While we are taught that our ability to achieve great success is based primarily on our ability to be brutally selfish, inconsiderate of our surroundings and mercilessly self-critical, there are many misconceptions fogging our ability to rightly fathom such concepts and usefully apply them to our ambitions. Overwhelmed, we often allow ourselves to pick up poor patterns of behavior developed as survival strategies that actually hurt us rather than help us. It’s learning to deal with our ‘worst’ moments in the best way that is most essential to forward movement in our lives. Easier said than done? Actually, it’s not. Here’s a check list to help teach you how to be good to yourself in order to get ahead.

Morning Meditation

The morning, full of missteps and mayhem, may seem like a less than ideal time to practice your desire for positivity (http://www.mademan.com/13-mistakes-you-make-each-morning/), but there actually couldn’t be a more appropriate time to attempt serenity than when lunging from slumber to the stove to sitting at the office desk. Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen, collaborative authors of the book Cash in a Flash (not to mention the entire Chicken Soup For The Soul concept and series), insist that how you wake up in the morning and what you tell yourself has massive impact on the day that follows. For a morning mantra, try saying to yourself Hansen and Allen’s suggestion before leaving bed: “The more I make, the more I make. It feels and is great.”

Affirmation

Telling ourselves affirming statements of love and approval is one of the most important keys to boosting our self-confidence and, subsequently, our overall desirability and happiness. Author of countless self-meditation and life coaching books, PHD Dr. Wayne Dyer, offers suggestions for daily affirmations to tell ourselves at any moment, challenging or calm. “I AM A DIVINE, PRECIOUS SOUL,” Dyer urges his reader to tell themselves. “Once you believe in yourself and see your soul as divine and precious, you will automatically become a being who can create a miracle.” http://www.drwaynedyer.com/affirmations/

Gratitude

When times get tough, the best thing to do is become grateful for what life has already given us. Though it seems counter-intuitive, by capitalizing on all that we are already blessed to have, begets more blessings than dissatisfaction and desperation for more. When feeling frustrated with what you’re lacking, look at what you have. List to yourself all the things you have in life to be grateful for, however miniscule or monumental. You will notice immediately that the act of acknowledging this positivity translates to your body and calms.

Appreciation

“Being appreciative, expressing appreciation, and receiving appreciation have got to be among the most obvious skills one would seek to learn,” says PHD, psychotherapist and author Richard Carlson. “Why?… When people feel appreciated, they are on top of their game; they are creative, resilient, loyal and generally fun to be around.” Whereas gratitude allows us to focus and relax, appreciation drives us to action. By appreciating who we already are and what we already have to work with, we inspire ourselves to become better and to better our current surroundings.

Virtualization

“The first sale you make is to yourself,” say Allen and Hansen, and by that they mean that in order to garner the belief of others, you first must believe fully in yourself. In order to do this, virtualization is suggested as a meditative way in which to channel maximum self-belief. Close your eyes and experience in all five senses, touch, taste, sight, sound and smell, the reality you are fighting to achieve. Memorize this feeling in your body. This image will remain with you and keep your belief in your dreams anchored down at even the roughest moments.

10,000 Hours

Highly acclaimed journalist and author or numerous best-selling novels, Malcolm Gladwell, writes in his recent book, Outliers, on the success myth and those fortunate enough to have achieved legendary status during their lifetimes. After observing historical cases of undeniably successful icons, one of Gladwell’s suggested staples for joining these fortunates is to spend 10,000 hours working on your particular craft. And while there’s a healthy way not to become a complete workaholic, spending plethoras of time attuned to your life purpose, whether actively working or merely involving yourself in related thoughts, certainly strengthens your shot at the success you desire.

Switch

Most human beings do not understand the impact words have on our mental, emotional and physical states. Whether we use words with negative intentions or not, does not necessarily protect us from keeping negative words in our vocabulary. For example, thinking to yourself, “today sucks,” will only perpetuate your dissatisfaction with the day. Thinking instead something like, “today’s been a bit of a challenge so far, but I’m excited to turn it around,” will reroute your annoyance and provide room for adjustment. Allen and Hansen call this method ‘switch.’ As an exercise, they encourage readers be aware of these verbal adjustments and adapt permanently to positivity: “Notice the energy of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Count the number of times you silently say the word switch today.” 

Exercise

Endorphins are a fantastic way to encourage positivity, but even more important is teaching your body to be strong. By exercising and refining your physical reality, your mental state is impacted, learning from your changing, growing body that your mind and emotional state also have the ability to expand and strengthen. Do something physical each day to prove to yourself you are capable of doing something you doubt and fear.

Eating right

What we put into our bodies affects the resulting energy flow outward. By eating heavy carbohydrates, which sap our energy by focusing all oxygen on digestion rather than distributing blood throughout the body, and greasy fast foods, void of nutrients required by our physical beings, we greatly decrease our overall performance. Foods that resist aging and bodily clogging keep us looking great, sure, but even those unconcerned with vanity should understand that to feel physically powerful, fit and clean mirrors our mental ability to channel such power when it comes to career successes.

Abundance

The media teaches us to focus on the scarcity of things. How little we have, how much more we need. Dr. Dyer references this internalized exterior influence as a ‘mind virus.’ “These are ideas placed in our heads when we are little,” says Dyer. “We get programmed by well-meaning people like our parents and their parents, our culture, religions and schools. We get conditioned to believe in our limitations and what’s not possible.” In order to extract this mind virus, it is essential to believe in the abundance present in the world, rather than the scarcity. Fill your mind with thoughts of fullness, of amplitude, of all the love, successes and beauty prospering in the universe, rather than miserable statistics and extraneous nightly news viewings.

Be Present

Though our lives can seem sometimes to require so much of us that there is no time to stop and breathe, this cyclical pattern makes true progress impossible. Remind yourself throughout the day to remain engaged with the present. Dyer recommends ‘non-active’ walks simply to observe the universe and it’s “invisible, silent, effortless Tao at work—realizing that while it’s in no hurry, it’s still getting everything done on time.”  Preserve this sense of calm. After all, rushing only creates anxiety, which only amplifies difficulty.

Get Uncomfortable

Getting stuck in a comfort zone is the worst possible move to make when reaching for high levels of success. Telling ourselves positive affirmations and learning self-belief are all in effort to make us feel comfortable being uncomfortable, however odd it may seem at first. “When we’re not willing to be uncomfortable, it’s usually because we’re scared,” writes motivational speaker, life coach and author Mike Robbins in his book, Focus On The Good Stuff. “If we can admit, own, and express our fears in an honest and vulnerable way, we can liberate ourselves from their negative grip.” Challenge yourself to move a step out of your comfort zone, by doing something that scares you each day even if it’s as small as asking a woman for their phone number or as big as telling your parents what you actually want from your life.

Dream Team

Contrary to the legendary American Davy Crocket idea of ‘doing it all alone,’ success is almost always attributed not just to a talented, dedicated individual but to a team of such individuals, all working together. “My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is,” writes Gladwell after observing legendary success throughout history. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances…” Building a dream team happens easily when you have already pursued the aforementioned steps of affirmation, belief and abundance. The energy you emit magnetizes more of itself, so simply by learning to love yourself and what you do, you automatically attract and encourage the love and respect of others.

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