Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stop Reacting and Start Living By Choosing To Repond To Life

Stop Reacting to life and start responding

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes 30 Seconds

Are you reacting to life? Or are you responding to life?
These two statements might appear to mean the same thing. But there’s a subtle difference between them. That difference albeit subtle makes a world of difference in the results people get.

John Maxwell once said “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”.
The aim of this post is to change a little - which becomes a lot if applied consistently - bit of the impression of the quote above.

Empower Yourself To Stop Reacting Automatically

Empower your mind with powerful thoughts. You can change your reactions. It all start in the mind. For you to react to a situation, it means you’re constantly adjusting to life. You consider yourself to be powerless. So when life deals a hand, you reciprocate by adjusting yourself or bending to the hand bend to the hand you’re dealt.

For one to be reacting to situations, means one is not taking the initiative. It shows there is a dirth of new novel actions and ideals to reach for. You live reactionarily. Life throws you a curve ball, you react predictably.

Start Responding To Life

So to paraphrase our quote above. “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I respond to it”.

To respond in any scenario is to make a conscious effort to not act in any predetermined or automatic manner.

To respond is to take proactive measures to forestall the re-occurrence of an unfavorable experience.

To respond is to live life consciously. To live life like a functional human being with the capacity to think, and not react to experiences like an automaton.

Little wonder folks who are admitted at the hospital who get better daily, are said to be ‘responding to treatment’. Whereas those whose conditions are declining are said to be ‘reacting to treatment’ or are said to be ‘having a reaction’.

With a little forethought on our part we can respond to life and live consciously. Making decisions that would positively impact on our long term physical and emotional well being. Despite the temporary pain we might have to put up with.

Take advantage of this moment 

NOW to choose an area of your life where you’ve been reacting automatically. It could be your patience level. It could be your pain tolerance. It could be how to stop spending mindlessly and grow your finances. It could be acquiring a new hard or soft skill. The list is endless.

The next step. Decide to take proactive steps to either change it completely, or make it better on your terms.
Followed by writing out three possible actions you will take to stop reacting and start responding.

Finally. Make a commitment to yourself, your mum, sibling, spouse or friend to take a daily action on what you have put down.

Change your life on your terms, before life forces you to change it on her terms. You might not like her terms. Nobody does.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Life Isn't Passive, Take More Action

Estimated Reading Time:  2 Minutes 50 Seconds

Die Today Live Tomorrow.

 This whimsical experience we call life responds to us. It is not a passive affair. It is a pulsating experience that responds to us. It cares not for being fair or unfair. Good or bad. it just is.

Many that lived life passively. Eventually died with regrets. Pining for the years they wasted by waiting for conditions to be right. They expected life to give them a lucky break. I don’t want to live like that. As a Nigerian youth, I want to live strong and well. I want to empower myself and liberate my mind. Making as many mistakes as I possibly can.

If I die today. I want to die knowing that I lived to the fullest of my potential. But I’ve not even scratched the surface. This thought alone, as much as I hate to admit it, gets me very uncomfortable.

Master Your Life Self Today

Life will rarely, if ever, unfold for you. Neither will it unfold for me. It will remain a capricious entity until you give it a direction.

I’m not discounting the crumbs of advantages that fate and providence do throw intermittently at we mortals. They are more of an exception. Not the norm. Random though they may be.

In my short existence. I’ve realized that if you fail to focus and direct your life with a strong mental grip, it will carry you along. Dumping you on the shores of obscurity and discontentment.

If allowed it will continue to meander. So until you master it, and direct it through the renewal of your mind. Through changes in your thought processes, changes in the way you use your mouth and finally changes in the actions you take daily. Mixed with more than a smattering of self-reflection, it will continue to master you. While you’ll remain a slave to your life’s whims and caprices.

Stop Wishing Start Doing

Sitting idly and day-dreaming has its advantages. It gets the creative juices flowing. But it can never give you the life you want if you fail to take action.

It cannot give you the kind of financial independence you want, neither can it give you the kind of social capital you want.

Take Action

Write out Five things you want to achieve this year. Focus on three major objectives and two minor objectives. It could be anything.

Now write out three action steps that you would take daily towards the accomplishment of that objective - it could be making a call. It could be downloading some information on the internet or asking some question online or offline.

