The Habit of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. AristotleThe Act Habit of Excellence

A dictionary definition of excellence states that it is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good or superior at something. In other words, whenever you excel at something you are performing at a level far above what the average person is able to give to that particular skill or situation. This is all well and good, however, it doesn’t really provide us with anything practical or actionable to work with. For instance, how will you know when you’re excelling at something? What are the specific indicators? Or, what does it really feel like to excel at something that is far beyond what other people are able to accomplish?

These are not easy questions to answer because excellence could very well be purely based on perception and the expectations that one holds of oneself in very specific situations. For instance, my definition of excellence in a particular situation could be very different when compared to your definition of excellence. And yet both of us could feel as though we are excelling, and yet only one of us will have the better results/outcomes from our actions. Therefore, does this mean that only one of us is excelling and the other is just fooling themselves? Or, do we both need to be in the top 5 percent in the world to attain excellence in any field of endeavor? Or is it the top 1 percent? Who knows? Who decides this? Or maybe excellence has absolutely nothing to do with us but is purely based on other people’s expectations. Therefore surpassing another person’s expectations immediately ascends us into the realms of excellence???

Given all this, it’s quite clear that it’s going to be very difficult to outline a concrete definition of what excellence truly means. However, we can certainly broaden the definition of excellence in a multitude of ways based on a set of simple actions. Partaking in each one of these actions helps us build very specific habits that lead us down the path towards attaining results in life that the vast majority of people never reach. Therefore a culmination of all these habits could very well substitute as our definition of excellence because as Aristotle mentioned, excellence is what we repeatedly do. It’s not an act but rather a habit. Or in other words, a culmination of habits directed at a very specific goal for a definitive purpose.

What follows is a set of actions, habits, beliefs, decisions and empowering thoughts that in combination will help you get the results you desire to create in your life in pursuit of your highest goals and life’s purpose. Working these ideas into your life will set you on a path In Pursuit of Excellence, where you will begin to excel far beyond what the vast majority of people are capable of. And that I guess is what excellence is all about. It’s about doing the things that the majority of the population cannot or will not do. That is what separates you from the crowd and helps you to live a life of excellence.

So let’s get started on this exploratory journey and identify what it really means to live a life of excellence.

What it Means to Pursue Excellence


What it Means to Live in Pursuit of Excellence

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means having an insatiable hunger to:

  • Make a positive difference in people’s lives.
  • Pursue your own path, dreams and deepest passions.
  • Share your expertise and enthusiasm willingly with the world.
  • Do things better than you initially expected; better than other people would do in the same situation.
  • Leave a lasting legacy behind that impacts the world in a positive way. How do you want to be remembered?
  • Work not only harder but also make an effort to work smarter each and every day.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means showing enthusiasm to:

  • Improve yourself by expanding your boundaries and raising your personal standards.
  • Learn something new daily by updating your knowledge, by staying informed, by reading books, and by developing new skills.
  • Learn from experience through self-reflection especially from mistakes, failure, and other people’s endeavors.

How to Pursue Excellence in Everything You Do

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means you must:

  • Set clearly defined goals.
  • Let go of the negative thoughts that are keeping you stuck and feeling miserable.
  • Follow through on the promises you make to yourself and others.
  • Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination, perfectionism and instant gratification.
  • Maintain high levels of energy through proper diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Keep your motivation levels primed at all times to help you get through difficult periods of your life.
  • Plan ahead tactically and strategically by anticipating potential setbacks and problems in advance.
  • Keep persisting and moving forward no matter how many difficulties you face along your path.
  • Avoid making pitiful excuses for the lack of results in your life.
  • Take full responsibility for your choices, decisions, actions and the attitude you bring into every situation.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means continuously:

  • Cultivating a solution-focused mindset.
  • Being adaptable to changing conditions and circumstances.
  • Striving to be humble, tenacious, curious and compassionate.
  • Giving without the expectation of getting anything back in return.
  • Inspiring others to overcome their problems and achieve their goals.
  • Striving to live a life of no regrets by making the most of your opportunities.
  • Living your life true to your highest core values.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means making the most use of your time. This means:

  • Staying focused on getting results while working on your highest priority activities.
  • Gaining most value from every opportunity, interaction and minute of your day.
  • Consistently pushing yourself to raise your levels of productivity.

How to Live a Life of ExcellenceTo live a life in pursuit of excellence means associating with the right kinds of people. Surround yourself with:

  • Caring people who support and believe in you wholeheartedly in the pursuit of your deepest passions.
  • Positive role models whom you can use as a source of inspiration.
  • World-class mentors who can provide you with the guidance and advice you need to make the right decisions.
  • Coaches who can bring out the best in you in every situation.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means understanding:

  • How to successfully manage difficult emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm and stress.
  • Your unique strengths, talents, and abilities, then making the most of these gifts with every decision you make and action you take.
  • How to effectively circumnavigate your weaknesses by outsourcing and delegating certain tasks and activities to better optimize your time and efforts.
  • How to utilize your intuition to help you make better and more effective decisions.

