Category Archives: pride

Comparing Yourself To Others

Be Careful When Comparing Yourself to Others

There is a huge difference between using a role model or icon’s accomplishments as a goal and comparing yourself to that person.

One can be a motivational tool but comparing yourself to someone else can be deflating and inhibiting.

We always seem to be comparing our lives and situations against others.  This can be very dangerous leading to an erosion of our self esteem.

Comparisions Are Trouble

The problems and distortions they present are many fold, including these;

  • The media presents images they ‘sell’ as perfection causing you to be intimidated
  • You only see a small slice of the person’s make-up
  • Their flaws are not examined, only their particular area of excellence
  • They may excel in one narrow area and not be well rounded at all
  • They can be great at something but horrible as human beings.

As you can see it is incredibly superficial and best to avoid the practise.

You Are Unique

There is only one of you.  Agreed?  Therefore, comparing yourself to anyone else is a zero sum game.

Everyone is different, everyone has their own set of ‘pimples’ and plus and minuses, some you see while others are hidden or disguised.  Do not allow some unrealistic portrayal or image of someone to trick, intimidate or depress you.  Everyone, including you, has things they are good at and things they are not.

You are who you are, now try to improve yourself or reach a goal you have set.

Compare yourself to no one but who you were yesterday! It is the only measure that makes sense and once you get the hang of it, a confidence and self esteem builder.

A Word About Set Backs

The average number of failures people experience on the way to any success is four.  When you look at someone remember the struggles and failures they had to experience in order to achieve their success.

Be prepared for at least four set backs before you reach any goal.  It is a realistic way to insulate yourself emotionally when and if set backs occur.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… 

Set your goal and get moving towards it today.  Make progress each and every day by committing to doing something that helps to achieve what you want.  Get up each morning looking to improve yourself that day, making progress on your goal.

Remember to compete with yourself and to compare yourself only to who your were yesterday.

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Confidence

The Trust Connection

I am convinced confidence is the key to a fuller life.  I would like to look at the connection between trust and confidence.

The definition of confidence is often boiled down to a strong belief in yourself and your abilities. However, this definition misses an important component of confidence and the boost it provides in your ability to achieve a goal.  What I’m referring to is trust.

The trust or faith you have in yourself is built over time and plays a large role in helping you to overcome a challenge or make progress on towards a goal.

If you are attempting something you have never done before and cannot rely on the confidence that comes with having achieved a similar thing before, you can get the boost you need from the faith or trust in yourself.

Take a Leap of Faith

You may not consider yourself a success in anything.  But it’s simply not true!  It may sound basic, but you have learned and overcome obstacles since you were an infant.  You’ve learned to talk, walk, read and write!  You may have learned to drive, swim, cook etc.

I am positive that if you examined your life you will find accomplishments that you can build on.  Just because they aren’t broadcast on T.V. doesn’t diminish them. They are tangible accomplishments, even if they are from the distance past, you can use them to build a trust in yourself that you can do it. Take a leap of faith, this time for yourself!

Persistence

No matter how little you have may have achieved, the one thing you can control, irrespective of your skill set, is the effort you put forth. I am speaking to the number and intensity of the attempts you can make.  Persistence is indelibly linked to confidence and success.  You have heard the cliche; If I bang my head against the wall enough times, it will crack.  An extreme example, but it shows that if you are persistent and do not give up, you will definitely have a measure of success.

Confidence and success are rooted in the acceptance that what you are attempting to do will be challenging, and that set backs that will come, but with knowledge that with a steady application, you will persevere.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you?

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Danger of Insecurity

Insecurity!

We all feel insecure at times.  Sometimes it may be a new situation or environment which leads to a sense of insecurity.  However, I want to focus on those deeper rooted feelings that we may not be good enough.  This lack of self worth expresses itself as insecurity.

Bogs You Down

The manifestation of insecurity is truly an anchor.  It prevents us from living a full, normal life.  Feelings of insecurity usually result in a socially isolated life and in extreme forms can produce paranoia.

Feelings of self doubt are crippling.  Even if we are prepared to execute something we can easily do, we can be tripped up by self doubt.

Don’t confuse unpreparedness, which causes nervous doubt but is limited to a specific event, for insecurity.

Relationships

Feelings of insecurity impacts relationships negatively.  If we don’t have a good self image it makes a having good relationship difficult. If we don’t love ourselves (warts and all), how can we love another person?

