To become the best you can be to achieve all you can from life requires a single-minded focus on the attainment of greatness.
Once attained, this greatness can bring rewards beyond measure. These rewards include, but are by no means limited to, stronger personal relationships, improved career opportunities, total health and wellbeing and financial success.
They come with the elevated and improved confidence levels, winning mindset and attitude to life greatness brings. Who wouldn't want greatness and the rewards it attracts? It would appear many. Surprisingly, a majority of people seem to repel this desirable quality.
Why? Well, it appears the attainment of greatness, like any anything worthwhile, requires self-sacrifice, hard work and a willingness to step out of our comfort zones.
It is thought many go through life negating their full potential. If you are going in a direction that is leading nowhere, it does not mean you can't get off at the nearest exit and turn around.
Turning around is something many do not have the inclination or the energy to do. These people plod along when they could be experiencing riches unimagined. Some use the same tired excuses over and over. It must be remembered - and this is the first step to stepping beyond the work-a-day existence that can cripple productivity and creativity - that we are never too old, weak or poor to change our lives for the better.
Greatness can be achieved at any time, by anyone, of any standing. Not convinced? Well read on to discover how to develop the mind power needed to transform your life for the better.
Click To Enlarge.
Author, David Robson.
Why do some become legendary in their respective fields, whereas others do not? Are people born with special, qualities that cause them to excel? It could be thought that inherent greatness is the reasoning behind many of the world's success stories. Not the case.
The truth is people who become great do so because they have fostered all of the qualities needed to excel at the highest level in whatever they choose. Work, determination and persistence are primarily needed, not a special talent or an extraordinary gift as many would like to think.
Although some are born with certain gifts, which help to make them extraordinary in some way, it is what they choose to do with these talents that ultimately count. Having achieved the upper limits of their capabilities, such people may still lack the personal attributes necessary to reach further. What it means to be truly great stems from a deep connection to what we hold dear in life.
Remarkable greatness can be witnessed in those who not only excel in their chosen field, but who truly feel they have succeeded and make a point of celebrating the life they lead and rejoice in their achievements. In this respect, greatness is a state of mind as much as it is demonstrated through things tangible.
It is realized through persistent efforts in establishing the mental and physical attributes needed to reach highest levels. Greatness gives our lives meaning. Wanting to do and be our best, through goodness, humility, service and character, rather than an exclusive focus on material possessions, position, prestige or power, adds value to our life, and this added value gives meaning.
Aspiring to greatness is about becoming someone you admire. Sure, position in life is important as this helps to shape our identity, but how we influence others and the character we develop along the way really gives us the essential qualities needed to cultivate true greatness.
It is who we are and how we think that elevates us to the highest level. To fully excel, a definite plan is needed as a guide, and an unwavering faith to transforming your life is a fundamental prerequisite. And mind power underpins the extent to which we can do all of this.
To become truly great in any calling requires the interaction of mind, body and spirit. All three, when combined and operational as a whole, underpin the extent to which we can visualize, and have faith in, our ability to succeed.
Also in connection with the melding of mind, body and spirit is our ability to project our own personal style that says to the world, "I am unique and at the forefront of my field." These factors are needed to crystallize the thought patterns necessary to begin the process of total development, a process that will result in greatness.
To begin this process we must ensure our thinking is geared toward this aim. As explained within the multitude of self-help books on the market, our thinking dictates whether our actions will be positive or negative.
Success, and subsequent greatness, does begin in the mind, as succinctly explained by famous French mathematician Blaise Pascal, when he wrote: "man's greatness lies in his powers of thought." If true greatness, then, is to be realized we should consider the types of thoughts we plant in our minds, while we work to establish a total approach to self-improvement.
| Blaise Pascal:
A prodigy in math, Blaise Pascal was a contemporary and rival of René Descartes. In spite of years of ill health and a short life, Pascal accomplished quite a bit.
He published a significant work on the geometry of conical sections when he was only sixteen; he invented a calculating machine by the time he was 19; he and Pierre de Fermat founded the modern theory of probability; he described the principle that is the basis for the hydraulic press (called Pascal's Law); and he proved that there was a vacuum above the atmosphere.
Pascal had a religious conversion in the 1650s and devoted himself to religion instead of science. He is famous for the philosophical theorem known as Pascal's Wager, and for the remark that history would have been different had Cleopatra's nose been differently shaped.
"Blaise Pascal." Who2? Biographies. Who2?, 2007. Answers.com 04 Dec. 2007.
