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[The Core of Success]
11. Allocating Resources Effectively
If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and unable to accomplish all of your tasks, it's probably time to reassess your prioritization and resource allocation.
There once was a young doctor who began her work at a busy clinic. She was eager to help as many people as she could but soon found herself overwhelmed by the constant stream of patients. Despite her best efforts, some of the sickest people began to die.
Feeling devastated and helpless, the young doctor turned to her wise father for advice. He told her a parable of a gardener who had a garden full of different plants. Some of the plants were strong and healthy, while others were weak and sick.
The gardener knew that he couldn't save every single plant, so he had to choose which ones to focus on. He gave extra care and attention to the plants most in need, even if it meant neglecting the others.
The young doctor took this wisdom to heart and began to prioritize her patients. She focused on the sickest of the people, sending the others home with instructions for self-care. She found that by focusing on the few who needed her most, she was able to save all her patients. And with her newfound time and energy, she was able to take care of herself better again as well.
We all have to decide how we spend our 24 hours
How you spend your day is how you spend your life. Good time-management skills are crucial if you're going to achieve your goals. If you want to be successful, you need to learn how to prioritize your time and focus on what's important. That means setting goals and creating a plan to reach those goals. It also means being disciplined enough to stick to your plan, even when it's tough. Time-management skills are essential for anyone who wants to achieve something in life. If you can learn how to use your time wisely, you'll be well on your way to reaching your full potential.
Every day, we are faced with a choice: how will we spend our time? That choice may seem small, but over the course of a lifetime, it can have a significant impact. For example, someone who spends their free time reading and learning new things will develop different skills than someone who watches television. As we all know, time is precious; once it's gone, we can never get it back. That's why it's so important to use our time wisely. Good time-management skills can help us make the most of every moment and achieve our goals. Whether we want to learn a new language, start a business, or simply improve our health, managing our time effectively is the key to success.
How you use your time and money will determine the life you live
The rich and the poor, the successful and the unsuccessful, the stars and the lonely, the happy and the unhappy, they all have only 24 hours in a day. Where they are in their life comes from how they spend these 24 hours. To be successful, you don't necessarily need to do more and more and more. It's rather important to prioritize very intensely. Do less, but do the things that really matter. If you do every day the number one most important task towards achieving your goal, you will very fast see massive results. Don't fill your day with nice little activities. Eliminate everything that does not have a big impact on your life. Use the few hours you have to work on your goals, do the things you really love, and spend time with the people that are important to you.
The ability to discriminate between high and low-value tasks is a major difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Successful people are always looking for opportunities to do things that will move them closer to their goals. They recognize that their time is limited, and so they use it wisely, spending their time on activities that are likely to lead to success. Meanwhile, unsuccessful people often fail to see the value in certain activities, and as a result, they end up wasting their time on tasks that have little or no value. By contrast, successful people understand that every task has the potential to either help or hurt their chances of success, and they make sure to spend their time accordingly.
The same goes for your money: How you spend your money has a massive impact on the life you live. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to spend your money on healthy food and activities. If you want to travel, you need to save up for plane tickets and hotels. And if you want to start your own business, you need to invest in the right tools and resources. Otherwise, you will never achieve your goals. Take a moment to think about the life you want to live, and then make a budget that reflects your priorities. It's the only way to ensure that your money is working for you—and not against you.
If you want to spend your life traveling, you need to align your spending habits with that goal. That means cutting out all unnecessary expenses and saving up for your trips. Buying an expensive car is not aligned with travel goals because it means you'll save less money per year and be less flexible to travel. When you own expensive houses and cars, you're extremely reliant on your job to pay for them. So prioritize what you want and spend your money accordingly.
Once tasks have been prioritized, it is important to allocate resources effectively to ensure that they are completed efficiently and effectively. This involves determining the appropriate amount of time, money, and personnel needed for each task and allocating these resources accordingly. It is also important to regularly reevaluate and adjust resource allocations as needed to ensure that they align with changing priorities and goals.
The Pareto Principle
The 80/20 principle is the idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This principle can be applied to many different areas of life, from business to relationships. The key to success is often to identify the 20% that is most important and focus on that. By doing this, you can achieve much more with less effort. The 80/20 principle is a simple way to help you focus on what is truly important in your life.
For example, in business, 80 percent of sales may come from 20 percent of customers. In personal finances, 80 percent of wealth may be concentrated in 20 percent of assets. And in time management, 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort. By understanding the 80/20 principle, we can learn to focus our efforts on the activities that will have the biggest impact.
Also, you can often apply this principle repeatedly. When you have found the 20 percent that has 80 percent of the impact, you can find in there the 4 percent that has 64 percent of the impact. It should be noted, however, that the 80/20 principle is a simplification, and in reality, the ratio tends to differ – for example, it could be 70/30 or 99.9/0.01.
Chances are, the way you work right now is pretty inefficient. If you're only getting 80% of the results from 20% of the effort you put in, that means that a full 80% of your time at work is being wasted. If you can get rid of all this wasted time and replace it with things that help contribute to the efficient 20%, then you'll be multiplying your work results. Apply this principle everywhere in your life. Most importantly, though, in achieving your goals. Instead of filling your day with lots and lots of tasks, focus on the few percent that has the biggest impact and get those done. Then you'll still have a lot of free time and are more successful than 99 percent of the people. On your way to success, you will have to do many things. The better you focus on the most important things, the faster you will reach your goals. By getting rid of all the unnecessary things that drain your time, energy, and money, you will see that you have enough resources to do the things that matter.
