Toxins 4 through 7 of Why a “Do Over?” Are One of These 7 Toxins to Blame? Let’s get right to it and on track to a better life.
Continued from yesterday’s post Why a “Do Over?” Are One of These 7 Toxins to Blame?, let’s get right to it and on track to a better life.
Toxin #4: Guilt
Often it is not the repercussions of wrongdoing that will cause a business to fail, a criminal to be apprehended, or a relationship to end; it is the actions of a guilty conscience. A guilty conscience will cause self-imposed worry, fear, loss of composure, erratic thinking, interrupted concentration, and additional actions that will contribute to and prolong the feeling of guilt. When you take action or speak words contrary to your conscience, you feel guilt. It is a warning, an internal signal, that you have compromised your own rules for life.
Guilt will obstruct your thought process. When your mind is processing thoughts like “Will I get caught? What if they find out? Will I get away with it?”, how can any healthy-minded person think straight with such a paranoid and frantic emotion present? There is a saying that when emotions rise, intelligence falls.
How can anyone expect to achieve with compromised intelligence?
A guilt-free life is simple. Operate with honesty and integrity every day of your life and guilt will not be a problem. It is the shortcuts we take in life that lead to guilt. The immediate gratification we experience from such shortcuts is always taken over by worry, erratic thinking, and interrupted concentration.
Guilt is pretty simple to manage… trust your gut, and trust it fast. Humans inherently know the difference between right and wrong. Do right and a better life certainly awaits you.
Toxin #5: Indecision
When I got out of the Marine Corps, I remember hearing a quote from General Colin Powell: “Indecision has cost the American government, American businesses, and the American people billions of dollars more than the wrong decision.” In other words, NOT making a decision can be more costly than making one, even if it is the wrong one. That quote has stuck with me, and I have referenced it at least a hundred times in conversation since.
Indecision is broadly recognized as a success killer, yet almost completely ignored as a distinction in the world of personal development.
I have divided decisions into two categories.
Category 1 is a “yes” or “no” decision. What will happen if I do? What will happen if I do not?
Category 2 is a “right” or “left” decision. When you find yourself at a fork in the road, you can become paralyzed. Do I turn left? Do I turn right?
The two types have one thing in common. They can stop us dead in our tracks. Through paralysis, relationships deteriorate and businesses fail.
Indecision is toxic. It is the offspring of fear and the mother of paralysis, and it can be costly.
“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
Toxin #6: Fear
Fear! What is it? I mean really, what is it? Literally, it is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain. Fear is a basic survival mechanism related to the behaviors of fight, flee, escape, or avoidance. The capacity to fear is a part of human nature. This emotion is both learned and inherited; it is a lesson that has been passed on from generation to generation beginning millions of years ago when humans initially learned to fear the likes of saber-toothed tigers and hungry wolves (now that’s what I call impending danger, evil, or pain!).
The last I checked, threat from these beasts did not interfere with my last attempt at success. How about yours? Probably not, but everyday fears that seem just as strong still exist. What is important to get is that the vast majority (I feel comfortable going on the record with 99.9%) of fears we face cannot be categorized as impending danger, evil, or pain. There are few things out there that will kill us or cause us physical harm. As long as we look both ways when crossing the street and steer away from dark alleys at night, most danger, evil, and pain can be virtually eliminated from a person’s life. Then why does fear still stop us?
The answer is simple. Whether a threat is real or imagined, the mind will not automatically make the distinction. The mind will initially categorize everything as a saber-toothed tiger.
Fear is easily managed by taking action. Action quickly builds confidence. Conversely, inaction will increase fear and destroy confidence.
On a daily basis do that thing you fear most, and do it first, and fear will disappear. Your life can be completely transformed by heeding this one tiny bit of advice. You will be amazed how liberating this practice can be. Not only does it clear your mind of worry and guilt, it clears your mind for the rest of the day. And a clear mind communicates better, thinks more creatively and sleeps in peace. A well-rested, creative person who communicates clearly and often, produces results…successful results. Consistent successful results equals a better life.
Toxin #7: Environment
H. Clement Stone once said, “Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”
Does that quote cause you to immediately think of your environment, like it did me? Now knowing that you will become your friends, does it cause you to immediately think of your friends? Do you want to become your friends?
The way you think, your attitudes, the size of your dreams and goals, and your very personality will be shaped, if not completely altered, by your environment. Experts and independent studies agree that a person consistently functioning in an environment of negative thinkers, petty attitudes, and pessimistic dispositions will take on those traits. Not to worry; by surrounding yourself with ambitious people you will increase your ambition. Continued companionship with big thinkers will increase your thinking. Prosperous camaraderie will contribute to your prosperity.
You are a product of your environment, and you will become a product of the environment you create. If you create an environment of losers, you will lose. If you create an environment of achievers, you will achieve. The bright side is YOU get to create your environment.
How’d you do? How many of these 7 toxins existed in your past endeavors? How many currently exist? In pursuit of a better life, the quicker you can eliminate any or all of these toxins, the quicker you will get there.