Since the beginning of time, people have had dreams and goals. Some people have achieved their dreams or goals. We are able to list them because there are fewer of them than “us”, and we are able to quote them because we have come to admire them for their victories. We pump our fists in the air, cheering them on to live the dream – our dream.
Wait. Our dream.
I have a dream. I even have goals. You know what? I bet you do to. Why not pump our fists in the air and cheer on those? Many people truly believe for some achievement is possible, while for others, it’s not. I don’t believe that. I don’t buy it. I won’t sell it. Sure, achievement is hard to reach. What kind of achievement would it really be if it weren’t? I make my bed every morning. Ching! Achievement. But… making my bed isn’t necessarily a hard to reach achievement, so I don’t brag about it much - usually. It’s a given, some achievements are harder to reach than others. But unachievable? Nah.
This is true, however, there has to be willingness to put out what it takes in order to reach said goal. If you’re not willing to make certain sacrifices, that’s alright. There are countless admirable reasons a particular achievement may not be a right fit for you. But it doesn’t have to dead end there. Follow a different version of the same dream, or find a new dream you hadn’t given thought or credit to before.
My dreams have stayed relatively the same over the years, but I’ve taken different pathways, different levels of commitment, and different ways of approach. It felt like I was choking on cheerios much of the time, but looking back, I don’t regret a single thing. Why? Because I found my way to where I am now. Where I am now is on a solid path of achieving my unachievable, in both of my passions, writing and horseback riding. (Try telling someone what you do when its “riding” and “writing”. Yeah, they always look at me like, “huh?”.)
Finding your path will be unique and un-identical to any others. Resist the impulse to compare. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s the first important step. The second important step is, don’t put too much stock in everyone’s opinions. You know what they say about how everyone has one…
Getting on with it. What am I proposing that could help you achieve the unachievable?
The following, Advice Worth Adopting, are general, but powerful, tools. Let’s dive in.
ADVICE WORTH ADOPTING – For achieving the unachievable
Wage a war on negativity
In a world where negativity has become a common idol, I urge you to escape its constraints.
An idol, you ask? How can negativity be an idol? Very easily. I implore you, start paying detailed attention to decisions you’ve made in the past, decisions you make on a daily basis, even decisions people make around you.
A great majority of the time we are able to talk ourselves out of doing something, or following through on an idea, this is due to the overwhelming supremacy we give to our negative thoughts, or negative estimations pushed on us by others. We unintentionally, and mistakenly, worship the negative.
According to Dr. Rick Hansen, Ph.D., founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, “our almond-shaped brain structure called the amygdala, uses two-thirds of its neurons to look for bad news”. It’s not weird. You’re not weird. It’s our natural partiality to surviving perils. Our natural biases have a difficult time differentiating between real danger, and perceived risks. Yet, they are all detected, and though we experience them on different levels, we experience them, for better or for worse. Therefore, even perceived risks influence our decisions.
It is time to wage a war on negativity. Begin catching negativity in the act of being negative, then:
1. Acknowledge the circumstance, the elements of concern.
2. Validate. Yes, “bad news” is being detected.
3. Distinguish. Is it a valid threat, or a phantom fear?
4. Escape the constraints. Find, even the smallest, positive thought and run with it, keep adding to it, building on it. Allow yourself to be free of the shackles of your mind and start believing. Nominate one person who is invested in you and recruit them onto your team of believing in you. Once you start believing, your team will grow. People believe in people who believe in themselves.
Along with natural survival tendencies, we also have the ability to debate and reason. Which brings me to my next piece of advice worth adopting.
Play the devil’s advocate
My husband and I have been watching the series “West Wing” recently. The character, President Bartlett, requires his staff to argue his point against him, so he is mentally and physically organized and equipped to defend and secure his point or objective when he is bombarded by questions and analysis’.
When in doubt about how prepared you are for starting out on your goals, argue against yourself. Test yourself. Search for your weak spots. All of this with the intention of creating a plan to fill those holes, if need be.
This will leave no doubt in your mind that your primed, practiced, and ready to begin. You’ll also blow people out of the water when they attempt to give unwanted negative criticism. Most of the time, they don’t have it in mind to sabotage you. In their mind, they are helping you by going over the cautionary check points. It just comes off wrong. It comes off as a lack of faith; something you don’t need when you’re still building faith in yourself. (Keep this in mind when you are approached by someone else’s plan or goal, and they’re sitting there waiting on your response.)
Balance the weights of knowledge
Acquiring knowledge is necessary. The more knowledge you acquire, the bigger your personal data base will be, enabling you to do a better job and make more educated decisions today than you did yesterday. The cost of keeping an open mind to learning is, you must take each piece of knowledge as it comes to you, weight it, and determine if you a) keep it, b) politely set it to the side in a “maybe it’ll come in handy later” pile, or c) toss it.