The Eisenhower Matrix and the ABCDE Method
Another approach to prioritizing tasks is to use the Eisenhower Matrix, named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This method involves categorizing tasks into four quadrants based on their level of importance and urgency. Quadrant 1 contains tasks that are both important and urgent, and these should be prioritized and completed as soon as possible. Quadrant 2 contains tasks that are important but not urgent, and these should be scheduled and completed in a timely manner to avoid becoming urgent. Quadrant 3 contains tasks that are urgent but not important, and these can be delegated to others or eliminated altogether. Finally, quadrant 4 contains tasks that are neither important nor urgent, and these can be put aside or eliminated.
The third effective strategy for prioritizing tasks is to use the ABCDE method, which involves assigning a priority level to each task based on its level of importance. "A" tasks are the most important and should be completed first, while "B" tasks are important but not as urgent, and "C" tasks are less important and can be completed as time allows. "D" tasks are optional and can be eliminated if necessary, and "E" tasks are unimportant and should be eliminated.
Keep optimizing rigorously
In today's fast-paced world, it's important to be efficient with your time. One way to do this is to learn how to eliminate, automate, delegate, and prioritize tasks.
Eliminating tasks means taking a close look at your to-do list and getting rid of anything that isn't absolutely essential. This can be tough, but it's worth it in the long run.
Automating tasks means finding ways to automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks. This might mean setting up automatic bill payments or using a software program to manage your scheduling. Delegating tasks means delegating them to someone else. If you have a task that someone else can handle just as well as you can, delegating it can free up your time for something more important.
Finally, prioritizing tasks means making sure that you're working on the most important tasks first. This might mean making a list of your goals and then ranking your tasks in order of importance. By learning how to eliminate, automate, delegate, and prioritize tasks, you can make the most of your time and get more done in less time. Effective resource allocation also involves identifying and leveraging any available resources, such as existing knowledge and skills, networks, and partnerships, to maximize their impact. By leveraging these resources, organizations and we can achieve more with less and increase our chances of success.
What to do:
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to help us decide which tasks are more important and urgent.
Get rid of all tasks, activities, and expenses that are not 100% crucial for your goals, your purposes, and your happy life.
Use the 20/80 Principle.
Never compromise your personal life for your professional goals – instead, prioritize your work time ruthlessly.
Spend your money only on things that make you truly happy and that bring you closer to your goals. Evaluate your expenses and figure out what is necessary and what can be cut.
Make a list of priorities for spending your money - what are the most important things to you that need to be funded each month/year?
Use online tools or apps to help you stay organized and on track financially.
Prioritize the tasks based on importance and urgency
Start with the most important task and work your way down.
13. Building Habits to Achieve Goals with Minimal Effort
Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives, shaping our daily routines and behaviors without us even realizing it. What if we could learn to harness the power of habits to let our desired outcomes grow automatically?
Once upon a time, there was a farmer named John who worked tirelessly from dawn to dusk every day. He had a small farm with cows, chickens, and a vegetable garden, but no matter how hard he worked, he never seemed to get ahead. He was always tired and never had any time to relax or enjoy the fruits of his labor.
One day, John asked his neighbor, a wealthy farmer named Jack, how he managed to get so much done and still have time to relax. Jack chuckled and told John about the machines he had built to do all the work for him.
"I have a machine that feeds the cows and another that feeds the chickens," Jack explained. "I also have a fence that keeps the chickens out of the vegetable garden and a machine that plants the seeds and waters them. All I have to do is maintain the machines for an hour each day, and then I can sit back and watch the rewards roll in. I built them myself, but if you're interested, I could teach you how to build your own. It will take some time and effort, but the rewards will be well worth it."
John was excited at the prospect of building his own machines and asked Jack to teach him everything he knew. With Jack's guidance, John spent the next few months learning how to build and maintain his own machines. It was hard work, but eventually, John had his own set of machines that did all the work for him.
Now, John had more time to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labor, just like his neighbor Jack. And he was grateful to Jack for showing him the way to a better, more relaxed life on the farm.
Small daily steps add up over time
It's the little things that often make the biggest difference. Simple daily improvements can lead to significant changes over time. Flossing your teeth each day helps to prevent cavities and gum disease. Saving and investing a part of your salary regularly can build you lasting wealth over time. And reading useful books regularly can put you in the top 1% of most successful people on the planet. Small changes like these may not seem like much, but over time, they add up to big results. When you're feeling overwhelmed by all that you have to do, remember that even simple daily improvements lead to significant changes down the road.
In today's fast-paced world, success is often measured by how much we can accomplish in a short amount of time. We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us to work harder, do more, and be better. But what if the key to success lies not in doing more but in doing the right things consistently?
Have you ever stopped to think about how many of your daily actions are controlled by habit? From the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night, you are probably doing many things on autopilot. Brushing your teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast – these are all things that you likely do without giving them much thought. Even driving to work or school is probably something that you do without really thinking about it. In fact, habits like these dominate our lives. Studies have shown that we spend up to 40 percent of our day engaged in habitual behavior. While some habits are helpful – like brushing our teeth or exercising – others are harmful, like smoking or biting our nails. Whether they are good or bad, habits have a big impact on our lives. When you find yourself going through the motions of your day-to-day routine, take a moment to reflect on the role that habit plays in your life.
