In each edition of the magazine we are including three life-changing tips taken from the best-selling book “100 Tips for Total Life Fulfilment” by Joe St Clair, to inspire our readers.
Tip One – Surround yourself with positive influences only
All day, every day of our lives, we are surrounded – if not bombarded – with things that influence us. Some of these influences are direct and obvious but many are subtle and almost imperceptible. Whether we like it or not other people, society at large and other cultural and environmental factors are constantly trying to stamp their influence on us. And it works.
In order to understand how we are being influenced we need to firstly recognise the fact that we are being constantly manipulated by subliminal influences and secondly, and much more importantly, we need to make a mental decision to be very selective about what we are willing to put up with – and what we will no longer tolerate.
For example, think about the people around you – because these are usually your biggest ‘influencing factors’. Are they vibrant, positive, enthusiastic, highly motivated, optimistic, fun, successful? Or are they lethargic, dull, lazy, pessimistic, non-achievers? The fact is that who ever you choose to mix with will be a huge influencing factor on your own views and perceptions of life.
Ask yourself this; Do you watch interesting uplifting and positive TV programmes? Or are you addicted to the weekly barrage of depressing, world weary and de-motivating soaps or films that dwell on horror and violence? Do you choose to spend your time in locations full of unsavoury and uninspiring characters or do you enjoy being surrounded by natural beauty and positive influences?
The important thing here is the need to stop and think about all the factors that surround you and then consider whether they are positively or negatively oriented. My tip is this – if you want to find happiness, contentment, fulfilment and success then you need to surround yourself with people, places and things that stimulate and fill you with positive energy and enthusiasm.
So why not make a positive decision today to reject all the negative influences on your life – and in your life – that are draining your energy and your potential? If you can do this one small thing then you will be amazed at how quickly your life will improve in every way.
Tip Two – By controlling your time you are controlling your life
This Tip is one that needs very careful attention because it expresses a very important and fundamental truth. Quite simply the most precious gift in your life is time. To use time wisely is to live a fulfilled life but to waste time is to throw away your richest resource. But it is not just about using time productively – it is about actually learning to control this most precious of resources. Sadly it is a skill the majority of people never master and instead they become ‘victims’ of time rather than its master. So the core message is this – by controlling your time you are actually controlling your life. Time is the one thing you can never get back and ‘wasting’ time is therefore the same as ‘wasting life’.
Conversely if you can learn to master time and make it work for you then you are learning to exploit the riches it can bring. These days we all lead busy lives, we have careers to think about, we have family responsibilities, we need time to relax, time to meet friends, time to attend to boring chores, time for exercise and even time just to sit and think. It’s no easy matter to ‘find’ time to fit everything in and for that reason many people find it easier to opt out and let time itself rule their lives rather than take charge.
The good news is that it actually isn’t all that difficult to take control and make some simple but effective changes and identifying your own ‘time wasters’ is a good place to start. All it requires is a pen and paper and a few minutes to jot down all the things that ‘steal’ your time during a typical week. It might be demanding bosses, pointless phone calls, dull TV, dreary housework – the list can be endless.
Somehow writing it down tends to give us an idea of just how many hours of our week are being lost on trivial activities. Then list your ‘productive’ time including time spent bringing you both financial and emotional rewards as well as time needed for family or friends and your own relaxation.
The key point is this – before taking control of our time we first need to understand how it is being used at the moment – in a typical week for example. So I recommend spending a very productive 15 minutes or so identifying and thinking about your ‘time wasters’ as well as your ‘productive’ periods. Then make some firm decisions about what needs to change to ‘buy back’ your most precious resource.
In summary, once you have mastered the art of managing your time effectively you will not only feel more in control of your life now – but also your future destiny.
Tip Three – “Look the part – Act the part”
You have probably seen or heard about the best selling book called “You Are What You Eat” by Dr Gillian McKeith which describes how your choice of diet reflects your energy levels and your health. Well there are other similar phrases that also reflect aspects about you – for example “You are what you think” and “You are what you do”. But there is another phrase that many people should take heed of. It is this; “You are what you portray”. The fact is, whether you love the idea or hate it, we are perceived to be what we actually portray to others.
Take two people going for a job interview for a highly paid business position. The first candidate turns up in a smart well-fitted suit. They are well groomed with clean, shiny shoes and are well spoken. The second candidate turns up in jeans and T-shirt sporting tattoo’s, purple hair and swears a lot. Which one is likely to get the job?
Okay, this example is deliberately an over-exaggeration but the point being made here is not who is the best qualified for the job – because it may well be the second candidate – it is about perception.
A lot of people might argue that discrimination is a bad thing. Absolutely right! Just because someone acts, dresses or talks different should not be a barrier if they have the ability to do the job. In fact some of the most eccentric individuals can be brilliant in their own fields of endeavour – but they often lose out on opportunities because they don’t always present themselves correctly.
The key principle here is the need to think about what you portray to other people – not just who you really are – but what image you are portraying to those who don’t know you. If you are totally at ease with the image you give to others, whether in mode of your appearance, clothes, speech, attitude or whatever then that’s great. There are many people though whose external image is at odds with who they really are. You could say that their personality and their image are ‘incongruous’ – in other words they are sending incongruent or ‘mixed’ signals to other people. And if you are sending a confused message then don’t be surprised if people are confused about what sort of person you really are. So the message is this…
Each of us is a very special and unique person with unique personality and talents. If you can reflect who you are by the image you portray to others you are being ‘congruent’ and congruence brings balance and self-confidence to your life. If your personality is incongruent with the image you are portraying of yourself then this leads to imbalance and lack of confidence.
Go look at yourself closely in the mirror and ask yourself this; are you totally congruent with who you are or is there maybe something ‘out of balance’? If you are not totally in congruence then do something about it right now – today – and you will then find you can always step out into the world with a supreme sense of who you really are while radiating your own natural inner confidence.
ABOUT JOE ST CLAIR
Joe St Clair started his career in Nationwide Building Society working his way up from trainee to an Executive position as ‘Head of Special Projects’. He left Nationwide in 1998 to join Logica as an International Management Consultant and Project Manager and has worked at Board level all over the world managing large and complex projects for a variety of blue chip clients.