I’ve been talking with friends, reading articles, following communities and forums.
People are not happy with their present situation and they want to change. But they don’t know where to start from.
Here are a few examples of people’s needs and expectations.
So, I’ve decided to create this guide and share my thoughts on how you can find a direction when there seems to be none.
BUT FIRST, CHECK THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
- ARE YOU FEELING STUCK?
- Stop Trying To Solve It Mentally
- Why Is It Important To Shift Your Thoughts Into Actions?
- Want To Pick A Direction?
- YOUR FIRST STEP
I’m an optimist and I’ll always be. Actually, I may be the most optimistic person you’ll ever meet.
I believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. The trick is to learn how to connect your objectives to your visions about the world and the life that you want to live.
Between the beginning of 2015 and the end of 2016, I had the worst moment of my life. A nasty depression that made me lost almost everything. I lost relationships, money and, most importantly, I lost my sparkle.
At least… that’s what I was thinking.
The thing is that I’ve never lost anything that’s part of my core, as a human being. All the values, principles, and skills were still there.
But I had lost sight of it – of everything.
Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. I had no vision, nor direction.
So, what happened next?
I started throwing some activities into my life to improve my lifestyle.
ARE YOU FEELING STUCK?
You may have been depressed, sad, lost or even traumatized.
There are moments in life when your positive world is replaced with some hellish universe. We’ve all been there. But none of us want to stay there.
If you’re going to a restaurant and their food taste really bad, will you be going there for the second time? I doubt it.
The difference is you know where the exit is in that restaurant. As well, you have alternatives – like going to another restaurant or buying a pretzel.
When it comes to depression, sadness or other negative emotions, it’s hard to find the exit and you don’t quite have any alternatives.
So, what do you do?
Either you reinvent yourself or you follow a few specific steps to help yourself.
Reinventing yourself is harder and it implies changing your life totally. If you still love some of the things that are present in your life, there’s no need to reinvent yourself. All you need to do is to start working.
Are you ready to put your life’s puzzle pieces back together?
Well, ready or not, here’s the first thing you may do wrong.
Stop Trying To Solve It Mentally
Let’s try a small exercise.
Read out loud the first 5 sentences at the beginning of this article. Read them out loud, then come back at normal and keep reading the text from here.
So, go back at the beginning and do it.
Are you done? Great!
I bet that while you read out loud that piece of text, you didn’t have any thoughts in your mind.
Logically speaking, it means that your voice has a stronger resonance than your thoughts. Basically, I just pointed out why the next exercise is going to work so well.
#1 Change Your Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones
Make a list with 5 negative thoughts that you’re experiencing.
After you wrote it, go ahead and write a positive alternative for each negative thought.
For example, if the negative thought is “I consider myself stupid because I failed the math exam” then its positive alternative would be “I consider myself smart because I managed to run a marathon”.
Replace “run a marathon” with anything you’ve done or you’re good at. Anything from writing to dancing or drawing is good!
What do you have to do next?
For the next 30 days, each day, stay in front of a mirror and repeat, out loud, the positive alternatives. Every morning after you wake up and every night before you go to sleep.
The more positive alternatives, the better you will start feeling.
Is it easy? Then I’ve got one more exercise for you.
#2 Shift Your Thoughts Into Positive Actions
All you have to do is to think out loud and record your thoughts – use a smartphone for it.
Make sure your thoughts are positive.
After you’ve got at least 5, write them down.
Now ask yourself “Which one do I consider the most important?”
After you’ve chosen it, set 5 steps to materialize that thought.
For example, if your positive thought is “I want to have more qualitative friends” then here are 5 steps that could work:
- I make a list with all the qualitative friends I have right now
- I find “elements” at them that could help me define what a qualitative friend really means
- I make a list with places where I can go and find more qualitative friends based on the elements I’ve found before
- I develop a method of approaching them
- I actually go to those places and approach humans
This second exercise is really good when, although you’re thinking positive, you get stuck in your positive thoughts and don’t know what do to.
I’ve Encountered so Many Times the Thinking Process, I’ve Forgotten to Act
Right now, I’m able to make a difference between thinking and doing in my activities. Actually, when I’m writing this article I don’t stop and think about how this message impacts you.
