Thursday, May 7, 2020

It's your choices, more than your abilities, that end up defining you

So, who do you want to be?

You make choices every day. ..... Some are more important and significant than others though, aren't they?

What will you eat for lunch? ..... What will you watch on TV? ...... Which will you wear today? ..... These types of choices aren't too life defining - although I suppose if you eat junk food every day, then it may become more life defining.

But there are other choices you make that are not as trivial and have far wider consequences. .... Choices about the career direction you take. Choices about the relationships you cultivate and the friendships you make, and who you turn to for advice. Choices about the people you will avoid. Choices about money. Choices about whether you smoke, drink, or do drugs .....

Making life choices

Choices about whether you run with the pack, or whether you carefully choose your friends and become your own person....... Choices about whether you will stay quiet when you see something that is unfair and wrong - or whether you will stand up, speak up and be heard.

These are the types of choices that carry with them far more serious consequences - and longer term effects. And so if you choose without proper thought, or if you choose just to please someone else, then you risk later paying a much bigger price than what you might have ever imagined.

So, every so often, step back from what's going on in your life ..... Take a few deep breaths - and ask yourself these questions - Who do you want to be? ..... What sort of person do you want to become? ... What are you wanting to achieve with your life? .....Will the choices you are making now move you closer towards your dreams and goals?

Making good choices

So, what are the keys to making good decisions and choices? ...... Well one key is to consider all your options before you choose. Another key is to take the time to gather any information that you might need - so you can make an informed choice, rather than an impulsive or emotional one.

If you feel that you might benefit from gaining some advice from other people, make sure that you ask the right people - people who care about you and have your best interests at heart. People who have some valuable experience that they can share with you. Sometimes other people might help you to see an option that you'd completely overlooked .....  But at the end of the day, despite the ideas and suggestions others might offer to you - it will still be your choice. You will be the one paying the price when you make life choices - so think it through carefully. But equally, know when you've given it enough thought and it's time for you to take action

Own up if you've made some wrong choices
Sometimes when you do some honest self-reflection and look back on things, you might realise that you've made some bad choices. You might even feel like those choices have brought you to a bad place ....... But you can start changing your life now by making different choices

Hey - we've all made mistakes. Admit it, learn from it - and then choose to move forward, and not look backwards. Vow to yourself that you will choose better in the future! Don't beat yourself up for those wrong choices - you'll know better next time

Your choices end up defining your life. You were born with some God-given talents, potential and abilities ..... You may not yet have completely recognised what they are - but they are there. There is a giant within each of us. Personal development is about the journey of discovering that giant. And when you do discover your true potential, this treasure that lies within you - then you make choices about whether you will apply yourself and live to your potential.

More than your abilities, more than your talents - it is the choices you make that will determine how far you go in life. And no-one said that making the right choice is always going to be easy. You will have to grapple with uncertainty. Sometimes, you need to be prepared to make some tough choices that cost you in the short-term - but you gain the rewards in the longer-term...... Choose to work hard today - so you can enjoy tomorrow.

So my wish for you, is that you choose wisely. And that your choices are one's that bring you closer towards enjoying a life of happiness, peace-of-mind and purpose

Before we finish - here's a short video clip on the theme of choosing your friends wisely ..... Choose friends that encourage you and want to support you to be successful. Choose friends who will help to bring the best out of you

Here's another short video on the same theme of choosing your friends - with this guy's message being that good friends' don't judge you .... They respect your choices and accept you for who you are - giving you the freedom to be yourself,. Good friends don't make you feel that you have to try to be "cool" and pressure you to "fit in" .... With a good friend, you can be yourself. You're born into a family, but you can choose your friends
Will you choose to live a remarkable life? ..... Will you make the easy choice or the right choice? Will you live a safe life ruled by fear, or will you live a life of service and adventure? .... Here's the inspiring graduation speech given by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to the graduating class of Princeton University a couple of years ago ......

Remember,.kindness and generosity of spirit is a choice that you can make, to approach life with an open heart. Your true character will be revealed through the choices you make when no-one is watching ....Are you choosing to be the best person you can be?

About the author
Hi, my name's Brian Carroll, I'm the founder of Performance Development, I'm a qualified psychologist with a passion for helping people achieve their goals in life and business. This article was inspired by a wise friend of mine, Dave Simmons and some advice about life that he shared with his daughter some years ago. If you want to find out more about me, go to my Google + profile

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When you look in the mirror, do you like who you see?