To live a life in pursuit of excellence means finding the courage to:

  • Take intelligent risks in times of uncertainty.
  • Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
  • Distance yourself from unhealthy relationships and friendships that drag you down emotionally.
  • Overcome the addictions that tend to hold you back in life.
  • Conquer the fears, the self-limiting beliefs and all the obstacles and problems that hold you back from living the life you desire to create for yourself.

Finally, to live a life in pursuit of excellence means being open to new perspectives, viewpoints, and ideas. There is always a better way to look at a situation; there is always an alternate perspective; there is always an inspiring idea that you haven’t yet thought of, and there is always opportunity to do things differently and better than you have done them before. However, you must always be open to the possibility that life has more to offer.

Living an Excellent Life


Pursuing Excellence is a State of Mind

Given all that we have discussed, it’s quite clear that the pursuit of excellence is nothing more than a state of mind that leads to positive action. These actions over time turn into habits, and these habits turn into concrete results that separate you from the masses. However, this is a process. Habits are not developed overnight. It takes time to develop the habits that lead to a life of excellence. But it, of course, all starts with the right mindset.

The thoughts you allow to dwell on your mind and the subsequent attitude you bring to every situation will determine what actions you take or choose not to take. Then, of course, the consistency or lack of consistency of these actions will either help you develop empowering habits, or will keep you stuck in mediocrity. The choice is solely yours to make.

The pursuit of excellence will not be an easy path. In fact, it will be extremely difficult. It’s difficult because you have to make sacrifices to let go of the lazy habits that are feeding your comfort zone. Within the realms of this comfort zone you feel in control and secure. However, life only rewards those willing to step out of their comfort zone; those who take the actions that the masses are not willing to take; those who make an effort to separate themselves from the crowd and do more than anyone else would ever expect. That is what it means to live in the pursuit of excellence.

The odds, of course, suggest that you are unlikely to succeed. Excellence is only reserved for the few people who are willing to take all the risk and make all the sacrifices necessary to stand out from the crowd. A very small percentage of people will ever take this step, and even fewer will commit themselves to living a life of excellence in the long-term. So yes, the odds are certainly stacked against you, but there will be people who will beat the odds. So why not you? Why couldn’t you be one of those people? Of course, you could. And all it takes is to begin working through all these small actions progressively over the course of the next few days, weeks, months and even years. Eventually, through persistent effort, you will develop the necessary habits that will help you begin living a life of excellence.

Today’s article was written by Adam Sicinski and is shared from the following website: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/pursuit-of-excellence

 

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How to Build a Meaningful Life And Make It Incredibly Amazing

You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

Life and living it is a project and changing your life is the beginning. It’s a never-ending quest to share our best work with the rest of the world. You are responsible for that change. You need to define yourself, plan your change, make it happen. What you don’t want is spending the rest of your precious and short life, doing everything you absolutely hate.

To build the life you want, create the meaningful work you love!

We should all strive to find and do meaningful work that excites us. Work that brings out the best in you. Without it, work is boring, just something we do to pay the bills — which means we’re spending somewhere around half our waking hours (sometimes more) doing something we don’t like, just to pay the bills. Is that a life you want to live?

Your work fills a large part of your life, do everything in your power to make it awesome. If you haven’t found what makes you come alive yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Everything else is secondary.

The beauty of meaningful work

You shouldn’t dread Mondays. Meaningful work doesn’t have to be groundbreaking or solve a global problem. It doesn’t have to cure cancer. Amazing work can be any kind of work; if it’s fulfilling your potential, and makes you lose yourself, you’ve found exactly what you need to live the life you want.

Ryan Robinson of Buffer says:

If your work is something you love, it will give clarity, drive, and happiness to all aspects of your life. If your work is meaningful, you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run, which means you’re more likely to be successful as a result.

Research has shown that finding meaning in one’s work increases motivation, engagement, empowerment, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment.

It can be anything from creating something new, improving an existing product or service, building something awesome, helping others, inspiring others, teaching others, setting in motion something that will make the world a better place, making something beautiful, creating something useful, moving the hearts of others.

Michael Steger, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology programs at Colorado State University sees meaningful work as consisting of three, central components:

First, the work we do must make sense; we must know what’s being asked of us and be able to identify the personal or organizational resources we need to do our job.

Second, the work we do must have a point; we must be able to see how the little tasks we engage in build, brick-by-brick if you will, into an important part of the purpose of our company.