That would mean that I have to stop doing and start thinking. This process will only appear when the article will be finished.
I recommend you do the same.
Think only when it’s needed and keep working when work is needed to be done. You will procrastinate less and will be more efficient within your activities.
Why Is It Important To Shift Your Thoughts Into Actions?
That’s how you’ll become practical.
The more you practice, the more you improve your skills.
The more you improve your skills, the more results you’ll notice.
The more results you’ll notice, the more confident you’ll become.
But how’s practice going to help me with anything?
When we’re talking about self-confidence, we don’t report it to a fork or a smartphone. You are confident in using the fort to eat or the smartphone to check your email.
The self-confidence is directly connected to human interactions.
The more you interact with others, the more confident you’ll become in your own strengths.
But how is self-confidence related to other people?
There’s one thing that you’re not getting from the fork when you’re using it.
The fork is not judging you.
We are so afraid of being judged by others, we destroy our self-esteem and self-confidence because we choose to listen to them.
You would listen to your fork if you could. But … it’s just a fork – you don’t care about it.
Instead, you care about the people that are surrounding you – therefore you care about their opinions.
Sadly, you not only care, but you let your state of mind affected by others’ opinions.
But what have others to do with my lack of directions?
You don’t lack directions. You just don’t see them anymore.
There was a time when you knew exactly what you had to do. But you were also listening to others and their ideas about what you had to do.
For a while, you took their advice and went their way. That’s where everything went wrong. That’s why you weren’t capable of seeing directions anymore.
Your directions disappeared because you listened to others too much.
Others’ advice isn’t helping you. You just think it’s helpful. But all it does is to get you far away from what you want to achieve.
The sensation of satisfaction from the advice of others appears when you don’t know what to do.
The guidance you’re looking for comes from a coach that knows how to make you ask yourself questions, in order to discover – ALL BY YOURSELF – what you want to achieve.
Want To Pick A Direction?
Here’s The In-Depth Thinking With Practical Actions
If I would need to find an equation for this, I would relate it to constructing the personal brand.
If I would have to generate a specific question, it would be “How to discover the words that will help you build a powerful personal brand?”
I’m insisting with the personal brand thing because you don’t want only to find a direction for yourself. Sharing it with the world will help as well.
So, if we’re talking about the personal brand, we’re not just referring to words but also to actions and words.
Therefore, there are two situations that can help you generate your brand.
#1 Starting with actions to generate the words to describe the personal brand
In my case, after I ran the first marathon, I told everyone about that experience. Because of that, in their minds a pixel has spawned and said “David ran a marathon”.
After that, I got involved as a volunteer in raising funds, running a half-marathon. In others’ minds another pixel has spawned and said “David ran at a charitable event.”
And after that, I ran a mountain ultra-marathon. In other’ minds the 3rd pixel has spawned and said “David ran a mountain ultra-marathon”.
Finally, I’ve noticed some words that could help me build a powerful personal brand related to running: run, marathon, charitable event.
#2 Starting with words to generate the actions to describe the personal brand
Let’s say I didn’t run even one kilometer until now – but I would like to.
All I have to do is to create a training schedule and when I meet with my friends I have to share with them my plans. In that moment, a pixel spawns in their mind and says “David is training for a marathon”.
After I experience the marathon, I’m going back to the first situation where I have the action that will help me generate the words to describe the personal brand.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Actions Or Words?
Appears something that we all have – the desire.
Since I was a child, I wanted to learn how to play the guitar.
Somewhere around the age of 20’s, I borrowed a friend’s guitar and tried to learn it. I discovered that I didn’t like it as much as I thought.
Since then, I’ve changed the musical instrument and started to think about a piano.
Knowing that I want to learn how to play piano since more than 5 years now, why it didn’t happen?
↓ KEY QUESTION ↓
Why the hell didn’t I pay attention to my desire of learning how to play piano until now?
↑ KEY QUESTION ↑
Asking myself a question like this helps me generate answers.