At the end of the day, the most important person for you to please - is yourself! It's important that when you look in the mirror, you like the person that's looking back at you.

Who do you want to be?

Every day you make choices about who you want to be and what you want to do in your life ...... You make choices about the relationships you want to cultivate and build - as well as sometimes choices about the relationships you need to end, because they have become too toxic and destructive..

There are people who really care for you ....

You will probably have people around you that will sometimes try to influence the choices you make. Some of those people care deeply for you .... They offer advice and sometimes might tell you what they think you should be doing in your life. In their own way, they are trying to help you, maybe even protect you.

There may be people who pretend to care for you - but it's more about manipulation

You may have some people in your life who try to influence you - and their motives are not always necessarily so pure. These may be people who are trying to control you for their own purposes - in other words, it's more about what's good for them than what's good for you. Those people are trying to take advantage of you and possibly can be quite devious in the way they may seek to manipulate you. They may pretend to care - but they are selfish and just thinking about what's best for their own self-interest. Sometimes, they will even try to isolate you from your other friends, so as to make you more vulnerable and susceptible to their influence (this was a known tactic used by cults in the past)

If you've got these types of negative people in your life who are trying to control you for their own purposes, then maybe it's time to prune those relationships. Maybe it's time you moved on from them to discover and create a brighter future for yourself ......

Spend more time with people that inspire you and bring the best out in you

As you journey down the path of personal development and self-improvement, try to surround yourself with positive, caring people. With people who bring out the best in you - they encourage and support you to be happy. Actively seek to build relationships with people that you can learn from; with people that you can share good times and good memories.

When you're around people who you respect - and when those people share the same respect for you - then you will find that these relationships help you to become a better person and to fulfil your potential.

But it's still up to you - who do you want to be? ....... Start becoming that person today - a person you can be proud of. A person who has found peace and happiness within themselves - and who in turn becomes a positive example that inspires others.

By the way, check out Are You Playing to Your Strengths?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Being yourself - and not worrying about what others think of you

It's about self-respect - valuing yourself

personal developmentHey, I don't know about you - but sometimes I find myself becoming just a little bit envious of those people who always seem so cool and confident in any situation ....... They say what they think and do what they want - without any fear or anxiety about what others might think of them.

I'm not talking about those people who are rude and thoughtless - and say insulting things to others, and don't give a crap about whether they've upset or offended others. Not the people who put others down and make snide, sneering comments in a feeble attempt to hide their own insecurities.

No, I mean those people who seem to know what they stand for. They show respect and courtesy for others, as long as this is deserved. But they have such a strong sense of inner self-respect that they won't be easily swayed by someone else saying something critical or negative to them. They don't go with the group  just because everyone else is saying it or doing it ...... instead they do what they think is the right thing, even though it doesn't seem the popular thing to do at the time.

Their sense of self-worth, how they feel about themselves, isn't defined by what other people say about them. Yeah - these people just seem to walk tall, and that's got nothin' to do with their height.

The freedom to be "different" 
personal development and self-respect

Any attempt at peer group pressure with these people is like "water off a ducks back". They don't have any fear or anxiety about whether other people think they are nerdy or freaky - they just seem happy being who they are. They don't try to be fashionable in order to gain acceptance - but neither do they feel any need to oppose what might be fashionable

Funny thing is, once one person voices a different opinion in a group, or adopts a different style from the rest, it's not long before at least a few others start doing the same thing.  And have you ever noticed how sometimes these "individuals" end up becoming the trend-setters   ...... although that this is not something they seek or desire.

You might say to them "Gees, you're not wearing that to the party are you?" and they'll just look calmly back at you and smile in a completely non-fussed sort of way, and reply "Yep, I like it". These are the people who really have developed the inner freedom to "dance like no-one's watching"

Trusting yourself

personal developmentIn other words, these people seem to have found the secret of being happy with who they are ..... They are not dependent upon the approval or acceptance of others in order to feel good about themselves. They like who they are and don't have to get affirmation from others in order to feed a sense of self-worth.

They have learned to trust their own feelings and instincts. Now that's not to say that they won't listen to others. Of course they do .... because they recognise their own limitations - and they also have enough humility to accept  that sometimes other people will have more knowledge and experience than they do/ And they're not too proud to admit that....... They're not scared to admit to what they don't know, nor are they afraid to ask other people for ideas or suggestions. But then they make up their own mind.

They make their own decisions....... And they take responsibility for their choices, if things don't completely work out. But the other thing that I notice is they don't beat themselves up if they make a mistake. They learn and then they move on from it.