Every choice we make, from what we eat for breakfast to how we spend our free time, shapes our habits and behaviors. And as any psychologist will tell you, our behavior is heavily influenced by the rewards we receive for it. When we do something that makes us feel good, we're more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. This is why behaviors that have satisfying consequences tend to be repeated until they become automatic. Find ways to reward yourself for making the right choices. Over time, those rewards will help to turn your desired behaviors into new habits.
Tiny actions, massive effects
Habits are powerful tools that help us achieve our goals and improve our lives. By repeating certain actions over and over, we can create automatic patterns of behavior that make it easier for us to accomplish our objectives. These habits help us become more productive, efficient, and successful.
But habits can also be dangerous. If we develop unhealthy habits, they can hinder our progress and even cause harm. For example, if we develop a habit of procrastination, we may find it difficult to get things done. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and a lack of productivity.
If you get into the habit of eating 500 calories more than you need every day, you gain about one pound a week. So at the end of the year, you're 50 pounds heavier. After four years, you weigh 200 pounds more than in the beginning.
If you reduce your calories to 500 calories less than you use every day, you make similar changes in the other direction. So basically, if you make it a habit to count your calories (and that is really easy with smartphone apps today) and set them to a certain target, you basically don't have to do anything else than wait for your perfect weight.
Same works with money. Just save a bit before starting to spend the rest, and your wealth will grow continuously. If you then automate your bank account to invest this amount every month in a relatively safe portfolio, your wealth grows even faster. These are really simple steps that everybody can take and that need almost no effort after the habit has been established.
Super performers ride the habit success wave
It is widely known that good habits are essential to success. Every successful person has built good habits into their daily routines. The best part about building good habits is that they compound over time. This means that the benefits of a good habit grow exponentially. The more good habits you have, the more successful you will be. Building good habits is a wonderful way of achieving massive goals over time with very little effort. You build the habit and then sit back and watch your results grow every day. It is truly a magical process, and It works in every life area.
Consider enhancing one ability or skill by just one percent every day. It's a small change, but over a year, it amounts to a 3778 percent improvement! Just think of the progress you can make in three years! So don't be discouraged if you're not a master right away. Remember, even the smallest changes add up to big results over time.
Most big goals require a lot of work and energy to get there. When you achieve them with automated habits, the effort goes down drastically. You will reach them without big efforts and without burning out at some point. It will just get easier every day, and your result will build up automatically.
Success is not a one-time event. It's the result of habitually doing things that lead to positive outcomes. This could be something as simple as consistently showing up on time or going the extra mile to please customers. Whatever the habit may be, it's important to remember that success is mostly the result of building good habits. This means that anyone has the potential to be successful as long as they're willing to put in the work to develop positive habits.
Successful people understand this and make a conscious effort to develop positive habits that will support their success. They know that it is much easier to maintain good habits than it is to break bad ones. As a result, they focus their energy on building habits that will help them to achieve their long-term goals. By focusing on creating good habits, successful people set themselves up for a lifetime of success. That's also how you can differentiate successful people from lucky people. Lucky people achieve one thing and often lose it again after some time. Successful people are not only successful in one thing. They often achieve one amazing thing after another, and instead of losing it, their success keeps growing and growing over time.
Building habits that serve us
But how do we develop healthy habits? The key is to start small and be consistent. Instead of trying to change everything at once, focus on one small habit at a time. This will make it easier to stick to the habit and create a lasting change. For example, if you want to develop a habit of exercising regularly, start with just a few minutes of exercise each day. Gradually increase the amount of time you exercise until it becomes a regular part of your routine.
Another important aspect of developing healthy habits is tracking your progress. This helps you stay motivated and accountable. For example, you can use a journal or a planner to record your daily habits and track your progress. This will help you see how far you have come and provide motivation to continue.
When trying to develop a new habit, it is important to understand the four things that go into making up a habit. The first is the cue, or trigger, that gets you to act. This could be something as simple as seeing a pack of cigarettes on your desk at work. The next is the craving or desire that you want to achieve. In this case, it would be the craving for nicotine. The third component is the response, which is the action of the habit itself. In this case, it would be smoking a cigarette. The fourth and final thing that makes up a habit is the reward, which is the positive feeling you get from completing the habit. For smokers, this could be the sense of relaxation they feel after taking a drag on their cigarette.
Choose new habits
There are many things you can do to develop a new positive habit. First, decide what you want to accomplish. Do you want to eat healthier, exercise more, or spend less time on your phone? Once you know what your goal is, make a plan. Decide when and where you will complete your new habit. For example, if you want to start working out, choose days and times that work for your schedule. You may also want to find a workout partner or join a gym. Whereas your goals can be as big and exciting as you want them to be, each step and habit to get there should always be an achievable one. You can increase the intensity over time if necessary. If your goal is to run a marathon, you will need to train gradually and increase your mileage over time. Finally, don't be discouraged if you slip up from time to time. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible.