There’s a chance that I didn’t have the money to buy the piano. There’s another chance that once I buy the piano I will realize I don’t have enough space for it in my apartment.
This way, I identified two directions that I could take.
I could work harder and smarter in order to earn the money to buy the piano. And I could reorder the furniture in my apartment and make space for the piano.
As you can see, by answering the above key question I generated an action plan with two directions.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Desire?
Then you’ll need to have something that’s vital – curiosity!
You’ll need to have the curiosity to experiment and experience as many things as you can. It will help you discover what are the things that you love and enjoy.
Simpler than this it can’t be. Be curious and discover things. Invest your energy in it.
So, What’s The Equation?
Curiosity leads to desire.
Desire leads to the action plan.
The action plan leads to words. Use them to spread your message around the world.
Don’t know what to experience first?
Make a list with 20 activities that you can experiment and experience for 7 days in a row:
01. ___________________________ 02. ___________________________
03. ___________________________ 04. ___________________________
05. ___________________________ 06. ___________________________
07. ___________________________ 08. ___________________________
09. ___________________________ 10. ___________________________
11. ___________________________ 12. ___________________________
13. ___________________________ 14. ___________________________
15. ___________________________ 16. ___________________________
17. ___________________________ 18. ___________________________
19. ___________________________ 20. ___________________________
These activities can be dancing, painting, running, talking with strangers, and so on.
YOUR FIRST STEP
If you would do something right now. If you would start right now. What would you do?
You may not have the answer right now, if you have just started reading this article.
But you will have it right after you will start experiencing.
That’s why it’s important to do the previous exercises. They will help you and guide you towards your first valuable action step.
In the autumn of 2015, I ran a 64-km mountain ultra-marathon. It all started with 2-3 runs a week in 2010, each run not being longer than 2 kilometers.
So, no matter how small your first action step is, just go for it. At one point, if it really means something to you, it will turn into something bigger.
Generate A Mission
Go back to the last exercise.
You’ve had to make a list of 20 activities that you want to experiment.
After you will experience them all, pick only three – the ones you enjoyed the most.
In my life, right now, are three new activities that I’m experiencing and I’m really excited about them.
Dancing, meeting strangers, and traveling.
So, I have to set a mission for all of them.
01Mission. I want to dance until it becomes something natural for me. Also, I really love dancing salsa, though I don’t know it really well. My target is to use dancing so I can easily connect with others.
- Meeting Strangers
02Mission. I want to meet strangers and learn more about the species that I’m part of. I hope that I can understand people better and, as well, understand myself better.
03Mission. I haven’t traveled that much until now, but I’m really curious about what’s on the other side. I plan to travel Europe and write a book about optimism.
So, these are my missions at this moment.
Maybe I’ll achieve them and have results, maybe I won’t. What’s more important than having results is actually doing something in my missions’ directions. Otherwise, nothing will happen.
Therefore, go ahead and pick the most enjoyable activities from your before list (with the condition that you’ve experienced them) and write them down. Set their missions as well.
Why Is It Important To Have A Mission?
Having a mission is like having an objective. But it’s not as specific as an objective.
Having a mission is also more valuable than an objective. An objective is part of a mission.
For example, if I want to meet strangers, an objective would sound like this: “I want to meet 30 strangers from Australia that can give me at least one powerful life advice related to optimism.”
While an objective gives you clarity, a mission gives you enthusiasm.
It’s better to have enthusiasm because it’s easier to generate the clarity.
Asking yourself ‘why?’, ‘how?’, ‘what?’, when?’ or ‘where?’ will give you clarity.
But in order to have enthusiasm, you need to have a purpose. A major goal that triumphs everything else that’s prior in your life.
Got A Mission? Dream About It Daily!
I’ve told you before about my mission to write a book about optimism. I’m dreaming about it daily!
I’ve started working on it since March and the only thing that’s missing right now is the travel funds. Other than that, I’m thinking every day about how I can improve it, how can I do it better and more efficiently. And I’m excited as fuck!
There Are No Specific Ways To Dream About Your Mission
Being able to dream about your mission is an indicator.
If you’re able to dream daily about your mission, it means you’ve chosen the right mission.
