How do you go from average to good? And from good to great?
Just flowing in life? Or grabbing life by the balls and make it work for you? A bit of both actually. All summarized in 2 words:
The major proponent of getting you from zero to hero!
This is part 2 of a series in which I briefly touch upon the multifaceted subject of self-development for confidence and social fluency. Check out part 1 if you are dropping in. Part 3 has also been published.
As you can see from the list, it is not an easy task. With loads of aspects. But as you develop in several fields as mentioned below, you automatically will develop other aspects as well. There is a big overlap. Start slowly and get the snowball rolling.
To see yourself – find your double rainbow
32. Accept yourself
This may sound a bit contradictory. Especially after all the advice you have read in the last post. Especially after talking about growing yourself.
Yet this vague statement holds true.
You are who you are. In your gut, you know how you want to act. Yet your actions are influenced by fear of other people’s (perceived) judgment.
Let go of that. You know how you are among family, good friends or alone. Be true to that you. Don’t let social conformity distort the way you are and want to be! It takes some courage. But there is no shame in being yourself.
Acknowledge though that you as a being, in identity and character, are fluid. You can and should always be developing. Changing towards the best you, you can be.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
– Lao Tzu
33. Construct a positive self-image
We all make a definition of everything. In the same sense, you create an image of yourself. You let this be influenced by many aspects and actors throughout your life.
Don’t take a passive role in this imaging. Actively shape your self-image. Create a beautiful, compelling and awesome image of yourself. If you see yourself like that, you will live up to it!
It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The name of the wind
34. Esteem yourself highly
In line with your self-image, you must esteem yourself highly as well. Learn to regard yourself with respect and appreciation.
You are who you are and that is awesome!
Appreciate yourself as worthy because YOU think so! Don’t wait for the approval of others. Because you are worthy. There is no-one important keeping score except you.
As soon as you have yourself on the team, things will get a lot easier.
35. Confidence building through facing fear
A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
There is not one single method to gain confidence. With posture, exercise, and meditation you stimulate your general sense of confidence. But by far the best method is through courage. Gaining confidence through facing your fear!
We all have minor and major fears. Face them. Feel your fear, and push through anyway. This guarantees becoming confident.
Start with small fears and challenges. When you gain momentum, you can break even more free from your comfort zone. Here you can truly face your demons.
You will find, that a lot of your anxieties and insecurities were all in your head. Don’t wait for confidence to start fighting your fears. Instead, gain it by facing them.
Your doubts and your fears can paralyze you. Recognize, objectify and conquer them through courage and intellect. Don’t let feelings of deep guilt and unworthiness stop you. These self-limiting emotions are a burden – a false ‘safety’ net. Fight through these illusions. There is no reason why you are more inferior or less deserving than others.
It’s all made up, all subjective. The heap of molecules that you are, have just as much right to anything as any other cluster of select molecules.
Become confident, you will have a higher quality of life, more appeal and radiate an attractive vibe.
36. Your guide named fear
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”’
Your fears will lead the way. If you just stay on the safe road you won’t go where you need to be. Learn to first recognize your fears. Then define and confront them.
Where there is no fear, there is also no pull to go, just apathy. This makes fear an extremely useful guide in knowing where to go.
37. Develop an Inner locus of control
But there is a critical point about differences between individuals that exerts arguably more influence on worker productivity than any other. The factor is locus of control, a fancy name for how people view their autonomy and agency in the world. People with an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for (or at least can influence) their own fates and life outcomes. They may or may not feel they are leaders, but they feel that they are essentially in charge of their lives. Those with an external locus of control see themselves as relatively powerless pawns in some game played by others; they believe that other people, environmental forces, the weather, malevolent gods, the alignment of celestial bodies– basically any and all external events– exert the most influence on their lives.”
38. Stop identifying with external events
Your brain is an awesome puzzle solving machines. Evolved to see patterns. It is actually too good in seeing patterns, you even see patterns where none exist. As an emotional mammal, you use this to identify with random unrelated external events.
Someone laughs in your vicinity. What does your pattern-seeking-mind do? Think it is about you! Why? Pattern addiction. Realize that this is just a bug.
Another example, you miss the bus and it is raining. Must have happened because you didn’t say I love you to your mom. Nope, some stupid pattern your mind makes up.
Don’t lose your gut feeling though. But learn to discern what external events are totally unrelated to you – and disassociate. No need to think it has something to do with you, recognize your error and let it go.
Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.”
39. Objectify your demons
We all have these strange instinctual urges.
