by Dennis Petersen
Imagine you just got a direct message from God that your efforts in a critical area will soon be rewarded! You’re excited… Are you ready for your marching orders now? Imagine that his next download to your brain is this: “Take action today on that excellent thought you just had.” That’s a pretty straight forward simple command. Are you ready to take his command to heart?
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Within the providence of our Creator, the only way you can truly prosper in life is to bring benefits, advantages, profits or blessings into the lives of others. Once we grow up enough to realize that in order to harvest a crop you have to plant and cultivate a seed, we can be free to focus on others and not be so worried about ourselves and our self interests all the time. But that takes some extraordinary self control and openness to adjust our natural tendencies to fear everything around us that appears to threaten our personal prosperity and peace of mind.
Think about it. Do you want to get off the vicious cycle of self-centered anxiety that tends to make us think we have to dominate others or trick them into giving us what we want? There are reasons why more than 90% of the people around our society are anxious about temporal things continually and lacking the abundant life that we were designed by our Creator to experience.
Have you heard the basic principle of the law of the harvest? The Golden Rule? If you want to make a change in your destination you have to make a change in your direction. As you take the high road of developing yourself and becoming more of what you were created to be, you are then able to help others do the same and experience more of the abundant life that is available to them.
And because we were put into a tangible world filled with stuff to be developed and expanded with the touch of our own creativity and resourcefulness, we inevitably have to get mature about the use and management of the stuff that is on loan to us for this fleeting ‘vapor’ we call our life.
I believe that these suggestions will help you accomplish more, discover more, profit more and add more to whatever your business is about… even inviting more people to your cause, your project, your business and your community.
If you are one of the people who have chosen to participate in a project or business that is all about building a network of team members for a special cause or enterprise, you MUST understand something that great leaders have discovered. It’s simply this: that IF you become a better person, you WILL attract better people to you – just the kind of people you want on your team. AND you will inevitably enlarge your influence. You may think it is only a great script or book full of facts that influences people to take action. In reality it’s much more. The words and the facts must be made vibrant through HOW you actually say things and WHO you are to the person when you are talking to them. IF you improve your life and how you feel about yourself, the dynamic energy that you send out will be greater and more compelling so that people will actually want to be around you.
Think about it. This is why the disciples of Jesus were able to turn the world upside down. The people could tell that the disciples had spent time with their leader, their teacher and coach. If you want to truly leave a legacy that positively influences other people for generations to come, find a mentor. Find a coach. Find living examples of the qualities you want to emulate. Listen to them. Read their books. Participate in the activities that they are participating in. Join their cause. Show them you are willing to go the extra mile. Let them see that you show up for the events. Let them see that you are following their example. Let them see that you are disciplined enough to do the challenging things that demand that you improve yourself, learn new skills and receive the life-changing insights that make you a more productive human being.
So let’s look at a dozen simple things you can do to improve your life and be that legacy-minded person that will influence others to be as blessed and as successful as you are willing to be yourself.
12 Ways to Improve Your Life
- First of all, Smile more. Now here is a choice that doesn’t cost you a cent … it’s simple and easy to implement and it will INSTANTLY make you more attractive to other people. Decide today to conscientiously do this one thing. It will improve your life and communicate to others what they often refer to as a more positive “vibe” or vibration. Anytime someone – even a stranger – locks eyes with you, even for a fleeting moment, give them a big ole smile. There’s something very satisfying about giving away a free smile and getting a free smile given right back to you. I realize in New York City they might think you’re up to something, but do it anyway. It just might strike up a conversation and make a new friend.
- Next, Compliment more. In fact, let’s put this into practice right now. Make it a goal to compliment at least ten people today. If you don’t get out much, call at least a couple of people you haven’t talked to in awhile and expect nothing in return from your honest appreciation of something you truly like about what they have brought into your own life. You can tell them you like their shoes, their shirt, or their hair. Maybe you think they have an intriguing accent. Whatever you can honestly think about that would make them feel good about themselves in hearing it from you, just let them know it. It really doesn’t matter if they are strangers or if they are people you know. When you compliment them on something about their personhood that you genuinely admire or respect, this doesn’t just make them think about you in a more positive light, it also creates an emotional treasure inside of you that will continue to improve how you feel about yourself.
- Now, let’s work on your self-talk. The next time you go to say “I am” and follow it with anything negative that you tend to constantly say about yourself, say it better. So, instead of saying “I am not very good at (a certain skill like remembering peoples’ names),” say, “I am grateful that I am getting better at remembering people’s names.” You can do this and truly mean it IF you want to become a better person. If you have that desire this is a really important place to focus on daily. That nasty language that we carry around about ourselves is VERY destructive. What you habitually say about yourself is what you are reinforcing to be true and manifest into reality.
