“Do or do not…there is no try” – Yoda, Star Wars Episode IV
Most will know the title of this, so how does it relate to you. Today, tomorrow, forever.
Well, at what point do we really become accountable for our actions? At what point do we stand on our own two feet? When do we begin making our own way in life?
You may have different views on this matter. As a father, husband and a coach, I also have a view. Allow me to presuppose we are looking at this with different viewpoints. Please read this next statement three times.
“This is my map of the world, it is not THE map of the THE world, purely mine. You have your own map of the world.”
Having read that three times, I want you to ask yourself this question?
Do I have a map of the world?
Have I defined my map? Does my map change? Should it change? What do I do if it does change?
Questions like these and many more will come your way, you must be prepared to know how to respond to these questions and be ready for the next. So how do you know, how can you prepare?
Ultimately you control all the above. As soon as you can define the difference between right and wrong you begin to take accountability for your actions and decisions…it’s up to you to develop your ‘tools’ to enable you to better yourself and achieve what you want to achieve.
Here are a few of my favourite ‘tools’ to develop (be clear this is not an exhaustive list)
Behaviour: This is what you display to the outside world. Your thoughts manifested into actions, your actions and decisions creating the response you get from other people. This is made up of both conscious and sub-conscious thoughts. When communicating with other people and the outside world we want to portray a message, an image or an identity, however, whereas sometimes we create the response we want, many times we will not… how much of that do we actually control?
As a minimum if there are two people in the conversation then at least 50%…I believe you have more. I learned over time that the true measure of my communication is the response I get. Therefore, to better the response I got, I chose to take more control and develop skills that we can all learn. Skills such as body language, non-verbal communications, modalities, the power of language and the effect it can have on those around us as well as ourselves.
Identities: As we grow, we develop a series of ‘identities’ toward aspects of our life. The first real identity that we become aware of is at school. Who we are, how we fit in, how we are different, are we leading or following in the group, how do we compare with our peers?
For example, are you good at sport? Remember back to physical education at school. Were you told you could play for the county and encouraged to do well or did you hear that you were behind and not as quick as the other kids or the classic what you lack in skill you can make up for in effort?
How do you think either of those influences would affect your performance and in turn complete your identity toward self-development? If constantly told you are good at football and yet you lose a game…you won’t question yourself first, more likely the game, other players or even the ref! If you were told you were poor at football you would be more likely to accept the result as you were ‘expecting it’…identity re-affirmed!
Ability: Your skills, knowledge and application of both in repeat succession will lead to developing your ability. If you started to mountain climb today, I can guarantee you would make mistakes that an experienced climber would not. You need to learn in this way to become a better climber, you can’t just read or theorise about climbing you have to do it. You will tire quickly, and strain muscles because you begin climbing with your muscles and clinging to the mountain (or rope) using all your strength. As your knowledge grows, you begin to ask better informed questions, try more calculated moves till you realise you climb with your skeleton. It’s the frame that holds your body together, therefore when climbing, your straight skeleton will take your weight and save muscle use, meaning you can climb higher and longer. The same is to be said in life.
Dreams: Dream it, believe it, achieve it. Set your goals high and do not accept ‘You can’t’ as that is other people’s limitations being forced on you. Just because ‘they’ may not be able to do something, they have no right to restrict your ability. For something to become a reality you must first dream it…then as you begin to believe it, it starts to become more real…you start to verbalise it to yourself and then to others…then it’s closer than you realise as your brain now starts to find ways to make it happen. Goals are great, but conscious thoughts on achieving goals, can be sabotaged by sub-conscious thoughts of you not achieving goals in the past….so dream and dream big, set your sights and go get it.
Application: When all is said and done. If I lit a candle in a room for of people and asked everyone to concentrate with their mind, concentrate hard and if we all believe we can make the candle go out with the power of our minds alone…we will be there for a long time! You have to get off your backside, show up (not just turn up) at every opportunity and keep going if you really want it. You must apply yourself. Practice, practice, practice. Where was David Beckham when his friends were skulking off round the shop…he was kicking a ball against a wall, setting himself challenges and getting better and better…now in his late 30’s, still a professional football player…watch him during warm up or in training or out playing with his children. That discipline, that focus, that desire to be the best at what he is passionate about is as strong today as it has always been.
Once you defined what it is you want to achieve, you can begin the journey of developing your skills and knowledge. As you apply them you will form identities, values and beliefs that will drive your behaviour and ultimately shape the results you see in your life. It truly is, up to you. You can define, develop and deliver on what your map will be.
Now that is worth thinking about!
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