Proving to Yourself and Others.. You Can DO IT!

10 05 2012

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– Tupac Shakur

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Perseverance: Keep on Keeping On

21 11 2011





Choose Your Own Adventure: The Underrated Power of Personal Choice

18 11 2011

If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s and read any books, you’ll probably remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels you could get from the school library. You would start reading, and after the first three or four pages, you would get to a point where YOU could decide how the main character in the story would react to an event or choice he had. If you decide to follow the shady man with the grey hat, turn to page 12. If you decide to stay at the bar and keep an eye on the mysterious waitress, turn to page 16. Once you made that choice, you would read another few pages then have to make another choice. Each book had 10-20 different endings, depending on the choices you made for the main character! How cool were those books.

Life is very much the same. We all start on pretty much the same first 2-3 pages (years?), with the exception of the extremely underprivileged. It’s then not too long before we start having to make choices – about the things we do, what we say, and the way we respond to our people and circumstances. All of those choices out together, have made you the person you are today, and created the circumstances you are in.

The downside of this can be recognising the significance of your own responsibility for the negatives in your life right now. The upside however is realising that you have had a huge part to play in most of the good things in your life right now.

 

Most of us have a tendency to lean too far to one extreme in our views of our own responsibility for our circumstances. Half of us blame ourselves for all the bad things, but fail to recognise the good things we’ve achieved. The other half of us blame everything negative on our circumstances or other people, and give ourselves complete credit for everything good that’s happened. Neither of these are correct or healthy. The key is to recognise that life and people around us DO throw us plenty of opportunities as well as difficulties; yet the challenge lies in making the most of the opportunities, and overcoming the difficulties. Some things are beyond our control, but what we DO have control over is our own response and the choices we make. And in the long run, the choices WE make have much more impact than external factors, in creating the life we end up with.

In  the incredible book Man’s Search for Meaning, Nazi concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl talks of this responsibility being one of the deep realisations he experienced while enduring some of the worst circumstances known to mankind. This quote from his book sums it up better than anything I could say:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…  And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

 So where does all this leave us?

1. You are ultimately responsible for where you are – and WHO you are, today. Circumstance has its part, but your responses & choices have led you to the good & bad in your life today.

2. That realisation can be tough, but it’s also liberating, because it opens up the realisation that the shape of your future is up to nothing else and no-one else but YOU. What are you going to decide?

YOU create your life every day. In the small things… YOU decide whether or not you’re going to get up when the alarm goes off, what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and how to get to work. And as YOU run into people throughout the day, YOU decide how to respond to them, how to treat them, and who to avoid. YOUR intentions for the day affect what YOU do, what YOU experience, and how YOU experience it. In the same way, on a bigger scale, the whole trajectory of YOUR life is created by YOUR choices.

“All I have are the choices that I make.” – Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau

“If you only had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted …one moment.. Would you capture it or just let it slip?” – Eminem





Your Thoughts Make You Happy – Not Events

9 11 2011

The following post is an edited compilation of various articles by speaker and brand consultant Richard Sauerman. Enjoy, and let it cHaLLeNgE you!!

– Quinton

AN EVENT is one thing. Your reality of that event is another thing. Events are created by conditions and occurrences outside you. Reality is created by conditions and occurrences inside you. It is in your mind that events are turned into data; which are turned into truths; which are turned into thoughts; which are turned into emotions; which are turned into experiences; which then form your reality.

 It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about. It’s not what’s happening around you that determines your health, wealth, attractiveness, popularity or success, but what’s happening inside of you – exclusively. You ARE your thoughts.

Think back to when you were 7,12 and 18. Remember the dreams you had then for yourself, and for your life? And then somewhere along the way to becoming an adult you stopped listening to your heart. One day the tape recorder in your mind said “my dreams are childish fantasies”. Well perhaps it’s time to turn off the tape recorder that’s saying “no”. Because anything is possible, if you believe it. And wonder, as you read this, whether the universe might just be brought back from the brink of destruction, every time you smile 🙂

Here is an extract from the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go, by none other than the legendary Dr. Seuss.

The Waiting Place

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you! Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!





Recognising your Sphere of Influence

28 10 2011

Recent psychology research shows that when you are influential – or at least when you believe you have a decent amount of influence on the people around you – you tend to be happier. Researchers, Drs. Sommer and Bourgeois from Baruch College and Florida Gulf Coast University, clearly showed that the more influential you feel you are, the greater your overall subjective well-being (http://bit.ly/nFTedf). Being influential leads to a sense of worth, feeling in control and a belief that life is purposeful.  Thus, thinking of yourself as influential leads to well-being or happiness. 

 

So if you want to increase your levels of happiness and life satisfaction, how about working on either (1 increasing your influence on those around you, or (2 increasing your awareness of just how much influence you DO already have?