Sometimes you just want to punch someone in the face, laugh at their defeat, dance on their graves, or cower in a corner. For no apparent reason! Our instinctual, but out-dated, instincts boil up. Useful in the past, unproductive in modern times.
Another example; you are driving, when someone’s starts tailgating you, they are assholes. But if a slowpoke drives in front of you, it is a lazy bum. Another example; when gaming people worse than you are n00bs, and people better than you have no life.
Why all these judgments? You are not the perfect either.
Hating a person’s face the instant you see him has nothing to do with them. These are all unfounded judgemental reactions. They are based on redundant instinctual or psychological coping. Objectify these automatic responses and treat it as such.
My pacifism is not based on any intellectual theory but on a deep antipathy to every form of cruelty and hatred.”
Forgive others and yourself.
Through forgiving others, you will be more forgiving of yourself.
Keeping your grudges and guilt are only keeping you grounded. Make amends and let it go. Only take with you the lessons learned.
You will feel relieved and stronger.
41. Identify yourself with greatness and success
Despite not having achieved success yet, see yourself as someone capable of greatness and success! Whatever that may mean for you. You have to acknowledge your own capabilities long before others see it!
Greatness is a property for which no man can receive credit too soon; it must be possessed long before it is acknowledged.”
42. Be grateful
So you are able to read this on a computer. Cool!
You have a home, running water, food and an infinite library called the internet. You are already so enormously lucky in the world.
Be grateful for that.
Enjoy and appreciate the privileged situation you are in. Being grateful, instead of unsatisfied or jealous, will bring you peace of mind.
Stop craving for all you don’t have. Enjoy what you do have. Fat chance it is already a lot!
Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Be grateful and let go of your inner victim
There is this small voice inside of all of us. Adept at sabotaging your progress. Lose this inner whining loser.
You are not this little wimp, you are not this cowering creature. You only are, when you act upon its whispers.
You are not a victim in this world. You are a strong actor in life.
Ignore the clamoring voice in your head begging for the easy road. None of that helps.
Procrastination and cowardice may feel good in the short term. But will get you nowhere in the long run. Petty acknowledgment and pity may give a small emotional boost, but they will keep you an emotional slave.
Work hard on what matters. Listen to your inner hero instead.
One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.”
43. Create your own perspective
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Everyone tries to tell you how to live; ‘Do this’, ‘Do that’ ‘these are the top 12 things to be happy’. All around you writers, religion, advertising, sales, bosses, friends, and family try to tell you how life should be. They tell you how to achieve happiness.
Even this article! Sorry!
Of course, most of it is well-meant advice, but not necessarily right. Think for yourself! See, ponder, reason and create for yourself what paradigm is right. A positive and constructive view on living your life.
Because for humans, there is no objective reality. We all have our own subjective reality. Create your own conscientiously. Instead of it being forced by on you by others due to ignorance. Doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot from others – but always be critical.
For instance start seeing the world with an abundance mindset. Happiness and thriving are not zero-sum games. There can be an infinite amount of. There is enough of everything in this world for everybody!
Seeing positive means acting positive!
44. Be self-reliant
Fucked up? Feeling bad? Don’t call your mama. Be able to tell yourself; “hey it is going to be okay, no problem!” Cultivate the power to get yourself back on the horse!
This is such an incredible mental skill. Hone the ability to count on yourself. To get up if shit hits the fan. Be self-reliant.
You will recognize the moment when you can do this. When a crisis arises, you won’t flee in destructive habits, you won’t go look for compassion or acknowledgment. But your inner dialogue will tell you: “Bummer man, but it is all right, you will make it through this.”
Only a weak person needed someone else around all the time.”
45. Be honest with yourself
Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”
― Ayn Rand
We are all proper liars, especially to ourselves. But you want to make progress! Practice honesty. Rationalization, biases, and other tricks of the mind make you feel good in the short term. But will limit you tremendously in the long term.
Reflect honestly. It is one of the hardest things to master. Your brain likes to tuck itself in a blanket of ignorance. Shunning criticism, how useful it might be.
Override this and start learning. If you can be brutally honest with yourself about your faults and mistakes. You can get a firm grip on your growth!
Become an expert on your self-deception!
Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”
47. Emotional habits are learned
When we start in life as little, tiny, cute, formless blobs of fat. As babies I mean. We have a few primary responses. Mommy good, milk good, falling on your face not so good.
In the years that follow your environment; upbringing, education, social circle and media, gift you with a nice complementary conditioning. You associate joy and pain with a lot of arbitrary impulses.
These can run very deep, but they are learned.
