Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Adversity strikes everyone. Everyone has an internal goal train for overcoming adversity. That train can take you anywhere you want to go. Keep your hand on the throttle; don’t look back; move forward and become the heroine/hero of your own life. Subsequently, those around you will feel your rippling effects and will be raised up to a higher level by you to become their own heroine/hero transforming other lives by their rippling effects.
How do you keep your train on track toward your target destination without derailing? Even if your goal train does temporarily derail, how do you get your train back on track, when it seems to be spiraling into some bottomless pit?
There are five foundational teaching moments that will develop a winning attitude. Build yourself a solid train, a train that will take you anywhere you want to go in life.
First: Clear the brush to lay the tracks. Let go of your past. That means letting go of the person you thought you were or are now. Let go of things that happened to you. Let go of your personal reactions to them. Let go and let be. Be open to a new inner creation.
Second: Lay down the foundation of the track for your train. The cornerstone of your foundation is: DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. Doing whatever it takes to overcome your challenges to hit your goal.
Third: Take ownership of how you build your train. Take ownership of your goals, how you relate to them; how they encompass your life. To take ownership, declare your goal. Focus on how you relate to your goal mentally, emotionally and behaviorally. You have to make a mental break from limitations to possibilities, which lead to creation.
When you focus your mental attention on positive possibilities, not negative limitations, you empower yourself to create and design the life you want. Moreover, to help facilitate this emotional shift, express your thoughts with positive, mindfully chosen words. Combined with intentionally thoughtful word choices—mindful internal and external conversation—you will find empowering emotions that correspond to and bring about behaviors that reflect self-trust, enhancing abilities to overcome challenges. You ultimately design a life of your own choosing. Take ownership and dedicate yourself to doing whatever it takes to hitting your goal by constructing your goal train, and that train will take you where you wish to go.
Fourth: Not only do you take ownership of your mental, emotional, and behavioral aspects, take ownership of the concept of the long term. This is where the concepts of short-term and long-term gratification take place. Rule oneself by governing one’s conduct means delaying instant or short-term gratifications, for the sake of long-term satisfaction with regard to achieving one’s goals. Ownership and commitment to the long-term are key parts of the foundation in overcoming adversity and achieving one’s goals in life. Excellence is reflected in a person’s thoughts of, desire for, and consistent implementation of long-term results. They are the nectar of life. It is hard to say no to yourself in the short term. But if done regularly, any frustrated short term wants will be transformed, changed by a new discipline. With discipline, you acquire a powerful tool, which prepares you for any given situation.
Fifth: Another aspect of excellence is the concept of detail. If you master the details of your life, you master your life. Execute the details and the rest will take care of itself. Focus on the details of your goal and you will hit your mark. Walking the path of your details when life is going smoothly is easy; however, focusing on the details to hit your goal—When overcoming a challenge—is tough. As the saying goes: the devil is in the details, so it is with discipline. The discipline is in the details. Assess the details needed for overcoming adversity. Apply discipline. There are three key disciplines: the discipline to set boundaries, the discipline of being mindful, and the discipline of consistency.
The discipline to set boundaries is an artful skill in how you deal with yourself and the world. The ability to have integrity with all things in your life is key. For example, to balance your self-interest with the interest of others with regards to things such as saying “no” to others and to yourself, time management, and emotional exchanges with people are common details that people struggle with on a daily basis. The latter can be analogous to a mental and emotional checkbook. You want to be vigilant and observant by making sure that your withdrawals are covered by a surplus of deposits. In other words, making sure that you are not overdrawn, in the red—emotionally spent—but that you are in the black—energetic, strong and joyful.
The discipline of being mindful is to be constantly aware of the fact that you are not aware of what you don’t know, and becoming aware of what you don’t know, sheds light into awareness of your blind spot. This is a difficult detail to master. But, you need to be present to what you don’t know, as this blind spot can throw you off the tracks and your train derails. For example, you sell yourself out by not realizing that your generosity of spirit is not about you being generous, but it is about co-dependency: an unhealthy giving that hurts.
