Inconsistently Consistent

How many times have you started something, but you did it half-heartedly. You had enthusiasm, but then you got busy with something else. The first project is still there and you pay attention to it every now and then, but the enthusiasm you had has waned. You wonder why things aren’t progressing as fast as you would like. It is because you are being inconsistently consistent.  

I have been there so many times and it is frustrating. A couple of years ago I decided that I want to become more fitter. I caught up with a friend who was on his own fitness mission and I made an effort, but after a couple of months things started to slide. I would be too tired (that’s just an excuse for saying “I can’t be bothered”). Then after a few months I would make another effort.  Was I getting enjoyment from getting hot, sweaty and exhausted from working out? No! (I know there are some people out there who love going to the gym!) Then I would start making other excuses…”My knee hurts”, “It’s raining”, “It’s too cold!”

After such a haphazard approach to my fitness, was I getting the results that I wanted? No! Why wasn’t I achieving the result? Simply because I was inconsistent. 

If there is something that you want out of life, then you have to first of all make the decision that you want it. Then you have to consistently go after it. If you stay focused and on track, then  you can achieve whatever goal or dream you want. It takes work, dedication and consistency. 

In my fitness example I found that I had to start again from the beginning because all the gains I achieved had been lost. I felt guilty about it because I had let myself down. Did I beat myself up over it? No. I just started from the beginning and kept at it. Now I do work outs at least 4 times a week. Sure there are times when I still don’t feel like it, but I force myself and then I feel good because I have done it!

You are not going to get anywhere if you just work on a goal every now and then. You will find that the initial enthusiasm that you had has gone and once it has gone it is hard to get back. You will also get frustrated by the lack of progress. 

If you have a dream, goal or desire that you want to pursue, then make a plan of how you are going to bring it to fruition. After you have the plan, then work at it consistently (which may mean working at it several times a week). When you put in that kind of effort and dedication you will find that you still have that interest and desire in the goal, you will maintain focus and then you will find that soon your goal will come to pass! Something that may never happen if you are inconsistently consistent.

 

 

I’m Prosperous and Rich!!! (Are you really…?)

We live in a world where success seems to depend on the size of your bank account and the flashy house you live in. How many of us are trying to keep up with the Joneses? Who are they trying to keep up with?

In our materialistic society, your prosperity and success in life is determined by such things as those mentioned above. Is that an accurate description of prosperity? I would say “No!” 

One can have all the money in the world and yet still be poor. How so? They could be socially impoverished, spiritually impoverished or emotionally poor. Prosperity stretches well beyond the realm of materialism.  

Imagine this scenario: A person has a billion dollars in the bank. They are prosperous right? What if you found out that the individual is always lying awake at night worrying about losing all the money, scheming ways to get more. They have superficial friends who will quickly abandon the person if ever the person became completely broke. Now the person is striving to maintain the friendships with these shallow people. Also, this individual is married with 3 children. Yet in order to maintain the lifestyle that the family has become accustomed to, this person is constantly on business trips and very rarely sees their spouse and the children. 

Do you think individual in the scenario is truly prosperous? True prosperity is holistic in that it encompasses all areas of you life. I suggest that prosperity can be divided into different areas:

  • Emotional/Mental: If you are happy with your life and satisfied with where you are at, then you are emotionally prosperous. If you do not lie awake at night worrying about things. If you can look at setbacks as challenges rather than failures and treat them as “growth” opportunities, then your emotional/mental bank account is healthy! 
  • Social: Do you have close friendships? Are they deep friendships based on mutual trust? How “one sided” are the friendships? If you find that people around you are taking more than giving, then it is time for you to analyse what is going on. Are you being used and taken advantage of? How well do you get on with those around you? Social prosperity can be reflected in the fact that people enjoy your company and praise your virtues. Friendships are deep, meaningful and reciprocal.
  • Home life: How much time do you spend with your family and your children? Society has a way of pulling our time and attention in all sorts of directions, yet the most important area needs to be your family. If you find that you are “in debt” in this area, then it is time to sit down and take stock of what is draining your time and attention, then change!
  • Spiritual: This area is highly subjective. If there is something that is robbing you of your inner peace and tranquility, then it may be time for you to gather some spiritual prosperity! It does not have to require a lot of time and effort. 30 minutes a day in mediation will do wonders. 
  • Materialistic: I would be considered a complete idiot if I did not think that we all need money. That’s why we work, gamble, save and invest. The greater the assets you have and the less the liabilities determines your “net worth”. If you find that you are constantly trying to make ends meet, then it is time for making some decisions (legal ones!) about how to either increase your income or reduce your expenses.  