It can take several weeks for new habits to become ingrained. But if you stay focused and consistent, eventually, your new behavior will become second nature. We all have our good intentions, but somehow life always seems to get in the way. The truth is, the hardest part of building any new habit is simply getting started. Once we take that first step, everything else becomes much easier. The key is to find a method that works for us and then stick with it. For some people, that might mean setting a daily reminder on their phone. Others might benefit from enlisting the help of a friend or family member. Whatever the approach, the important thing is to keep moving forward. One day at a time, one step at a time, we can achieve our goals and build the habits that will help us lead healthy, successful lives.
Stacking useful habits on top of each other leads to an exponential increase in the success
It can be hard to stick to a new routine, even when we know it will be good for us in the long run. However, there is a simple trick that can help: habit stacking. Habit stacking involves linking a new habit to an existing one, creating a chain that is easy to remember and follow. For example, if you want to start working out in the morning, you could stack it onto your existing morning routine by Laying out your workout clothes before you go to bed. Then, when you wake up in the morning, you'll be reminded to put on your workout gear and head to the gym. By linking your new habit to an established one, you increase your chances of success. And once you've mastered one new habit, you can add another and then another.
With every new positive habit that you establish, your success multiplies again. For example, just a few good money habits stacked, like making budgets, spending less than you earn, and investing, make a difference between someone who is in massive debt and someone who has built sufficient wealth to retire a couple of years later.
Overcome the doubts
Fear and self-doubt are two common emotions that can prevent you from making changes in your life. It can be difficult to start new habits or take risks when you're feeling afraid or unsure of yourself. However, it's important to remember that these feelings are normal and that everyone experiences them at times. The key is to not let them stop you from reaching your goals. If you're facing a challenge, try to break it down into smaller steps that you can manage. And if you doubt yourself, remember that you have the power to make your own decisions and create the life that you want. Don't let fear and self-doubt hold you back from reaching your potential. If you cannot make yourself do the necessary steps, find and change underlying beliefs. When you have changed those beliefs, it will become easy.
Make it as easy as possible
Making small changes to your environment has a big impact on your success. For example, if you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, keep them at eye level in the fridge. If you want to drink more water, keep a water bottle within easy reach. By making healthy choices more visible, you'll be more likely to make them part of your daily routine. Another way to change your environment is to remove temptation. If you're trying to cut back on sugary drinks, get rid of the soda in your fridge. If you're trying to eat less junk food, don't keep it in the house. Out of sight, out of mind. Making small changes to your environment can help you make big changes to your health. Basically, make your bad habits as difficult as possible and the good ones as easy as you can.
When trying to build a new habit, it's important to make it something you actually look forward to doing. This way, you're much more likely to follow through with it and make it a part of your daily routine. For example, if you're trying to start working out more, choose a workout that you enjoy or find interesting. If you hate running, don't try to force yourself to do it just because you think you should. Instead, find another form of exercise that you actually enjoy and look forward to doing. The same goes for any other type of new habit you're trying to build. Choose something that you'll actually enjoy doing, and you'll be much more likely to stick with it in the long run.
Temptation bundling is a way to use dopamine to your advantage when building a new habit. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel pleasure and motivates us to repeat behaviors that lead to that pleasure. Temptation bundling takes advantage of this by linking a behavior that we think of as important but unappealing with a behavior that we're drawn to. For example, if you're trying to establish a habit of going to the gym four times a week, you could temptation bundle by only allowing yourself to listen to your favorite podcast while working out. This way, you're using the pleasure of listening to your favorite podcast as motivation to stick with your workout routine. Temptation bundling is an effective way to kick-start a new habit, and it's worth trying if you're struggling to stick with your goals.
The more pleasurable you make your habits, the better the chances they'll stick.
Use your discipline to build a new habit and then let it run on autopilot instead of wasting your discipline every day
Once something becomes a habit, it becomes much easier to maintain. You can then shift your focus and discipline into forming another habit and build them up one by one. If you build one good habit at a time, you will need a lot less discipline. If you keep building good habits, your success will grow and grow over time.
Building up positive habits by selectively applying discipline makes it very easy to gradually build a super successful life. All high performers know and apply this every day.
When it comes to developing good habits, it's important to focus on the long-term effects rather than immediate gratification. For example, if you make a commitment to read for 10 minutes every day, that may not seem like much at the moment. But after 100 days, you will have read for 60 hours – which is the equivalent of 6 to 10 books. And if those are books that teach you something useful, you can see how the habit will have a positive impact on your life down the road. So when you're struggling to stay motivated, keep your eye on the prize and remember the rewards that await you further down the road.
What to do:
Check the list of your goals and the task related to them. What are super huge tasks that take a long time but can be automated in small everyday habits?
Add one habit at a time. When one habit is implemented and running smoothly, implement the next or stack one on top of it.
If you're having difficulties with establishing the new habits, you can either make the first step smaller or start by visualizing how you're implementing the habit and how it feels good to you. Both will make it easier to start.
Connect the habit activity with a seductive reward. Find a way of making those unattractive but important tasks enjoyable, and you'll be surfing a wave of dopamine and creating positive habits at the same time.
Make it as easy as possible for yourself to implement the habit.
Make it satisfying to implement the habits by making progress directly visible to yourself after doing the activity or connecting some other direct gratification.
