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How to improve yourself and your life.

7 Characteristics of Highly Successful People

Success is a journey, however, many people think it’s a destination. You often hear those people saying things like, “When I graduate from college, I’ll be successful” or “When I earn a million dollars, I’ll know I’m successful.”

These achievements are not success. They are the results of successfully doing what it takes to graduate from college and what it takes to earn a million dollars. And, if you ask a successful person about their success, most will answer, truthfully, that they had a lot of fun getting there. What they may not think to tell you is that they built their success with hard work over time. It didn’t just come suddenly to them.

Most successful people have a few characteristics in common.

1. Resilience
Just as a tree bends and sways in the wind, which strengthens its trunk and roots, successful people have the capacity to go with the flow and to bounce back from any obstacles they may encounter in life. Practice resilience and you will be light years ahead of your peers.

2. Persistence
Many people give up just before they’re about to achieve their goals. Successful people know that if they want to achieve a specific goal, they must be persistent in going after it or they will never achieve anything worthwhile.

3. Curiosity
Successful people are curious and they’re not shy about asking questions or showing their interest. They are willing to go after their dreams because their curiosity drives them.

4. Thick-skinned
Successful people develop a thick skin early on in life. They know that if they don’t, other people’s words may try to sidetrack them. If words can’t hurt you because you just shrug them off and keep working toward your goal, you’re more than halfway there.

5. Positive attitude
This one’s kind of a no-brainer. Positive people generally accomplish more, are happier, and are more successful than negative people. They are also more creative because their positive attitude allows them to feel happy and more relaxed.

6. Sense of humor
Successful people know how to laugh at themselves. If they make a mistake or forget something, they easily find the humor in the situation. They are especially good at dealing, humorously, with failure or obstacles that slow their progress toward their goals.

7. Strong communication skills
Strong communication skills, sometimes in more than one language, are a critical characteristic of highly successful people. Being able to effectively communicate with others can put you on the fast track to success.

What other characteristics do successful people have?

Reach for the Stars

“You are never given a wish
without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to
work for it, however.”
           —Richard Bach, Illusions

The saddest thing in the world is a person without a dream. Children are amazing dreamers. And they dream big—probably because they have no limits. Children don’t know they can’t do whatever it is they are dreaming about doing, so they often easily accomplish what they set out to accomplish.

Whereas, many adults leave their dreams behind when they leave childhood. Perhaps they’ve been disappointed too many times. Perhaps they’ve failed to accomplish some of their goals, so they’ve stopped trying.

The biggest obstacle to achieving our goals and reaching our fullest potential is ourselves. Really. It is. You see, oftentimes people are a bit scared that if they do achieve their goals, they may lose their friends, or they may be unable to sustain their success, or they may have any number of reasons why they can’t achieve their goals.

As long as they argue for those limitations, they will be right and they will not achieve their goals.

However, one thing remains the same. If you stop trying to reach your goals, your life will stagnate and at some point you will look back and wonder where your life went and you will be saddened that you didn’t ever try.

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7 Ways to Quiet Monkey Mind Chatter

 

How much of your time do you spend thinking about things that have nothing to do with helping you reach your goals?

If you’re like most people, the answer is, “A lot!”

So many things compete for our attention each day:  billboards, television, advertisements, work, family, friends, and that nasty argument you had with the guy in the elevator. In fact, three days later, you’re still replaying that argument in your mind, complete with a revised version that includes what you wish you’d said.

When Buddha was teaching his followers how to quiet their minds more than 2,500 years ago, he said that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys who are screeching, chattering, and endlessly carrying on. It’s no wonder that we often have trouble concentrating or getting anything at all done.

When you practice living in the Now Moment, you can more effectively quiet the drunken monkeys. Here are 7 ways to quiet Monkey Mind Chatter:

1. Shift Your Focus
Put your hand up in front of you like a policeman would to stop traffic and say, aloud, “Stop! What am I doing right now?” Then answer with what you are doing, for example, “Right now, I am standing in front of the kitchen sink and I am washing this coffee cup. Now I am washing this spoon. The water feels warm and soothing against the skin on my hands. Now I am looking out the window” . . . you get the idea.

2. Get Busy
Do something physical. Take a walk. Go swimming. Dance. Clean the house. I once asked my 80-year-old aunt who had lived through the Great Depression and several personal tragedies how she dealt with the difficulties. She said, “Keep moving. Whenever those sad feelings try to take hold of your thoughts, get up and keep busy. Before you know it, you’ll feel happy again.” I tried it and she’s right.

3. Do Something You Love
People have hobbies because they enjoy doing something they love. When you are working on a hobby, your brain, thoughts, and feelings are focused on what you are doing and you have no distractions. In other words, those drunken monkeys have no audience, so they quiet down.

4. Plant a Garden
Start a flower, vegetable, or fruit garden. Cultivating the soil returns us to our roots—literally. It helps us achieve an emotional and psychological peace of mind. There’s something soothing about being outdoors, digging in the soil, and growing things.

