I was recently listening to a presentation by human behavioural expert, Joe Pane, on the ‘7 key abilities for a great life’, which he has summarised and shared with the world based on years of coaching experience and research. You know those people who it’s easy to envy because they seem to “have it all”? He’s looked at what makes those people successful and lead fulfilling lives, finding out what makes them stand out from the rest.
On the blog today, I wanted to summarise the first three key abilities for you.
1. Inspire yourself
There’s a lot of inspiration out there at the moment, and it can be really great to get us going with goals and plans, but it can also be crippling. We need to filter that inspiration pushed on us by others and be an inspiration first and foremost to ourselves. It’s okay to shine and be your own hero by inspiring yourself. Inspiration is about moving towards what you do want in life. It’s the starting point that catalyses you toward making dreams come to life.
Motivation, on the other hand, is you actively moving away from what you don’t want. Too often we focus on what we don’t want without a clear image of how we do want our lives to be. There’s no use in complaining and focusing on the things in our lives/jobs/relationships that are not fulfilling us; we need motivation and a clear path to move toward, rather than just aimlessly away from that which we don’t want. What we focus on expands in our life – the unconscious mind can’t distinguish between what we do and don’t want, it just drives us towards what we think about most.
So stop focusing on what you don’t want and project what you DO want in life!
To inspire yourself, you also need to be consistent in what you say and do, especially when it comes to the promises you keep with yourself. Every time you don’t do what you say you will, even if it’s a promise to yourself, your self-esteem takes a hit. According to Psychology Today, ‘When we don't keep a promise to someone, it communicates to that person that we don't value him or her.’ So if you don’t follow through what you’ve planned for yourself, you’re subconsciously saying you don’t value your own self-worth. In saying that, it’s important to be realistic in the promises you make and motivations behind them. Break each goal down incrementally to smaller commitments you can stick to, and take it exponentially from there as you start to thrive.
2. Persist against frustration
One of the key differentiators between those who are successful is being able to persist against frustration. We all feel frustrated at times and it can seem easier to give up, throw in the towel, and move on to the next project or step backwards to a safe and comfortable place where you were before.
Frustration needs to be your friend whenever you are pursuing a goal or dream.
Try to use your frustrations as fuel to grow and motivation to keep pushing through. Doing this will make a massive difference in your life because when obstacles occur on the road to achieving your goals, instead of justifying, procrastinating or self-sabotaging, you’ll walk through them and onwards. Also remember it’s important to be innovative in problem-solving thinking. If a frustration arises that looks like a closed door, look for other ways around the door - instead of walking through it, maybe you need to move around it or climb over it.
American author Jonah Lehrer talks about creativity and frustration in his book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, says: ‘...the act of feeling frustrated is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost. Because it’s only after we stop searching that an answer may arrive.’
3. Ability to delay gratification
In order to be successful, whether it’s at business or other life goals, you need to pay your dues. Overnight successes are rare and, most of the time, don’t actually exist. Sometimes stories that seem or are portrayed as overnight success, we don’t see the years of hard work, challenges and ‘failed’ attempts. For example, it may take 5-7 years to get where you want to be in business, your career or life goals, but the time will pass anyway, so you may as well take the action towards achieving your dreams. To achieve success, we need to be willing to wait for success.
“Success in nearly every field requires you to ignore doing something easier (delaying gratification) in favor of doing something harder (doing the work and putting in your reps).” James Clear
The ability to put in the hard yards and wait for your most successful life is called delayed gratification, which was first being researched by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960s. You might know it in the media as the famous ‘Marshmallow Experiment’. Nowadays, delayed gratification is known as one of the most integral qualities of successful people. We can train our brains for it too, including by breaking goals into more achievable steps, such as in point 1 above. Read more here.
See next week’s blog post for the next four key abilities for a great life!