How Does Priority Setting Help The Mind?

Success is something we all are moving to. We all want to get to our project destination; a successful end of what we do. Regardless the size of what we manage, our daily happenings and responsibilities, we set goals to attain a successful completion of our project. In this process, priority setting cuts across all domains of life and once practised, it increases concentration and focus, the mind gets less stressed as we know what we are up to and what we expect to reach.

Many of us have more than one activity to carry out each day, some may have different deadlines to meet on daily basis. Multitasking which in most cases comes with some sort of stress can still be managed, and we can still find balance if we learn to set priorities in what we do. In these few lines, we explore how priority setting in our tasks aids our mind to feel relaxed and still while dealing with many issues at the same time.

Urgent vs important

Before we start the journey, we must know where the road leads to. We need to have our destination in mind. Next, we need to know what means we can use to get there faster and easier. Some of our tasks are urgent, some are important. The dilemma comes when balancing the value, trying to know which one will have more value if done first. Among the two equally important ones, getting to know which is complex and engaging matters. Hence, establishing a roadmap or drafting a framework of schedules are the first steps towards setting priorities. Of course, being clear on our goals helps so that we can swallow what we can chew.

Knowing what is urgent and what is important is the starting point. First, we may need to clear the one which is urgent and needs immediate attention as the rest of our activities may depend on whether that is done or not. Knowing the very important, important and non-important tasks enables us to know where to put the line and deal only with important ones. The non-important  tasks can easily be postponed and rescheduled to later times as their non-completion may not affect our project much.

Image Source

Priority among other priorities

I recently got to know that self-discipline plays a role here. When we are that person who set the goals, classify our priorities, set all kinds of execution plans, and we are that person who can’t say NO to him or herself, our set priorities may change because we need to be strict on ourselves and deny to ourselves anything that can alter our plans. However, flexibility may help only when it comes to setting priority among other priorities. In that case, one can be adaptable and flexible to choose either of them, provided they all will be done. This reduces stress because we get to know what we are doing, we become aware of the resources on our disposal to accomplish it and we are sure it will be done. No panic, no sweating under high performing air-condition, we gain control over our tasks. Our mind becomes calm, hence we can concentrate and focus much better.

Start when you go to bed

We may not need to be managers of big offices, firms, enterprises, organizations to exercise setting priorities in our life. All starts in that very moment when we go to bed. As many people say, it is the starting time of a new day. Taking your pencil and jotting down few lines of planned activities of the next day in the order we want to accomplish them often prepares us to become managers of our own life. We get to know what does not need to come on the list and what must be done by all means. Then, during the day, thriving to do what we have planned will make our mind in control, and gradually as we keep doing that, it becomes a part of us. Once we are self-made managing directors, we can see how beneficial this can be to us and those around us.

Featured Image Source

 

Beyond Happiness, Above Rainbow

I remember way back while in high school, I would get sick just from worrying. I had a harsh inner critic that challenged most of the things I did and planned to do. It was very easy for me to appreciate and admire others but seldom did I find anything I did good enough. Even when people praised me for something I did, it didn’t make me feel any better or less depressed. This negativity that plagued me affected every aspect of my life and eventually I would go to sleep hoping to wake up in the skin of someone I admired. Often I would imagine myself chasing happiness like it is a rainbow, hoping to catch it―wear it round my neck like a shawl against self-loathing―then live happily ever after.

Most people can attest to have experienced depression, stress or anxiety at some point in life. It is the silent ail of humanity no one bothers to talk about because unlike cancer, it is not visual―maybe not as deadly―but this is a misconception. Daily we search for happiness. It is our human nature to do so, but too often, we get lost on our journey to finding it, habitually due to expectations from family, friends, work and relationships.  In an effort to please everyone we lose our focus and in the process; lose ourselves. To which I would say “There is no greater tragedy!”

In the words of Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream!”

In our quest for social validation, we shift our attention to material possessions. We fill our wardrobes with designer clothes and shoes; get a fleet of cars, amass academic diplomas, get married, have kids, tick off every item in society’s happiness checklist. Still, we lack inner peace, that little ingredient that makes life valuable.

Because we are here to live our best lives, we owe it to ourselves to live consciously and deliberately and most importantly, wean ourselves from the delusion that happiness is a destination because it is not. Happiness is an infinite journey with beautiful surprises, it is you when you free yourself from worry and fear; it is you when you realize that your happiness depends solely on you. That is when you do not need to chase the rainbow anymore; – it is always there!

