Thursday, 30 August 2007

Small Chunking to Achieve Big Goals

A while ago I set myself some very large goals intending to completely transform my life. After doing so I definately took some steps in the right direction, but I still found myself taking no where near enough action to making them a reality as soon as I would like.

I thought and researched hard about what was holding me back. To summarise all my research and thinking I came to the following conclusions on how best to tackle these monster goals.

I decided to small chunk my goals so that I could eventually reach my larger goals one step at a time. This method is working for me because after completing the first mini-goal I have the foundation for the next mini-goal. Eventually all these mini-goals stack up to achieve the big goals I had set in the first place.

Say you are overweight and you want to lose 2 stone of fat. This would be your large goal. You may know that you should eat less and exercise more but you would probably not have the expertise to get a diet and exercise program to see you through to your final goal. As a result you may make changes to your eating and exercising that do not benefit you much and even if you do make correct changes a lack of belief that what you are doing is helping may cause you to give up before you can even see any benefits from the changes. However, if you set a mini-goal of losing 2 pounds then this would have a completely different affect on your psychology.

Setting smaller mini-goals helps you for the following reasons.

1. It increases your motivation much more if you have doubts of whether or not you can achieve your larger goal. For example, if you are overweight you are more likely to believe that you have the power to lose 2 pounds than 2 stone.
2. It will be easier for you to figure out how to achieve to a smaller goal in something you are unfamiliar with than your large one. Once you have figured out how to get to your first mini-goal you can then figure out how to get to the next and so forth.
3. It gives you confidence, because if you're ever doubtful about achieving your major goal you can always look back at a number of smaller goals you have achieved along the way and remind yourself how far you have come. This would be harder to do if you didn't have the smaller goals to reflect on.
4. You are more likely to take a tiny step out of your comfort zone than one massive bound into a large fear.

This technique is a great way to achieve larger success, because when you small chunk to a small enough level it becomes easy to achieve your next goal. The biggest change this will have on your goal achievement is that psychologically it is much easier to get started. Once you get started you will begin to build up the momentum to carry you through to your final goal and have a path of where you came from to look back on and be proud of.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Overcome Belief Barriers to Unconditional Love, Giving and Social Acceptance

While on the road of self-improvement I discover many beliefs of mine that do not help me achieve what I would like to. Some of the most intriguing limiting beliefs that I have are my beliefs about what would happen if I changed certain beliefs. The challenge is that changing these beliefs is the next step towards achieving some of my goals, but part of me still fears that if I adopt them then they will be very damaging to my life. I have listed three beliefs that I believe I am most likely to share with other people below:

Belief 1
If I condition myself to always feel socially accepted then I will lose my sensory acuity to how people react to my actions and I will behave in a way that will cause me to have less social acceptance.

This belief is flawed, because social acceptance is an internal state of which I am in control, so if I condition myself to always feel it then I cannot not feel socially accepted. It is also foolish to assume that, because I feel socially accepted means that I will act in a way that will drive people away from me. If anything I will make more friends and be accepted more, because I will feel more comfortable around people.

Belief 2
If I love someone unconditionally I could potentially experience massive amounts of hurt if rejected.

This belief is limiting, because having it causes me to appreciate life much less than if I love unconditionally, even if I do get rejected I will still be living a more enriched life. The real challenge with this belief is realising that I will experience more pain in the long run if I don't love unconditionally.

Belief 3
If I give unconditionally then people will take and take and I will eventually have nothing left.

This belief is flawed because the world works in a way that if you give from your heart you will receive in return and, if done correctly, adding value to people is frequently rewarded in monetary form. Furthermore, once giving unconditionally the true joy in life comes from giving and a scarcity mentality is no longer relevant.

I think beliefs like these are so common because they all at some point require a leap of faith to adopt. In a way they are also a barrier to another way of thinking. Once you adopt the beliefs your world changes and all the doubts you had before are no longer relevant. For example, once you are loving someone unconditionally you no longer fear rejection from them, because what makes you happy is seeing them happy. The difference is that your focus is no longer on yourself.

