An anonymous writer said, "Opportunity knocks only once, but temptation leans on the door bell." Temptations are those inner cravings to do something that we shouldn't do. It's a combination of our emotions, behaviors, and desires, conflicting with our overarching goals and values. We are not weak or bad because we face temptations; they are a part of life. The problem comes when we give-in to our temptations by compromising what we value and believe. We can be victorious over temptations by implementing a few things.
1. Prepared – We don’t overcome temptations by ignoring them or thinking they won't come. We overcome them by knowing what they look like and having a plan of defense to execute. Successful soldiers are always devising a plan for the enemy. But the plans are no good without being able to properly implement them at the right time in the right way. So before they are face to face with the enemy they go through simulators to give them controlled experiences of executing the plan. We must mentally prepare ourselves for the enemy - the daily temptations we face.
Giving in to temptations is your enemy. Being prepared is necessary to overcoming your temptations. Know the details of what tempts you and then create a game plan to resist. If you give in once or twice to the temptation, don't stop trying. Learn form your mess ups. Adjust your plan and try again. It is said, "Nothing beats a failure but a try." Keep on trying. With each try you are gaining strength. Remember, your temptation doesn't have to be your down fall.
2. Perceptive - Normally temptations don’t just jump out of the air. Usually, they creep upon us like a virus looking for a vulnerable spot to get in. If we're not perceptive and prepared temptations will fully infected us and take us down. We must always be on the alert!
When you find yourself saying “It’s not that bad!", or "Just this once!", or "I’m not going all the way!". These are "bait statements" that can draw you further from your goals. Yielding to temptations can take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and can cost you more than you want to pay. Overcome approaching temptations by perceiving their long term effects in the present. Be perceptive!
3. Avoid - Tim Daniels, states that, “an effective way to overcome some temptations is not to fight but to avoid them." Temptations can get stronger when trying to fight them head on. For example: A married man is tempted by a young woman who is not his wife in the store. In this case, his best option would be to avoid the entire situation if possible. It has been said many times in the medical field that, "Prevention is the best policy!" I think that would work for dealing with temptations too.
Developing an "avoidance plan" should be your number one go-to when dealing with temptations. Don't be afraid to run away from temptations that can be avoided. Be in charge of you! Don’t allow your temptations to define you and make you think and do things that you don’t want. Learn to avoid the people, places, and things that are obvious down falls to your values and goals.
Summary - Overcoming your temptations is imperative for your success. Work on being prepared to the best of your ability. Be perceptive by being on the alert for temptations that are out to destroy you. Go the other way when a temptation is optional. It's best to miss a little something and succeed than to get it all and fail. Combat your temptations by being pro-active all around!
Toy Smith said, "Self control (discipline) is the fire by which talent becomes ability". We have the potential and abilities needed to do great things. However, life challenges can cause us to focus on what we can’t do instead of what we can. To overcome this huge distraction we must execute self-control. Gordon MacDonald says that, "when we are afraid of discipline we do the minimum but when we are unafraid of control (discipline) we have no problem doing the maximum". To achieve the next level of success for our lives we must be willing to control ourselves.
1. Thinking – Our minds are powerful. What we think can become our reality. So controlling our thoughts is key to getting to the places we desire. This doesn't come easy when our thoughts are negative about ourselves. If we don't believe it, then we probably won't do it. This doesn't mean that it's impossible, but it does mean that our thoughts are making it impossible for it to be a reality for us.
Work on having controlled thoughts by only allowing thoughts that produce success to linger around. Separate your negative thoughts from the positive ones. This doesn't mean that you ignore reality but it means that you control the thoughts you allow to develop. Be thought controlled to achieve the success you desire.
2. Emotions – We are emotional creatures, full of feelings. When we get up in the morning our feelings and emotions are usually what we think about first, for example: I'm tired, I'm sleepy, I'm thirsty, or I don't feel good. John Maxwell says that we can either master them or be mastered by them. To master them does not mean that we over look them and act as if they don’t exist but it does mean that we will not allow our feelings and emotions to drive and push us to do things that we don’t want.
