There’s been many things I’ve learned from the last year that has significantly altered my perspective. I’ll share twelve of these lessons that will drastically improve your life, not just for 2018, but for years to come.
1. Fear is Restrictive, Love is Expansive
Fear is a frequent topic on Reintention because of its crippling impact on achieving our goals and purpose. Often its the thing preventing us from taking action and being successful.
About 85% of fears are unwarranted, yet many of us can’t override the ancient code in our brain that’s wired to danger alert.
Unlocking fear is understanding how it restricts so much. Every time I read Positive-Pete Diamandis’ Abundance Insider, recognise growth or experience gratitude and joy – it always comes from a place of love. This is supported by Christie Marie Sheldon who states that love has a measured frequency of 500 on a scale of ultimate consciousness. Furthermore Sheldon’s research suggests that we can manifest a positive life simply by tuning more into expanding emotions, such as love.
2. Growth is Obtained Through Unlearning
If you don’t grow, you die.
Growth is as an expansion of knowledge by acquiring information to fill gaps in our understanding. With increased knowledge, we apply it to challenging tasks and learn from the process; feeding this growth loop.
Sometimes growth flatlines and new knowledge doesn’t translate into increased progress or success. Why? Vishen Lakhiani coined “brules” to denote false beliefs, fears and doubts that we need to break from our conditioned upbringing. In addition, Jordan Harbinger from The Art of Charm states that growth is not an additive but subtractive process. We learn not by gaining more, but from letting go of what chains us down. We subtract the inhibitors of reaching our potential.
3. Success is Defined by Failure
2017 was a big testament to the lesson that success is not defined by achievements; but through how you respond to failure.
Sara Blakely; the Goddess who saved millions of women from VPL, established her multi-billion dollar company; Spanx after years of failure. She flunked getting into law school twice and endured seven years as a struggling fax salesperson. Then she had numerous doors slammed in her face when she took her Spanx prototype to manufacturers. Blakely claims that failure was “…great life training” and from all the “no’s” she learned how to get “yes”. Today, Sara Blakely is worth USD$1.25billon.
The true battle is not external, it is to be fought within ourselves.
Two years ago I never thought I’d be writing a blog, coding, pitching or putting myself on the line to face negative feedback or rejection. I only learned by strengthening my core confidence, giving myself capacity to grow and silencing the inner critic. Failure gives us the biggest chance to learn, not only because we don’t want to fail again, but because we learn all the things we did wrong – and how to do better.
4. Surround Yourself with People Who’ll Shape Your Future, Not Mirror The Past
Your network is your net worth – Tim Sanders
Jim Rohn’s said that we are the culmination of the five closest people to us. Holding onto bad people from the past fosters patterns of negativity. We reflect the people around us, for example, children have an 80% likelihood of obesity if both parents are obese.
Influence becomes a two way streak as “people work within the parameters you set them“. In order to be successful, we need to surround ourselves with people who meet or exceed the standards we set for ourselves.
Doing so allows you to:
- Get a clean slate from negativity and hurt
- Manifest positive energy and open up new opportunities
- Provide mental clarity and emotional stability to create, explore and do
To care for others, you must care for yourself first. Things become easily overcomplicated so as Tim Ferriss asks, “If this were simple, what would it look like?”.
5. Consistency is Backed by Beliefs, Behaviours and Habits
In an interview with Tom Bilyeu, Start With Why author Simon Sinek explains how success is cultivated by consistency. Consistency establishes competence and confidence within the best performing leaders.
As the leaders of our own lives, consistency is achieved through our mindset and actions. Beliefs frame our perspective which dictate behaviours and form positive or toxic habits.
Procrastination and self-doubt are big blockers to consistency. Clouded by emotional instability, I’ve experienced how inconsistent beliefs and behaviours lead to poor results. When this happens I come back to my earned passion – my why. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes. If something is merely novel, you’ll always find excuses, stories or justifications of why you can’t. What differentiates dedication and novelty is consistency.
6. Hard Choices Are What We Need To Act Most On
The things we’re most resistant to is precisely what we need. The things we’re most scared to let go of are exactly the things that we need to relinquish. – Neil Strauss
Regret is a major reason why decisions are difficult to make.”What if I picked the wrong choice?” In a modern world with unlimited potential, we face a constant lure for more. This bombardment leads to false empowerment because we believe we can have whatever we want, whenever we want.
There’s an inherent paradox to choice because more options doesn’t lead to satisfaction or happiness. Ultimately we pick nothing in a “grey middle” or choose begrudgingly. In The Mask of Masculinity, Lewis Howes uses the analogy that a bird constantly flies around in order to escape feeling trapped, but by doing so becomes a bird that can never land.
