About Tom Marquez
Eva Marquez is a spiritual consultant, healer, and writer. Her mission is to assist humanity to transform fears into love. Confidential and discrete private consultations […]
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Unlocking Your Self-Improvement Power
When we look at a certain object, a painting for example – we won’t be able to appreciate what’s in it, what is painted and what else goes with it if the painting is just an inch away from our face. But if we take a step back we’ll have a clearer vision of the whole art work.
We reach a point in our life when we are ready for change and information that will help us unlock our self-improvement power. Until then, something can be staring us right in the face, but we don’t see it. The only time we think of unlocking our self-improvement power is when things are going bad for us.
Take the frog principle for example. Try placing Frog A in a pot of boiling water. What happens? He twerps! He jumps off! Why? Because he is not able to tolerate sudden change in his environment – the water’s temperature. Then try Frog B – place him in lukewarm water, then gradually raise the temperature. Wait until the water reaches a certain boiling point. Frog B then thinks “Ooh… it’s a bit warm in here”, but continues to sit peacefully until it becomes unbearable.
People are like Frog B in general. Today, Anna thinks Carl hates her. Tomorrow, Patrick walks up to her and tells her that Carl does in fact hate her. Anna remains unfazed and doesn’t seem to mind what her friend Patrick just told her. The next day, she learns that Kim and John also hate her. It still does not bother her because she still has friends like Patrick. Anna doesn’t realize all at once the importance and the need for self-improvement until the entire community starts hating her including Patrick.
We learn our lessons when we experience pain. We finally see the warning signs and signals when things get rough and tough. When do we realize that we need to change diets? When none of our clothes fit us anymore. When do we stop eating candy and chocolates? When we have a bunch of cavities and our teeth start falling out. When do we realize that we need to stop smoking? When our lungs have gone bad. When do we pray and ask for help? When we realize that we’re going to die tomorrow.
The only time most of us ever learn about unlocking our self-improvement power is when the whole world is crashing and falling apart around us. We think and feel this way because it is not easy to change. But change becomes more painful when we ignore it.
Like it or not it, change will happen. At one point or another, we are all going to experience different turning points in our lives – and we are all going to eventually unlock our self-improvement power not because the world says so, not because our friends are nagging us, but because we realized it’s for our own good.
Happy people don’t just accept change, they embrace it. Unlocking your self-improvement power means freeing yourself from the cage of thought that keeps telling you “It’s just the way I am”. These words are simply a poor excuse for people who fear and resist change.
Jen repeatedly tells everyone that she is shy and feels uncomfortable around groups of people. She often heard her mom, her dad, her sister, and even her teachers say the same thing about her to other people. Over the years Jen came to accept and believe this. She believes it’s true and that this is just the way she is. And what happens? Every time new people come over to her house, to the school, or in the community – she would step back, shy away and lock herself up in a room. Jen didn’t only believe this about herself, she lived it.
Jen has to realize that she is not what other people make her out be. Instead of having her life created and dictated by other people, she has to have the spirit and courage to show people “I am an important person and I should be treated accordingly!”
Self-improvement may not be everybody’s favorite topic, but if we look at things in a different point of view, we might have a greater chance of enjoying the whole process instead of counting the days until we are fully improved. Three weekly sessions at the gym would result in a healthier life, reading books will improve your all around knowledge, going out with friends and peers will help you to take a step back from work and unwind. And just when you are enjoying the whole process of unlocking your self-improvement power, you’ll realize that you are beginning to appreciate yourself and what’s around you a lot more, and that you are becoming a more satisfied and happier person.
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Self-Improvement and Success
Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. And sometimes, one thing leads to another. Instead of locking yourself up in your cage of fears and crying over past heartaches, embarrassment and failures, treat them as your teachers and they will become your tools in both self-improvement and success.
I remember watching Patch Adams – it’s my favorite movie, actually. It’s one great film that will help you improve yourself. Hunter “patch” Adams is a medical student who failed to make it through the board exams. After months of suffering in melancholy, depression and suicidal attempts – he decided to seek medical attention and voluntarily admitted himself in a psychiatric ward. His months of stay in the hospital led him to meeting different kinds of people. Sick people in that matter. He met a catatonic, a mentally challenged, a schizophrenic and so on. Patch found ways of treating his own ailment and finally realized he has to get back on track. He woke up one morning realizing that after all the failure and pains he has gone through, he still wanted to become a doctor. He carries with himself a positive attitude that brought him self-improvement and success. He didn’t only improved himself, but also the life of the people around him and their quality of life. Did he succeed? Needless to say, he became the best damn doctor his country has ever known.
So, when does self improvement become synonymous with success? Where do we start? Take these tips, my friends…
*Stop thinking and feeling as if you’re a failure, because you’re not. How can others accept you if YOU can’t accept YOU?
*When you see hunks and models on TV, think more on self-improvement, not self-pitying. Self-acceptance is not just about having nice slender legs, or great abs. Concentrate on inner beauty.
*When people feel so down and low about themselves, help them move up. Don’t go down with them. They’ll pull you down further and both of you will end up feeling inferior.
*The world is a large room full of lessons, not mistakes. Don’t feel stupid and doomed forever just because you failed on a science quiz. There’s always a next time. Make rooms for self-improvement.
*Take things one at a time. You don’t expect the black sheep of the family to become a goody-two-shoes in just the snap of the fingers. Self-improvement is a one day at a time process, and should not be rushed. Take your time and do it right.
