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The Cross Roads This weekend proved to be an experience we were headed to a cabin retreat located in Blue Ridge Georgia. As we drew closer to Northern Georgia, the scenery changed the appearance of the mountains started to show it was beautiful. All, of a sudden it became very quiet I heard there












Blue Ridge Georgia is a tourist town filled with exhibitions and a thriving artistic community, with an elevation of 1,762. The antique train offers four rides around the near mountain villages. The railroad trails run through the Chattahoochee National Forest to Long Creek and Branch Falls.

The Farm House

We arrived at our destination "it looked as if we had stepped back in time driving around and down the country roads it was scary indeed, “A small voice said to tell a scary story, but when we arrived and

started checking out the cabin on. The front porch had a big wasp nest with spider weds surrounding it..

An Adventure

That same night the adventure begins, we all had planned to barbecue just as the gill was fired up a dog appeared it was big an odd looking and would not go away, something not expected it remind you of a jackals in the night. Finally, the food was ready we all settled down and watched movies. Next, the morning we had planned lots of activities, horse backing, even canoeing on the river, it was lots of fun,

Checking Out the Town

We noticed even through this was a Georgia town down the road was North Carolina which veered into Tennessee strange indeed. Our intention was to have lunch at a country dinner but we decided to carry out instead. The night was closing in on us no sooner than returning back to our cabin, the big dog appeared again are should I say dogs.’ It turned out the dogs belonged to management who quickly removed them. At last, time for more barbequing, music and movies. The next day, it was time to check out it was very peaceful. I stepped outside and started to think about our













Using What Makes You Happy to Achieve a Fulfilled Lifestyle What is success? Well, the answer to that question largely depends on who you ask. There can be as many different definitions as there are people to question. These multitudes of differing opinions can a make the entire issue of success very confusing. In addition, having so many options can make it difficult for anyone to decide for themselves what success means to them. Should a person let society tell them what success is or should each person make that decision on their own? The problem with letting someone else decide on a definition of success for you is that you greatly increase the chances that you will end up with a definition that doesn’t suit you. It’s a little bit like letting someone else order for you in a restaurant. You will certainly end up eating what they like, but you very likely won’t end up with the exact meal that suits your own tastes. It is because of this that understanding the exact nature of success becomes so critical for happiness and fulfillment. If you never develop the facilities to be able to make your own decision on the matter then you run the risk of ending up with someone else’s dinner, so to speak. In order to end up with what you want you need to see the items available on the menu so that you can choose what best suits you. This article aims to show some of the main choices that are on the menu of success. It also aims to show that most, if not all, of these menu items can be ordered “a’ la carte”, so that the definition of success that you choose can be as individualistic as you are. To begin with, let’s take a look at some of the main categories on this menu so that you get a general idea of how to successfully tailor your own order for success. For many people, success is defined by objects. Under this definition, a successful person has a number of material possessions, all of which demonstrate to the world at large the measure of that person’s success. We all know the types of objects at issue here because all of us, to one extent or another, are influenced by this definition of success. To be clear, what we’re talking about are large houses, multiple vehicles, expensive electronic devices and fashionable clothes. These material trappings, because of their collective price tag, tell the world that their owner has enough money to be able to purchase them. While they may provide

comfort to the owner, they are also a potent symbol that lets the world know his or her social status. Let’s call this definition “material success.” Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with material success. We live in a wonderful world that is chock full of some very amazing items. Each of us is blessed to be able to have the chance to sample some of these treats. In addition, money is not only a measure of success; it is also a measure of security. Money can provide for the necessities of life, not only for you but also for those you love and who depend upon you for protection. Because of this, material success becomes an obvious choice for many. The pull of luxury, as well as financial security, is a powerful motivating force to working hard and getting ahead. However, this pull can be so strong that it blinds those who choose this path to other available options. The problem is that these additional options can be necessary to a full and complete measure of success. Without them, material success can become a hollow and empty trap that, ironically, does not feel the least bit successful. Another option on the menu of success is spiritual. In many ways, spiritual success is the exact opposite of material success. Instead of relying on external and material objects, spiritual success concentrates on internal development and often rejects the majority of material possessions completely. Most people would define spiritual success as a “religious” pursuit. While spirituality is closely defined with organized religions, religious behavior does not completely define the entire gamut of human spirituality. Probably, the first definition of success was materialistic. After all, we evolved in a harsh and competitive world. In this world, resources were limited because there were multiple species competing for the same sources. While this might seem cruel, it was nature’s way of providing some sort of check and balance system to guard against the uncontrolled growth of one species at the expense of the others. To nature, variety was the goal, not individual survival. In this competitive world, the group who could most successfully stockpile a surplus of resources survived. Human beings, as rational hunter gatherers, rapidly became very adept at identifying potential food sources and efficiently exploiting those resources. This ability to find, exploit and preserve allowed us to move beyond

