The False Human Belief

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time can break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, many of us go through life hanging onto a self-limiting belief that has conditioned us to think that we cannot do something simply because we have failed at it once, or others said it was impossible. Self-limiting beliefs are assumptions or perceptions that you’ve got about yourself and about the way the world works. These assumptions are “self-limiting” because in some way they’re holding you back from achieving what you are capable of.

A self-limiting belief could make you feel stuck in the rut, or dissatisfied with your life but then believe there is little to nothing you can do to change that. It makes you conform to stagnancy and create the illusion that success is the end product of mediocrity, hence can be achieved with a closed mind.

These beliefs include thinking you are too inexperienced for a job, believing you shouldn’t take a risk because you’ll fail, thinking it is too late to try anything, thinking you don’t need more money because you are merely comfortable, or not trying relationships anymore because you think it’s not worth it since the last one sucked anyway. When you think about the possible negative outcome of everything and become discouraged to take any new action based on that negative assumption, you are operating within your own self-limiting beliefs, and may never discover the extent of success you can achieve in life.

Beliefs are the lens through which you view the world. They can influence your perceptions, define for you what is good, bad, true, real, and possible, skew your perspective in positive or negative ways, direct and/or limit the actions you take, shape your character, and establish a specific course you will follow, and for these reasons, we need to be careful that the belief we carry is positively influencing us.

If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, It will spread into your work and your entire life. And, if we would only see that all limitations are self-imposed and chosen out of fear, we would learn to leap at once.

People create a ceiling above their dreams so these dreams will always seem impossible. You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights. When we have empowering beliefs, our achievements can feel almost effortless. If we have self-limiting beliefs, however, then it can often feel like we are pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

Success is not birthed by limitation because the most successful people were able to live beyond boxes of the average man’s imagination and mind. Self-limiting beliefs can shrink your goals, impair your skills, blind you to your purpose, and deteriorate your confidence. Also, the problem with some people is that they mentally limit themselves in life, but then turn around and become very envious of those who aren’t willing to settle for less.

Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.
When it comes to building an incredible life, there is no limit to what you can do. The only thing keeping you from reaching your potential is a lack of self-belief.
No matter what shape you want your life to take, knowing you can have all the things you see in your mind is the first step. This power of visualization primes us for step two: casting your dreams and desires into the universe with daily, life-changing actions.

If you have any self-limiting beliefs about achieving your goals, start feeding your imagination with positive truths―because if your imagination has no limits, then neither should you. To overcome your self-limiting beliefs, you need to acknowledge that you have these beliefs and be honest with yourself. What limiting beliefs do you think you have? Take a piece of paper and write down the self-limiting beliefs that you know are hindering your personal growth. These beliefs could include anything from fear, excuses, experience, etc. for example; I can’t talk in front of large audiences, I can’t smile/interact with strangers, I can’t open my heart and love someone.

Next, find the core reasons for those beliefs. After you list all of those self-limiting beliefs that you have, try to understand the reasons why you have those beliefs. These reasons could be various, but usually, it’s because of your childhood experience/societal programming. For example, I can’t open my heart and love someone because I’ve been deeply hurt in the past, I can’t talk in front of large audiences because those audiences are judging me and my every move. I can’t smile/interact with strangers because it’s creepy.

Lastly, arm yourself with new, empowering beliefs. The next step to take after acknowledging that those beliefs you held are simply not true, is to form new beliefs. Use this time of epiphany to form new beliefs that serve you. Choose your new beliefs carefully, because these new beliefs will manifest in your life. After changing all of those limiting beliefs with new, empowering, and positive ones, start acting as if. Start acting like you are the new person that has all of these positive beliefs inside of them. It might be hard to change (It might take weeks or months), but with proper dedication, you will get there.

Taking Accountability For Your Life

One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a big note on the door on which it was written: “Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym”.

In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while, they started getting curious to know who it was that hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself.
The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room.

The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: “Who is this guy who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!”

One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself.

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: “There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth: it is YOU.”

Accountability refers to an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. If you take responsibility for your own actions, you show accountability. When individuals are accountable, they understand and accept the consequences of their actions for the areas in which they assume responsibility.

