2020-07-20 11:01:00

Learn The Secret Habits Of Highly Effective People

Every single one of us wants to succeed. And every single one of us has habits. Some of our habits will help us and others will hurt us on our path to success. Would it help to identify the habits that will help us on the path to success? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in my opinion, is a masterful piece of work. And I recommend you read the entire book. Feel you don't have the time to read all 432 pages of this bestseller? I understand. A lot of us don't. That is why I have summarised the book for you. Dr Steven Covey didn't invent the habits, he observed them through reading success literature over centuries and brought them together into a sequential flow of 7 habits that helps us become more effective in our lives by living them. The book opens with an exciting premise. Covey believes our perceptions dictate the way we see the world. Playing this out, if we want to change any given situation, we must first change ourselves. And if we're going to change ourselves, we must change our perceptions first. These days, people want shortcuts to success. We all ask, "How do you do it?" We hope to save time and effort and still achieve our desired outcome. [caption id="attachment_1870" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Habits to create excellence "The key to valuing differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are." - Stephen Covey[/caption] But these shortcuts we seek only provide short-term solutions. The drawback is that they don't address the underlying condition. Covey writes, "The way we see the problem is the problem." He suggests that we must change ourselves on a deeper level, called paradigm shifts, to achieve true change. And that's where the seven habits of highly effective people come in.

What habits do highly effective people have?

  • Be Proactive
  • Begin with the End in Mind
  • Put First Things First
  • Think Win-Win
  • Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the Saw
When I read this book years ago, the massive benefit to me happened from the first habit. It changed my thinking on mindset forever.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

We all have a fundamental choice, we can choose to be reactive or proactive. Covey stresses this is true whatever situation we find ourselves in. The central premise is that by choosing to be proactive, you are choosing to increase your circle of influence. Increasing our awareness and our freedom to choose aligns us with the principle that each of us has that freedom. It is our job to change our situation, create the opportunity, then live proactively and responsively in the opportunity we are proactively creating. It all hinges on your level of control. There are things that you can control in life. And there are things you can't directly control. These include things such as the weather, your place of birth or decisions made by your company.

One of the most important things that

you can control is how you react.

How you react to events and situations may be the only thing you can truly control in your life. When you become upset when the weather is gloomy, you are being a reactive person. You are letting the environment control you. You are simply reacting to external stimuli. When you are reactive, your focus is on things that you cannot control. [caption id="attachment_5106" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Learn The Secret Habits Of Highly Effective People "Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness." -Stephen Covey[/caption] Covey stresses the secret to being proactive is to focus on what you can control. And this, in turn, increases your personal effectiveness. You bring more power into your life by making a choice to focus on the things that you can control. And this widens your circle of influence. In my view, the single most proactive thing that anyone can do is increase his or her own proactivity. How do we do this? By practising habits of awareness, healthy conscience, imagination, and independent will.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

We can achieve our goals. Awareness is crucial to goal achievement. And the central premise here is that it is easier to achieve our goals if we are aware of what we truly want. People frequently have conflicting desires. What I wanted yesterday is sidelined by the new thought I have today. If we can synchronise and unify the functions of our mind, we achieve inner synergy. Thus, when we develop a vision of what we truly want, we lead from the right side of our brain. This is the more artistic and creative side of the brain. And we allow our lives to be guided by our inner intuition and sense of rightness. Then we manage from the left side of our brain. This is the more academic and logical side of the brain. And allows us to rationally lay out a schedule of activities that will shape our character and achieve our goals. Covey uses the terms right and left to refer to two different human capacities: Creative experiential living and rational, committed planning and action.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Several principles come into play in putting first things first, where we turn our long-term goals into a weekly schedule, week after week. The first principle is that the priorities in our mind create the priorities in our lives. The second is that work fills the time allotted. The third is that success comes through first planning, and then carrying out the plan. The fourth is that unexpected things happen. The first step of the solution is to set a weekly goal towards our long-term goals. Then we make a schedule where we put what matters most first in our minds and, as much as we can, first each day. Then we live that schedule and rearrange as needed when unexpected things happen. Doing this for 52 weeks, we achieve our goals for the year. Doing this year after year, we create our destiny.