In order to have the courage to take the leap of faith and adopt these beliefs I feel that a certain level of personal growth is required. I still believe, however, that the best thing a person can do is to look through any beliefs like this and pick them apart like I have above. As you continue to chip away at your limiting beliefs you will eventually experience an epiphany that will cause you to transition to the more resourceful belief and way of thinking.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Why People Criticise Self-Improvement

Recently I have been criticised by someone very close to me about reading the amount of self-improvement books that I do. Criticisms from people close to me still come as a shock and I therefore spent some time trying to figure out the exact nature of them. More specifically I answered the following question.

Why do people criticise self-improvement?

1. They see it as you doing something different from them. A lot of people will want you to be the same as them, because this allows them to feel more comfortable.
2. They believe that your desire to improve yourself is an expression of lack and they are helping you.
3. Their criticisms are often an expression of their own sense of lack.
4. They are expressing a form of jealousy.
5. They fear that you will change as a person and they will no longer be able to have fun with you.
6. They are projecting their beliefs on to you - people assume that how they feel about doing something is also how you feel about doing it, for example, if self-improvement to them feels like admitting defeat then they will assume that you feel like you are admitting defeat as well.

So how can understanding criticism help you?

When you understand why someone does something you can make a more informed decision about how to respond. Now if you ever receive a criticism of a similar nature you can quickly decide if this criticism is worth thinking about or if it is really the person criticising expressing their own feelings and problems. This will save you a lot of time spent pondering your own actions feeling unnecessarily bad and hopefully boost your confidence in your actions too.

Monday, 27 August 2007

How Responsibility Transcends the "Life is Unfair" Attitude

How do you deal with "unfair" situations? How do you feel if someone receives something better for doing less work than you? Is it right that you sometimes end up worse off than someone else even though you have better intentions?

When you say that something is unfair it implies that what happens to you is outside of your control. One of the main things I believe self-improvement is about is learning to take more responsibility and control for your life and destiny. The problem with claiming that something is unfair is that is has the complete opposite effect. Even if there are rare instances where you have absolutely no control over your current situation maintaining this attitude in the long term will cause you to relinquish control of your life.

So how can you deal with seemingly unfair situations?

You do everything in your power to try and get what you want. Let's say, for example, you apply for a job and someone who is less qualified than you gets it. This is a situation that you could potentially view as unfair. A good way to react to this situation is to continue to assume responsibility and try different means of getting the job. For example, you could continue to write to the employer expressing your belief of your suitability, you could offer unpaid internship to prove yourself, you could request feedback from interview and improve on the things where they thought you were weak, etc.

From the above example you can see that as long as you continue to assume responsibility there will always be more ways in which to act. Deciding that something is unfair is similar to accepting defeat, because you are saying to yourself that it is no longer up to you to get what you want.

I do, however, believe there are situations when it can be helpful to claim unfairness. It can be helpful to claim unfairness if it will cause you to get the result you want while remaining in line with your values. For example, if you are unfairly descriminated against in a job interview then I believe you can claim unfairness to the government, because this could help you get the job you want.

There are different ways in which the term unfair can be used. I want to be clear that I strongly believe it should be avoided when it becomes an attitude you have that causes you to give up control and responsibility. In my last example using unfairness is acceptable, because it is used to your advantage and you are still taking control of the situation.

Giving up the "life is unfair" attitude is another step you can take to accepting more responsibility for your life.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

How to Beat Procrastination 2

What follows is a technique that I have found very effective for overcoming procrastination. I have already discussed one technique that I apply in this post, however, I believe that goals should be attacked from all angles and therefore the more techniques there are to use the better.

Procrastination arises when you feel doing something will cause you more pain than not doing it. Eventhough you logically know you should do it, you will not follow through with it if you feel like it will cause you pain or struggle.