In the workplace, an example of accountability is when an employee admits an error she made on a project likewise an example of accountability in life generally is when we take ownership of our mistakes and failures without pointing fingers at the next available person. It is admitting that you, more than any other person has the powers to shape your life and whatever wreck or success you have made out of yourself is entirely your making.

Accountability is a statement of personal promise, both to yourself and to the people around you, to deliver specific results, and when you do not deliver such results, you need to hold yourself responsible. In our world, majority of people use the blame game as a sort of defense mechanism to protect their ego and to avoid confronting their inadequacies. They rather not take responsibility for anything.

When they fail a test, it is their friend’s fault for not reminding them on time about the test, When they make a bad presentation, it is the fault of a colleague who did not stop smiling during the meeting, and even when they make an error in a document, they could go ahead and blame Microsoft. They barely take a moment to analyze the situation and see how they have contributed to a problem.

Taking accountability for your life means that you are in total control and have the power to influence your life. It means that you refuse to make excuses or blame others for anything in your life that you are not happy about. Whilst blaming others is easy and could be soothing at first, you need to understand that the only person who can revolutionize your life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your realization, and your success. You are the only person who can help yourself. Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your partner changes, or when your company changes. Your life changes when YOU change. When you go beyond your limiting beliefs, and when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

Taking accountability is essential for personal growth as well as team growth. How can you improve when you are never wrong? If you do not admit a mistake and take responsibility for it, you are bound to make the same mistake. When you take responsibility for your life, it is easier to have your life in order. You are able to see what mistakes you make, what your weaknesses really are, and areas your flourish at. You are able to escape the victim mentality and not come across as toxic to people around you as no one wants to be around anyone who blames them for all their problems.

Accountability is the difference between success and failure because when people don’t take accountability and things start to go awry -as they don’t feel ownership- they go into spectator mode and watch as things fail. If they thought it would fail from the outset it’s even worse; they go into “I told you so” mode, which nearly always becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whereas when people take ownership if things start to go wrong, they step into solution mode and start to figure out what’s going wrong and fix it.

To cultivate the attitude of taking account of your life, you will need to stop playing the victim. Playing a victim is like creating a storm and getting upset when it rains. It is only when you stop victimizing yourself that you can accept that there is a real problem you need to solve. That is when you can admit that you have a hand in a problem. Stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want.

Secondly, you will need to stop in your tracks and ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this problem?” Instead of thinking that your current challenges are all about what someone else is doing or factors outside your control, accept that you’re 50% of this situation. What are you doing, thinking, and saying that is sustaining this problem? How can you shift your behavior (and do something VERY different from what you normally do) to intervene in this chronic pattern of conflict? It’s been said that if you’re unhappy about a situation, you have only two choices: Change the situation, or change your feelings and thoughts about the situation. It’s time to change what is happening by recognizing your role in it.

Lastly, seek solutions on how to solve the problem or correct the mistake you have already made. By seeking a solution to a problem, it means you have taken total responsibility enough to retrace your steps. For instance, if a school girl is always punished in school for coming late, maybe her mother has a role in her lateness by making her do morning chores that take up her time, but then again, she could see that she would have been able to do the majority of those chores the night before instead of watching late-night TV programs. Once she is able to ferret out how she is contributing to the problem, she must adjust and take corrective steps into producing better results.

Accountability equals responsibility equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a person, team, or organization can have. At the end of the day, we are accountable to ourselves-our success is a result of what we do.

Practicing Delayed Gratification

In the early 1970s, an experiment was carried out to test children’s ability to delay gratification. In this experiment, a researcher offered hundreds of children a choice. Each child could have one marshmallow now or 2 marshmallows if the child could wait for 15 minutes. The researcher left each child alone in the room with one marshmallow on a tray whilst filming the child with a secret video camera. Most of the children couldn’t wait and soon ate the marshmallow.

However, about 30% were able to delay gratification and get the second marshmallow. Interestingly, the children were tested for the next 30 years, and guess what? The ones who could wait for the second marshmallow were more successful later in life! They got higher test scores in school. They had fewer problems with drugs. They were much more likely to go to college. They had lower body fat, and they made more money as adults.

