Usually, before you even get into self-development, you’re inspired to make a change because of some external force.
You’ve gone through a breakup, missed promotion at work, or moved to a new town and can’t make any friends.
You’ve seen your life play out on repeat. The same actions, leading to the same results and — unfortunately, those results aren’t exactly what you want. After stalling so many times you reach a point where you are open to new ideas because you want something more than you’re getting now.
Eventually, you decide to make a transformation and begin to seek out guidance. You realize you have options and you enter the world of self-development.
When we think about the stories that are shared over time for generations, they all involve transformation. In every story that’s passed down, whether it’s religious or a famous Shakespearean play, there is always a meaningful transformation woven into it.
And what does a transformation mean? A transformation is putting your thoughts into action, it means making a change in your life.
Let’s dig into two common obstacles people run into: Envy and Procrastination.
Using Envy to Propel You Toward Success
Believe it or not: Envy can be a very powerful catalyst for transformation in your life.
Envy can either weigh us down and make us feel bad, or be the motivation to make a change.
When we see someone who has something we want, instead of feeling discontented and beating ourselves up about it, we need to shift our focus to “I want that too, so how do I get it? What do I have to do to achieve it?”.
But in our culture, we look at envy as a bad thing. We hide it and try to make it go away because we feel ashamed.
Let’s pull from the philosophy of Nietzsche: He teaches that your emotions, like envy causing you anxiety, are actually an indicator — anxiety shows you that you want to achieve more.
Deep down, you know you can be a better person, live a better life, or perform better at your job.
You only feel anxious about things in your life that are important to you. You should use that emotion to power yourself to the next level.
Feelings and emotions are normal. They will never go away and you need to deal with them, because the more you avoid them, the stronger they become But you can use them to your advantage.
It all begins with the envy and anxiety showing you that you want to improve.
Why Procrastination is Sabotaging Your Goals
Procrastination gives you short term relief, at the expense of your long-term goals.
Studies show that avoiding negative emotions in the present actually strengthens those emotions over time.
This makes sense if you remember neuroplasticity. Your brain reorganizes itself throughout your life by forming new neural connections, and as you engage in procrastination, you are building a habit. As these habits are “installed” into your brain, they become your life.
Thoughts lead to actions. Actions turn into habits. Habits build your character. And character determines destiny.
Many of us focus on the end goal: destiny. But, in reality, your destiny grows from your thoughts and actions.
Every transformation is a personal battle between good and evil to reach your max potential, and you will not know what it is unless you go on this ride.
If you stop waiting for inspiration and just take action (by controlling your response to your emotions), you will create the life of your dreams.
You need to go to the gym, to get the results that will inspire you to continue going to the gym. You can’t sit on the couch and wait to be inspired to go to the gym, because you will procrastinate.
As you build the habit of taking action, you become the product of the environment you’ve created. You are now in charge of what your destiny is going to be.
This isn’t about suppressing thoughts. This is about choosing which thoughts you focus on.
You Really Do Have the Power to Control Your Mind
Building the life of your dreams takes discipline. You have to consistently take action — even when you don’t want to.
You can’t control your thoughts or emotions —but you can control how you react to them.
Some days you will want nothing more than to stay home, procrastinating on the couch, and wallowing in envy about other people’s lives. And you need to learn to weather down the negative thoughts, and focus on the ones that will motivate you to take actions that transform your life.
Two Proven Techniques to Help You Take Action
Research has shown that it’s possible to leverage your past success to boost you in the present.
When you feel powerful, you go for big goals. When you feel powerless, you start seeing everything as a threat and end up doing nothing.
Here’s how to feel powerful: The 5-5-5 Technique.
Write these things down:
- Five things that you’re good at,
- Five things you’re proud of, and
- Five situations where you completely rocked it. (Example: an excellent presentation you gave or just a great joke you told.)
This technique nudges you out of the powerless mindset and into powerful thinking — which helps you take action.
Now, here’s the second technique that helps you take action and transform your life:
You have no power over your thoughts and emotions. But you do have the power to question whether or not they are helpful.
You need to examine whether or not your anxiety is helping. Instead of thinking “How do I stop having anxiety?”, ask yourself this:
“Is worrying or feeling anxious right now helping me become the person I want to be?”
Sometimes anxiety is useful. For example, with a job interview, your anxiety causes you to become more prepared — creating more success.
But, often, anxiety is not helpful.
For example, you’re at a party, worrying about what everyone else thinks about you — the anxiety undercuts your socialization and enjoyment.
After seeing that your anxiety is not helping, you can identify actions you would take in the absence of anxiety.
For example, without anxiety, you’d be standing near high-traffic areas and saying hi to people as they walked by. Act on those things!
You need to recognize your thoughts, see how they translate into actions, and funnel your actions into habits. As you build habits, they become your character, which determines your destiny.
Transformation is not for everyone, because even though it can be tough, and scary, but it’s also glorious.