What can Anthony Robbins, Michael Jordan, and the meaning of life teach us about succeeding? Do you need to get some self help motivation fuel in your gas tank? Have you been feeling like the gauge is on empty at any point this last week?
There are many people who live in what I call ‘No-man’s Land,’ a place where you’re not really happy, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it,” he says. “That’s a dangerous place. It’s a place where people numb themselves to their dreams. It’s where they dismiss hope and accept what’s in front of them instead of driving toward what they really want in life.
It’s not enough to be somewhat miserable: you’ve got to get massively miserable! You’ve got to tap into the dissatisfaction you are feeling from living at less than optimal levels in your life. Too many of us settle for less than the extraordinary. I want you to take time to write down all the misery that you are feeling about living in mediocrity. Visualize the pain that you are feeling. Get real about the depression that you feel from ‘just making it’ in life.
The reason I say this is that you’ve got to feel a ton of pain before you are willing to start the journey toward a higher level of personal excellence in your life. Because there are certain advantages of settling for less: it feels safe, it feels comfortable: sure you are miserable, but you don’t have to risk failure.
What?! You mean I should not practice the law of attraction?
Well, not exactly. But what Tony Robbins is saying, is that we need to get real and get honest about taking personal inventory of our lives. It won’t help you at all if you pretend as though you don’t have a festering wound, visualize healing, but stay away from the doctor.
“Confidence and competence is not the same thing,” Robbins tells SUCCESS, following his return from a recent seminar tour through Australia and India. “No one should go into their garden and chant, “There are no weeds. There are no weeds. There are no weeds.” For people to be true leaders, they have to first see things as they are, not worse. Then see it better than it is, and then make it the way you see it.
In other words, use intelligent thinking that is positive, not just ‘positive thinking.’
For some help on developing clarity in your life, I will recommend this article by Lana Kratsova.
I will also recommend that you get The Artist’s Way Workbook by Julia Cameron, How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard N. Bolles, and Goals! How to Get Everything You Want–Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. All of these books have had a huge impact on where I am today, and formulate my thinking about where I want to go.
This is where Michael Jordan comes in. When he was 16 years old, he was cut from his high school basketball team. He went into his room, shut the door, and cried. Yet, years later, he became one of the best basketball players of all time. What was the difference?
Once you have gotten out of neutral (Get Out of Neutral: Manifest the Life Experience You Desire), the hard but exciting work begins. You’ve got to expect to fail and to encounter adversity. In fact, if you are not failing and encountering adversity, the probability is that you have set your goals too low!
- Get clear on your Why. Here is where the positive thinking and communication comes in. As Tony Robbins states, you have to see things how they are now (not better or worse). Then, you need to see things how you want them to be. Once you have a grand vision, one that excites and pumps you up, and one that is in line with your core values and purpose, you will then have the fuel to keep going when things get tough.
- Talk to yourself. Talk to yourself in the second person, and give yourself the same positive pep talks you would give someone that you would be coaching. You can be tough on yourself (in a good way, Jillian Michael’s style on the Biggest Loser) or you can be compassionate when needed. Personally, I like to memorize verses from the Bible to guide my thinking and my inner dialogue. I’ve also found cognitive behavior psychology to be very helpful in shaping positive and realistic dialogue in terms of how I think to myself. I highly recommend the Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life (Workbook Workbook), which I personally have used, and which I often incorporate into my own counseling practice with clients I work with.
- Utilize visualization and meditation. Michael Jordan talks fondly about ‘the shot’ that he took in one of his final NCAA championship playoffs. Often, when going to games on the team bus, he would ‘daydream’ about taking the game winning shot. He visualized this over and over, and when the time came to take that long baseline shot, he sunk that shot! Olympic athletes and professional players, especially the most skilled, will visualize the entire game beforehand, seeing themselves succeed. It helps to have an hour of power in the morning. You don’t have to levitate off the floor or be concerned about getting ‘way out there’ in your philosophy. The importance and benefit of slowing down the brain waves by meditating has been well documented. Take time during the first hour of the day to connect with your main mission, vision/purpose, and goals. I take time to pray, read the Bible, and journal. It’s like plugging your iPhone into the charger when it’s on low battery. By the time you are done, you will have a full battery to head into the adversities that may come your way.
- Get uncomfortable. I wrote previously about this subject when addressing career atrophy. In sports, if you are training for a race, you can’t just jog at the same pace every day. You have to push yourself past your limits once in a while. The same goes in the game of life. You have to show yourself that you can do things that you did not think possible. Things like skydiving, taking acting lessons, or learning to tango can make you uncomfortable, but they will also send you the message that you are able to handle stress, and are able to problem solve and think critically.
- Listen to the experts. Again, personally, the Bible is my #1 source of direction for living and purpose. I also like to read blogs that speak of personal excellence and personal growth, so that I can continue to feed my brain with good mental nutrition. Hang out, both online and offline with people who will encourage you, not bring you down.
- Ask the right questions. When you bump up against adversity, ask, “What next?” Don’t dwell on the failure. Do ask yourself what you can learn from your failure. But don’t beat yourself up. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?” What went well for me today?” Journaling is a very helpful way to capture your thoughts in this regard.
Steven Covey talks at length about business moguls who strive after accomplishments, only to find that they are unhappy and unfulfilled. I have written about my own need to make sure that I am working to go beyond success to significance. Personally, I make sure that my values are taken from my core belief system, which is informed by the Bible. Make sure that the level of personal excellence you are striving for matches up with your core values. If you need help identifying your core values, you may want to take time to do so. Here are some resources to help you with clarifying your values:
Values Clarification by Dr. Sidney B. Simon.
For example, do you place a high value on family? Too many men have striven after monetary or career achievement goals at the expense of time with their wives and children. Years later, sitting in their corner office, they may reflect bitterly on the cost they have paid in broken relationships with their wives and children.
This is just one example.
Get out of No Man’s Land!
You can only do this when you get in touch with the very real pain you are experiencing by living in mediocrity. Each of us has so much potential to achieve more than we ever thought possible. Throw positive thinking out the window, in the sense that you can’t just wish you had a better life.
You have to be able to honestly see where you are right now, get clear on where you want to go, and fight through adversity to get there. Just make sure that you are choosing the right wall the lean your ladder up against, so that when you get there, you will have success AND significance!