Track your habits by ticking off each habit on a habit calendar every day.
Make a contract with someone who will hold you responsible with punishments if you don't follow through with your habit.
Your purpose and a life that makes you truly happy
Everyone has a purpose in life. When you understand what your purpose is, life starts feeling different. Everything starts to make sense. You begin to live a more fulfilled life. You have direction and spend your time doing the things that give your life meaning. On the other hand, when you are not quite sure what your purpose is, you feel lost or make the mistake of focusing on material things in order to live a happy life. However, this happiness always only lasts for a short while until you realize that something is missing. It is easy to get wrapped up in what others expect of you, but your purpose has nothing to do with others. It is your unique reason for being. You might see more than one purpose for you now. That's good. Probably in the future they will merge into one bigger thing.
Your purpose is how you define your role in this life. For example, you could decide:
my purpose is to make people happy
my purpose is to create amazing art
my purpose is to teach people about their psychology
my purpose is to be a millionaire
my purpose is to organize and solve problems in our society
my purpose is to spread love and teach about the power of love
my purpose is to touch people's hearts with my music
my purpose is to find a cure for all kinds of cancer
my purpose is to help homeless children
my purpose is to build infrastructure in third-world countries
Having a purpose in life acts as a guide. It gives you direction on what steps to take next and what goals to achieve. When you know what your purpose is, motivation to start working towards your goals will come, and it will be exciting. Even when working towards your goals becomes challenging, you will develop a lot more energy to overcome these challenges.
Goals that Excite You - aligned with your passions and purpose
The moment you know what your passions and purpose are, you can set goals that are directly aligned with them. What gets you excited? Choose a goal that is so significant that it will make your life the life you always dreamed about. Focus on your passions and purpose and allow them to lead you. Even if that goal sounds big and far away, trust the process.
When you aim high, you will achieve great things, even when things do not turn out exactly how you planned. On the other hand, when you aim low, even if you achieve your goal, you will not feel like this is the life you deserve. Go after exactly what you want. The more specific your goals are, the better. The first step is to decide what your goal is. The second step is to make a plan and start. Then it’s just building habits and systems that make you automatically progress towards your goal until it is achieved, so that every day you automatically get closer to your destination.
When you pursue your goals, you will inevitably be challenged along the way. You will find yourself outside your comfort zone sometimes. This is where learning takes place, and creative solutions are found. While pursuing your goals, you will continuously gain valuable skills, knowledge, and insight. If you are following your purpose by pursuing your dreams, this will be a fantastic journey worth every bit of effort. You will be spending your time with things that you love and that you are curious about anyways. So while working on this thing you want to achieve, you mostly do things you enjoy.
Even if you don’t end up 100% exactly where you imagined in the beginning, you will have learned amazing things, experienced exciting adventures and changed a lot towards the person you truly are deep inside. When you know your purpose and choose goals that are aligned with who you are, the journey will be a happy and fulfilled life, no matter which milestones you achieve and which have changed into other ones on the way.
When figuring out your purposes and goals, don’t listen to other people, whether it is your family, your friends, or the media. Important is what your heart tells you. How do I know what my heart wants? It communicates pretty clearly via feelings. They will draw you a good map of where you want to go. So just follow this path, and when you lose it, don’t give up. It’s always there, and you will see it again soon.
1. Write down between one and ten big goals to achieve in your lifetime, sorted by in which order you want to achieve them.
2. Make it precise and detailed. You have to know when you have achieved it.
3. Now, write down how achieving these goals will change your life. The more reasons you have for wanting to achieve it, the more excited you will be. Start again with the most important goals.
4. Next, break your goal into smaller, more achievable milestones. For example, if you want to run a marathon, start training by running six laps first.
5. In the third part, you will translate these goals into habits that will help you achieve these goals automatically with time.
Go to The Road to Success Journal
[Self Esteem & Happiness Journal]
Self-esteem is our mental immune system. It provides strength, resistance, and the capacity to regenerate when we are or feel attacked. The stronger your self-esteem becomes, the happier you will be. Everybody has a right to be happy.
Self-esteem comes from accepting yourself, working on your weaknesses, and appreciating your strength. It also comes from choosing and living by our own values and from knowing that you are a good person because you positively impact the lives of others instead of harming them.
But most importantly, it comes from solving the challenges in your life instead of complaining about them or running away from them. The more challenges you master, the better you get at them and the bigger challenges you can take on. But also, the more of them you solve, the better your life gets and the happier you become. With every problem, you solve, you will get more confident. Starting with your hygiene, your job situation, your relationships going up to your financial setup, your work on your goals and dreams, expressing yourself with your art, and so on.
Your self-esteem also depends on your locus of control. If you believe that your life is determined by your circumstances and that a higher force decides what happens to you, you will feel weak and helpless and will always feel bad about yourself and your life. Good things then occur by accident, and bad things are just your faith.
The deeper you understand that your life lies in your hands and that 99% of the circumstances around you are the result of your decisions, the more in control you will feel about your life and the stronger, happier, and better you will feel.
So the most crucial step is taking responsibility for your life and taking control of your decisions. Instead of going with the wind of life and taking whatever flies your way, decide where you want to go and what you want to achieve and start taking the first steps. You don’t have to accomplish everything right away. It’s essential to always keep going in the right direction.
