A positive attitude

What about the letter A.  The letter A, stands for the positive attitude you must always strive to possess.  It should be noted that one is not born with a positive attitude, but this is a quality that a person must cultivate.

To achieve in life, the success we pursue, it is crucial that our mental outlook be backed by a positive attitude.

An optimistic attitude, fuels your mental outlook.  As you move toward your life dreams, a hopeful attitude can carry you through, when life throws at you some unexpected situations or you meet with a brick wall appearing in your way.

The question though is, how do you develop a positive attitude?  Some persons are constantly exposed to environments which are emotionally toxic; a place where negative people congregate to listen to each other’s sermon of sorrows.

This environment can manifest itself in your work place or maybe it is in your school.  Sadly, sometimes it may be in your home.  To overcome such negativity, we need to create our own atmosphere of positivity.  How do we do this?

Firstly, we need to seek out and listen to the suggestions of persons who have a view point, that in spite of what life throws at them, they will succeed.  And that, in spite of the many failures that come their way, triumph is just around the corner.  They function as if to indicate, their achievement is just on the horizon, success is but an arm’s length away.  These are the people to draw close too.

Secondly, we also need to be mindful of ourselves, in order to create positive attitudes.  We can bring a negative outlook—a thought—from within our minds, to bear on our current life experiences, which may have little to no relationship.  While that previous thought or experience might be useful, as all our life encounters should be educational ones, that particular experience maybe out of place.  Therefore keep such thinking in check.

Thirdly, it has to do with the language we use with ourselves when seeking to create a positive atmosphere to thrive.  This has to do with negative self talk.  We can say to ourselves that it is not likely that we can accomplish our goals.  We may vocalize to ourselves that our endeavours can be done, but they can only be accomplished by someone else.

Sometimes a person can look at their abilities, whether they went to university or to college, their socio-economic status and use these to make judgments about how much of a contribution they can make in life.  And so a person may say to himself, that he should not take that step or that action towards his dreams, for it is not possible for him to succeed.

Negative self talk; a self defeating trait which can rob us of the things that matters to us, making us avoid the path which leads to success.  And so you must say no to negative language which can ultimately affect your thinking.  This can manifest failure in your life, even before effort is made, or prevent you from trying again if failure visits you temporary.  Your attitude therefore, must be goal oriented, to see life and all that it hurls at you, in terms of challenges, as part of the experience towards a greater good.

We now want to look at the letter L.  The word that the letter L symbolized for me, was a word, that at the time I was not willing to accept as part of the vocabulary of someone seeking success.  I said to myself, how could I say this word to these young minds.

The word is limitation.

As I prepared this presentation for those youths, I started to recognize that the word limitation, based on how it is viewed or understood, can indicate success or failure, triumph or despair, achieving your dream or losing all hope.

This brings me to a story involving a classmate of mine at the university I attended for my undergraduate work.

He was a friend and thinker, and really motivated to achieve. Yet this student had but one challenge, one limitation, and that was to write research papers.  He had the ideas, he knew where to get the information, he knew how to discuss, critique and synthesize the information, but strangely, when it came to putting it down on paper, he just could not do it.

What I found amazing, was that my friend understood his limitations and sought assistance from students who had mastered this technique of writing and editing, to a significant degree.

He had his dream of becoming better at writing some day.  But it was his limitation at that present time.  He understood that he needed to move on to greater things in his life, and was not willing to allow his limitation to prevent him from doing so; he was determined to graduate.

He therefore sought the necessary assistance, moved on and now for a few years has been working with young children and their families as a school guidance officer.

 

Exercise

Think about a recent problem you had in which it was difficult to find a solution. Recall how you felt when it seem you tried everything. Think about your anxiety level, was at high or low? Write down how you felt.  Think about what your attitude was like before attempting to solve the problem and at the point you felt there was nothing else you could have done and write this down.

 

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The driving force

Sometime ago I was speaking to a group of students at a self development program.  The objective was to bring inspiration to them, and so, motivation to achieve whatever they positively set their minds to.

I remembered preparing for the presentation and an interesting question came to my mind.  I asked myself, what is the driving force behind achievement?