Finally, the work that we do must benefit some greater good; we must be able to see how our toil helps others, whether that’s saving the planet, saving a life, or making our co-workers’ jobs easier so that they can go home and really be available for their families and friends.

Give yourself something to pursue

“Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.” — Tim O’Reilly

Right now is the best time EVER in human history to pursue your life’s work. Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. People who never give up on their life’s work. You have something to share with the rest of the world. Be an optimist. And make an impact in your own small way possible.

Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Wired magazine) explains:

“There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute. This is the time that folks in the future will look back at and say, “Oh to have been alive and well back then!”

People who choose well and focus on building something that matters to them first always go that extra mile. They never give up on their first try. There is always a second or even a third try. Embrace the fact that invention is a creative process. Come to terms with its presence, learn to accept the sting of it and keep moving.

Don’t fail to exercise your right to try something. Get into the habit of questioning the rules, of becoming curious about where you could try something different and where you could throw the windows open. You will be surprised at you are capable of.

Start with something you can do today or this week, even if you can commit a few minutes to it. And tomorrow, do it again. Maybe for a few more minutes. And so on.

Take no less than 100% responsibility for your life

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing. Income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors. Your life is a sum of the choices you made yesterday. If you want a different outcome, change your behavior and habits.

Making a change is uncomfortable and can be overwhelming for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. But it’s the only way to get what you want.

Many people have so many things they want to do but they end up wishing all year round without taking action. Write what you want down and be guided by it.

Take even the smallest step every day to make that wish a reality. Make a decision to start somewhere. And when it’s time to get on with it, don’t postpone it. Do what you have to do.

Once you commit time to it and begin to put things on paper, every other idea about the people and resources you need to make it happen will begin to be clear to you.

Invest in your life’s work

Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Write a book. Or an ebook. Share your tips with others online or through a free ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on YouTube.

Create an app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it.

Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well.

Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted. Put your heart into something.

Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better.

Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before.

Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it.

Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach.

Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a webcomic. Be a dork, but do it boldly.

Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them.

Be interested in others. Surprise people. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better.

Give people a ride in your car. Use Uber to your advantage. Start an online shop on Shopify. Create and sell stuff on Etsy.

Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

If you’re willing to take the risk of sharing yourself and your ideas with the world, you can create value you will be proud of.

What you choose to do now matters

Everything around you, the place you live, your means of transport to work, the tools you use at work, technology for both learning and leisure were all made by people who are no smarter than you. You can add to human development and progress in your own small way. Choose to create.

If you’re already doing amazing Work, keep doing it. But if you feel like there’s nothing amazing on your to-do list, then it’s obvious the work you’re doing doesn’t excite you, and you don’t feel it matters. There are now insanely great and even free resources out there that can make it easy to show your work. Take advantage of them.

You don’t need permission to show the world what you are capable of. Right now, this minute, you can decide to start working on your most important work. And guess what, the world is ready to try it out.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be ready. The real world rewards those who get stuff done. You don’t even have to get it right. As long as you are ready for feedback, you can always iterate and make it better.

Build what brings out the best in you! Then, things cannot go wrong. Even if they do, you would have at least tried doing what excites you.

A side project has the potential to grow into something meaningful a lot of people could benefit from. Getting there may take some work but it takes a decision to get started. Something you do for fun on nights and weekends could turn into your new full-time dream business or invention.

Today and tomorrow are open with possibilities. All you have to do is decide to make use of them to start working on stuff that matters to you, and live the life, that you really want. It’s time for a healthy dose of practical optimism. Be bold and take a decision right now to start something you deeply care about.

The first key: start looking

If you don’t ever look for it, it’s not likely to just fall into your lap. Be curious now. Once you start looking for your amazing work, you’re much much more likely to find it.

That sounds kinda obvious, but it’s surprising how many of us will go through our work days (and years) without trying to find our Amazing Work, for many reasons. Maybe we don’t believe in ourselves, maybe we don’t think we have the time, maybe we’re putting it off until someday.

Well, start believing in yourself. Make the time. Make someday today.

Start by looking at the work you’re already doing: how can you find something in your work that excites you? Why did you get into it in the first place? When have you ever been excited about your work? What part of your work do you look forward to the most? How can you take it to the next level? What you do after work?

If you’ve really looked long and hard at your work and can’t find anything at all, nothing, nada that excites you, that might become exciting, then start looking elsewhere. What other work have you done that you love? What have you done that has made a difference?

Have you had any previous jobs that had exciting work? Do you have hobbies that excite you — perhaps those can be turned into amazing Work? What do you read about — online and off? Do those things excite you, and if so, can you find something in that line of work?

Talking to others can spark ideas — ask the people who know you best what they think you should do. Ask co-workers about things that excite them. Talk to people online.