Roots of Insecurity Are Multi-Faceted

There are many causes and theories of how one becomes burdened with insecurity, such as a terrible childhood or subjection to bullying.  However, I am not a therapist and though it may be helpful to unearth the root cause, I would rather focus on an acknowledgement of insecurity, moving forward to chip away at it.

Insecurity can be overcome or mitigated.  It may take time and patience but the rewards are huge and must be pursued.  You can balance an acknowledgement of any shortcomings you may have (while working to improve them) but still believe and recognize your own self worth.

Don’t confuse, for example a lack of education, or physical awkwardness with your value as a person.  The world is filled with smart, athletic, successful individuals who are terrible people.  Our culture elevates someone with Hollywood good looks, tons of money or possesses some talent.  However, those superficial attributes are just a tiny slice of each of us.

You are important and valuable. You have as much to contribute as anyone else on the planet. Some may be able to express themselves or a point of view easier than you, but that does not make what they say or believe any more valuable than your views.  Don’t let yourself get caught up with what other people may or may not think of you.  Being a selfless, humble, honest, loving individual is the true measure of a ‘valuable’ person and in the end the only thing that counts.


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Fear

Fear is a part of our existence.  Our DNA is hard wired and our physical responses to real danger are instinctive.   But fear is not danger but a mental perception of a possible danger.  This is a key distinction that almost everyone misses.

Fear lives in the unknown. We are afraid of what we don’t know. We feel fear when we are unsure of the outcome of a situation and it cripples us.  We need to learn how to tame fear.

Permitting fear to guide your existence allows your mind to create a negative response to the unknown. You hear a sound in the middle of the night and immediately feel threatened. You lie still in the bed hoping nothing else will happen as your mind bubbles up all kinds of negative scenarios.  It is simply illogical!

Why not get up and see what the sound may be?  If it is a real danger you are not helping yourself lying in bed!  Check it out if it bothers you and get back to sleep.

We have fear of looking foolish, heightened by the media’s projection of their image of perfection.  This fear prevents us from becoming who we really are.  It keeps us from pursuing our dreams, living small, stagnate and full of regrets.

What’s the downside?

If for example, you have to speak in front of a group what is the worst thing that can happen? You flub it, or do just an okay job? So what!  You are not the focus of the audience’s day, it is forgotten so fast.  Ever been to a boring speech or bad concert? How long did you hang onto it?

It’s a good thing to feel nervous and desire to do a good job. However, we need to channel the nervous energy we feel into positive action.  Acknowledge the presence of your nervousness, it happens to everyone, even seasoned pros, athletes and performers.   If you don’t feel nerves at all, you don’t care and that’s worse!  You just need to put it into proper perspective.

If you cannot convince yourself that your presentation is not going to cure cancer and feel undue pressure, then get better prepared.  Practice and prepare if it’s a presentation, performance etc.  If it’s a social thing, ‘practice’ in smaller, less intimidating situations.  Preparation is the antidote but will not completely cancel your nerves.  It is also important to know that your audience wants to like you and that you know your stuff better than 90 percent of them.  Prepare, do and move on.

Make a Real Effort, Its All That Counts

We all have different interests and goals; it’s what makes life and people so interesting!  I love meeting people with unusual passions; it’s refreshing to see them pursue them vigorously.  Don’t be shy, whether you want to learn to dance, swim, read tarot cards, learn to ride a bike, paint etc. block out your fear and start participating.  Stop being self conscious, the world does not revolve around you.  When and if criticism comes your way, use it constructively even if it came mean spiritedly.  Learn from it and strengthen your resolve to grow.

This quote by Teddy Roosevelt says it all, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who strives valiantly; who errs, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Get Going

There is a substantive difference between fear and danger.  Our need to control and insulate ourselves imprisons us in a small, supposedly safe existence.  Say yes to life now, stop saying no due to unfounded and unrealistic feelings of fear.

If you do not do well in your endeavor don’t allow it define who you are and don’t let it get to your heart. Just as importantly, if you do well don’t let it get to your head!

For a memorable example of dealing with fear in a life threatening situation check out Marble Mountain – a memoir of a Vietnam helicopter pilot. It’s a gripping insight at the incredible challenges the brave men and women who served faced.  Marble Mountain Link Check it out!

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Statement of Purpose

To increase your productivity and enhance your confidence it is essential that you have a purposeful attitude.