This also means you can essentially rewire yourself. There are a lot of manners out there; it can be done through cognitive reflection, habit forming, neuro-linguistic programming or psychotherapy.
Now take it easy. Don’t start looking for a mental reset button. But do realize that a lot of your emotions are anchored reactions. Very few are truly natural responses.
One simple way to regain some control is through conscious thought. Lots of great thinkers have recognized that you have a freedom to choose your response. The power to choose how you feel about impulses that come your way. Rewiring through choosing is a great power and a strong indicator of free will. Try using it!
Rewiring through choosing is a great power and a strong indicator of free will. Learn to use it!
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
48. Guide your emotions
Aware of how you feel, aware of your surroundings.
Gain insight into your inner world through this awareness. Note the maelstrom of emotions and thoughts so you can guide them, instead of them overwhelming you.
Guidance because there is no such thing as true control over your emotions. Repressing them maybe, but this creates frustrations, another expression of them.
Don’t get carried away by your emotions, whether negative or positive. But use them as the winds on a sailboat. So you are not a subject of your emotional toiling. Make them the driving force in your progress.
Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.”
― Jonatan Mårtensson
49. Control thoughts positively
A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
Approximately 90% of what you think is the same as what you thought the day before. Crazy right? There is this habitual repetition of thoughts. Steer your conscious thoughts and escape these loops. Your world is mainly what you think and believe.
Controlling the thoughts that flow through your head will enhance your experience. Use mantras, meditate, read motivational books. Anything to rewire your thinking patterns for the better. You and your character, your inner world and what it projects outside, are shaped through your thoughts. If you shape them you shape you.
A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
Since your thoughts and perception are of such great power over your reality. You better guide them positively. Learn new mindsets. Change your perspective for the better. A lot of times as mentioned we associate things that happen to us negative. Or see change in our lives as dangerous.
Try implementing these mindsets when setting out to do something new: ‘What is about to happen is awesome’ And when shit happens, ‘Everything that happens to me is for the better’. Because you can’t predict what will happen, but you can influence the story you tell yourself.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.
Your social environment – tribe life
50. Surround yourself with good people
There is this saying, that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Maybe it is 10 or maybe it is 2, doesn’t matter. Your social circle shapes you. People grow towards each other. Want to go further in life? Pick the right people to hang out with.
Spend more time with positive, successful and uplifting family and friends. Let go of the toxic and negative people. They will drag you down, making it much harder to achieve your goals.
No matter in what field, find the motivated and tag along. The right people are those you can learn from. The ones who can be honest, critical and don’t shy away from constructive arguments. Enjoy their implicit and explicit encouragement.
51. Plan for failure and keep composure
Rejection will hit you. Defeat is imminent. No matter what.
Just so you know it.
No worries though. Realize this and anticipate instead. When you fail, you see the punch coming. This is not the end of course. Get back up and maintain your composure. It is only a harsh lesson.
You may feel bad, you may feel sorry. Never mind, you are still on the right path and plowing forward towards success. Prove to yourself you can deal with it. Then try again!
Always keep your composure. You can’t score from the penalty box; and to win, you have to score.”
52. Learn to read social status
We each appear to hold within ourselves a range of divergent views as to our native qualities.. And amid such uncertainty, we typically turn to the wider world to settle the question of our significance.. we seem beholden to affections of others to endure ourselves.”
Human interaction tends to form a social hierarchy. This status stratification is achieved by subtle (and not so subtle) perceptions and reactions. Both natural and cultural.
Unconsciously people put themselves ‘below’ or ‘above’ others. Whether it is justified or not and how arbitrary it might be, it happens. Learn to discern these slight social status tensions. See what cues ‘dominant’ and ‘submissive’ people give off. Through awareness become wiser of these social dynamics.
Being able to discern different relations, you start understanding how and why people act. Certainly, when you understand body language, you see what interaction is really about. The how of communication is more important than the substance.
By understanding, you rise above petty power plays and start doing what is right for you.
If you can dispense with reputation, then you are free from care. Reputation is only a visitor, but reality is here to stay.”
53. A mastermind group
Create or find a group of like-minded people. Motivated people, who aspire to similar ambitions as you.
Such a group is called a mastermind group.
Within such a gathering you can share experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Boosting your progress tremendously. Through motivation, teaching, learning and holding each other accountable. You catalyze each other’s process. A fun accelerator for more success!
Associating with like-minded, success-oriented, joyful individuals -a Dream Team- is one of the most amazing sucess tools that exists. Anyone who achieves great sucess -anyone- must have a Dream Team.”
