The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.
In the previous topic, “I Control My Mind, Therefore I Control My Life,” we imagined a scenario where our thoughts triggered a change in our demeanor both inside and out based on what we saw with the interviewer’s facial expression. We learned that it may have been a past experience in which someone didn’t like us or were angered that caused our minds to associate his look with a past experience. We processed his facial expression to hold that it was obvious he didn’t like us only to find out that his facial expression was due to the loss of a loved one. The series began with the mind so that we can understand that is where the battle is, and because our minds get hard wired to respond to things happening around us, we must have a strategy to counteract what could be years of learned behavior because our mind has stored a reaction to a memory. Before we go any further in the series, I want to reemphasize that change can be quick, but in most cases change takes time and repetition. I don’t want you to get discouraged if you attempt to change a way of thinking and it does not happen overnight. Whatever you do, tap into your passion and desire to change and keep pressing forward. I believe you can get there!
Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.
However, it is going to take more than me believing that you can do it. You are going to have to believe it for yourself; believe that you can accomplish anything in your life. If we have come to the conclusion that the battle is in the mind, then we know that our opponents are not people and things that surround us. Our greatest opponent is in the reflection of the mirror we look in every day. With a focused mind filled with positive thoughts, we are capable of accomplishing more than we realize. We will not realize it until we begin to make an effort towards our goals. That is one reason I love the quote by Lao Tzu that lets us know that we will never have a journey in life if we never take the first step. The reason why we tend to not take that step, is because we may be looking at something that we have perceived to be too great or difficult to accomplish.
[su_quote cite="Lao Tzu"]Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.[/su_quote]
Every four years I find myself watching the Winter Olympics. When it is time for skiing I get fascinated with the thought of doing the same, but to this day I never have. As soon as I have the thought, I remind myself that I grew up in Miami, FL, and I do not do well in cold weather. In addition, I am tall and people like me just will not do well with skiing. However in reality, who really told me that I could not ski? It was me, and no one else. I was the one to convince myself that it was too much for me to accomplish, so I never tried. If I take the quote from Lao Tzu, I never took the first step so my journey into skiing never happened.
So that is my question to you; in reference to that dream, goal, or accomplishment that you have never tried, who told you that you could not do it? We may answer that it was someone else and we may realize that it was ourselves. However even if it were someone else, we still had to come into agreement and tell ourselves the same thing. So that is what is stored in our minds; we see a challenge and our minds react in a way that convinces us that we cannot meet that challenge for whatever reason, and we never try. Because we never tried, we never accomplished; we live defeated by our own thoughts.
Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.
With this strategy, we are going to attempt to alter our reality from what we think we cannot do to having a mindset that we are capable of doing anything. With the previous strategy, we tapped into passion and desire. Now let us tap into confidence; confidence in yourself and what you are capable of doing. In order to increase our confidence in ourselves we are going to have to decrease our confidence in the media. The media portrays what it feels is the norm, and we spend our energy trying to match the images we see. We have a drive to follow trends, and often these trends are created by the media. Because we do not match what we see, we try to take measures to change our appearance and behavior to match what is trendy. This energy leads to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Recently I learned of a new term making it’s way into mainstream called facebook depression. It happens when we are scrolling through our news feed reading of other’s adventures, looking at their pictures, and begin to compare them to our lives. When it doesn’t match up, envy, anxiety, and depression can set in.
Listen to me close, or in this case, read carefully; and I want you to repeat these words out loud. “It’s okay to be me; exactly who God created me to be.” If you are participating in this series, grab your journal and write that phrase on it’s own page as large as you can. If you have a sticky note, write it and tape it where you spend a lot of time such as the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator. Everyday, I want you to remind yourself that it is okay to be you. Spend more time investing in who you are than what the media says you should be. When you can do that, you are on your way to increasing your self confidence.
Here are some tips I would like for you to put into practice:
- Reduce your time on social media.
- First, time yourself and count how much time in a given day you spend on social media, internet news, or browsing advertisements.
- Once you have done this, find out what 10% of that number is. This is how much time I want you to reduce each day.
- Take that same number and fill that time on yourself. Read a book, study the bible, write a note to yourself about a good quality you have, etc.
- After you are comfortable with this reduced time, take another 10% off your social media time and continue doing so until you are spending more time elsewhere than social media.
- When you see an image on social media, the internet, magazines, or television that seems trendy, remind yourself that you do not have to match the image you see.