Whatever it is write it down. Hold yourself accountable and make sure you do it.

Each night before you go to bed review your activities that day. Then write out your next step for the next day.

Carry them with you wherever you go. Talk about them whenever you can.

Accumulated Little Steps Become Bigger Steps At The Long Run

Do something that inches you closer to the realization of your dreams and visions. Start writing that book. Start posting on that blog. Submit that application. Approach that man or woman. 

Speak up as much as you can. Talk about your ideas and ideals. Get noticed for what you do.

Be different. Be you, you are unique. Take that action now. Remember life has no reruns.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Exploring The Lost Art of Saying NO!

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Why is it so difficult to say no and stand by it? This is something many people struggle with at various points in time. Some did end up mastering this skill - believe me it’s one - of saying no so much that, they’ve got it down to an art form. You’d be glad they actually declined your request. 

But if you are anything like the average person you probably find it painful to say no to your little niece, brother and/or sisters, talk more of a boss, or your forcefully pushy; yet tactful colleague at the office. Whom, quite sadly, you’ve been itching to tell off. This never happens though, as you find yourself agreeing to do extra work each time he comes with a request.

You technically jump through fire hoops for this proverbial colleague. Neither do you feel good about these tasks, but you just can’t bring yourself to say No!

So you wimp out; bottling up your frustrations with your colleague, and your self for agreeing yet again.

Studies show that this causes job stress and imminent release of this pent-up emotion is inevitable. The sad part is the trigger might be something as trifling as a ‘little’ critique of your work. So how do we avoid this impending conflict? And leave with our self-esteem and sanity intact?

Well as obvious as it sounds, just say no. It’s as simple as that. No means no. No is a complete sentence in and of itself. But few rarely use this two letter word. 

It’s interesting to note that we all want to say no to plenty - if not all - of the things we’ve said yes to. But no one wants to be tagged‘selfish’ and ‘mean’. 

Neither do we want to feel guilty and unhelpful to our friends and colleague. So to feel good about our self, we compensate by going on a yes streak. We say yes to any and every request; however trivial, banal or inane the request might seem to us. Whereas it would have pleased us to no end to just say no.

This reminds me of a Nigerian maxim in Pidgin English: “Yes no dey cause problem” roughly translated - saying Yes to or agreeing to do something never raises any arguments and/or objections.

Several times I’ve found myself agreeing to go on mundane errands and trips that I eventually regretted to no end. It wasn’t a very healthy experience both for myself and for my friends. Because I was grumpy, my mind was somewhere else but my body was trapped there. I would have preferred to be anywhere but there.
So to avert this feelings of frustration I simply started saying no more often, particularly if a request was going to clash with my time and interests. Like every new skill, this wasn’t easy at first.
I also noticed that it usually elicited mixed reactions from the folks involved. So I started by giving time constraints or having plenty on my plate. Usually this works..

This penchant to say yes doesn’t end with interpersonal relations. It has also trickled down into our activities online. We are quick to say yes to notifications online. We could be doing a research and a notification - either on Facebook or Twitter - pops up. It’s quickly checked out, and a few seconds has turned into forty-five unaccounted minutes on Facebook. Simply saying NO to yourself would have sufficed.

Our Yes muscle has grown so big, that I’m tempted to say this inclination to say yes, inherent in us all, now has a mind of its own. We are technically a lumbering mass of ‘Yes Men’.

Consequently our inclination or ability if you may, to say No has atrophied and shriveled considerably due to a lack of use. Its powers has waned. Saying No is beginning to feel like an alien concept to some of us able ‘Yes Men’.

Not that saying yes to things is a bad idea in and of itself. It’s about knowing the right activities or tasks to say Yes to. Because saying Yes to the wrong activities, closes up the space for us to do the right ones. So we lose out on opportunities to improve or do something meaningful.
I’ll end by saying; ditch the guilt. Allow yourself to say an emphatic No to everything guiltlessly, so you can say Yes to one thing. Have the time and energy to pursue this one Yes to the fullest.
It could be anything, just make sure it is what you truly want to do. Then say an emphatic yes to it, and do it to the best of your ability.

What are those activities you have saying Yes to that you need to start saying No to? 

I’ll love to hear your thoughts on this.