I took the word GOAL, and create a mnemonic to help them with this.

On a piece of paper I placed the word GOAL (one letter per line on the page) and then started thinking about it deeply.  What is it in this word GOAL that can make us achieve, focus, and make us successful in the pursuit of our dreams?

As the creative process in my mind went to work, my hands started writing on the sheet of paper.

I then looked at the letter G.  The letter G, stood for get up and get the work done, become actively engaged, get the information necessary to complete this task.  It is by means of initiation, a push or pull action that work gets done.  Remaining stationary is self-defeating when seeking to bring a dream to reality.

The other letter O, reminded me of being organized.  Many times persons may have a vision, know exactly where they need to be or what they need to be doing.

Probably it is an overwhelming action or habit in your life that you want to change or a quality you want to develop.  There is a level of organization that must take place.

Person’s dreams, goals or their purpose may not yet be realized, though they know where they want to be in life, but because of failure at seriously organizing themselves, work may not get done.

Exercise

There are a few electronic programs you can use to get organized. The ones I generally use are: Evernote, Google drive and Google calendar. From time to time I still use a pencil and paper to record an agenda for the day. If you are unfamiliar with the programs or apps (Evernote, Google drive and Google calendar) you can do some research online on them. YouTube has a great deal of information on all of these. Learn how to use them to organize your day, week, and even months. They have great reminders and can sync well with your smart phone and other electronic devices (tablets and laptop computers).

Reflective practice activities

In thinking of our goals and how organization is critical, think about what you need to do.  

  1. Is it that you need to get up earlier to study for a course you are enrolled in?
  2. Is it that you need to prepare your meals for that diet you have embarked on and will need to get your food containers and meals prepared before leaving the house; not leaving it to chance, believing that you will past by a health food store on your way to work?
  3. Or is it that you need to pack your school bag or meeting case the night before, so that the materials needed for that class or meeting is ready to be a part of your success the following day?

 

It is important you ask yourself these questions, as organization is essential for success.  The answers you will obtained from these questions may be viewed as simple and something that people already know, yet reflect on your situation for a moment and you may observe something you do not know.

Reflective practice activities

Questions to ask yourself

  1. If I already have these answers how effective is my organizational skills, given I know what I want to achieve?
  2. Am I using these skills to the full, as a habit, or am I just using them occasionally when I feel stressed or remember to do so?

To be organized, you want to have access to a personal daily planner book (this book should have the feel and comfort that is inviting to you, as well as the pen you use) for recording your plans for that day—actually, using it each day of the week, and yes even on Saturdays and Sundays.

Most persons have these planners but seldom use them correctly or use them at all.

My encouragement to you is to start recording your plans for today and future days, today.  See what you have to do and feel the joys of ticking or crossing them out as they get done.

We live in the technological age.  Do you have a cell phone?  A number of persons today on the planet will say yes to this question.

Interestingly today, cell phones are not only use to communicate with other people, be it verbal or text.  With the use of Windows, Android apps and many other user platforms, games, eBooks, movies, Skype, emails or just surfing the World Wide Web has been made possible.

On a number of these devices, storage capacity is quite enormous.  As such, if you already have in your possession, one of these cell phones or tablet devices, use the digital planning programs they come with (or download one, most of them are free) for creating agendas or plans for the day or for the week.  This may take a few minutes but the outcome will be great.

 

NOTE: When you plan a productive day, the feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that whatever we are working towards is getting done, is indeed fulfilling.

 

A friend of mine asked me once, after a meeting we had.

“How is it that you get so much done and not be stressed?”

I remember looking at my friend with a gentle smile then a slight chuckle, “Well, from time to time I do get stressed”.

“Oh, really!”

“Yes really, but I am never stressed over what I need to do next or where I need to go.  I just check my calendar of events for that day on my smart phone and off I’m gone.”

“I need to be more like you,” was my friends reply.

I must admit though that at the beginning of my career, this was not something I was accustom doing.

