“You’re just not that kind of person that takes out the time to find out what you were really put on this earth to accomplish are you?” This was the statement made to me by husband on our date night three years ago, I was sitting beside him in the car and I wanted to turn around and give him one of those steer downs, you know those one that lets you know it’s time to make a quick exit out…to the nearest exit But I could not shake off what he said, and even worse he was right. Now by now I was running a successful business and I’d been in business for 10 years and as far as I was concerned I was just fine thank you very much.
So What Does Success Really Mean To You?
What does it take to become an accomplished individual?
How do you ‘win’ at this game called life?
There are many answers to these questions and trust me I’ve racked my brain to think through a few but one of the most compelling is the theory put forward by the psychologist Maslow. Maslow stated that humans have a number of needs that they have to fulfil in order to be truly happy and accomplished and that the most successful people in the world are those who reach the top of the pyramid.
Those needs are:
- Physiological – Food, water, warmth
- Safety – Shelter, lack of danger
- Belonging and love – Relationships, community and love
- Esteem – Pride, status, feelings of accomplishment
- Self-actualization – Sense of growth, purpose, meaning and creativity
In other words, the most pertinent and pressing needs that humans must account for are those most basic ones. Without food and water we will die.
But having food and water does not make you happy or fulfilled.
Also important is community. This is why some of the most unhappy people in the world are those who feel alone. There are few things worse that being isolated and alone at Christmas.
But even if you have the family, you have the friends and you have the love, you still won’t reach your full potential if you have no sense of meaning, growth or purpose.
This is why so many people are depressed even when they seem to ‘have it all’. You can be happily married, in a good job and with a sense of family and community. You can even like yourself.
But if you don’t feel like your life has meaning – if it isn’t going anywhere then you won’t be truly content.
This is the big problem for a lot of us because growing is painful. The only way to grow is to challenge ourselves and get outside of our comfort zones. And this is what too many of us are reluctant to do. When you have a nice warm bed and loving family, why would you quit your job? Why would you hit the gym? Why would you go on a long expedition?
Too often, self-actualisation appears to run counter to our physiological needs. But until you learn that self-actualisation should trump all of your other needs, you won’t be truly fulfilled and happy and you won’t have met your true potential.
If we’re going to achieve everything we can, then we need to learn to focus and to stay motivated. It is too easy for us to think of far-reaching goals and to work toward them, only to be distracted by cat videos on YouTube or by cake in the cupboard.
The problem is that the body is designed to keep us alive first and foremost. The attention network in our brain turns our attention to immediate threats and potential rewards such as food and sweets. It is much more interested in keeping us alive as opposed to helping us write a book or run a business.
So how do you take back control?
The key is to remind our body why the things we want to do matter and to find the emotional drive that comes from that.
Work is boring and it is hard for the brain to care about. But what is not boring is having a beautiful house and all the food you could possibly want. Being popular with the opposite sex and accomplishing a feeling of status and accomplishment.
You need to connect the work to the accomplishment.
And the way you do this is with visualization.
One of the best ways to think of the brain is as a simulation machine. Our understanding of the world is based on our experiences in it and our physical sensations. We move towards things that make us feel good and away from things that make us feel bad.
But then we evolved to realise that sometimes it makes sense to move towards something that makes us feel bad – so that we can feel good later. To accomplish this, the brain creates a representation of that reality in our brain and simulates the future in order to help us work toward a distant goal.
And when you visualise that future and simulate what you expect to happen, you use areas in your brain just the same as though you were really experiencing that thing. Picture yourself eating a cake and you will almost taste the cake as the relevant areas in your brain light up.
That imagined cake is therefore just as motivating as the real cake.
The problem is that when we are writing or entering data, the divide between the action and the goal is huge. It’s hard to connect the two.
So picture in your mind why you are doing this. Connect the dots and focus on the outcome. This will create an emotional hook and it will ensure that your mind and body are unified in their objectives.
So my journey has begun to truly finding my purpose and I’m living every minute of it. Since digging deep real deep I’ve the true joy of my life and that is bringing and doing out of my gift, talent and ability helping other actualise themselves and create beauty through their lives. Join me on this adventure and become a member of Rachael Academy and discover the endless possibilities that are available to you out there.
Rachael Apill Phillips