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash

The Key To Success Is In You

Millions of people, mostly young ones, are struggling day and night to achieve “success” in their lives. Unfortunately, given hundred people questioned about what they call success, the chance to have less than 80 different answers is very little. In such situation, there are many possibilities that the majority of those answers are somehow missing the target. What can we really call “success”? And what should be the road map to success? These are some of the important questions that we will discuss in the following paragraphs.

What is success?

One day, at the end of my lesson at one of the university institutions in Bujumbura where I lecture, one of my students followed me to my office and asked: “Sir, looking at the current situation in the country where the unemployment rate keeps on increasing, the economic situation is more or less chaotic, do you think our generation can still hope for a successful life?” Hmmm, the question took me quite some minutes to think of what to answer. “How do you describe a successful person?” I asked the student. And from there we continued our beautiful conversation which led me to search more on this topic.

     Nairobi-Kenya:  One of the “Youth empowerment” clubs’ gathering

The above images mean a lot for me in the context of this article. As I was collecting ideas,  my mind flashed back to Nairobi some years back to my youth empowerment clubs that I was coordinating, from which I drew many inspirational memories that I linked to this topic.

Most people see financial security as success. Yes, but partly, because I have known and heard about many wealthy people committing suicide or living a kind of hell in their everyday life; this cannot be called success, for sure.  Yet, financial well being is a part of the elements that when missed, one has less chance to be happy. In fact, every grown up and responsible person has four responsibilities which are:

  • Physical well being,
  • Social responsibility,
  • Economic responsibility,
  • Mental well being.

All these responsibilities are very important and when well handled, constitute a good package for happiness. Certainly one needs to have a good balance to satisfy the four responsibilities. However, this cannot be the end in itself; the four responsibilities are just some of the means to happiness. Hence, inspired by famous John Lennon’s quote, I came to realize that success is HAPPINESS, the Ultimate goal for life.

“My mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon

 The road map to success

  • A happy mind is an empowered mind

Knowing the fact that a human being is composed of two main components – mind and body – and that the mind controls the body, one needs to take a very good care of their mind for the sake of happiness. When the mind is happy and empowered by positive energy, all other actions of the body are also positive. The opposite applies as well; when the mind is negative, actions are negative. Hence, every human being is entitled to happiness.

What often deprives us from that happiness and peace is, in fact, the nature of the mind itself; it keeps on wandering and being anxious about many things at the same time, about the future, the past and many other external occurrences around us in which our mind hovers consistently. Many times they will not be pleasant to the mind, and in this case we won’t be joyful.

What can be the remedy to this fact?

Meditation is the best remedy, and it has been proved scientifically. Through meditation, we bring the mind within and by doing so we limit its distractions and thus we experience peace and joy. When you practice meditation and manage to bring your mind to a standstill point, you will not only feel peaceful and happy; it will become a stable and continuous feeling because the mind is at the centre of gravity.  What we do during meditation, is to train the mind to stay focused and standstill at one point/one particular thought where it can enjoy the present moment.  When the mind is happy and at peace,  it becomes more creative because it is focused and has no more obstacles of negativity that prevent the mind from thinking clearly. Its positive energy is the power itself which brings it to the highest level of creativity. Hence, a happy and peaceful mind is an empowered mind.

  • An empowered mind empowers

“Our doubts are traitors and make us loose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespare

One of the most important characteristics of a happy and empowered mind is positivity. Definitely, a positive mind would be much more optimistic and by being optimistic a person with a positive mind is successful in his enterprises. The clarity and focus of his mind empowers the person with self esteem and self confidence so much that they become more and more successful in business, in school or in any of their other endeavours.

We understand consequently that real success does not follow the pursuit of wealth without happiness but rather a pursuit of success through happiness. Hence, actually the key to success is not from your high studies, your money or whatever external factor but it is in YOU.

Conclusion

Every human being would prefer to be successful in their life. The problem is that many set a wrong target. The real success is Happiness, because a happy mind is an empowered mind and when the mind is empowered, it empowers and leads to an authentically successful life.

 

 

How To Program Your Mind For Success?

Our time and energy in this life is limited. A person can spend a great deal of time worrying and doubting, especially when feeling stuck. This way, one would end up wasting a lot of time, often not realizing that the solution is to channel the willpower, to start with one thing, then slowly build it up. How to make sure that the time we spend here is not wasted? A lot depends on how we program our mind and what we feed our mind with. Here are some techniques to help you.

