You Don’t Have to Always Hustle to Be Successful

I read a blog this morning about the behaviors of emotionally strong individuals.  Initially I asked, “what is emotional strength?”  Emotional strength is the ability to experience positive feelings.  There are some studies to suggest that certain personality traits are linked to greater emotional stability, an indicator for emotional strength (Guswell & Ruch, 2012). A particular study by Guswell and Ruch (2012) suggested there are innate characteristics that can either support or hinder a person’s ability to manage emotions.  In other words some personalities have an easier time managing emotions and remaining positive.  Although research claims it may be easier for some more than others it is not likely that only certain individuals with certain personality traits are allowed happiness.  All people are allowed happiness and all individuals can have a happy disposition despite character, experience, or previous thought patterns.

Individuals can learn emotional strength.  If you struggle with something in life you can learn to improve; you can learn to emotionally improve, as well. Your emotions do not control you.  Your thinking does not control you.  (It seems that way most of the time because turning “off” thinking and emotions is challenging).  The source behind the thinking and the emotions is YOU and the one in control of you is YOU!  I understand my posts talk a lot about choosing to be happy positive and I understand this can be very frustrating to most.  But, that truly is the issue; choice.  How you think and how you feel is up to you!  It is that simple.  The hard part is applying the skills, tools, and techniques to make that choice stick.

There are lots of tools and behaviors one can apply to increase emotional strength.  One behavior that stood out to me as a read the blog on emotional strength was ,”They (emotionally strong people) are not afraid of slowing down”.  This really stuck with me and caused me to ponder.

Emotional strength equals success.  Early research clearly demonstrated that people with an ability to evaluate their emotions, identify their emotions, and rationally handle their emotions are better able to reach and achieve goals (Allport & Allport, 1921).  To consider that emotionally strong people can slow down and relax challenged the belief that successful people are “go-getters” and “busy-bees”. Success coincides with work.  So many of us are chasing dreams, aspirations, and goals.  Motivation is inspired and we are challenged to keep going, keep pushing, and work daily to achieve success.  Then why is slowing down a sign of success and emotional strength?  How does rest and slowing down accomplish goals?

When we slow down we can LIVE.  It is so easy to be caught up in pursuing goals and achieving success and to lose sight of daily life and the little miracles that occur.  I am no exception.  My goals and aspirations in life require me to have daily goals and a daily plan.  The drive to be successful causes me to become acutely aware of my daily goals and I can spend minutes of my day, hours of my day planning, working, building, doing, and analyzing.  What happens if I just stop?  What happens if I just slow down and approach the day as it comes?

When we can slow down we are left with seconds, minutes, hours, even days for freedom and to live.

  • Slowing down means we can be content with our present moment and our present blessings.
  • Slowing down means we can be thankful for what we have.
  •  Slowing down allows us to experience love and support of family and friends.
  • Slowing down means taking a break.
  • Slow down means we have time to do something else (perhaps read a book, talk with a friend, or sit in silence).

Today I challenge you to stop!  Stop planning and stop working.  Take time away from your “to-do” list and do something else.  You do not need to always be working on something and you do not need to always be focusing on your goals.  I challenge you to take a step back, slow down, and enjoy the moment and the people you are with.  When you slow down to live you will restore your heart, your brain, and your soul.  This renewal of mind, body, and spirit will help you achieve goals, accomplish tasks, and lead you to success.

 

 

References:

Allport, F. H., & Allport, G. W.  (1921). Personality traits: Their classification and measurement. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 16(1), 6-40.

Guswell, A. & Ruch, W. (2012).  Are only emotional strengths emotional?  Character strength and disposition to positive emotions.  Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 4(2), 218-239.

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Don’t Be Discouraged! You Are More Successful Than You Think You Are.

First of all I apologize this post is so late.  I realize that today is Saturday and that a FitFriday post was missed.  Yesterday I took a much needed day off to spend the day with my hubby.  I did not work out (I ate well and according to plan), had a cheat meal, and I did not worry about work or my “To-Do List”.  Thank you for understanding.  

Recently I have talked with a few people I have been coaching and they expressed disappointment in their progress.  It is very easy to become discouraged when so much effort is focused on working hard in the gym and on eating well.  A problem with the health and fitness industry is so much attention is paid to looks and the body.  People are now desperate to achieve fitness, health, and weight loss.  In their desperation people will go to extreme measures to achieve their goals or people will abandon their goals because they feel like a failure.

