Success books, there are thousands of them. Some written by quacks who would not know self from help but a few written by people whose works stand the test of time. Developing a habit of daily readings of self help books does make a difference as borne out by personal testimonials. Check out my handpicked selection of self help books.
But could it be that some insights are more valuable than others. Is there really a differentiating insight or strategy that can make a difference of several orders of magnitude if implemented. Or is that an elusive holy grail that can be never found. Is it our intellectual laziness that makes us desire the one thing.
Success books can promise much. Given the right book by the right person this advice is useful and can potentially change your life.
Potentially because you first need to deal with your brain.
There is now solid science to prove the importance of the brain and the fact that it is the most complicated machine in the entire universe.
We take our brain for granted and treat it like an ordinary body part. But our brains run everything and every part of our life.
Changing our life for better starts with our brain. The sooner we realize how important our brain is the sooner our life will change.
In fact according to Dr Daniel Amen, full body scans reveal so much activity in our brain compared to the rest of the body that our brain appears like a small heater in the scan while the rest of the body is ghostly pale.
The brain has approximately 100 billion cells called neurons. Each neuron is connected to one another by by about 40,000 synapses.The number of combinations among the neurons exceeds the number of starts in the universe. According to Greg Iles in Footprints of God the brain can store 6 million years supply of the Wall Street Journal. I will repeat that again this time slowly…6 million years of the Wall Street Journal. Staggering! All packed in a 3 pound piece of buttery soft mass.
When it comes to our brains the old axiom ‘use it or lose it’ really does apply. Our brains grow rapidly till the age of 11. In fact the ages between 3 and 11 are extremely important to brain development. You are not just a by product of your parent’s genes. Your environment matters a lot. So if you have a child in that age range make sure there is good stimulation for brain development. From the age of 12 the brain actually starts pruning neurons that are not being used. The slide continues. Brain activity scans have revealed that adult brains can never recapture the amount of brain activity found in young brains. But that does not mean you have to check into a instituion the moment you turn 12. There is still a lot you can do to prevent your brain from damage and not only maintain its function but actually improve it.
To truly understand the consequence of an improved brain to your life you must understand the difference between brain directed behavior and will directed behavior. The hallmark of a superior person and by definition a superior brain is that there is high level of consciousness behind every action. You are goal oriented. You persist despite obstancles. Emotional storms don’t leave you wrecked. Orison Swett Marden has written a short but powerful book on the importance of will power.
In brain directed behavior you are hijacked by your impulses. An ill developed or injured brain is more likely to cause impulse behavior.
You can do a lot to prevent your brain from rotting. Drug and alcohol abuse ravage brain cells. So does smoking. So do sports that involve impacts to the head such as boxing, football, soccer. So does riding motorcycles. Motorbikes, oh how I am grateful to my mother for never letting me ride one when I was kid! Our skulls are strong and the brain is cushioned by by the cerebrospinal fluid. Despite that injuries can happen to the brain. The inside of our skull has several sharp edges some as sharp as a knife. In an accident the brain has no other place to go but within the skull against these hard edges.
The most insidious thing about brain injury is that it is very subtle. Even after a hard knock on your head you could be conscious. You would probably dust yourself off shrug your shoulder and walk off as if nothing ever happened. But researchers are now discovering that brain injuries are additive. The centers that operate consciousness are deep inside the brain so there could well be injuries that have affected the superficial part of the brain. Also the brain has enough reserves to operate around damaged portions of the brain. The general consensus is that you have to lose about 30% of your brain mass before you notice anything amiss. But without a clue about how much your brain has already suffered you could just be one brain injury away from a disaster.
You are your brain. Without a properly functioning brain you can never be successful. With a properly functioning brain you will perform well in every aspect of your life from being a good employee, to being a good mom, wife, friend etc.
You can’t hide a good brain.
There are three things you can do to improve your brain function:
- physical excercise
- mental exercise
- social bonding
Get your brain in order first and then feed it the right stuff. Stuff such as positive uplifting thoughts, affirmations, inspirational true stories, time tested strategies for peak performance.
Personal growth or personal development means many different things to each of us. We are all different individuals and it takes a wise person to see they might have flaws and need to growth or change in some of their actions. Personal growth is about us and our prospective of us. The most important aspect of personal growth is how you feel about yourself. Do you see yourself relating to others, be it family, friends or co-workers appropriately? Are you living your life totally, completely and in line with how you think you should? Are you happy with how you deal with life or do you see yourself needing to change some things? Positive Changes does not indicate we are necessarily bad. It does not mean that we are deteriorating in our life or living an inappropriate life but that we want to live a more durable life.
Another individual cannot tell you that you are in need of Personal Growth. It is a conscious decision that one makes for ones self. Opposition is part of deciding if this is where we need to go. Sometimes we see the need to grow when life has thrown us a shock and we can’t get back on track, we need to learn something about whom we are and why we are reacting the way we are. Sometimes it is about success in our life; success we do not think that we have. We are not where we want to be and we need help to remove the obstacles that seem to be standing in the way.
I have seen very self absorbed people who seemed to think they know all the right ways and it is their way or no way. It seems that the people who need personal growth the most are carrying around baggage and do not even realize it. They are frustrated, intolerant and suspicious of others or they would not be trying to prove they know it all. No one knows it all, not today, not yesterday nor will they tomorrow. It does not matter how intelligent one is; it is how they relate themselves to other people. They think everyone else is lacking and they feel all of their expertise is being wasted. When in all actuality; their expertise is not visible due to their attitude.
