I have no idea what 2016 will have in store for you or I, but whatever it brings, the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s worth remembering happiness cannot exist without sadness, success cannot exist without failure.
To experience either, you need to know both. So if last year was a struggle, look at it as a necessary experience that means you can appreciate the ease 2016 will bring.
5 Ways to Experience Greater Freedom and Success in 2016
1. Put YOURSELF First
I am not promoting a selfish approach to living, quite the opposite, although you might be thinking “how can I put myself first, when I have a family to support, a business to run or a job to hold down?”.
I hear your defiance, but the truth is, if you’re main focus isn’t your own health and happiness, how can you ever expect to give yourself or those you want to help or love your very best?
Remember the last time you flew and the cabin crew ran through the safety procedure, instructing that in the event of a loss of oxygen in the cabin, you must place the mask on yourself before small children?
This is obviously because those who need your support most, need you alive and healthy, what good are you to them dead? The same is true in life, those you lead, your family and your friends want to be around a man who’s happy, passionate and energised about his life.
This won’t happen if you aren’t fully committed to your most important goals because you’re trying to please others. You will float through life without meaning or direction. A man without purpose is like a boat without a rudder.
If you’re working so hard to provide for your family, but never take time out to focus on your health, to enjoy life or to be with those you love, you’re probably feeling highly stressed, disillusioned and low in energy. This doesn’t serve anyone in the long run.
Putting yours health and happiness first is an investment that always gives you a positive return and if you’re committed to your own personal and professional evolution this year, consider The Inspired Year Project, starting in two weeks.
If you’re yet to explore the idea of loving yourself and I don’t mean with a box of tissues! Check out this post, self love is probably the most important thing a guy can do, but our macho, ego driven understanding of what it means to be a man, often has this overlooked. Don’t.
2. Break Your Own Rules
Most men, including myself at times, innocently impose limitations on our lives by accepting without question, the rules we understand to be true about who we are and what we’re capable of.
The definition of a rule is “a principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable” and a principle is something that’s always true. It is a fact that defines a direction that will always lead to the same outcome.
For example by declaring “I’m not a runner” or “I can’t speak in public” or “I can’t talk to women”, means taking up running, deciding you want to be a stand up comedian or approaching a woman you’d love to get to know won’t happen, the logic of doing such as thing won’t make sense to you.
I am not against rules perse, some are useful, like making a rule to start the day with a morning routine. But rules about who you are can limit your experience of life, because they keep you playing by a set of principles that aren’t necessarily true.
Have you seen The Truman show? If so you’ll remember that little by little Truman starts seeing cracks in what he understood ‘reality’ was. He had never questioned the status quo of his life, until he got a glimpse of being a prisoner inside a made up world in which he was being duped day after day.
In the end nothing could hold him back from finding his way out of this world of lies, he wanted the truth and it was this that guided him to freedom.
The more I see through the cracks of my perceived limitations, the less I’m held back by fear. They can be hard to see and difficult to accept sometimes, which is why they are perhaps the biggest hindrance a man has to creating the life he wants.
However little by little, as you start to see that every rule you live by is made up greater possibilities open up. So my invitation to you this year is to start breaking the rules which have stopped you creating what you want, they are the only barrier to your world expanding.
3. Forget About Confidence
It’s highly overrated.
I used to think it mattered, not anymore. In fact I’m thinking confidence maybe the biggest enemy of success, because believing you need to feel confident or in other words good enough enough before you begin, probably means you won’t.
Therefore you’ll never explore the things that interest or excite you or ever develop the high levels of competency required to make something look easy because you never started. Starting is the only way you ever become a jedi master at your chosen skill.
That said, competence isn’t confidence and you don’t need either to start something new. All you need is a willingness to make mistakes, learn from them and not let them or your performance mean anything about who you are. This is the road to competence, but like I said competence doesn’t equal confidence.
Take for instance sport stars, who are highly competent at what they do but still seem to lose confidence. The problem is never a lack of confidence, it’s self consciousness created by an illusory fear they’ve lost what they thought they had and that other people will judge them negatively if they fail or under perform.
They haven’t forgotten how to succeed or lost confidence, because confidence doesn’t exist, it’s a made up concept. How can you lose something you never had? It is a state of mind that’s available no matter your level of competency.
So if there’s something you’ve been putting off until now because of a lack of ‘perceived’ confidence. Forget about confidence, take the first step and you’ll see it was never as bad as you thought. You don’t need confidence, what’s needed is action, whether you feel confident or not.
4. Commit to Discipline
“When wisely pursued, practices bestow countless blessings. If we do not obsess about their results, they make us vehicles of grace and reveal unexpected treasures. In this, they often seem paradoxical. They require time, for example, but frequently make more time available to us: They can slow time down, and open us to the timeless moment from which we have arisen. They require sacrifice, but they restore us. While demanding the relinquishment of established patterns, they open us to new love, new awareness, new energy; what we lose is replaced by new joy, beauty, and strength. They require effort, but come to be effortless. Demanding commitment, they eventually proceed like second nature. They need a persistent will, but after a while flow unimpeded. Whereas they are typically hard to start, they eventually cannot be stopped.” ~ George Leonard
I love this quote.
It tells us that it isn’t motivation or inspiration that will get you what you want this year, it’s discipline.
I didn’t know this for most of my life, so discipline hasn’t been something I’ve consciously worked at. Sure there have been things I’ve been committed to, but more often than not I was committed to habits that today make no sense.
So I’ve had to learn how to flex my discipline muscles over the last 10 years. It hasn’t been easy.
In fact it continues to be an ever evolving journey of cultivating higher levels of discipline year after year. The discipline to do the things I know will help me create my vision and stop doing the things which get in it’s way.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Like any great city, it developed over time to meet the changing needs of it’s people. The same is true for you and I, we need to change what we do to meet the requirements of our evolving aspirations for our lives.
Without discipline this won’t happen, because ultimately what we do and who we are will define us when it comes to creating what we want whether it’s a six pack, an empire or the relationship of our dreams.
5. Don’t Ignore the Pull of Adventure
Every man at some point in his life finds himself consumed by a deep desire to live a bigger adventure. I’m sure you’ve felt it, even if you didn’t call it this.
I’m not talking about becoming Indiana Jones, climbing mountains, running ultra marathons or travelling the world necessarily. I am talking about the urge to follow the path of truth.
My first recollection of this was in my early 20’s, when I was inspired to leave my home town and go to university. It wasn’t the norm in my family, I wasn’t a natural academic plus I was in a long term relationship with a girl I loved, who I’d go on to marry.
Even so, something within, told me it was worth risking love and the ideas I had about what I thought I was capable of in the name of a bigger adventure. Nothing was going to stop me, I was totally committed, even though on paper it didn’t make sense, especially financially.
I had a similar experience when I decided to walk away from a pay check to start my own ventures. It didn’t make sense from a logical perspective, but the pull of greater freedom and the excitement of what might be, was an idea that wouldn’t go away.
It hasn’t been easy, in fact I’ve often wondered what the hell I’m doing, but again nothing was going to stop me and there’s no way I’d go back.
I don’t know what adventure looks like to you but whatever it is, the pull for ‘more’, doesn’t go away. You might be ignoring it, hoping it will disappear but it won’t. It will quietly nag at you and if you do nothing about it, regret is likely to come knocking on your door.
The question is, are you willing to risk the life you know in the name of truth, or continue to allow fear to keep you settling?
I am curious, what’s most important this year for you? Share your thoughts on these ideas in the comments section below and if you like the sound of this and would like to explore these ideas further, take a look at The Inspired Year Project.
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