Habit 4: Think win-win; win-win or no deal

The underlying principle is that only what is beneficial for everyone involved is beneficial for each one of us. There is no real case of “I win; you lose.” Even in competitive sports, the real benefits come from participating more than from winning, so, when competitive sports are done in a healthy way, everyone wins. Understanding this is challenging because each of us carries a very deep paradigm of competitiveness. Some feel they must win; others that they must lose. To achieve win-win, we take responsibility for our own individual adaptation of the competitive mentality of our society, and we seek something better. We seek relationships where everyone benefits. We even come to a place where we engage only in such relationships. That’s called win-win or no deal.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then be understood

Principles behind seek first to understand include: Humility. Let us not rush ahead thinking we understand when, in all likelihood, we do not understand deeply enough. Easing of anxiety and fear. Everyone lives with some anxiety and fear, often a lot of it. The principle here is that people listen better when we feel safe, and we feel safe when we know we are heard. [caption id="attachment_5107" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Learn The Secret Habits Of Highly Effective People "The more we see people in terms of their unseen potential, the more we can use our imagination rather than our memory." - Stephen Covey[/caption] Speak within another person’s language and way of thinking so they can work with what they hear. This post will help you speak their language. Putting these together, we listen first. We understand first. We ensure the other person feels safe and feels understood. Then we ask permission to share our view. Once we do this, we have their attention, and genuine communication is possible.

Habit 6: Synergize

This habit is tough to write about. The underlying spiritual principle is harmony.

Related Post: Easy Ways To Make A Big Change In Your Life 

When each person is in harmony with himself or herself, and true to himself or herself, and we share common goals and are responsive to one another, unexpected and wonderful results arise.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

All people, all living systems, are always changing. We need renewal. And this habit is about self-care and self-improvement. Healthy habits create a healthy body and mind.

Related Post: How To Become The Best Version Of You in 2018

We are creative and self-creative. If we are not being creative, we get sick or get tangled in unhealthy habits of time-wasting and even addiction. Thus it is necessary to develop and maintain healthy habits of body, emotions, mind, energy, creative soul, and spirit. Hope you found this summary of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People useful. Choosing to perform the right actions will make them habits and further us on our path to success. If you are looking for some inspiration, this may help: How To Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts.

2020-07-13 13:59:00

Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts

This post is about inspiration and is about you. Just as you are right now. It won't suggest you become someone different, or tell you that you have to gain anything of material significance. It won't because your most valuable gifts are already within you. And once they are uncovered everything in your life will flow more smoothly. When you change your inner world, the outer world will change around you. There is no need for me to tell anyone that the road of life is never easy. All too frequently we encounter detours, speed bumps, and U-turns. Instead of being negatives, I like to think of these challenges as necessary to appreciate the full scope that life has to offer. Without experiencing the lows would we truly appreciate the highs? [caption id="attachment_5116" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts "Once I decide to do something, I can't have people telling me I can't. If there's a roadblock, you jump over it, walk around it, crawl under it." - Kitty Kelley[/caption] Sometimes it is too easy to only focus on the challenges. They occupy our attention and become all we can see.

Related Post: How To Become The Best Version Of You in 2018

In the past, I would lose sight of goals because I could not see past the obstacles in the way. I then began to fixate on the obstacle instead of the goal. I was quickly and continually derailed from achieving my goals. Goal setting and the subsequent derailment became sources of frustration for me. I had to find a way of breaking the cycle. I had to find sources of strength, inspiration, and perseverance to keep my focus on the outcomes I wanted. In this post, I offer four simple thoughts that will help you find the treasures that are within you to uncover your greatness.

Inspiration: Your greatest love affair should be you

[bctt tweet="There is one person who stays with you your entire life. One person who needs your love more than anyone else. One that, if you love, they will always return your love." username="DBrettWilliams"]

That person is you

Your greatest love affair should be with yourself. And you need to view your relationship with yourself as your most important relationship. How often do you see people giving their love freely to others, but they don't provide themselves with respect let alone love. Many of us are happy to speak up and defend people we care about but let that critical inner voice in our head continue unchecked. [caption id="attachment_5117" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts "Our first and last love is self-love." - Christian Nestell Bovee[/caption] Will you indulge me and allow me to tell you a story? I am working with a wonderfully giving single mother. She does everything she can to support her children, emotionally, financially and psychologically. All the things that you would say a good parent should do. But if you listen carefully to what she says you will note that her conversation is plastered with self-deprecating comments. She is continually putting herself down.