1) Check your habits

What we feed our mind is what creates the patterns according to which we operate; it determines the life and passion that we experience at each given moment. This leads us to the rate of success and happiness that we enjoy through our life.

In order to take control of this, we need to start by checking our habits. Are they taking us to the path of success and happiness? Let’s remember, that though we are endowed with the awareness to feel the weight of negative patterns, we also have the ability to rise and make our dreams come true by putting a conscious effort into patterns that we are creating. Ask yourself: how can I nourish myself in the next hour, in the next day so that I build the life I want and deserve?

2) Visualize success

Visualisation is a powerful technique that allows to picture and project ourselves where we wish to be to the greatest detail. We can grasp that feeling, use the energy we get from it to make it happen.

Make a conscious choice to give yourself time out. Walk in nature, cherish the moments that give an opportunity to disconnect from everything that is distracting and preventing you to be completely honest with yourself. Create your own rituals to start and end the day. Make time for meditation as often as you can. As you work with your willpower and attention, especially in meditation, you will notice the length of time, attention and concentration varying. As time expands, you will come to a point where you can feel comfortable and enjoy  longer practice sessions which give you the chance to sink in and touch the depths of what visualisation has to offer.

3) Be bold and imagine your own funeral

A bold exercise is to imagine your own funeral. Imagine walking into a room. Inside the room are your friends and family. And as you walk into the room, you see a box. You realise that you are in the box and it’s the day of your funeral. What kind of things do you want people to remember about the life you lived, about the kind of person you were, about the things you did and the way you made them feel when they were around you?

4) Empower your thoughts

You have the power to take control over your thoughts. Use the energy you save here for doing good. Replace the negative thoughts with those that support you. No one can do it for you, you are alone in this. Start to move towards your goal: visualise it, imagine it happening, feel it happening right now. Get clear on what you want to see happening and your life will change. You are worth it! A happy life is not an accident, and you can make it happen.

Whenever you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself or your plans and abilities, replace it with something wholesome.

5) Dig into yourself

Everyone has the opportunity, the right and the obligation to be happy.  What do you love doing? What can you do about it? Where are the people with similar ideas?

We are versions of many possibilities. And definitely more than the sum of our thoughts. Be aware of what the mind is telling you and ask yourself if it helps you become the person you want to be.

Conclusion

Every day is a new chance. You can get your mind to figure out where you want to be, what you need to do to achieve it, why it means something for you and then program your mind to do it. It is often that what you’ve been postponing  to do is the place where to start, the game changer. The one that can break the rut. The one that helps you start the day with fresh energy. You can program your mind for success.

“Owning your story and loving yourself through that process is the bravest thing that you’ll ever do.” (Brené Brown)

  • To learn more about visualising your own funeral see Michael Gerber The E-Myth Revisited
  • Photo credits: Vasilios Muselimis@unsplash

How to Write an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

plan-goals

Did you ever notice how there are hundreds of books that claim they know how to make your dreams come true, and how there are thousands of articles like this one that claim to make your dreams come true. If they all worked, then wouldn’t they all say the same thing? One commonly believed key to success is: we need to create a strategic plan to make our dreams come true. We need to write down our aims, divide them into smaller aims, write down every step we should make, the time they will take. Does this strategy work?

Think of this – a man with a wrecking ball can make a hole in a solid brick wall. A man in a prison with a small steel pin can also make a hole in a wall. It is less about the method and tools you use, and more about your perpetual, repeated, unwavering will. Do you know what the biggest waste of time truly is? It is starting a race and not finishing it.

The Nine Elements Of Goal Setting

Make a salad with just lettuce and cucumber, and you can fill your stomach. Make a salad with lettuce, cucumber, salad cream, cottage cheese, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, celery, spring onions, pickled onions, egg, beetroot and watercress, and you have a nice meal that will fill your stomach. The point is that you can use one goal-setting element and succeed, you can use four and succeed, or you can use nine hundred. The more you add the more pleasant and productive your experience will be.

Here, I offer nine elements of goal setting:

1 – A clearly defined objective
2 – A clearly defined end date
3 – A detailed breakdown of every task
4 – A time budget
5 – A schedule
6 – A contingency plan
7 – Resources and requirements
8 – A reason to succeed
9 – A mental or visual representation of your success
10 – A lack of negative consequences

Some of the elements listed above are probably going to make you furrow your brow, so let us justify them right here. These tips are born from my experience, as well as lessons learned from books written by Napoleon Hill, Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Dennis Prager, Judge Judy and Bill Clinton.