mere hunting and gathering into pastoralism and agriculture and, eventually, into higher social technologies. As we did so, we became even better competitors in the process. As we developed, we brought nature’s definition of success with us. Our economies reflected the fact that abundance was the preferred goal. Therefore, individual success was predicated upon how much resources that individual possessed. In this way, the idea of material success was born. A wealthy individual was not only physically better prepared to survive, he was also judged as being more worthy of survival than someone who was less better off. Material possessions or lack thereof became indicators of moral standing. The problem was that scarcity existed in our economic systems just as it existed in the natural world. Nature made no moral judgment against an individual who has less. The penalty for having less in the wild was not surviving. In human communities the penalty of having less was being segregated into a social class that was deemed lower than those who had more. Since this moral judgement could have profound effects outside of mere individual survival, people focused pointedly on money and material possessions as the way to happiness and fulfillment. The rush for individual material survival was on. As a result, some of the other human values that also defined human survival in the wild were ignored or became less important. Things like cooperation, sharing, gratefulness and social responsibility became liabilities in the new individual competition brought about by modern human economics. In a reaction to this, human religions began to focus on what became known as spiritual values as much as economics focused on material values. In many human religions, possessions and material goods became taboo. They were a symbol of how spiritually undeveloped an individual was. The only way to obtain spiritual success was through a complete rejection of material culture. The natural comfort and protection of possessions, as well as the human inclination to gather the same, was ignored. Spiritual success became as cold and austere as material success was bloated and blinded.

The problem was that the antipathy between the two approaches meant that someone looking to achieve success had to adopt an either/or approach. Either they had to choose material success, and largely reject spirituality in the process, or they had to adopt spiritual success and reject the comforts that material possessions bring. Obviously, this is not a workable solution. Yet, unfortunately, it is one that still persists to the present day. People are still confused between choosing material and spiritual success. Modern consumer economics and modern religions continue to perpetrate the divide that causes this confusion. The result is that many people fail at achieving true success because they are forced to adopt a definition of success that is not to their tastes. They let someone else order success for them. There is a solution to this dilemma. No issue, especially one as important to individual fulfillment as success, is ever totally black and white. The choice between material success and spiritual success is a false one, largely a result of circumstances and tradition. There is a third choice which is actually no choice at all. Let’s call this third option “liberated success�. Liberated success, as the name implies, serves to free the individual from the tyranny of the choice between material and spiritual success. Liberated success is about re-empowering the individual with the ability to choose those elements of success that make the most sense to them. This means that they can pick and choose from the back catalogues of both material and spiritual success to develop a hybrid definition of success that has the ability to provide them with true happiness. This freedom to be yourself when it comes to success means that no one has to be locked into a lifestyle that is supposed to be fulfilling yet brings nothing but misery. This freedom also means that the individual who is actually being made happy through their work is more likely to be able to share that happiness with their fellow human beings. It is a combination of the best elements of material and spiritual success that is finally able to bring about the best of all possible worlds for everyone involved.

You Are Worthy of Personal Satisfaction Wallowing in self-pity and low self-worth because you don’t think you’re worthy of success or personal satisfaction is a sure way to keep your dreams from ever coming to fruition. Unless you begin to take actions to reach your goals and dreams, you’ll never see yourself as a true achiever and worthy of great success. There’s no one like you in the world and your ideas are unique. Take advantage of that and go after what you want.

Stop Trying to Pretend You Have to Be Perfect to Deserve Everything You aren’t perfect – no one is. Others might look as if they have no flaws or imperfections, but when all is revealed in true light, there is no such thing. So many people put off taking action to reach a goal because things aren’t perfect yet. Putting off until tomorrow what you should be doing today is detrimental to your future success. You might be waiting for a promotion at work, putting off writing that novel until you have time – or even waiting to get fit and lose weight until you can join a gym. Ignoring the changes you need to make in your life until things are perfect tends to lower your self-esteem because you don’t see yourself as valuable enough to make the changes now. The process of esteeming yourself means that you’re setting a higher value on your own personal satisfaction and creating the life you dream of and deserve. If you don’t value yourself and think you’re deserving, you won’t treat yourself as such. Rather than waiting for everything to be perfect before you spread your wings and fly, create your dream life now. First, you must believe in yourself. You, alone, can take charge of your self-worth. Take over the responsibility of showcasing your talents, promoting your abilities and fostering your potential. Begin by acknowledging the successes you’ve already had in life. Write them down as you identify them and keep the list as a sort of victory journal. Refer to your journal when you lose focus of what you want to accomplish and when you feel your self-esteem seeping away and being replaced with self-doubt. Being reminded of your past successes helps you recharge your batteries and gain a sense of purpose. You may have to take some risks in the path to success. Sometimes it takes a high amount of self-confidence to face obstacles head-on. Fear of the unknown is always difficult to navigate.

Embrace your faults by acknowledging them and then focus on your positive traits. Your future is at stake and you only have to believe in yourself to create the future you want and deserve.

Forgiveness Is a Skill You Have to Master Forgiveness is mentioned in nearly every religion’s rules to live by. That shows how very important forgiveness is in our lives. It doesn’t come easy for most of us and we have to work on it constantly. True forgiveness is a challenge that takes action. It requires a shift of your emotions and a desire for closure. You can’t hang on to past hurts after you forgive. It’s important that you move on. Some people need guidance to develop the skill of forgiveness. Even if the person you need to forgive won’t cooperate by meeting with you or accepting your forgiveness, it’s important that you are satisfied with the depth of your feelings of forgiveness. Learning to forgive brings many benefits – especially to the one who is forgiving. Letting go of the anger and resentment can give you a unique perspective on yourself and could be a catalyst for you to move on with your life and become successful. Letting old anger and resentment cloud your life can hold you back and keep you from being able to focus on the task or goals at hand. Developing empathy for the other person can help you let go. Think of the other person and what s/he might be going through in his or her life. The negative factors they’re dealing with might be similar to a situation you may have gone through and you can relate the anger and frustration that goes along with it. Perhaps the motivation for the hurt someone inflicted on you wasn’t meant to hurt you, but the act happened because of what the other person was going through. There could be a person who hurts you simply because they want to. It’s hard to understand, but some people seem to have evil in their hearts and get some sort of enjoyment from seeing you hurt. It could be a coworker who takes credit for something you did – or a family member who demeans you even though you’ve told them how you feel. Forgiving isn’t the same as condoning what happened to you. Forgiveness helps the forgiver much more than the person you’re forgiving. It’s filled with benefits that will bring a level of personal satisfaction into your life and help you move on. Many times, we’re more unforgiving of ourselves than others. When you hold grudges against yourself, it can be a sure way to stifle your emotions and make it impossible to reach the success you desire.