Have a purpose or mission to accomplish, makes achieving your goals easier.  You should be focused on your task or goal.  All your actions and thoughts should be directed towards the goal.

This mind set increases your confidence and it is proven that confident people have an easier time with achievement.

How Do You Get Purposeful?

Think about what it is that you either want to do or are responsible for doing.  Set your goal, or review your tasks.   Focus on what steps you will take to achieve the goals set or mandated.  It is always a good idea to write them down as reinforcement. For example,  I want to ‘stop smoking, lose weight, reduce my golf handicap, learn a language, obtain a promotion, increase my sales etc.  This process transforms you from walking around in a reactionary mode into a proactive, purposeful state of mind.

Next, it is time to visualize doing the things that make progress towards your goal.  It’s not silly, visualizing the steps you need to take brings them to life.  Then visualize you actually achieving the goal and what positive changes it brings to your life.

Before you go to sleep, think about what you need to do the next day.  Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed, keep it positive, focusing on the next step only and the satisfaction, or relief it will bring.  When you wake up, set your mind to the tasks of the day, review the actions needed and get going.

The momentum you build by completing daily tasks necessary to achieve the ultimate goal, creates a level of confidence that is invaluable.  You will also obtain a sense that you must do something, lest you waste a valuable day of your life.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, success is a bunch of tiny victories, peppered with losses, strung together.

It is critical to accept setbacks as natural part of your growth, and to enjoy the small gains made en-route to the big goal!

Set your mind to a goal and break the steps into small increments to guarantee success!

You can do it, start believing in yourself.

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Slackers – How to Handle Them

We know them, they are in the office,  are in our department, they are everywhere.

They are the slackers. They do little, hide a lot and get by while aggravating the hell out of us.

Slackers take credit for work done by others, pretending to have contributed.

Slackers are experts at appearing to be busy and engaged.  We may all get equal credit or pay but the reality is that in a group of five, at least one will not make any meaningful contribution.

Take the Slack Out

The only way to deal with the slackers in our midst is by a combination of tight management and encouragement.

First, we must have an honest but polite discussion. Preferably one on one, but if you are on a team or group of some sorts, you can have a meeting and bring the topic up.   Keep it on business terms, don’t attack the person.

Try language like the following;

We need everyone to participate equally in this department or on this project.  It is not only fair but essential to have everyone share the work.  Otherwise, we will be unable to accomplish our goals and will make appropriate changes to address the failures of those responsible. Make it clear there will be harsh consequences for failing to contribute meaningfully.

With the warning in place, you need to designate, if in management or request such from a manager, a specific task and a corresponding time line for completion.  When you designate to a known slacker, you must be definitive in what and when it is expected.  If you leave anything unclear you can be sure they will exploit it.

It may be easier, though tedious, to break down the task into tiny components with corresponding timelines, or to hand feed each piece.  That leaves the slacker with very little wiggle room.  You should engage the slacker, being sure they acknowledge they have what they need to do the task at hand.  Then you need to monitor the progress according to the time line set.

Document any failures, you will need them.

If you are not in a management position then you must get the evidence and be tactful.   Ask for a review or meeting and during that time of feedback you can say you are being held back by someone who is not carrying their weight.  This is a time to identify the person and specify the failures.    General, wishy-washy complaints will not work.  If you want management to take action give them hard evidence!

The Effort is Worth It

We must acknowledge that in any setting there will be one or two who step up and do the lions share.  That is a fact of life.  However that being said, we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage.

The main thrust is to grow and improve our situations, failure to address slackers is unacceptable.

If you can either expose a slacker and they contribute or are tossed out, you will reap benefits in productivity, not to mention the stress reduction!

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Social Science Experiment Is Over

Somewhere along the way we lost ourselves. We no longer demanded that you act responsibly, work and civilly participate in society.

No One to Blame but Ourselves

We looked the other way, selfishly enjoying ourselves, while ignoring our responsibilities to parent and teach.  We didn’t set expectations for those dependent on us and attempt to manage the results.  We needed to instill core family values and discipline them, instead, we threw money at problems and poverty and went our merry way. You see it is much harder to do the tough work to form behaviors than to buy them and our conscious off.

We gave things without requiring anything for it.  They had no skin in the game, why are we surprised they feel entitled?

Different kind of Ellis Island

We also compounded our problems with newer immigrants.

