“Never be intimidated by a distance between your dreams and your reality”

                                                                                                                     Anonymous

“If it is to be, it is entirely up to me (you)”

                                                                           Anonymous

“If you have been left behind in the race of life, you must either run faster or forever remain behind”

                                                                                                                              Late Benjamin E. Franklin

“If you have to choose between getting even or getting ahead, you must always choose to get
ahead”

                                                                                                                                                 Les Brown

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% your response to it”

                       Stephen Covey’s principle of Stimulus and Response

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By SINDI ZILWA

“Barriers are just challenges, are just an invitation for you to overcome them, rather than a reason to abandon your dreams”

In case you have not noticed, life is full of barriers that are strategically positioned on the critical paths of everyone’s dreams.  A critical path in simple terms is a path you have to go through, with no alternative route.  It can be the first path towards the direction of your dreams followed by general paths with alternative routes, it can be in the middle of your journey towards your goal, or it can be your  last lap and when you can literally smell your success.

The question to ask yourself every time you come across a barrier is, “Is this a blockage for me not to achieve my dream or is it a challenge for me to show how much I need to achieve my dream?” This is a question most people do not ask themselves, as a result, dreams get abandoned at this stage.

I need all of you to understand that pursuing your dreams is not like a soccer match, where there is a referee who has the power to blow the whistle on you and get you off the soccer field through a red card.  There are many of us, who, when experiencing difficulties, behave like a referee has just pointed us out of the soccer field. We have a silent whistle in our subconscious minds that says “Stop now, you could not do it anyway, just quit”.  We make the referee to be our negative inner voice. This is the inner voice that we need to eliminate entirely, and only us can eliminate it, nobody else can, because nobody else can hear it except you. An inner voice can be a negative inner voice for those who do not succeed, or a positive inner voice that propels others to succeed.

An inner voice capitalizes on your perceived weaknesses and withdraws your adrenalin towards a particular goal, whilst a positive inner voice affirms your capabilities and gives you the adrenalin to help you to march forward. You therefore need to fight your negative inner voice by creating a positive inner voice that says the opposite and affirms your strengths and downplays your weaknesses.   This fight is necessary because the negative inner voice only creeps up when there is a problem to be solved, when an option to fight or flight is in front of you.  At this stage, make it your business to fight for your dreams through a positive inner voice instead of abandoning your dreams.

 

“Is this a blockage for me not to achieve my dream or is it a challenge for me to show how much I need to achieve my dream?”

 

For example, when a negative inner voice says “I am not clever enough to understand this anyway, I must find a course that does not work with such numbers and formulas.” Create and fight back with a positive inner voice that says, “Hey I am a genius and I can work this out, I have solved some complex problems before.”

Another example: “I am not good in dealing with people that is why my business is failing, I must start a business that does not expect me to deal with people.”   A positive inner voice can fight this by saying “Business is about people I am good with them, this is just a difficult character I must learn to deal with.”  

Your positive inner voice must be strong enough to pump you the adrenalin that is more than enough to propel you to march forward with conviction towards your dream.

Barriers that we come across all the time, are just personal invitations for us to overcome them, rather than a locked path for us never to reach.  We must treat barriers within a playful context, for example, you are serious to achieve something, and a laughing rock comes in front of you that says “hahaha you want that? jump me first” this playful rock only expects you to do your best to jump it and for you to laugh at it in return.  When you turn your back and run away from this rock, you’re ending the game and making it miserable, not happy.  So next time you hit a barrier, remember the playful context and say “Yes I can jump over you, what do you take me for, a baby?”  and you do your best to prove the barrier wrong and laugh at it.  Let the barrier just make you more tired than you anticipated when you reach  your finishing line, or at worst just let it make you to take longer to achieve your dream.  Don’t end your game unnecessarily, don’t hear a whistle from an unforeseen referee in a non-existent soccer game.

Always remember’ “Barriers are just challenges, are just an invitation for you to overcome them, rather than a reason to abandon your dreams”.

