A Six Step Starter Guide To Self-Improvement
Staying calm, composed and maintaining strong self-esteem in today’s tough environment can be difficult but is not impossible if you follow a few simple guidelines. Here are 6 tips you can use as a starter guide to be a better you.
You need to be aware that everything and everyone else around you can affect your self-esteem. Other people can deliberately or inadvertently damage your self-image. Unchecked people and circumstances can ultimately destroy your self-esteem and pull you down in ways you won’t even notice. Don’t let these influences get the best of you. But what should you avoid? Remember what my friend Paul Martinelli, president of the John Maxwell Team says, “If someone else can make you sad, mad or glad… you’ve been had.”
1 : A Negative Work Environment
Beware of a “dog eat dog” environment where everyone else is fighting just to get ahead. This is where non-appreciative people usually thrive and working extra is expected and not rewarded or worse not acknowledged. In this environment no one will appreciate your contributions even if you miss lunch, dinner, and stay at work late into the night. Unless you are very fortunate with a good leader or boss. Most of the time you will work too hard with no help from the others around you. This type of atmosphere will ruin your self-esteem. This is not just healthy competition, at its worst it can be brutal and the damage lasting.
2: Other Peoples Behavior
Bulldozers, brown-nosers, gossipmongers, whiners, backstabbers, snipers, people walking wounded, controllers, naggers, complainers, (I feel like Ralphie in the movie, A Christmas Story, when the lug nuts hit the snow as I list these off…) exploders, patronizers, sluffers – whatever you want to call them, all have one thing in common – an overriding desire to prosper at the expense of others. Avoid them and do not be tempted to join them. They may get some short term advantage with their behavior but deep down most are very insecure, unhappy and ashamed of their behavior. For most their self-esteem disappeared a long time ago. Seeing someone like this prosper is sickening but do not join them – you are better than that!
3: A Changing Environment
In today’s fast moving society it is difficult if not impossible to avoid change. Changes challenge our paradigms and tests our flexibility, adaptability and alter the way we think. Changes can make your life difficult and may cause stress but, if it’s inevitable, you must accept it, don’t fight it and in time find ways to improve your life. Try to manage change and try to avoid multiple changes at the same time. If a particular change can’t be avoided welcome it. Change will be with us forever, we must learn to live with it. The element with the most flexibility will be the controlling element. Stay flexible.
4: Past Experience
We all carry “baggage” – past experiences which have molded us to who we are today, but some people live in their past experiences – usually something that hurt and still hurts. It’s okay to cry out when you experience pain but don’t let pain dominate your life as it will transform itself into fears and phobias. If something painful happens, or has happened to you, find a way to minimize the effects. Change your thinking and if you can change your thinking, change the way you think about it. Discuss it with a friend, a family member or a professional if necessary and move on. Don’t let it continue to dominate your life and dictate your future actions. Because something bad has happened doesn’t mean it will happen again. Learn what you can from any bad experience and move on. Ask yourself, what did I learn? How can I grow?
5: Negative World View
The television news is full of doom and gloom and it is true that around the world there are many people suffering war, famine or other natural or man-made disasters. While I don’t suggest you not care and do nothing, remember that there are many beautiful positive things happening too. Don’t wrap yourself up with all the negative aspects around the world. Learn to look for beauty too for, in building self-esteem, we must learn how to be positive in a negative world. Remember the old saying by World War II General, “Vinegar” Joe Stillwell, “Illegitmi Non Carborundum.”
6: Determination Theory
Are we a product of our biological inherited characteristics (nature) or a result of the influences we absorb throughout our lives (nurture)? I believe how we are is due to a mixture of both nurture and nature and as a result our behavioral traits are not fixed. Whilst it is true that some things are dictated by genetics (for example race, color and many inherited conditions) your environment and the people in your life have a major effect on your behavior. The late Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you hang around with.” You are your own person, you have your own identity and make your own choices. The characteristics your mother or father display are not your destiny. Learn from other people’s experience, so you don’t suffer the same mistakes.
Are some people are born leaders or positive thinkers? I don’t believe so. Being positive, and staying positive is a choice. Building self-esteem and drawing on positive experiences for self-improvement is a choice, not a rule or a talent. No-one will come to you and give you permission to build your self-esteem and improve your-self. It is in your control.
It can be hard to keep positive, especially when others and circumstances seem to be conspiring to pull you down. You need to protect yourself and give yourself a chance to stay positive. Improving your self-esteem gives you that protection.
One way to stay positive is to minimize your exposure to harmful influences while using affirmations to boost the positive influences in your life. Constantly reminding yourself of the good things in your life will keep the impact of negative influences to a minimum. Another way to stay positive is to make sure your goals are set and set correctly. A “compelling why” will surely pull you through when you need it.