The ability to delay the impulse for an immediate reward to receive a more favorable reward at a later time is a standard definition of delayed gratification.

Without delayed gratification, goals are not achieved and objectives do not get accomplished. For instance, ever had someone try to lose weight, yet cannot delay gratification on junk foods? They fill up your plate with fattening goodies that derail their diet for instant gratification. But, if they had managed to resist and eat salad or munching on carrot sticks, then they will presumably receive an even greater reward down the line—shedding those unwanted pounds and being able to fit into your favorite pair of skinny jeans.

You have people complain about not having enough money or being in debt, yet they will not resist the temptation of buying a new iPhone, a new car, or fashion accessories. What these people have done is choose a long-term reward over immediate gratification which will eventually pose a major challenge in many areas of their lives.
As humans, we have wants that we are desperate to satisfy, like buying designer clothes, the luxurious car, the big mansion, the latest gadgets, etc. We have things we want to do simply because they give us certain gratification, even though they are not so beneficial, like our television time, games time, social media time, party time, and other frivolities. Whilst it is only human to have these wants and hunger to indulge, recognizing when to practice discipline; choosing between what you want now and what you want most is ultimate for success.

From avoiding a slice of chocolate cake when we are trying to lose weight to staying home to study instead of going out to a party with friends, the ability to delay gratification can mean the difference between achieving our goals or not.

Do you have the ability to resist and receive a later—but even better—reward?

Practicing self-control and self-regulation in the short term to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success. Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.

Right now when you’re younger, you have more time and energy to sacrifice and put in the work. Choosing to Invest and putting off spending now to receive something better in the future. Putting in the time, struggle and effort now can pay huge dividends for the rest of your life ensuring your long-term financial freedom and security.

Delayed gratification is critical for success in life and if you look around you, you will see this playing out everywhere.

• If you delay the gratification of watching television and get your homework done now, then you’ll learn more and get better grades.

• If you delay the gratification of buying the fancy and expensive stuff people your age group is buying, you will save more.

• If you delay the gratification of buying desserts and chips at the store, then you’ll eat healthier when you get home.

• If you delay the gratification of finishing your workout early and put in a few more reps, then you’ll be stronger.

If you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what’s easy. Success in nearly every field requires you to ignore doing something easier (delaying gratification) in favor of doing something harder. If you don’t feel like you’re good at delaying gratification now, you can train yourself to become better simply by making a few small improvements. To become better, you will need to set realistic deadlines. When trying to achieve a goal, such as losing weight, people are sometimes prone to setting either unrealistic deadlines or benchmarks.

For example, a person trying to lose weight will set himself up for failure if he makes a completely unrealistic goal of losing 10 pounds per week. When he fails to lose those first 10 pounds, he might then give up and give in to temptation. A more realistic goal of one pound per week would allow him to see the real results of his efforts.

Secondly, get yourself an accountability partner. An accountability partner is a person who helps another person keep a commitment. You can find an accountability partner in almost any context. At work, you have colleagues. If you go to church, you sit next to someone who can encourage you to attend sermons. If you have a goal to lose weight, your friend can be your accountability partner where you share your weight loss goal with them, agree on consequences in case you slip up, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Lastly, Reward yourself. Delaying gratification can be hard-work. Depending on what you want to achieve, it may take weeks, months, years, and sometimes even decades. Breaking down your goals and rewarding yourself along the way can remind yourself that delaying gratification is leading you to where you want to go.

The Modern man is conditioned to expect instant gratification, but any success or triumph realized quickly, with only marginal effort, is necessarily shallow. Meaningful achievement takes time, hard work, persistence, patience, proper intent, and self-awareness. The path to success is punctuated by failure, consolidated, renewed effort, and deferred gratification.

Embracing Empathy

One day, a young student was taking a walk with a professor who was commonly called the students’ friend because of his kindness. As they went along, they saw a pair of old shoes lying along the path, which they supposed to belong to a poor man who was employed in a field close by, and who had nearly finished his day’s work. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Let us play the man a trick: we will hide his shoes, and conceal ourselves behind those bushes, and wait to see his perplexity when he cannot find them.” “My friend” answered the professor, “we should never amuse ourselves at the expense of the poor. But you are rich and may give yourself a much greater pleasure using the poor man. Put a coin into each shoe, and then we will hide and watch how the discovery affects him.”