The discipline of consistency is like a steadfast train running smoothly down its tracks, the track provides stability that keeps the train on course. The conductor exercises the discipline to move the train forward at the right speed at the given point of the track or the train will derail. Ultimately, the conductor ensures that train will end at its final destination. You are the conductor of your life; your discipline of consistency is you moving down the track of your own life. You must have the commitment to excellence with regard to the details in your life and being consistent with regard to those details. Your behavioral constancy, of being mindful to the small details by definition and by foreseeable indirect planning to the consistency of details, will execute your big picture goals. You are responsible for staying on track with your life and moving forward; no one else is responsible. If you are one degree off in the details of your life—which can be caused by internal causes like not having enough personal mindfulness or caused by external forces that are not within your control—your trajectory, long term, will take you off course, far away from your goal destination. Years can go by; time wasted; consequences unseen turn real. You don’t even realize it: your life train has derailed. To avoid derailment, be conscious of the choice you make with the details, be curious in the possibilities of what you don’t know. Be darn sure of implementing your knowledge of details to cultivate a life of excellence. How do you measure excellence? By implementing the right tools, you have mastered.
In terms of my own life, last year, I had an episode with my bipolar illness (an external obstacle). I gained 20 lbs. I wanted to lose weight, but I couldn’t. I know that I didn’t want to measure all my food and wanted to eat on the fly and eat out (internal obstacle). I started to measure all my food; I still didn’t lose any weight. Since that didn’t work, I started to examine my situation and dig deep to figure out what I didn’t know. My blind spot. I understood the fact that I didn’t eat breakfast at home; my Starbuck card could attest to that. On the surface, I realized that I needed to eat breakfast at home and I thought—that is that, but actually, I hated to be in the house. I woke up, and literally, ran out of the house. At night, I pulled up in my driveway talking to my boyfriend about my father and other events of the day. I didn’t hang up till it was late at night, and I was ready to go to sleep. I realized that I started this pattern when my father had a catastrophic stroke and had to move to a nursing facility. What I didn’t know was I was running from the devastating fact that my father was never coming back; things had changed—forever, and I was not handling it well.
Living a chaotic lifestyle that was not enabling me to eat sensibly, because I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. At the bottom of my rushed chaotic life, I was profoundly sad. I didn’t want to feel it; however, I exercised self- compassion. I exercised mindful constructive self-talk. Then, I experienced an AHAH moment. At this moment, I knew I had to use an effective reminder to keep me on track of my goals. My choice was a calendar. I bought two. One was to measure feelings of loss. I would sit in my home and meditate for fifteen minutes on experiencing the full-spectrum of emotions that included the grief I had for my father. Then, I would eat breakfast at the table that I used to dine with my father. Every time I accomplished this, I would put a big fat Sharpie “X” on the calendar. Soon, I had a string of large black “X”s, which showed my progression. I quickly realized that I was setting up my day for success. My days became less hectic, and I was able to implement my next detail, which was represented on the second calendar.
The next detail I had to execute was measuring my food and to eat only my daily food preparation, so I could lose weight. Once again, I put a large “X” with each success. Before I knew it, a month went by without a gapingly open date square. I lost 8 lbs that month. The second month, I needed some correction, as I didn’t measure my food for several days. I realized I was going to bed too late. I changed my bedtime. Once I got back on track from my personal derailment, I began losing weight again. My discipline of implementation kept me right on track. My train is heading to my target destination of 135 lbs. The long term is becoming crystal clear. This was a newly gained insight.
Critical analysis. Self-compassion. Discipline. Implementation. Consistency. These qualities will keep you on the track, particularly in times of difficulty. Everybody has a difficult moment or period—sometimes daily; however, as tempting as it may be to throw in the towel, there is always a constructive choice with a specific detail in terms of your goal. The critical key is the faster you realize you’re going off the track, in my case, weight loss, the easier it is to get back on a train running upon success. The devil is indeed in the details, so is the discipline in weight loss and everything else in fact.
Be mindful of the details. Practice self-compassion when you personally derail. Be consistent in applying them through thoughtful positive self-talk are keys to forming the muscles of unflappable self-confidence. This unflappable self-confidence is fuel for your life train. Apply these principles over and over again coupled with a do whatever it takes attitude—and they will shape the muscles of tenacity in order to overcome any challenge. You will soar to heights of personal achievement you had not thought of—an achievement of being the best version of yourself. This personal achievement transforms women into heroines, men into heroes, and by doing so—elevates the world to a higher place.