What We Think Of OurselvesSeptember 15, 2022
If you’ve watched any of my videos, seminars, or appearances, you have heard me talk about the impact positive thinking has on our actions. While I came to realize this in my own way and in my own time, I was not the first person to come up with the idea. In fact, neither was Henry David Thoreau, but he is one of the philosophers who inspired me to improve my lot in life.
He said, “It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.” Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Except, like most ideas and philosophies, it is harder to put into practice than it is to say out loud. Let me explain.
It took me years of negative thinking, doubt, and blaming others to even start looking for an alternative way to think. You see, no one told me that I could take control of my life with my actions. I felt like the world was just out to get me. I had not taken the time to realize that what I was doing was the cause of all of the things that happened to me.
We all have this problem at some point in our lives. We doubt ourselves, we don’t believe in ourselves, and maybe we have some external force reinforcing those negative thoughts. But we don’t have to let them in, and we don’t have to let them win.
Self-Reflection Does Not Mean Self-Hate
I want to be clear right off the bat: self-hate is not the answer to anything. The world throws curveballs at us every day, and we have enough external pressure keeping us down as it is.
Self-reflection is the productive, positive cousin of self-hate.
Self-reflection consists of looking at what we have done in the past, sure, but it needs to be centered in a place of growth and opportunity to improve ourselves. Sometimes this means facing down some tough memories of our past and looking at things we have done along the way that we might wish we had done differently. But it never means beating ourselves up about the past.
So how do you make sure to stay positive? Make a plan to do better, look at what you’ve done that you can do differently going forward, and commit to making those positive changes. That’s the core of it at least.
Make A Plan To Do Better
One thing I have learned for certain in my life is that we need a plan. Sure, some people can just “wing it” through life, but take a look at those people and what they are looking for from life. Thrill-seekers, free-loaders, and people who have already created their own success and are now enjoying it.
If you want more out of life, you have to start thinking about what it is that you want, and outline what you are going to do to get it done.
My process began with realizing that I needed to meditate on my plan every day, work actively toward my plan in some way every day, and affirm to myself what I had done that was moving my plan forward every day. It doesn’t even take up much of my time – maybe 15 minutes in the morning and evening and from 30 minutes to 3 hours a day to start. You can make the time if you have a plan and know what you are going to do with it.
Reflect On What You Can Do Better
This is where it is important to remember that the point of all of this is to love yourself and look forward to a positive future before you look back. Don’t dwell on things that you can’t change – focus on things that you can do differently in the future instead of repeating mistakes from the past.
For me, it was looking at my past deeds and imagining what kind of decisions I could make that would make my son proud of me. I realized that instead of trying to take something from others without earning it, I wanted to earn real success with hard work and effort. The problem was that I didn’t even know what that would look like!
Commit To Making Positive Changes
So I set a goal – I had to learn how to do something more. I started reading books to help me learn how to organize my life, and eventually ended up completing college degrees, all to achieve my goal of finding success with hard work.
That also means that you need to set goals that work in increments. If I had set a goal to get a graduate degree right off the bat before I had gotten my GED, it would have been overwhelming. I needed to set goals one step at a time. Here’s how it looked:
- I had never finished school, so I knew I could get my GED to make up for that choice in my past.
- Once I had my GED, I realized that in order to move up in life, I would need to learn more – so I got my bachelor’s degree.
- I got a job working sales, then decided to work my way up to manager. And I did.
If I hadn’t made a series of plans to achieve those goals in opposition to my past, I would never have achieved the success I have today, but it required me to look back on my past and work to do better at the things that I could improve on, not dwelling on things that I couldn’t.
You Aren’t In This Alone
I talked a lot in this blog about self-reflection, but I want to close by reminding you that you’re not alone on your journey to finding and making your own success. When I first picked up Tony Robbins’ program, I never thought that I would one day be getting praise from him about my own work. Even though the help I found was largely in books, it was help from others that I needed to support me through my journey.
I also relied, and still do, heavily on the love and support of family and friends, especially my son Hunter, and I know that each of us can make positive change in their lives.
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Remember, as Thoreau said, we determine our own fate, and you can start taking control today.