Steps to Positive Life Changes
Positive Life Changes
You and I have one thing in common: We want to constantly improve our lives and be the best version of ourselves. But unfortunately, many people have lived their lives pretty much the same way for a very long time.
You are capable of making the biggest transformation of your life. Significant, lasting changes shouldn’t take you years. But it means stepping beyond your current way of life and embracing new habits. To create the level of life you ultimately want, you have to change something you do daily.
Your life is your signature creation. It is your duty to live true to yourself, with authenticity. Your life’s mission is to express yourself boldly, create what you love and love what you create. It’s about expanding and living your vision of yourself — until it is the greatest possible expression of who you are.
The most important step to change anything in life is this: You must first make a commitment. You have to decide that you really want to make a change or transform your life this year and that it’s more important than almost anything else. Find the things that eat up your time that is less important than the changes you want to make.
Find Your Why
“He who has a why can endure any how.” — Frederick Nietzsche
Everyone craves clarity. It’s the only way to reach deeper into yourself to find out what makes you come alive. We all start from somewhere confusing because you probably like to do a lot of things. Most people’s lives are still not perfectly clear. It’s a struggle almost every adult goes through. “What do I want to do with my life?” “What do I not suck at?” Millions of people have no clue what they want to do with themselves. And that’s okay. Self-discovery is a journey.
Curiosity, being open to explore the unknown, ready to embrace the surprises that come along the way, are essential attitudes for self-discovery and for gaining clarity about your own life purpose.
Margie Warrell, Author of Brave said:
“Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
If you are feeling unmotivated, unsure of yourself, aimless, can’t find anything or work that makes you lose yourself, you’re not alone — most people are in the same boat.
1. Start spending time with positive influencers
“Through the right people focusing on the right things, we can, in time, get on top of a lot if not most of the problems of this world. And that’s what a number of us are trying to do.” — Richard Branson
If you are to succeed in life, you need to recognize that your level of success and satisfaction will often depend on a lot more people who may or may not have a direct impact on what you do or how you do it.
Albert Einstein had Max Talmud, his first mentor. Max introduced a ten-year-old Einstein to key texts in math, science, and philosophy. Max took one meal a week with the Einstein family for six years while guiding young Albert. Mozart’s father, Leopold, who was a noted composer himself, is believed to have greatly “helped” the child with his early compositions. Oprah Winfrey credits her father, and the time she spent with him and his wife, for “saving” her. She once told Jill Nelson of The Washington Post Magazine, “If I hadn’t been sent to my father, I would have gone in another direction.”
2. Start obeying your gut
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”. — Steve Jobs
It takes courage to challenge the ideas and practices that make us successful. But in a world that moves and changes so fast, holding on to conventional wisdom is no more the best option.
No matter how noisy the world gets, no matter how busy you become, there would always be something inside you — a small voice that whispers in the quieter moments of life, taunting you with the shadow of the unlived life. If you listen hard enough, you can still hear it. When you decide to follow it, you will be fighting against conventional wisdom.
When you make a decision to go against what society expects of you and trust your gut, you will be choosing an uncomfortable and even painful journey that will be worth your while. The burden will be so enormous that you will have three options every step of the way: give up, give in or give it all you’ve got. Choose the latter.
Going against the current is tough. When you start doing something different, you’re pointing out where other people are going wrong — so they may get angry and defend why they do what they do. But it pays to obey your gut if you have the grit to finish what you start.
So, starting now, listen to that little nagging bit of doubt in your head about some piece of conventional wisdom that you’ve always secretly questioned. Try the exact opposite and see what happens?
3. Pick yourself: Be your authentic self!
“Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It’s your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is much more to life than following others’ prescribed path. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being. Adventure.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Many gifted people are playing it small and not getting their message out there or benefiting from what they are good at. You have a unique gift and the world needs to know about it. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are going, you owe it to yourself, to your art, to the world to do it well without fear of ridicule, criticism or failure.
You can be as big and successful as you can possibly imagine. You just don’t trust yourself enough yet. No matter who you are or what you dream of becoming, remember this:
No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small.
You have everything you need to make an impact in the world. You don’t even have to start your own business. What you need is something you can you can emotionally and deeply connect with. Don’t think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are and witness the magic of creative work. If you’re thinking about it too much, chances are you’re killing it.
4. It pays to create yourself
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”— Bradley Whitford
You don’t have to but should you decide to accept a wrong role just because you need it, think about how long you will have to endure the pain of doing what you really don’t want! There is always a much better way to manage a round hole if you are a square peg. If you can’t find what you want, create it. Showing up is not sufficient. Make an impact. Take every opportunity to show up but reset expectations. Leave a mark. Show your most amazing work. Make a bold challenge to pursue what you really want. Don’t expect total acceptance of your ideas, prepare to be pushed, but don’t fall.
“Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” ― Henry David Thoreau
There will always be rules and limitations, but guess what limits can be stretched. Everything you are using right now has been improved upon. Think Apple, think different. What can you improve this year? What can you do better in business and career? Ask the right questions about why the rules exist, but not just any question. You may have been asking the wrong questions all this while.