Once you come up with some ideas, it’s time to start doing them, trying them, testing them out. Sometimes something can sound fun but not be as fun once you try it. Sometimes something can sound uninteresting, but once you do it, there’s much more fun to it than you thought.

It’s a process of experimenting — try things, give them a chance, and then pursue them if they’re exciting. If not, try something new. One thing to keep in mind, though — things can be more fun if you’re good at something, and it can take a while to get good at something. The key is to enjoy the learning process as well.

Now here is the most important part

Start working on the thing you need to be doing right now, this minute. No matter how slow you work on your most important work, you will still be ahead of everyone else who isn’t trying to fulfill a dream. Stop letting yourself procrastinate.

Action begets outcome. Outcome begets more action. You can only create or build when you make a move. Momentum builds through action. You can’t see the results you expect until you overcome your fear of starting and begin to take the first step at actually creating a new business, starting a new project or building the life you want. The only thing worse than failure is not starting.

Don’t discount the power of action no matter how small.

Start going through the motions of making progress. At first it might feel forced, but eventually, you’ll get in the groove. In the words of playwright Samuel Beckett:“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Your journey towards meaningful work begins today if it hasn’t already!

Today’s article was written by Thomas Oppong and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-create-the-successful-and-meaningiful-life-you-want-938842faefb9

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How to Set and Measure Personal Development Goals

Potential means nothing if you don’t do anything with it Anonymous

There are many paths to personal growth. Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and this can absolutely be true. But challenges that nearly destroy us aren’t the only path to greater personal development.

Setting goals for your own personal development can be an effective (and less stressful) way to grow emotionally and intellectually. Setting goals that can help you to succeed as a person in the ways that are important to you can help you to streamline your life, minimize stress, and really become the person you were meant to be in far less time. They can also help you to stay mentally sharp as any lifetime learner can tell you.

Goals Worth Going After

Personal growth means different things to different people, but the following goals can be widely helpful in creating a life filled with healthy habits, greater happiness, and meaning in life.

Learn What Is Most Important to You

We all have values that are a vital part of who we are. To some people, artistic expression is an indispensable part of who they are, and they fare much better if they are creating, at least some of the time, in their lives. To some, helping others is something they must do, and the meaning it brings to them and others is what makes life valuable. Others need to be solving problems to feel alive.

The reason it matters to realize this is that many people fill their time with things that are important but aren’t aligned with their values, with what they value most in life. If you analyze what is important to you, you can set goals to ensure that you make this a greater part of your life.

Pinpoint Where You’re Limiting Yourself

Many people self-sabotage in one way or another without realizing it. Perhaps you don’t believe that you’re capable of achieving things that you really want to achieve, and you limit yourself by not trying. Perhaps you’re not allowing yourself to devote enough time to your goals because you’re getting bogged down by other things in your schedule that are less important but that you feel “must” be done. Maybe you just spend too much time on social media and not enough on going after what’s important to you in life.

When your health is compromised, it’s more challenging to focus on your goals in life. This is obviously true when facing serious health conditions, but it’s also true of less serious types of health compromises.

For example, most of us feel far more stressed and are not at our best when we haven’t had adequate sleep for a few nights in a row or have eaten unhealthy food for a few days. Focusing on taking care of your health can make a huge impact on the rest of your life.

Use Your Time Wisely
Time management is an important goal in itself. When you manage your time wisely, you have more energy and a far greater ability to pursue other things in life that are important to you. Time management enables you to maximize time spent in activities that feed you, motivate you, and help you develop yourself as a person.

Develop One Habit a Month
You may not be able to transform yourself in a few weeks, but focusing heavily on creating new habits on a regular basis can be transformative over the course of several months or years. The trick is to get into the habit of forming habits. Focus the bulk of your energy on making something new a standard part of your life, and then move on once you’ve become comfortable with it. This is the time to create a new habit.

Surround Yourself With Role Models
Have just one friend who is farther along on the path you hope to travel. Life coaches refer to these people as “expert friends” and they can be life-changing as they’ll have tips and inspiration you can pick up just by watching them be themselves. With these friends, watching becomes doing. This is also supported by social learning theory, which explains how it makes things easier when you have a friend to help you along the way.

Develop a Supportive Group
Using the momentum of a group can really help you to reach your goals. This is because peer pressure can be a strong influencer, so using it to your advantage is wise. Having people who can cheer you on when you win and help you to feel better when you lose can make all the difference with your success.

Unfortunately, not all friends are able to support you in this way. Some people naturally feel envious when their friends succeed too much. So, if you notice a friend being less than supportive when you reach a goal (and you have been supportive of them), you may want to simply avoid sharing your successes with this friend and move on to friends who are genuinely thrilled with your success and able to support you when you aren’t as successful as you’d like to be.

