Have you ever had a book constantly on the back of your mind?
Then, in the span of a week 3 different people mention the same book to you, I’ll take that as a sign! Finally, I bought The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
As 2016 comes to an end, I thought this book would be a great way to welcome in another year of opportunity – through new perspectives of self-development and success.
Note to self: THANK YOU, because this book was perfect – and one I could not put down.
The concepts discussed in this book are inspiring by their enlightening perspective yet simple practicality; the ability for anyone of us to easily apply the lessons and get more out of our own lives.
While I wont go through The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in its entirety, I will touch base on the most important concepts that I found most helpful in working towards self-actualization.
1. The realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.
2. The psychological process aimed at maximizing the use of a person’s abilities and resources. This process may vary from one person to another (Couture et al., 2007)
3. The full realization of one’s creativity, intellect, and social potential.
Through self-actualization, we are able to view ourselves entirely — how we operate – from a very rational state of mind. It’s almost as if you are taking a birds eye view of your overall life to better understand where you stand in contrast to your potential for growth.
To become self-actualized, it is important that we are uninhibited by emotions, denial, or delusion; this brings about the concept of self-awareness as another very important key. When you feel a surge of emotions, study them – what do they tell you? It’s not about the “other” in this case, point all fingers back to yourself as you study your reaction to the external stimulus. To cultivate greater awareness of who we are, a key tool is what I like to call the PAUSE effect.
Pausing before acting on impulse will help us assess our reaction to the situation; what do I feel, what is making me feel the way I feel, what is the trigger beyond the surface, and can I trace back to a past experience of where this trigger came from? In many ways, self-awareness acts as our mirror into deeper parts of the subconscious mind.
In short, the difference of conscious to subconscious can be described as follows: your conscious mind is what you think, your subconscious mind is what you do. It’s not uncommon to find our words and actions disconnected from time to time, but through the practice of cultivating awareness and self-actualization, we can begin to understand ourselves on an entirely new level, and adapt a higher perspective for our problem solving.
Remember – “a problem cannot be solved on the same level it was created”, so here’s how we can rise above!
Introducing the concept of PROACTIVITY vs. REACTIVITY, this will be our deciphering tool to monitor where we stand in our journey of self-actualization.
Let’s look at a few scenarios before we continue; do any of these sound familiar?
If my boss wasn’t so miserable, I would be happier at work.
If I was self-employed, then I would have freedom.
If I had more time, then I could train more.
If I lose 10 lbs, then I’ll love my body.
Now take a second and see if you can recognize the underlying theme each of these scenarios share.
(Have you thought about it?)
The answer is disempowerment, and yes that’s a product of reactivity if you guessed it! When we remain reactive to our environment, we give away our power and lose touch with our self-actualization and self-control.
1. showing a response to a stimulus.
2. acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.
Someone who acts reactively will take irrational action based on emotional states and they will find themselves fixed on external factors or disadvantages that lay before them. People who act reactively often blame their current situation on an external force, and will find that their circumstances, environment, and conditions rule their outcomes. People who act reactively can easily come up with the exact reasons to justify why they are where they are; they are highly influenced by their environments, right down to the weather outside.
Covey says: “proactive people make their own weather”; they create their own opportunities by recognizing their power of choice in how they can respond.
1. (of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen, rather than responding to it after it has happened.
2. Anticipatory and change-oriented behaviour; serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected (negative) occurrence or situation by turning it around.
Covey explains, when you act proactively you recognize your own behaviour as a function of your decision, not conditions. Yes – you CHOOSE your response, and decide to take the higher road. This higher road will create greater opportunity in your life, as it elevates you to a higher level to solve the problem. This empowers us, as we have the ability – the “response-ability” – to CHOOSE our response.
Proactive behaviour is then a product of ones own conscious choice (based on values), rather than a product of one’s environment or conditions (based on feelings).
What differs in acting proactively and reactively is the conscious choice to step out of the role of the “victim”. Moving back to awareness, using the PAUSE effect will create a gap between the stimulus and our response to help us measure where we are. This will allow us to gain clarity on what pushes our buttons, and enable us to make a conscious choice in how we want to change to create a better outcome.
Remember: to act proactively, emotions do not dictate action and external conditions will no longer limit personal growth.
Proactive people break their own chains by reclaiming their power; they empower themselves with CHOICE in their response! When externalities no longer have a hold on you, there is ultimately nothing that can hold you down.
RECOGNIZING THESE STATES
“It’s not fair..”
“It’s just how I am”
We don’t need to search far for the recognition of our proactive or reactive states, the answer lies in the language we use. Is this language empowering us by creating opportunity, or giving our power away to the external world?
I’ve taken my own proactive measure to change my daily language, here are some of the common words I found myself using, and how I have created change:
Difficulty = Challenge
Problem = Opportunity
Failure = Learning experience
For a day, listen to the language you use.
Be mindful of the way you respond to your external world, what does it reveal about your current state? Recognize whether or not you blaming external factors in your life.
ON YOUR JOURNEY:
There’s no doubt, this inner self-development work can be a heavy process. I want you to remember, though, YOU are a powerful Divine being! It may take some time to change, but you always have the conscious choice to manifest better outcomes. It all starts with taking a few steps each day. Writing your thoughts and experiences in a journal is one of the BEST ways to get in touch with your conscious and subconscious mind, not to mention witnessing your growth over time! Keep the main tools in mind that I shared with you in this blog – the PAUSE effect, cultivating awareness, proactivity vs. reactivity, self-actualization – and I have no doubt that in time you will no longer recognize yourself. Be patient, trust the process, and never give up on it!
Sending you all my love, light, and positive vibes!
XO – Margherita