What you therefore need to do is start seeing the pleasure in that thing that you "have" to do to achieve your goals. This could apply to doing exercise, speed reading practise, making a difficult phone call, etc.

For example, when thinking about exercise most people see the pain of exerting themselves and getting out of the house. The people that enjoy exercising see it as an opportunity to challenge themselves, experience some endorphins, get some fresh air and give themselves more energy for the rest of the day.

It really does come down to how you look at it and believe you will experience it. The actual activity of "going for a run" is not what differs from person to person greatly. It is the perception of it that differs so much.

So how do you change how you look at a certain activity?

What I do first is consciously ask myself the question "where is the fun in this activity?" I ask myself this question in different ways until I come up with the answer. Once I have come up with this answer I make the picture of the fun part of the activity big and bright and really feel the experience. With enough practise this becomes very easy and now I no longer find myself struggling to follow through with these activities, because I want to do them anyway.

If having read this you are thinking "well that sounds like a great exercise, but I really can't be bothered" then ask yourself that question now about following through with this very exercise. Once you enjoy carrying out this exercise you can use it to begin finding the fun in everything else you "should" be doing, but do not really want to do.

If there were a set of key challenges to overcome on the road to success, beating procrastination would be one of them. Enjoy this exercise :)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Discover Your Core Beliefs

Sometimes I find that the beliefs that I think and journal about are not always the ones that I act on. I have mentioned this phenomenon in greater detail in this post.

I believe this is a common situation, because a belief that makes sense to us logically will not necessarily govern our actions as much as years of conditioning will.

So how can you know what your real beliefs are if what you talk about is not in line with how you act?

You have to review your past actions and ask "what belief would caused me to do that?"

It's a pretty simple exercise, but the real effectiveness comes in the application of it. Taking the time to compare your intellectual beliefs and your core beliefs will help you to become a more congruent person.

It may also help you to learn more about the beliefs that are guiding your actions. You can then use this valuable information to help determine whether these beliefs are moving you closer or farther away from you goals.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The Cost of Indecision

In some area of your life you may be undecided about something. Undecided about whether to commit fully to a relationship, whether to quit your job and start your own business, or whether to give up eating the trashy foods you love, etc.

The reason I find myself in this situation is because I feel that once I make a decision I may live to regret it. I fear a potential feeling of regret therefore I shy away from making the decision.

Recently, however, I have come to look at the situation differently. By looking at in this new way I understand that indecision is in fact setting myself up for greater regret. If I spend my whole life undecided about a major part of my life then I will not be giving my all to it. If I was to regret anything when looking back on my life it would be that I did not give my all to something. I could not imagine more pain than realising that I could have given more, lived life fuller and enjoyed myself more.

As well as everything I have just mentioned is the fact that once a decision on something major is made your life is no longer the same. Points you argued before making the decision are no longer relevant. For example, before committing to a relationship you may fear that you will never have the opportunity to be with anyone else, however, after making that commitment you could probably think of nothing worse than being with someone else.

There are probably more places than one in your life where you are hovering on a big decision. Once you have all the information you can realistically have about a decision you should not spend too long making that decision. Although it may seem difficult, it would be better to say you gave your all to your decision and not succeeded first time, than to live with having never made a decision at all.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Using Sport to Understand Financial Success

After looking back on some of the things that have made me a successful sportsman I have observed many links between sporting and financial success.

Some of these are simple and obvious, but as you look through this list I hope you find at least one little nugget that you can add to your arsenal for tackling financial or indeed sporting success.