Yeah, some people have really got their act together, all right.

Me? ....... well, personal development is all still very much a work in progress. But I'm slowly getting it...... See what you think of the video clip below - I think this guy makes some good points about not caring too much about what others think of you. Otherwise, you'll get nervous worrying about the impression you're making, and then you lose your natural spontaneity.

If you want some simple ideas about how to strengthen those inside feelings of self-worth and liking who you are, take a look at boosting your self-esteem. And another related personal development post is Play to Your Strengths 

And finally, one last video on the theme of making choices about what you want for your future ...
About the author
Brian Carroll is the founder of Performance Development, He is a qualified psychologist with a passion for helping people achieve their goals in life and business. You can find out more about Brian at his Google + profile

Saturday, March 8, 2014

You will never know unless you try

personal development
I asked my 14 year old daughter Julia, if she would write something on the theme of personal development. This is what she decided to share …

 ·       Achievement requires self-belief  

“You will never know unless you have tried”….. How many  teachers, parents and coaches have you had that have tried to drill this into your head - but they never actually explain why or use an example. They attempt to use it as motivation, but I think motivation takes a lot more then that.

 Motivation requires that you hold a belief that you can finish what you’ve set out to achieve. One way to increase this inner belief is seeing or hearing other people accomplish what they have believed they can accomplish. Other people’s achievements can give you an extra dose of belief and inspire you with an extra boost of motivation.

 ·       Beth’s story

I have a perfect example that happened to one of my friends Beth, who I’ve been friends with for a long time. Ever since Beth was in kinder her goal in life was to become an artist. Even though she wanted to become an artist she was always reluctant to show her drawings and paintings to other people.  A competition was held in the newspaper for anyone under the age of 16 to draw something that made them happy and the winner would get to have their drawing published in the newspaper . Although feeling hesitant, Beth thought this could be the perfect first step towards accomplishing what she had dreamed of for so long.

 Some girls at school saw her drawing that she was going to enter and made some horrible remarks about it and said it would never win - they laughed at the idea of her becoming an artist. Unfortunately, Beth believed the girls and allowed herself to be convinced that she had nothing to offer. The idea of failure was planted in Beth’s head, so she didn’t enter the competition and completely gave up drawing for quite a while.

A couple of years later she was put into an art class by one of the teachers who thought she might enjoy it and Beth ended up drawing an amazing  piece. The teacher was shocked with Beth’s natural talent. She hadn’t been expecting it from her since Beth never tried to draw in public at school – ever since the piece she had been going to enter in the competition. The drawing that she drew was displayed all over the school and was praised by everyone. Beth was surprised that it caused such a big commotion, and kept drawing. Each drawing she did got better and better - until about a year later Beth actually had people wanting to pay for her drawings.

·       Don’t let a fear of failure hold you back

 It seems to me that Beth, along with countless of others are afraid of failure and that’s what keeps people from trying. If you could do anything and know you would not fail, what would you do?   ….. I’ll bet that you would do something that you’ve always wanted to do.

So, is a fear of failure holding you back? Do you worry too much about what other people might think? ....... Well, as they say, you’ll never know unless you try - and for all you know, you might eventually succeed ..... just like Beth.
inspire yourself and try

Monday, January 27, 2014

Living a life of purpose and passion - one dynamic young woman shares her story

Kortney Olson, empowering young women with self-belief
Kortney Olson is the founder of Kamp Konfidence, a programme that aims to help develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence within young people, and in particular to encourage the empowerment of teenage girls.
Kortney is a dynamic young woman who is passionate about making a difference and helping young people to find a true sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. 
I asked her recently to share some of her thoughts and experiences around her own personal development - as well as her work in encouraging and guiding young people in their personal development.
1. How would you describe your own personal development journey so far Kortney?

Well, I'd say a lot of it has been based upon having made a lot of "stuff-ups" along the way!  But these mistakes have eventually proven to be some my life's best instructors.  Without having experienced some of these deep despairs and having been in some terrible dark trenches in my life, I don't think I'd be where I am today.
I have learned to be grateful for all of my experiences, even those that included rape and drug/alcohol addiction. They have made me a more determined, stronger and a wiser person - and are all apart of my story, my path. However, I certainly don't  think that everyone has to experience crisis and trauma in order to learn more about themselves

2. Kortney, you’re a bit of a fitness junkie – boxing, martial arts, weight lifting, yoga to name just a few of your passions. What role do you think fitness plays in personal development? 