Granted, how we view ourselves, and whatever paradigms, or models, we chose to live our lives in accordance with, will ultimately manifest in how we project ourselves and view others. However, for development at the highest level to take place, a broader approach, one that considers nature - how we live in accordance with the natural laws - spirituality - how we are influenced, and inspired by forces higher than ourselves - personal style - our unique approach to projecting a positive self image - and healthy living - taking care of the components needed to facilitate clear thinking and a positive outlook - are needed.
Placing equal importance on developing these aspects of personal growth will ensure that our mind is attuned to greatness on many more levels.
To develop a positive mindset, one geared toward greatness, it is generally thought that we should focus on seeing the good, rather than the negative, in every situation, and gear our thoughts to self improvement from the inside out, focusing almost exclusively on internal factors such as self-concept, confidence and positive thought.
While there is no question these facets are needed to achieve greatness, external influences also play a major role in developing the mental capabilities needed to realize our full potential. These influences include the aforementioned spiritual, natural world, health (environmental) and personal style considerations along with another major key to greatness - modeling our successes on those worthy of emulation.
To succeed in these areas, it is important to understand their significance and how they can be applied. Once understood, attaining greatness through their application can begin.
The mind determines how we understand and apply all of the factors necessary for personal growth, as specific thought patterns can be established with its powerful influence. All action is preceded by thought. It follows, then, that if we think a certain way it will influence how we act. Truly great people think great thoughts continuously; ordinary people think ordinary thoughts. By restructuring how we think, how we mentally approach all aspects of our lives, we program our minds for greatness.
It is reasonable to expect that our thinking will influence our ability to grow as individuals, so the establishing of greatness-oriented thought patterns should be our primary focus, as these will strengthen this ability, while laying the foundation for continued personal development.
Greatness-Oriented Thought Patterns:
How They Are Established
As an internationally recognized personal trainer and health and fitness author I have worked in the upper echelon of these areas with many truly great individuals. These people, I have found, are not great by chance - they have commonalities that separate them by a wide margin from the "average" person.
As mentioned at the beginning of this book, to attain greatness we must use all available tried and tested success-building methods. And through trial and error and a great deal of experience, most will discover these methods if they persist long enough. The sustained effort needed, though, to develop an attitude geared toward success could take years, years of wasted productivity.
Although some are born with positive traits such as advanced intelligence, which can provide somewhat of an advantage, they will not necessarily attain greatness if they are not receptive to new ideas. Conversely, all can enjoy greatness if they consistently apply the following mind-shaping principals to their lives.
Develop Specific Goal Charts:
Most, if not all people who have achieved greatness know the value of placing themselves in the now by applying 100 percent focus to what they are doing, and prioritizing what choices are to be made. Doing this helps to eliminate indecision, distortion of focus and disordered thinking, all of which contribute to weakened mental ability.
To successfully apply this rule we must prioritize what is most important, through developing a plan of attack headed by a single major goal. For example, we could have as a major goal family stability.
According to this particular list, family stability would come first in our lives and would top the list, and the steps taken to maintain it would comprise the remainder of this chart. If we sensed or encountered a weakening in our family structure we could more accurately determine an appropriate course of action, depending on the situation and the decision to be made.
The mental energy that is needed to successfully focus on what should be done at that time will be more readily available if a specific framework is in place (our goal realization chart, to be explained soon).
Given life is often complex in that certain goals must be met simultaneously, providing us with many different choices to be made daily, it is important to consider several different plans, each with a unique goal and set of important steps to be followed. For example, one plan may feature family stability as the main area of responsibility, while another might consider career success to be important.
Stating as goals the important areas of our lives will provide a sense of perspective on where we are heading. Therefore, the two separate lists - family stability and career - each with different interrelated areas (family could have main steps of respect, quality time, love and emotional nurturing underpinning the major goal of family stability), would give us a key for managing the complexity of our lives.
A goal realization chart will also allow us to live in a more structured way that is both organized and orderly, thereby providing a plan for living in accordance with important aims and responsibilities.
|BODYSPACE: CHART YOUR GOALS|
Consider The Big Picture:
An Extension Of The Goal Charting Process.
Following on from prioritization is the notion of planning your goals in line with your overall aim of attaining greatness. It is important when seeking to achieve all of our goals that we consider all areas necessary for complete personal development - all objectives combined - so we can develop a big picture mentality, an eye for what is important across-the-board.
