Earl Nightingale said, “We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.” I agree!
Perhaps my most obvious habit occurs five days a week on my daily drive to work. My course is routine and safe, but as our friend Earl Nightingale pointed out, it’s also mindless. No planning or other form of thought is really necessary. Though I’ve driven the same route to work for the last three years, I have recently come to realize there must be a dozen different ways to reach my destination. While none are likely to be quicker, most are likely to be more scenic. Why not vary my daily routine, arming myself with the only requirement necessary – a few spare minutes? Who knows, maybe I’ll spot a new house under construction, or discover puppies frolicking in a dog park. Maybe I’ll find an autumn grove of trees that varies its colors and shades and hues daily like a chameleon would in a paint factory. Or maybe I’ll see the same old buildings and houses I currently see every day, but this time from an entirely different perspective!
Of course, we never start out believing we will fall into a spiceless routine. John Lennon sang eloquently about it in 1980: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” When we begin a new endeavor, opportunities are endless and everything is fresh…colorful…different! Quickly, time passes and what was once vibrant presently becomes old…mundane…expected. Surely our same old, same old path to work could never extend to other parts of our lives, could it?
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Habits are learned behaviors that are repeated over and over. They are usually comfortable and comprise or supplement our personalities. Some habits are good and some are bad. Certainly a selected driving pattern may not be construed as potentially destructive; however, the motivation behind the behavior may be unknowingly replicated elsewhere.
How can simple habits become harmful? Being argumentative, jealous, lazy or overly critical are examples of bad habits that could affect acceptance in oneself. Once a person becomes comfortable with bad habits, the habits are more difficult to change. Acceptance of negative behavior then begins to deteriorate one’s confidence.
Self-confidence refers to the faith and belief in one’s abilities. Self-esteem, on the other hand, is a personal behavior measurement or a determination of our “net worth.” Strong self-confidence has a direct correlation to great self-esteem. Sometimes, we don’t feel good about ourselves and we set “self-imposed limitations,” further eroding our confidence. This is ultimately a fear-based process that can eventually lead to failure.
Be the Best You Can Be!
If you’re not feeling confident or cannot maintain a level of self-confidence, what should you do? First, it’s perfectly acceptable to not feel confident over the short term. Understand that we all go through it. Lacking confidence does not mean you are a failure, rather that you are experiencing a form of emotional turmoil. Try to find something positive in your current situation and work towards shifting the negative energy around. There are dozens of additional action items available for the rebuilding process. Here are six of my favorites:
1. Take pride in your appearance
Pay attention to your presentation. A little grooming and proper dress goes a long way! Taking care of oneself doesn’t require an expensive makeover, plus it acts as an instant mood enhancer!
2. Understand your composition
Be aware of your limitations, but don’t live only within your comfort zone. Try new things! You don’t have to be the world’s best at something to enjoy it. Honor your values.
3. You have to SEE positive to BE positive!
There is generally some good that comes from all situations. Figure out what your lemons are and “make lemonade.” Adopt the “glass half-full” mentality. Strive to answer a “why?” with a “why not?”
4. Recover your humble
Be gracious and grateful to yourself and others. Save trash talk for the baseball field. Remember that everyone has hit that same bump in the road that you hit this morning, or will be hitting tomorrow. Smile often and show your spirit.
5. Take personal pride
Set goals and work to achieve them. Don’t be afraid to take baby steps when necessary. Always celebrate the small wins. Support others in their quest for self-confidence.
6. Walk with a purpose
Stand tall and hold your head high. Nothing demonstrates a positive image more powerfully than the way in which you carry yourself!
Norman Vincent Peale, long known as the “Champion of Positive Thinking,” said, “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”
I have friends that complain about their inability to accomplish anything significant in their lives. Many of these individuals are executives, business owners or professional people. Each labors long hours, spends many days away from home and sacrifices much in their lives. All are considered quite successful in their individual careers. The common thread throughout is the feeling there isn’t a triumph large enough to be showcased.
Conversely, another friend speaks of the unending source of prosperity she has felt on a daily basis. There are no accolades, shows of appreciation or large paychecks. Additionally, there is no sense of longing for what is missing or “should have been.” This woman, however, touches many by helping the oppressed find solace and assisting in the rebuilding of lives. This woman…..feeds and clothes the homeless!
With that, friends, I’ll leave you with this;
You’ve got to SEE positive to BE positive!
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