EVERYTHING!!!!!  Being athletic and embracing strength, has given me the edge I have today. I've been fascinated with muscle ever since I was a little girl.  I've discovered that having muscle and being female, has actually given me the exact opposite of what society, advertising and the media would lead me to believe.  
99 out of 100 people will much more likely have an automatic respect for you. It makes me feel empowered, and unstoppable.  When I walk down a street and make eye contact with any given man, I can look him in the eye, and mentally say either 1 of 2 things: A. you wish you had legs this powerful, or B. I dare you to act out of line-

Haha!! I'm partially kidding.  However, I really do value being able to go anywhere, anytime, and know that I have the ability to protect myself and those around me.  Sport and the fitness that is required to compete at an elite level has given me a better understanding of myself and the discipline required to achieve your goals in life.

3. You compete in international fitness events – do you think people can gain personal development benefits from competition? 

Personally I hate competing.  I can only speak for myself Brian, but I find that the extra pressure and expectations I tend to put on myself only stressed me out.  
It always gave me a sense that I needed to prove something to other people, and not myself.  I also am one of those types of people who are "a jack of all trades".  I'm not an expert in any one particular field, and tend to be good at doing a lot of different things. Competing in various sports such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, arm wrestling, and Body Building (even cheerleading and golf) is great for creating a need to practice, but it also created a need and drive to be the best. 
I've come to discover that life isn't about being the best- it's about ridding yourself of needing to prove anything to anyone, and showing up to have some fun. 

All up, I'd say the best outcome (because I do like to focus on the positive outcomes of ALL situations) from competitions is improved self-discipline.  

4. You run a personal development camp for teenage girls, aiming to strengthen self-esteem and confidence ...... Would you tell us a bit about this?  

Uh oh!!  I better just restrict my answer to a short one, otherwise we'd be here all day!  Kamp Konfidence is all about young women coming together to realise that we are all way more similar than we are different.  In a judgment-free, fun environment, we learn the 5 habits, principles, and lessons that lead to the development of self love, which translates to Konfidence.  At the end of the day Bri, if you don't have self love, life can become bleak.  It's all just a show.  A production- 

Furthermore, we learn about the mind+body connection.  Look- I'm going to stop there because I seriously can't sum up all of the things we do.  But I can tell you this - I believe that Kamp Konfidence has the power to transform lives - and when you get enough people who live their lives from a space of self-love and respect for others, but who refuse to allow themselves to be manipulated - then you can revolutionise the world.

5. What have you found to be some of the keys to living a happy and fulfilling life? 
I've spent so much of my 32 years, competing with everyone.  I have a massive ego, and I'm constantly needing to put it into check.  Eventually I realised that life isn't so much about winning, or being number 1, but more about showing up and giving things an honest go.  
When the expectations of being the best are removed,  I tend to find the ability to enjoy being in the moment, and focusing on what I'm doing right then and there, and not about a future outcome.  Don't get me wrong, this is not an easy task.  Especially when I've spent my entire life doing the exact opposite.  I've even gone as far as to get a small tattoo on the underside of my wrists.  On the left wrist, it says: "it's progress" and on the right wrist: "not perfection".  I think I look at that least two times a day.  

Also, I find that having the 3 A's (Awareness, Acceptance, & Assertiveness) in my life as on-going lessons, is critical to maintaining balance. Awareness is a must because without it, there is no problem to solve.  No need for improvement.  From body awareness (how my posture is, and how my weight is balanced as I stand and talk to you), to environmental awareness (is that a van parked next to my car now?, to am I helping play my part in helping mother earth stay inhabitable?).  
Acceptance is key because without it, life is very draining.  Accepting other people for who they are, is much better  use of our energy.  The only thing in this world that we can control, is our own reactions and actions.  We have absolutely no control over other people, places and things.  The moment we stop trying to control the outside world around us, and accept everything for the way it is, life tends to move along much more slowly.  
Acceptance is also a way for me to find time to live in the moment more often.  If I stop labelling everything and everyone as either good or bad, and that it just is- I tend to not think so much about the past, nor do I worry about the future.  I'm right here, right now, in the moment.
Lastly, Assertiveness.  Had I learnt assertive communication from a young age, I would have avoided SO MANY situations where I wound up being a victim and feeling sorry for myself.  Unnecessary guilt, shame and resentments are what come of non-assertive communication.  Being a people pleaser, and wanting everyone to like me, is something I still work on today.  But the fact that I accept myself, exactly the way I am, and I'm aware that I still struggle with it from time to time, allows me to move forward and continue my practice with assertiveness.  It truly is an art, but if learnt from a young age, can really help a person achieve what they want in life.  The world is already too full of people-pleasers and push-overs.    