Key: Sporting advice (corresponding financial advice)

1. Pick your sport wisely (pick your field of expertise and vehicle for creating financial abundance wisely)
2. Pick your team wisely (surround yourself with good people)
3. Buy equipment that you can get the most out of for your standard, e.g. sticks, clubs, boots, etc (get equipment with a good benefit to cost ratio, e.g quality of computers, speed of internet connection, etc)
4. Get good coaches (get good financial coaches, gurus or educational products)
5. Play above your standard (surround yourself with people achieving better results/earning more money than you)
6. Make friends with players from better teams (e.g build relationships with more successful businessmen)
7. Have your reason to improve be to benefit your team (Have your reason to improve be to benefit your family or someone else)
8. Coach (share your knowledge)
9. Exercise daily (review your accounts daily)
10. Know your goals and review daily (ditto)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Can You be Too Confident in Your Beliefs?

When are the best times to be close-minded about your beliefs? Can it really be constructive to not acknowledge another person's point of view? Are you making yourself vulnerable by being too open-minded?

Let´s say you become very confident in a particular belief of yours. Often you will stop seeing credibility in any belief but your own. This can have some pretty negative consequences, because there is always the possibility that there is a more resourceful belief out there than your own. If you refuse to acknowledge any new beliefs then you will never allow yourself the opportunity to make use of a better belief.

However, being very confident in your beliefs is a very good way of convincing others of your beliefs. For example, If you're starting a new business and you're looking for financial support, when you speak to investors you are much more likely to receive investment if you are 100% confident that you're business will be successful.

So where do we draw the line? How can we know if we are too confident in our beliefs? Can we even be too confident?

I believe to overcome this challenge we need the flexibility to be both 100% confident in our beliefs and open to new beliefs. I don't, however, believe it is possible to experience these two different states at the same time. What we need to know is when to experience which one.

I believe that if we are teaching others of our beliefs, for example speaking in front of a crowd, or, as earlier, pitching for an investment, then we should be 100% confident in our beliefs.

If I was having a discussion with a friend or with a small group of people then I would be very flexible and open-minded about my beliefs, because this is a great atmosphere in which to challenge and develop my beliefs.

I believe this type of flexibility is the most effective way of making the best of both worlds.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Using Different Advice from Different Gurus

In my last two posts I have talked about the use of immersion to achieve a large goal, such as becoming financially independent.

In order to achieve large goals I believe as many different techniques as possible should be used. So what is another effective technique to achieve a large goal?

As I mentioned in my previous posts different people will offer different advice for achieving the same goal. This happens because people's advice comes from a simplification of their reality. People will therefore produce different advice if they are simplifying different realities.

So what's the best way of tackling this issue?

Try out every one's advice. This is a real simple one, but not necessarily that obvious. If two gurus in an area are offering different advice. Try them both out and measure your results. Then go find another guru and try out his advice. If you continue this process you will eventually achieve your goal, because you will eventually find advice that is most suited to your reality.

How to Use A Successful Person's Common Sense

(This post is easier to understand and apply having read my other post on immersion and success models first.)

I find it interesting when I read about businessmen or women who say they apply a common sense approach to business (or any other area) to produce great results.

The thing I find interesting is that if this "sense" is so common then why aren't more people using it and also producing great results?

I believe that to the individual it will feel very much like they are applying common sense to overcome problems. The issue is that their solutions are common sense in the context of their reality. Common sense in the context of someone else's reality may, however, produce completely different results.

This is why when I hear about someone using a common sense approach I will often want to find out much more about how this person thinks.

How to apply this knowledge ties up well with my other post on immersion and success models. In that post I describe that if you want to achieve an outcome that someone else can, then you need to immerse yourself in the reality of that particular person. Having done that you can then apply their "success model" effectively.

So if you want to produce results using someone's "common sense" you can apply the same principles. You must immerse yourself in that person's reality until your reality becomes much like theirs. Once you share similar realities you too should begin to see the solution to certain challenges as common sense.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Why Immersion is the Essential Factor to Any Success Model

If you have read a lot on how to achieve any particular skillset then you will probably have come across a lot of different advice.