To function as a whole, our bodies require a delicate interplay between its various systems. Our heart, for example, would fail in its role of pumping blood were it not for the effective involvement of a number of interrelated systems including the brain, lungs and blood vessels.
Goal attainment for total personal development should be structured in a similar fashion that involves interplay between all goals and the methods to attain them. The goal realization chart will help to guide you to more structured thought patterns through the explicit charting of what is important. The greatness map will tie all of these goals into a more cohesive, interrelated model of achievement.
Click To Enlarge.
Anibal Lopez & Chris Dickerson:
Two Bodybuilding Legends Who Became Great
Through Positive Thinking.
Before planning your goal realization chart it is important to carefully consider exactly what you want from life, and to develop specific areas of achievement. Once specific goals along with the steps needed to achieve them have been considered, an overall plan building on these goals can be developed.
One way to plan your life in accordance with your goals is to draw a map with you at the center with a link to the various targets you must achieve to reach your goals (as identified on your goal realization charts). Once identified, consider how these goals link to one another, what is the most efficient way of approaching each one, and how achieving one will influence the attainment of others.
For example, your main goal might be to make the cover of a bodybuilding magazine. To achieve this goal many steps are to be taken, including developing the right contacts in the industry and promoting yourself as a bodybuilding star.
In order to truly achieve greatness in this competitive industry, however - to excel at the highest level - you will need to become fully developed in a great many ways. Simply displaying a nice body will not cut it, although good physical development is one important step that can be worked toward as a separate major goal on your goal realization chart.
The key to achievement in this, and any endeavor is due primarily to the interrelatedness of a number of specific and non-specific areas of development. This is where the greatness map is so effective. Since this is your major goal - to appear on the cover of a bodybuilding magazine, and become one of the world's top bodybuilding models - it should be developed in harmony with other objectives, each comprising separate goal realization charts.
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Ensuring harmony between separate goals will involve analyzing the independent factors that comprise one goal and have these complement other goals to maximize synergy, or cooperative interaction between these goals.
Once identified, the complimentary aspects of all targets are to be featured on your goal map alongside objectives and the steps needed to reach them.
As an example, consider our aspiring bodybuilding model. He would need many more factors, besides good looks and a nice smile to reach his goal of becoming one of the best in this industry.
These could include, but are not limited to, specific modeling goals of increasing muscle size through a targeted training program, working on developing a winning attitude, and making contact with publishers and other insiders that will assist with career advancement, along with non-specific, but equally important assisting goals such as a stable and happy family/social life, good health and meaningful, flexible full-time job.
These non-specific goals, all to be outlined on the goal plan, are to be scrutinized to ensure they build on each another to maximize productivity.
Once all objectives are included in the goal plan, we can determine how these goals interrelate. The goal plan is unique in that it takes into consideration all objectives - which, again, comprise a series of goal realization charts - thus allowing for a broader outlook and greater synergy.
For example, what role would family or current career play in helping you to establish yourself as a major bodybuilding star? What impact would major bodybuilding star status have on your family and career goals?
The idea is to have all goals interact to produce a big picture mentality. First we develop specific goal realization charts; second we establish an overall goal plan (the big picture). These two processes combine to create a complete blueprint for living. You could even say this approach is compatible with the ecological model of synergism taken from nature, as shown in our earlier body systems analogy, which highlights the importance of interrelatedness.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
If your goals are interrelated, you will have a greater chance of achieving each in a more efficient and meaningful way. As you improve in one area you will increase your ability to improve in other domains.
Once you have linked all your goals on your greatness map you then can work toward achieving all goals secure in the knowledge that the achievement of one goal will assist the attainment of another.
Once your map has been developed it is important to continually assess it to ensure all the factors needed to achieve your ultimate goal are in place. If not, further smaller goals can be added. It is also important to recognize that although your main goal is to appear on the cover of a major publication, the facilitating aims and other goals such as family and career are what will enable you achieve in this area.
Ranking goals in order of priority is another way to enhance goal achievement. For example, if you already have the great body it may be wiser to place the goal of developing a winning attitude ahead of this, if this area needs more work. In addition, family, career and other life areas will impact goal attainment, so these will also need to be considered.
For example, is your family supportive toward the achieving of this goal? If not, why? Will the process involved in attaining this goal put undue strain on family stability? Are there ways you can have this goal benefit your family or work context? Building a big picture mentality will provide questions like this.