It can be difficult to start, especially if you have much self-doubt. But also if you do fine with your everyday life but want to take on a more significant challenge. That’s what the exercises in this book are for.
By writing down and making visible for yourself what you have already achieved and what you achieve every day, you will see that you are capable of a lot more than you give yourself credit for. We are programmed only to see the problems, the things we are not good at and have not mastered yet. This book will help you see the other side as well, the things you are already doing well, and hence will help you strengthen your confidence until you feel in every cell in your body that you are capable of everything you want
To build strong self-esteem, you have to:
Celebrate victories, write them down and read and visualize them regularly. That will support your belief that you can achieve great things.
Know who you are. Because then you won’t need to take other people’s comments personally. When you know yourself, you don’t need to seek acceptance from others. As a result, nothing they say will affect you too much.
Understand that your life lies in your hands. You can change it to whatever you want it to be. The more often you read through your achievements, the clearer this will become to you.
Solve your challenges one by one. You will start feeling good and soon great about yourself and the life around you.
Face your fears regularly. Start with small ones and work your way up to bigger ones. Constantly broaden your comfort zone.
You can be the richest business owner, the most successful superstar, the most powerful leader in the world, and still not be happy. Great achievers who live unhappy lives are more common than one might think. The reason is that happiness comes from appreciation and not from the things themselves—appreciation of your successes, appreciation of the people around you, and appreciation of your health.
At any moment in your life, you will always be able to find enough things to be so unhappy about that you could go straight into depression: annoying people, health issues, “unlucky” events, etc. No matter how amazing your life is, you can always find these negative things if you look for them. And that is what the human brain does automatically. It’s always looking for problems that still need to be solved, for threats that might become dangerous.
And that is fine. It’s important for staying alive and improving our lives. But happiness is equally important. It gives you energy and a reason to live. It makes the whole problem-solving and threat-avoiding worth doing in the first place.
So, fortunately the other side of the medal is also available. No matter how difficult your life might be in the moment, there are always more than enough reasons to be thankful for and happy about. It starts in the morning when you open your eyes. You have been given another day of life. Another chance to impact the life of the people around you. Another opportunity to enjoy the feeling of the sun or the taste of your food. Another chance to create things, to teach your knowledge, or to just lift someone’s mood. And it ends in the evening with an appreciation for all the beautiful things you achieved, and that happened for you.
Practicing thankfulness gives you a lot of happiness in the moment. It reminds you that your life already has many wonderful things you can enjoy every day. It can turn around your mind in the moment, as well as your life 180° within minutes, from depression to feeling good and happy about your life.
You should still solve your problems and work on your dreams and not run away from them and try to stay happy through thankfulness, but it is a crucial part of becoming happy and seeing your life as what it actually is instead of seeing only what other things you additionally want.
So while working on your challenges to get to the next level, you always have to take time to appreciate all the things you already have. That will give you happiness and energy for your adventures. The more you do this, the better you will get, and the happier your life will be. And soon, you will be able to see the beautiful things in life, even in difficult times, and you will be able to truly enjoy all facets of life at any time.
Practice thankfulness daily and set a fixed time to write down the things you are grateful for. Remind yourself of all the wonderful little things that you can enjoy today. When you go through tough times, remind yourself of the things that you still have and when you go through great times, take time to celebrate the wonderful things.
Make it a habit to write down all the beautiful things in your life. Start now with everything that comes to your mind. Separate between the great things you are grateful for that had a significant impact on your life or the life of the people around you and the small good things you have experienced and that you’re experiencing every day.
Update your list once a day – best in the evening – and add to it whenever something comes to your mind. In the third part of the book, you can do this as a daily exercise. Whenever you write down something new that you have not put in your lists here, you can take it over here as well.
Read the things you have been thankful for regularly, especially on days you feel great, and days you don’t feel so good. That will remind you that your live a great life, no matter what happens during the day.
Go to Self Esteem & Happiness Journal
[Building Inner Strength Journal]
Finding and resolving negative emotions & beliefs
Have you ever been in the middle of a discussion when something pushes you over the edge? You suddenly grow angry, your mind goes blank, or you feel an uncontrollable urge to leave the room as quickly as possible. Many of us experience reactions like this. They can be deeply confusing, leaving us to explain our own behavior. To understand these situations, we need to understand our internal worlds. While it's easy to tell someone to "keep their temper," emotions can be very tough to manage. Many people find emotions overwhelming and distressing. Who were your teachers in the first years of your life? Your parents, most likely! But parents do far more than teach us to read or how to ride a bike. We also learn a great deal from everything that they teach us subconsciously.
For better or for worse, our upbringing shapes how we interact with people today. Kids raised by parents who only showed affection inconsistently often feel that they can't trust anyone when they become adults – not in friendships, work, or even loving relationships. Similarly, children who had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age learned that showing weakness is a failure. This means that they have genuine trouble opening up about their feelings as adults – since childhood, they weren't comfortable with being seen as vulnerable. Your experiences as a child shape how you view the world. Although negative childhood experiences create negative perceptions of the world, your perceptions are not set in stone.
