Look at things with a beginner’s mind. A beginner’s mind allows us to embrace enthusiasm, zeal, and optimism to creatively move ourselves forward.
BY FAISAL HOQUE
Success can be reached in a multitude of ways. The road you take is dependent upon what you want out of life.
Success is also subjective; if one chooses to live within one’s means and owes no debts, he or she may consider him- or herself successful, whereas another may see success in the numbers in their bank account.
Regardless of the definition, when we think of successful people, what attributes generally come to mind?
Happy. Confident. Relaxed. Positive. Strong.
As we get ready to welcome a new year and bid goodbye to another, I thought I’d share some of the habits I plan to practice this coming year to get through my adventures (both good and bad):
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1. Say “NO.”
Everyone has limits, and being able to say “no” is integral to maintaining those limits.
There is the internal “no” that stops us from buying something we don’t need. There is also the external “no” that helps us refuse to stay late at work and miss a child’s bedtime.
Both types of “no” are essential for a healthy and productive life. “No” is healthy when we stick to our principles, when it keeps us focused on our goals, or if we need strength to change our direction. It is also an effective shield to prevent us from abuse and exploitation by others.
2. Sleep more.
In her popular TED talk, Arianna Huffington urges us to consider the power of a good night’s sleep. There is no heroism in sleep deprivation.
Feeling tired after a bad night’s sleep hampers our decision-making. Just because we are sitting at our desks longer doesn’t mean that we are more productive.
We spend our days staring at various bright screens, which in turn causes the stress hormone cortisol to flood our brains in unnatural quantities, disrupting our body clocks. Our bodies are unsure when it is time to go to sleep naturally, and because we aren’t “tired,” we assume that it isn’t time for bed.
Our morning coffee performs the same function to “wake” us up. These unnatural stimulants are not giving our brains enough time to refresh themselves every night. Check out the role that “glial cells” play in clearing things up for us here.
3. Develop resilience.
As we suggested in our book, “Survive to Thrive,” fearless, positive people develop mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity.
Resilience begins with flexibility and adaptability. Success and happiness do not always come from blasting through rocks and impediments, but from having the faith, courage and “let it happen” attitude needed to cope with harsh realities of life.
Resilient people lead themselves by constantly finding encouragement within their souls. They surround themselves with other positive people, and they inspire others despite their own personal adversity.
4. Be motivational.
Everyone should know a thing or two about how to inspire and motivate others — even people who are not in leadership positions. It’s an important skill that helps us not only take on leadership challenges but engage better with new people, build new relationships, and reach our potential.
The first step in motivating people is to stop treating them as just employees, managers, CEOs, etc. — we’re more than the titles on our business cards! — and to start treating others as humans.
Sounds simple, but it isn’t easy in every situation. Motivational people:
- Communicate openly and often
- Offer positive reinforcement
- Walk the talk
5. Practice gratitude.
To achieve more, be happy, and make a difference, one must consciously practice gratitude.
Whether we like it or not, our lives are greatly dependent on external forces. No matter how self-motivated and driven we may be, a mix of luck, friends, colleagues, family, a higher power, even total strangers constantly influences our lives.
When we are thankful for even the smallest moments, life tends to send rewards our way. The act of gratefulness is not just a one-way message to the world.
Gratefulness rebounds in all sorts of directions and often opens new doors.
There is a much more simple reason why we should be grateful and offer to help others. It makes us feel good about ourselves, that our life is one worth living.
6. Cook more often.
Along the way, I have learned a few things about food, cooking, and the impact it makes on one’s mind, body, and soul. Food is one of the fundamental needs for our survival, and many major events in our lives revolve around it.
It plays a vital role in social interactions and relationships. I find food to be sacred, and the process of making food to be awakening and insightful. Although I am not professionally trained, cooking has become a joyful passion.
The process of making food teaches us to be mindful, embrace creativity, and push for mastery.
7. Write frequently.
For me, writing is one of those happy discoveries that has helped me to connect better with my purpose, my world, and myself.
A decade ago, when I started writing, my businesses motivated me to build thought-leadership brands. But over the years, as I got deeper and deeper into writing, the greatest satisfaction came from writing for myself, from my heart. Anne Frank once said, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
I certainly relate to her sentiments. Writing is a way to find inspiration for yourself and others. Just like you don’t have to be a chef to cook for yourself, you don’t have to be a professional writer to get the benefits of writing.
8. Read classic books.
Creativity, innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship — they all begin within us; each is very much a human process.
So naturally, the more we humanize the way we think and work, the more progress we can make in these arenas. If we understand the mental and emotional drivers of innovation and creativity, we can be more innovative and creative.
Today’s authors and thinkers have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants. Their works, a diverse arrangement of titles and backgrounds, have inspired me to understand what’s behind things like mindfulness, creativity, innovation and leadership, and I believe they will inspire you, too.
Take a look at these 9 classic books that will change your life and career.
9. Above all, navigate with a beginner’s mind.
As Shunyru Suzuki writes in “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Since we are the product of repeatedly experimenting with possibilities, we’re behooved to approach life in such a way as to give the maximum surface area to possibility.
Beginner’s mind, then, is a practice of approaching our experiences empty of assumptions. When we don’t already have the final answer in mind, we can more readily welcome new possibilities.
A beginner’s mind allows us to embrace the highest emotional qualities — such as enthusiasm, zeal, and optimism — to creatively move ourselves forward.
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Copyright (c) 2015 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.
Original article @BusinessInsider.