It is the answers we generate from these questions that will build a harmonious interaction between our goals. Neglect in one area will dilute the energy we can apply to other areas, so it is important to have non-conflicting goals.
If goals conflict to the point where there is a disruption in the synergistic energy required for achieving all of these satisfactorily, it is time to make some positive changes in your life. These changes could include reducing work hours or spending more time exercising.
Although life generally is such that there will be incompatibility between our various life contexts, we must seek to create unity within these areas. Achieving harmony between goals will allow for greater overall life satisfaction and a higher level of goal achievement. For example, a job that allows for freedom to pursue family and sporting interests would be better than one that consumes your life and dilutes your energies.
The process of constructing a greatness plan in line with our goal realization chart is referred to in this book as looking at the big picture and will help us to avoid disparities that may harm our relationships with others and distort our focus.
Ultimately we are all about the bonds we form with others and most of our goals will have, as a main focus, the building of good working relationships. Considering your goal along with all it takes to achieve it, building separate goal realization charts and having them comprise an overall goal map with a view to building harmony between your objectives could be viewed as a hallmark of greatness.
Creating a harmonious relationship between all charted goals will enable us to achieve in specific areas not at the expense of, but rather with the support and strength of all goals featured in your goal plan, the result being a greater life balance and higher level of continuity between the achievements of all goals.
Although a specific goal plan with clearly identified, interrelated objectives is an effective way to reach our main objectives, it is our combined experiences that make us who we are - the greater the number of experiences and achievements, the more complete we can become as individuals.
Limiting ourselves to 1-or-2 goals, which when combined form the sole focus of our lives could not only be viewed as restrictive for personal growth, but prohibitive in that the areas we neglect may negatively impact our ability to achieve our main goals.
To ensure we are well rounded and open to new ideas and experiences, it is important to have goal realization charts in place, all featuring main goals along with the steps needed to reach these targets. Although making a magazine cover might be a worthy pursuit as far as helping to solidify a career in the bodybuilding industry, other areas such as health, family and service to others should not be neglected if complete personal development is to be attained. This is the essence of the big picture mentality a goal plan creates.
Example Of A Goal Plan:
The plan described uses three goals by way of illustration - plans may include more or fewer goals.
- Steps taken to reach goals
- Supporting goals (how goals interrelate)
- Goal: to compete in a bodybuilding contest.
- Steps taken: weight train regularly, develop a sound nutrition plan, develop a posing routine and practice this, ensure adequate rest.
- Supporting goals: stable home environment, flexible job, and an adequate income to support bodybuilding goals.
Align With Greatness:
Certainly one goal all who aspire to greatness should have on their goal realization chart is the networking with others of similar mindset and who have talents worthy of emulation. These people will serve as an invaluable resource in that they, through their actions and achievements, will influence and encourage you to reach for your own upper limits.
Aligning with great people will also open a world of opportunities unattainable in a world closed off to direct contact with those of noteworthy achievement.
All who have achieved greatness have at some point in their lives aligned themselves with those greater than them. A classic example of this can be found in the annals of bodybuilding history.
In 1968, a young man traveled from his native Austria to America with only a few dollars to his name and unable to speak proper English to do what many thought impossible at the time: to become the greatest bodybuilder of all time. He would further surprise onlookers by saying he would excel at the highest level in fields as diverse as acting, politics and investment.
Should people have been so quick to write him off? No way. He was, and is, the epitome of what great thinking can achieve. Clearly he had dreams of greatness. Today Arnold Schwarzenegger is an iconic figure within American culture, a man who has achieved all he set out to accomplish. He also aligned himself with greatness.
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Upon arriving in America, Arnold formed strong relationships with those he could learn from, people who had extensive experience in, and knowledge pertaining to the industry he wanted to excel in. Today, truly a great person, he credits many with helping him to realize his dreams of greatness.
History is rich with, and has benefited immensely from those who have attained greatness due, in part, to the influence of others. Combining your mental and physical resources with those with much to offer will double your chances of success. Great people could be viewed as the models needed to successfully negotiate life's potential pitfalls.
Without great people, there would be nothing of significance for which to aspire. The great give us hope for the future. Emulating these people by feeling and acting as they do while shaping your individual identity can reshape your character for the better.
Pursuing these people as sources of inspiration and knowledge will provide what no amount of money can buy: a model on which to base future successes. Nineteenth Century American poet, educator and linguist, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said the following concerning humanities need for great people:
"Lives of great men all remind us
we can make our lives sublime.