Put your feelings and emotions in their place by mastering (controlling) them. When you feel a certain way, think through that feeling or emotion to the end before acting on it. Ask yourself, "What would happen if I acted the way I feel or allowed this feeling to tell me what to do". If you see the outcome is not successful, push it out with positive ones. Continue to control your emotions.
3. Actions – We have heard the phase, "Actions speak louder than words". Simply put, it’s easier to judge what is being done instead of what is being said. But we must not stop with just knowing that. We must work at each moment to align our words and our actions to achieve success in our future.
Let your actions meet your verbal obligations or sentiments. Control your words. Be honest with yourself first. Know what you are talking about before you open your mouth if not keep your mouth closed. Words are meaningless without the actions to support them but beautiful when they are supported by loving actions. Select your words wisely and remember few are needed when your actions are speaking.
Summary – To live a controlled life for success - "Think" instead of reacting, "Process emotions" instead of losing them, "Act out positive desires" instead of just talking about them. Don't make permanent mistakes because of temporary feelings. Live controlled!
Our lives are like a puzzle made up of pieces from our past. But the exciting thing is we are creating new pieces everyday. Our future can be shaped by what we decide to produce daily. Being productive is using our abilities to generate, create, enhance, or bring to life our goals. So each day our focus must be on producing something that's bigger than who we are today. I like the way Leo Rosten put it, he said, "The purpose of life is not to be happy - but to really matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make a difference in the world because we have lived."
3 - Tips to Productivity
1. Prioritize - Productivity is the result of intelligent planning and progressing towards our goals – not just doing more but doing the right things with the right amount of effort. We all have possibly tried to do more without getting closer to our goals. When this happens we might be experiencing a glitch in our schedules, which requires us to revaluate our priorities.
Take 15 to 20 minutes at the beginning of each week to plan your week. Then take five minutes to organize each day by - defining the top three priorities with the length of time you want to spend on them. This is not a time to be flexible. Minimize your distractions by staying away from the things that lure you away. Be disciplined about producing your goals. Demand yourself to reach a certain spot everyday. Remember, continuous baby steps in the right direction will get you to your goal in the long run.
2. Routine - Let's face it, we are creatures of habit. We can carry out tasks faster when we don't have to "think" about it. To be more productive we should work to assigning days of the week for certain things. Not everyone can control the bulk of their schedules, but with the time we do control we should apply structure or a routine. This helps us produce more.
Create your ideal schedule with the time you control. Make time slots for specific projects and tasks. Your productivity is based on how much time and energy you put into it. It can help to have an app on your phone or notebook to log the time and tasks you've worked on. You may find lots of wasted time. Correct this with implementing a routine that breads accomplishing your goals.
3. Magnify - The Pareto Principle brings to life the 80/20 rule, that is 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of effort. How diverse are we? Are we spreading ourselves too thin by trying to do too much? If we narrow our focus, confine our time, direct our energy and channel our efforts to the areas that we do well (20%) we could be more productive.
Look at everything you are involved in. What can be cut to spend more time in the areas that project you towards your goal? A laser is not powerful because it harnesses all the light but because it takes a little light and magnifies it to be powerful. Magnify what you do well and your production will increase.
Summary – It is said, that a life without a plan is a life planning to fail. You can't be productive without having a plan, making the plan a habit and putting your time and energy into the right areas. Start thinking today about you goals and daily producing what it takes to get there. Think productive! Be productive! Accomplish your goals for your life!
An anonymous writer said, “If you give up at the first sign of struggle, you're really not ready to be successful.” I was in a class where the majority of the students complained about how hard the class was. They channeled their energy to finding all the reasons why they needed to drop the class instead of viewing the struggle as an opportunity to gain strength and be better. We all deal with some kind of undesired struggle in our lives that causes us to want to quit. But, success (reaching a goal) comes from allowing the struggle to make us better on the journey. Let's look at three common struggles that we can overcome with proper diligence.
1. Self-Sabotaging – Our minds tend to be the number one down fall to our success. In our minds we tend to think negatively about ourselves first. We quickly label ourselves with thoughts of being unworthy, guilty, or discreditable. Our responses often include the “I can’t....” phrase. When sabotaging thoughts are allowed to dominate our views, they (struggles) become empowered and limit our chances for success.