The student did so, and they both placed themselves behind the bushes close by. The poor man soon finished his work and came across the field to the path where he had left his coat and shoes. While putting on his coat he slipped his foot into one of his shoes; but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and found the coin. Astonishment and wonder were seen upon his countenance. He gazed upon the coin, turned it around, and looked at it again and again. He then looked around him on all sides, but no person was to be seen. He now put the money into his pocket and proceeded to put on the other shoe, but his surprise was doubled on finding the other coin. His feelings overcame him; he fell upon his knees, looked up to heaven and uttered aloud a fervent thanksgiving in which he spoke of his wife, sick and helpless, and his children without bread whom the timely bounty, from some unknown hand, would save from perishing.

The student stood there deeply affected, and his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” he said to the professor, “are you not much better pleased than if you had played your intended trick?” The Professor replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I will never forget. I feel now the truth of those words, which I never understood before: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

The above story is one that highlights the power of empathy, and how great we can make others feel when we put ourselves in their moccasin without judgment or criticism, bearing in mind that it could have been us. Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s situation. It involves complete identification with another.

Often, we see people pass through pain, trauma, abuse, failure, or other bad times, and whilst we may not have in our hands, the solution to their problem, a little empathy could go a long way in helping them heal and feel better. This is because feeling heard and understood is a human need. If you have ever had one of those days when you just needed someone to talk to, someone to get how you were feeling without misunderstanding or judging you? Well, you were more than likely to need a dose of empathy.

Without empathy, people tend to go about life without considering how other people feel or what they may be thinking. Each of us have differing perspectives, and we are so limited when we only see our perspective. If there is anyone secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. When we do not take a moment to assess another’s feelings, it is easy to make assumptions and jump to conclusions. This often leads to misunderstandings, bad feelings, conflict, poor morale, and even divorce. In the absence of empathy, we could live and work side-by-side with other people, and remain as clueless about their inner selves and feelings.

Although both words are mostly used interchangeably, sympathy and empathy are, in fact, different. You can be sympathetic to someone’s situation while being completely clueless about his feelings and thoughts. Sympathy is feeling for someone; empathy involves feeling with them.
In the workplace, empathy can show deep respect for co-workers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. An empathic leadership style can make everyone feel like a team and increase productivity, morale, and loyalty. Empathy is a powerful tool in the leadership belt of a well-liked and respected executive. As leaders, our role is simple -deal empathetically with our team and watch them build a strong and prosperous organization. Do not be the CEO who doesn’t care about his employees’ perspectives or feelings, or that colleague that is barely affected if the problem doesn’t concern them.

Empathy can be incorporated in a professional setting by; Establishing rapport with colleagues, showing reasonable concern and support for colleagues in every way possible to help them perform and grow, Practicing active listening without interrupting and reflective listening by paraphrasing, avoiding quick judgment, using appropriate non-verbal cues; and validating the other people’s perspective (this does not mean agreement, but simply that you understand where they are coming from)

Empathy is a skill like any other human skill. If you get a chance to practice, you can get better at it. When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. Ultimately, developing your powers of empathy and imagination makes the whole world open up to you.
Learn to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is the quality of character that can change the world” –Barack Obama.

Practicing Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. It is nurturing yourself with kindness and the love you would shower someone you love. To a great extent, we are guilty of self-criticism more than we are of self-compassion.

When people experience a setback in their personal or career lives whether it’s a bad sales quarter, being overlooked for a promotion, or an interpersonal conflict with a colleague—it’s common to respond in one of two ways. Either we become defensive and blame others, or we berate ourselves. Unfortunately, neither response is especially helpful. Whilst blaming other people may alleviate the sting of failure at the expense of learning, self-flagellation, on the other hand, can lead to an inaccurately gloomy assessment of one’s potential, which undermines personal development and crushes self-confidence. Self-criticism comes at a price: It makes us anxious, dissatisfied with our life, and even depressed.
Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.