Some advice is very simple and effective. If, however, you are like me then you will have found that producing the results you want using one piece of advice alone is rarely enough.

One way of explaining this is that the advice comes from the author's "map" of the world or reality. This means that his model (or advice) will make perfect sense in the context of his reality, however, it may not make sense (or at least be as effective) in the context of yours.

This is why when you read a short article with a title like "5 steps to financial abundance", although it could be accurate, it will probably not be enough for you to achieve as larger goal as financial abundance. This is because you are not interpreting the steps from the same context as that of the author's.

In order to effectively copy someone's strategy for achieving a particular outcome it takes more than just listening to a brief description of how they believe it works.

What you really need to do to achieve that outcome is to change your reality to that of someone who has achieved your goal. This takes more than just copying someone's success model, which is by definition only a simplification of reality. In order to achieve your goal you must immerse yourself in the reality of those people who have already achieved it. Ways of doing this include reading many books on your area of interest, studying biographies of those who have achieved what you want and meeting up with these people and discussing in detail the tiny distinctions that allows them to produce their unique results.

It may be that you are already applying these principles in some parts of your life. I know I do when I play sport, because as I spend more time with team mates who are better than me I adopt their different strategies for producing better results.

The challenge is to take this knowledge and apply it consciously to achieve the goals you want faster than you ever have before.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Think Big To Enrich Your Life

I've made a pretty fundamental observation of the most successful and fulfilled people in the world.

This observation is that they all think BIG.

It's so simple but it's something that really makes a big difference.

Thinking on a large scale makes so many daily worries and tiny issues not worth worrying about.

If you were trying to get a unique new message out to millions of people would it ruin your day if you forgot to buy something from the supermarket?

If you were developing a product that could change the lives of millions would you care if someone gave you a nasty look while you were walking around town?

The chances are that you wouldn't, because your big idea eclipses so many of the small challenges of your daily life.

What concept excites you more - earning £10,000 in a year to pay your bills, or earning £10,000,000 to live the life you want to live?

Thinking big solves so many challenges and really enriches your life.

What would you enjoy getting out of bed for - punching numbers into a computer all day or working to touch the lives of millions?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Thank God for Close-Minded People

I hope the following example inspires a positive change in you like it did in me.

I have a friend who is very close-minded about his beliefs and sometimes it frustrates me when he won't listen to my theories. I know in my heart that they are right yet he still won't give me the time of day to discuss them.

Having taken the time to reflect on this experience I have learned that this situation has been very useful for me for two reasons.

One is that it reminds me that my beliefs may in fact be wrong no matter how confident I am about them or how fundamental I believe they are.

Secondly this can be a very useful exercise for developing my beliefs. When I argue with a very close-minded person I find that I am really challenged to justify what I believe in. As I do this I either learn that certain beliefs are horribly wrong or I develop my reasoning to either confirm or produce more accurate beliefs.

It's a win-win situation.

This is one hell of a reframe from when I used to argue with close-minded people and get frustrated when they wouldn't believe what I believed.

Another positive side-effect is that because of this positive outlook I am likely to discuss my beliefs calmly and therefore with greater clarity, making my arguement more persuasive than it would have been before.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

How to Practise What We Preach

I have just finished reading through my journal from several months ago and noticed some very interesting things.

Whilst reading my journal I noticed that I have some very well developed intellectual beliefs about how the world works and how I should act in life. For example, I know that logically nothing makes more sense than dedicating myself to the greater good, yet when I evaluate my current life I see that I am not always living congruently with this belief.

What is going on here?

I believe intellectual models of the world and a person's beliefs can be two seperate entities. This explains how some people act in completely different ways to how they say they act.

This also explains how there are some people who preach different self-help techniques yet apply none of them themselves, or how someone who teaches people how to be wealthy can have their company go bankrupt.

So how can you be sure you're not falling into a similar trap of self-delusion?

This answer is so incredibly simple.

