Realizing our true potential involves self-knowledge, self-acceptance and self-guidance. As we gain greater awareness of ourselves and take positive, purposeful action we begin to validate our potential. This validation of our potential creates a success-reality for us that in turn will carry us toward higher achievements. The key is to convince our Selves of this possibility. Our failure to do this is usually because we are not convinced enough. We simply don’t believe that we can do it! Essentially, we fail to produce positive results due to the self-sabotage taking place in our sub-conscious minds. There are powerful mind-triggers that hold us back just as their equally powerful mind-triggers that tell us to go for it! We listen to our negative sub-consciousness because of imbedded commands that have been programmed into us, i.e. little voices that we have heard for many years from parents, teachers, spouses, bosses and even our best friends. We don’t receive nearly as much positive reinforcement from others as we get reasons why it can’t be done: We are told that we need more experience! We have never done it before! We don’t have enough education! We can’t afford it! We have to take care of this or that problem first! We should be content with who we are! We need to take care of other responsibilities! For some bizarre reason, people just don’t like to encourage us to succeed. But the far greater problem is that we tend to listen to them. And believe them! If we listen only to our Self we will eventually begin to believe what we are hearing.
If we take life’s events at face value, assume that they are our destiny and agonize over their presence, then we will have succumbed to a future that we no longer control. If, however, we adopt the attitude that life’s events are merely occurrences, that they deserve no more importance than what we ascribe to them, then we can become the master and life becomes our servant. Thus, self-realization is not just the identification of our most inner needs and expectations but rather their reflection in the way we feel about ourselves and in how we choose to approach life. Essentially, our Self becomes actualized through our thoughts, our self-beliefs and our actions, all of which are based upon a passionate Purpose-driven attitude.
We must recognize that we are not simply a Self, some amorphous thing that sits on a shelf in a dark corner of the room, complete in its own essence. Our Self is a living, breathing, learning, acting, doing, thinking human being. Our Self moves through life, facing continuous stimulation that requires continuous responses. It survives and prospers by coming out of the dark, out of its basic shell, and then charging into the brightness of each day, participating with great Purpose and Vision. The choice we must make is whether to let our Self turn into a Shawish-type tired, selfish clod with grievances that the world is not making us happy, or a Self that passionately realizes what it is, what it wants and what it is going to do. Taking the higher road ultimately leads us to our Higher Self, where we never have to regret the choices that we made – because they were the choices we meant to make.
Discovering our true Self comes not only from answering the hard questions about who we think we are, but rather by molding the self-image of who we want to be. Self-imagining is a powerful tool for determining our feelings about success and what we want our lives to actually look and feel like. It is well documented that if we hold ourselves in low esteem, this self-concept will generally lead to a series of life-long failures, whereas an attitude of supreme self-confidence and self-worth will generally lead to greater life success and happiness. Whether we choose to feel inferior or superior is a matter of personal choice.
This is not to imply that we can just flip a few switches and then radiate supreme confidence, but we can with practiced effort over time develop a mental picture of ourselves as achieving, purposeful individuals. As we carry a higher sense of self-confidence around with us and act as if we are unstoppable, we will find that our string of small victories will build upon themselves, creating even more momentum for success. When Dwight Eisenhower was asked how he would feel if his invasion forces had been turned back in Normandy, he said, I don’t know. I never let that thought enter my mind. We, as well, can develop mental pictures of ourselves as always winning, gaining, enjoying, succeeding, and those powerful suggestions will more often than not produce those exact results.
Conversely, we can take a self-defeated attitude. That self-suggestion will lead to failure, in itself, as that is exactly what we will have imagined for ourselves. Again, the choice is ours: We can either feel that we have a strong Purpose and a passionate life force within us, or we can feel that we are merely victims and our lives serve little meaning or Purpose. Either set of feelings will determine the results we are seeking.
We can easily recall those many instances where we felt an overload in our lives. We felt helpless trying to manage all of our self-created obligations as well as those that were imposed on us by outside forces. Over time, we became exhausted and our psychic energy was depleted. Left unattended, we will eventually experience anxiety in its mildest form to a total burnout or a nervous breakdown in its most extreme form. Our risk increases as we lose sight of ourselves, our Purpose, our Values and our Mission. We would be allowing life to manage us rather than our taking control, thus, reordering our life and our mental beliefs around those things that we can effectively manage.
The lament of modern society is that too many of us falsely believe that we must run harder and faster just to keep up. The proverbial treadmill is the greatest threat to our sense of Self as it takes us away from what is really most important to us. The mind has been scientifically proven to be capable of processing only so much information at any one point in time. There is a limit to our consciousness, and when we push that limit we are effectively shutting down our brains with an overload of psychic garbage. Our goal should be to filter this psychobabble out, before it gets a foothold in our minds. We must always recognize it for what it is: useless, non-urgent, non-productive data that crowds out the meaningful information that will bring more satisfaction to our lives.