Every emotion has a starting point. Sometimes going back to the basics and working your way up is the best approach for managing stress.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
For many years, experts have been trying to understand the psychology behind procrastination, ready to combat it with strategies on one hand and the ability to execute on the other. The painful reality of procrastination is that it derails us from our work and ultimately weakens our ability to make a powerful impact.
Our approach to procrastination should be like a lion chasing a gazelle – without excuses. Often our greatest challenge is taking on the hardest and most important tasks of the day. Though our time is limited and so is our energy, it pays to focus on the items that give us the biggest productivity boosts throughout the day.
So how can you stop procrastinating and start to overcome it?
Pies Steel, a human resources professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, stated that 95% of the population procrastinates at times with 20% being chronic offenders. With twenty percent of the population identifying themselves as procrastinators, for some it’s a lifestyle they’ve committed themselves to, at least for an unknown specified period of their life. But what effect does procrastination have on our lifestyle? One of the many symptoms of procrastination is that it takes away from the life we could be living. Students might miss out on academic achievements because of playing video games, watching television, or oversleeping. This could be the result of a deep-seated issue like low self-esteem, fear of success or failure, or perhaps an environment not suited for proper motivation.
Killing the Giants
We are designed to keep between five and nine ideas in our head at once, but it’s natural with all the information around us each day that we tend to want to retain it all. This creates the fierce overwhelming sensation of stress.
Procrastination never works, and daydreaming about convenience never creates actual convenience. When you get to the time that you think is convenient, guess what? You’ll have other things to do and other things that interest you. People who are highly successful have disciplined themselves and have conquered the habit of procrastination. They understand the power of executing their tasks daily.
So, how does one stop the procrastination? You do it. In fact, that is the first step. Write down all your tasks, priorities, and everything else you must do for the next week.
Turning Discipline into Actionable Steps
Just like a business executive organizes his or her files into categories, each file with a designated name and subcategories under each folder to make sense of where everything is to effectively produce the outcome they desire, you must know the order of your list of things to do for the week and what items belong under each category or folder. Organizing your list allows you to know the order in which you are going to accomplish your tasks. Always remember to limit the number of items under each category. This will help you keep track and avoid overwhelm.
Always focus on the benefits that follow the completion of a specific task. What would be the reward for completing the task? Why is it important?
Is your closet messy? Are your dishes dirty? Are you behind at work or in school? Just imagine what it would be like knowing that the tasks have been completed. Take a moment to be as detailed as possible. How does it feel? What are you seeing, hearing, and smelling?
This is called future pacing. The idea of visually stepping into the future accomplished, giving you the motivation to proceed in the present.
Some people never seem to get past their pessimism – while others crave the desire to change. For some, being negative is a terrible habit to break, leading them down a road full of broken relationships, failed aspirations, and a sense of inadequacy, only to constantly blame others for their negative outlook on life.
Here are 5 ways to make a positive impact on a negative person.
1. Choose Empathy
While most people don’t feel positive 100% of the time, there are tactics that elevate a cheerful attitude. You can instill the love and compassion they crave. Perhaps they are overwhelmed with pressure from friends, family, or work; maybe they’ve been fired and have kids to take care of or lack the stability they’ve sought after for months, years, or decades. Nothing will leverage a positive attitude like when you allow them to feel understood because everyone wants it, but not everyone receives it. Choose empathy.
2. Choose to Listen
There are those who look to others they trust for advice and support. To the individual who is engulfed in a negative spirit – the last thing they want is advice, but rather the opportunity to be heard during moments of frustration. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion proverbs 18:2. Often, the negative person may not necessarily be speaking words of truth, but rather speak to things that have not been thoroughly analyzed or thought through. Choose to listen despite your opinion. There is a time to speak and a time to listen.
3. Choose Encouragement
Propelling the potential in others is a discipline, adding value to those in need is a small start to a large outcome. Seasoned leaders do this with grace, humility, and a desire to bring out the best in others, regardless of their circumstances. What are they passionate about? What brings them to life? What empowers them to live with a smile? Being negative does not mean that they are hopeless, it is simply an opportunity for you to find common ground and work your way up from there. Choose encouragement.
4. Choose to Observe their Nonverbals
Though a side-effect of negative people is complaining, there is in fact much more being revealed and communicated if you observe their body language intently. Sometimes during those dark and frustrated seasons, people often resolve to negative self-talk or destructive behavior as a means to be reminded by others of their worthiness. Choosing to observe their nonverbals can give you key insights into their true emotions, thus giving you the opportunity to have a stronger, more trustworthy relationship with them.