Remember to be this kind of friend as well. Another great idea is to find a group already focused around the goals you’re trying to attain. You’ll have built-in support, enthusiasm, and practical tips.

Learn Something New Each Month (or Year)

Self-development takes real focus. Learning a new language, for example, or developing a new skill can take time, and focusing the bulk of your energy toward immersing yourself in the pursuit of a goal is a great way to reach it. This is great when you want to really go deep into your knowledge and ability.

Follow Your Passion

You don’t have to pursue your hobbies as a career in order to fully explore them. It’s wonderful if you can make money doing what you love, but it doesn’t have to be a profession to be worth your time. Activities like this allow you to experience a sense of “flow,” which can increase your happiness levels and decrease stress as well. This means that you’ll experience benefits far beyond the mere acquisition of a new pastime.

How to Maintain Goals

Identifying goals to go after is an important first step. However, it’s also important to know how to pursue your goals. There are a few tricks to maintaining goals or adopting healthy habits.

  1. Set the right goals
  2. Take small, concrete steps
  3. Reward yourself along the way
  4. Consider slip-ups to be part of the process
Maintaining goals can be a little more involved than that, but this is the basic process. The vast majority of people who try to set personal growth goals tend to abandon them because they set their goals too high (or the wrong goals for their lifestyle), try to make too big of a change in too short of a time, don’t congratulate themselves for making progress on their goals, and give up if they have a slip. True success comes from breaking your goals down into smaller steps, rewarding your progress and, perhaps most importantly, trying again if you find yourself slipping up.

Setting personal goals that can really improve your life, and then sticking with them can help you to live the life you always hoped to have.

Today’s article was written by Elizabeth Scott, MS and is shared from the following website: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-set-and-measure-personal-development-goals-4161305

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The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people 1 Chronicles 16:34

Do you want more from your life?

More happiness? Better health? Deeper relationships? Increased productivity?

What if I told you that just one thing can help you in all of those areas?

An Attitude of Gratitude

What the heck? Gratitude? Is this a Christian blog?

No. I’m not even religious. When I first started looking into gratitude, I wasn’t expecting much.

I was wrong:

The 31 Benefits of Gratitude

Seriously? All that? Yes. This list of benefits was compiled by aggregating the results of more than 40 research studies on gratitude.

1. Gratitude makes us happier.

A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent.a1,a2,a3 That’s the same impact as doubling your income!a4

How can a free five-minute activity compare? Gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career.

Sure, having more money can be pretty awesome, but because of hedonic adaptation we quickly get used to it and stop having as much fun and happiness as we did at first.

Effect of Gratitude Journal

2. Gratitude makes people like us.

Gratitude generates social capital – in two studies with 243 total participants, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.b1

Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, and improve our marriage.b2

3. Gratitude makes us healthier.

Check it out:

Health Benefits of Gratitude: Improved Sleep, Fitness, Mental Health, and More

There is even reason to believe gratitude can extend your lifespan by a few months or even years.f2,f3,f4

4. Gratitude boosts our career.

Gratitude makes you a more effective manager,c1,c2 helps you network, increases your decision-making capabilities, increases your productivity, and helps you get mentors and proteges.b1 As a result, gratitude helps you achieve your career goals, as well as making your workplace a more friendly and enjoyable place to be.a2, b2

Do you think this is effective?

I’m not suggesting that criticism and self-focus don’t have a place in the workplace, but I think we’re overdoing it.

65% of Americans didn’t receive recognition in the workplace last year.c3

5. Gratitude strengthens our emotions.

Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stress.b2,d1,d2,d3

6. Gratitude develops our personality.

It really does, and in potentially life-changing ways.a2,b2,d2,e1,e2

Personality Benefits, Like Optimism and Less Materialism, of Gratitude

If you’re a man, don’t worry; gratitude won’t transform you into a woman.

Gratitude is strongly correlated with optimism. Optimism, in turn, makes us happier, improves our health, and has been shown to increase lifespan by as much as a few years.f1,f2,f3,f4 I’d say a 5 minute a day gratitude journal would be worth it just for this benefit.

7. Gratitude makes us more optimistic.

Gratitude is strongly correlated with optimism. Optimism, in turn, makes us happier, improves our health, and has been shown to increase lifespan by as much as a few years.f1,f2,f3,f4 I’d say a 5 minute a day gratitude journal would be worth it just for this benefit.

8. Gratitude reduces materialism.

Materialism is strongly correlated with reduced well-being and increased rates of mental disorder.g1There’s nothing wrong with wanting more. The problem with materialism is that it makes people feel less competent, reduces feelings of relatedness and gratitude, reduces their ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life, generates negative emotions, and makes them more self-centered.g1,g2,g3

Gratitude has caused me to focus less on things that don’t matter, like making money, and more on the things that do, like my family and this blog. I think that’s a good thing.