Be diligent about believing in yourself! From the time you get up until the time you go to bed, be empowered with the thought of “I can...”. You may have limits and unknowns but be willing to learn and improve from them. Don’t be afraid to rely on others that can help where you are weak. You mind is your foundation, don’t sabotage it with negativity.
2. Fear – Angel Richards says, “Holding on to fear is like holding on to fire…but worse. Fire will burn you and take your life but fear will slow your life down and drag it out making it last f-o-r-e-v-e-r.” Fear inhibits our full potential and overcoming it can be a big hindrance to success. We often try to operate within fear which is like being stuck in the mud - a lot of spinning and noise but no movement. Don't be "fear stuck".
Fear is only pushed out with faith - a hope in something that can't be seen but believed is possible in time. Have faith in yourself that you can make it. Take risks! Believe that there is a master plan for your life. Be willing to fail but don’t fail to get back up and try again. Remember, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.” Continuing to diligently confront the struggle of fear with faith will put you on the way to long term success.
3. Un-productiveness – What we do daily builds the life we live. Some of our habits keep us forever struggling to be productive. Steve Maraboli said it best, “We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” Our past unproductiveness can be changed to being productive with diligent energy to move forward to success.
Implementing these simple daily habits can help you avoid some major life struggles. Avoid overspending which leads to financial struggles. Stray from overeating which leads to struggles with health and low self-esteem. Steer from lying (because it leads to struggles with trust) and convert to finding ways to tell the truth. Prevent some struggles in relationships by not cheating and sleeping around. Cut out excessive partying and staying up late because they can lead to struggles in life and on the job. Run from quitting and giving up because it leads to struggles with being successful. Evade wasting time because it leads to struggling with achieving goals. Be diligent about making your life productive over your common struggles.
Summary – “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” (Steve Maraboli) Your struggles for good and better can make you stronger if you allow them to. Work to put your mind to thinking the best about yourself, overcoming fear, and being productive every day. Diligent efforts can help you overcome your struggles and put you on the road to your success.
Diligence is the constant, persistent effort of working hard to achieve a goal. Michael Josephson said, "It doesn’t make sense to run faster if you are running in the wrong direction. It doesn’t make sense to work harder if you are working on the wrong thing. Speed and diligence are only virtues once you have a clear and worthy goal." There is a great danger in being diligence in the wrong area especially when we think we are progressing. Let's become aware of some common dangers that we could find ourselves diligently doing.
3 Dangers To Avoid
1. Idleness – Doing things that are unproductive or avoiding hard work is a danger that will destroy any plan or goal. Diligence to idleness is like putting our head in the sand when work needs to be done and expecting it to be done when we pull it out. There is a fine line between being active and making progress. We can be active yet still idle when it comes to the tasks that we should be on.
Overcome this danger with the mindset of being engaged towards your goal. When you are faced with a project or task make sure it lines up with what you are suppose to be doing, then take it on wholeheartedly. Be one that owns it and works to makes things better. Quickly accept your responsibility instead of finding ways to not do it. Strive daily to move closer to your destiny by destroying idleness and procrastination with steps of diligence.
2. Improvidence – We can display this character by failing to have foresight for our future in our lives. When we find ourselves doing things without thought of our destiny we are facing a diligent danger that's a set up for failure.
Be careful when you hear yourself saying "I don't care." If it involves you, you should care because it affects your destiny. Keep the bigger picture, the end goal or purpose before you at all times. Meditate on it to help you through the distractions life can bring. If you desire to be effective in all that you do, be diligent in being passionate for the things that are foundational for your goals.
3. Ignorance – We all are ignorant about something. We do not know how to do it all. We constantly need to gain knowledge or information of how to do what we do better. Willful ignorance, on the other hand, is a different story. It is the decision to not want to improve one’s self. It's the personal choice to cut off ones ability to grow or improve. Willful ignorance is detrimental to the success of any goal.
Be diligent in knowing what it takes to get to your next level. Face your failures and learn from them. Fight ignorance with intelligence by applying what you learn to better you in your situation.
Summary – Dangers to your goals are all around. Some are impossible to avoid but the ones you can control are idleness, improvidence, and ignorance. Be actively diligent about make yourself better and avoiding the dangers that you face from within. Remember the words of Aristotle, "Excellence is never an accident."