5. Choose Empowerment Through Joy
Those living a life of negativity understand the strain on their life and the impact on their relationships. Getting someone to go out and experience activities that elicit happiness and excitement are the best cures for a nagging mind. We often experience emotions through our body, which is why doing something completely out of their ordinary might be the flame needed to change their thinking. Do they love sports? Take them to a sports game. Do they love concerts, arts, and museums? Go show them a good time. Choose empowerment through joy.
Courtney Joy is Chief Creative Officer of Jonah Digital Agency.
Here she discusses the challenges and strategies of becoming an extraordinary leader.
You can connect with Courtney on Instagram @ DesignYourLeadership or you can find her at https://courtneyjoy.com/
When life presses the pause button on our progress, the natural tendency is to worry. Among the many circumstances we face, we often worry about our health, finances, and our relationships. As unrealistic as worrying can sometimes be – it is one of the most common symptoms we face. But will worrying today create the certainty you crave the following day? Research suggests that half the worrying we do is in anticipation of a negative future outcome. Our relationship to worrying is often reflected in our ability to solve problems.
Do you ever find yourself caught up in your own worrying? If you want to stop worrying and embrace a solution, you have to understand the core of your worrying. Generally speaking, we can agree, without a doubt, that worrying is a waste of time. Though the solution isn’t always what we would expect, we can trust that there is hope for the future. Just like a diamond is forged through immense heat and pressure, so must we go through a similar process to grow beyond our expectations. This is how our character is formed. The road has no easy path, but coming to terms with reality is the first step to recovery.
At a certain point in our lives, we come to the realization that we have little control over the events in our lives, but we can learn to change our perception – that alone can change everything. Jesus often spoke about worrying, the things we are most devoted are what we worry about. If we’re devoted to health, we will inevitably worry about it. If we are devoted to our finances, we will inevitably worry about it. If we are devoted to our relationships, we will inevitably worry about it. Though these things are important, depending on the individual – the list could be endless.
What if you could shift the meaning you assign each experience? How could that change your life? Imagine, if instead of feeling anxious, you felt peace.
Here are the top three things people worry about most:
Your Future, Your Money
The stresses of finances can be a heavy burden; whether worrying about debt, fear you won’t have enough to cover your next monthly bill, worried about your retirement, or raising your kids – indeed, feeling financially insecure can impact your stress level greatly. Chronic worrying can eventually take huge leaps in your life, causing major anxiety and severely impacting your self-esteem.
Suzanne Woolley from Bloomberg writes, “In 2017, 34 percent of workers said their current financial worries negatively affects their lives, compared with just 21 percent in 2015.” It seems America is more concerned each year. So, what is the solution? Gain leverage by getting a handle on your financial situation and create a realistic plan that results in sound budgeting. More often than not, it is when we sit down to create a plan that we realize the situation was not as big, to begin with.
Your Life, Your Health
Most people don’t know Moses as an insecure individual. We know him as a leader. A man who empowered the oppressed with a staff on one hand and a heart committed to achieving the impossible. When Moses decided to flee Egypt for fear of being killed, his worrying took a toll on him. Many decades went by before he could see and understand his own mortality. I wonder if he feared whether or not he would eat, where he would sleep, or what the next step of his life looked like.
It is not uncommon to worry about our health or the health of the people we love. In fact, some worry is not necessarily a bad thing. To a certain extent, worrying may propel us to eat a healthy diet and exercise. Too much worrying though, can cause turmoil, setbacks, and anxiety. I sometimes wonder if Moses feared for his health. The Bible called him an anxious man with self-esteem issues. Fearing or worrying about your health can cause serious physical and mental conditions.
Though difficult to do, realizing and accepting that death is inevitable is an important part of life. When Moses accepted his mortality, only then was he able to live a joyful productive life despite his circumstances. When we realize that the events of life are often out of our control, we can do our best to live for the present while preparing for the future – encouraged that tomorrow will bring new opportunities.