Popular business coach Robin Sharma is famous for saying “we are all leaders, whether we know it or not, and whether we have a title or not”. Most of us do not even begin to comprehend the level of influence we have on the people around us, and the level of impact we can have on our immediate circle of friends / family / loved ones / colleagues, and how that impact can radiate out into the wider world. “Social network” studies have also been conducted on the effects of attitude changes in one person, and how those effects travel from one person to another, often up to three or four ‘degrees of separation’, almost like a virus. So if Johhny becomes very upbeat and positive for a week, his cousin Mark will be more like this too, and pass it on to his girlfriend Nina who also passes it on to her work colleagues, etc.

Given the above, how about trying out a simple exercise. Stop for a moment, get yourself a pen and paper (or a Word document!). Start writing a list of everyone in your ‘inner circle’ – i.e. those you would want at your wedding, those closest to you. And think about their lives, what they are struggling with at the moment, the weaknesses they have, the encouragement they might need. Think about how you could contribute more and better to their lives, and how you could use your closeness to really benefit them. Next, move to your outer circle, and start listing the people who you know but may not be so close to. This will take much longer, so it may be easier to just think about them rather than write them all down. Go through your phone contacts, Facebook friends, and email contacts – that should be a pretty comprehensive overview.

You will probably find you will have 20-40 people in your ‘inner circle’, and 100 – 300 in your outer. How is that for numbers? By sheer volume alone, you can’t deny that no matter who you are or what your position is in life, soceity, the world, YOU HAVE INFLUENCE. If you dramatically changed your behaviour, it is GUARANTEED to have an impact and an influence on the world around you. Everyone has a certain degree of influence – and remember, influence is not all about being able to tell people what to do. It’s about the living reality that if you change your behaviour, or attitude, other people NOTICE and will be affected, whether they want to be or not.

Think about how much influence you have. What potential you have! With great power comes great responsibility. Make a decision today to become more aware, and more proactive, in the way you live and operate in relation to the people around you. You might just be surprised by the effect you can have on your world – and the increased levels of satisfaction, purpose and meaning you can experience as a result 🙂

– Quinton





You 2.0: On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

25 10 2011

What would you look like, if you were operating at the top of your game?

  What if the best possible version of you, turned up in the circumstances you are currently in?

What would that ‘best you’ do differently?

The best changes in our life do not come about by happenstance, or luck. They are imposed on our environment from the inside out – they happen when something CHANGES on the inside of us and blasts its way out from our hearts into the world outside. And they are changes that can only be made by us, when we reach that moment when we decide things are going to be different.

Think about some of the most important areas of your life.

Health & Fitness – if a world class athlete (rugby player, Olympic swimmer, bodybuilder) awoke in your body, it is guaranteed that in 6 weeks time your physique would be unrecognisable. Why can’t you do the same thing? Ask yourself, what would that athlete be doing (and MAKING time for) that you aren’t doing now?

 

Business & Career – if Richard Branson or 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg awoke in your body, what do you think your level of success, reputation and impact would be within 1-2 months? Ask yourself what would they be doing differently, and start thinking of how you can DO those things.

 

 

 

 Relationships – how would the BEST version of you operate in your relational sphere? How would that ‘you’ connect to, relate to, and treat your loved ones, friends and family, and even those new people who you want to build relationships with? How would those relationships improve (and how much would your levels of satisfaction and happiness grow) in 1-2 months?

 

  Self-investment – world class people, those who change the planet, are almost without fail, people who invest in themselves. They take (and usually MAKE) the time to reflect, consider their lives and work out what’s going well, what could be improved on, evaluate where they are in relation to where they would like to be, and how they could get closer to that ever-changing goal! The process of growth cannot happen without change, and the best growth comes from change that is self-initiated. Encourage yourself as much as you can by using the resources you have access to – books, CDs and seminars or one or two people you find inspiring to be around.

We all want to be better people. But rather than allowing that vague sense of  ‘you’re doing it wrong’ niggle at you “like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad” (to quote Morpheus from The Matrix), stop ignoring it, and start to pay attention to it and ENGAGE with it. Change can be a scary thing, but if you are willing to consider yourself and where you are at honestly, you will open up the way to move forward. And the world that opens up to those courageous enough to embrace change, is AMAZING.

As a wise man once said, the difference between who you ARE and who you WANT to be, is what you DO.
–          Quinton

 

 





Perseverance & Unrewarded Genius

11 10 2011

Here is an inspiring short thought from business and leadership guru Robin Sharma. Ever had a time when it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into doing something (and doing it well), obstacles constantly blocked your path? Has life – personal or business – ever simply seemed too difficult? Maybe for you that time is now. “Why me?” we ask. “After all I’ve done, now this?” Here’s some encouragement and inspiration to get back to a perspective of perseverance.

–          Quinton

Guts. Boldness. Bravery. Perseverance. Big, beautiful words. That any great person+leader+entrepreneur needs to tattoo onto their brain cells.

Success is much more about staying true to your vision in the face of challenges/obstructions than being gifted or expressing some kind of Genius.

I’d rather have average talent with a fierce heart that inspires me to be unstoppable versus being brilliant – but frightened to do anything with it.

Here’s a quote from Calvin Coolidge that makes my point 1000X better than I could. I hope it helps you Be Great:

“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; there is nothing more common in the world than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Make Today Awesome.