1. Read back on the latest "self-help technique" you preached, wealth building tip you suggested, advice you gave to a friend, journal entry about how you should live, etc.
2. Honestly evaluate whether you are truly living to those words
3. If you're not, then carry out your own advice
4. See what happens
5. If it works then you have the right to preach it and if it doesn't then you've just fine-tuned your model of reality.

I believe carrying out exercises like this are very important. When there is a large gap between our intellectual models of the world and our everyday actions then there is something incongruent about who we are. We are no longer true to ourselves and our quality of being suffers.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

How to Love What You Hate

This is a follow-up from my procrastination post.

The only trouble with the technique I just suggested is - what if you don't like to do what you have to do?

I think that if you don't like to do what you have to do it's because you're coming from an unresourceful perspective that I too find myself getting trapped in sometimes.

Physical exercise is a great example. We all know we should do it, but some of us just don't seem to enjoy it.

The real missing factor here is creativity and challenge.

Anything is enjoyable if we are creative enough and appreciate the challenge in something.

Some people love to exercise because they love the opportunity to beat their last record and grow.

Other people exercise because it's a great opportunity to socialise, for example by joining a sport's team or running club.

You think these guys have to beat themselves up to get out there and exercise?

These guys get annoyed if they miss a workout.

I genuinely believe that everything in life can be made enjoyable. Even if something seems painful, the challenge will help me to grow which I find very enjoyable.

Now the real challenge is conditioning myself to always look at things this way, because it's definately not in the human nature to do so.

Friday, 3 August 2007

How to Beat Procrastination

This is such a simple way of beating procrastination it's laughable.

The other day I wrote a comprehensive plan of things I wanted to do daily. The following day I found myself resisting wanting to follow through with what I had planned. I found this emotion amazing as another part of me knew that I loved to do all the things in my plan. After questioning myself I discovered that I was looking at the plan the wrong way.

Having made the plan I set myself up to feel "I HAVE to do this... and after this I HAVE to do that, etc." This subtle shift in attitude caused me to resist doing the very things I loved. Once I became aware of this it only took a second before I reminded myself that I in fact enjoyed doing these things and began following through with my plan straight away.

My point is that procrastination is caused by a sequence of thoughts. So all you need to do to beat procrastination is to change your thought patterns.

In my case procrastination comes when I feel I NEED to do something. I'm now very aware of this emotion and when I sense it arise I instantly shake myself out of the thought pattern and find genuine reasons why I enjoy what I WANT to do.

Try and recognise your strategy for inducing procrastination and make a real effort to break the habit. Become acutely aware as to when this emotion arises, then instantly destroy it. This is one of the biggies that could change you life.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

You Get What You Feel You Deserve

This is probably one of the simplest and most valuable concepts for producing results in your life.

Have you noticed how some people just seem to get amazing things, sometimes without even trying?

For example there will be that guy who can just walk up to a group of strangers and instantly be their new best friend without doing anything special.

You may also know some people who always have a lot of money yet don't seem that different from you. Or similarly, you may know someone who has the exact same job as you, yet he seems to have much less money than you, even though he never seems to buy anything.

This is for the simple reason that people generate the results that they deep-down feel they deserve. If someone feels they deserve to have a lot of money, then they will find ways of getting it.

Take someone like Donald Trump who clearly feels he deserves billions. If he woke up one day with only millions he would sweat blood until earning his billions back. It may seem like a big challenge, but somehow you just know that he will pull it off.

This is the power of getting what you feel you deserve.

So how can you use this concept?

Find reasons why you deserve what you want.

It's that simple.

If, for example, you want a beautiful and loving girlfriend or wife, find reasons why you deserve one. It's literally as easy as getting a paper and pen and writing the question "why do I deserve this?" and then writing a big list why.

Now repeat this process until in your gut you know it's what you deserve.

If you can't think of anything, then start doing some things that would allow you to feel as though you deserve it.

Give it a try