Your Relationships, Your Impact
If there is one common subject throughout the bible it is a theme of restoration. God wants to restore our relationship with him and our relationship with others. In fact, our relationship with the people around us is a reflection of our relationship with God. Communicating through our problems is often the solution to a fulfilling relationship. If you’re single, the worry may be finding the right partner. If you’re in a relationship, the worry may be where the future will take you or will the bond last. We all worry. That’s because relationships play a key role in our joy. Your relationship with your boss will affect your productivity, your relationship with your family will affect your relationship with others, your relationship with your friends will affect your happiness. Relationships are important, which is why you are reading this today.
The solution? Whether you were wronged or someone has wronged you, take the initiative to communicate through the problem effectively, blame lies on both sides of the coin. We are each responsible for our thoughts, actions, and especially our happiness. We may not have control of how people react to us, but we certainly have control of how we react to them. Loving those who have hurt us is incredibly difficult to do, but it is often how we grow and mature. The road has no easy path but coming to terms with reality is the first step to recovery.
How do you turn the feeling of temptation into a success mindset? Temptation can come in many different forms. They often times come and go … or do they? Every now and then, we run into temptations that won’t seem to disappear. It is as though our emotions are deliberately strategizing against us – leaving us defeated.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
I love this verse because it entails the steps required for male maturity. Indeed, the life of a man is certainly a series of initiations. Starting with death – a separation from the old life, moving into a chaotic state of change, and finally reintegrating into society with a strong sense of self and an evolved level of character.
Has there ever been a time when you felt LESS than a man? Have you ever felt as though society were dictating your masculinity? Have you ever had difficulties trying to engage in authentic masculine maturity only to find that the culture does not permit it?
There are mixed feelings and perspectives about what it means to be a pillar of strength. So what does this mean? It means that society does not dictate your growth as a man, God does. It is earned and developed over time. To be a pillar of strength means to take complete responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and happiness.
A real man certainly has the right idea, he lives with a sense of purpose and contributes his attention to what is good for God, Family, and Friends.
Here are three big ideas to get you moving in the right direction:
“Humility is a heart attitude, not merely an outward demeanor” GotQuestions.org.
Pride is dangerous. It lurks in the shadows, like an insidious parasite, waiting to attack and undermine our potential to make a positive impact. Pride lives in all people, including myself. The unfortunate problem with pride is that we can see it in other people but rarely see it in ourselves.
Pride diminishes our capacity to lead. It diminishes our the capacity to accept weaknesses in ourselves. It diminishes our capacity to relate to others and create healthy and sustainable relationships. Indeed, the true mark of a confident man is his humility. He is neither limited nor incarcerated by his weaknesses, instead, he looks deep within himself and acknowledges his need for change.
In what ways has pride shown up in your life?
We all have them, but we don’t always accept the role with diligence. If we all embraced personal responsibility for the things we are responsible for – surely, the world would be filled with stronger more foundational men, committed to their tasks. Irresponsibility is very hard to see in the mirror. We all think we are taking responsibility. But are you taking full responsibility for every area of your life?
Have you ever heard a child say, “that is not fair?” to which the response might have been, “life is not fair.” Have you ever been that child?
Unfortunately, life can’t be fair, that would be impossible. But if we are not careful, the “not fair” attitude can quickly turn into irresponsibility.
Though “responsibility” might seem like a burden, in reality, the more responsible we become the more freedom we gain. It is counterproductive to avoid taking responsibility in order to gain freedom. Imagine for a moment what your life would look like if you managed your finances in such a way that you no longer carried debt? How much could you save? How many countries could you visit? What kind of life could you live after retirement?
Would you ever trade wealth, influence, and power for a bowl of stew?
You’re probably thinking, “what kind of question is that? heck no!!” That is exactly what Esau the brother of Jacob did.
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left (Genesis 25:29-34).
I’ve never met a man that has not gone through this in one form or another. Every man has gone through this. Sometimes our appetite gets the best of us. Do you have self-control over food, sex, or alcohol? What kind of appetite controls you? What opportunities have you lost as a result of giving into instant gratification?
Imagen what your life would look like if you had mastery over your moods, your words, your reactions, your schedule, your money, and your health?
The question now becomes, how does one master self-control? The answer is simple – slowly. There are no shortcuts to self-discipline. Understand the basics before climbing your mountain. Simple objectives such as having well thought out goals, creating a clear vision, and having the right people to keep you accountable are sure ways to boost your productivity.
Each of us has something we want. Often times – life can feel like a continuous pursuit of wants and needs. We love to do the things we want and more often than not, aren’t too happy to do the things we need to. In our instant gratification society, we want things now, not later. Imagine if we acquired the things we want. How would it affect our lives and the lives of those around us? Would it be positive or negative? Could it be dangerous? What if it left us wanting more? If the things we want leaves us with the burden of simply wanting more, could the things we want be the wrong things to go after?