9. Gratitude increases spiritualism.

Spiritual transcendence is highly correlated with feelings of gratitude. That is – the more spiritual you are, the more likely you are to be grateful.

This is for two reasons:

  1. All major religions espouse gratitude as a virtue.h1
  2. Spirituality spontaneously gives rise to grateful behavior.

I believe the opposite to also be true, that gratitude spontaneously gives rise to spiritual attribution, helping one feel closer to God or other religious entities. I am irreligious and have found gratitude practices to make my spiritual position difficult – those moments when I feel intense gratitude make me want to believe in a benevolent God. My solution has been to re-direct my feelings towards Lady Luck.

10. Gratitude makes us less self-centered.

I’ll be totally honest, I’m a self-centered twat. I’m a lot better now that I’ve brought gratitude into my life, but I still spend way too much time thinking about myself, and too little thinking about others. I expect this to change – because of my compassion and gratitude practices, I am starting to have spontaneous urges to help others.

This is because the very nature of gratitude is to focus on others (on their acts of benevolence). In this regard, gratitude practice can be better than self-esteem therapy. Self-esteem therapy focuses the individual back on themselves: I’m smart, I look good, I can succeed, etc….

That can work, but it can also make us narcissistic or even back-fire and lower self-esteem.i1

11. Gratitude increases self-esteem.

Imagine a world where no one helps you. Despite your asking and pleading, no one helps you.

Now imagine a world where many people help you all of the time for no other reason than that they like you. In which world do you think you would have more self-esteem? Gratitude helps to create a world like that.

12. Gratitude improves your sleep.

Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. Said differently, gratitude can help with insomnia.a2,j1\

The key is what’s on our minds as we’re trying to fall asleep. If it’s worries about the kids, or anxiety about work, the level of stress in our body will increase, reducing sleep quality, keeping us awake, and cutting our sleep short.

13. Gratitude keeps you away from the doctor.

Gratitude can’t cure cancer (neither can positive-thinking), but it can strengthen your physiological functioning.

Positive emotion improves health. The details are complicated, but the overall picture is not – if you want to improve your health, improve your mind. This confidence comes from 137 research studies.

Gratitude is a positive emotion. It’s no far stretch that some of the benefits (e.g. better coping & management of terminal conditions like cancer and HIV,k1,k2 faster recovery from certain medical procedures, positive changes in immune system functioning,k3 more positive health behavior,k4,k5 etc…) apply to gratitude as well.

In fact, some recent science shows just that – those who engage in gratitude practices have been shown to feel less pain, go to the doctor less often, have lower blood pressure, and be less likely to develop a mental disorder.a1,a2,k6

14. Gratitude lets you live longer.

I will be honest with you – by combining the results of a few different studies I’m confident that gratitude can extend lifespan, but no single study as yet has actually proven this claim.

Here is what we know: optimism and positive emotion, in general, have been used to successfully predict mortality decades later.f2,f3,f4 The optimistic lived a few years longer than the pessimistic. A few years may not sound like much, but I know when I’m about to die I’d like to have a few more years!

We also know that gratitude is strongly correlated with positive emotion. So, gratitude –> positive emotion –> an extra few months or years on earth. With positive psychology research on the rise, I believe we can expect this claim to be rigorously tested within the next five to ten years.

15. Gratitude increases your energy levels.

Gratitude and vitality are strongly correlated – the grateful are much more likely to report physical and mental vigor.

16. Gratitude makes you more likely to exercise.

In one 11-week study of 96 Americans, those who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group.a2 No other study has yet to replicate these results. It could be because other gratitude studies testing this effect have been much shorter – in the range of one to three weeks, or it could be because this result was a fluke.

Once again, time will tell – but it would not surprise me if being grateful for one’s health would increase one’s tendency to want to protect it by exercising more.

17. Gratitude helps us bounce back.

Those that have more gratitude have a more pro-active coping style, are more likely to have and seek out social support in times of need, are less likely to develop PTSD, and are more likely to grow in times of stress.b1,b2,d1In others words, they are more resilient.

18. Gratitude makes us feel good.

Surprise, surprise: gratitude actually feels good. Yet only 20% of Americans rate gratitude as a positive and constructive emotion (compared to 50% of Europeans).l1According to gratitude researcher Robert Emmons, gratitude is just happiness that we recognize after-the-fact to have been caused by the kindness of others.  Gratitude doesn’t just make us happier, it is happiness in and of itself! That’s no surprise – we idealize the illusion of self-sufficiency.

Gratitude, pah! That’s for the weak. No, it’s not. Gratitude feels good, and if the benefits on this page are any indication – gratitude will make you stronger, healthier, and more successful. Are you afraid to admit that luck, God, family members, friends, and/or strangers have and will continue to strongly influence your life? I once was – not only was I less happy, I was also weaker. It takes strength to admit to the truth of inter-dependency.