*Self-improvement results in inner stability, personality development and dig this …. SUCCESS. It comes from self confidence, self-appreciation and self-esteem.
* Set meaningful and achievable goals. Self-improvement doesn’t turn you into the exact replica of Cameron Diaz or Ralph Fiennes, but it will result in an improved and better YOU.
*Little things mean BIG things to other people. Sometimes, we don’t realize that the little things that we do like a pat on the back, saying “hi” or “hello”, greeting someone “good day” or telling Mr. Smith something like “hey, I love your tie!” are simple things that mean so much to other people. When we’re being appreciative about beautiful things around us and other people, we also become beautiful to them.
*When you’re willing to accept change and go through the process of self-improvement, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will do the same. The world is a place where people of different values and attitude hang out. Sometimes, even if you think you and your best friend always like to do the same thing together at the same time, she/he would most likely decline an invitation for self-improvement.
We should always remember that there’s no such thing as ‘overnight success’. It’s always a wonderful feeling to hold on to the things that you already have now, realizing that those are just one of the things you once wished for. A very nice quote says that “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” We are all here to learn our lessons. Our parents, school teachers, friends, colleagues, officemates, neighbors… they are our teachers. When we open our doors for self-improvement, we increase our chances for a happy and successful life.
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Self-Improvement Can Lead To A Happier Life
Sometimes, when all our doubts, fears and insecurities tie us up in knots, we start thinking “I wish I was somebody else.” More often than not, we think and begin to believe that someone or rather anyone else is better off than we are, but in reality this may not be the case at all, and in fact the same people that we envy may have more insecurities than we do.
You spot a totally eye-catching girl sitting by herself at a party, casually sipping on a glass of Asti Spumanti. You think to yourself, “she looks so perfectly calm and confident.” But if you could read her mind, you would find a bunch of clouds of thoughts and you might just be amazed that she’s thinking “are people talking about why I am seated here alone?… Why don’t guys find me attractive? …I don’t like my ankles, they look too skinny… I wish I was as intelligent as my best friend.”
We look at a young business entrepreneur and say “Wooh… what else could he ask for?” He stares at himself in the mirror and murmurs to himself, “I hate my big eyes… I wonder why my friends won’t talk to me… I hope mom and dad can still work things out.”
Isn’t it funny? We look at other people, envy them for looking so outrageously perfect and wish we could trade places with them, while they look at us and think the same thing about us. We are insecure around other people who themselves are insecure around us. We suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and lose hope in self improvement because we are enveloped in quiet desperation.
Sometimes, you notice that you have an irritating habit like biting your finger nails, or having a foul mouth, and you – of all people, are the last to see it.
I have a friend who never gets tired of talking. And in most conversations, she is the only one who seems to be interested in the things she has to say. So all of our other friends tend to avoid her whenever we get together, and she doesn’t seem to notice how badly she has become socially handicapped – gradually affecting the people in her environment.
One key to self improvement is to LISTEN and TALK to a trusted friend. Find someone who you find comfort in opening up to with even the most gentle topics you want to discuss. Ask questions like “do you think I am ill-mannered?”, “Do I always sound so argumentative?”, “Do I talk too loud?”, “Does my breath smell?”, “Do I ever bore you when we are together? Doing this in an honest and serious manner will assure your friend that you are interested in the process of self improvement and are seeking real answers that may help you in your development. Lend her/him your ears for comments and criticisms and don’t give her/him answers like “Don’t exaggerate! That’s just the way I am!” Open up your mind and heart as well. And in return, if asked, you may want to help your friend with constructive criticism that may help her/him improve themselves.
One of Whitney Houston’s songs says “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” This is so true. In order to love others, you must first love yourself. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have. So before advising other people on ways to improve themselves, let them see that you yourself are a representation and a product of self improvement. Self improvement makes us better people – we can then inspire other people, and if we do it right the rest of the world will follow.
Stop thinking of yourselves as second-rate beings. Forget the repetitive thought of “If only I was richer… if only I was thinner” and so on. Accepting your true self is the first step to self improvement. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others only to find out at the end that you had no reason to envy them at all, and that the people you have been envying have their own insecurities that they are battling.
We all have our insecurities. Nobody is perfect. We always wish we had better things, better features, better body parts, etc. But life does not need to be picture perfect for people to be happy with it and with themselves. Self improvement and loving yourself is not a matter of shouting to the whole world that you are perfect and you are the best. It’s the virtue of acceptance and contentment. When we begin to improve ourselves, we then begin to feel content, happy, and satisfied with our life.
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Life Mapping: A Vision of Success
Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. Planning for success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.
Origin: Who you are
A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, I’m Jean and I am a 17-year old, senior high school student.” It does not tell you about who Jean is; it only tells you her present preoccupation. To gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside from your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status. Moreover, you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. Upon introspection, Jean realized that she was highly motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field. Furthermore, she believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human dignity.
Destination: A vision of who you want to be
“Who do you want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing Jean’s story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in serving her fellowman.
Vehicle: Your Mission
A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Based on Jean’s self-assessment, she decided that she was suited to become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one. Her chosen vocation was a medical doctor. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellowman as a doctor in conflict-areas.
Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude
Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. Jean realized that she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills on medicine so that she could become a doctor. She knew that she was a bit impatient with people so she realized that this was something she wanted to change.
Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives
Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years. Going back to Jean as an example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map: completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 21; completing medicine by the age of 27; earning her specialization in infectious diseases by the age of 30; getting deployed in local public hospitals of their town by the age of 32; and serving as a doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 35.
Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes
The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly.
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