To see the need for personal growth means you are seeking either improvement or possibly purification from something or someone. Maybe it is only that you need to change the way you perceive something that has changed you life. Arousing your self awareness can’t be all bad. It actually means you have depth of wanting to beautify your soul. You could be doing everything appropriately and everybody is happy, including yourself, but in reality; probably not. I am afraid that not many of us are happy all the time. Life isn’t all wine and roses and happiness is a mind set and begins within us like everything else….how many time have I said all of this begins within us?
If we are happy the way we are it means we have mastered something very important. When we get to this state in our life and we feel a sense of accomplishment; it bring contentment and a feeling of being at peace with ourselves and others.
This is a subject we do not like to talk about and suitably so, especially if it is ours. This is quite normal I think, and talking about it does not change it. Taking steps to overcome the dead emotions which failure sometimes brings must be dealt with for us to recover and get back on the road to success “after failure”.
Everybody makes potholes and fails at sometimes in their life. If they tell you they have never had “failure”, they are telling a big one, I think. It is a common aspect of life and it isn’t going to change. It does not have to be anything big or destructive to living a good life, but if we are human, we can look back and see some places, we could have done a whole lot better.
Sometimes we fail because we gave up on something before we gave it time to work. We fail sometimes because we look at others and what they have done, not realizing that we cannot compare our own life’s work to anybody; we must strive for our own way of and pursuing life things. Anything we do in life must have a plan, a starting point, a progression period and then the final results. Growing personallyis something that we all need at some point in our life. Sometimes we must change our goals during our progress and that is why we do an assessment every now and then. Take for instance a marriage. When we get married, we have a plan to work at it, make it beautiful, and feed it with passion and know it takes some give and take. Yet so many times we forget ,we get busy with other life things and forget to feed it, we forget it needs care, sometimes more later, than sooner. What do you know; somebody is unhappy out the blue. Sometimes it is too late, sometimes it can be fixed and sometimes it seems too much neglect was the final draw and we have to deal with what we call “failure”
Someone who is lazy and doesn’t want to work for what they get…could be called a failure. Life is not going to just hand any of us anything. It doesn’t work that way. We must work for our lunchas nothing is free. An addiction is another aspect we can call failure; it doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol. It can be spending too much money; it can be spending too much time on the job. It can be taking too much time off the job, you know; sick days; too many of them; all of a sudden, no job. It can be giving someone else a hard time and not having respect for our fellow man. Whatever it is named; if it is done often can be called failure…we can overcome it and “live again” if we take notice to our needs. In our Change we need to look at all aspects of our situation and not get too down on ourselves.
How do we begin to get our life on tract after failure? When it happens we have to really analyze if it is truly “failure”. Sometimes mistakes get named failure. If we keep doing something over and over and it winds up costing us great consequences it is likely failure and not just a mistake. A mistake is something you did unintentionally and you normally do not do it again. We learn from our mistakes and take them as part of life to help us grow. If we repeatedly do something it is time for us to get a professional to help us find out why we are duplicating the same things over and over before it cost us too much.
To me and I am not giving you professional help you must seek that yourself, but I am giving you hope that there is help and I have seen healing for our failures through or change if we want it. To me, failure is where one has notoriously doing something that they knew was causing themselves harm or someone else and they do it anyway. There is still a way to recover. There is always hope until we die and we can be healed of our failures and become new again. There are Therapist, Counselors and Psychologists who are trained to help us in our endeavors as well a Personal Growth experts. I am not either but I do love to see recovery and study self improvement and I work on myself everyday….I’m not perfect …doubt I will ever be but at least I am working on me!
What is Success? We have asked that question over a few times and we get many challenging interpretations and it seems that we still do not have all the right answers. We know performance is a key ingredient.
Success according to the Dictionary:
• achievement of intentions- achievement of something planned or attempted
• something that turns out well – something planned and turned our well as intended
• fame or fortune, money
We could name more terminology but we have enough to elaborate with these. I like the Thesaurus definitions because it is inclusive of more things than just something planned, money or fame. We have good fortune, good luck, favorable outcomes; we are effective and even victorious, everyday in our life. Therefore success is not something that is unattainable. It is about accomplishments, achievements and sometimes appears to be good luck. Sometimes I think people think they will never be successful because they defining success as something it is not; and they are actually achieving the definitions listed under Thesaurus in some area of their life.
I am not one to believe that success is much about good luck. Successful Living is a part of life that you get the reward of your labor. Success is about your plans, what you seek and how hard you strive to accomplish your desires. You work toward something, not to the finish line as it takes time to get there; if there is a termination . It is said that Success if a Journey. If one makes reasonable goals and if you work toward achieving them, they should be achievable, one at a time. Of course we humans desire to have more material things; and live well but that is not the essence of really living well. This is not all bad by any means, but it is not the most important approach to becoming successful. There are times that we do not reach what we set out to; these are the times we have back up and start over and find what did not work and possibly why.
The essence of living well is living within our financial abilities and feeling good about where we are. It seems when people get into trouble it is because they have reached beyond what they can afford. Success is about fruition….fulfillment, which can mean that we are fulfilled passionately and are happy with our life. Success is making sure we have our priorities straight. We know that Success consist of many areas of our life; not just in the financial or career area.
If success could be fully achievable all at some point; we would see people saying; okay, I have all it all, I don’t need anything further. I am done, now I can sit back and relax.
I do not believe that success materializes like this. I believe that success is something we walk toward, strive at, keep reaching for in all areas of our life and receive it gradually. In other words; we finally get the kids in college, we finally have them graduate, we have the college education paid for, we have our house paid for, we are going on that dream vacation and someone is working toward being VP of my company. Success is goals we reach for one step at a time. Each one is a victory which has come from hard work and dedication.
Success is not all about getting to be the President of Google. It is about getting to where we are inspired with our progress toward our goals within our family, our friends, our faith and our careers. It is not all about wealth.