Something quite unexpected has happened over the last few months since starting this blog.
I’ve received dozens of emails from young people, some just starting college, some recently graduated, asking me for life advice.
Generally, many of these young people are stuck in a bad job or bad life situation, and they’re wondering what they can do to better their situation.
It’s hard to answer each email with the attention it deserves, but I felt it necessary to tackle this topic so that I can point people to this post.
I remember the day in January 1991 like it was yesterday.
I had graduated from university, and like most recently graduated young adults, I found myself in a new job In November 1990. I had uprooted my life after university, moved to a new city, Toronto, and rented a room at the top of a large apartment building in the middle of suburbia.
It only took me a few weeks before I realized that I had made a big mistake.
I hated my job. I hated my apartment.
I was the guy at the other end of the email asking people for life advice.
I asked myself the question, “What do you do when you feel stuck and believe you’re headed down the wrong path?”
I came across a book that would transform my life, and in the book, there was a quote:
“The birth of excellence begins with our awareness that our beliefs are a choice. We usually don’t think of it that way, but belief can be a conscious choice. You can choose beliefs that limit you, or you can choose beliefs that support you. The trick is to choose the beliefs that are conducive to success and the results you want and to discard the ones that hold you back.” —Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power
The book, Unlimited Power, became my life bible.
Within two weeks of completing the book, I had written my new life plan.
A few weeks later, I quit my job, moved to Los Angeles (temporarily), and started all over again.
I was armed with my biggest personal weapon.
The Power of Belief
One major thing changed for me after I finished reading the book. I came to realize how valuable the power of belief is to my success.
I asked myself this question, “What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?”
I came to realize that what I was doing, working in a crappy job, was the last thing I wanted to be doing.
What I really wanted was to start my own company, and the only thing holding me back was fear of failure.
I changed my mindset, developed a new set of goals, and then took action around accomplishing those goals.
The first step in changing your life involves understanding what it is that you want, and then cultivating habits and actions around meeting those goals.
“What great leaders and achievers have in common is that they operate from the belief that they create their world. The phrase you’ll hear time and again is, ‘I am responsible. I’ll take care of it.’
What Do You Want to Achieve?
Before you even embark on a path to self-improvement, the most important thing you need to do is understand what you want to achieve. And you need more than a high-level goal.
Saying, “I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30,” or, “I want to climb Mount Everest in 5 years,” isn’t enough, but it is a great first step.
Recognizing that you want to climb Mount Everest, and believing that you can do it, is a starting point. Repeating it to yourself on a daily basis and then developing habits around the practices that will lead to the goal is what you need.
Put on your life goggles.
Project three years into the future. What do you see?
How about five years into the future?
If you have a sense of the answers to the above questions, the next question is do you have a business plan. Or how about a life plan?
I read an interesting statistic recently. Apparently, only 1% of business owners, and people for that matter, have short- and long-term goals. And the problem is, when you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you’ve arrived.
If I told you to meet me at 123 Main Street in Springfield, the first thing you would do is open Google Maps and find 123 Main Street on the map.
What you wouldn’t do is start driving. That would be foolish. You need to know what direction you’re going in, pick the route, and then drive.
Most people spend more time planning the traffic route to their next destination than they do planning on where they’re going in life.
And if you don’t have a plan, how will you ever know if you’ve reached your destination?
Life planning is positively correlated with life success.
Go ahead, ask yourself:
What do you want to do with your life?
What will you have to do to achieve your personal goals?
What, if anything, will stop you from achieving your goals?
What are you going to do to make sure you’re accountable?
Remember, if you don’t have a dream, you’ll never have a dream come true.
Next, Stop Psyching Yourself Out
People say the words, “I can’t,” so often that they end up believing that they can’t.
Something interesting happens when you say negative things to yourself.
When you’re saying negative things, you’re affecting yourself in a negative physiological way. When you’re saying I am sick you’re actually creating sickness in the future. See, a lot of people think they’re describing the present when they’re actually prescribing the future by describing the present as it is. And most people never get that. The people that live the most effective lives are always acting as if they’re living in the future and the future is perfect.
Anything you’re saying with the words, “I am,” your subconscious will then take that as a command. You’re constantly programming your subconscious. You think you’re describing it, but you’re actually prescribing it.
Arm yourself with the knowledge of these three things:
- Your beliefs determine your success.
- You need a plan, a dream, and the knowledge that you can accomplish what you set your mind to.
- You need to stop psyching yourself out by saying negative thoughts to yourself.
Knowing these three things, you can conquer the world.
In the absence of these beliefs, you will likely always feel stuck and lost.
Want to know more about me and read some of the other interesting small business growth, profit and wealth stories I’ve written.
Here’s one of the first articles I wrote: My Journey Post Business Sale as I Sail Into a New Harbour.
Are you a younger entrepreneur? Here’s another interesting article I wrote:
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