There was this particular week, I remembered having a series of meetings to attend and presentations to prepare for and students course materials I had to mark, trying to remember client’s information.  Not remembering to check the email my boss called and asked me to read and give feedback on.  That was a big problem for me.  This was a challenging week, this was my disorganized week!  So yes, you can say I learnt the hard way but that should not be your experience.  So create the habit of being organized by including tools in your environment to assist, and see yourself moving one step closer to accomplishing what you set your mind too.

So to conclude on this point of organization using electronic devices.  Remember to take note of what you need to get done on your Smartphone/ tablet and sync the information onto all your other electronic devices.  So any one you log onto, the information is there.

Do not be afraid that you may lose your phone or someone will steal it, your information is sync on all of your devices.  If you are still concerned, put a pass word on your phone, tablet or computer, and so if you lose your phone, someone else can not steal your plan for the day!

 

NOTE: Remember that failure to plan is self defeating.  Be organized and achieve your dreams.

Parents are part of the child’s life too!

Children can benefit from the collaborated efforts of parents and school teachers. When parents are not part of the decision making process of education in the classroom, they can feel isolated. It is also critical that feedback on the student’s positive performance be shared with parents and not just negative ones.
This episode of the podcast looks at some practical ways to bridge the gap between parents and teachers.

Meeting of Minds

Parents and teachers can share valuable information with each other in an effort to assist the child to become more productive, both at school and in the home environment.

 

Uncomfortable sacrifices

Finding solutions to problems are not always easy.  In the process of digging and searching for answers you will learn.  You will learn about what it takes to chase after a passion or path to your goals.  You will become better.

To become better at what you are doing or intend to do, you will have to make some uncomfortable sacrifices.   Rest assured that whatever pain you are going through, it will not last forever.  The pain will one day go away.  This is all part of the process of making you a stronger individual at the end.  This idea reminds me of a body builder I saw training.  The stretching and compressing of muscles; breaking down muscle fibres has a purpose to it.  The athletes do this, with the ultimate goal of making their muscles bigger and stronger.

Now, that is an uncomfortable sacrifice the athletes put themselves through.  I said uncomfortable sacrifices and not just sacrifices.

Why?

This is so, as some persons may be able to make a sacrifice, to do without something or to go for long periods of time without being involved with something they like.

Why is this so?

Because they can simply do without.  They can go through an experience with little to no stress on themselves as such, what they sacrificed, they did not really need for their survival.  And so, not really benefitting from the process.  It is as though what they gave was out of their surplus, and not from a need to become greater or to expand themselves.  What they did took little energy.

Why?

Because they had that surplus energy anyway.

Or possibly it was time they sacrificed.  But that was not uncomfortable for them, because time is not an issue, they had time.  For them, they were going to use time on something anyway and it just happened to be this activity.

For you to grow to your fullest capacity, there are times that your sacrifices will be uncomfortable.

 

NOTE: It should be noted that each person must evaluate their actions and see what is in the best interest for themselves and the people who depend on them.  It will therefore be unwise to give up time and energy on a pursuit, that in the end will rob you of having good family relations, be endangering to your physical and mental health, and for some, moral wellbeing.

PREPARING FOR ACTION

Preparing for action, to do anything that was not done before can feel like you are lifting a heavy load.  Think of any journey a person takes.

It can be one that a marathon runner takes or a trail a hiker is on.  Every single one of these people started off at a single point.

I remembered when I was attending primary school.  I could have been about seven or eight.  I had to walk to school some of the times.  My challenge was that, not that I hated walking, but I perceived the distance the school was to be too great and so, mentally I felt like it was too much a challenge.

So what did I do?

Each time I had to walk to school, will looked just about twenty feet in front of me at an object, keeping my eyes fixed on it, and certainly remembering to keep on the sidewalk.  As the object came about five feet in front of me, I will then chose another object about twenty feet into the distance.  And so it went until the final object I chose to fix my eyes on was the school.

So at the onset of looking at the various six habits, I want you to be aware that at the onset it will appear to be as gigantic steps you are making. Nonetheless I do encourage you to practice these until you have mastered all six.

For me, when I started looking at these six habits years ago, learning and applying them did not seem natural at first, at least some of them.  But I remembered each time I worked on one of them, the feeling I received.  It was the same as if I was casting my eyes on the objects along the way to school.