A water-bearer carries two large pots on a yoke across his shoulders up the hill from the river to his master’s house each day. One has a crack and leaks half its water out each day before arriving at the house. The other pot is perfect and always delivered a full portion of water after the long walk from the river.
Finally, after years of arriving half-empty and feeling guilty, the cracked pot apologized to the water-bearer. It was miserable. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t accomplish what the perfect pot did.” The water-bearer says, “What do you have to apologize for?”
“After all this time, I still only deliver half my load of water. I make more work for you because of my flaw.”
The man smiled and told the pot. “Take note of all the lovely flowers growing on the side of the path where I carried you. The flowers grew so lovely because of the water you leaked. There are no flowers on the perfect pot’s side.”

The above story is a tangible example of how guilt, shame, self-doubt, or self-criticism lures us into taking into account only certain pieces of narratives or information about ourselves and working them to judge ourselves unfairly. The cracked pot in this story was filled with self-guilt and criticism that all it saw was its imperfection, and unconsciously ignored the fact that the plants by the road blossomed because it could water it. The perfect pot grew no flowers.

It is inevitable not to make mistakes or fail at something. Failure is a universal language that everyone can speak. The most important thing, however, is not how many times we made mistakes or failed at something, but how we treat ourselves each time we meet setbacks. What words are we telling ourselves? How injudicious are we in judging our competence and skills? Are we are compassionate to ourselves as we are to close friends when they meet setbacks. As much as we can easily encourage friends and loved ones to take it easy on themselves when they are a dark place, we should be that mindful of ourselves. When you are self-critical, stop for a minute and ask yourself, “Would I say this to a child or a friend?” if the answer is no, then don’t say it to yourself.

How much we let our inner critic condemn us on our failures will hugely affect our level of productivity, self-esteem, and confidence. Self-criticism works if only it leads to self-correction, not self-destruction. It is like a self-administered brain surgery that is perhaps not a good idea. Ultimately, self-compassion is a more effective motivator because its driving force is love, not fear nor anxiety.

To cultivate self-compassion, you will need to learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and reevaluate your self-talk. Forgiveness is vital for self-compassion. We all make mistakes, but not all of us forgive ourselves. Depending on the mistake, forgiveness can be a very daunting task, but keep in mind that dwelling on past mistakes you have made only allows those decisions to keep defining you, so you will need to forgive yourself if you must move on. Work towards recognizing when you’re participating in negative self-talk and make an effort to change your internal dialogue. Instead of focusing on the negative, celebrate yourself, and how far you’ve come.

Secondly, practice mindfulness; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it tends to lessen self-judgment. Strive to always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labeling. Allow what you think or feel to have its moment; don’t give it the microphone or hide it in the corner. Allow it to come, and then, without attachment, let it go.

Lastly, adopt an attitude of gratitude. Your mindset determines your reality. If you have a negative outlook and believe that the world is out to get you, you will attract that energy into your life. Conversely, if you believe that the Universe wants you to thrive, it will be much easier for you to find the resources that are needed to achieve your goals. Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

We can’t practice compassion with others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly. If a man is going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current- how can he help others across?

Remember, you’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.

Living A Life Of Integrity

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.” The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued, “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil, and compost and he planted the seed.
Although Jim watered his seed daily, nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

A year went by and the CEO asked the young executives to bring their plants to work for inspection. When Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot, she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.
When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He asked Jim to come to the front of the room. The CEO asked him what had happened to his seed & Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer — Jim!”
Jim couldn’t believe it. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.
Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – they couldn’t grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

Even though Jim, unlike his colleagues, had no flourishing plant to show to the CEO as regarding this story, he had something that earned him the CEO position, and that is a character of integrity.
Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.

In today’s world, people mostly choose their thoughts and actions based on personal gain. It is not bad enough that we have people who have no set principles and values and so have no defined way of life, we also have those with supposed strong moral ethics, but who defy it at their convenience to soothe their interest. The world is filled with people who say what they do not do, claim to be who they are not, or know people they do not know. Put simply, we have more people who prefer to be a corrupt success than those who will rather be an honest failure.