If you feel you need to forgive someone, but just can’t reach that point, get help through a therapist or a friend who can offer the guidance you need. Keeping a journal of your feelings can also be helpful for letting go of an old hurt that’s holding you back.

Believe in the Power of Self-Talk and Your Subconscious Mind Self-talk and your subconscious mind often combines forces to become a monster that threatens to destroy all our hopes for a successful future. We know how powerful selftalk is to our conscious mind, but it can be even more powerful in the subconscious. Learning how to communicate with the subconscious mind can turn the power of selftalk into a dynamic force that can make a difference in your future success and ability to meet your goals. The way it works is that your conscious mind processes any thought, choice or action you take. At the same time, your subconscious mind is also storing those thoughts, choices and actions. This vault of conscious actions and thoughts can be opened again and flood your mind with whatever you have stored. It can fill you with self-doubt – or spur you on to greatness – depending on what you’ve been feeding it. When you criticize yourself and plant negative thoughts in your subconscious, you’re inadvertently keeping a Pandora’s Box of trouble. The good news is that it’s possible for you to reprogram your subconscious mind and replace the negatives with positives. Just remember that it’s going to take a lot of atta’ boys to get rid of only one bad snippet of criticism. Criticizing yourself can become a habit that’s hard to break, but you can make it happen. Practicing positive self-talk is one way to tame the monster. Whenever you are consciously criticizing yourself, immediately replace those thoughts with positive ones. For example, rather than thinking that you’ll never be able to do something, stop and replace that thought with how you will succeed at it. Also, delve into the reasons why you’re telling yourself that you can’t succeed. What triggers your subconscious to dredge up old failures and faults? All it does is sabotage your current efforts to succeed. Shifting your thought process from negative to positive won’t happen overnight. It takes determination and effort on your part to rid your subconscious mind of all the negative ways and times that you’ve criticized yourself. Affirmations are great to begin your self-healing. When you feel yourself becoming anxious or stressed by your thoughts, repeat a mantra that will calm you down. If your

negative thoughts lean toward thinking you won’t succeed, replace them with a mantra that reflects how you will succeed. Visualization is also a good technique for training your subconscious mind to become more positive. Think of it as making a great movie of your path and realization of success. Focus on that movie until you master it and become more detailed as you go along. For example, if you want to be a published author, visualize yourself working at your computer and taking the steps needed to publish the finished manuscript. Then, become more detailed by visualizing how your life will be changed when you become a successful author. J.K Rowling, author of the famous Harry Potter series, never lost her focus on becoming an author. She had faith in her eventual success even when her work had been rejected numerous times and was on the verge of becoming homeless. That’s the faith we all must have when visualizing our successes and changing the way our subconscious is fed. Detail your rise to success and then how you will feel and react when you do reach your goals of success. In time, the monster inside your subconscious mind can transform into a loving friend that nurtures you rather than tearing you down.

You Help Form Others’ Opinions of You with Self-Degradation We know that we internalize self-doubt when we degrade ourselves with negative selftalk and feelings of inferiority. You may think you’re simply poking fun at yourself, but you may be doing harm and embedding negativity that’s difficult to undo. By filling yourself with thoughts that you’re not good enough, you may also be convincing others to form low opinions of your self-worth. It’s common to make fun of yourself – especially when anxious or afraid of failure. Comedians do it all the time. We laugh at their jokes, but probably believe just a little of it even if what they’re saying is for laughs. But, it goes deeper than a comedian’s jokes when you’re doing it to yourself. When others get the impression that you don’t believe in yourself, they may come to a conclusion that what you’re saying is true. Your self-worth is further damaged when they mirror your feelings about yourself. This can wreak havoc in your life. Your coworkers and boss, spouse and friends may cease to believe in your talent and begin to show it by the way they act toward you. You could lose out on promotions and other good things that would have come your way.

Eventually, those closest to you might turn away because of all the negativity you harbor about yourself. It makes people uncomfortable and rather than look for ways to make you feel better about yourself, they avoid you. That doesn’t mean you have to inflate your ego by singing your praises to others. That’s a turn-off too. When you truly believe in yourself, others will see it through your actions and the self-confidence you portray. Try to catch yourself when you begin to degrade your abilities. Replace those thoughts (and words) with positive affirmations and let others see rather than hear what you’re all about.