I was interviewed on 3 Talk some time back by Noeleen Maholwana and touched on the issue of negative inner voice and the mentality to consider barriers as challenges to be overcome. 

By SINDI ZILWA

“If it is to be, it is entirely up to you.”


This sounds like very self- explanatory, but it not, it is a very deep phrase.

Most people do not understand the meaning, those who understand the meaning do not apply the principle when dealing with daily challenges or barriers they encounter towards their dreams.  

The self-explanatory meaning to most people is “it depends on them to set their goals and achieve their dreams,” but, when they come across certain unanticipated barriers they change direction and abandon their set goals, which is a complete mis-understanding of what this phrase means.

The deeper meaning of this phrase:  

For you to achieve your goals, it depends entirely up to you, irrespective of the circumstances, irrespective of the environment, irrespective of the lack of supporters around you that could make it easy for you to achieve your goals. This phrase brings to life attributes like Resilience, Persistence, Self-Control, Discipline, Commitment and Determination, all concealed into “it is entirely up to you”.

When you positively affirm yourself to a position of being capable of managing your own destiny, you can overcome most of the unexpected challenges that life can throw your way through the application of the above 6 attributes at every point of any unexpected challenge.   This phrase, which I was fortunate enough to be taught about at an early stage of my life, has helped me to achieve most of the things which others would consider unachievable.

 

“humility to ask for guidance when necessary”

 

There are certain words that have to be removed out of your vocabulary, one of which is “blame”.  When you feel good or feel angry when blaming others for your lack of achievement of your personal goals, then something within you needs to be fixed.  You need to adopt this phrase to ensure that you give yourself full control of your destiny.  This full control is not easy, it might include;-

  • Ability to stomach the pain that comes with the territory,
  • The determination to burn the mid-night oil when necessary,
  • The poverty and turbulent phase that you must go past with a tightened seat belt,
  • The humility to ask for guidance when necessary; and
  • Acting with utmost integrity no matter how the opposite is tempting.

Below is the guide towards application of this principle:-

  • Set a goal that is high enough to make a visible difference when achieved and which will make the hard work worth it for it. (e.g for a student, wanting to become an Actuary, Doctor, Engineer, etc.)
  • Determine the shortest possible route for achieving your set goal. (Studying at UCT, UP, etc)
  • Establish the possible barriers or challenges whilst pursuing your goal. (High number of points required for admission, affordability of fees, tools required, e.g laptops, other soft criteria for admission)
  • Adjust or refine your execution strategy to mitigate anticipated barriers,  (sacrifice youth fun, study very hard and burn the midnight oil to get excellent results, work hard to qualify for a bursary or scholarship of your choice and your university of your choice, understand other criteria and work hard to achieve it, e.g community service)
  • Mentally and emotionally prepare yourself to deal with such barriers (no social life, no  friendships or be ready to be called names for not being “cool”)
  • Psychologically imagine your picture of success, and allow that picture to overwhelm what it will take to reach your goal. (Imagine yourself as a Doctor or an Actuary or a Lawyer, etc, and the benefits that will come with that, let that picture be very visible in your mind to fend off anything that threatens your ability to achieve it, even sleep or TV)
  • When you hit unanticipated barriers, retreat and relaunch more prepared without wasting too much time. (e.g No electricity, taxi strikes, no textbooks, a lecturer whom you cannot understand or follow his or her logic, then, learn to study by candle, work hard during the day, walk to school no matter how far you will not die, borrow books or use library books, if it means you must be the first one at the library be the first one even at 5am, make an appointment and get help from the lecturers)
  • Maintain your resolve to achieve despite the most unexpected disappointments, e.g lack of support from those you trusted the most (passive enemies), attacks from your fan base (active enemies), loss of faith and lack thereof on your ability to succeed, etc.  (Lecturer telling you, you not cut out for your dream, family telling you, you too ambitious get a job and start bringing money, friends hiding your books, etc.) Maintain your resolve and deal with all those like a duck deals with water to get it off its back.