As you progress in life, you’d come face to face with situations that will test your integrity. It could be that time in your office where you wholeheartedly accepted accolades for a task a subordinate had done or that time in your business you double-crossed a partner to get a deal or being dishonest about a skill just to get hired for a job. The problem with dishonesty, however, is that it may take care of the present, but has no future.

Integrity is the seed for achievement, and successful people are highly integrious. They say what they do and they do what they say. They are trusted by those whom they interact with and can build healthy relationships with consummate ease.

When you live with integrity, you influence, inspire, and motivate others; not just with your words but with your actions too.

Honesty and integrity are essential for success in life, and the good news is that we can develop both if we only choose to. Whilst you worry about your self-esteem and other things you want to build, be most concerned about your character. Integrity is its own reward. Choose to be honest than impressive because when you can maintain your own highest standard of integrity –regardless of what others may do- you are destined for greatness.

Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination is a subject that seems over flogged, but somehow, we still fall victim to it. We habitually find ways to ignore an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier. Always, the sentence “I’ll do it later” becomes a thing.

Although it is often confused with laziness, they are very different terms. Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. In contrast, laziness suggests apathy, inactivity, and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination is a matter of having poor time management skills.

95 percent of us procrastinate to some degree. The reason varies from person to person and is not always obvious. Sometimes it is a hidden fear that we don’t want to acknowledge. It could even be as simple as not wanting to do something because it just doesn’t motivate us or the most common excuse of preferring to work under pressure. While it may be comforting to know that you’re not alone in the procrastination train, it can be sobering to realize just how much it can hold you back.

Procrastination is the killer of success, opportunity’s assassin, and a killer of time. Time is in itself the most valuable asset we do not own, and whether you believe it or not, how you use or don’t use your time is the best indication of where your future is going to take you. If you must achieve the success you desire, you must understand that time management is life management, and giving in to procrastination means undervaluing your life’s essence whilst focusing on irrelevancies.

Procrastinators are underachievers.
When you put off till tomorrow, tasks that can be done today, you are unable to meet your goals. You blow out opportunities as well as put unnecessary pressure on your bodies and immune system by causing boatloads of stress and other negative emotions like guilt, anxiety, shame, and self-criticism. Procrastination has a negative effect on health, overall achievement in life, and happiness, and until you find ways to escape it, you’d be wobbling in the web of unproductivity and inaction.

To overcome procrastination, you need to first recognize that you are procrastinating, and then find reasons why you are. Acknowledging your procrastination is the only way you’d want to provide a solution. If you’re briefly delaying an important task for a genuinely good reason, then you aren’t necessarily procrastinating. However, if you start to put things off indefinitely, or switch focus because you want to avoid doing something, then you probably are. You need to also ferret out reasons for procrastinating. Could it be fear for negative feedback, fear for failure, rewards that are far in the future, or the task is such that does not motivate you? When you know your whys, it is easier to tackle it

Secondly, Adopt Anti procrastination strategies. Because procrastination is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior, it means that you probably can’t break it overnight. These Anti procrastination strategies could include having a to-do-list and committing to tasks on that list. Focus on doing, not avoiding. Write down the tasks that you need to complete, and specify a time for doing them. This will help you to proactively tackle your work. Other strategies that could work include; setting a reward on tasks you complete, having an accountability partner that reminds you about your goals, and rephrasing your internal dialogue from “have to” to “must”.

Also, minimize distractions. You will need to subconsciously take decisions to do away with irrelevancies that occupy your time. This could include your television or social media time. That way, you are able to focus on those things that must be done. Procrastination is the thief of time. It is one of the most common and deadliest diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. Today, stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons you must make it happen.

The Power of Visualization

A quote by Richard Bach says, “For you to bring anything to life, imagine that it is already there”. That is what visualization is about. It is simply a mental rehearsal where you create images in your mind of having or doing whatever it is that you want and then repeating that image of yourself daily until it becomes your reality.

