Our Best Self

We can never be free while we continue to burden ourselves with a false sense of who we truly are. We must be ourselves, unique in the way that God made us. I would guess that most are trapped in the opening line, with a “false sense of who we are”, describing the many who are living out a life they feel is expected of them, as opposed to relentlessly pursuing who their true self is, a self that brings joy to both them and those around them.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

I feel this is more relevant today than ever. We are constantly being pulled in all directions with messages of all kinds reiterating who we need to be, how we can do it, and how quickly it will take us. Our goal must be to unlock our best self and stay true to it no matter what. No one person is the same. We all have something to offer and give to this world. Don’t take away the one thing that this world needs to be complete: You.

JKH

Is 80/20 a real thing?

Many of us have heard about it, but what exactly does it mean? Many know it as Pareto’s Law, but also informally known as the 80/20 rule. So much can be interpreted from this, and we could take a deep dive into how it works, but I simply want to highlight the core message of 80/20.

Many of you have heard, “80% of your results come from 20% of your inputs”, or some variation, but what I really take away from the Pareto’s Law is one word: focus. Meaning, only a few things matter in making major changes in your life. It doesn’t take drastic, monumental changes to impact your results, but more so, simple, vital functions that are both easy to do and easy not to do. I say simple because we can all do it, and I emphasize vital because, well, they are important. In fact, they are so important, that not doing them will subtly move you in the wrong direction, but doing them will, obviously, move you in the right direction, although it might not be as fast as we all want. I’m sure all of us would agree that we can be impatient at times.

That’s the challenge with seeing the long-term results you want: they take time. Yes, we can experience things quickly, but long-term sustained results require simple, yet important and disciplined habits. Period.

As the underlining message emphasizes focus on things that matter, it simultaneously emphasizes that most things don’t. In fact, most us do things on a daily basis that matter very little in accomplishing our goals, yet we do them.

Remember, if 20% of what we do leads to 80% of the results we seek, than 80% of what we do accounts for 20% of what we seek. Cut the extra out, as it will make you more effective.

You could also take this farther: 4% of what we do leads to 64% of the results we seek. We can keep going, but the truth is that there are only a few things that matter in accomplishing any goal. They are simple, profound, and greatly impactful on our results. Take the time to identify these functions, as they will make the biggest difference in where you will end up.

 

JKH

HOW BEING OPEN-MINDED GETS YOU FARTHER

There are a lot of things that can make us better, but one thing stands out above the rest and that is being open-minded. The difficulty with being open-minded is that we could be wrong and some of us don’t like to be wrong. Thinking that our present awareness of the world is the answer to everything is a narrow-minded way to view reality. In the grand scheme of things, we know very little.

Yes, we have areas of strength, but yes, we also have areas of weakness. Our weakness is that we often only see the world as we are, not as it really is. Those who are able to step out from themselves and see the world from a higher perspective will advance much quicker. In my opinion, they will be more understanding, patient and happier than those who are unable to see beyond themselves. And the core of this is open-mindedness.

Being open-minded requires us to be vulnerable. Most are uncomfortable being vulnerable because they don’t want to appear weak in the eyes of others, but it is essential if you want to advance your life. Understanding that you might be wrong, or not know something, is a great first step towards getting better and building strong connections with others. It tells another, “Here’s what I think. I may, or may not be right and I’m ok with that.” And you should expect this from others just the same. Being open-minded is a healthy and should be, an expected way for us to advance one another, as well as society.

Look at it this way. Our decisions are limited by our awareness, which comes from what we know. We can only be aware to the degree in which we know something. Being more open-minded creates greater awareness, thus expanding what we know. So then making better decisions is aided significantly by being open-minded. It’s much more simple to say then do, but once we can get in the habit of being open-minded to what others have to say, to new ideas, to being wrong…the upside is unlimited. I’d go as far to say that it is the primary reason why you are not where you want to be. You are stuck in your own thinking.

So, work more on being open-minded, and if you already are, to being even more so, because the upside is endless.

 

JKH

Successful results are a mundane process

Setting new goals can be an exciting process. For many it represents change, a new beginning, but let me give you a heed of warning: successful, favorable results is often a mundane, boring, and tedious process. There is no glamour in the day-to-day grind of doing what it takes to accomplish what you want. It doesn’t matter what you are looking to accomplish, if you do not have the grit to see through the mundane, daily tasks you will not see your goals to their entirety.

In the beginning, the process is exciting, and yes we can see some change right away, but that’s the illusion of it all. The temporary gratification of immediate results must not deter us mentally from what it will take to have long-term success with our goals, because at some point, or another, we will face adversity. That is not an “if”, but a “when”. At some point, we will face challenge, but do not be deterred, because the result is always worth the struggle But you probably already knew that, so what next?