A clearly defined objective

A shooter cannot hit a target if he or she doesn’t have a clearly defined target. You are only human, and you need a target if you wish to achieve something. A test needs a grade, a train needs a destination, and your dream needs a target. It must also be a very clearly defined target because that is what makes the difference between a dream and an achievable goal. Make it clear what you want in clearly defined terms.

A clearly defined end date

I will have X by X date. Your clearly defined end date should be something you consider after you have completed your plan. However, there are occasions where your deadline is hoisted upon you. Besides the Bible, the book that has sold the most copies was written by a man called Napoleon Hill. One of his biggest rules was that a plan could only work if a clearly defined deadline was in place. If you were told you were definitely 100% going to live forever, would you feel driven to achieve anything? Would you even bother getting out of bed in the morning?

A detailed breakdown of every task

You need to write down how you intend to complete each task and where you will get your resources. Japanese car makers were so successful in the 90s and 00s because they took apart each car, examined each part, and asked how they could improve it. Breaking down every task allows you to do the same. It allows you to repeat your success, examine your failures, and come up with protocols to help ensure that future tasks are successful.

A time budget

Within your strategic plan, you will need to break down each task and decide how long each one will take. This helps create your schedule, contingency plan and your end date. Learn from your time budgets so you may estimate how long a project will take, and use your time budgets as a standard to figure out if you are ahead of or behind the schedule.

A schedule

You know how long each task will take; you now need to put them in a schedule that accommodates the time taken for each task. You also need to decide in which order they will be done. Think of your time budgets as single bus routes, and your schedule as a complete bus map.

A contingency plan

Life is unpredictable, and the only way you can plan for the unexpected is to give yourself more wiggle room. Extend your time budgets, allocate more resources than needed, and fully consider all alternatives so that failure cannot occur. Add wiggle room with policies such as adding 15% to all expense predictions and lowering all income predictions by 20%. Plan how you will recover from single-task failures to ensure they will not drag down the entire project.

Resources and requirements

You now want to create a list of the resources that you need to write down how you intend to get them, and you need to detail any further requirement such as qualifications, staff members and so forth. Failing to do so is like failing to consider how much gas you need before taking a long car journey.

A reason to succeed

The goal doesn’t count as a reason. A woman doesn’t work hard to buy an ultra-expensive office chair because she wants the chair. She does it because her current chair hurts her back, because she wants a chair that reclines, or because she likes that new-chair smell. A reason to succeed that extends beyond material gain (or that sits besides it) will help maintain the project workers’ motivation.

A mental or visual representation of your success

A mental image of your end goal, or something visual or physical that you can look at to remind yourself of why you are working so hard. The work of Napoleon Hill is littered with examples of rich and famous people who were well-motivated by their visual representations of success; from the estate agent who looked at her large diamond ring whenever she felt down, to the boxers who dreamed about holding the champion belt in their hands.

A lack of negative consequences

Workable plans have no negative consequences. Contrary to popular belief, a fear of negative consequences is not a good motivator, (try it a few times by setting up terrible consequences of your own doing, they are rarely a motivator). Instead, set contingency plans in place so that if one idea doesn’t work, you have an alternative idea planned and ready to do. Some people work better under pressure, and others do not. If you crack under pressure, then create plans where you always have an alternative route to success.

 

Last but not least, a mental or visual representation of your success is a sadly underrated element, so here is a little advice that you have never heard before. Your visual/mental representation needs to be your go-to place whenever life kicks you. Let’s say your visual representation is a thermometer image showing how much money you have saved (like the sort of thing you see in church funding drives). The next time you think about something evil that somebody did to you, clear your mind of it and think only of your thermometer image. Force yourself to think of your visual representation and your goal every time life makes you sad. Force your mind to stop wasting time on thoughts that make you sad.

Begin Your Journey of Change in Tirana, Albania

Imagine waking up with yoga, participating in workshops about health and benefits, listening to motivational talks from inspiring speakers, conversing with Thai Buddhist monks and refreshing your mind in relaxing meditation sessions. Are you excited? Join these and other activities in the SEE Peace Summit in Tirana, Albania taking place from December 15 to 18 at the Hotel Continental, and begin your journey of a change. Continue reading “Begin Your Journey of Change in Tirana, Albania”