To excel in life, you must define who you are, and make a decision on who you want to be. Your personality is made up of your principles, aura, your ethical disposition, choices, habits, and your brand.
Principles are deep-seated convictions, values, norms and standards that guide your decisions and actions. Your principles are the basis for your interpretation and determination of right and wrong actions. Principles influence and sway your choices. They are what you stand for. They are your rules of life, your standards and the moral compass of your life. You cannot excel in life if you have not determined your principles. Like the popular saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.
In living out your purpose and in implementing your plans what are the things you would not compromise? What would you not tolerate? What are your core values? Those who have no values are easily swayed by fads, popular opinion, peer pressure and external validation. They are neither hot nor cold, neither to the right nor the left. For them everything and anything goes. Those who lack principles always have a running battle with their conscience.
Principles are products of convictions. Convictions are deeper and higher than beliefs. Beliefs can be swayed, but convictions are cast in rock. Unbreakable principles are built on the foundation of total and absolute faith in the inevitability of consequences (positive or negative) for standing on or breaking the principles.
Can you reject the king’s delicacies to protect your principles? Would you rather be thrown into the lion’s den than to break your principle? When push comes to shove what are the things you would not compromise with respect to your spirituality, family, career, business and finances? Consistently standing on to your principles will build your character. To determine your principles, consider the following questions:
1. What is your preferred way of living (work, family, relationships, socializing, spirituality, etc.)?
2. How would you describe a man/woman of principle?
3. How would you like to be described by family members, friends, religious community, business associates, colleagues, neighbours, etc.?
4. What personal characteristics do you want to possess or acquire? Consistently standing on to your principles will build your character.
The second element of your personality is your aura. Your aura is a product of your thoughts, your feelings and your words. Your aura is the energy that you exude. At every point in time, whether you are aware of it or not, you are radiating a force. That force is magnetic. But unlike other magnetic forces where likes and likes repel, and unlike poles attract, in this force called aura likes and likes attract and likes and unlike personalities repel.
Consequently, what you attract to yourself, your career, your business, your finances, etc. is a product of what you think, what you feel and what you say. If you think, feel, talk and ‘do’ wealth, you will attract wealth. If you saturate your mind with thoughts of success, if you feel successful and if you talk success, you will likely attract success. If your thoughts about your family are thoughts of love, if your feeling towards your family is love and if you speak loving words to and about your family, you will attract love to your family.
Conversely, if you think that every wealthy person is a criminal, if you feel that wealth is repugnant and you talk negatively about wealth, you will inevitably repel wealth. If you keep thinking that your spouse is unfaithful, you feel unworthy to be loved and you talk down on your marriage, you will inescapably repel bliss and love in your home.
Have you noticed that sometimes you meet someone for the first time and for no reason at all, you find the person undesirable? And at other times, you meet another person for the first time and without taking out time to know the person better, you just notice that you like and are attracted to the person. I dare say that your disposition to those you find unattractive is to a large extent a product of the lack of congruence between your thoughts, feelings and confessions. In the same vein, the ones you find acceptable are most likely those whose thoughts, feelings and words are in sync with yours.
I developed a concept, which I call “positive charismatic witchcraft”. It is your ability to use the alignment of your thoughts, feelings and words with others to influence them. In other words, if you walk into a room filled with wealthy people, think like them, feel wealthy and speak like a wealthy person. You will be amazed how they would be attracted to you. If you want to win over a child, think like the child, feel like a child and talk like a child. To excel in life therefore, I strongly recommend that you overwhelm yourself with thoughts, feelings and confessions consistent with your purpose, your vision and your goals. Feed your mind with the thoughts, feelings and words that will attract the kind and type of people you want in your life. Commit to disciplining your
thoughts, your feelings and words to create the right kind of aura. You can energize the force and charm that would magnetize the people and things you need to excel in life.
The third element of your personality is personal and work ethics. Ethics are individual judgments or moral values, which affect personal or professional actions. Work ethics on the other hand is a group of moral principles and standards of behaviour or set of values regarding proper conduct in the workplace. Good ethics include: loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, dependability, reliability, initiative, self-discipline and self-responsibility. Others punctuality, character, teamwork, good appearance, productivity, respect, cooperation, demonstrating good manners, respecting confidentiality, seeking opportunities for continuous improvement, obeying rules and regulations, etc.
In situations or circumstances where you face an ethical dilemma in life, I suggest the following:
· Firstly, talk to people whose judgment you respect.
· Secondly, ask yourself: what would the most ethical person you know do in this circumstance?