- Start your day off right with personal declarations or affirmations that you can be challenged by and built up by. After we read our Bible and pray for God’s providence in our daily actions, let’s put our mouth in agreement with our beliefs by giving ourselves some positive self-talk. A good place to start is by agreeing with what God’s Word says about us or expects for us. This is a good way to remind ourselves that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I personally like present tense “I am” statements that you can put your heart into. An example would be “Because the Lord has given me a new day in His strength, I am really excited that I get to help people discover better solutions for their lives today.” BEFORE you check your emails or Facebook, read your affirmations.
- End your day right with gratitude and spoken affirmations. “Thank you Lord for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know you better (Eph. 1:17) today and that I have your peace to guard my heart and mind because I’ve presented my requests to you expecting you to guide my steps tomorrow as I reach out to others.” What do MOST people do right before they go to bed? If you said watch the News, you’d be correct. Isn’t that the most damaging thing anyone could do to set themselves up for their expected future? The news, with its constant negativity and misfortune, is not where we want our subconscious to be meditating. It’s the WORST thing to watch before bed. When you go to bed your supercomputer subconscious mind begins to focus on whatever your conscious mind was focused on before you fell asleep. Program that supercomputer with what you actually want in your life. And make the decision to stop watching mainstream TV… and particularly the late night news.
- Earn every shower. When billionaire Richard Branson was asked what his number one tip for productivity is, he replied, “exercise.” A really simple and easy way to get at least a little more exercise is before you get in the shower, earn it. Do some pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, whatever to get the blood pumping and circulating. Exercising releases healthy endorphins that actually make you feel better. And if you’re feeling better, you’ll perform better at your next activity or business meeting.
- Read a chapter a day of an educational or inspirational book. Yes, start with the Bible, but don’t stop there. Find great authors who inspire you to do better. This is a great long term approach if you want to improve your life.
- Have gratitude for your spouse if you are married or your close friends if you are single. IF you are dating or married to someone, take some time to secretly write 10-20 things that you are grateful for about them. It could be some of their habits, skills, personality traits or activities like you are grateful they have a job. We always want our partners to be more accepting of us. But isn’t it interesting that when WE change our attitudes about them, they do change. You cannot force them to change, but you can change your own energetic attitudes about them. IF you are single and desiring to find a life companion, start having gratitude for your future perfect partner by writing down things that you love about that person you are about to find in your life.
- Make the decision today to give up doing the things that undermine your abundant life. Start with giving up complaining about the past. Whether it was something that caused you grief and pain last week or last century, what possible good can come from rehashing the emotional pain you felt in the past? Get over it. Forgive those who offended you. They probably have never given you a second thought anyway so why be a slave to the pain they put you through?
Wherever possible, replace negative and destructive thoughts and actions with positive ones that will form new habits of legacy-building change in your life.
Give up jealousy and envy and the selfish ambition to change people through your actions. It’s childish and self destructive and you know it. Focus instead on what you can accomplish using your unique gifts, skills, and passions to be a positive influence for good in the lives of others who can receive from you. The problem is often your frustration with your inability to change what you can’t change, especially other people. Remember the Serenity Prayer? Go get a copy of it and post it on your wall in front of a place you sit down every morning… like your toilet! “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Give up the fear of change and decide to adopt the attitude that you’re entering a new adventure. Life has its twists of unexpected and unwanted changes that you can’t control. You might as well make lemonade out of the lemons and look for the silver lining in whatever life hands you.
Give up blaming. Sure, we all have to deal with unfairness and bad breaks in life. Own up to whatever responsibility you had in a situation, even if it’s only one percent of it and look for new opportunities to make a difference in the life of someone who will appreciate what you know or do.
Give up the need to be right all the time. If you have to say anything, just comment on how the other’s perspective is “interesting.” Just don’t go into a defensive lecture on why your vast knowledge is able to correct everyone else’s problems.
Give up limiting beliefs. Jesus was spot on when he said that you will have whatever you pray when you truly believe it (Mark 11:24). I’m not talking about ridiculous name-it-and-claim-it behaviors. I’m talking about things you really truly believe in your heart of hearts because of confirming evidence from higher authorities than yourself that can substantiate your beliefs. Your ability to change your future is much more potent than most people know. Replace those negative limiting beliefs about what you think of your own potential and start taking actions that can develop your attitudes, your knowledge, your skills and your accomplishments to reveal the truly unlimited potentials that lay before you.
Give up bad friends. This is probably one of the most common and stifling things that keeps people from achieving more of what they were created to achieve. Go out of your way to put yourself in the presence of people who can inspire you, encourage you and challenge you to be more than you have been in the past. Your past does not need to define your future. Your own decision and choices will do that. Rather than wallow in regrets about negative past experiences, let those things be a stimulation for you to push forward into finding enriching ways to develop yourself for the sake of not just feeling better about yourself, but particularly the joy of knowing that your improvement will enable you to encourage and help others also. So, Upgrade your circle. They say you are the average of the five people you spent the most time with. Who are you hanging around? If you want to improve your life maybe it is time to hang around those of higher success, higher energy and bigger goals. This can be tough for most people who are so comfortable with who they currently hang around but this might be the most potent single choice action you can do for yourself.
