A very warm greetings to all my readers,
Hope this article finds you well!
Have you ever felt that you have been caught up in making your life and business more complicated than they actually need to be?
Why does this happen to so many of us?
How can you simplify your life and business and live them to the fullest?
In this article, I will discuss how beneficial it is for having a simplistic approach to life and business, which will simultaneously cover my truth no. 5 ‘Be Self-Aware, Honest, Prepared and Keep it Simple! ‘ that I listed in my previous article 10 Essential Truths to take yourself to the next level.
Let’s crack on then …
1. BE SELF-AWARE!
What does self-awareness actually mean?
The dictionary defines self-awareness as ‘the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.’ So, in a nutshell, it’s the ability to perceive aspects of our personality, behaviour, emotions, motivations, and thought process. It also allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment as having a clear understanding of your thought and, behaviour patterns helps you understand other people. This ability to empathise facilitates better personal and professional relationships.
What are the reasons to develop Self-Awareness?
Simply, self-awareness is the first step to change as it allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you. Where you focus your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behaviour determine where you go in life. This is why, self-awareness is so important!
How can we develop it?
Firstly, self-awareness is developed through practices in focusing your attention on the details of your personality and behaviour. I personally focus on raising mine by using a very famous psychometric assessment. You can see it below:
Below I have included a list of explanations that go along with the diagram, taken from the ‘Career Service’ at the University of Sheffield.
Strengths, skills and preferences
Self-awareness leads to an understanding of your strengths, core skills and preferences. These cover a wide range of capabilities (what you know, what you can do and what you have the potential to do) and preferences and motivations (what interests and motivates you, how you do things and how you relate to others).
Capabilities and applications
When you know what your strengths and preferences are, you need to think about how you can apply these in different situations. This is particularly important when applying for jobs – it helps you make career choices, gives you something concrete to say about yourself in applications / interviews, and to find a job that is right for you.
Areas for development and weaknesses
As well as showing us our strengths, self-awareness can identify areas we may want to develop. These areas may be related to academic abilities, skills such as planning and time management, or personal characteristics such as how we work as part of a team or deal with difficult situations.
Development activities, new strategies
When you know what you want to develop, there are usually many ways of going about this. Generally no one approach is best – the approach depends on what you want to develop. What is important however is that you plan your development carefully, set yourself small, manageable targets and check your progress against them regularly.
As you can see, when we develop self-awareness you are able to make changes in our thoughts and interpretations we make in our mind. Changing the interpretations in our mind allows us to change our emotions. Self-awareness is one of the attributes of Emotional Intelligence and an important factor in achieving success.
2. BE HONEST!
What is honesty?
The dictionary defines honesty as ‘telling the truth, straightforward conduct, being sincere, trustworthy, honourable, fair, genuine and loyal with integrity.’ Based on this definition we can simply say that honesty is the best policy to adopt in every aspect of our life. ‘There is no wisdom like frankness.’ – Disraeli
How can honesty play a vital part to take ourselves to the next level?
You see, if we are not honest with others and above all with ourselves, we can’t make changes and we can’t be trusted. I’m sure you too have experienced the meaning of this quote: ‘One falsehood spoils a thousand truths.’ – Ashanti proverb. Honesty allows you to accept the responsibility of your own actions without blaming others. ‘Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.’ – Jefferson
Every relationship and bond are built on trust and trust is built on honesty. They are highly correlated and go hand in hand. If this is the case, it’s the one indispensable quality that affects every single one of our relationships. It’s the glue that holds together each of our associations. Our ability to demonstrate trust impacts every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every efforts in which we are engaged, etc.
Trust is common bond between all people. It is one thing that if it’s removed, it will destroy the most powerful government, the greatest friendship, the most influential leadership, the strongest character and the deepest love.
On the other hand, if trust has developed and leveraged, it is one thing that has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every single dimension of our life. It isn’t only vital to our personal and interpersonal well-being; it’s a key competitive weapon that annihilates the competition simply because most people have deficiency when it comes to demonstrating trust. Simply put, honesty and trust mean confidence and the opposite of it is suspicion. We have all experiences some relationship that validate this point. We know that the difference is not small but it’s actually dramatic. The costs and benefits of trust can be financially and psychologically rewarding or devastating.
What about honesty and trust on a personal level?
There is ever a more fundamental and powerful dimension of honesty and self-trust, often we make a commitment to ourselves such as setting goals and making new year’s resolutions that we fail to fulfill. As a result we come to feel that we can’t even trust and be honest with ourselves. If this is the case, we’ll have a hard time trusting others. These personal incongruence is often the source of our suspicions of others.
The funny part of about life is that we have strong tendency to judge ourselves by our intentions and others based by their behaviours. Truly, we are in a crisis of trust, it effects us to all levels, societal, institutional, personal, organisational and relational; it has continuous effects. We become increasingly suspicious of our people and then we begin to project the behaviour of the few upon the many and we all pay for it dearly. Our ability to demonstrate honesty, trust and transparency is the smartest move we’ll make in our life!
Honesty changes the quality of every present moment and it alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives. It defines our character to others and without it true success is impossible, because once trust is broken, our word will be corrupted, our reputation contaminated and our future is going to be in question.
Take a pause for reflection and think about the question below:
What is the point of raising our self-awareness if we are not willing to be honest with ourselves in order to accept what we discover as true and do something to improve it?
I will leave with your reflection and please please be completely honest when you answer it.
Remember to be honest with yourself and others because when you are honest, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to others. You will experience peace of mind and above all self-respect.