5. Play With Your Pet
Animals are masters at living in the Now Moment. Play with your pet. Toss a ball for him to fetch, play tug of war with a rope, or just pet, cuddle, and snuggle with him. You’ll have so much fun that Monkey Mind will be silenced and you’ll forget the chaos of your formerly racing thoughts.

6. Meditate
Set aside some time to relax and meditate. Although it may seem like your thoughts are racing, the mere act of sitting down and taking time to breathe calmly and deeply while focusing your thoughts on meditation, can help quiet Monkey Mind.

7. Cast the Burden
If you’re still tormented by those chattering monkeys, do as Florence Scovel Shinn suggests in her book, The Game of Life and How to Play It (Prosperity Classic)
Cast the burden of those racing thoughts upon the Christ [or Spirit] within [you] and go free.

 

 

 

Unstoppable You

Obstacles can’t stop you.
Problems can’t stop you.
Most of all, other people can’t stop you.
Only you can stop you.
—Jeffrey Gitomer

What can you do? What are you capable of achieving? How high do you reach when you set goals for yourself? How far do you think you can go?

Throughout the ages, philosophers, writers, artists, scientists, and other successful individuals have told us that how we use our thoughts creates our world. Sometimes this seems difficult to believe because we simply cannot ‘see’ it. However, the truth is that your life is a reflection of your past thoughts, feelings, and actions. And what you do from this moment forward will determine what your future will be like.

The only limits you have are those you set for yourself. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, gardener, airline pilot, astronaut, or something else, you can do it.

Belief

“The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief.”
― Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates

A belief is something we assume to be true. It is not necessarily based on fact. Sometimes we hear someone in a position of authority say something and because that person is considered an expert, we believe, without questioning and without researching, that what they say is true when it isn’t.

We also develop beliefs based on our own interpretation of events. If someone you care about becomes easily angered by something you do, you may draw the conclusion that doing that particular thing is wrong, so you won’t ever do that thing again. However, it may be that the person you care about became angered only because they were having a bad day and they have no objection whatsoever to you doing that thing at any other time.

So it’s important to carefully examine our beliefs for accuracy and for truth because to live life under the shadow of false beliefs can weigh you down and negatively affect your ability to reach your full potential.

The Power of Faith

“Faith is taking the first step even when
you don’t see the whole staircase.”
― Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you have unshakeable, abiding faith, nothing can alter your course. When you know, with unshakeable faith, that you are going to accomplish something, the universe moves in mysterious ways to accommodate you. You might say the universe makes the staircase appear. How does that happen?

You may read something that gives you an idea for how to proceed. Someone, sometimes a stranger, may say something that leads you to the answer you are seeking. You may have a dream and, upon waking, have the answer to a question you’ve been asking.

When you know, with unshakeable faith, that you are going to accomplish something and you take the first steps toward achieving it, all kinds of serendipitous things occur to help you reach your goal. However, you must remain focused on your goal. You must believe you are going to achieve your goal.

If you remain open to opportunities, recognize them when they occur, and take action, you will be on your way to achieving the goal you have set for yourself.

If this post resonates with you, please take a moment to leave a comment below:  What have you learned? Or perhaps you’d like to share a time when you experienced an unshakeable faith in your ability to achieve a goal.

Energy Drives Everything

Everything is energy.

Molecules and atoms are in constant motion and everything is comprised of them. Our thoughts are the most powerful energy form in the world.

Sages and philosophers since the beginning of time have taught that our thoughts are powerful.

We are shaped by our thoughts;
we become what we think.
         —Buddha

If your thoughts are predominantly negative throughout the day, you can expect negative experiences to enter your life. If, on the other hand, your thoughts are predominantly positive, more positive experiences will fill your life.

Think of your thoughts, combined with the intensity of your emotions, as the creators of your external world.

How to Fully Live Each Moment

Life is meant to be lived. Just existing is not living at all. Living for the future, or even worse, living in the past is not living. It’s not even existing.

You see, the only moment we have is NOW. Let me say that again. The ONLY moment, the ONLY time we have is this moment, right NOW. The past is gone, done, over. That’s why we call it the past. You cannot change the past. The future has yet to come and, while you can alter the future, you can only do so by what you think, say, and do while you consciously live in the Now Moment.

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about living consciously and being mindful, but very few people fully understand what it means to live this way. When you live consciously, you live each moment in such a way that you are fully conscious (or mindful) of what you are doing. When you live this way, you are completely focused on what you are doing every single moment.

Children are very good at living consciously. Just watch a young child at play. They are so focused on what they are doing that they lose track of time and sometimes don’t even hear their parents call them until their name is called 2 or 3 times. It’s not that they’re not listening to their parents. It’s just that they’re so tuned in to what they are doing in the moment, that they’ve tuned out all other stimuli.

I know because I’ve been doing this for years. When I was a child, I would get so involved in whatever book I was reading that I wouldn’t hear my name called when it was time for dinner. Once, in high school study hall, one of my friends had to physically pull me out of my chair to get me out of the way of two kids who were fighting and coming our way. My friend had been sitting next to me and had called my name three times, however, I was so engrossed in the history book I was reading that I didn’t hear her because I’d tuned out the noise of the study hall where the other kids were talking and I’d became absorbed in the moment.

