Think Big

The mind is a powerful thing. Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said “you become what you think about all day long”. You can think your way to being successful, to feeling fulfilled, grateful and content with your life. The way you perceive the world around you is your reality. And it explains how some people seem to be naturally resilient, bouncing back quickly from challenges and obstacles, while others crumble and feel the world is against them, when faced with similar challenges. 

In his book The Magic of Thinking Big; David J Schwartz suggests a great exercise; to think about the most successful person you know and the least successful person you know and compare their traits and attributes. 

The least successful person I know has a tendency for self-pity, a tendency to play the victim, blame others for their mishaps in life, dwell on the negative and has low expectations and faith that good things will happen. 

The most successful people I know actively work on developing their minds and have a growth mindset. They strive to stay positive in the face of adversity, they value themselves and believe in themselves. They are not plagued and paralysed by fear, nor are they ruled by their emotions or past failures.  

Schwartz suggests how to cure yourself from Excusitis – the Failure Disease; perhaps one of the most useful concepts in his book. Like an actual disease, excusitis assumes that your ‘condition’ can get progressively worse, if left unchecked. The more your make the excuse you can’t or won’t do something, the more you reinforce the lie or excuse you tell yourself and the more you believe it. The excuses we make fall into four categories; health, intelligence, age and luck.

Health excusitis: “Now I have this disease/ condition/ ailment – my life will never be the same. I simply don’t have the energy to do what I really want anymore”. This type of thinking is of course flawed because no one has perfect health, we all have some sort of physical limitations. Here is how to keep moving towards your goals and diminish the effects of excusitis; don’t talk about your health issues, don’t worry too much about them, be grateful for the health you have and live your life.  

Intelligence excusitis: If you are prone to imposter syndrome you might suffer from this condition. Do you tend to overestimate the intelligence, opinions and capabilities of other people and underestimate your own? If so, your thinking is flawed because what counts is not how much intelligence you perceive yourself to have, but how you choose to use it. Your levels of determination, enthusiasm and interest in something are much more important ingredients to success than your intelligence on it’s own. Someone with a high IQ but negative attitude is much less of an asset to a company than someone with a lower IQ but with a positive, can-do attitude, a tendency to think creatively and strong commitment.

Age excusitis: Ever thought you were too old or too young to do a good job? People often limit themselves with age, they feel too old to learn a new skill, take on a new job, or they feel too young and inexperienced compared to others in the same role. This is limiting thinking. Instead of thinking “I’m too old” think “I’m still young”, “I have plenty of time left in my career”. Instead of dwelling on how much time you have wasted at something, shift your focus on how much time you have to do something new and be positive about embracing something new. We are never too old to start something new.  

Bad Luck excusitis: Sometimes things don’t go our way. Some people stay stuck in the victim mentality, thinking they have had bad luck and that successful people have had all the luck. It’s easy to overlook all the hard work and all the challenges and roadblocks people have to overcome on their road to success. Those who are successful more often than not, have had to be resilient to push through challenges. It doesn’t just come down to luckWhen you suffer from bad luck excusitis, you don’t understand that your own mistakes may have created missed opportunities. Stop hoping for better luck and start learning from your mistakes. 

Start by being acutely aware of how often you make excuses each day. Excuses that hold you back from achieving what it is you want to achieve.

Think of the little excuses you might make each day. And pull yourself up each time you catch yourself doing so. It’s too cold to go to the gym today, I’ll start eating well tomorrow, every day we make little excuses given half the chance. Perhaps you sit down to start a project but instead feel compelled to make a cup of tea first, or distract yourself with some of the easy little jobs, the ones that are easy to tick off your list, putting the bigger, harder projects off. When you are more aware of your excuse-making tendencies, stop yourself and consciously reconnect with the bigger picture to push past the excuse and make it happen. Yes, it’s cold outside and hard to get up, but if I go to the gym TODAY, not tomorrow, I am one step closer to achieving optimum health. 

Stop making excuses, believe in yourself and strive harder to achieve your dreams. Start today.  

Could you and your leadership team do with one of my tailored workshops? I’d love to share my experience and fool-proof leadership techniques with you. Don’t hesitate. Get in touch today.

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