- Pursue to be healthy according to your physician’s advice.
- Pursue fashion that makes you comfortable and within your price range, even if it is not trendy.
- Pursue to love the image you see in the mirror rather than the image you see in the media. Nothing wrong with admiring what you see, but make sure that you admire your own image first.
- Find three (3) people you trust and ask them to share five (5) qualities they admire about you, preferably something they may have never shared with you before.
- Note their responses in your journal.
- Take a moment to review their feedback and ensure that you see what they see in you. Moreover, believe it all to be true; believe in yourself.
This exercise is not going to change your life. But if you can use this to help you tap into your self-confidence, then you are on your way of increasing confidence in yourself while decreasing your confidence in the media.
[su_quote cite="Maxwell Maltz"]The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. [/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=" Philippians 4:13 NKJV"]I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.[/su_quote]
Let us add to what we have so far. We have tapped into our passion and desire to change the way we think by repetitiously replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. We then move on to tap into confidence to raise our awareness in the fact that it is okay to be ourselves; the person God created us to be. Now let us add what the author Paul gives us in his letter to the Philippian church who writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Half of the battle is aligning our thoughts with believing in our true selves and the other half is aligning our thoughts with the Word of God. In this group of verses found in the fourth chapter of Philippians he let’s us know that he understands what it feels like to have it all, to be of low esteem, to be full, to be hungry, and to suffer. He finds the answer to it all is to simply be content.
If we can learn to be content with who we were created to be and place our faith in God to strengthen us to be who He has created us to be, we have made that first step towards accomplishing goals, exceeding expectations, living our dreams, and reaching our destinations. With God on your side, and confidence in who He has created you to be, you can accomplish anything with your life.
Is it a PhD you are reaching for? Go for it, you can accomplish anything with your life. Climbing your way to CEO? Keep climbing. If you can’t climb any further and you’re not CEO, then start your own company and make yourself the CEO. You can accomplish anything with your life if you put your passion, desire, and confidence, in both yourself and God, towards whatever you endeavor to accomplish. I guess that means I need to purchase a pair of skis right? You are exactly right. We are in this together, and together we will accomplish anything with our lives because we believe in God, and we believe in ourselves more than we believe in the media and what the media tries to convince us we should be.
This journey may be a tedious one, but take the first step and then take another. One step at a time, remind yourself that you can accomplish anything with your life. If you get weary along the way, do not get discouraged. Take a break, take a breath, and take a rest. When you catch your breath, lift your head up and stand tall as you take another step. It is okay to rest, because rest is essential for our well being. However whatever you do, do not stop, do not quit, and do not give up. Keep pressing forward until you reach your goal. I said earlier, I believe you can do it. Now it is your turn to believe. Believe in God, believe in yourself, and become the unstoppable force God has created you to be; to not just be a conqueror, but more than a conqueror. Yes, you can accomplish anything with your life!
[su_quote cite="Romans 8:37 NKJV"]Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. [/su_quote]
[su_quote cite="Romans 8:37 HCSB"]No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.[/su_quote]
- In addition to writing down, “It’s okay to be me; exactly who God created me to be,” also make a note with the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” With that verse write the phrase, “I can accomplish anything with my life.”
- Tape this somewhere you can see it, and be sure to not just read it, but say it aloud. Do this every day as you start your day.
- If you feel discouraged throughout the day, simply remind yourself of these phrases and be confident.
- If you have been waking up each day repeating the phrase, “I control my mind, therefore I control my life,” this week I want you to change it to, “I control my mind, therefore I control my life. I am confident I can accomplish anything with my life.”
- Make a list of things you want to do, but have not done yet.
- After each item leave room to make notes as to why you feel you have not accomplished that goal yet.
- Once you have written the reason why, write what you feel it would take to accomplish that goal.
- Next to each item, write the phrase, “I can accomplish this!”
- When the list has been completed, pick one goal and begin to work towards accomplishing that goal.“I control my mind, therefore I control my life.” Do not give up until you have accomplished it.
- Review the list that you made from the feedback of good qualities about you.
- Is there any items you disagree with? If so, why?
- If you have found something you disagree with, go back to that person and discuss it with them so that they can help bring clarity to their statement about you.
- Pick seven (7) qualities you have listed.
- In your journal make a list from the days of the week, Sunday through Saturday.
- Write a quality next to each day.
- Each day, refer to your journal, find the corresponding day and say, “I am ______________ (your quality)”