What exactly is it that separates good from great? What does it actually take to get from ordinary to extraordinary? How can I reach my dreams? These questions may seem difficult to answer, or maybe even puzzling, but the answer is actually very simple to understand. The answer is value. Value is defined as a principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable. We as thinking humans all have things that we value. There are also things we value that only exist in our minds, things that only have the value that we give them. These specific values are perceived as goals. Through introspection, we observe and examine our own current mental and emotional state, as well as the processes of our mind. It is described most simply as the act of looking within oneself. With this ability we all have, we can determine the degree of dedication, commitment, and proficiency we are willing to give to these standards we wish to reach.
Having a sense of definite purpose and personal initiative in your greater vision is what creates honest desire. This means that it is extremely vital to train ones self to prioritize as well as distinguish the differences between your wants and your needs. German philosopher Karl Marx expressed this quite clearly as he once stated, “Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious.” A common quandary in thought is that we do not fully understand what we need; often confusing wants for needs, or simply understanding there is a need, but not selecting the right object for need. Consider someone who is hungry. They think they need money to get food, but really, they only need food. There are more ways to get food than simply by purchasing it. A more abstract example, without a definite solution, is the need to be happy. How many different ways do people try? However, the need is not to be happy, the need is actually to find that thing or combination of things that brings the feeling of happiness.
To actually be free, it is necessary to become conscious of what those needs actually are, then the desired result should be pursued. Many know what it is they desire, but choose not to act on it. Master educator Keene Walker once told me that even ignorance on fire is superior to knowledge on ice. Someone who may not be as knowledgeable or wise as you, but is more passionate than you are, will still go farther than you if you are not putting that knowledge and wisdom to use. Action makes all the difference. It is often said that the first step is always the hardest, but that fact alone should serve as motivation. If you can surpass the first step, you are already on the right path to achieving your goal. The next question then is how does one put into practice their developing capacity to choose and act? The first step is self-discipline. If you were a GPS system, self-discipline would be the most efficient route you can consciously select to conduct the flow of your personal power over your goal. Many have problems directing their energy into their desired outcome. The objective is to positively manifest the mature and adult Self, which will steer you towards success. American author Napoleon Hill expressed six sections of the self that are coordinated by self-discipline:
1. Ego – Seat of Willpower – he called it the Supreme Court over all the other departments of the minds, saying its seat of power is in the subconscious mind.
2. Faculty of the emotions – seat of action-power of the mind.
3. Faculty of Reason – seat of judgment and opinions.
4. Faculty of Imagination – origin of imagination.
5. Faculty of Conscience – the moral guide.
6. Memory – keeper of the records of the mind.
Most people subconsciously allow these functions to use us, as oppose to us using them. Hill also stated that “Your self-discipline is the procedure you use to coordinate these departments of your mind and keep each of them under control. Its most immediate effect is the mental harmony you need to focus all your efforts towards success.” In order to coordinate these functions that lie within us all, we must exercise the main function of self-discipline, the will.
“(P)ositive (E)nergy (A)ctivates (C)onstant (E)levation”
When it comes to taking the first step in any challenging situation, it is important that you have a sense of certainty of Self. The quality of your outcome depends greatly on how much you believe in the possibility of your success. Faith is not everything, but everything else is nothing without it. The main purpose of Self-belief is to truly understand what our potential is, and do enough of our best work with the right mental attitude. True belief is found on the inside and from our true Self and not from the outside, but is influenced by impulses from the outside. Most undesired events and outcomes in our lives are a signal from the inside that we are in disharmony with our true Self and that we should change something, in this case our belief system. For years I was convinced that I was a “positive thinking person”. I stared to monitor how I felt at any one time and discovered it was not usually good. Our feelings are an indicator of our thoughts occurring at an unconscious level, so while we may think we are generally being positive, there is a lot going on that is hidden from us. This means that we can set goals, take action on them, but be thinking thoughts that lead to emotions that are not in vibration with our goals at all. Realistically, there is no way a goal can manifest for us like this. Telling yourself something for the sake of being positive, and truly recognizing your potential and choosing to act on it positively, are two different things. It takes constant practice to be feeling how we would if we had already achieved our goal. Through introspection, I have made a habit of constantly analyzing how I am feeling when I think about one of my goals. It tells me immediately whether I am on track or not. The truth is that you are either influenced by a blend of negative emotions or a blend of positive emotions. For example, I always knew that I wanted to do something in this world that would make a relevant and necessary impact, but I was not sure what I would do. Growing