Monday, April 4, 2011

Feeling successful

How often are you successful? 
What does that mean?

For now, let's say that being successful means accomplishing what we set out to do.  If you think about it, it's highly likely that you are highly successful most of the time!

I notice that I am able to achieve most of my goals, because most of them are quite simple.
After all, when I want to walk, I walk.
When I want to speak, I speak.
When I want to move my hand, it moves.

Why only rejoice in the successful accomplishment of our more complex tasks?
Do we even fully allow ourselves that pleasure when we do reach our complex goals, lingering to savor the juicy fruits of our labors? More often than not, I find myself noticing what was imperfectly accomplished, instead of focusing on allowing myself to feel the pleasure of a job well done.

Hmmmm.......maybe letting ourselves enjoy feeling successful is a skill that requires practice!

  • Think about your day thus far.  Even if it's very early in the day, you have surely successfully accomplished a large number of tasks, successfully completed many goals.  Why not celebrate the fact that you got yourself out of bed?  (Even if you're still in bed, you were able to get to this blog!) Why take that for granted?  You had a goal, and you achieved it.  Nobody else did that for you! Why take for granted that you were able to move your legs across the room to get where you are?  Why not express appreciation to yourself for the successful completion of your goal, even if the goal was not consciously formulated?
  • Make a list of three very small things that you have accomplished today.  Here's my list:
  1. I was able to press the correct keys to type this sentence. (That made me smile, as I recalled the many things that went into my successfully learning how to type long ago; I also notice the pleasure of moving my fingers in a coordinated fashion as I continue to type.)
  2. I was able to walk over to this desk.  (Learning how to walk was surely no easy thing, and I accomplished that long ago; I am so grateful that I am able to coordinate myself successfully in order to carry myself from one place to another.)
  3. Goal: think of something to write for #3.  (I laugh as I realize that I can accomplish every teeny-tiny bit of this goal in the moments that I think and type at the same time, and my goal carries itself out for me.  I really appreciate that I can think and type at the same time!)

  • Now go back to your list, and, for each item on the list, take some time to get in touch with the deep feeling of pleasure that comes from feeling competent and successful.
  • If we can feel competent many times throughout the day, we are practicing creating that feeling in ourselves.  Feeling competent is a great feeling, and it brings strength and joy with it.
  • Realize that you are actually a very competent person!  The simplicity or complexity of a goal makes no difference.  Every complex task is achieved through the successful completion of many many simple ones.  Appreciate each small, simple step successfully completed, and you will (a) be more likely to continue on to successful completion of the larger, more complex task, and (b) enjoy the process even if you never successfully complete it, because you've enjoyed the little steps along the way.

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