Where were you ten years ago. What were you doing at that time in your life? What were your skills, beliefs, and mindset? Did you some mistakes back then?
Would you make those same mistakes today?
It’s extremely satisfying to be able to answer that last question with a resounding “NO!” When you can do that, it’s a personal confirmation that you’ve grown and improved.
You’ve learned from those past mistakes, took corrective action, and shaped your life for the better.
Think about that for a minute. How does that feel? Are you proud of yourself, and how far you’ve come?
The rich fabric of our daily lives offers countless opportunities to make progress like this.
A few simple tweaks to your strategy can help you increase awareness of these opportunities to better take advantage of them, make them more profitable, and vastly improve yourself in a short span of time.
How do we do this? How do we begin to regularly seize these opportunities?
There are seven simple steps that I’ve used to do just that. They’ve worked for me, and they might work for you too.
Though never easy, it’s important to develop the ability to see value in all situations. This means doing our best to not write-off challenging experiences as “bad”. I’ve learned more about myself through difficult experiences, than through easy ones.
The tough times in your life, if approached correctly, can cause you to dig deep to discover resources you never knew you had. These are the transformational, life-altering, evolutionary experiences that make you answer the question “Who am I?”
Asking and answering this question repeatedly helps to build a strong identity.
The same holds true for our interactions with people. As an example, let’s look at how we approach cantankerous people.
Being kind and loving toward people, especially when they’re a bit rude or obnoxious can have a surprisingly positive impact on us.
First off, it can develop a deeper sense of compassion within us.
It can also be invaluable from a self-reflection standpoint. By witnessing some of these characteristics firsthand, we can quickly become aware of traits like that within ourselves that we need to address and change.
As we begin to recognize various opportunities like those mentioned above, we start to open our eyes to the seemingly mundane experiences and interactions in daily life and we’ll become aware of how abundant these opportunities really are.
Lastly, over time, we will develop the due reverence and gratitude for these experiences which will in turn put us in the most productive frame of mind to be able to learn and draw from them quickly.
When you’re experiencing life, what are you thinking about? How are you using your time? When you’re in particular contexts, or in the midst of situations (good and bad), what is your area of focus?
I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time, work, and engage deeply with a very wide variety of people with different skillsets and backgrounds while in a number of diverse contexts and areas of employment.
One thing that I go back to repeatedly is the fact that you can learn something from everyone you spend time with. I believe that each person has their particular area of specialty, and through spending time with them, observing, and asking the right questions, you can find some knowledge or strategy that’s useful.
The same holds true in daily experiences – whether in your own life, or through things we learn or hear about in books, on TV, etc. Books especially, can take years off the learning process, and save you a lot of time. More on that later.
After some reflection (as described below), you can begin to see how to apply those specifics to your own life. Modification will likely be needed, but after time it becomes clear.
Reflection is considering how your observations could apply to your life. It can be a soul-searching endeavor, where you are completely honest with yourself. You look into your heart deeply, and consider what changes need to be made. You then, at a high level, look at these in line with the observations you just made, and then move on to the next step in the process.
· Isolate and Tailor Strategies
This part gets down to the specifics. After reflecting on your observations, you begin asking about what exact steps you need to take to grow from the experiences you’ve just had. You make these specific to you, your circumstances, your skillsets, abilities, and inclinations.
· Utilize Strategies
Utilizing the strategies consists of putting into action the plan you just made.
It’s entails self-discipline.
We’ve all set goals before – We know this process. We break those goals down into their individual daily steps, and then return to those steps day after day. We’re like a bulldog. We hang on, and don’t let go.
· Assessment Time
Assessment is checking in on our specific goals, and grading ourselves on our performance. How’d we do today? What can we do to improve tomorrow?
· Go Back to the Beginning
This is a matter of starting over. You went through the cycle, learned the key points, and now you can start fresh from the beginning.
When new lessons have been learned, or you’ve been through a difficult set of circumstances you may want to take some time. After that, however, can be a fantastic time to start fresh and approach the entire series of steps from the beginning.