Right now, for me, it’s really important to discover a practical formula for optimism. It’s so powerful, it represents a purpose.
If it wouldn’t be so powerful, I wouldn’t think about it that much, and probably wouldn’t have even started it.
Connect Your Mission To A Passion
This is a little trick I’ve learned along the way.
If you connect your mission to a passion of yours, it will be easier for you to achieve your mission. Simply because the mission connected to your passion is much likely to be achieved – it is related to something you like doing.
Otherwise, if your mission is not connected to a passion of yours, you won’t find any satisfaction in your adventure.
Make Your Mission Bigger Than Your Failures
Actually, you won’t have to make anything.
If your mission is powerful enough, you won’t care anymore about your failures.
For instance, take my example.
My native language is not English – it’s Romanian.
I hated school and because I had a teacher who couldn’t care less about her students, I didn’t learn English.
Therefore, I had to learn it by myself. So I started reading and writing in English.
At first, I was asking a friend to proofread my text and explain to me why I was wrong. Later, I went to a private teacher for a few months to improve my grammar.
In the meantime, I was working with different clients and writing for them various texts. I lost more than half of them because my grammar was really bad.
Fast forward to the present moment, I’m able to speak English clearly. When I’m writing something that I consider really important – like a book – I give it to a friend to proofread it for the second time.
For Me, English Was Considered A Failure
If I would have stopped when my clients said to me that I have too many grammar mistakes and they can’t work with me, I would have failed.
Stopping is the only failure I know. Others are just obstacles.
Learning English was just a step towards my mission. It was never the mission.
DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE
What you want to achieve + how you can help others with what you want to achieve = your purpose.
This is an equation I’ve discovered through various personal experiences.
It’s not enough to know what you want to achieve. What’s as important as that is how you help others with what you achieve.
So, there are two questions.
Question One: What Do You Want To Achieve?
You want to become a bestselling author. You want to be able to run 100 kilometers without stopping. You want to have your own dance crew and reach 1.000.000 subscribers on YouTube.
Just pick something.
Question Two: How Can You Help Others?
Whatever you want to achieve, make sure you have the desire to teach or help others.
These are two questions that I’m asking myself on a monthly basis.
The process of asking and answering them is helping me discover myself. By doing this I’m closer to knowing everything about myself – but that will never happen.
People are always changing – you are always changing.
By continuously asking these two questions you’re becoming conscious. You’re realizing what you want to do and how you can help others.
There’s no doubt! For sure you can help others. But first, you need to realize it. That’s the purpose of these questions.
So, when you know what you want to achieve and you’ve figured out how you can help others, you’ve got yourself a purpose.
But, usually, a purpose is something big – even bigger than you. And it may scare you.
Break It Down Into Projects
Let’s take the dance crew and YouTube example.
Purpose: What to achieve – having a dance crew of 4 members and reaching over 1.000.000 subscribers on YouTube. How to help others – teaching over 100.000 people how to dance.
Well, there are some huge numbers.
But you can break them down into projects and sub-projects.
There are three big projects:
The first project: having a dance crew of 4 members.
Break it down into sub-projects like:
- Having a dance crew of 2 members
- Having a dance crew of 3 members
- Having a dance crew of 4 members
The second project: reaching over 1.000.000 YouTube subscribers.
Break it down into sub-projects like:
- Reaching the first 1.000 YouTube subscribers
- Reaching the first 5.000 YouTube subscribers
- Reaching the first 10.000 YouTube subscribers
- Reaching the first 20.000 YouTube subscribers
- Reaching the first 50.000 YouTube subscribers
- Reaching the first 100.000 YouTube subscribers
- And so on
The third project: teaching over 100.000 people how to dance.
Break it down into sub-projects like:
- I think you’ve got the idea.
Also, you can set milestones that connect the subprojects. Milestones like after having a dance crew of 2 members, I’ll focus more on reaching the first 10.000 YouTube subscribers.
And that’s it. As simple as that.
If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with your friends on social media platforms. As well, if you have any question or thoughts that you want to share with me, please do it in the comments section below.
Keep learning and growing,