Do you feel that life has become unbearable these present few weeks or months? As Wayne Dyer said, "You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside." So when it comes to determining how you live your life (especially right now), who is the real boss-you or your brain? Here are a few ways to help you rewire your grey matter circuitry so that you can always try to make the right call for your life be it for your career, studies or even in love.
Are you in control of your own life?
Like it or not, it is a fact that more often than not we have been enslaved by our own mental impulses. Due to unforeseen circumstances like the ones that are out of our circle of influence, we might succumb to our own irrationality. A lot of our mental processing takes place a layer below our surface of consciousness which in turn will affect our thinking and behavior. We need to change the way we think and avoid making cognitive biases. Let's be the master of our own grey matter.
6 Ways To Mentally Take Control of Your Life
1. Make Your Glass Half-full All The Time
Stop victimizing yourself and know that you can take control of your mind. See that glass over there (imagine): is it half empty or half full? Remember that you are the one who decide. Get rid of the negativity bias which is always fixating you on the downside of life. For example, instead of whining that you are trapped at home due to the virus quarantine, why don't you see this an opportunity for you to execute whatever you have been wanting to do or learn before this. Always count your blessings and you will realize that your glass will be half-full.
2. Play Devil's Advocate
Sometimes we tend to want to stick in our comfort zone given that so many people are doing the same, right? You feel that following the crowd gives you a safety net but this is purely herd instinct. What if you have to take the blame for this costly mistake? So escape the herd by playing devil's advocate. It will be more ideal if you can ask another person to be "evil". Otherwise take the mantle of the 'critical evaluator' yourself and look for flaws in an otherwise perfect solution that everyone has agreed upon. By playing the devil's advocate you expect the worst while preparing for the best. It is a good contingency plan in decision making be it at work or in your daily life.
3. What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Fact is if you survive something that has almost snatched your life, you have already beaten it even without lifting a finger. Failing in something is inevitable; What is even more important is how you respond to your defeat. Build courage after setbacks and know that for each blow that you suffer, you are actually getting closer to your goal. The adversities that you are facing serve as opportunities for you to learn and grow. Visualise yourself beating your nemesis or whatever obstacle that you want to smash through in your mind first. Once you have taken them down mentally, it will be easier for you in the flesh.
4. Conduct Periodic Checks
Admit it! We will have the tendency to continue doing something blindly without real lateral thinking simply because we are already invested in it. Such irrational escalation is sometimes difficult to detect and remove partly because you have thrown in a lot of time and effort in it. But if you do not remove the blindfold, you will end up losing even more. So carry out periodic checks on whatever you are doing at different intervals (preferably 4) be it working projects or family plans to make sure you are on the right track. Due to different circumstances, you might need to realign your goals and resources. If possible ask a colleague or a family member to help you out as they might not be as emotionally engaged as you, hence they will not succumb to the bias that you might be experiencing.
5. Value The Source Of The Truth
Information can be fabricated and conjured out of thin air to mislead us. It is our duty to ensure that the knowledge we want to assimilate is authentic and reliable. Do not let a flaw like source amnesia gets the better of you, causing you to forget to check where 'facts' came from. You need to avoid such a trap as it might jeopardize your career and relationships with the people around you. For example when a colleague invents stats to gain the upper hand, do question his sources but not his numbers. When someone relays an information to you, make sure to always validate it before using it. Make it a habit to substantiate your input so that it will be beneficial to you instead of doing otherwise. Citation is important or you will be rendered as a useless empty talker. So be mindful of what you say and that means you have to value the source of the the truth first.
6. Optimize Your Deadlines
Do not try to be a hero by over-promising at work or in relationship again! Do not agree to complete something within a time frame when you are clearly not capable of fulfilling it. Such a blip sounds more like you are planning fallacy that will put a lot of dents on your reputation. Do not underestimate task-completion time and then being stressed out when the impossible deadlines are looming. Know that it is OK to push back on deadlines. So how do we optimize our deadlines?
4 Ways to Optimize Your Deadlines
- Create or look for benchmarks for similar projects.
- Compare the benchmarks and the project that you will be working on.
- Predict the time needed for task completion.
- Break the big deadline into small ones.
According to Dr. Piers Steel's Temporal Motivation Theory, we sometimes lack the focus and urgency to accomplish distant deadlines. So when we break them into small deadlines, it will be easier to complete the whole task. So don't just say that you want to paint your new house. Set the particular times to select the paints, prepare the walls to paint and finally complete the job. Voila! You will have a very pleasurable time meeting your deadlines.
To be successful in life, you need to first...set you mind!
There you have it folks 6 proven ways to mentally take control of your life and be successful in everything. It is a fact that we cannot change whatever that is taking place outside our circle of influence. Then again you need to remember that you are the master of your own life especially your mind. If you are not happy with your life right now, most probably it is because you have lost control of your mind. In order to live your life to your fullest potential you must always begin with the end in mind. What is the final destination that you yearn for? Think about it.
It is time to take control of your life.
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