I am often asked, "When did I have my epiphany moment to kick start my journey into “self-mastery?” It is difficult for me to pinpoint an exact moment that lead me to all of this. Instead it was a slow build up over time.
To start, I have to admit to myself that it was complacency over a period of time that led to the original decline of my mood and health a few years ago. I let my diet slip slowly, I took unnecessary risks in sports, I stopped learning and mentally developing over time. I got lazy. I made excuses. The list goes on and on...
Over the past few years, I started to piece back together my life one step at a time. One thing is for sure, I still make many mistakes. I end up disappointing myself for things I think I should do right, but end up doing wrong. I am no different than anyone else, I am human… So don’t think for a second that when you try to make positive changes to your life, you won’t go through some major bumps in the road.
For others who have had success in changing their lives for the better, there is a moment in time when they had an epiphany – maybe they get diagnosed with a disease, maybe they had a near death experience, maybe a loved one close to them passed away, maybe they had enough of their abusive partner… Typically these epiphany moments are moments where the individual is at such a low point in life that they realize change is needed in order for them to make it through.
In essence, there are two typical ways people realize that it is time for a major change in their lives.
- Slowly over time. Small daily wins leads to massive results. With momentum comes motivation.
- Through major pain. It's time for a change. I can't handle this anymore.
What do I and the people who have epiphany moments have in common when we make big changes to our lives?
It all boils down to us taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for ourselves.
We start to drive our own lives and stop behaving like we are victims of this world.
We start to take back control of our own emotions, thoughts and ambitions.
We start to believe that we are the ones that control our own destiny.
As you begin to take personal responsibility for your own life, something magical begins to happen, you start to feel more confident and happy, you start to realize that you control your own reality because your reality is nothing more than how you perceive the world.
There are three things you need to start taking personal responsibility of in order to ignite positive changes to your life.
Time is a limited resource that we all take for granted. We often forget how little time we actually have on this world. Think about it, this universe is billions of years old…our Earth is millions of years old…human beings have existed for hundreds of thousands of years…and we have all but 50-75 years left of life if we are lucky.
Time is a non-renewable resource. What you waste can never be earned, bought, or be taken back.
However, there are a few things you can do to win back your time from the people and activities that have stolen it away from you.
Respect time and don’t waste it.
Spend a few days tracking where your time goes each day. At the end of this study, start determining which activities do not serve you and start eliminating them. This helps you evaluate where all of your time is spent and helps you identify areas in which you can win time back.
As much as you think you are a good multi-tasker, you are not. You might be able to do more than one thing at a time, but you cannot focus on more than one thing at once. You end up making more mistakes and taking more time to complete tasks. Focus on completing one thing quickly and accurately and then move on to the next task.
Distractions lead to loss of invaluable time refocusing on the task at hand. It also ruins your state of Flow. When I go into the productivity zone, I turn off my email and phone. I then put on my noise cancelling headphones and play the same music each time. I create a trigger where I know that this is the time I really need to focus and complete the tasks at hand. (I kick off this trigger everyday at work)
Say NO more often.
Every time you say YES to something, you are saying NO to something else. The more things you balance on your plate, the less time you have to spend on things that propel your life forward.
Constantly ask yourself, "Is what I am doing right now serving a purpose?"
Get into the mindset that wasting time is just not acceptable.
Whenever you feel like you are wasting time, find something valuable to replace the time-sucking activity.
Please note, spending time deeply relaxing is NOT a waste of time (Meditation, reading, family time). In fact, it’s one of the best possible uses of your time because it will replenish your energy stores.
Live life with presence and awareness.
A trick to “slowing down” time is to be completely present in the moment. When you use all five of your senses to take in the information around you, you will feel as if time is slowing down.
Many people think it is what they say that matters, but it isn’t. It’s your actions that the rest of the world sees and uses to define who you are. Actions speak louder than words. If your actions aren’t congruent with your words you become inauthentic and a hypocrite.
Your actions are fully under your control and if you properly control your actions you sit in the driver seat of your life.
Don’t break promises to yourself.
I can’t stress this enough, everything you do, your subconscious sees. Each time you lie to yourself, you damage your own self-worth and self-confidence. Only you can hold yourself accountable and if you struggle with this, then this is the perfect place to start improving.
Our habits drive our actions.
As much as I hate to say this, we humans are like robots. Most of our days are spent doing the same things over and over. Our brains have a series of habits that we reuse in order to save our brain power for important things. This has important ramifications for us because most of what we do, we don’t realize we are doing. If you can identify a bad habit, you can start to replace the habit with something good. Do this enough times and you will become unstoppable.
Each and every day you should focus on improving yourself by just 1%.
This may mean reading an amazing book that gives you the needed inspiration to change your life or lifting 5 lbs more weight in the gym or taking an extra minute to acknowledge your significant other. Just imagine where you will be in a year’s time if you continuously improved yourself every day.
Here’s a truth – regardless of the situation or circumstance, you can choose to be joyful or miserable. Every second, we have the ability to choose the type of attitude we want to bring forward into this world. If you dedicate yourself to mastering how you show up each day you will find you progress faster in life then if you focused on where you want to go.
Bring joy to your life.
What if you woke up each morning and decided that you were going be joyous today no matter what? Regardless of what the world throws at you today, you will not feel hateful, envious, or resentful.
This is fully in your control...
Be a positive beacon of light.
Your attitude is contagious.
As you begin to showcase happiness and joy, others around you will begin to mimic you. Whether you realize it or not, your energy can lift others out of their slump.
If you face a situation where another person is sucking the life out of your positive energy. Quickly remove yourself from the situation. Emotional contagion is a very real thing... You can't afford to be taken down by a negative person.
Remind yourself of the attitude you wish to bring to each situation.
Create a set of “trigger words” that you can use to remind yourself of the attitude you wish to bring to each situation.
For example, when I am in the gym I use the keywords “Strength, Perseverance, Joy”. This becomes my mantra when I am working out.
Before I walk into a business meeting I use, “Presence, Focus, Listen”
In the business world, there are two types of prevalent attitudes: Value driven or Entitlement driven.
Value driven means you look for ways to bring value to your company. In other words, it means you work hard, before expecting a pay raise.
Entitlement driven means that you feel that the company owes you something. In other words, it means that you expect to be given a pay raise before you begin to work hard.
It’s pretty obvious which attitude pays off in the long run.
When I started taking personal responsibility for my life, I once again became the driver in the driver seat.
I realized that whether I succeeded or failed, rose up or fell down , sunk or swam, it was all on me – always has been and always will be.
The only way to start is to get started...