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."
Who do you have in your life to show you the way?
Having total confidence in the ability to achieve the objective outlined in your goal plan is a prerequisite to establishing a greatness mindset. This confidence involves having a high degree of self-belief and an unwavering sense of who you are and where you are heading.
Maintaining a confident outlook, through its ability to transcend negativity, will structure the mind to view unforeseen, potentially harmful situations as surmountable and to never accept mediocrity when greatness is within reach.
Confident people are more likely to see, and take advantage of opportunities, as they typically do not hesitate when confronted with something out of their comfort zone. Rather they will, through the confidence they have in their unique skills and abilities, accept the challenge of an unfamiliar event or circumstance.
Public speaking, for example, is often viewed with trepidation. Many feel it is a frightful experience and try to avoid it at all costs. Speaking to groups, however, is often a major step toward goal attainment, as getting one's message, or service out to many people will need to take place in a variety of settings - one of which includes a public forum.
Those with a high degree of self-confidence usually have no problem speaking in front of others. Confidence here can be viewed as a direct facilitator of greatness as it assists you to progress in your chosen field.
Further, the projection of a confident attitude shows that you have the situation under control. This automatically causes others to have confidence in you, therefore creating further opportunities to excel. Our confidence levels usually come to the fore in any new situation.
The best and most effective way to overcome difficult situations is to develop self-confidence. The following ideas have been shown to work in building this important quality:
1. Have Total Belief In Yourself:
A healthy sense of self will help you to overcome difficult situations, as you will less likely feel inadequate. Focus on your best qualities, and imagine yourself to be in total control of the situation.
2. Practice The Behaviors You Would Like To Exhibit:
Before an important meeting or speaking engagement, practice in front of a mirror, and trusted ones, the kind of impression you would like to make. By continually refining your approach you will eventually project your desired personality in a more confident manner. Confidence levels will progressively build as a result.
3. View Your Audience Positively:
By viewing your audience positively, whether in a public speaking setting or in general conversation, you will be less likely to assume them to be viewing you in a negative manner.
By viewing people as receptive to your ideas and impressed with your manner, you will find it easier to project a confident attitude. Of course it is important your ideas and manner are good in the first place. Proper planning, practicing your approach and thinking before you speak will help achieve this.
4. Focus On Greatness:
Those who display confidence are usually convinced of their ability to succeed. By focusing on your greatness plan and its underpinning goal realization charts, you will more readily display confidence through the knowledge that you are living your life in accordance with a definite life framework. A more structured, well-planned life will give you the proper grounding from which confidence can grow.
Do Not Feel The Fear:
Developing greatness involves, to a large extent, calculated risk taking and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. Standing in the way of these aims is often fear of the unknown.
Fear as it relates to exploring new opportunities and extending yourself mentally and physically is something that can block progress and stifle personal growth. It can be seen as the single greatest obstacle to success in life. It limits opportunity by gearing the mind negatively, rather than positively. It is a truly paralyzing force that can interfere with productivity on a major scale and eliminating it from our lives is essential if true greatness is to be realized.
Most of us experience fear to some extent. After all it is a human emotion. We can, however, control its dominating influence to such a degree that it no longer poses a threat to our productivity.
Ultimately we should seek to place ourselves in a position of fearlessness when doing the things that have proven fear inducing. Before we can do this, though, we must overcome it. To overcome fear we need to first face it. Repeated exposure to a fearful event - scientifically referred to as systematic desensitization - has been shown to gradually lessen the impact of that event.
Like establishing confidence, overcoming fear involves a concerted effort to continually confront uncomfortable situations. This can be linked back avoiding comfort zones, that stagnant place where little personal growth takes place.
One of the main reasons people often have comfort zones such as the same non-challenging job for 20 years, is they fear the unknown, or the consequences of taking a calculated risk.
What we must remember is that throughout our lives there will always be risk. But risk can provide an opportunity to choose a potentially more effective way of approaching a situation or problem, or deciding on a different course of action - talking on a new work role or starting a new business, for example. This type of risk, which causes us to challenge the way we think, should not be looked upon as a bad thing, but as an opportunity to grow.
Overcoming the fear of undertaking a new role or approaching a life event will liberate us to achieve greatness once thought impossible. Remember that fear does not have to be a paralyzing force if we face it head on. Accustom yourself to uncomfortable situations and eventually these situations will become non-threatening and opportunity providing. And only then will you rise to the top.