Indecisiveness is also the best place to hide from dealing with fear. Before any substantial breakthrough, darkness of failure and defeat is faced. Freedom only exists in choice and acting on what we need to the most. We should adopt what NBA legend Michael Jordan said, “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”
7. Give Your All To The Things That Truly Matter; Forget About Everything Else
Habits 2 and 3 of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits state that to be unstoppable we must “begin in the end in mind” and “put first thing’s first“. This means working backwards and extrapolating the most important activities – the 20% that yields 80% of the progress, happiness and success.
Having discrete number priorities is echoed in Jonathan Fields’ ‘How to Live a Good Life‘ where he advocates that life is made of three buckets: vitality, connection and contribution. Simply, having too many priorities doesn’t allow for excellence. If everything is important, nothing is important at all. You can’t fill a cup to its brim and not expect it to spill over.
8. Responsibility is a Choice, Not a Consequence
When you are distressed by an external thing, it’s not the thing itself that troubles you, but your judgement of it. And you can wipe this out in a moment’s notice” – Marcus Aurelius
We can’t choose everything that happens in our life but we can choose how we are going to respond. We can be responsable.
In the fire that burnt down his plant, Thomas Edison is famously quoted saying, “Go get your mother and all her friends. They will never see a fire like this again.” When his son objected, Edison said, “It’s all right. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.” Edison experienced about US$1m, or USD$23m worth of damage in today’s dollars. Underpinning his attitude was a mindset of transience. His work like his capability was impermanent – he continued striving to do better and knew that anything you can possess today can be gone tomorrow.
What use is it getting upset when things go wrong or when things don’t go our way? Being reactive is responding as a result of, not a choice to. The split second between stimuli and response is where our reason lies. Harnessing the awareness to control our emotional response is what gives us mastery over ourselves.
9. Authenticity Results from Clarity and Hunger
Through a lot of disruption this year, there were many moments I didn’t feel like myself. I felt like I was putting on a facade. With distance, I’ve been able to tap into the power of being authentically myself. Authenticity breeds self-belief and to the ability to pursue my why. Where adversity reveals true character, hunger does also.
The Wright brothers weren’t taken seriously in the aeroplane race of the early 20th century. Instead Samuel Pierpoint Langley, the main contender was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution with $50,000 to invent the first flying aircraft. Langley was widely known to succeed and was driven by potential fame. Despite a controversial aerodrome test by Langely, the Wright brothers took the official title when the Wright Flyer took off in 1903. They had a clear vision and were hungry to succeed and did whatever it took. Langley on the other hand, was so devastated by the loss that he quit.
10. Things Manifest When You Let Go
Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.- Hermann Hesse
We seek to control things because we don’t want to endure failure, embarrassment or vulnerability. Counterintuitively, the need to control results in more uncontrolled outcomes and self fulfils what we don’t want. Through exercising acceptance and appreciation this year I’ve found myself happier and sometimes what I do want happens.
Consequently, being in this state has flow on effects. Life has it’s natural flow, and while it’s important to be proactive, stretch ourselves, plan and work hard, sometimes what we’re fighting comes best when we:
11. Forgiveness is Only the First Step of Healing
Whether it’s science or religion, we’re encouraged to forgive not just as an act of moving forward, but because it’s good for our physical and emotional health. I incorporate forgiveness as part of my daily mediation routine, and discovered that forgiveness is not static, but a continual process.
Like failure, forgiveness serves as a lesson; providing the opportunity to learn from past mistakes and take corrective steps as necessary. Healing means not carrying any residual hurt or emotional baggage. It allows us to be in a place of neutrality to what has happened. It is neither good or bad; but just is.
We must be able to leave things in the past and not be affected by them in order to fully heal. Sometimes there feels like a statue of limitations on how long we can hurt for, but everyone heals at different paces.
12. Trust Must Be At The Heart of Everything
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.- Stephen Covey
For my last lesson of 2017, I wanted to draw back to one of the most basic principles, trust. Trust has many social connotations including possessing confidence with expectation or certainty of something happening.
For trust to work it must be two-fold: intrapersonal and interpersonal. Trust is the foundation of all positive relationships, expansive love and growth. Without it, fear and doubt will always create shaky foundations. Personal trust involves being impeccable with and upholding your word. Trust among others is demanding the same standards and accepting no less as you would with yourself.
What have been your life lessons from 2017? I’d love to hear them in the comments below! If you’ve enjoyed this post, my next will be part 2 – Career Lessons from 2017 in review.