3 Feb

New and Improved

13[1]How many times over the past decade have you noticed your laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, or other cleaning solution been advertised as “New and Improved?”  Was there something wrong with the old formula?  Didn’t it clean very well?  Weren’t you satisfied with it?  Is the new formula that much better or is there only a subtle difference if any at all?  Manufacturers want to stay one step ahead of the competition so continue to refine their products to keep you, the customer satisfied.   Sometimes we are able to notice the improvements and are pleasantly surprised with the new results.  However, had we not been offered the new and improved product we probably would have been satisfied with and happily continued using the old one.

Unfortunately, when it comes to people we don’t make changes unless we judge ourselves inadequate, lacking, or socially unacceptable.  Our self-image or what we think or feel about ourselves, is very poor.  We don’t like ourselves very much and may, in fact, loathe who we are.  If we have the courage we seek out self-help books or take self-improvement classes to improve that part of us that we find unacceptable.   It’s not that we want to change, but something in our life is not working and we feel we have to change.

The problem with feeling we have to or need to change is that we are proceeding from a place of weakness.   Not a good starting point.  Also, labeling the change as self-help or self-improvement extracts a cost because it only confirms our poor self-image.  “I’m not good enough as I am and need to change who I am.”

Because we don’t like change and only attempt it because we don’t like who or what we are, we want the change to occur as fast and as painlessly as possible.  If it doesn’t, then our self-image plummets further. People who proceed from a place of weakness or those with poorer self-images are less likely to persevere in the face of difficulty.  We give up on ourselves.  “I can’t do this.”  “I’ll never be able to do that.”  “I am just not good enough or deserving of something better.”  So we resign ourselves to a life of mediocrity or worse.  Poor self-talk doesn’t help you make the changes you want.  So you have to be very careful about what you say to yourself.  You have to be very careful about how you feel about yourself.  You have to be very careful about what you believe of and expect from yourself.

If we can approach change as something we want to do, something that we deserve because we are worth it, then there is no urgency.  We can be patient with ourselves, not become critical if we relapse into old behaviors because we know we can do it.  The destination becomes less important and the process is what drives us.  In fact, we might even find that change is fun.  We revel and feel successful with each small step forward and that motivates us to continue.  You see, nothing motivates more than success. As Brian Tracy, pre-eminent sales and entrepreneurship expert states, “When you develop yourself to the point where your belief in yourself is so strong that you know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, your future will be unlimited.”

The goal of self-mastery is to develop the best you possible.  This is a lifelong pursuit, because as the old adage states, nothing lasts forever.  What works well one day, doesn’t the next.  When our behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and actions no longer get us the kind of results we want we discard them for new ones.  Just like laundry detergent manufacturers who continue to research new and improved ways of cleaning laundry to keep you satisfied, you continue to research new and improved ways of living.

And if things get tough and aren’t proceeding as quickly or as easily as you would like, remember, “You are perfect just as you are; not in spite of your flaws, but because of them.  They make you the unique expression of love your Creator intended.”

So tell me. “What does the new and improved you look like?”

30 Jan

Seven Keys to Successful Living: Second Key – Self-Mastery

Most people go through life with very little impact on their environment (at least in a way that is conducive to success, happiness, and prosperity).  In fact, most of us allow our histories, early childhood conditioning, and life experiences to control our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, actions, emotions, feelings, expectations and reactions to desirable and undesirable situations (i.e. “He drove me nuts”, “She broke my heart”, “That makes me happy”).  Self-mastery, the second key to a successful life is about controlling our internal realities.  Only through Self-mastery can we begin to influence our external world in a way that we live the kind of life that most people only dream of in a world that supports our deepest wishes.

Controlling your thoughts is the first step in the Self-mastery process.  As Norman Vincent Peale states, “People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.” Hopefully you are using the techniques offered in previous posts to assist in your process of mind (thought) control. In addition to mastering our thoughts we must also become masters of our beliefs, attitudes, expectations, behaviors, expectations, feelings, emotions, and reactions to wanted and unwanted outcomes, events, and self-image.

There is a dynamic and fluid relationship between our thoughts and each of these other internal experiences.  That is, our thoughts affect our emotions, behaviors, etc. and each of these affect our thoughts.  In fact, each of these internal experiences affects and is affected by all of our internal experiences.  The good news about that is, mastering one internal experience helps us master other internal experiences.

Over the next several posts we will explore each of our internal experiences, their impact on our other internal experiences and how they affect our external environment.  Until next time, breathe, smile, and remember, “You are loved.”

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