“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence”……Confucius
Personal excellence, the will to win, the desire to succeed and so on. All these are variants of one’s need to achieve what one wants. We all want success and we all have the ability to achieve what we want. What it requires is – unlocking the best version of you. Does it happen just like that? No. Definitely not! It takes patience and consistent efforts. Above all, one must have set goals, and to achieve these goals, one must keep learning and sharpening one’s skills.
Here’s a story. Simple but leaves a message so profound. For people who have not heard this story, it will set you thinking, for people who have, it will serve as a reminder to never be stagnant. Hope this will help you in your journey of bringing out your best.
The Lumberjack Story.
It was the final of the annual lumberjack competition, only 2 competitors remained, an older experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack.
The rules of the competition were quite simply he who could fell the most trees in 24 hours was the overall winner.
The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the wood and set to work straight away, he worked all through the day and all through the night, he felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win, because he knew that he had superior youth and stamina than the older lumberjack that he could also hear working away in another part of the forest.
At regular intervals throughout the day the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop, the younger lumberjack took heart from this thinking that this meant that the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to just keep going.
At the end of the competition the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won, he looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort.
At the medal ceremony the younger lumberjack stood on the podium still confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack, next to him stood the older lumberjack who he was surprised to see also looked a lot less exhausted than he did.
When the results were read out the younger lumberjack was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had, he turned to the older lumber jack and said,
“How can this be”?
“I heard you take a rest every hour whilst I worked continuously through the night”,
“and I am younger, stronger and fitter than you old man”!
The older lumberjack turned to him and said;
“Every time I took a break, was to rest and sharpen my saw”
Unlocking potential to achieve goals is a mindset. What is important here is to believe the goal is achievable. It requires us to have a positive mind-set and to take that first step towards this achievement. A mind-set that allows us to be happy, to enjoy every moment of our journey. A mind-set that draws success towards us.
We all have amazing potential within us. What is important is we push the right buttons to activate it. Our self-imposed limitations and mental blocks will actively prevent us from achieving our goals.The best way to start is from within. To understand ourselves, our minds. What our strengths and weaknesses are? What are the threats we face – internally and externally, because of the so called “make-up” that we have worked so hard to wear. It needs to come off – that is the first step.
How do we shape and sustain a positive mind-set – few effective lines to start with.
1. Remember to be thankful for what we have instead of crying and worrying for what we don’t. It changes our perspective and opens doors for a positive change to happen.
2. Stop whinging and whining till you get your toy. We need to grow up. Think of the bigger picture, the end goal. Let’s have the ability and disposition to accept that everything will not go our way. We can decide how we behave when things don’t go our way. No one said that the road to success is easy. But worth sticking there, I tell you.
3. Re-design expectations – nobody owes us anything. Expectations should be internal, from ourselves. We must re-evaluate ourselves. Set expectations and work towards achieving it. One can ask for help, for support, but remember, we are not entitled to receive it. This thought is empowering.
4. Watch for the devil within – he will poke us and get us into a negative thinking state. These negative thinking loops creep in time and again and will be the biggest roadblock – beware and be aware. Have the ability and strength to bring thoughts and actions back into the positive frame. Talking to some good friend or taking a short break or spending time in a positive environment will help shoo away these blues.
5. Plan your day in advance and set up a routine: The path to success requires having consistent habits. Routine is often considered boring but plays a huge role in inviting success. We are creatures of habit, and what we do daily, we become excellent at it.
8. Keep sharpening the saw – remember the story! Stagnancy only leads to defeat. Keep moving and up-skilling. Remember – change is the only constant. One must always be geared to meet the change.
An active tool that can help us understand ourselves literally, is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a remarkable psychological technique that will guide us to make small internal changes in our minds, in order to bring a huge transformation to the rest of our lives.
This interactive technique opens windows to help us understand how our mind works, how to alter our perceptions and feelings, and how to change our emotions quickly and easily, with confidence and purpose. NLP is not just another training or learning. It’s application. We apply these learning as we learn. “NLP is the DNA of Applied Psychology”, says Anita Kozlowski, “With true NLP training you will discover and maximize your potential, both personally and professionally. You will become much more effective and efficient, more confident and resourceful, and more powerful in all interpersonal situations.”
Learning this technique is the best investment one can make. “You will never be in a reactive mode again,” says Anita Kozlowski. One can take control of one’s life.
So what are we waiting for! Take those baby steps, pick up speed, break all barriers and achieve your goal.