True prosperity could be described as having all the above areas in balance. Then you can say “I’m prosperous and rich…in all areas of my life!”

 

Me, Myself and I – the selfish triplets!!

“Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!”

That is all that seems to come out of some people’s mouths. Everything has to be about them or revolve around them. I know a few people like that and it is draining! There are only three people that seem to exist in such people’s lives: Me, Myself and I

The other week I had a conversation with an older gentlemen. I made an inane comment to something he had said. I truly do not know if he heard me or not, but straight away his response was all about him! Have you ever come across people like that who have to turn the conversation around and make it all about them? I have met a lot of people that seem to have that knack. 

If you are not skilled in identifying people who are self-absorbed, here are some pointers that will help you spot them:

  • They are more interested in telling you all about what they are doing, have done, or are going to do, then they are at listening to what you are doing.
  • The conversation revolves around them.
  • They are always using the personal pronouns “Me”, “I” and “My”.
  • If they make a mistake, it is hard for them to admit to it. They are quick to redirect the blame and they get defensive if approached about the mistake. 
  • Very rarely do you hear them apologise. 
  • They usually have to try and be the centre of attention.

Maybe you may have identified yourself in that list. If so, you should be somewhat concerned.

Do we blame the person for being self-focused? No. We should try and understand the cause. Without knowing their entire personal history, it may be that the person seeks attention and glory to mask a fundamental insecurity. That is, they are always seeking praise and affirmation. They may have a poor understanding of the reciprocal nature of social exchange: Conversation is designed to be a dialogue, not a monologue all about you! These are just a couple of examples to indicate that the “self-absorbed” individual may be suffering a deeper psychological issue that needs addressing. 

What if you identify as such an individual? Is there no hope for you? Are you a lost cause? No! The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that there is one. If you are honest enough to realise that you have a problem, then the next step is to try and identify the fundamental cause: Is it an insecurity that you are harboring? Do you have an interest in the people around you? What are your social skills like? 

A step forward for those who are self-obsessed is to take your eyes off yourself, and look at those around you. Do a random act of kindness to someone. Ask someone how their day is going and show interest in their response. Offer to give someone a hand if you see them struggling in a task. 

If you make an effort to do some of these things then you will find that the selfish triplets of “Me, Myself and I” have been orphaned. You will have begun to adopt the more socially aware kin of “You, Me and Us”!

 

 

 

Fear, why do I imagine you?

Okay, here is the scenario:

You are facing a situation, one that you may not have experienced before. You are anxious enough about it, but then your mind decides to help you freak out even more! How does your mind decide to help? It helps you by causing you to think about the “What ifs…” next thing, you realise that you have reached a new “personal best” in your anxiety levels. 

There is nothing wrong with the “What ifs.” It’s only that the ones that your mind creates seem to be negative “What ifs” – What if I am useless at this new job? What if I fail if I try? What if people will tease me when I don’t succeed. How will I cope? What if I can’t cope?

Next thing we find that we are fearing the upcoming situation, be it a job promotion, a career change, moving house. If you take the time to stop and actually analyse the thoughts that cause you to question your coping ability, you will find that most, if not all, the thoughts are baseless. You are contemplating scenarios that may never happen, but you are stressing and worrying about them! 

What has just happened? Simply this: you have imagined a fearful situation. Where is the evidence to support the conclusion you have just reached about your inability to succeed in that new job? Where is the evidence that your new neighbours are going to be annoying slobs who party to some godless hour in the morning?  You will find that there is no evidence! 

We need to be honest with ourselves and discard the fear that our mind has created. I do not deny the fact that we feel anxious whenever we are faced with an unfamiliar situation. In fact, it is healthy because it causes us to be on our game and to be aware of the situation. We can also consider the pros and cons of the new situation. 

My point is that we also need to know when we have created a unfounded fear regarding the situation. We need to discard those fears. We also need to become aware as to what caused those fears to surface: Lack of self-esteem? Narcissim? Lack of social skills? Shyness? Fear of failure?

Once we can dig down to the psychological well-spring from where the fear orignates, then we are more able to ignore and discard them. 

Next time you face a new opportunity or situation, rejoice in it. Look at the positives behind the situation. Use it as a mean of personal growth and also look inward to see if you have any “imagined fears”. If you find some, then chuck them away!