In today’s modern world, especially in our Western culture, we are swamped with daily life. We are all very busy, and more often than not, we do not have the time to devote ourselves to self-improvement. I have compiled a list of some things I do that help me reach my full potential and have made me a more professional person. The average Australian spends about two and a half hours watching television per day. If you spent just fifteen minutes per day on each of the below activities, this would equate to the exact same time. I know what I would rather be doing?
- Improve your health with some exercise– There are many ways to achieve fitness, but one of them is through High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The idea of HIIT is to go as hard and as fast as you can, raising your heart rate to about 80% of your maximum heart rate for 15 minutes. It does not matter how you achieve this. You can do HIIT on any piece of cardio equipment, outdoors or with a HIIT class indoors or out. The important thing is to raise your heart rate. The benefits of HIIT include,
- Improve your circulation
- Increase your Cardiovascular system (Heart)
- Aid in fat loss
- Add some lean muscle to your body,
However this must be done on a regular basis.
- Learn to touch type- There are many websites on the internet that offer touch typing course. The one I like the best is @ http://www.typing.com has free courses and can teach you how to touch type very quickly. I have been doing the tests for 15 minutes per day, and this has improved my skills at touch typing. The features on this website are great. There are lessons and tests with results so you can see your improvements. The more you practise, the faster and more accurate you will become and the best thing is it is fun and easy to use
- Learn a new language– On your smart phone you can download many free language applications. One of the best language applications is called Duolingo, and it is free to use. It takes between 5-10 minutes to complete each lesson. You can learn to speak, write and learn grammar from over 35 different languages including English. Practice for 15 minutes per day and you will be speaking a new language in no time at all.
- Sudoku or Crossword puzzles– Playing puzzles can be fun, challenging, and frustrating. But they are extremely rewarding when you figured them out and complete them. You may not solve the puzzle in fifteen minutes, however, do try to work on a puzzle for about 15 minutes each day. According to James Pickett, head of research at the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society, suggests that playing “brain games” such as Sudoku may not prevent dementia but has been shown that regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with the disease.
- Learn a new skill or advance your current skills- Do you know what all the buttons in the task bar of Microsoft word or excel do? Do you know what the F buttons on a keyboard are for? You may not be advanced at computers or Microsoft word or excel. However, with only fifteen minutes of training per day, you can become advanced in any computer program you like, and very fast as well. LinkedIn Learning has a multitude of training courses that can assist you in learning or developing a skill. Learning or enhancing your computer skills is just one example, there are a plethora of other skills you can learn. Learning a new skill on LinkedIn learning allows you to link the completed certificate directly on to your LinkedIn account for everyone to see.
- Social Media- If you enjoy using social media, try writing an article, reviewing something, tweeting, post a photo or respond to another person’s post. If you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tiktok, Snap chat then this is a big task. The more social media accounts you have, the more onerous this can be. I have limited myself to LinkedIn as my primary social media account and have linked anything I do here with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The best way I found to link everything is through my WordPress website.
- Write a blog – Writing a blog helps you to improve your writing skills, typing skills, grammar, spelling and punctuation. All critical skills to be more professional in your day to day life. There are a surfeit of blog sites you can use for free if you just want to blog. However, if you are looking to get a big following and interested in making some money. Then I suggest getting a blogging website designed especially for a sole trading business, such as http://www.wordpress.com (such as my website here).
- Read a book– Try to read something you have never read before, not just any book. Think about how choosing a book where you have no knowledge about the subject could be beneficial to your success and your personal development . