helpgrowchange

Be competitive, just don’t forget about sportmanship

We live in an extremely competitive world. We compete against somebody almost every minute of each day. We compete in how many tasks we do in a day, how fast we can run, or even how much money we make in a year. There is nothing wrong with some healthy competition, there is something wrong when people disrespect their competitors.

I’m a huge believer in sportsmanship. It is about playing the game, giving your best, and still respecting your competitors. Whether you win or lose, you have to acknowledge how well your competitor did.

The best example of this is through sport, such as rugby. Tackle after gruelling tackle, two teams absolutely smash eachother during a game. Yet, when it’s all over, they shake hands and start chatting like long lost friends (particularly in New Zealand).

Another great example of sportsmanship was in the Cricket World Cup 2015 semifinal, in which New Zealand batsman, Grant Elliot, smashed the ball to win the game. The South African bowler, Dale Steyn, crumpled to the ground in defeat. What did Elliot do? Instead of celebrating wildly and running to his team mates, he went over to Steyn, helped him up, and showed respect for a game well played. It still gives me goosebumps remembering it.

You can be the same in your day-to-day dealings. There is no reason to leave people in the dirt when you are successful. There is no reason to sabotage someone else’s career because you’re jealous of their success.

You are better than that.

I believe we should be comfortable in our own abilities, compete against ourselves, and continually strive to be better than before. We need to acknowledge the strengths of people we are competing with – admire them even.

Think about an activity you are busy with in which you’re competing with someone. Are you putting them down? How about urging them on? Are you wishing ill on them? Why not wish them the best? Are you mocking their weaknesses? Have you analysed your own? (Yes, you do have weaknesses)

Congratulate your competitors when they win, respect them when they lose. Be competitive. Win the game. Just don’t be a dick about it.

When is the right time to give advice?

It’s ironic that I’m writing an article about how we shouldn’t give our opinion or provide advice, when my whole blog is me giving you advice. If, like me, you don’t heed any advice thrown your way when you didn’t ask for it, then it’s time to stop reading this article.

In reply to my latest article, one of my newsletter subscribers replied asking how one could push past a lazy period (my article was about laziness) if they suffered from depression. Depression is a whole other beast which I cannot claim to know anything about. I admitted this to the person in question, and she thanked me for my honest answer. She went on to say how people often offer advice, even when they truly don’t know how to deal with depression.

Sometimes listening is all people want. My wife taught me this, and it’s taken me a few times to learn it. Actually, she will tell you I still try to solve problems that aren’t there (which is true).

More often than not, it is just fine to admit you don’t know anything. People will respect you for having the courage to acknowledge your limit. If you are caught out after claiming you know something (but you actually don’t), you will lose trust and respect quicker than you can say ‘I told you so’.

I don’t want to be the person who appears to have it all together, who appears to be the best in the world. I’m not that guy. I’m just like you. Struggling through this world, trying to make out what’s right from wrong. I’m hoping to make a change with the impact I make.

But it has to be an impact that is wanted – not one forced on you through my obnoxious opinions.

Even if you have a wealth of experience which you know will help another person, wait to be asked your opinion, rather than throwing it out there with no restraint. If people ask for my opinion, I will gladly provide it if it will help them with their cause. But I am learning the value of keeping my mouth shut when not asked.

We can’t solve everyone’s problems. We cannot claim to know enough about them or their circumstances to effectively help them. The best we can do is listen, console, and only offer your solutions when asked.

Think about who you go to for advice most often. Is it the person who ‘knows it all’ and won’t hesitate to force their view on you? Or is it the humble one, who knows less, but knows who you are, understands you, and offers honest advice?

On the other hand, I’m already forcing my opinion on you. So take what you’ve read today with a pinch of salt.

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?

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.

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