The critical inner voice

After seven minutes of chatting, I paused the conversation. I read out the first 15 negative and scathing comments that she made about herself that I had listed. After fifteen, I stopped writing them down. "Would you tell anyone those comments over the course of an entire day?" I asked. "Never. I couldn't be that cruel." Yet she was that cruel to herself. And not over twenty-four hours but seven minutes. Before we started working together, she had no idea that she could control her inner voice. And her inner voice is toxically damaging.   We are working together to build her relationship with herself. If want to improve your relationship with yourself Self-Esteem Develop More Of It is a good starting point. Is it time that you built your relationship with yourself? To train that inner voice to compliment you and to show appreciation to yourself? You make it easier for others to love you when you love yourself. It is never too late to start to love yourself.

Inspiration: If you are in a hole stop digging

We can all fall into a rut. The key is when you find yourself at a low point, not to dig the rut even deeper by beating yourself up. Many people fall into a hole and then dig it deeper without even realising it. Sometimes, giving up is perhaps the most natural thing you can do. Whatever we repeat often enough becomes a habit. If you give up then giving up becomes a habit. [caption id="attachment_5118" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts "Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan[/caption] The problem is giving up becomes our default solution. Our automatic response to pretty much everything.

Related Post: Easy Ways To Make A Big Change In Your Life 

Do you want to have giving up as your default option? To get out of that rut, we must first accept our current position. Yes, we are in a hole. When we recognise the behaviours and decisions that lead to us falling in, we will be capable of avoiding similar pitfalls in the future.

Inspiration: Show up even when you don’t feel like it

Some days, life gets the best of us. There is no helping it. These occasions will continue to test our resolve. I remember the Woody Allen quote, "Showing up is 80% of life. Sometimes it’s easier to hide at home in bed. I’ve done both." Imagine it is Monday morning at 6:00am, and you are on your way to work. Nobody told you that you needed to be there that early. If we were being honest, we would all prefer to be in bed right now. It’s a cold morning and just staying curled up under a warm duvet actually sounds really nice right now. But you don’t want to let yourself do that. Why? Because you have got to show up. [caption id="attachment_5119" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." - Walt Disney[/caption] Several years ago, a friend used the analogy of life being like a photo album. Your task is at the end of each day, to put a photograph summarising that day into your album. What would each picture look like? Would yesterday be any different than today? Or would tomorrow be different from any day next week? Most of us settle into routines and ruts in life that allow us to take the path of least resistance. It’s easier that way. It is easier to stay in bed, to not to do the work. It’s easier just to hope and wish it all works out.

Related Post: Get Wise: How To Make Better Decisions in 15 Minutes

But doing so will only reproduce the same picture of what your life has already given you. Let’s be honest… most things worth doing in life are never easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. [bctt tweet="The act of showing up is 80% of life. If you can master showing up even when you don't feel like it then you have cracked one of life's big challenges." username="DBrettWilliams"]

Inspiration: A stumble does not have to be the end of the journey

How hard we fall is not important, the critical part is continually picking ourselves up. The challenges and obstacles we face in life are momentary occurrences in an enduring adventure. It made me think about people I've known who have stumbled and stayed there. Not to mention the times I've stumbled and wanted to stay there... [caption id="attachment_5120" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts "For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour." - Mary Kay Ash[/caption] The road of life can be long and challenging. And the path may twist and turn. There will be potholes and obstacles in the way. Some days it may seem more comfortable to sit down and make camp where you stumbled. Don't do it! Don't! Keep your goal in focus and keep moving forward until you get there! We will slip, trip and stumble. And making mistakes is an essential part of learning how best to handle recurring situations. With experience, we learn to recognise these potholes in advance and deal with them before they cause us to stumble. How will you use these four simple thoughts to find inspiration that will help you push through and not give up. Developing perseverance is an integral part of living an outstanding life, click HERE to find out more.

2020-07-06 19:39:00

Make A Great First Impression Every Time

Have you seen someone and got that first impression that they were not friendly? Or have you ever met someone that was warm and inviting and you became friends with them immediately? You judge a person the same way you judge a book, by its cover. Our parents and teachers told us not to, but it is what we do. It is how we evolved. We needed to know who was trustworthy and who we needed to avoid. The adage that you 'only get one chance to make a first impression' holds true now as it did generations ago. That one chance lasts less than ten seconds, and some theorise that first impression is only two seconds. [caption id="attachment_1718" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Impressions Friends "It's easy to impress me. I don't need a fancy party to be happy. Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I'm happy." - Maria Sharapova[/caption] Like it or not, human beings make snap judgments about people they meet, even if it is for the first time. People start forming a picture of you in those opening moments. Here I will be covering seven tricks to create a great first impression whether you are on a first date, job interview or work reception.

