doing”
It is easy to keep reading books and blogs. Staying safe in your room, thinking you are making progress.
But you have to actually implement your newly acquired knowledge.
You can’t learn to drive a car by reading books (especially driving stick!), you have to get in the car and try!
Without Knowledge, action is useless and knowledge without action is futile.”
If you don’t take action you don’t know what all theories actually implement. You will make little to no progress. Stop collecting dust behind your laptop.
Get out there as well and take action. Learn by doing.
The Yellow Brick Road – Mastering the Process
16. Commit yourself for the long term
An endeavor as improving yourself requires commitment! It is going to take a while, even better – the most successful people in life never stop developing. Neither should you. If you do not commit yourself to becoming better, you won’t make any significant progress.
So think for a sec. Are you ready? Do you want to learn?
Make a serious commitment to long-term success. There is no magic that can make you achieve your goals next week. Decide you will be in it for the long haul. Incorporate the philosophy of Kaizen and get a little bit better every day!
Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
17. Value your own time
Tick… tock… tick… tock…
That is the sound of your life ticking away,… slowly your most valuable resource is slipping away.
An unreplenishable resource. Everyone gets the same amount every day. So do you want to squander it, by catering to other peoples priorities? Or make the fullest use of it? Start making a just equation of how you spent your time. And value it! It is not coming back.
Or put in another way. Learn to prioritize what is important for you! Time to work on yourself, time with family, time to sleep. Maybe lose a few hours of internet binging.
Get your priorities straight, value the little time you have in life and use it wisely!
Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”
18. Think about death
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
When conquerors in ancient Rome came back from a glorious campaign, they had their own victory parade.
The general or emperor would ride through Rome while being celebrated and hailed by all the people from Rome. Receiving his hard earned glory. But on the back of his chariot, a slave would stand. Throughout the parade, he would whisper in his ear. Reminding the victor to stay humble, because he too was just a human. One of the things said was;
“Memento mori.” – “Remember you are mortal.”
This to let the victor realize that this will glory fade as well. And all men will eventually die!
And face it. We are all going down! Everything of your life will fade to dust. Remember that when you are too scared or lazy to pursue your goal! You only live once! Use this drive, the knowledge and fear of death, to truly live!
19 Keep the purpose in mind
Don’t ever forget your purpose.
Keep it on top of your mind. You may have defined it. But it is easy to lose yourself in daily activities. Getting lost in the simple trivialities of life.
Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself aligned with your purpose. Write it down every day. Remember why you are doing all this. If you get distracted, go back to it. Always think: “Is this helping me achieve my purpose? Yes or no?” Adjust accordingly!
Try incorporating a reminder for your purpose in your morning ritual. Read it, think about it, and let it guide your decisions and actions every day.
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
20 Live by your values
During your life, you develop a set of values. Honed by knowledge, experience and up bringing. Stay true to your values. Own them. Live by them.
They are a part of you.
Do not let others stamp on them. Or worse, let yourself devalue them!
This does not mean you can’t change your mind, or develop your values through debate and reflection. It does mean that if something reflects what you stand for, you have to stand true to that. Hold on to it with integrity.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
21. Focus on the process
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
22. Enjoy the moment
Thinking of your past fuck ups? Anxious about tomorrows struggles?
Let go of all that crap.
Start living with what is right in front of you! The now, this moment. Which is gone in a second and never will reappear? It is pure foolishness to be anxious about things not set in reality.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
And true, this is hard, few people who get it right all the time. But you can practice this. Honing your sense of being through meditation or exercise. So you obsess less about the past and future.
23. Get rid of self-limiting beliefs
Over our lifetime we all make little rules in our heads.
‘This is because of that.’ ‘That is because of this.’
Our beliefs. These beliefs we learned during our upbringing, education and media binging. But most are based on a few experiences in the past. Or even fantasies of yourself or those that society keeps imposing on you. Some of them are empowering. But a lot our limiting you, like;
“Because I am fat, I can’t get laid”
“Because I am a woman I can’t be CEO”
Bullshit you can’t! There is no universal law that prohibits this. Only your own thoughts on it. Granted you may have to slash your way through some social dogma. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. More importantly, it starts with yourself and believing in yourself. Because if you can’t see the possibilities – how will the rest of the world?