How Many Years Have You Wasted Wallowing in Low Self Worth? Those years you’ve wasted in believing you don’t deserve success because you’re not worthy can never be lived again. But, you can begin now to set goals and take actions to achieve your dreams and stop punishing yourself. Begin by getting rid of the shame that’s limiting your success in this world. Some ancient groups of people used shame to control others and today you can shame yourself into a state of mind that makes you believe you’re unworthy of happiness. The shame you feel for not being good enough weighs on your conscious and subconscious minds. It will take work to replace those thoughts with positive ones, but it can be cone. Any positive image of yourself can be torn down by others who criticize you. It can also be torn down by your own negative self-talk. Prove to yourself that you’re worthy of success. Begin by creating and working toward goals that you value and want to pursue. It doesn’t have to be grandiose dreams of success. It could be a hobby that you want to excel in such as lowering your golf handicap. Every small success you make will boost your self-worth and change the way you think about yourself. And, pride will take the place of shame that’s kept you from achieving your dreams. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, you’ll be so busy focusing your time and energy toward achieving your goals that you won’t have time for negative thoughts. You must also learn how to surround yourself with positive people rather than those who would feed you with negative thoughts about yourself. Think about the language you’re presenting to the world. Even your body language can make a difference in the way you see yourself. The way you carry yourself when walking, sitting or dealing with others sends a powerful message.

Slumping as you walk or sit, hanging your head and not looking someone in the eye when you’re speaking, crossing your arms across your chest and speaking in a voice that indicates weakness can all hamper your image to the outside world – and yourself. Take the necessary steps to help you believe in what you can accomplish and stop punishing yourself for all the flaws you think you have and the mistakes you’ve made. Believe that you’re worthy of achieving your dreams now – and you will.

Most People Have Never Uncovered Their Personal Gifts It’s doubtful that you realize everything you’re capable of accomplishing. In fact, you may have never even scratched the surface. Most people struggle with uncovering their personal gifts and using them to create success for themselves. You may be limited by what others have told you about yourself. Teachers, parents and other influential persons in your life may have inadvertently limited you by telling you what you’re capable of just by observation or testing. These well-meaning people don’t usually dig deep enough to set you off on a path where you feel you are capable of anything. We’re all limited by what we think of ourselves as told by others. Unless you stop limiting yourself to what they’ve told you and begin to uncover and reveal your personal gifts that make you the unique person you are, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. Keep in mind that your habits can become talents. Whether you want to write, play the piano, start a business or become a Navy Seal – forming habits that will get you to that place is the only way to achieve it. Only the obstacles you place on yourself can hold you back. Overcoming these barriers that you and others have come to believe takes perseverance. You must begin to prioritize the steps that are going to get you where you want to be. Each step you take requires focus. While everything might not work out as you hoped, you’ll at least be taken to a place in your life that can provide guidance about what you want to do next. Have specific values and goals in your life. Never violate these values to get what you want. That will never provide satisfaction and you may never be truly happy with what you’ve accomplished. To find out your true mission in life and reveal your personal gifts, dig deep to find out what activities you enjoy most – the ones that make you forget about time. What comes naturally to you? Your innate skills are gifts you can use to bring success into your life.

Be honest with yourself. Think about what you might regret not pursuing later in life and some challenges you’ve already overcome. Use these thoughts to create your mission in life. After you identify your true mission, it will be easier to reveal your gifts.

You’re Not Deserving Only When You Reach the Pinnacle of Success It’s easy to feel as if you’re not worthy of success or any good things that come your way when things happen to make you feel broken and frustrated. You’re deserving at all times – not only those times when you achieve successes. What makes you a deserving person is your commitment to overcome obstacles in your path to success. You can’t be complacent and halt your progress every time you’re faced with a distressing situation. You know you’re worthy of all success that can come your way when you have a strong sense of purpose and a powerful vision. You can’t let the past determine how you plan your life. Have a plan and stick to it. You’re deserving when you refuse to give up on your commitment to success. You may imagine success and struggle for it, but give up on it when the going gets rough. Truly successful and most deserving people never give up on their commitment. Successful people truly believe they deserve the success they’ve realized. They don’t let preconceptions about themselves or from others ruin their chances. They know that spiritual success is entwined with material success. Without both types of success, both become meaningless. Many people never grasp that concept of success, but when you are spiritually healthy, you bring a consciousness into your life that helps you focus on the material things you want and need. You actually become afraid of success when you give in to thoughts that you’re not deserving – that you just don’t have what it takes to reach the pinnacle of success that others have. In truth, the challenge to be successful is comprised of the fears that get in your way. Unless you identify these fears and overcome them, you may not accomplish what you set out to do in life. One of those fears could be fear of failure. You may struggle with fears of your goals not working out quite the way you imagined. It’s particularly difficult to overcome this fear if you’ve tried before and failed. When you solidly put those failures in the past and take steps to find future success you will have overcome one of the main fears that are holding you back. Then, you can move forward.

Another common fear that becomes an obstacle to success is fear of the unknown. It helps to allay this fear if you step into your plans for the future fully prepared. It takes a lot of preparation – physically and mentally – to prepare for the success you deserve. Good habits can help you feel better about facing the unknown. They can help to nurture you past the times of feeling unworthy and full of self-doubt that you can do it. When your mind and body are functioning at full force, you are capable of most anything. Are you afraid of what others think? Others aren’t going to climb over those obstacles for you. They can help, but they can also hinder your progress if you let criticism and rejection rule. Follow your own heart and do what you need to do to reach the goals you set for yourself. When you strive to please others over yourself, you become co-dependent and that can be detrimental to you ever achieving personal satisfaction and success.