6. Given all your experience working with young people – what final words of advice would you offer to people who are struggling to “find themselves”?  

Try new things!!!  Don't have any expectations on yourself, and don't let mom, dad, boyfriend, girlfriend, teachers, brothers, sisters- don't let anyone pressure you to focus on being THE BEST!, or being #1!
Life isn't about winning all the time.  It's about having the ability to be humble, and not worry so much about an outcome.  In my experience, I find that when you don't pressure yourself to win, be the best, or be #1, you'll find that you're able to enjoy being in the moment more often, and truly enjoy whatever it is that you are doing.  
I've found that the number 1 fear of so many people is worrying about being judged by others.  "What will mom and dad say if I don't win first place?  I really don't want to disappoint them…", or "what would they think if I couldn't hold a rhythm and sounded like a compete tool…"-  This fear of being judged is what holds a lot of people back from trying and exploring new things.  Just remember, the only opinion that matters about you, is your own.

Lastly, learn some form of meditation.  The less we "think", the more we grow.  I'm 32, and am only just now starting to understand how much potential each individual human being possess.  The power of the mind is truly fascinating stuff.  I have a mind coach, and am working on training my brain as much as I train my body.  The two don't work so well without the help of the other.  Now that I understand  my thoughts actually create my reality, and that it isn't some kind of peace-lovin' hippy-talk, I'm putting more focus on my brain training. 
My life coach has helped me understand how we create limiting self beliefs, and continue to operate off of those on a subconscious level throughout our life. Learning how to clear those beliefs, and replace them with the truth, has really been one of my greatest life lessons so far.  
Thank you for sharing some inspiring lessons Kortney ...... and for an insight into your own life and the positive philosophy that has enabled you to overcome some challenges that may have broken many other people.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Personal Development - The spirit to persevere

Personal development and perseveranceMost of us at some point in our lives will experience a shattering disappointment that cuts us to the bone.

It might be a failed business venture that leaves us feeling a deep, lingering sense of self-doubt and questioning whether we have any of the types of qualities needed to be successful. There could even perhaps be severe financial losses, and not just the emotional costs, that leave us battling with despair..

Or it could be a failed relationship, leaving us an emotional wreck and wondering whether we will ever meet the right person and whether we will ever be free of the deep sense of loneliness and emptiness that seems so overwhelming at times.

Life presents us with many challenges, and yet these experiences can have within them the seeds of tremendous personal development insights and lessons ....... although we may not necessarily recognise this at the time. It can sometimes take a while before we recover from these "kicked in the guts" phases of our life. Well-intentioned friends or family try to encourage us to persevere ..... but it just doesn't seem that easy to do and part of us is sorely tempted to give it all up.

Well, here is the story of a young man who was born without limbs. He found within himself the spirit to persevere .... His message is simple, you don't have to let life knock you down, you can still find a way to experience joy and fulfilment. I think in this short video clip, his story might help to put some things in perspective - if you're going through a tough time yourself at the moment.

Be prepared to shed a tear or two and I hope you feel inspired to persevere with your own personal development journey. Things can change - so have faith that you can turn your life around ....

And while we're on this theme of inspiration, see what you think of this next video clip.

It reminds us that small acts of kindness can have big ripple effects ....... give a little and you'll be amazed at how others can be inspired to give as well. And then pretty soon, we've ended up making a difference! (push the "skip the ad" button n the clip)

For lots more inspirational posts and advice on topics like building self-confidence and changing habits, you might like to visit  self-improvement resources 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Personal development holds the key to your promotion and career advancement

Are you looking for a promotion - maybe even wanting to become a manager in the not-too-distant future?

Or perhaps you're thinking of starting your own business - but feeling a bit apprehensive about it?

Well, one of the keys to getting ahead in either your career or in your business is how you manage your own personal development. The following video clip makes the point that you need to have a strong inner sense of self-worth as the foundation for your career advancement. In nurturing this sense of self-woth comes the belief that you deserve to be happy and successful. Of course, a healthy dose of self-confidence will help you to avoid being held back by any fear of failure.

To get ahead, you need to be willing to invest in developing new skills. Your existing skills got you to where you are now, but an additional set of skills is likely necessary for you to advance to that next level in your life

See what you think .....

Copyright 2013. Brian Carroll – founder and director of Melbourne based corporate training and coaching company Performance Development