19. Gratitude makes our memories happier.

Our memories are not set in stone, like data stored on a hard-drive. There are dozens of ways our memories get changed over time – we remember things as being worse than they actually were, as being longer or shorter, people as being kinder or crueler, as being more or less interesting, and so on.

Experiencing gratitude in the present makes us more likely to remember positive memories,m1 and actually transforms some of our neutral or even negative memories into positive ones.m2

In one study, putting people into a grateful mood helped them find closure of upsetting open memories.m2 During these experiences, participants were more likely to recall positive aspects of the memory than usual, and some of the negative and neutral aspects were transformed into positives.

20. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy.

A small bit of jealousy or envy directed at the right target is motivating. Too much produces feelings of insecurity, materialism, inferiority, distrust, and unhappiness.

21. Gratitude helps us relax.

Gratitude and positive emotion in general are among the strongest relaxants known to man. I was having trouble sleeping a few nights ago because I was too stressed and couldn’t relax. I’ll be honest, for the few minutes that I was able to hold feelings of gratitude I almost fell asleep, but holding feelings of gratitude is hard! In this case, too hard – I ended up getting out of bed.

Gratitude may be just as or even more effective than relaxation methods such as deep breathing, but because it is also more difficult, is unfeasible as an actual relaxation technique. Think of it like tea – one or two cups help you relax – three of four make you want to empty your bladder.   But it could just be me. Perhaps you’ll find practices of gratitude more natural and easy.

22. Gratitude makes you friendlier.

Multiple studies have shown that gratitude induces pro-social behavior. Keeping a gratitude journal is enough to make you more likely to help others with their problems and makes you more likely to offer them emotional support.a2,b1

23. Gratitude helps your marriage.

I’ve never been married, but from what I’ve heard, read, and seen, one-way marriages start to suffer is that when the passion starts to fizzle, the partners become less appreciative and more naggy.

Scientists have put numbers to our intuition and experience, creating an appreciation to naggy ratio. More formally called the Losada ratio, it divides the total number of positive expressions (support, encouragement, and appreciation) made during a typical interaction by the number of negative expressions (disapproval, sarcasm, and cynicism). When the ratio was below .9, that is there were 11% more negative expressions than positive expressions, marriages plummeted towards divorce or languishment.

Those marriages that lasted and were found satisfying were those with a positivity ratio above 5.1 (five positive expressions to each negative).s1Building regular practices of gratitude into your marriage is an easy but effective way of raising your positivity ratio.

24. Gratitude makes you look good.

Ingratitude is universally regarded with contempt.  It’s opposite, gratitude is considered a virtue in all major religions and most modern cultures. It may not be sexy to be grateful, but people will respect you for it.

Gratitude is not the same thing as indebtedness, which we rightly avoid. Indebtedness is a negative emotion which carries an assumption of repayment

Gratitude is not the same thing as weakness. Weakness is flattery or subservience. Gratitude is the acknowledgment of kindness with thanks. It takes humility to acknowledge that we didn’t get to where we are all on our own – that without others we may never have made it. That’s why, just maybe, gratitude may be sexy too.

25. Gratitude helps you make friends.

When I was in college I found it really easy to make new friends. If I hadn’t moved out of NYC it would still be easy – living in a farm town makes it difficult. I’ve found an effective way to start a conversation or move a relationship forward is an expression of gratitude, “thank you for that coffee, it was super delicious.” *wink, wink* Ah, my mistake – that’s actually what I use to hit on my barista. But you get the point.

26. Gratitude deepens friendships.

I have one friend who always deeply thanks me for taking the time to see her. That makes me feel appreciated and that makes me feel good. Wouldn’t it make you feel good too?

27. Gratitude makes you a more effective manager.

Effective management requires a toolbox of skills. Criticism comes all too easily to most, while the ability to feel gratitude and express praise is often lacking.

Timely, sincere, specific, behavior-focused praise is often a more powerful method of influencing change than criticism. Specifically, multiple studies have found expressions of gratitude to be highly motivating, while expressions of criticism to be slightly de-motivating but providing more expectation clarification.t1,t2Contrary to expectation, if praise is moderate and behavior focused, repeat expressions of gratitude will not lose their impact, and employee performance will increase.2Because of our culture, expressions of gratitude are often difficult to give – cultivating an attitude of gratitude will help.

I’ve seen firsthand the powerful difference between interacting with subordinates more with praise and interacting with some more with criticism. Those I’ve given more praise are more enthusiastic about working with me, express more creativity, and are so much more fun to work with.

