The Art of Achievement

Ever wondered how some people have everything that they dream of and for many it remains just that – a dream?

Here are some tips on how to help turn your dreams into reality. Fortunately, it’s not a question of genetics or luck; it’s down to the thinking strategies that we use.

Understanding what is important to us

If a goal is in line with our values we get energy and motivation that lead us toward the goal. Most of us have experienced this type of energy and motivation at some time in our lives; maybe Birthdays and Christmas as children and as adults buying a house, getting married or looking forward to a holiday in the sun.

The curious thing is how little we target the use of this behaviour towards things that we want in life. It’s because we spend little time working on pursuing our goals that we have such a high failure rate at achieving them.

I’m sure you’ve set New Year’s resolutions. How many of those did you achieve? What was different, I wonder, between those that you did achieve and those that you didn’t? I suspect that for those that you did not achieve – beneath the reason for not doing so, the cost in terms of time or money, shiny object syndrome, or whatever – that the loss of something else was too high. You traded the resolution for something else you chose was more important.

If we have a greater understanding of our values, craft our goals in line with them, and address some of the other key areas listed here, we are rewarded with the energy and motivation to make them happen – with ease.

Optimise the use of our time

To optimise our time on and towards what we want we must first gain a greater insight into what is important to us, and having done so we must then distinguish between the activities that we do that are important and urgent.

In my experience this is not a regularly practised technique; too many people are reacting, reacting to activities that are asked of them or are left to the point of being urgent. Examples of this are leaving the utility bills to the last minute or working under a demanding boss or for a chaotic organisation. Once understood this essential time management technique is easy to master and is commonly taught in time management programmes. Understanding it within a greater context of achievement makes it that much more relevant to learning and putting it into practice.

Start with what you have now, with the end in mind

Having both established goals that are in line with your dreams and optimised your time, you need to make a start. It’s important that the start is made with the goal in mind and with a degree of realism on the resources that are available now. Delusion is the result of setting off without a realistic view of what the present situation is. And Delusion soon turns to disappointment which in turn turns to frustration and ultimately little or no significant progress. At the end of the day, we only have 3 resources: Energy (physical and mental), time and money. It’s key that we learn how to make optimal use of these resources.

Meeting challenges

No amount of planning is going to cater for every eventuality. Many people consider these unplanned events to be problems that prevent progress and give up at that point. People that achieve their dreams are not put off by these events and are more energised by the richness of the opportunities that are buried in these events. With the right mindset, the journey to achievement can be viewed as one opportunity after another to reinforce the ability to succeed.

How we use our imaginations

All human beings are blessed with incredibly powerful imaginations. However many imagine outcomes of the future that are not going to be to their advantage. Imagining negative outcomes leads to worry, stress and fear and drains our energy and motivation. Imagining a positive outcome of the future releases more of the energy and motivation that we need to succeed at our goals. Fortunately, the structure that we use in our minds is the same for both negative and positive imaginations. And with the right know-how, one can use the skill that generates fear into one that generates excitement and anticipation.

Every thought you think forms a blueprint which the mind makes real. The mind does not distinguish between right and wrong, good or bad. It just deals in pictures and words and takes what you say you want to be a thing the mind must make real. — Marisa Peer

Forming our goals well

When forming our goals it is essential that we consider a number of factors; a compelling view of how things we gain when we have the goal is as important as a clear understanding of what we will lose. Many times the likely loss prevents us from achieving what we want because we have not adapted our thinking around the loss. A prime example of this is giving up smoking – many people fail to give up because having a cigarette provides them with a valuable 5-minute break. When the break is factored into the future along with the goal the chances of success are considerably increased.

If we do not form our goals well – we leave these ‘losses’ as hidden, unconscious programs as I mentioned above under imagination – it starts to become clearer why we don’t achieve our dreams or get distracted along the way.

Believing that it is possible and that it is for us

Many people hold negative beliefs about whether the goal is achievable, whether they will ever achieve it and even whether it is really for them. It is important to overcome these beliefs or sabotage will result. Fortunately, we are not born with our beliefs and the ones that we develop through childhood and into the present moment can be changed.

Just remember that everything you believe today was learned from somebody else. Every positive idea, every negative one. Many you have just accepted by default, but you can examine them and reframe your beliefs.

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