Let’s stop!  Take a moment and look at where we have come.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, upset, frustrated, and like you are not making progress, stopping and assessing your progress can be helpful.  You ARE better than you were yesterday.  Isn’t that success?

Perhaps looking back is what frustrates and overwhelms you because you do not like where you are now and your past progress was the example of a better you.  Life happens.  We get busy.  Priorities change.  Responsibilities change.  However look back, you are a different person today then you were then.  You know more.  You have experienced more.  Isn’t that success?

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I have written a lot of blogs on here about what you think, you are!  The same is true for how you analyze your success.  You have a set of expectations in your mind, based on what you see from others.  For example you see the a girl or guy in the gym and think that in 6 weeks you will have their physique.  Your brain is using that external example to set success expectations.  Then when the 6 weeks is up, you judge yourself to that external measure, and see you did not meet expectations.  Your brain will start to blame YOU for this lack of progress.  You see, it is easier for the brain to conclude that you are the problem. 

Americans, in particular, are very ego-centric.  This means we are self involved.  I hate to say that, but it isn’t necessarily bad.  It just means that you will internalize the events, experiences, perceptions, and view of the world to yourself.  There is psychological research to demonstrate this.  Check out this Psychology Today blog.  What this means is that when you evaluate your progress and use your set of expectations developed from those external sources you will not compare, and you will self-evalute.  This self-evaluation concludes you did not meet your expectations; thus you become frustrated, discouraged, and overwhelmed.  However this self-evaluation is flawed.  It is based on a limited set of information and is not considering all the available data.  It is like deciding to never eat meat again because you read 1 article about meat causing weight gain (this is an example and not an article I have found).  This article could be inaccurate, it could be faulty or flawed research, it could be biased, and it does not include all the information about how meat helps with weight loss.  You see to make an accurate assessment of your success you need to consider more than your list of expectations.  

Success doesn’t work like that.  Success is not “all or nothing”.  Success does not come overnight. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly progress leads to success.  I ask you “what is success?”  Have you even defined what that means?  What is your measure of success?

If you want to feel successful I encourage you to try these things:

  1. Go out and do what you want to do.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Take the first step and say “yes I will”.  
  2. Make a “To-Do” List.  Start marking the items off that list.
  3. Change your thinking.  Positive Psychology asserts that the “Happiness Advantage” is key to finding success.  Research claims that changing your thinking to be more positive will increase your productivity and improve your level of success.  Rather than say “I failed” or “I am incapable of this”, say “I succeed when I make the healthy choice” or say “I am able to do this”.  
  4. Strengthen your mindset.  Your mind is stronger.  Your will is greater.  Saying these positive statements will strengthen your mindset.  Rather then focusing on the external progress, focus on your mindset, your will, and your determination.  This will help you make your dreams come true!  Train your brain to see the positive.  No matter how big or how small, see the positive and this will lead to more positive thinking overall.  Positive thinkers are more successful.  Again research finds this to be the case.  
  5. Take the actions necessary to achieve success.  Donald Trump did not become a successful businessman by sitting around wishing to be successful.  He worked for it.  He made choices everyday and took action daily to reach his level of success today.  
  6. See success, even in failure.  Donald Trump made mistakes.  He lost money.  But he didn’t stop.  Use failure and frustration to push you forward.  Learn from your mistakes, make changes, and keep going.  
  7. Do not focus on the overall goal!  Instead focus on your daily small goals.  Did you run 1 mile today?  That is success!  Keep going and you will be able to run 10 miles.  Positive psychologists suggest that focusing on smaller tasks makes success easier to obtain.  By focusing on the small progress it is easier to remove smaller barriers.  Removing a small barrier is success and will lead to greater success!
  8. Remember you are unique.  You cannot measure your success on someone else’s.  That person did not grow up the way you did, they did not have your experiences, and they are not living your life.  Your situation is unique, not impossible.

Don’t be discouraged!  You are more powerful than yesterday.  You are smarter today.  You are more successful than you think you are.  It starts with action.  I encourage you to go and live your dreams, starting today!