28. Gratitude helps you network.

Gratitude has been shown across a number of studies to increase social behavior. Two longitudinal studies showed that those with higher levels of gratitude actually developed more social capital than those with lower levels.

29. Gratitude increases your goal achievement.

In one study, participants were asked to write down those goals which they wished to accomplish over the next two months. Those who were instructed to keep a gratitude journal reported more progress on achieving their goals at the end of the study. One result doesn’t make science – what you should take away from this is that, at the least, gratitude will not make you lazy and passive. It might even do the opposite!

30. Gratitude improves your decision making.

Decision making is really tiring – so tiring that we automate to our subconscious much of the reasoning that goes behind making a decision. Even for the most basic of decisions, like where to go eat, there are dozens of variables to consider: how much time and money do I want to spend, what cuisine would I like today, am I willing to travel far, what should I get once I get there, and so on. If you deliberated on each of these decisions one at a time, your mind would be overwhelmed. The problem gets even worse for more complex decisions like making a diagnosis.

In one study, doctors were given a list of ailments from a hypothetical patient and also given a misleading piece of information—that the patient had been diagnosed at another hospital as having lupus. Half the doctors had gratitude evoked by giving them a token of appreciation. Those who did not receive a token of appreciation were more likely to stick with the incorrect diagnosis of lupus; those who did receive the gratitude were energized to expend more energy and to pay their gratitude forward onto their patient. They also considered a wider range of treatment options.

The above study shows that gratitude motivates improved decision making. Those who cultivate an attitude of gratitude find tokens of appreciation every day, on their own.

31. Gratitude increases your productivity.

Those who are insecure have difficulty focusing because many of their mental resources are tied up with their worries. On the other hand, those who are highly confident are able to be more productive, because they can direct more of their focus towards their work. This operates at both a conscious and subconscious level – we may be getting mentally distracted by our worries, or more commonly, parts of our subconscious mind are expending energy to suppress negative information and concerns.z1As gratitude has been shown to increase self-esteem and reduce insecurity, this means that it can help us focus and improve our productivity. Gratitude is no cure-all, but it is a massively underutilized tool for improving life-satisfaction and happiness.

Today’s article was written by H.H. and is shared from the following website: http://happierhuman.com/author/happierhuman/

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Stop Waiting for The Perfect Time. There isn’t One!

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”― Napoleon Hill

There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that project, to spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done every day.

Kill the excuses!

I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don’t feel motivated. I’d rather do nothing. I don’t have the money..yet!

It’s easy to come up with excuses and justify not getting started. The longer you fill your head with rationalizations and empty excuses, the less time you have to take action.

It’s easy to say, “I will start when I have more experience, money, time and resources”. By this time next year, you will have a lot more excuses. It’s a cycle. And once you get caught in the loop, it can be difficult to break free and do something meaningful you care about.

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to make a change.

Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold on to this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

It pays to be an outlier!

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” — Malcom Gladwell

Outliers are those who seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live.

Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t. Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction outnumber those of action by nearly two to one.

Some of the most common include not being more assertive and failing to seize the moment. When people reflect later in life, it is the things they did not do that generate the greatest despair. You can seize the moment today!

Getting past the biggest hurdle!

The biggest hurdle for many of us is simply getting started. Making that important decision to take a step. You can be as big and successful as you can possibly imagine if you build that mindset you need to step outside the safe zone. You just don’t trust yourself enough yet.

You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can get past the excuses. You don’t even have to start a new project. What you need is something you can emotionally and deeply connect with.

Don’t think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are and witness the magic of creative work. If you’re thinking about it too much, chances are you’re killing it.

Get started now!

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” ― Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

No matter who you are or what you dream of becoming, remember this: No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small.

Stop questioning yourself. Stop listening to everyone else. The world is waiting for you to start something. Waiting to hear what you have to say. Waiting to use your creative product or service. Waiting to share your ideas and original work.

Remember the dream you were too scared to chase? It’s still not too late to give it a try. We tend to think that we’re not good enough and give up before we even start. The fear of taking risks never goes away but it does become familiar.

The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them. Your first ebook, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work will not be satisfying and perfect, and it’s okay.

When we express ourselves in a way that brings out the best in us, we’ve already succeeded. Step by step we improve despite the temporary failures. That’s what matters. It matters that you persist.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.
There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” —
Mark Victor Hansen

Take advantage of the enormous opportunities the information age presents. You have everything you need to go make something meaningful. Something you deeply care about. You don’t have to be right when you start. But it matters that you begin now.

There isn’t a right time for anything. There’s no such thing as perfect timing. If it feels right, just go for it today. Don’t wait until everything is just perfect or right. Get started now.

Today’s article was written by Thomas Oppong and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/stop-waiting-for-the-perfect-time-there-isnt-one-249e2f9e34fb

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