Exercise: Practice Living in the Moment
Try this exercise. No, don’t try it. Do it. Do it every time you start thinking about the past or the future. When you realize that you are thinking or most especially worrying about something in the past or find yourself waiting for things to get better in the future, do the following:

    1. Put your hand up in front of you, palm outward like a policeman stopping traffic and in a loud voice say, “Stop!” (If you’re not alone, just think, “Stop!”)

    2. Ask yourself, “What am I doing right now?”

    3. Then answer yourself (for example): “I am sitting at my desk. I am picking up a pen and I am now writing a note about today’s meeting to myself.” You get the idea.

    4. Keep doing that until you are focused solely on what you are doing in that moment.

One of the most wonderful benefits of living in the now moment is that you begin to feel happy in the present moment. Go ahead and do this now and let us know how this works for you by leaving a comment below.

The Divine Plan

There is a Divine Plan for every living thing, a plan so marvelous, so wondrous that we cannot begin to imagine it. When you are living the Divine Plan for your life, each day unfolds in perfect ease and harmony.

You’ve probably met someone who seems to live a charmed life. Whatever she wants, she gets. Wherever she goes, she meets helpful, friendly people. And, what’s more, she seems happy almost all of the time. People wonder, ‘What’s her secret?”

Truthfully, her secret is so simple, it’s hard.

Her secret is that she has faith that everything she wants to be, do, and have is possible.

She’s on the Divine Path that is meant for her by Divine Right. She’s living the life of her dreams. But how did she get there? And how does she stay on that Divine Path?

Good questions. When we’re children. we are very much in tune with the Divine Plan for us. And, although we spend a certain number of years trying out different scenarios—I want to be a doctor; I want to be a lawyer: I want to be a rock star—eventually, one thing stands out in our minds and keeps repeating itself like a 45-rpm record stuck in a groove. (Yes, I remember vinyl records!)

The catch is that most of us, by the time we’re old enough to act upon that one thing that stands out for us, have discarded the child-like sense of wonder and the faith that we can do, be, or have whatever we want. We’ve discarded it because we’ve suffered so many disappointments that we’ve bought into what Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) calls the Race Thought. The word ‘Race’ in this sense stands for Human Race.

You see, humankind believes that we live in a three-dimensional world and that we are bound by something called karmic law. For most humans, this is their truth and their reality. So they place limits on themselves and on what they can be, do, and have. And, guess what? Those limits become their reality.

However, for a special few (and I hope you are going to be one of them), there is a Fourth Dimension, the World of the Wondrous, the world most people left behind when they left childhood.

In that Fourth Dimension World, you live the Divine Plan, the life plan that is yours by Divine Right. When you live in that place, your life seems charmed. Things work seemingly like magic. It’s a wonderful, magical, marvelous place.

Live Consciously

“Most people live lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with their song still in them.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Most people are so busy racing about “doing things” that they forget to “live.” They make time to “do” all the things they think they’re supposed to do, such as housework, shopping, cleaning, and putting out what they call ‘fires,”those annoying little “life emergencies” that eat up all their time—and they call that “living.”

They are so busy that they don’t have time to visit with a friend over a leisurely cup of coffee or go out to dinner or see a play or go to the beach and just have fun. What’s more, they resent their busy-ness and feel quietly desperate for something more. They long for the life they’ve always dreamed of living, however, they’ve given up hope of ever having that life because, “Well,” they say, “that’s life. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”

What they don’t realize is that life is comprised of a series of choices. Everything we do, think, say, and feel is a choice that we make everyday. If you’re “too busy,” that’s your choice. Do you really have to do the laundry every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m.? Or could you, just once in a while, meet a friend for a chat and a cup of coffee? The laundry isn’t going anywhere. I have a pretty strong suspicion that it will still be there, right where you left it, when you get home.

I call this busy-ness way of living, not living at all. I call it existing, surviving, being at the mercy of life’s vagaries, and it’s not at all fun. Life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Life is meant to be fun. That is why we have so many options for enjoying life.

When you get on that hamster wheel of busy-ness, you shift your brain into overdrive and get lost in the busy-ness. When you live that way, you usually are living Unconsciously. At the end of the day, you wonder where the day went and feel frustrated that you haven’t accomplished your own life goals.

Getting off the hamster wheel of busy-ness requires a Conscious choice. In fact, it requires a series of Conscious Choices. When you live Consciously, you make choices that help you really “live” your life, instead of just survive it.

Make a Conscious Choice today to take 5 minutes to do something that is really living:  call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a long time, take a walk and really look at the flowers or the sky or the scenery, start reading that book you’ve been longing to read. Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes everyday for 7 days. Then increase it to 10 minutes for the next 7 days and see how it feels.

When you make Conscious Choices, you stop being at the mercy of life’s vagaries and start really living.