Can you create your own path? Yes, you can! You think you are not capable but you can do more than you think you can. Don’t trust the system to take care of you. Create your own system or rules and find a way to make it work. Stick to the bigger picture but be prepared to embrace change along the way.
— Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” — Steve Jobs
Following instructions is no longer sufficient for your success. The important thing about any journey is the courage to get back up and continue. There are countless stories about entrepreneurs who failed multiple times but still pursued their dreams in the midst of the stumbling blocks.
What is stopping you from trying out one of the many ideas in your notepad? Don’t fear to fail, if you are failing, fail fast and move on but whatever happens, don’t give up on the bigger dream. The path could change but the vision should be clear throughout the journey. Don’t give in to the relentless pressure to get a job if you really want to create or start something on your own. What can you do next or better still what are you going to do next! It’s about time you made your first innovative step. Take that bold step now! You don’t have to be right, you just need to start.
Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. — Japanese Proverb
Thoughts like “nobody will like it” “my friends will think I am crazy” can deter you from making any step into who you actually are or what you can accomplish. Put your mind to getting things done instead of focusing on all the things that could go wrong. Don’t escape from fear; embrace your deepest fear and fight it to overcome it!
Almost everyone can sprint. The road to mastery requires consistency. Everything meaningful in life is a marathon. Give yourself the permission to think and act. Choose to do your most amazing work without anyone’s approval. Choose yourself today!
You’ll suck at most things in the beginning. It takes time, persistence, and patience to create anything worthwhile. Keep on trying. Keep doing what you love, even if no one buys it, sponsors it or shares it. It matters that you show up. The magic will eventually happen!
“Don’t dare to be different, dare to be yourself — if that doesn’t make you different then something is wrong.” ― Laura Baker
5. Express yourself. Don’t hold back
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. “— Bruce Lee
Stop questioning yourself. Stop listening to everyone else. The world is waiting for you to start something. Waiting to hear what you have to say. Waiting to use your creative product or service. Waiting to share your ideas and original work. Remember the dream you were too scared to chase? It’s still not too late to give it a try. We tend to think that we’re not good enough and give up before we even start.
The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them. Your first ebook, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work will not be satisfying and perfect, and it’s okay. When we express ourselves in a way that brings out the best in us, we’ve already succeeded. Step by step we improve. That’s what matters. It matters that you persist.
Give yourself permission to screw up. And it’s okay when you do. Your next action is the most important step you will have to take after you screw up. Picasso never achieved full mastery. Mozart never achieved full mastery. Kobe Bryant did not achieve full mastery. Nobody can achieve perfection. It’s humanly impossible. But they showed up every day to share with us. They never withheld back. Perfect lets you stall, ask more questions, save it up and generally avoid doing anything that might fail.
Technology and everything that makes it insanely easy for us to share our work was made by people who are no smarter than you. You can add to it. You can change it. You may not be able to predict the future but you can help to shape it. Take advantage of the enormous opportunities the information age presents. You have everything you need to go make something meaningful. Something you deeply care about. You don’t have to be right when you start. But it matters that you begin.
And when you start, respect yourself and your work enough to spend yourself fully on the problems solved. Don’t allow complacency to rob you of years of engagement and fulfilling contribution.
6. Start facing your obstacles head on
“The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.” — Woodrow Wilson
Write down all your obstacles. Reflect on those failures, and figure out what stopped you from succeeding. Write down every obstacle that’s happened to you, and others that are likely to happen. Then write down how you plan to overcome them. That’s the key: write down your solution before the obstacles arrive, so you’re prepared.
It doesn’t matter what has happened to you in the past, what is happening to you now or where you came from. But it matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.
In the “Obstacle Is The Way,” Ryan Holiday makes a profound statement:
“All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring. When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go — carving you a path. “The Things which hurt,” Benjamin Franklin wrote, “instruct.”
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You are stronger than your weaknesses.
Just start! You will never be ready
When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. — Paulo Coelho
The bulletproof way to miss out on a career that means the world to you is to wait for the perfect moment. Your brain will always convince you into believing that you are never ready. Never ready to take a step. Never ready to start a healthy habit. Never ready to start a passion project. Never ready to love again. Never ready to launch that project on your mind.
When it’s time to make the most out of your time, there are only two states: doing nothing and doing something. Because doing something might be extremely uncomfortable for us we create a third state of mind, a slight nuance between the two predefined ones. We call it “almost ready”. Don’t feed your insecurities. Perpetual cycle of helplessness can kill everything and anything you’ve ever dreamed of doing! If you focus 100% on output without zero input you might just be fooling yourself into thinking that you are moving forward while in fact, you are spinning in circles.
The difference between those who start before they’re ready and those who wait is that the former knows you won’t know what you can do until you do it. Do not miss the train. Opportunities are often late, but they always go away fast.
Your journey of transformation starts now! Welcome to feeling fully alive. Good luck.
Words by Thomas Oppong