· What would you do if you were sure everyone would know?
· Also ask yourself: would I feel comfortable about my professional peers, family and friends knowing about the situation?
· How would I feel if I saw this in a newspaper?
The fourth element of your personality are your choices. I need to state upfront that where you are today is a function of your choices in the past, and where you would be in the future would also be influenced by the choices you make today. When it comes to choices and their consequences, you have no choice. Every choice has a consequence. For instance, if you consider some of the choices you have made about your finances, you probably would realize that if you had made different decisions your financial state could have been better than it is today. The question is, with the benefit of hindsight what led you to the choice you made? Would you choose those options again? Conversely, are their seemingly painful choices you made in the past that you are very happy about today?
Choices are decisions that you make from different alternatives. To have a choice means there are options. Those who excel in life are careful about the decisions they take. They are mindful of their choices. Your life is defined by your choices. Your choices circumscribe you. At every point and stage in your life, you are confronted with critical and sometimes destiny defining choices.
As you pursue excellence, you will often face the quandary of either turning
right or left, moving forward or retreating, saying yes or no, spending the money or investing it, delaying gratification or drawing down on the pleasure immediately, staying awake one more hour or sleeping, spending time with the family or hanging out with friends, reading a book or watching a football match, going for an exercise or watching a movie. These crossroads are not always between the bad and the good. They can be decisions about two good options or two bad options or between the good and the bad options.
At the point of making decisions we hardly see or know the right or wrong
ones. Only the future and the consequences help us evaluate the good and the bad decisions. To excel in life therefore, you must carefully evaluate all possible options for every decision you want to make. This means identifying the options, examining the pros and cons of each option, analysing the immediate, short and long-term consequences of each option in the context of your life purpose and your plans. In addition, you should also review your choices on a regular basis to evaluate, with the benefit of hindsight how they have helped or impeded your pursuit for excellence in your career, family, finances, business and spirituality. What positive and negative lessons have you learnt? What are your plans for remedying and avoiding the repeat of the bad choices? How can you re-enforce the good choices and the steps you took in making those decisions?
This leads us to the fifth element of your personality – Your habits. Habits are the things you do consistently until they become part of you. Habits start from conscious actions and then graduate to subconscious routines. Those who smoke packets of cigarette a day didn’t start that way. They probably started by taking a puff from a friend’s cigarette; then graduated to taking one stick of cigarette a day. If they had stopped at one stick, nobody would label them chain smokers today! But they continuously increased the frequency and number of sticks they smoked. Today, they are so addicted to smoking that some would rather forgo food than miss a stick of cigarette. Now the cigarette, which they could control in the past, is now their master. Some would drive several kilometres at night to get a stick or pack.
In the same way, you don’t add weight by eating twenty meat pies in a day. You added weight progressively by eating one meat pie today, two doughnuts tomorrow, chicken and chips the next day and a large portion of steak with a bottle of red wine a day after. Habits are first actions before they become habits. Habits start as one-off activities that become lifestyles. Our personalities are defined and determined by our habits. What you consistently do eventually becomes your way of life and influence your outcomes.
Therefore, to develop the personality that will pursue and achieve excellence you must identify the actions you need to take every day until they become part of you. Is reading critical to living out your purpose and achieving your aspirations in life? Then start reading every day. It doesn’t have to be convenient for you. Is exercise important for you to win the medal? Start exercising every day, whether you enjoy it or not. Would boarding the ‘molue’ bus every day to preach give you the spiritual muscle to fulfil your purpose of preaching to millions of people? Get on board the bus and preach every day.
What habits do you have that may impede your pursuit for excellence? You must commit to breaking those habits. However, please note that you did not acquire those habits in one day. Therefore, attempting to end the habits in one day would only lead to frustration. The addicted cigarette smoker cannot quit smoking in one day – even with the best therapist and most sophisticated technology. The fat person won’t lose 20kg in one day. You lose weight the way you gained it – gradually, consistently and habitually
Consequently, having identified the habits that encumber excellence in your life, you must be deliberate, consistent and totally committed to dropping them. The key is to constantly gauge your actions by how they can fast track or impede your pursuit of excellence. Don’t allow those actions, mistakes or one-off misadventures to become habits.
What are the things you need to master to excel in your career, business, relationships, spirituality and finances? Remember that you cannot master them until you have started doing them on a regular basis. The parents of genius are practice and practice. One-off actions don’t guarantee excellence. Consistent practice does.
“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” – JOS. ORTEGA Y. GASSET