1. Confident body language

Let's start with a statistic. 70% of communication is transmitted non-verbally, according to the University of Pennsylvania. That is body language. And only 23% is voice tone and inflexion, and 7% being your spoken words. Earlier studies by Mehrabian suggested that 55% of communication is transmitted via body language. If you are are meeting someone for the first time, you want to be comfortable with confident body language so you will need to practice it first to make the right first impression. Numerous studies suggest that your body language not only influences your physiology but also the nature of the people around you. If you have your arms crossed across your chest and your feet tapping nervously, you will be seen as timid and closed off.

Related Post: Self-Confidence The Harvey Specter Way

Effective body language goes beyond merely standing up straight and having a firm handshake - although those two things are fundamental. If you are are meeting someone for the first time, do it with an open posture. That means arms are uncrossed with open hands to show that nothing is being kept hidden. Legs are parallel and not crossed. They may even be stretched apart. The head will be upright or may be looking around. Eye contact is likely to be relaxed and prolonged. Lean in closer to the person you are talking with to show you're engaged in the conversation and actively listening. If you are usually expressive with your hand gestures to communicate, don't hold back. What behaviours should you avoid to make a good first impression? Refrain from blinking excessively, tapping, touching your face too often, placing objects in front of you, and standing or sitting too close to others. [caption id="attachment_1716" align="aligncenter" width="399"]Impression Closed Body Language "For me it's always about first impressions. I trust my instincts." - David Brett-Williams[/caption] Nonverbal cues make a compelling impact on the other person's subconscious. So it is always beneficial to be aware of your posture and body language in general, but particularly when delivering a sales pitches or being interviewed. Stand confidently, make eye contact, and when in doubt, take cues from the other person’s body language.

2. Smile

When making an initial judgement about someone, their facial expression is typically the first aspect that gets noticed. So it’s essential to appear both happy and engaged. Your facial expressions influence people's impression about whether or not you're a "trustworthy" person. These judgements are done instantly, after only 34 milliseconds of looking at your face. That according to research from Princeton University. Want to be judged as trustworthy? Then, you need to smile. But if you have an angry-looking face it gets judged as untrustworthy. Psychologist James McConnell, put it simply, “People who smile tend to manage and sell more effectively and raise happier children.” You can find other gems in his book Understanding Human Behavior.

3. Be on time

If you want to make a positive first impression, demonstrate that you're respectful of the other people's time by being on time. This applies to many situations. Whether that is a job interview, business appointment, coffee date or lecture. Surveys frequently show that a lack of punctuality and being kept waiting nearly always feature in the top five of lists of gripes from potential employers. If you tend to be late, then get up earlier to allow time to get ready. Or if you think travel may cause a delay, allow more time than you need to get there. If you are early, you can always use the extra time to prepare. The take-home message is that being on time or early shows you are taking the other person seriously.

4. Use your tone

This is one you need practice beforehand. Unfortunately, a high-pitched voice is interpreted as nerves or childishness. It has been shown that people perceive those who use a rising inflexion at the end of their sentences as less knowledgeable, no matter what they are saying. Not sure if you're guilty of this? Try recording yourself reading aloud. Whenever I do this, I am always stunned by the difference between what I think I sound like and what I actually do. Having a higher pitched voice is beautiful. And if you learn to use it effectively, it can be a fantastic tool as long as you use it confidently. Being Canadian, I have a tendency to talk quickly. But you might say I jabber! According to a study from Brigham Young University faster speakers are considered to be more confident. Whatever speed you talk at, be sure to avoid using filler words. Typical filler words are “um," “ah," “like," and other similar phrases. It shows hesitation and suggests nervousness.

Related Post: How To Keep A Conversation Flowing

If you learn and use these four little magic words: “And how about you?” It invites the other person to tell you about themselves and to go in the direction they're most excited to go in. After all, most people are happy to talk about themselves.