Don’t Look for Approval from Others You don’t need abject approval from others to realize your dreams and have personal satisfaction about your life. Not everyone will agree with the paths you take to find success. Everyone wants to be loved and admired, but truly successful people don’t let it stand in the way of their own successes. When you’re working toward something you believe in and love, others’ opinions about you fade away. Each goal you meet and success rug you reach helps you become more self-confident and satisfied with the direction you’re heading in. Your need for approval becomes less imperative as you continue your rise to success. People who depend on others to validate their successes are known as people pleasers. It’s important that people pleasers impress everyone to gain praise and accolades so they’ll feel deserving. If you’re a people pleaser, it’s important that you make a concentrated effort to stop depending on others’ love and admiration and take responsibility for your own life. Unless you do that, you’re likely to miss out on much of what life has to offer. Continuing to depend on others for your satisfaction and feelings of worthiness you’re likely to experience feelings of emptiness and insecurity. These feelings keep you from enjoying life and creating good memories.

What if you never get the approval from others that you think you need and deserve? The truth is that nothing bad will happen to you. It doesn’t matter what others think as long as you believe in yourself. You can drive yourself crazy trying to please others – you never can please everyone – or you can live in the present moment and focus on you and what you want for yourself. When you’re happy with yourself, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Breaking your habit of wanting approval from others will let you live life on your own terms. You’ll be more relaxed and can simply enjoy your relationships with other people when you let go of your need for approval. Your self-worth will soar and your entire life will change for the better. Take steps to break free and give yourself what you, alone, need and want – not what you think others want you to be.

Each of Us Is Both Courageous and Intimidated You don’t need to be a ferocious lion to think of yourself as courageous. And you don’t need to think of yourself as the cowardly lion to be intimidated. But, you can pull out all the courage you need when necessary and take intimidation with a grain of salt. Just the act of living life – especially on our own terms – provides many chances to prove your courage. Living also provides many intimidating experiences and can threaten to make you give up. You don’t have to have courage like a warrior and jump out of planes or dive into the oceans depths. The type of courage you need to have is that which will see you through challenges and hardships and make you a better person. To understand courage, you need to know that its definition is a type of power or determination to meet difficult situations head on. Facing a bear in the woods doesn’t take as much courage as planning ahead. If you know you’re going to be hiking in bear-infested forests, you’d better know what to do in case you meet one on the path. So, you don’t always have to fight physically (you would definitely lose), but use your knowledge to thwart the attack. The word courage contains the root, cou, which means heart in French. You can have strength in your heart to counteract some of the most pressing problems that come your way. For example, Mother Teresa was the exemplary of courage using love and compassion for others to meet incredible disasters in the world. But, courage also has the word, rage, embedded in it.

Rage can also give us power to meet challenges. It helps to sustain and energize our drive to become successful and overcome tremendous odds. Constructive anger or rage means that you’re using your anger to generate the courage you need to get things done and make things happen. While it takes courage to live your life as you want – it also takes a great amount of courage to think of others and let yourself love and commit to another person. Moving past fears to move ahead doesn’t mean we don’t have fear – only that we’ve conquered it. Personal satisfaction can come to you in waves of success when you face fears by knowing our frailties, but working past them anyway. Maintaining a false bravado won’t bring that personal satisfaction. You’ve got to actually face the fears for what they are and have the courage to follow through with your plans and dreams. Some people become so fearful and discouraged that they turn to other things to fortify their courage. Liquid courage – alcohol – may temporarily make a person feel like they could conquer the world, but in time that type of courage will take a severe downturn and destroy any hopes of success. Guard against masking your fears, but reveal them and deal with them. That will produce the strength that you can only get when you pick yourself up from disappoints and failure and try, try again. Intimidation is courage’s worst enemy. It can rob you of your courage and keep you mired in the past or afraid of taking courageous steps to make your dreams happen and to live the life you deserve. Everyone has a choice to make when intimidated by people or circumstances – to curl up in a fetal position and give up or to stand and fight – endure and proceed rather than give in to the intimidation. Intimidation can also come from within. If you’ve given in to intimidation as a child or in other areas of your life, it may be difficult to see yourself as a courageous person. You may need to dig deep to find that lion-type of courage, but it’s there. It truly takes an inordinate amount of courage to live a life of creativity and productivity and it’s not always easy to have that courage to follow your dreams. But, as long as you believe in yourself, you can tap into that courage to achieve anything you want.

The Power of a Self-Created Image Each of us has an image of ourselves that we’ve personally created. The image may consist of how we imagine our physical characteristics and traits or base it on what we’ve been told by others. Some people love the image they view of themselves while others spend a lifetime trying to change it. According to how you feel about your image – it can lift you up or bring you down and prevent you from reaching goals and realizing dreams. It takes work to change a self-image that isn’t helping you succeed, but it can be done. Changing bad habits and getting rid of negative self-talk is a good place to begin.

Everyone Pictures Themselves a Certain Way There’s that image you see when you pass a mirror – and that one you hold deep in your psyche. It’s difficult to argue with the image you see in the mirror, but the one you hold of yourself in your mind can either sabotage your life or make things happen. A poor self-image makes it difficult for you to be motivated to get ahead in life. You have a low self-worth and little or no self-respect. When presented to the world, a poor selfimage has the power to sabotage all your efforts of success. You may have known someone who was obsessed with a self-image that was unhealthy. S/he may have had an image of herself of being grossly overweight when they were at an ideal body weight. That type of intimidating self-image could lead to health problems such as binge-eating, anorexia and other problems related to poor body image. Another person may have an image that they aren’t intelligent enough to express an opinion about something. This may have taken root during a childhood or adolescent period of being labeled as stupid or worthless by others – either adults or classmates. However you see yourself can be manifested into behaviors that could be detrimental to your health and the way you live your life. Those who live with positive self-images don’t depend on other people or things to provide them with a positive self-image. Studies on self-image show that it is the most important influence to a person being happy with life. It’s surprising that the studies determined things such as money, power and social status were the lowest factors in the makeup of a person with high self-image. Although it can be difficult to overcome difficulties such as financial and health disasters, it can be accomplished.