What specifically do you want? What areas of your life do you want to change? Is it a particular set of skills? Your body? Do you want your career to take off? Does your relationship need to go to the next level?
What if what you were really after were a value and not a thing? Perhaps wanting to take your career to the next level is a deep desire for respect or maybe financial peace? When we take a long hard look at the things we want, often, we realize that there are values attached to our desires.
Goal setting is not a revolutionary idea. But in order to obtain the things we want – strategizing accordingly and often is a sure way to succeed. Knowing and understanding the WHY in our wants can help us to understand whether they will have a negative or positive impact. Thus, allowing us to strategize effectively. But more important than strategizing is how we execute. If you we can’t execute, strategizing is meaningless and ineffective.
Below are six big ideas to get you moving in the right direction:
1 – Be on FIRE for your plan.
Make a commitment to intentionally grow each day. Create a list of priorities for you to follow. The priorities you choose should reflect the things you want. Your list should be detailed to ensure you are on the right path towards your goals.
2 – Make your commitment public.
Ask trusted friends and family members to hold you accountable. A shared commitment becomes a strong commitment. When I was younger, I was very involved in acting. One day, my acting teacher looks me in the eye and in front of the class gave me advice I will never forget. He said, “No one can do anything alone, but we can grow strong in the presence of a strong community”. Look to each other for support on your journey to the top. God often uses the people around us to propel us to the next level.
3 – Developing your blueprint.
What two areas of your life do you want to master? Select at least two but no more than five. Choose an area of choice and an area of skill that you want to develop. For me – life coaching is an area I am currently focused on. Public speaking is the skill that I am developing. Always remember that there is always room for growth, no matter how long you have been doing it.
4 – Prepare, Train, & Reflect
Choose an hour of your day to edify the area of growth you are passionate about.
5 – Pick a specific time and day each week` to reflect and write down what you are learning.
Buy a journal if you don’t have one and fill that sucker up!! Don’t worry about making it perfect – just start by jotting down your ideas. The idea is to see your growth as it is happening in real time. That way you can go back and reflect on the things you’ve accomplished. What could you do better? How can you improve? The most successful people I know keep journals and are committed to writing in it each day.
6 – Help the people in your life grow.
Want to know if the people around you care about your success? Share your growth with them each week. If they seem happy and excited, continue to foster those relationships. Be intentional. Share your growth in a way that edifies the potential in others to live beyond their own limitations.
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” (Proverbs 12:15).
There is nothing more powerful then the ability to make others feel understood. Imagine the leverage you could have at your disposal if you could accomplish this level of active listening. To be understood is something we crave greatly. In our day in age, we have learned the opposite. Instead of enabling others to be heard, we have declared that their voice has little importance and our argument, beliefs, and actions are superior to theirs.
Part of the problem is our inability to FOCUS. Our voices demand attention and our technology has made it extraordinarily easy for us to communicate. Though the problem still exists, I believe we can master the skill of Active Listening.
Here are three BIG ideas to get you started in the right direction:
1 – Poor listening rejects; good listening embraces.
In my personal life, I have gone through many challenges to become a better listener. Some were embarrassing while others were educational. Still, I firmly believe we will always achieve a sense of inner peace when we shut the noise out and listen. Poor listening rejects ideas, opportunities, and fulfilling relationships with the people we love. Good listening embraces the idea of empathy. What are they feeling? How are their emotions being projected through their body language?
2 – There is wisdom in listening.
Great listeners understand how to build the potential in others. When I want to lean in and understand someone deeply, I mimic their breathing. This allows me to feel what they are feeling, see what they are seeing, and communicate appropriately. How are you using the information being received? Are you communicating effectively? Could you improve? How?
3 – Don’t repeat yourself.
I can recall many times when I felt the need to repeat myself. It’s a hard habit to break, but through perseverance and determination I believe this is no longer an issue for me (at least I’ve been told). We have so many communication habits that inhibit our listening, that unless we do something about it – we will never really reach our potential to have powerful and influential relationships. Repeating yourself unless asked to is condescending. Don’t repeat yourself, it will undermine your status and will affect your ability to build rapport. Is this a habit you need to break? How are you performing? Ask the people you trust for honest feedback.