5 Simple Questions that Will Make You More Successful
1. Am I focusing on the right things?
At every moment, millions of little things compete for your attention. All these things fall into one of two categories: things that are important and things that are not.
People never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?”
Simply being able to do something well does not make it the right thing to do. I think this is one of the most common problems with a lot of time-management advice; too often productivity gurus focus on how to do things quickly, but the vast majority of things people do quickly should not be done at all.
2. Is my mindset in the positive or the negative?
Where your mind goes, energy flows. Which area of your life do you tend to focus on: what you have or what’s missing from your life?
I’m sure you think about both sides of this equation. But if you scrutinize your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend more time dwelling on? The positives or the negatives?
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have lots to be grateful for. Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional well-being and strength. But the real question is: do you take time to feel deeply grateful with your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the energy to take positive action comes from.
So don’t let negativity and drama get the best of you. Your brain is a radio transmitter. It broadcasts thoughts, directions and vibrations into your life – you get to choose the station it’s tuned to. Happy, successful people understand this and tune out negativity to make room for positivity. Be wise enough to follow in their footsteps. Walk away from the nonsense around you. Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
Also, along these same lines, accept the fact that there’s a lot you can’t control. And if you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll do nothing but create more stress for yourself. So remember, you can influence many aspects of your life but you can’t control them entirely. Once you fully accept and adopt this pattern of thinking, another important question must be asked...
3. What meaning am I assigning to my challenges?
Even when we’re being positive, we all have challenges; there’s no escaping that. But how you feel about your life has little to do with the events in it or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The meaning you assign to these things controls the quality of your life. Most of the time, however, you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events. So check-in with yourself…
- When something happens that disrupts your life (an illness, an injury, a job loss, etc.), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?
- If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or trying to care for you?
- Does a big problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem isn’t really a problem at all, but an opportunity?
Bottom line: When something negative happens, view this circumstance as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. Don’t wish it never happened. Don’t try to step back in time. Take the lessons learned and step forward. You have to tell yourself, “It’s OK. I’m doing OK.” You need to know that it’s better to cross new lines and suffer the consequences of a lesson learned from time to time, than to just stare at the lines for the rest of your life and always wonder.
Also keep in mind that the past, even when troubled, is invaluable to your present. It provides a solid foundation for everything you’re doing now. Learn from it – the mistakes and the successes – and then let it go. This process might seem easier said than done, but it depends on your focus. The past is just training; it doesn’t define you in this moment. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how it will help you make things right.
When we shift our habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit on what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter our biochemistry and the trajectory of our lives in a couple minutes flat.
So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals power. Choose wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and best will always be yours for the taking.