You can build up your own self-image by determining to be positive in your attitude, how you behave, your values and your behavior. Self-confidence comes with positivity, so plan your life with optimism and a desire to be happy. Kindness and empathy are all part of a happy and self-confident life, but you also have to take a stand when you feel you’re being taken advantage of. Choose your words and actions carefully and focus your attention on being the person you want to be.

Changing Your Self-Created Image Is Hard Work A negative self-image has been built with one negative block at a time. Some of the things you continue to tell yourself are cemented from constant repetition and it will be difficult to change. If you’re ready to change that old, worn out self-image and get yourself out of the rut you may have been in for years, begin now. Don’t put it off or it may never happen. After you take some action, make goals and begin to check them off, you’ll be on your way. The importance of a positive self-image can’t be overstated. You’ll take a greater enjoyment in what you do in life, have less self-doubt about what you’re capable of and have a great deal more energy – plus motivation. It is said that to have an abundance of self-confidence, you must practice building your confidence. You must get past the fear and negative feelings that are holding you back, leave your comfort zone and practice courage even in every day activities. We feel protected when remaining in the comfort zone. We’re safer from criticism, mistakes and the failures that sometimes happen when we step outside of the comfort zone and push ourselves. However, when we do take the steps to try something new – something that would advance our goals in life – it’s part of the unknown that scares us and keeps us paralyzed without chance for success and personal growth. That fear can be embraced when you understand where it’s coming from. Have you ever cleaned out your backpack or desk drawer and found a cache of money (even a few dollars) that you forgot about? It’s a small prize, but maybe it can buy you a latte that will perk you up. Peeling back the layers of doubt and fear that were lost in your negative self-image can reveal a person who is capable of success. You’ll feel the energy and renewed desire for success that was buried by all the past disappointments and failures and you’ll finally realize the self-confidence to move forward – out of the shadows and into the light of a positive self-image.

Of course, you can’t just think your way to a positive self-image. You’ve got to put forth the work and practice that it takes to make anything worthwhile. You won’t automatically become a heart surgeon by simply thinking about it. You’ll need to put in long hours of study, observation and practice to reach that high pinnacle of success. A famous and successful author didn’t get there by simply sitting down at the computer and typing. Research and outlines are part of any type of writing endeavor. Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth with no numbing agent, but if that person truly wants to become a successful writer, the work will get done. The more negativity you get rid of in your life, the better you’ll become at carrying on with a new and positive energy that can get you wherever you want to be in life.

A Self-Created Image Can Destroy You or Lift You Up We all live with a self-created image that has guided us through at least part of our lives. Perhaps your self-image has caused you to do things – or not do things -- that have held you back from success. You may be constantly haunted by what-could-have-been. Know that you can use that desire to change your life and make your own decisions about where you’re going. That desire can be a catalyst to changing your life for the better. Your self-image isn’t created overnight. It happens during your life and is cemented by the decisions you make about changes – good or bad. Those good decisions will prove themselves in time and make you feel good about yourself. Those decisions that turn out bad can add to your self-image and prevent you from making other decisions that could change your life for the better. The world is very complex and to make good decisions, you must have knowledge. The constant learning process gives you the self-confidence to move ahead and create a healthy self-image. Sometimes you’ll feel good about yourself and other times you’ll wonder if you’re making the right decisions. A positive mindset can help you recreate your life and help you get what you want and deserve. Maintaining healthy habits such as exercise and diet can also play an important part in changing your life for the better. Think hard about your current situation and what you would like to – and need to – change to create the life you want. For example, what makes you happy or sad? Do you feel fit and healthy and are the relationships in your life toxic or healthy?

This inventory of your current lifestyle will shed much light on what you need to do to advance your life and/or career. After you’ve taken a careful inventory and know what needs to change, visualize your ideal life. When creating the vision, what circumstances and people would you leave behind? Which ones would be new entries into your life – such as exercising and exploring a new career path? These thinking exercises will help you create a new self-image based on what is good in your life and what should be discarded. You’ll begin to create visual goals for yourself. It’s helpful to create a vision board based on those images you want to keep in your life or to explore for your future life. It’s important that you create short and long-term goals for yourself. It’s impossible to foster change in your life if you don’t have clear-set goals. Check off the goals as you reach them and periodically reassess what you need next in order to keep changing your life for the better. Keep a positive mindset and create new habits that can promote your new self-created image and realize your vision for the future.

Low Self Worth Accumulates to Paint an Unflattering Picture of Yourself Low self-worth becomes your truth if you let it. You may not even realize that it’s being built upon throughout the years to destroy your opinion of yourself and keep you from success. It’s difficult to disbelieve that low self-image because it’s accumulated slowly – over years of negative self-talk and perhaps from others who don’t have your best welfare at heart. You’ve got to find ways to weed out the lies and the truth if you ever want to get on track to leading the life you deserve. When you have an unflattering vision of yourself, your self-worth plummets and can be debilitating to your future endeavors. The worst part is that everyone else begins to believe that unflattering picture you’ve created. It can permeate every area of your life, from looking for a job to creating a loving environment with your family. Unfortunately, your self-image isn’t born with you. It comes with time and must be nurtured along. With all the challenges and negatives in the world, you must build it strong to keep it from being torn down. Rejection throughout the years is one reason you may have low self-worth. People can be well-meaning and still drag you down by unkind words or unfeeling actions. Then,