Well here’s the thing. Those challenges, struggles, and times of adversity are not always as big as we make them. Sometimes they are, but most of the time they are not. Let’s be honest. The struggles you face in accomplishing your goals come in the form of small, minute battles with our own discipline. We know we should, but we don’t because we’re lazy. Eventually the luster will fade from the excitement of starting, and what is left will be an often simple, yet boring process of doing things that we could just as easily not do. Prepare for this.

You will have to do what most people won’t, do it without the expectation of any immediate gratification, or recognition from others, sometimes alone and against what’s popular, but when you look back after the fact, I can promise you that it will be worth it. Don’t give up.

JKH

Pain is the Indicator

Our ability to push past pain will be a very important indicator in determining our success. Pain results from an outcome that we are internally, or externally experiencing and, as a result, gives us valuable feedback that we can choose to use, or abandon. By abandoning it, we are proactively declaring our lack of accountability. Whether we like it, or not pain happens because of us, not to us. If we believe we are the masters of our future, the captain of our ship, we are willing to take accountability for the results being displayed in our life. Thus abandoning our painful experiences, we declare our lack of personal accountability.

Learning to assess pain and properly use it for the better will make us more prepared for continual adversity. As adversity is always at hand in some form, or another, our gained awareness of each painful experience will help us to be better individuals.

Life is an ongoing story for each of us, and like any good story, there is painful moments infused with doubt, fear, stress, worry, and the alike. As we progress through the story though, let us gain wisdom from our pain. It will always be there. The better then question is, “will we be better the next time it comes around?”

 

JKH

Focus on being less busy

I’ll first admit, that being busy is a good feeling. It creates a sense of importance and value in who we are. It’s a way for us to tell the world “we’re a big deal”. Rushing around checking off to-do lists each day creates a dopamine like effect that continues us down this illusive path of being busy. In fact, most of us are told that being busy is a good thing. Before I became aware of how the impact of such thinking, I used to equate someone who is busy to someone of accomplishment and success. Who wouldn’t, right? If you have more meetings, more obligations, more commitments in today’s age, that immediately puts you above those who have less. In fact, if you are not busy, you are deemed lazy. So that’s what I was led to believe.

 

Unfortunately, being busy is a mask to cover the real work that has to be done, but is not being completed. Yes, we are running around checking off to-do lists, but how many of those things really matter? Are we putting first things first? Or are we putting second, third, fourth things first, neglecting the vital functions that make our goals a reality? Accomplishment and achievement does not mean saying yes to everything, but more, saying no to most things. We should focus our time and attention on what matters.

There are really only a couple things that matter in moving you forward. Each time you say yes to something that does not matter, you are saying no to what does. Simple.

 

More often than not, we have not identified what matters, which is why we say yes to so many things of lesser value (lesser value in relation to the importance of your vital priorities). We have not created a vetting system for what’s important to us, and in the absence of such, we say yes too much. As hard as it may be, we need to say no more often. We don’t because of the expected disappointment in others.

 

Saying no creates a temporary moment of being uncomfortable, yet frees us in the long run. I feel people will respect us more in the end, if we do say no because, when we say yes, our value of time permeates to them as a sense of our own value in them, which is greater. Simply put, if others understand more how we value our time, they will feel more valued when we make time for them.

 

I will not see eye-to-eye with some, and that’s ok. That’s what makes life unique, but at some point, we must ask ourselves, “Am I truly free?” Only in asking ourselves that can we lay out the true narrative of the life we seek versus the one we are living.

JKH

You get in life what you tolerate

In order to healthily move forward, we must learn to not tolerate that which harbors outside of our values, that which we know is right. Tolerating things that shouldn’t is laziness. Are you too comfortable in your own circumstances to exit something from your life that does not serve you? If we let things in our life run their course, by means of our own toleration of them, then we will not have room for the people, events, opportunities, travel, fulfillment, or whatever it may be that brings you happiness.

I feel we tolerate less than what we deserve, because are too consumed by our own internal fear; a fear that has deceived us too many times. We all deserve to enjoy what this life has to offer, but we cannot if we tolerate things in our life that do not serve us. We have to cut ties from them. We really do get in life what we tolerate. Each of us is tolerating something that we shouldn’t. We stay there by choice, but we also live free by choice as well. Nothing keeps us in fear except our own lack of courage; a courage that so desperately needs to fly free. None of us exempt. We all face fear, but it is our choice to not tolerate it that separates us from a life of happiness, and one of despair.

 

JKH