helpgrowchange

Climb out of your past to face your future

Sometimes we are stuck in the past. We go about our routines and habits because we have always done them this way. It’s safe, comfortable, and we don’t want to ‘break something that is not broken’ as some people say.

This is where the problem lies.

If we are stuck doing the same thing at the same level, we will never grow – you will never grow. There will be no improvement, no joy of discovering something new, nothing to stimulate your mind or soul. But you know what? You can change it. No matter what some of your naysayers might say, you can change all of what you can control – which is a lot more than you believe it is.

You have the power to change your own future, and it’s time you claimed your own life back.

This is so much easier said than done – I know. There are many things to worry about like finances, skills, life in general. The biggest hurdle of all, though, is you. You need to decide that you want to change your life. No-one can change it for you. Sure, they can offer you opportunities, but it all comes down to you wanting it and deciding to take action.

We all have dreams, yet so often that is how they remain – dreams. From when we were children, we may have dreamed of changing a person’s fate on the operating table, or testing the boundaries of human discovery in space. Let’s face it, some dreams are unrealistic (possible, but unrealistic).

For your own sanity and confidence, you need to be serious about what you want and what you can achieve. If you’re like me, a 30-ish person stuck in a desk job, the odds are we are not going to be an astronaut any time soon. We’re not going to be working on a critical procedure on the operating table, unless we are the patient. You might still want to achieve those dreams, but you have to let them go for now.

You need to focus on what you have right now, and what you can change for your future.

I still dream of being some hotshot owner of a popular technology company, but as the years roll on, I’m accepting the fact that I’ll probably not achieve it. So, I’m looking for alternatives. I might not be owner of something big, but I can be an owner of something that provides value. I’m looking at options in my current situation where I can help, grow, and change other peoples lives.

This blog is my first example of such a change. My wife is starting something of her own. There are a couple more things we’re working on as well. Our excitement is building about the future opportunities presenting themselves.

The changes you make don’t need to be drastic. Small ones here and there make massive differences further down the line. How about investigating the possibility of some free studies, such as Coursera or Codecademy? Start a blog about your expertise? Volunteer in your local community? As you make one small change, I promise you it will become easier to make more changes. Bigger changes that will truly change your life.

The past cannot be changed, but you can still prepare for your future. What will you change today?

Persistence almost made me cry

It is amazing how dogged persistence gets results. They can be good or bad, but they are results nonetheless. My wife and son showed persistence recently that had me frustrated, bored, and close on tears from their shear willpower. They showed me how persistence will get you what you need in the end.

My wife was on the lookout for a logo for her new business venture (coming soon!). It involved a search lasting almost a year, scouring the web for possible pictures, me sketching a few ideas, and even asking our friend over at iCreate to draw something. Then, finally, on a fateful rainy day, an image was found. It was simple, effective, and perfect for what my wife wanted as the face of her brand.

There had been many possible logos throughout her search, but they never felt quite right. She had an image in her mind of what she wanted, and wouldn’t settle for anything less. It was both admiring and frustrating to see the dogged persistence.

Her story showed me we should not settle for less than what we deserve – especially when we can change it. So often, do we compensate our needs because we don’t want to ‘rock the boat’, or deal with too many challenges for any length of time.

We make do with average, or never feel the true happiness of achieving and having something we know can be better.

Similarly, persistence is needed to push someone else out of their comfort zone, which brings me to potty training and making me cry (well, almost).

It was time to rid my 3 year old son of his nappy during the day. My son has one of the strongest stubborn streaks of anyone I know, so this training was always going to be a battle royale – our parental persistence against his stubbornness. Bear in mind that potty training generally takes up to 5 or 6 days, more due to bladder-control accidents rather than stubbornness.

The first day started off like any normal potty training, with some cajoling and accidents. The second day was flat out refusal from my son to co-operate. It didn’t improve after 3 days, 4 days, 8 days. He would randomly agree to potty, but it was never consistent and always after lengthy battles between parent and child.

On the 10th day my wife and I were at our wits end. Still with no improvement, we were on the verge of tears, almost giving up in the process. We were especially frustrated because we knew he was being defiant. We seeked guidance and consolation from friends and family, but were told to ‘leave him be’, or ‘he’ll get there in time’. We simply could not accept this outcome because if we gave up now, we would have to start all over again another time.

We persisted.

12 days in to potty training, and success! My son finally grasped the concept that it was easier for everyone (including himself) to not be restricted by a nappy anymore. This was a classic sign of how we stay in our comfort zones for far too long.

Sometimes it takes the persistence of others to break through our barriers and pull us to new horizons.

In any type of persistence, there is frustration, there are challenges, and there comes a time when you think there is no end in sight. But the great thing about persistence is exactly that – persistence.

Carry on driving your message. Continue to pursue your goal. I’m not saying it will work out in the end, but looking at one more picture might get you your logo, or continuing training for one more day might get your child potty trained. The simple act of trying just one more time might get you what you want or where you want to be. What will you persist with today?