No matter what you aim to achieve, whether in business, in your studies, in your personal life, financial life and in your spiritual life, always remember, if it is to be, it is entirely up to you.

I have come across this 1 minute video which will supports how much all is dependent entirely up to you.

Learn from Lindiwe Zondo from this Investec advert.  

By SINDI ZILWA

“Hard Work: If it does not hurt, it’s not hard enough”

Many of us understand that we have to work hard to succeed, in fact all of us. But somehow things do not go as planned or no results can be shown for the amount of hours we put in. Unfortunately, at this stage most just decide to abandon their hard working intentions and let go of their hazy ambitions.  These ambitions are hazy in that they are not specific enough, they cannot be visualized and therefore they are meaningless. People without crystal clear goals and set timelines just do not have the ability to work hard enough, although they do work hard. At the end of the day they feel tired, as if that was the goal associated with hard work.  Do you ever feel tired at the end of the day without any additional steps taking you closer to your goals?  Then you need to change your approach.

There are only 5 rules that are associated with hard work that yields results.  

  • Hard work must be associated with a meaningful reason, i.e an ambitious goal;
  • The goal must have a deadline;
  • Both the goal and deadline have to be known by others in order to create commitment and accountability
  • There must be something at stake if we do not accomplish the set goal;
  • Hard work must hurt.

Hard workers must make sure that there is a meaningful reason for them to work hard, to accomplish a particular goal which must be ambitious enough to make a difference to your life. In other words the hard work must be worth it for you.

There must be a set deadline to accomplish a goal.  I have come across a number of students who want a degree without accompanying timelines and also a number of professionals with ambitions without any set timelines or deadlines. There can be no urgency if there are no deadlines.  When there is no sense of urgency, fertile ground for procrastination gets created.  We all know that “Procrastination is the thief of time, and time lost is like money spent which will never be regained.”

If others are not aware of your goals and the deadlines, you are not committed enough and you make it easy for yourself to fail as no one else will know about it and you will forgive yourself all the time.  Sometimes the mere imagination of telling others you failed, makes it easy for you to work hard as you know they are waiting to share your excitement of success and you don’t want to let them down. That in itself creates an unwavering commitment and accountability which can only propel you towards success.

 

 

“Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos .Aenean non turpis vitae ligula tristique sagitt isras varius erat pulvinar eros pretium”

If we make ourselves goals, that if accomplished will not make much difference to our lives, then we may as well spend our time watching movies, soccer games and shopping.  The goal must be so ambitious it must scare you and if achieved your life has to change for the better.  This then means that a lot must be at stake it you do not achieve your goal.  Once a lot is at stake for not achieving your goal, an adrenalin gets pumped out to assist your system to have the stamina to work hard enough to achieve your goal.  You cannot be working hard within your comfort zone and without feeling stretched, as stretching out of your normal capabilities helps you to reach out towards your ambitious goal.

Last but not least, Hard work must hurt, for if it does not hurt, its not hard enough.  If your hard work does not hurt, it means you are still cruising at your normal comfort zone.  If you give whatever is within your comfort zone and you do not stretch yourself, then it means you will accomplish results that will keep you at the same level as you were before.  The more you stretch yourself and learn about your new capabilities, the more it hurts, and the more your achievements will take you to the next level and make you accomplish your ambitious goals.

Hard work must hurt in two ways, firstly through the sacrifices you make (of the things you really love) to create time for hard work, and through the effort you put in that makes you feel the pain, for it is at that point that you can say are working hard towards a particular goal.

One Professor said, “the pain of failure must be more than the pain of studying” when he was encouraging his students to aim to pass the exams.

As we work hard, we must make sure that we don’t only feel tired at the end of the day but we must carry with us the pain of anticipated failure in our studies, in our work and in our careers and always make sure that you can feel the appropriate pain that will enable you to succeed.  The well-known phrase, “No pain, No gain” is very true.

So indeed, “Hard Work: if it does not hurt, it’s not hard enough”  Sindi Zilwa