Eventually, when these six habits started to become part of me, it was as if they became automatic responses in my life.  For this reason I want you to challenge yourself to work on these:

  • Use the questions as a guide for your reflection. As you come to various conclusion and discoveries in your live, I want you to take note of them in a personal journal.  It is vital that your journal be at hand when reading this book and also have a pen too.

 

Feel free to also use your phone or tablet or other electronic devices for journaling your response to the questions in each activity or thought or idea that comes to you. It is of great value, when you can look back at what you wrote or thoughts you had at the time and muse over its meaning.

I know for myself, as thoughts come to me I have to write them down. While I trust my mine, and my ability to recall, sometimes with the flow of information coming to me it is not always easy to keep everything to the forefront of my mine. So I do encourage you to always have on hand that small pocket diary or electronic device to transfer thoughts or ideas as they come to you.

This will help you to become a reflective practitioner. This in turn will allow you the opportunity to put into practice what is understood to be of value to you.

  • Develop an overpowering voice. It is important that we understand ourselves. Who we are as a person, our likes and dislikes or preferences. In order to experience change it is important to develop an inherent voice spurring us on. Reminding us of the importance of a particular task or activity which can contribute to our goal.

 

This voice can be viewed as a quality or characteristic that acts as a gauge for us to know what is acceptable and what is not.

This trait, allows us to view persons and situations as opportunities and learning experiences.  And this is in spite of the situation being a positive or a negative one.

For learning to take place, sometimes it matters not if the experiences are happening to us or if we saw it happening to someone else.

What we can draw from all experiences, is what matters. This will assist us to know where we stand on a particular matter of our view of a particular event. These views or stands will help us to shape our thinking. Thinking, which would be projected in our personality and our behaviors. As such, we develop a voice in our heads as to how we ought to behave in order to receive a certain result.

  • Know you have a choice. As you prepare for action to make the changes in your life, and to develop habits which can promote your success, know that you have made this choice to change. Not only knowing or understanding this, especially when times get rough, but knowing that you made a deliberate effort to become better.

 

Knowing that it is your decision too, will assist you to safeguard your emotion should you perceive that you are the only one on this part the self-development. Additionally, knowing that you have taken an initiative to go after a dream, should also be a driving force for you. This means that you are capable of starting something. This means that you have looked at your life, made an evaluation and determined that what you are experiencing was not good enough. As such, you had to make a transformation or personal growth.

So by preparing for action, know that you have it within you to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others. Reading this book for instance is an indication that you have already started on the road to transforming yourself.

  • Examine your current beliefs. It is always a good idea to look at what your present understanding or beliefs are when it comes to success. This will help you to evaluate what you think to be possible as well as help you to have a clear view of your true talents, potential, or willingness to work towards achieving this particular goal.

 

Some persons may want to achieve in the area of small business, art and craft, or maybe in the area of athletics but even before starting their current beliefs already predisposes them to fail.

This failure would then bring frustration which in turn may affect their self-esteem.

As such, there are some individuals who would not even try again at what they may have had a passion for at first. So this calls for some self reflection. Look at what you deem to be true about yourself, not based on what others may believe, but at what you are actually able to do.

It is true that in some instances it is only by doing something we’re capable of recognizing our true potential. Know that our belief systems can affect emotions and our physical. And these in turn our thoughts; if they are positive can fuel us with enthusiasm. If they are negative on the other hand we can feel stressed and wanting to give up, especially when at times get tough.

  • Protect your time to work on you. In preparing to take any action either great or small, that will require time.

 

There many individuals who, at the beginning of the year or some. In their life may create great plans for themselves. And this is encouraged. For plans can get us from where we are to where we want to be. But the thing is, and this is very vital, we must see that to become better at anything, be it parenting, painting, being a better husband or wife, time is needed.

We need to make the time to work on ourselves or our craft. It is important that we experiment with time periods during the day that we would be more effective. At these time periods we want to work when our energy levels are at the highest, and when there are fewer distractions. Therefore, this is the reason why you need to protect the time for you to work on you.