Beliefs are our understandings and interpretations of ourselves and the world. Two people can be in the exact same environment or situation but still, interpret it entirely differently. This is because they hold different beliefs. An example of this is people's different beliefs about aging. One person can believe that at 70 years old, their life is ending and their body is breaking down. Another person might believe that at 70 years old, they are still capable of achieving anything. How we see and interpret the world dramatically influences how we act and basically decides what life we are living.
Painful memories serve as a protective mechanism. They are there to remind you of what causes you pain and to protect you against experiencing that same kind of pain again. Whenever you experience a painful memory, embrace it and investigate what this memory is trying to protect you against. By doing this, you will discover whether your fear is still valid and what strategies you need to develop in order to manage or overcome your fear.
Limiting beliefs are negative beliefs that you have about yourself that prevent you from reaching greater heights. To gain control, we need to first identify our emotions. We tend to get easily overwhelmed by our negative emotions, usually because we generalize them or fail to identify them correctly.
Social norms are rules and beliefs that are imposed on us. Many of our beliefs are not actually our own. This includes our beliefs about what is "good" and "bad". Assumptions have no basis in reality. But even though there might not be any evidence to back up a belief, most people believe their assumptions to be true. This creates significant problems in all areas of life. People believe that everyone around them wants to harm them, that money is scarce, and that in order to accumulate wealth, one has to steal money from others. They believe they cannot lose weight because their body is built that way or because they're too weak. Many believe they are not worthy of the love of others or that they are a burden to their family. The biggest problem with these beliefs is that they are subconscious. We are most of the time not even aware that we believe these things.
The only thing we feel is this mental blockade when we want to decide to lose weight. The feeling that something is fishy when others are nice to us. The feeling of stress or sadness when we want to start working on our finances or the terrible fear when going into an interview for a job that seems too good to be true.
All these beliefs come from experiences in our life that we interpreted in a certain way. Being able to identify them and change them is like the ultimate super weapon against the life that we didn't sign up for. When we find the beliefs behind our feelings and are able to resolve them, we can suddenly do all the things we always knew we needed to do without feeling bad about them, without being stressed, and without feeling blocked by an invisible wall.
Things suddenly go with ease or are even fun to do. Realizing a different feeling for the same activity that stressed us before, after successfully resolving the negative belief behind it, is an indescribable feeling. It feels like having unlocked the secret of life.
The more negative beliefs are connected to something you're doing or want to do, the more energy it costs you to do it because it causes more pain. That is good news because by resolving the negative beliefs behind it, you can make every task easily manageable. Resolving the belief is sometimes not that easy in the beginning. But it's like every other skill. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
It's important to ensure that you don't view your more difficult emotions in a negative way. All emotions can help you to enact positive change in your life, as they indicate that something's not quite right, prompting you to examine them to find the true cause of your difficulties. Only by identifying that cause can you begin to change.
When you start questioning your beliefs, you can filter out which are your own and which ones were imposed on you as a child. This knowledge brings a sense of freedom because you can structure your own beliefs and live life on your terms. When you figure out what your beliefs are, you start understanding where your fears are coming from, and it's a lot easier to resolve them. All these feelings that hold you back from what you need to do and want to do can be resolved by finding the underlying beliefs and their cause.
You won't be able to reach your true potential until you address your limiting beliefs. Your negative beliefs often influence and limit your capabilities and what you think you can achieve. When you tackle those beliefs, you will realize that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought.
Learning about your emotional triggers and states will help you to feel more in control of your emotions instead of constantly feeling like you are affected by people and events. Train your mind to focus on solutions in every aspect of your life. This way, you will be an active participant in shaping your life instead of just allowing your environment to dictate what happens to you.
By being open to questioning your beliefs and emotions, you have the opportunity to change /improve them. And by constantly improving yourself, you will enjoy happiness and success in every aspect of life.
Suffering is a natural part of life. When you realize this, you can start accepting it instead of feeling like a victim or assigning blame.
Excessive anxiety is often related to poor self-confidence. The antidote for this is, to be honest with yourself and others about your capabilities and limitations. If you're comfortable with your own limits, you can confidently admit when you cannot do something or do not know something and work on it instead of losing your self-esteem in an unsuccessful attempt.
Revisiting some of your childhood memories will help you uncover the reason for many of your perceptions. The way to
change those perceptions is to create alternative narratives about your childhood experiences. Understanding the cause of a particular emotion is just the first step. The next step is: you have to take action to deal with the emotion and change whatever it is that's causing it. You can resolve negative beliefs by journaling about your thoughts and feelings. By staying open and accepting that judgmental, depressing, or confusing thoughts are just temporary, you'll see that emotions don't need to be cause for distress. They're natural, and by acknowledging that, you have the power to learn from them and change them.
What to do
Whenever you feel sad, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, scared, etc., you can do this exercise: Close your eyes and focus on the feeling or the sensation in your body it causes. Only focus on that feeling or sensation and watch what thoughts come to your mind. Usually, the first or second thought tells you what this feeling is about. For example, if you're angry and don't know why, and you do this, you might remember something a colleague said to you earlier. Maybe he asked you if you had finished some reports already. Now when you close your eyes again and ask yourself: why does this make me so angry, you might either get a thought like "He's criticizing me for being too slow," or you might even get a memory of some situation in your life that seems totally unrelated. When you focus more on that memory, you might remember that you felt something similar back then. Maybe a childhood memory where your teacher said "You're always so slow." Focusing on the feelings and sensations of your body while letting the thoughts flow can reveal related core memories and beliefs.