5. Eye contact

Eye contact is an integral part of every successful conversation. When approaching someone for the first time, look them directly in the eye as you meet them. Avoid looking at the ground or past the person. You don't want to appear as too intimidating or creepy when you are staring at someone. But you don't want to seem meek or shy with no eye contact at all. As the conversation develops, to maintain the right level of eye contact without staring try to keep eye contact for 50% of the time while speaking and 70% of the time while listening. [caption id="attachment_1717" align="aligncenter" width="401"]first impression "I love almost everything about my work except conferences. I am too shy in front of an audience. But I love signings and having eye contact with a reader who already knows my soul." - Paulo Coelho[/caption] If you make eye contact with someone say at the gym and you do it more than three times. Do not do it a fourth time without striking up a conversation or you will be the weird person at the gym or the office or wherever this is. Also, if you are observing someone speaking or giving a lecture, go with the 70/30 rule. Look at the person for 70% of the time and look away for the remaining 30% of the time. This is not an exact science, but having a guideline will help tremendously.

6. Appearance matters with a first impression

Appearances matter even more now in the days of social media. The images of the beautiful, the rich and the famous that we get bombarded with influence our definition of what is attractive. It is important to dress to impress all the time. You can't predict when you will meet somebody new and find yourself in the middle of a meaningful conversation. More importantly, taking pride in your appearance helps you feel as confident as you should be at any given point in the day. Back when I was a teenager, I had a friend who applied for a job at a grocery store. Kenny went for the interview wearing a button down shirt, cotton chino trousers and some polished leather loafers. Now you can say that it is normal to look smarter because it was for an interview. However, that wasn't unusual for Kenny. That was his look. Back then it was called preppy.

Related Post: How To Find Inspiration With Four Simple Thoughts

But he wears the same attire whenever he is working. Whether he was stocking shelves, sweeping the back room or bagging groceries. In fact, during his interview, walking around the store with the manager he had a temporary name badge. Dressed like that and chatting to the manager the other staff thought he was from head office. The amount of respect he got from the other staff and customers was unreal. All down to the clothes making the person. The thing was, he hadn't turned eighteen yet!

7. Know what you are getting into

You wouldn't wear a t-shirt to a meeting, and you wouldn't wear a suit to a friends' house to hang out. Always do your research. Figure out who's going to be there and what the theme of the event will be. That helps you prepare for potential conversation starters and dress for the occasion. If your meeting is planned, you have plenty of opportunities to know lots about the business and/or person that you're meeting with before you arrive. Google provides an incredible insight into the company, their competition, their primary products, and any other relevant information before you even set foot in the building. You may find How Badly Do You Want To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality an asset too. Nowadays, LinkedIn is also an excellent place to check out who you're meeting with and learn more about them as is the Charlie App. This app uncovers information about the person you're meeting with and sends you a summary with all the details. Hope you found this post interesting, but these seven tricks will only be useful if you use them. Creating a great first impression whether you are on a first date, job interview or work reception, will increase your likelihood of living an OUTSTANDING life. Time to get out in the world and make it happen.

2020-06-29 17:00:00

Self-Esteem How To Develop More Of It

If you have read a few of my other posts, you will notice that I mention periods of low self-esteem. I attribute that to my achiever mindset and the constant feeling that however good it is that I could have done better. My daily experiences exert an impact on my well-being as my thoughts and feelings about myself go up and down like a yo-yo. Sometimes the impact is only temporary, other times… How do you build self-confidence when your critical inner voice tells you that you are inexperienced, fat, could have done better or whatever else? It's estimated that your critical inner voice makes between 300 to 400 critiques each day. For the majority of us, those critiques focus on self-criticism. For the average person, research suggests that only 20 percent of self-evaluations are positive. [caption id="attachment_1549" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Determines what we become. "Our self image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become." - Maxwell Maltz[/caption] Following this through, if 80% of self-evaluations are negative, then your inner critic is active 240 to 320 times a day. Putting it in different terms that is 15 to 20 times each waking hour. Or one critical comment every 3 to 4 minutes.

How could you be so stupid?