Fat people do get laid! And women do become CEO!
Learn to understand and to override these limiting beliefs. They are anecdotes posed as statistical fact. Move beyond assumptions of life and create your own empowering beliefs.
All too often we’re filled with negative and limiting beliefs. We’re filled with doubt. We’re filled with guilt or with a sense of unworthiness. We have a lot of assumptions about the way the world is that are actually wrong.”
24. Iterative not linear
Life and learning are not linear. You probably noticed this already. Going from kindergarten to Rockstar is not a straight line.
It has ups, downs, bumps, and setbacks.
Remember this, progress is not made in a straight line. It will be a squiggly unpredictable way. But push through. Though it may not be linear, your trending line will go upward. You will arrive where you need to be.
25. Reflect often and honestly
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”
During your journey of self-development. Regularly take yourself aside. Ask yourself some tough questions. How is it going? Am I still making progress? Am I still on the right track? Should I pivot?
Learn, adjust, and move on! If you do not regularly check up, you might end up in the wrong place.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. But be honest!
26. Don’t take everything too serious
Life is not that serious. Take it easy. No one will punish you if things go wrong. Too much relevance and value is projected upon trivial subjects in life.
Let it be.
Laugh and enjoy this crazy vortex of random occurrences! There is no real reason to take it all so seriously. Be lighthearted about it all and enjoy the ride called life.
Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
27. See Progress as success
You may feel bummed out at certain moments.You feel unsatisfied because your are not yet where you want to be.
Despite all that, keep on taking steps.
See all the progress you make as a success. As long as you move forward you are doing well. The tiniest step in the right direction is a small success.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
28. You are the limit – for now!
You yourself are the limit of your success. How you think about yourself and how you act in life, those are your limits. For now! Because you are still under development.
As you expand yourself, by learning, developing skills and capacities the more you and your limits, will expand. Every step outside your comfort zone will make it larger, and increase your possibilities and capabilities.
Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.
29. The past is not the future
The past does not equal the future.”
If I learned anything from the self-help guru Tony Robbins it is this: Your past does not decide how you act tomorrow. Talking about overriding limiting beliefs!
Though in psychology it is said, that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. This is a correlation though and not a causation. This correlation will hold true only if you accept it. However, you have the power to alter your path.
There is no obligation to be same person you were. You are not your past. You are not your past circumstances. You are now, and you can take steps to obliterate the correlation of your past and your destiny.
Look at every hero in every story, real and fiction. They started from humble beginnings and worked their way up to achieve great things!
Their past did not define their future.
30. Reward yourself
During this process of hardship and fun. Don’t forget to reward yourself sometimes. Made a major breakthrough by talking to that cute girl? Get yourself a milkshake! Mastered a public speaking gig? Give yourself a cookie! Tried to get a promotion but failed? Fuck it, eat a chocolate cake because you did go for it!
You work hard and try! You can reward yourself.
Treat yourself to a holiday, new clothes, a new computer, whatever floats your boat!
31. Think for yourself
Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
Don’t just take advice from anyone. And definitley don’t assume everything that you are told to be true! I and thousands of others writers post advice online. Media networks bombard you with 1000s of tid bits of information. Why do they do give you advice? Why are newspaper writing what they write? Why are TV networks showing what they show?
Think about it. Question it!
Why do I post these all these articles? I do genuinely want to help, it is how I learned a lot from others. But in the long run want to make a buck from offering value. There is some honesty for you.
When you read, watch or listen, don’t just assume everything is true! Reflect upon it. Think for yourself, or try for yourself if advice works. Be open minded about it. But don’t ever unthinkingly accept any advice given. Not in this post, not on tv, not in the newspaper.
Educate yourself, so you understand the world. How decisions are made for you and how you can start making your own. Because if you won’t think for yourself others will gladly do it for you!
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