You can do the same exercise when you're procrastinating. Ask yourself, why am I not doing this thing I need to do? Close your eyes and listen to what thoughts come to you first.
You can do this exercise to find your negative core beliefs:
Read this list aloud and mark or write down all the beliefs that strongly resonate with you. These are your negative beliefs.
• I can't do this
• I'm weak
• I'm useless
• I'm worthless
• I'm not enough
• I'm helpless
• I can't trust myself
• I can't change my life
• I'm not in control
• That's just how it is
• I can't change my feelings
• I'm not welcome
• Nobody likes me
• It's my fault
• I'm not important
• I always have to be careful
• People want to harm me
• People want to trick me
• I can't relax
• The world is bad
• It's just getting worse
• I'm inferior
• I can't change anything
• Nobody helps me
• I can't defend myself
• You are too strong for me
• I'm helpless against you
• I'm alone
• You hate me
• I'm not wanted
• I have to do what you/they tell me
• I'm not free
• I can't make mistakes
• I have to be perfect
• My needs are not important
• I can't decide
• I have to make it on my own
• People are dangerous
• I have to adapt
• My ideas are worthless
• My dreams are impossible
• I have to be strong
• I don't have time
When you know which beliefs you have, you can choose one, close your eyes, repeat it out loud and ask yourself. "Why do I think that?" And now, just let the feelings and thoughts flow. Maybe some memories from your past come up. Then you can ask yourself: Is this really true? Did I possibly misinterpret the situation? Was it maybe true back then, and things have changed now? Is this perhaps the opinion of someone else but not the truth? Figuring out where a belief is coming from and understanding that it is not true or not true anymore is often already enough to resolve it.
If, in any of these exercises, emotions seem to overwhelm you, focus on breathing calmly and then think about things that you are thankful for or things that make you happy. Sometimes though, you'll feel that you simply cannot deal with a particular emotion. When that happens, try to recall a time when you dealt successfully with it. Doing this will give you confidence in your ability to handle difficult feelings because if you've managed to deal with it once, you can certainly do it again. If you feel like certain topics are coming up in these exercises that you cannot handle by yourself, a psychotherapist can help you face these things while creating an environment of safety and comfort in your mind first.
Another way to get to the core of a feeling is journaling, which we will explain later in this book.
The difference between an idea and a belief is the amount of certainty attached to it. This certainty stems from the number of references available to support the idea. If your teachers treated you like you were stupid, there is a good chance that you started believing it. When you adopt these beliefs as part of your identity, you will never reach your true potential. If you believe you are stupid, you will not aim and try to do well academically because you already believe that you are not capable. So it’s important to be conscious of the labels you use to define yourself and where they actually come from. Are they a true reflection of who you are and what you are capable of?
Limiting beliefs are disempowering beliefs that you have about yourself. They are beliefs about what you think you are not capable of doing or achieving. These beliefs are usually formed when you fail at something. For example, you might have tried to lose weight before and failed. Because of this failure, you may have developed the limiting belief that you are incapable of ever losing weight. In this case, you might ask yourself why you should even try again because the outcome will be the same. This kind of thinking is dangerous, limiting, and unconstructive. It does not provide room for you to evaluate what you can do differently in the future and prevents you from trying again.
To challenge this kind of thinking, you must find all of the disempowering beliefs that you have about yourself, evaluate their truth and dismantle them one by one.
Beliefs are subconscious thoughts about you and the world around you. Even though you are often not aware of these thoughts, they are always active and cause strong emotions inside you that you don’t understand if you are not aware of their respective beliefs. If you believe you are bad at math, you will automatically shut down and start feeling stressed when somebody tries to explain a math problem. The stressed feelings you feel are coming from your belief that since you are bad at math, you won’t understand this anyways and that something impossible is asked of you. When you start questioning and changing your beliefs, tasks that were difficult are suddenly fun, and relationships that drove you crazy before suddenly flow easily. Fears and negative feelings that controlled you all your life are suddenly just gone.
What to do
Find negative beliefs with the exercise from the chapter before. Question them and figure out with rational thinking why they are not true or at least not unchangeable. Then turn the negative beliefs into a realistic version of their opposite and write these positive beliefs down. For example, the positive counterpart of "I can't do this" could be "I can learn this if I put in some time." Don't go over the top. Otherwise, your subconscious will feel that you don't believe it, and you might not be able to make yourself believe it for a long time. If they are realistic, you will start believing them with enough repetition and connecting them to positive emotions. If you need a template of what counts as realistic: Everything anybody else has achieved should, in general, be possible for you. Also, make sure to form them in the positive. Say "I'm strong" instead of "I'm not weak" because it's a lot easier for the brain to think the positive, especially on a subconscious level.
Repeat the positive beliefs daily and visualize them. Find memories that prove these positive beliefs are true. For example, remember a situation where you were strong. Feel what you felt in these situations with your whole body. Repeat that again and again to strengthen your positive beliefs.
When you feel stress or tension in your body, that is because you're trying to convince yourself of something where you already have contrary beliefs. So ask yourself again: "What is stressing me about this?" or "Why do I not believe this?". Resolve the negative beliefs as described in the previous chapter and then continue reinforcing the positive beliefs.