- Learn something new. Make your life more adventurous by learning something new. Take a night school class. Attend a financial seminar. Learn to play guitar or a new language. Take up salsa dancing with your spouse. Learning new things activates different parts of your brain which may help you in all other areas of your life.
- Be specific on what you want. After you have spent some time considering your options of what is in store for your future, instead of saying you want to make more money next year, be clear about how much you want to make and have objectives about what you want to do with it – not just pay the bills. How boring and un-motivating is that? Instead of saying you want to lose weight, say how much you want to weigh and why. Being specific increases your likelihood of hitting those goals. It isn’t enough to just say you want to improve your life, be specific.
- Start working to Create Your own set of rules for every aspect of your life, from health to financial to family and business. They might include things like:
- I go to bed and get up at the same time 7 days per week because I know that produces the most even and productive life for me. I do not deviate from this schedule unless it is due to an important (and this word is not used lightly) work or social function.
- I stick to a diet of whole, natural foods, avoid caffeine after 1 p.m., and avoid alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime.
- I do not check email before 9 a.m.
- I do not talk on the phone unless it is a scheduled interview or conference call.
- I create a to-do list at the end of every workday and I follow that to-do list starting first thing the next morning.
- I also do my daily readings at the end of every workday.
- I write in a gratitude journal. I am thankful every day for identifying my mission and what I wanted to do with my life.
- I do not engage in confrontations with anyone, in-person or online. This is a waste of time and energy. If I have caused harm, I apologize and fix the situation. However, if someone simply doesn’t like something I have done or something that I do or disagrees with me, that’s just fine, but I’m not going to get into an argument about it. For any confrontation-like situation, I simply take a deep breath, relax, breathe out, and re-focus my efforts back on my work and goals.
- I am guided by two phrases: First is – “Nothing matters.” – By this, I mean that arguing on the internet changes nothing, I can only work towards the major, massive goals that I have set for my life…that I have a vision of helping others, and there is no time to let petty arguments stand in the way. Second is – “It will all be over soon.” – This serves me in both good times and in bad. In hard times, such as bad days, troubled times, or intense physical effort or discomfort, I know that it will all be over soon. A small amount of suffering now will be forgotten later when I will enjoy the rewards of my work. And in good times, I will remember that life is short, and I must make things count now, and no matter how good things are going I must never let myself become soft and lazy, because I have too much to accomplish in such a short time.
- Everything that happens to me – good and bad – is my personal responsibility and part of God’s providential plan. I blame no one but myself. These are the choices I’ve made – this is the life I’m living. I will accept the consequences of my actions.
- I will not be a person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, or envious, or give in to any other of those lazy emotions. I will not gossip or speak badly of others, no matter who I am with or what environment I am in. I will not be negative when it is easier to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations, situations and environments in life that I must avoid, and I will, in fact, avoid them, even if it means loosening relationships with others who “live” in those environments. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me.
- I will always keep the child within me alive. I will laugh every day. That’s not hard when you have some good friends who don’t take themselves too seriously. If they don’t make me laugh, there’s plenty of comedy on Netflix.
- I will communicate with honesty and feeling. I’ve long since given up caring about how others choose to judge me. What matters more than others’ opinions is the number of people that I can help by sharing advice and encouragement in what I do. The most powerful songs are written by songwriters who bare their souls. Let’s put it all out there. I’m not going to help as many people as I could if I keep the “real info” to myself. In doing so I also understand that sometimes you have to state your convictions even if they repel some so you can strongly attract into your world those who you desire to influence.
So there you have it. These 12 dynamics will enhance your life. They will allow you to live life with less guilt, more energy, and more productivity than if you didn’t take these personal philosophies to heart.
The point of this list is to simply stimulate your thinking. This is the reaction of the people who I’m interested in – the people who will realize what’s holding them back is not a lack of knowledge (because the knowledge is out there and freely available). Instead, the game changer is decision making.
Listen, I know that every week you make decisions that leave you full of guilt and discouragement, but on the other hand you also make decisions that you know are correct – even though they are difficult to make.
Wouldn’t you be better off if you made MORE correct decisions with less effort?
Of course, and that is where your own set of rules to live by, your personal philosophies, come into play.
What we’ve talked about here can be profound for your future. I’ve given you some models to pattern your own life after. It’s your choice to create your own personal philosophies that will allow you to make the correct decisions and fewer decisions that leave you with regret.
As a result of making more correct decisions, you’ll move closer to your goals and suffer less frustration. Life will be simpler once you start adhering to your own personal philosophies – and not worrying about what others think.