To achieve it, you have to “dream it”

The power of visualization has been instrumental in turning dreams into reality. It is a technique that uses the imagination, mental images, power of thoughts, and the law of attraction to make dreams and goals come true. The world’s most successful and influential people had visualized their successes before they achieved it. They had had images of how successful they would be, the kind of company they would run, how they’d sit and hold meetings with their board of directors, how their PA would walk behind them carrying their expensive briefcase, and every other detail of that perfect future they want before it even happened. Truly, there is barely a person who became what they never envisaged or envisaged what they never became. You become exactly what you imagine of yourself or something close.

We all have an idea of how successful we want to be in the near future. When you ask the average Nigerian how rich he wants to be, he’d say, “as rich as Dangote” , “richer than Otedola”, but that is not the problem. The problem is that we have desires for wealth and success, yet we are constantly trapped in the imagination of our present situation. That is one major reason you will nurse desires that will never materialize because you cannot see yourself beyond your present reality.

You’d be amazed when you realize that the only time you think or imagine anything about yourself is when you are thinking about your problems. It could be thinking about your empty bank account, the sickness you are battling, or how stressful your work has become. How about you try and imagine how much money you will have? Or all the things you will accomplish when that sickness is gone, or how your future company will look like.

Visualization is powerful for many reasons. It activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal, It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams, It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals, and it builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.

To visualize, you need to be sure about your goal. What is it that you desire? How do you want your future to be? You need to be clear about your desire because your imagination needs to be fixed. Remember the idea is to evoke the law of attraction to give you what you imagine, so you don’t have to confuse it on what to give you. You cannot imagine yourself to be a doctor today, and tomorrow you are patching up images of being a musician. The reality is that you will likely not achieve any of them. Be clear about your goals as your visualization has to be in as vivid detail as possible.

The next step is to actually start visualizing. Imagine yourself in your own office, favorite car, on a date, in the living room with your kids, and other things you want your future to be about. Do not try to limit these imaginations based on the things you do not have in your current life. Don’t imagine yourself in your own company and wave that part of the image off with the excuse that you don’t have any money to even start a petty trade currently or imagine yourself playing with your kids, and then remember the doctor said you can never have children. This way, you’d rob the law of attraction of its powers to give you what you desire. You could create a vision board and place it in a place you’d always see it. This will help cement your goals and trigger inspiration and accountability to achieve them.

Also, it is pertinent to add that visualization without hard work is futile. After you have visualized, you need to take action to make things happen. Remember that you mostly get what you work for not what you wish for. As actor Jim Carrey would say, “Visualization works if you work hard. You cannot just visualize and go eat a sandwich”

Ultimately, we become what we envisage.

Staying Positive During Difficult Times.

2020 has been a stiff year.

Maybe not to everyone, but to those employees who were forced out of work because their companies could no longer afford to pay them, or those business owners who involuntarily shut down their businesses or those students who may not graduate this year as they had anticipated.  All of these hassles due to the corona virus pandemic and its resulting health and economic crises.

The year is gradually winding down, but people will rather not accept that scary reality because they are yet to accomplish a quarter of their 2020 career or business goals. They are yet to make that groundbreaking sale, yet to multiply their income streams or yet execute that business idea because of our current unprecedented reality. Whilst some have written off the year and are patiently awaiting a more favorable 2021, others pressurize themselves on daily basis to remain productive.

Whichever category you have found yourself in surviving through 2020, the good news is that you are not alone. Martin Luther King said, “We must accept finite disappointments, but we must never lose infinite hope”. This is because hope is a powerful force that inspires us to carry on during difficult times. Hope is a prerequisite to staying positive. It makes a tough present situation more bearable and helps you envision a better future that motivates you to take steps to make things happen.

Against the backdrop of all that is going on in our world lately, our minds remain our greatest power so we have to fill it with positive thoughts. For every man is a product of his thought, and what he thinks, he becomes. Staying positive does not necessarily mean that you have to be happy all the time. It means that on bad days -no matter how much of your salary is slashed, how draggy business has become, or how empty your bank account is- you have a firm belief that better days are coming.