What a difference a generation makes!  When millions flocked to our shores for a better life, they toiled hard at work and even harder at becoming Americans.  They learned the language and assimilated quickly.  It was not an abdication of who they were, they still practice their customs and cultures, but realized and desired to be a part of something bigger – AMERICA!  Their contributions are legendary and a reason prospered into a beacon for the underclass around the world.

Newcomers to America are accommodated to such a large degree that they have no incentive to learn English and integrate into our society and culture.  Thinking we’d make it easier for them led to neighborhoods filled with signage in other languages and children unable to learn in school because they didn’t know English, resulting in tremendous disaffection.  (Interestingly, Arizona, now maligned for its immigration policy, actually mandated that children be taught in their native language and ‘imported’ Spanish speaking teachers from Mexico!  It proved to be a colossal failure as Spanish speaking children performed even more poorly.)

Disastrous Results

This disaffection and resentment manifested itself in many ways but some recent events like the riots in England are ringing alarm bells.   In short, we need to turn course quickly in order to have a chance at changing the tide.

In order for a democracy to survive and prosper it needs the far majority of its people participating.  We cannot have the outrageous amounts of folks we have now living off the government!  Fiscal disaster that it is, it is just not sustainable for democracy.

We must make the distinction between those who are unable to take care of themselves and those who are simply unwilling.  Safety nets for legitimate, verifiable reasons should be maintained.  Other programs dealing with poverty must be managed with an eye to outcomes.  If it does not change behavior, leading to independence, it should be changed until it does.  If you get something (Sickness and aged etc aside) from the government or society you should be required to do something. Is there a legitimate reason, that those getting a year or two of unemployment checks not be required to gain a new skill to be employed (or clean a park?) as a condition of getting the check?

Nothing less than the very fabric of our society is at stake.  We need ideas and action now!

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Pride? We have lost it!

Its Obvious

We encounter scores of people in our day to day lives who seem to have no pride in what they do.  Their lack of pride contributes to shoddy, uninspired performance and dulls our lives.

Without spirited, caring interaction in our daily lives we are less joyful and productive.

Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost our sense of cheeriness and pride. How did we lose these vital traits?

The Culture is at fault!

A major factor is allowing others to define who we are.  This is crazy!  Why allow society to judge whether something you do is ‘good enough’?

Today’s culture has a misplaced value system that reveres anyone, no matter how nuts, on TV, in sports or with wealth. (need I mention many of these ‘stars’ lead irresponsible, trouble filled lives?)

By this twisted, flawed definition we undermine every other vocation, including parents who stay at home to raise their children.

The brutal fact is that focusing on what others do or have dooms you to unhappiness.

What’s the alternative?

How about taking some pride in what we do?

There is no absolutely no reason to be embarrassed by what we do, unless we do it poorly!

Just think of the impact someone who may simply be working behind a counter at a deli can have.  If they are upbeat and engaging and anxious to do their job as well as possible,  both parties are uplifted.  Contrast that with those we may know whose negative, sloppy style leave us disgusted.

In reality it does not mater what you do, even if society deems it menial.

They are many examples of the impact we have on each other that can go both ways.  Even interacting on the telephone where you can be drawn into negativity or surprised when a stranger treats us well and resolves an issue.

Conducting ourselves and our activities with a sense of pride and a positive attitude is the answer.

Whatever you do, do it well, with gusto and a sense of pride.  Don’t be pulled into the mentality that “they aren’t paying me enough to do this’ or “it doesn’t make a difference” or I’m just an xyz”

Taking pride in what you do is essential to your self esteem and happiness.

Intimidated?

Why do we feel the need to shield information or position situations?  Its natural to try to make ourselves look good but some things are really silly and add ‘weight’ to our lives.

Why do we feel the need to make excuses for say a child that does make or choose to go to an “a” type college?  Why do we need to say “this is only temporary I took this until something else comes up’  Its fine as long as while you are there you do it well!

Caution – the Flip Side

There is a downside to having too much pride or ego.

It can cause us to think we are better than others, preventing real engagement with others.  It can prevent us from taking on ajob or responsibility, thinking we are too good to do something.

An Easy Fix!

Conducting yourself with pride is easy to master.  It may take a little practice, reminding yourself at times, but feeling good about yourself and what you do will also make your outlook brighter!

Life’s a journey towards your goals, you won’t get there in a flash and make many ‘stops’ along the way, so you must make the best of it to enjoy it.

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