there’s your inner critic that may be constantly telling you that you can’t do it or are undeserving of it. Increasing your self-worth and changing that negative picture of yourself sometimes requires intense work on your part. That negative visualization must be replaced with the visualization of what you want to be. That takes lots of practice. Along with visualization come affirmations. Affirmations are powerful tools that can help change your negative self-image. Say them aloud – and say them often. You’ll tend to believe it more when you say it aloud. Another trick to increasing your self-worth is to face your fears head on. That will involve getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things – delving into unknown areas you’ve always had interest in. No one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. When someone else or your inner critic puts you down, immediately replace those negatives with positive thoughts. For example, if others – including the inner critic – express to you that you’re a failure, find reasons why you’re not and compliment yourself. Think about your successes and concentrate on those rather than so-called failures you might have experienced. Those failures were learning experiences that you can use to set yourself up as a winner. Stop believing that you have low self-worth. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

If You See Yourself as Weak, Grow Strong Weakness has never been considered a good trait. If you see yourself as weak, so will others that you may be trying to impress. And, weakness doesn’t always mean a physical trait – it could also indicate a weak mind. In a job interview, one of the questions usually has to do with your weaknesses. They want you to name your greatest weakness – and, if you answer wrong, it could mean that you don’t get the job. When you see yourself as weak, you may not be as apt to try new things or endeavors. There are ways to turn weaknesses into strengths that will bring rewards and satisfaction into your life. For example, if you want to run a marathon, but have trouble getting up a set of stairs, you should begin to train for endurance and body strength so your muscles won’t get as tired.

It may take time – and it will surely take effort, but it can be done and you’ll be proud of yourself when you complete the marathon. Mental weaknesses are sometimes more difficult to change. To begin the journey to get rid of weaknesses (real or perceived) and become a strong person, first identify what you consider to be your weaknesses. Be sure you don’t confuse weaknesses with skills. A lack of skill isn’t the same as a weakness because you can always learn skills. You can study what you need to learn and it becomes a skill when you master it. What you consider to be weaknesses might be considered a negative in your mental or physical makeup. Also, you may have a natural strength because of something you instinctively know and are good at. The types of strengths that can booster your self-worth are those that you work at with the desired result being to convert those weaknesses into strengths. Identifying your strengths may not be as easy as it sounds. You know yourself better than anyone, so begin by some self-awareness. For example, you might be an introvert if you prefer to spend time by yourself. An extrovert gets strength from being around others. Neither is good or bad, but both can help you figure out the predominant ways of what you prefer and how you think and feel. After you’ve identified what those strengths and weaknesses are, you can begin to build on them – or take steps to remove them from your life. For example, if you have people in your life who drag you down, it may be time to set boundaries. Those things that shore you up build on your strengths and should be rewarded and sought after. Don’t dismiss something you can’t do right now as a weakness. If you really desire to make it a strength, put in the time and effort to make it a skill. Skills take learning and practice. You may have a skill that you don’t enjoy – such as computer skills. If you don’t enjoy being around computers, you shouldn’t consider that aptitude as a strength. Develop other skills that you can enjoy. Motivation is key to developing and strength into a skill you would like to have. When you truly desire a skill or strength, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make it happen. Get a mentor, take lessons or whatever you need to do to gain the skill. When you were a kid you may have dreaded your weekly piano lessons because you weren’t motivated to learn. As an adult, you might see things differently and want to revisit the lessons. Now you’re motivated and now you can turn that passion into a skill.

Think of your weaknesses as potential strengths that you can turn into wonderful achievements. For example, if you tend to be pessimistic and turn everyone (including yourself) off because of your negativity, think of ways you can turn that into a plus. Take baby steps to come out of a negative, self-created image and give yourself rewards for the achievements and progress you make. In time, you may even enjoy the recognition of a weakness because you’ll learn and become stronger when you turn it into a positive trait.

If You See Yourself as Incapable, Become Capable When you think of yourself as incapable of doing something you’ve always wanted to do – it could be because you’re choosing not to. There’s a big difference. That negative way of thinking about yourself comes from the image you’ve created about yourself. The importance of a positive self-image can’t be over-emphasized when it comes to your potential for success. If you have a lot of negative self-talk and you see yourself as incapable of achieving what you want it life, it’s time to change that image. Seeing yourself as capable provides a sense of independence and competency that fosters high self-esteem. It’s much more important to your happiness than other things such as power, money and popularity. It’s not as simple as it sounds to consider yourself as capable. Life usually gets in the way by presenting problems such as poor health, disabilities and financial difficulties. These problems can serve to destroy some paths you want to take in life. Academic pursuits, relationships, health and well-being can get seriously off track by some of these very real problems that can invade your life. But, when you strive to work from the inside-out to improve your self-image, you’ll become more capable of getting what you want out of life. You must be honest of your assessment of what you’re capable of, but the positive thinking you can begin on the inside can help to remove at least some of the barriers that are holding you back. By being honest, you can accept your imperfections and some flaws you may have from simply being human. Everyone makes mistakes, but you can forgive yourself and move on and try to improve. You can focus on what you can use in the future from a negative experience you may have had. You don’t need to reach for perfection, but you can allow yourself to forgive yourself from mistakes rather than constantly criticizing yourself.