Some of us possess the ability to make a simple mistake worth 30 or 40 minutes of self-abuse. I know my inner critic can abuse me for even longer. “How could you be so stupid? What a ridiculous thing to say.” And If that is not bad enough, when we ask ourselves a question we provide an answer. Ask yourself “How could you be so stupid?” and our brain responds to this attack by checking the evidence. “While consulting the 'stupid' file we see that yes indeed you are stupid. In fact, you have always been stupid, but now you are stooping to new lows. Congratulations dumb ass.” [bctt tweet="Most of us possess the skill of being able to make ourselves feel worse and not better." username="DBrettWilliams"] Would you talk to anyone else the way you talk to yourself? If an employee were spoken to like that, they would either resign or file a grievance and win. You deserve to treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend. If we allow ourselves the luxury of feeling positive about a success it tends to get discounted. “Anyone could have done it. I just got lucky. It took me long enough.” [caption id="attachment_1608" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Respect your efforts, respect yourself. "Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power." - Clint Eastwood[/caption] We all know self-confidence is essential, but how do you build and maintain robust self-confidence? This time I am not talking about a quick fix for a confidence issue but a more permanent cure. However, if you want quick fixes for your confidence  they are available. A permanent cure can’t be achieved in an instant. It takes time and persistent action to change the thinking patterns and the belief systems that feed our insecurities.

Resilience

Today, I want to explore the nature of resilience. If we gain a better understanding of resilience, we can develop greater self-confidence and self-esteem. Our life experiences prove that self-confidence is crucial to living an OUTSTANDING life. Our level of confidence tends to dictate our actions, and it is our actions that generate the results we experience in our lives. It looks like this: belief → feelings → actions → results → revised beliefs What we believe (our level of confidence) drives our emotions or feelings. This, in turn, drives our actions which drive our results. And from the results, we adjust our beliefs. Too nerdy? Stick with it, and the later examples will make it all fit together.

Self-confidence and self-esteem

A lot of people confuse self-esteem and self-confidence. Of course, confidence is essential in self-esteem, but it is much more than that. We see individuals do incredible things. Outwardly they appear confident but internally suffer with poor self-esteem. Many actors, comedians and singers, who seem to resonate assurance 'on stage' feel desperately insecure off-stage. People think I am confident due to me addressing a room full of delegates. The reality is that before I perform, my time is occupied feeling that I am not good enough. After I perform, I spend several days thinking about the errors I made and how I can improve. Both self-confidence and self-esteem relate to how you perceive yourself. [caption id="attachment_1586" align="aligncenter" width="402"]Self-Respect Who we believe ourselves to be. "The person we believe ourselves to be will always act in a manner consistent with our self-image." - Brian Tracy[/caption]   [bctt tweet="Self-confidence relates to your perception of your abilities. Think of it as your belief that you can be successful at something." username="DBrettWilliams"] Self-esteem relates to your perception of your worth or value. Think of it as your opinion of yourself and your value as a person. This includes the thoughts we have about ourselves and our abilities, the kind of person we think we are and our expectations.

Low self-esteem

If you have a healthy or high level of self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will generally be positive. Conversely, if you have low self-esteem, your beliefs about yourself will often be negative. There is not one straightforward cause of low self-esteem that applies to everyone. The beliefs we form about ourselves occur over extended time frames and are affected by many things. Self-esteem is made up of all the interpersonal relationships and experiences you’ve had in your life. Everyone you’ve ever met has added to or taken away from how you see yourself!   Common causes of low self-esteem include:
  • Temperament – difficulty relating to other people or a tendency towards negative thinking.
  • Childhood experiences – having a hard time at school, bullying, or complicated family relationships.
  • Life events – long-term illness, the death of someone close to you, the end of a relationship, or being unemployed.
  • Relationships – other people making you feel like you have little worth or being negative about you.
  • Excessive stress – if you are under a lot of pressure and finding it hard to cope.
  • GNATS – generalised negative affirming thoughts that reinforce low self-esteem. Such as setting unachievable high standards for yourself or comparing yourself to others.

Building self-esteem

To build your self-esteem, the first step is to change the negative beliefs you hold about yourself. And you do that by challenging them. On reading those words, it might strike you as an impossible task, but we will cover many different techniques to help you.

Be mindful of your needs and wants

If your bum is telling you that it is numb from sitting for too long, then stand up and move. If your brain is telling you to play some music or unclutter your bedroom take those thoughts seriously and act on them. Or, if your soul is telling you to reach out to a special friend, then do it.

Take the best care of yourself

When you were growing up, you may have missed a few lessons on how to take the best care of yourself. Your attention may have been on "behaving well", getting by or perhaps on taking care of others. Start today to take the best care of yourself. Treat yourself as a best friend might treat another best friend or as a nurturing parent would treat their child. If you work at taking the best care of yourself, you will find that you feel better about yourself.

Exercise

Physical activity releases endorphins, Those are the ‘feel-good’ hormones that improve your mood. Doing it outdoors seems to instil an even more significant benefit.