Be content with who you are, before you lose yourself

It is human nature that drives us to be people-pleasers. We want other people to like us. We want them to call us when they’re lonely, or even when they’re not. We want them to want to be with us. But to meet the demand of being liked, sometimes we change ourselves to appear as something we are not. We deny our true selves the chance to connect with the right people for us, because we’re trying to impress the wrong people.

I am guilty of giving up who I am to impress other people – with the only goal to appear as if I’m ‘good enough’ to associate with them. I would be a kind-hearted partner to my wife, then while out with my friends, I would snub my nose to a person asking for a couple dollars on the street. Looking back now, I shake my head disappointingly at myself.

The sad thing is, is this behaviour is not uncommon across all of our modern day society. We are pulled in every direction by our friends, advertising, work, social media, pretty much anything else really. An illusion appears in each of these directions we’re pulled in. The illusion that we could be a better person if we simply change to fit the mould. Don’t get taken in by the mirage. I believe this is where we lose ourselves more because we are trying to be somebody we are not.

We need to be content with who we are. The right people will then be attracted to us. If we are comfortable with our values, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, we will choose the right path for ourselves. Not the path where we chase friends or dreams we ‘think’ is right, the path is the one we know is right.

How do you know you are content with yourself?

  • You are not worried about the outcome.
  • No matter what happens, you know you tried your best.
  • You made the choice because you felt it in your gut.
  • You are comfortable speaking your mind.
  • You don’t care what others think because you stayed true to yourself.

How do you know you are losing yourself?

  • You feel like you are being forced into a situation.
  • You don’t agree with the morals or values of a situation, but you do it anyway.
  • You don’t speak you honest opinion because you are afraid it might cause a stir.

So often do I find myself still making decisions to please the people I associate with. But I find I’m only compromising for the small stuff, like opinions on movies or social activities. When it comes to the more important decisions impacting on my values, morals, and beliefs, this is where I stand strong. No matter what the outcome, I want to know that I’ve stayed true to who I really am. It is the best feeling when I go to bed at night knowing that I’ve done the right thing today.

How do you feel you are when it comes to staying true to yourself? Are you listening to your inner core, or trying to impress others?

Why your blog is a big deal (and how you can start one)

One of the easiest ways for you to make a difference in this world is through your own written word – particularly through blogging. Even though we’re in an age of short attention spans and reality T.V., writing is still just as important today as it was centuries ago, and you have the gift to impact someone else’s life through the way you see the world.

When starting your own blog, the information available around the Internet can be extremely daunting and overwhelming. I certainly found this to be the case whenever I tried something new (like email lists, calls to action, and SEO content writing). Sometimes, all we need is something simple, containing only the important bits. Here is my attempt, hopefully it will be helpful to you.

Write about anything you want

No matter what you choose to write about, I can guarantee you someone else is doing it too. Someone else is an expert at it. And someone else is making money off it.

But that someone else is not you.

You are just as important as that other person. You have your own perception on your topic – your own experiences to add to the equation. Nobody else has experienced it the way you have. Writing your story gives a point of view no-one else has seen before.

“You are you, that is truer than true” – Dr. Seuss

When you experience an event, or use a product, or pretty much experience anything at all, you perceive it differently to anyone else on this planet.

Yes, there may be similarities, but you have your own story to tell. And your story might be the missing piece your future reader needs.

Take this site as an example. Everyone and their uncle is talking about self-motivation and taking action, yet here we are. You are reading my version of the story (hopefully it’s helping you!).

So how do I start a blog

A simple search on Google will bring up a gazillion articles on the intricacies of blogs – ranging from the technicalities of hosting, to the philosophical views on the importance of blogging. Let’s keep it simple and answer 2 simple questions;

  1. What will I name my blog?
  2. Where will I post my content?

1. What will I name my blog?

The name of your blog is pretty important if you want to attract major visitors quickly. However, that is not the purpose of this article (and you are definitely reading the wrong blog if you want traffic to your site).

Once you have your name, you need to make the choice between a free blogging service or paying for your own custom domain name. This is totally up to you, and going free is a great way to begin (it’s what I did when I started out).

If you’re serious about what you want, then buying a domain name is the way to go. You will need a domain registrar – 1and1 is the company I use.

2. Where will I post my content?

Knowing where you will be posting your content – otherwise known as hosting – is kinda critical if you want to blog. There are many free services available for you to start out on.

Medium is my personal recommendation if you simply want a place to post without the worry about any other customisation other than a picture and text (very beautifully done, I might add).

For some site customisation, such as themes and widgets, the two largest free blogging services are Blogger and WordPress. There isn’t much between the two, other than a handful of features and the website address.

As before, if you’re serious about your blogging, you will need to pay some money for a full hosting service. The benefit of this is you have full control of your content and customisation.

GreenGeeks have been awesome since I joined up with them last year. Their prices aren’t the cheapest, but their services are excellent – and they are completely powered by green energy (good for the planet and all that).