My mother always told me, “You can learn something from everyone.” I have used this as my mantra ever since. I can patiently listen to a person I don’t particularly care for, talk about things I don’t particularly agree with, because I know, I can walk away from this conversation having learned at least one new thing. Even if that thing is, how not to do something.
More recently, I’ve been learning competitive cutting (a working-ranch related game, using a horse to cut a cow from the herd and subsequently being judged by how well you and your horse executed the maneuver). I’ve been training under a very reputable and respected man by the name of Carey Cathey. True to my mother’s early advice, I listen, and then try, every single thing Carey says to do. One day, I left feeling unusually frustrated, my progress having slid backwards. This is when my husband said, “Obviously, keep listening to what he tells you, but at the end of the day remember, he’s throwing a lot of information at you. Some of it applies, and some of it doesn’t. Your job is to take what you need.”
Wham! My husband is right. (Don’t tell him. He likes being able to tell the guys how mistreated he is. It’s some sort of bro-code thing. Nonetheless, his advice was right on.) When you’re weighing the information as it comes in, resolve to keep it in balance with the unique path you are traveling on.
I struggled during my training ride because I put too much weight on “learning”, and left to little weight on “things I already know about myself”. Putting on blinders, I implemented an application that didn’t need to implemented, nor should it have been, at the time. And I didn’t have to. It wasn’t an order. It was my choice. It was offered information, to be taken, or left.
“When we struggle for the wrong reasons, we suffer. But when we choose our own struggles, they become meaningful.” -Prakhar Verma
Consult your mistakes. Don’t resign to them.
Making mistake is where negativity comes back into play. Even if we have bravely defeated negativity in the beginning and got started despite of it, at the first - or maybe the second - mistake, it comes whooshing back. “I’m home!” Negativity calls, right there, in the back of your mind. “You don’t object to me putting my feet up, do you?”
It’s time to reacquaint yourself with “Waging a War on Negativity”.
Acknowledge that you have made a mistake. Yep, did that.
Validate your feelings; your neurons are detecting “bad news”. Okay.
Distinguish, is this mistake a threat? Will it, or did it, cause me to physically backslide further away from my goal? Or is it a phantom fear that it could cause me to backslide further away from my goal? Either way you answer, it’s not time to quit. It’s time to reevaluate. How can you fix the mistake, turn your nemesis into your superpower?
My husband is a bowler (The game where you throw a bowling ball down a long wooden lane with such technique you can consistently cause all ten pins to fall). He used to leave a lot of ten pins on the lane. Because he is right handed, the ten pin is the most challenging pin to pick up. But since he left a lot of them, he also got a lot of practice at picking them up. Eventually, he turned his nemesis ten pin into his superpower. He rarely ever misses.
“Your best teacher is your last mistake.” -Ralph Nader
Escape the constraints. Escaping the constraints of negativity starts with your reevaluation of how to fix said mistake. Commit to improving. When you focus on this commitment, rather than quitting out of fear, you have created your own positive. You are now free to reach, to stretch, to amaze yourself.
“You can only go forward by making mistakes.” -Alexander McQueen
Reduce. Reserve. Row.
A sequence I borrowed from Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I’ve reshaped this catchy cadence to befit our topic, which is, revamping your daily schedule to correspond with your dream or goal. If your serious about achieving the unachievable, you have to get serious about every detail, starting with your schedule.
Your schedule doesn’t lie. It points to what you are most focused on like a twelve-foot florescent arrow on a dark night. Blink. Blink. This is what you spend your time on.
“We all have 24 hours in a day. Nothing differentiates there. What changes is how people choose to spend that 24 hours.” -Reece Robertson, How to Create Your Ideal Future
Reece Robertson also wrote about the British rowing team in his article, One Decision that Removes 1,000 Later Decisions. The British rowing team had been struggling for years. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that changed. Actually, it happened well before they arrived at the Games. The change began happening, behind the scenes, when the entire team became dead-focused on one single thing. One single question. Will it make the boat go faster? As a result, their performance soared, and they took home the gold.
Down the left side of a sheet of paper, write down your current schedule, from when you throw back your covers to when you crawl back inside of them. On the right side of the sheet of paper, write down your ideal day, one pointed towards your dream or goal. Compare the two sides and ascertain how you can start a revolution, a transformation, starting right there in your schedule.
Feeling lucky? Take it an extra step. Account for every minute. I found my left side (my current schedule) only accounted for 23 hours, where my right side (my ideal schedule) accounted for all 24. It was mind blowing! I found an entire extra hour!
Here’s the tips for transforming your schedule:
REDUCE the waste from your schedule. The wasted time. The bad habits. Even the well-intended habits that don’t point you toward your goals.
“The fastest way to move forward in life is not doing more. It starts with stopping the behaviors holding you back.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
RESERVE your time for things that “make your boat go faster”.