up, my father played basketball all the time. Naturally, I admired him as a hero and was very attracted to his skill. At the time, we lived in Harlem and I used to always accompany him just to watch. This is when realized it was bigger than him. I was not the only one who was inspired to begin playing or be better just by watching him. He was admired by many people on the basketball court, young and old. The realization of this fact at 6 years old shaped my sense of responsibility for the future. I asked myself, “How can I get myself to be that good?” He began to teach me how to play, the fundamentals of the sport, and many complex concepts behind it. This was a big load on me at the time, because he expected greatness as a bare minimum from me. I always felt like I needed to show him that I had the potential to be a great basketball player. I went on to play for years, award after award, but he still was not impressed. Although many felt I had the potential to be the next best thing, I felt like I had failed him, and even myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but a few years later, after quitting the sport, I realized that he wasn’t impressed because I had lost sight of the purpose mainly because I did not believe in myself. Last year author and motivational speaker Tony Gaskins Jr. told me, “Sometimes you have to believe in other peoples belief in you, until you can believe in yourself”. This message changed the way I saw many things. If the people I’m surrounded by believe in me, why shouldn’t I believe in myself? As I slowly began to see what he meant by this, I applied this thought process more and more to all aspects of my life. A blend of positive emotions creates faith in yourself. People do pick up on your positive vibrations and other people start trusting you because you trust yourself. We must keep in mind that no matter how big our challenges may seem, we can master them because they are simply feedback from our Self and from our faith. What would be the use of feedback if we weren’t able to do something about it? The existence of this feedback is proof that we CAN do something, and that our dreams are very well in the realm of possibility. But first and foremost, we must train our minds to stop talking ourselves further into a downwards spiral by using phrases like “I hate my life” or “This is just my luck.” and other negative thoughts. It is vital to seriously understand that thoughts become things. We should understand this as soon as possible and be conscious about the quality of our thought processes. In actuality, a lot of our current belief system consists of very small lies that create a bigger problem. “I can’t do that” or “I don’t think I’m good enough.” or “That only exists in my dreams” or “There’s no way I can make that happen” or “I can’t build a business because I have a family” It consists of lies, excuses, justifications and so-called “truths” charged mainly with negative emotions. So if we are lying to ourselves in a destructive manner anyway , why not “lie”to ourselves constructively? Your belief system has been formed by the quality of the thoughts you choose to pay attention to. We have to stop and think about why we are doing things and what the roadblocks are. Remaining positive is a big part of it all, but we have to really examine who we are and where we want to be, not just in terms of money but in terms of what we love and are passionate about. You can make a conscious decision what you want to believe from now on and feed your subconscious mind accordingly. This means you can actually manipulate them actively yourself and replace the negative emotions with positive emotions. However, the main challenge arises when you begin to put this into action. Your ego and subconscious mind may transmit signals of self-doubt, which is absolutely natural. Think about it, why should your mind believe that you can be the person you’ve always wanted to be if all you’ve been doing is telling yourself otherwise? Why would people believe you are going to make changes to your life when you have announced it in the past over and over without doing so? It is your duty to give the proof that your new and positive beliefs are true, through daily consistent action.
“Endurance begins at the end of your comfort zone”
Most of the time, we already know that we are supposed to do something, that we need to change our lives, that we can change our lives, and that we procrastinate. This is no coincidence. This is actually a very conscious decision that we ourselves make every day. The fact of the matter is that we are creating unnecessary excuses to not do anything but remain in what is referred to as our comfort zone. Comfort zones are a very deceiving aspect in all of our lives. Sure it feels good to be comfortable, but does that mean that our comfort is progressive? Are the things that need to be done being done? Ask yourself these questions. You will find that sometimes being too comfortable is like being complacent with no chance for growth. In the long run, the so-called comfort zone becomes detrimental because what we are really doing is training ourselves to resist necessary change. This dawned on me when a friend of mine told me that his most uncomfortable times were when he found himself comfortable. This puzzled me for a couple of days. “Why wouldn’t he want to be comfortable?” I asked myself. I mean, who in their right mind is uncomfortable with being comfortable? It all started to make sense. The purpose of the matter is growth. The term “comfort zone” instantly became synonymous with “lazy zone”. In our comfort zones, we allow ourselves to become too lenient with our habits and routines. Once we learn to embrace change through positive thinking and take on the lessons that life put in front us, we are in our zone, the zone of growing. We can either go through life, or grow through life. Learning and growing from what we learn, only really ends when we die. That means that it is in our absolute best interest to be comfortable in the zone of learning and growing.
by Allistair Sow
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some wonderful text from a dear friend.