Where to next? Start writing!

I’ve provided a few pointers on where you can publish your content, now the time has come for you to show us! Start writing today, and publish it before you are ready. One of the best content writing tips I gained was the following; if your content is 80% perfect, publish it! It’s better to have your message out for people to read (possibly with an error or two), rather than have it languishing in your mind.

It can very daunting publishing your first post (trust me, I know, here’s mine), and I would love to see what you come up with. Post your website and article in the comments below.

Stand up for what you believe in

Being kind and caring is perceived as being weak by naysayers in our lives. Often, they laugh at our caring and demean our kindness – either to smash us down or make themselves feel better. Many caring folk fold under this mockery, become submissive and let the bullies in to their lives, ultimately allowing them to destroy it.

When I first started this blog, I was embarrassed to share that I wrote a blog. When I did mention that I blogged, some people would then mock me about it. Every time a situation would come up, they would disrespectfully say “Maybe you should write a blog post about this”. Even after finding out that I was trying to make a positive impact on this world, some other people would further attempt to put me down, going as far as saying that I will never make a difference as there is simply too many voices in this world.

I don’t give a damn what those people said, or would possibly say. I am helping people in need because it is the right thing to do. It is a risk, yes, but it is worth it. I help people find some purpose, help them see a brighter future, help them in any way I can.

Through me taking action and doing things for others, the bullies in my own life have backed off. They no longer pester me with small-minded comments. Or, I just simply ignore them and filter them out completely.

I believe you should ignore the bullies too. Do not allow yourself to stoop to their level. Do not allow them to play their mind games and wedge themselves in your head – initiating self-doubt and fear.

I believe you should make a stand of who you are and what you stand for. Helping out your brother, your friend, or a stranger is a sign of strength. It’s a sign that you are focusing on something greater than yourself. You are using your precious time and energy to make somebody else’s life better. That is awesome. You should do it more.

“If people are criticising you, you’re doing something right.” – Unknown

The bullies and the naysayers will always be there, trying to get in your face and putting you down. But you know what? That’s a good thing. It means you are making a difference in your world, changing our world for good, and doing what is right (almost like a superhero of sorts).

That’s what I try to remember when I’m being put down. I know what I’m doing is for the greater good. Not everything in this world is as bad as people say. And sometimes, actually most-times, a little kindness goes a very long way.

New limits are set when you disregard your current ones

How often do you find yourself saying “Oh, I can’t do that”, or “That is so out of my league”? I’m guessing pretty often. Don’t worry, we all do it. We downgrade our abilities before we’ve even started – before we’ve even thought about starting.

We look at others, and see them running for miles, selling up a storm, or climbing mountains. We are happy for those people, and we congratulate them on their achievements. But we never actually think about doing it ourselves because we’re not as fit/charismatic/courageous/(enter appropriate word here) as them. I may not have achieved much in my life (yet), but there is one thing I can tell you – and that is you can achieve as much or as little as you want.

Most of the barriers we face in our lives are self-imposed limits.

We limit ourselves in our quiet comfort zones. Those places where we know what we are doing, what will happen, and we feel ‘safe’. We become used to this lifestyle and soon forget we can achieve more. We forget there is so much more to enjoy, if we only just test our current boundaries.

Testing your limits isn’t easy. You have to figure where your limits are, how you will test them, and then the hard part comes into play – actually taking action to push past the barriers. For me, the toughest battle I fight, is internally with my own mind. My mind tells me I can’t do something (like having the audacity to ask or running 5km in under 25 minutes). I believe my mind’s words to be true, but persist in trying anyway.

New limits are set when you disregard your current ones.

When reading motivational messages, the consistent message seems to be ‘YOU CAN DO IT!’, ‘DREAM BIG, REACH HIGH!’, ‘JUST GO GO GO!’. This creates a perception in our minds that we need to go big or go home. Take this advice with a pinch of salt. There is some truth in these messages, but they are creating a false future.

You’re not going to be blazing a 10km run tomorrow, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro next week, or even making dozens of sales by the end of today. If you believe this, you are setting yourself up for failure.

You need to courageously test your limits through tiny little incremements. We are all operating at different levels, with different mindsets and skills. Set yourself challenges to improve – small enough to be achievable, and large enough to be just outside your comfort zone.

Every time I run, I increase my distance a little, or run a little quicker. Even if it is a few hundred metres more, or only a few seconds less – it is better than before. Similarly, you can do this by testing yourself ‘just a little more’.

There is more in you

This simple saying really helps me test my limits just that little bit more. It implies that we have the energy to take one more step, we have the mental power to practice one more time.

As you test the limits of your comfort zone, you will find the boundaries begin to shift outward. Those limits you thought you had, have long since disappeared. You now know what you are capable of, and soon you will be testing your new limits again.

You may not move mountains today or tomorrow, but you are one step closer and that’s what counts.

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