54. Teach, lead and motivate
Trying to get first without giving is as fruitless as trying to reap without having sown
During your adventure for self-development. Help others you meet on the way. No better way to gain more insight, experiences, and allies than by side questing. Pass your lessons on to others.
You will learn much, even if it was just by reiteration.
There is nothing so gratifying as helping others. Gain favors and gratitude. Other will remember it and in due time will be there for you as well. Quid pro quo.
As well learn how to lead and motivate others. Bringing up the best in yourself to bring up the best in others! This is the pinnacle of social mastery.
Taking care of yourself – numero uno comes first
55. Work Out
If anything this is the most important thing you can do in your life to gain a courageous spirit. Exercise will give you more energy, more stamina, more focus, more health, more productivity and most of all confidence!
Exercising will show you on a day to day basis that self-improvement works! Get your but up and start running, lifting, swimming, stretching and sweating! Whatever! It works, success guaranteed.
If you start doing just one thing to improve yourself, let it be this!
Start exercising your ass off!
56. Dress well
Clothes make the man. Dress as any confident self-respecting person would do. No matter your kind of style, you can do it with conviction and flair.
Emphasize the great character you hold within.
Learn this skill through practice. Look at style blogs, magazines or books and learn how to acquire the right look for you. Let your clothes express who you are. Remember; it’s not about the clothes but about laying emphasis on you.
Style is the perfection of a point of view.”
Meditation is the fundaments for mental tranquility. For many, it seems a bit out there, but it is a very applicable practice. There are tremendous benefits; calmness, focus, reduced anxiety and more. I urge you to try it or strengthen your habit of it.
Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.”
Get your sleep. It is so good for you. Why would you even ignore this call of nature? Apply a good sleeping rhythm. Make it a top priority to get your deserved rest. Every day!
Main benefits; improved memory, concentration, energy and mood. Mostly, you’ll be energized for your day! Cutting back on sleep means cutting back on productivity for all your other activities.
Don’t hesitate, take a nap now!
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”
57. Eat well
Your mood, energy, and general health are determined by what you eat.
We all know this. But sugary, fatty and salty foods are just so good!
Let’s not beat around the bush, start eating healthy. You consist of what you stuff in your piehole! Better make it as good as you want to be!
Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food”
58. Spend time alone
Reflect, reset and rest.
One of the most effective ways to get yourself out of your comfort zone is traveling. It will teach you much of the world and your place in it. And no, not the all-in hotel in Tijuana or Mallorca. I mean go to someplace where you can explore culture, nature and meet new people. Not only hotel managers.
You’ll see the world is much friendlier than you expected. Enjoy the fuck out of your stay on planet earth.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”
60. Accept new change
Change is inevitable. Everything develops and nothing will remain as it is. Learn to accept the change in your life. It is just the flow of the world. Don’t fight it, flow with it.
I’m not saying you should accept everything done to you, but know that the world keeps on turning and won’t reverse anytime soon.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”
61. Enjoy learning
As you may have noticed, if you got this far, there is a lot of learning to do. Hope you love learning. Otherwise, cultivate a love for learning again.
I know modern institutions can fuck up your appetite for learning. But educating yourself is a lot of fun. You can gamify it, compete with friends, and see results directly in your life.
Ramp up your curiosity and start having fun.
62. Stop watching Porn compulsively
This is an unpopular advice! But compulsive jerking off to porn is a very limiting behavior.
I know. It is normal. It feels awesome. It is not really unhealthy. True. But it is the psychological fast food of sexuality. Your brain gets rewired for easy visual cues and instant gratification. Your entire reward system stops working properly. Especially for men, but also for women, it can have a major impact on mood, motivation, and social fluency. There is actually a lot of good research on it.
I get the skepticism. But do check this out. Try not jerking off for a week. See how you will feel. It is one of the best boosters of gaining more control of your mind and motivation.
An intelligent person can rationalize anything, a wise person doesn’t try.”
― Jen Knox
63. Audit yourself
Once or twice a year, take a day of. Then ask the right questions to yourself. See if you are going the right way!
Are you happy the way you live? Do you surround yourself with people you enjoy? With people that empower you? What is changing? What are your changing? Are you going in the right direction? Are you aligned with your purpose?
Don’t play life on autopilot, actively reflect and seek to understand and adjust.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
That marks the end of part 2, hope you learned a lot. If you want to go back and read part 1 again, click here.
In a few weeks, I will publish part 3, if you want to get notified subscribe below. For now, reflect on what is told. See if it makes sense to you, or what you want to try and implement immediately. Let me know what was a big revelation to you! Share a comment or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.