3. BE PREPARED!
The dictionary defines preparation as ‘the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty; the state of having been made ready beforehand; readiness and a preliminary measure that serves to make ready for something.’
Plan your way to success!
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ – Benjamin Franklin. Proper planning prevents poor performance! A well define daily, weekly, monthly plan that is properly executed is our silver bullet to success. You can significantlyincrease the odds to your success,if you know who you are, what you want, where you are going and what you will do when you arrive.
We all know that life will not go according to plan of you don’t have a plan. You may lose at a given time if you were not tall enough, fast enough or young enough butyou must never allow yourself to lose because you were not fully prepared. Unfortunately it’s a reality that most people put themselves in.
To planning without action is unproductive and to action without planning can be counterproductive. Planning without action is like having a multi personality disorder, you walk, you talk and you long about having, being and doing something and you do absolutely nothing about it. The opposite is also true, as the habit of action without planning carries a high degree of risk and decreased success.
Planning is an art that required practise and preparation in order to do well. Effective planning ensures a greater sense of security in yourself and in any action necessary for success. Yet far too many people are unprepared, undisciplined and unfocused. This is because they disrespect planning, lack of preparation, discipline and focus, they will repeat yesterday’s mediocre performance, tomorrow and the next day.
When you choose to create history rather than repeat it, when you choose to have the best year of your life, when you choose to create a plan that allows you to experience exceptional growth, when you get serious about your life and career, when you do everything you can to tilt the odds in your favour, all these become possible through the discipline of planning as the accommodation of success is perceived by long negotiation made possible by intensive preparation. Effective planning allows you to do things better, faster and definitely cheaper.
We should perfect the use of planning , as we will win many battles by default.
I want you to pull out a piece of paper and create a plan for the day that answer the four most important questions:
1. What are you attempting to accomplish?
2. Why is it critical for this goal to be achieved?
3. How will the actions take place?
4. When will this result become reality?
Here is an important point that I want to highlight, we must also value spontaneity, as not everything can be planned for in life. Success involves establishing a delicate balance between planning and improvisation.What should never be left to chance is the ability to execute any plan. With this reality in mind, it’s imperative to make planning count! As planning is the greatest equaliser that we will ever have, we should use it to our fullest!
When is the best time to prepare ourselves?
An inspirational friend of mine beautifully articulated this very subject in his blog from his personal experience. Read his blog if you want to get inspired and get some very invaluable tips, check out his post, here is his link: What successful people do in the first hour of their work day.
4. BE SIMPLE!
Simplicity is the main key to your success! If you can have a simple approach to whatever you are aiming for, you are a step ahead of many and in the top 3% of successful people. I have attended numerous self-development courses on a variety of subjects and the commonality of all of them is to keep things simple and to have a simple plan.
In fact, a subject that I often touch upon when coaching people is simplicity. Life in itself can become very complex. This is why I am often amazed how people love to complicate things even if what they are doing is in itself simple.
This made me ask a question:
What is the reason why we make it more complicated than it needs to be?
Well, after pondering and reflecting for a while, an answer I came up with was that it’s because simplifying life is just not that simple! It can sometimes be overwhelming and challenging! Would you agree?
For example, someone sent me the following straightforward message on this very subject:
‘Why complicate life?
Missing somebody? … Call
Wanna meet up? … Invite
Wanna be understood? .. .Explain
Have questions? … Ask
Don’t like something? … Say it
Like something? … State it
Want something? … Ask for it
Love someone? … Tell it
Nobody will know what’s going on in your mind…
It’s better to express rather than to Expect…
You already have the NO, Take the risk of getting the YES
We just have one life,
Keep it SIMPLE!’
When I finished reading it I thought that this was all so obvious and simple to implement. Then its meaning hit me…
If it is so simple, then why are so many people complicating their lives?
What are the reasons why you are complicating your life?
I invite you to take a pause for reflection to discover your reasons as they might be the turning point in your life…
What are the reasons behind having a simplistic approach?
You will agree with me that we are continually rushing and striving for more at all times. The simple truth is that we frequently make it harder than it needs to be and many things that cause our hurt and pain are created by…US! The main reason why a simplistic approach is effective is because it gives clarity on where you are and where you want to go. Subsequently, this yields swifter results.
To achieve lasting and rewarding success, it is better to keep things simple – to master a few things to a very high level, rather than seeking to be a jack-of-all-trades. I invite you to get inspired by reading one of my dear bro’s blogs. He beautifully illustrates this in one of his stirring posts entitled Simples: ‘When you learn something so well all that can happen is that you become better and better at it. Why did David Beckham become the best free kick taker in the world of football? ‘
You see, the result of this repeat-until-you-master approach is that you will become better and better at whatever it is you choose to focus on. It does not mean that you are a simple person and that you do not have to learn anything new in your life: It means to ensure everything you learn goes towards enhancing and simplifying your current plan and your skills. Living with this approach has allowed me to get optimum results from the minimum time and resources.
Always remember, when you keep things simple, life and business become simple too.
Are you now ready to take up this week’s challenge?
Make it as your check-up moment of how much we know ourselves (strengths and weaknesses), how much we are honest with ourselves (I know it’s painful at times ‘a harmful truth is better than a useful lie.’ – Thomas Mann; but it’s needed to get results and to move forward – ‘no pain no gain’ applies not only in fitness but in our emotional state too) and how much we prepare and we are prepared to succeed! ‘You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.‘ – Zig Ziglar. Wrap it all up by being simple, as it is the key to success because ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ – Leornardo Da Vinci
To your self-awareness, simple, honest and prepared Success!
Double Winner Awards Author of ‘The book on Success‘