To stay positive, you will need to remind yourself of all the reasons you have to be grateful. When we are faced with difficulties, it is easy to forget the good things that have happened to us and dwell only on the bad ones, but remembering what’s good in your life will help you feel happier, lowering stress, depression, and anxiety. It also promotes optimism and helps you develop a more positive outlook. Reflect more on the things you have in your life right now including life, health, family and friends, as opposed to the things you are striving to get. You could start by keeping a gratitude journal and going back to it when you feel dispirited. The greatest source of happiness lies in our ability to be grateful at all times.

Secondly, you need to reevaluate your goals and see how best to take advantage of the situation. Every bad situation has something positive in it for us. If we could stop focusing on the problem, we will be able to ferret out how to make the best of it or discover what lessons the hard times are trying to teach us. When situations do not favour our goals, there’s a need to focus on other things we could achieve from that situation. Remember that hard times don’t create heroes rather it is during the hard times the hero within us is revealed. Ultimately, it is up to you to see the beauty in the ugliest situations.

Hold on, this too shall pass.

Also, know that it is okay to take a step back and relax. Since we’ve entered the second half of the year, the pressure to be productive and meet up with our goals is up. But, we must not forget to practice self-care. Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So know when to relax. When you are faced with circumstances that are beyond your control, it is advisable that you step back and watch situations fix itself. The year could be far gone with you achieving a little close to nothing, but you must remember that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Overcoming Low Self-esteem

Low self-esteem is often underplayed because it is mostly mistaken for humility and meekness or being introverted or antisocial, but having low self-esteem is damaging to a person’s psychological wellbeing and even more ruinous is the fact that people barely recognize they have it especially in a society like ours where people are constantly bullied into submissiveness. So when they exhibit traits of low self-esteem, it is easily misconstrued as being “modest”.

The reason you feel inadequate to take up tasks or doubt your ability to ascend a position at your workplace, find it hard to speak in meetings with assumed “intellectuals”, underprice your services, and mostly perceive compliments as sarcasm is because you most likely suffer from low self-esteem. There has probably been a time someone complimented your outfit, makeup, physique or work, but you assumed they are being ironical, or times when you are unsure about your skin, your appearance or the potency of your work and will only feel better after someone else has approved or validated it. These are lingering signs of self-doubt which stems from low self-esteem.

It results when your inner critics prevail. It involves imagining the worst that other people think of you and judging yourself based on that. Usually, people with low self-esteem tend to be hypersensitive. They have a fragile sense of self that can easily be wounded by others. They are hypervigilant to signs of rejection, inadequacy, and rebuff and will constantly see rejection and disapproval even when there is none.

Of all the consequences of low self-esteem, the most common is its propensity to lead to imposter syndrome -the persistent feeling that you do not belong to a position or class, and inability to believe that your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of your efforts or skills. This is because a person who perpetually thinks they are inadequate and not good enough will barely feel they are deserving of any good thing that comes their way.

When this is the case, they are plunged by their imposter syndrome to remain stagnant in a place they feel they are suited for as opposed to accepting titles and higher positions they think they do not belong in. This creates limitation, impedes career growth, hampers leadership and management in an organization, restricts innovation, and risk-taking as well as affect the mental health of such individual.

Rosenberg and Owen had said that having low self-esteem is to live a life of misery. So, to escape that misery, there is a need for you to overcome low self-esteem. It starts with getting comfortable with everything about you including your insecurities. It is when you are comfortable with yourself that you will have less need to seek approval or validation from others to feel good enough or up to standard. What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. Train yourself to be the superior man.

Secondly, you need to surround yourself with the right people. What we see and hear about ourselves significantly affects our self-esteem. And, sometimes, those things may have a permanent effect. Rather than surround yourself with perfectionist who pinpoints your imperfection, surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. Be intentional about familiarizing yourself with self-confident people, because that trait will inevitably rub off on you.

Also, Acknowledge where you need change. Identify those things that make you feel less about yourself and seek ways to improve on them. We all have flaws; however, if you don’t recognize and acknowledge where you need change, it can keep you stuck in a rut of poor self-esteem, which will only get worse the more you try to run from it. As you begin to improve on yourself, make positive affirmations a habit. Words are change agents, and nothing is as powerful as words you speak over yourself.

Low self-esteem banishes self-confidence, whereas self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings. If you must achieve greatness, you need to understand that building your self-esteem is vital because until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.