Now, I am not saying that you should be so rigid, that if your child or family member for sick and needs to go to the hospital, but this is the time you carve out for yourself then you neglect them. No! This is not what I am saying at all. But we need to respect that it is only because of time, that we are able to put forth efforts and energies on practicing the thing that pushes us closer to our goal.

LIFE WITH EXPECTATIONS

Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.-Paxton Hood

It is no secret that most persons have the desire to start something great in their lives.  But the problem with most persons is that the knowhow to sustain an action that will get them to where they want to go remains a secret.  And so, with the passing of time their goals, dreams or aspirations dwindle into oblivion.

I want you to think of an occasion in your life when you made a decision to make some change.  This can be anything.

Try to recall the oath you made with yourself.  Maybe it was an exercise programme you wanted to implement.  You bought your sports clothing; matching shoes to go with it.  You made a schedule, and even started.

The first day of your exercise programmed was great, and then the second too.  Then the rain fell.  It is wet outside; you shouldn’t go out today, maybe tomorrow, a thought running through your mind.  You acted on it.

Then tomorrow came and you remembered that this was a rest day, so you can’t go out today, no, you shouldn’t, that will be cheating.  Remember the plan, the plan has a rest day built in, you already got thrown off with the rain this week.  Another thought entering your mind.

Before you know it, exercised days become swamped with other activities but exercise. Activities such as TV watching, or going to the movies may become priority. Now do not get me wrong, I’m not saying that anything is bad about these however the time they start occupying, are time originally set aside for exercise.

The gym equipment you purchased at home now becomes a hanger for clothing.  In this case, the plan to live a healthier life style, got side tracked.  A habit of consistent discipline for exercise was not developed.

I know of persons who are planning forever to return to school and finish that degree they started.  The days turned into months and the months into years.  The drive to complete the remaining course then vanished.

What is the course for that?

There can be many reasons.  But failure the stick to a plan of action consistently, speaks to a faulty process of forming the habits to take you where they want to go.

People want to achieve so much in life, too be more spiritual, learn a new language or to develop better friendships or greater wisdom in some area of their lives.

Some persons are able to accomplish so much in life whereas others struggle.

So what may be a significant deciding factor as to why some persons never achieve their dreams?

The answer could be as simple as that, they failed to develop proper habits.

When goals are not attained, most will just give up or frustrate themselves with self blame and doubt. When, what you should be doing is looking at are areas to develop more positive habits. If these habits are developed, the same persons get an intrinsic value that becomes beneficial to them in a significant way.

You see, people tend to be energized when given rewards—intrinsic or extrinsic—for their industriousness.

When we experience successes in life, owed to calculated actions and attention paid to details, we are motivated to repeat the behaviors which made us successful.

It is as though, through a learning process, we pair achievements of our goals with a specific routine.  This routine over time becomes automatic.  These are habits.

Good habits, they bring less pain physically or emotionally, as such, they are then repeated again and again.  The expectation is that we have similar positive responses each time.

If this good feeling is not experienced, or disappointments prevail, one of two positions is taken:

  1. One position might be to give up and no longer chase our dreams.
  2. The other position is to make adjustments to our routines and persevere.

Behaviorist Ivan Pavlov supported this idea of pairing specific action with outcomes.  In his work on, classical conditioning he showed that you can pair two things together that is as though they become one and the same.

Borrowing from this idea, we can see how we can pair together good habits and productivity. In other words, good work habits come to mean productivity and vice versa.

Developing powerful habits can propel plans.  Powerful habits can get you from the point at where you are right now in your life, to where you want to be.

From today, from this point on ward, you are going to succeed.  You may have tried before at various endeavours and experienced some type of setbacks.  But you will overcome, you will achieve greatness.  I therefore say to you, it is possible, and within your reach to accomplish goals you set for yourself.

Your approach to life, your attitude to growth of what is humanly possible for you must change.  After you have read and put these steps into practice, you will not remain the same.  This means that you must continue to be progressive in what you do to make your dreams a reality.

Someone once said that: “Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them”.  So let nothing prevent you from achieving all that you possibly can.