When you need to change something about yourself to become a more capable human being, it’s best not to begin with a list of things you need to change. Begin with one criticism and take a positive approach to change it and boost your self-worth. As you begin to see yourself as capable of one thing, go to the next. Never apologize for your flaws or blame it on others. Simply use a positive approach and develop strategies that work to foster changes. Criticizing thoughts should be replaced immediately with encouragement. This should also be true in your criticism of others. Rather than tearing down yourself or another person, focus on what you’ve already achieved and how you can move forward. Hanging on to past mistakes and viewing yourself as incapable of success can sabotage your efforts to create a capable and positive self-image. Exaggeration can become a part of the negative self-image. For example, if you say to yourself that you always make the same mistake or that you just can’t do something, you’re exaggerating the truth. You can turn things around and you can become capable to do most anything you can think of. Focus on accentuating the positive rather than the negative. If you fail a test or a trial, assess what mistakes you made and vow to do better by learning, practicing and determining to be the best you can be. Make yourself known as unstoppable because you never quit.

If You See Yourself as Unlovable, Become Lovable Do you think of yourself as unlovable perhaps because you’ve failed in previous relationships? By thinking of yourself as unlovable, you create a self-image that projects itself to others and teach them how to think of you. You may be turning other, potential good relationships, away because of the self-image you project. The solution to this problem of thinking of yourself as unlovable is to take steps to become lovable. You may have developed habits or certain behaviors that turn people away from you. It’s important that you learn to love yourself before others can love you. You may have low self-worth and end up convincing others that you’re not deserving of love. Learning to love yourself isn’t always an easy task. You’ve got to reassess events in your life in a more positive frame and dismiss outside opinions of you. If your actions and the way you behave have earned you a reputation of being unlovable, you must learn to make better decisions.

If you don’t have the skills needed to develop positive relationships, you must learn those skills. This can be done by seeking opinions from others whom you admire and value. Letting go of the negative opinions that you have formed about yourself of being lovable – or not – is just one step in the progression of becoming a lovable person. You may be listening to others who criticize and put you down. Or, you may be listening to your own self-talk. Unless you make a calculated decision to overcome these negative thoughts and feelings, you will continue to see yourself as unlovable. It’s possible to rewrite your internal script. For example, when it dawns on you that you’re thinking negative thoughts, make a conscious effort to replace them with positive ones. Think of what you’ve accomplished and about your good traits. Avoid bad-mouthing yourself to others. Each time you put yourself down, you plant seeds that others will see as negative. Try to love yourself and present yourself as a lovable person. Setbacks are sure to happen in the journey of finding love. Rather than viewing the setbacks as negative, try and recreate that feeling of love that you once had and realize that you can’t control others’ thoughts and feelings – only your own. It may take a simple decision to better yourself – or it may take a visit to a therapist or other person who can help you identify and erase the triggers that hold you back from being the person you want to be. Be good to yourself and do things you enjoy and find inspiring. It helps you to cope both emotionally and physically with all the negatives that may come your way in your journey to find love. The gift of time is helpful in reflecting on your past and what has kept you from the love you deserve. Give yourself that gift and focus on others rather than yourself. You’ll be creating an image of yourself that others will find inspiring.

Don’t Avoid Reality When Developing Your Self Created Image When searching for your true self-worth, don’t develop an inflated self-image. Improving your self-image should bring honesty and not dishonest self-talk that keeps you clueless of the fact that others see you as an egotistical bore. Staying grounded about your positive traits will help you see the negative areas of your personality where you need to make changes. Honesty can blow the fog away and let you see clearly what you need to change.

Bloated self-worth will only cause you become frustrated when you don’t win or accomplish what you want. When you blindly assign kudos to yourself when you really didn’t achieve that much, you come away with an inflated sense of worth. That can be worse than a low self-worth because you’ll be very disappointed when you don’t live up to all the kudos you give yourself. Praise for yourself can be divided into two terms – specific praise and global praise. Specific types of praise focuses on the efforts you made to complete the win. For example, when you practice and strengthen yourself for hours at a time to run a marathon – you’ll be detailed in what you’ve done. Those positive affirmations about your efforts can pump your self-worth and make you ready to try other things that will improve your life. Even if you don’t win or complete the marathon, you tried and did as much as you could to make it work. Specific praise is a wonderful and exacting way to boost your self-confidence and spur you on to bigger and better things. Global praise, however, can be detrimental to your progress. Global praise concentrates on the win at the end of your efforts rather than praising the efforts themselves. If you give yourself global praise, you may wind down in the middle of your efforts because you become doubtful about the end results. You’ll come to believe that you’re only worthy of praise when you win rather the heartfelt efforts you made. Any effort toward something worthwhile builds your self-esteem and makes you feel worthy of praise. The reality of a situation is that you may not come out the winner all the time. Not everyone can be a Mark Phelps or win the Boston Marathon. But, when you feel secure in your efforts, your self-image will be on the same level as if you were the top winner. Begin to pay close attention to your self-talk. If you find yourself inflating your value or putting yourself down to the point that you don’t try to succeed anymore, begin to assess why that’s happening and begin immediately to put a stop to it. You’ll soon be able to gain traction in your efforts to become successful, become more lovable and to become healthier – both mentally and physically. The power of a positive self-created image is awesome. Remain grounded in your efforts and keep developing your positive traits rather than putting yourself down for what you haven’t accomplished. Nothing can make you feel worse about yourself than giving up.

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Real Stories, Success Ebook on improving your self in a business setting.


Real Stories, Success Ebook on improving your self in a business setting.

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