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by riley harrison

We realize a small percentage of our potential. Our greatest limitations are self inflicted. William James, psychologist and philosopher, said “The greatest revolution is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” Someone else said  “All the truly important battles are waged within one’s self.”

If we are willing to accept this premise and work on changing attitudes that limit, the rest will take care of itself. You want to move beyond merely fixing problems to seeing and creating possibilities. Motivation, persuasion, confidence, self-esteem, decision making and creativity are skills that you can learn. Our limitations are not in what is possible but what we think is possible. Learn to model excellence.

We need to change the way we think and our own self image of ourselves. Why is self esteem so important? The more you like yourself, the less you fear failure. The more you like yourself the easier it becomes to take risks. The more you like yourself the easier it is to step out of your comfort zone. The more you like yourself the easier it becomes to handle criticism. The more you like yourself the less urgency you feel in making yourself understood. The more you like yourself, the greater your capacity for appreciation. Self esteem is the art of discovering who you really are and expressing it in the world.

If we believe we are limited, we will act accordingly and lead a limited life. You can never out perform your self image. If we keep repeating the same thoughts, feelings and actions, the results will be predictable. The results will be the same because nothing has changed. If nothing changes nothing changes. So why struggle to realize your potential? What exactly is wrong with becoming a couch potato? Albert Schweitzer put it this way “You should realize your soul suffers if you live superficially”. A purposeless life isn’t a happy life.

You have to commit to be willing to change and alter your very comfortable, well known routine of existence. Change can be hard. It’s not easy to do what needs to be done. We often pretend that we don’t know what needs to be done. Often we do know what needs to be do; we lack the courage rather than the insight.. Change never happens as fast as we like; it’s an uneven process that has its’ successes and victories but also setbacks and disappointments.  But what is the alternative – to remain stuck, to not have dreams, to continue in patterns that depress rather than excite you? The beauty of change and being on the right road is that small changes result in great satisfaction. Think of the immense satisfaction you receive when you acknowledge a fear or barrier in your life and you take action that helps you go forward and do effective battle with that fear. Change and action might be scary but they will lead to better and more positive feelings about yourself. Success is winning the daily battles with your issues in life. You will then reflect back on your progress and realize that you have made major progress and have won major victories.

The comfort zone is the real enemy to human potential. We develop habits and well worn ruts that become the path that we travel on through life. Instead of altering the path, we use our energies to determine how to make the path more comfortable and lose sight of the fact that if the path isn’t going in the right direction, we have consigned ourselves to a destiny of underachievement, mediocrity and acceptance of the status quo. People will continue to work at the same job, associate with the same people, drive the same route to work, engage in the same leisure activities, watch the same TV show, read the same books.

Understand the connection between self esteem and confidence then practice behavior that boosts your confidence. Confidence does not arrive full grown; it grows with experience.

Thoughts and memories have a pattern to them. If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten. It is way too easy to settle into a pattern. What you are comfortable with is not necessarily what is good for you. You must break the mind set of instant gratification and be willing to persevere for a time without visible progress. Who you are has been formulated by a lifetime of habits and thoughts. Do not expect overnight change. Real change is neither easy or quick. I enjoy reading inspirational stories. However many success stories focus solely on the success and fail to discuss or skim over the hard times leaving you with the false impression that when you encounter hard times you must be doing something wrong. As Rodney Dangerfield said it took me 20 years to become as overnight success. Read about Maya Angelu struggles early in her life before success was achieved. The true story is sometimes so much more helpful than the myth. Noel Coward said  “Thousands of people have talent. I might as well congratulate you for having eyes in your head. The one and only thing that counts is ‘Do you have staying power?’”





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