Diet

To feel healthier and happier it helps to eat at regular intervals through the day including plenty of vegetables and water. Reducing or stopping your alcohol intake, and avoiding tobacco and recreational drugs will also help.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation causes negative feelings to be exaggerated and means you feel less confident. It’s important to get enough sleep, and this post will help.

Do something you enjoy

Sometimes life gets so busy, that you spend very little time doing things you enjoy. Do a have a list of things you enjoy doing? It could be anything from a craft project, volunteering, or going fishing. Then do something from your enjoy list every day. You can add any new activities to your enjoy list as you discover them.

Help another person

This does not need to be a significant undertaking or be expensive. It could be as simple as sharing a few kind words with someone in the same queue. Aiming a smile at someone who looks sad. Helping your partner with an unpleasant chore. Or sending a thoughtful card to a friend.

Break with procrastination

We all have a task that we put off and delay. When you set yourself realistically achievable goals and work towards achieving them, you develop a sense of satisfaction. You can rightly be proud of achieving your goal. And who doesn't feel more positive when we accomplish a goal? So start going to that exercise class. Wash your car. Clean out that closet. Write that email. You are probably doing some of these things right now. And there will be a few others you might choose to start doing. One of the beauties of life is continually learning new and better ways to take care of yourself. As you become more aware of your needs and wants and act to fulfil them, you unconsciously incorporate these changes into your life. And your self-esteem will continue to strengthen.

Changing Negative Thoughts About Yourself to Positive Ones

Earlier, I wrote that the first step to building your self-esteem is to change the negative beliefs you hold about yourself. And you do that by challenging them. Here comes a question from left field. Do you find Gnats annoying? They are the tiny flying insects that fly in large numbers called clouds, especially at dusk. What do you do about them? [caption id="attachment_1632" align="aligncenter" width="403"]Self-Esteem A Hummingbird killing GNATS “Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” - Charles F. Glassman[/caption] If you are like most people you swat them and kill them. You murderer! You kill gnats. And I congratulate you for doing that. I want you to kill gnats. To be clear, I want you to kill GNATS! The GNATS I want you to kill are generalised negative affirming thoughts. The thoughts that pop into our thinking and reinforce low self-esteem.

Your critical inner voice

We all have an inner voice that judges us and also attacks us – your critical inner voice. This inner critic blames you when things go wrong, and finds you wanting when it compares you to others. It sets impossible standards for you to attain and then beats you up for the measliest of mistakes. Continuously reminding you of your many failures but never mentioning your successes. Some examples of GNATS that people repeat over and over to themselves include: "I never do anything right," "I am a loser," "No one likes me," "I am so uncoordinated." Most of us believe these thoughts, no matter how unreal or untrue they are. GNATS come up in just the right circumstances, for example, when you get a wrong answer you think "I am such an idiot." Kill GNATS by asking yourself the following questions about each negative thought:
  • Is this true?
  • Is this really true? Challenge yourself to come up with exceptions when this is not true.
  • Would a friend say this to another friend? If not, why should I say it to myself?
  • Who would I be if I did not believe this thought? Would I be happier? More relaxed? Performing to a higher level? So why persist in thinking it?
The inner critic steals any good feelings you have about yourself and is the enemy of good self-esteem. Our critical inner voice gets our attention because it is coming from inside us, it is familiar and seems to make sense.

Take control of your inner critic

You have a choice. You don’t have to believe the crappy things your inner critic says about you. There are several ways you can choose to do this:
  • Get mad. Decide that enough is enough. Stop with the put-downs right now.
  • Remind yourself that you control your inner critic and not the other way round. That critical voice is created by you.
  • Point out the deception of the critic. How does criticising yourself motivate you to do better? (READ: Learn how to motivate yourself) It doesn't. What it does is makes you feel bad so you can’t function. How does anticipating failure and rejection make it easier to handle if it happens? It doesn't. What it does is makes you feel rotten before and after.
  • Order yourself to find the uplifting moments you have and savour these.
  • Ask yourself how much does believing this rubbish cost you? Do you want to keep paying the price on your relationships, on your work, and on your level of well-being?
Developing robust and resilient self-esteem is vitally important to overcoming the challenges that life places in our path. If you would like more help with killing GNATS click here. Time to get after it and live an OUTSTANDING life. And as always, I would love to hear what you do to remain resilient.

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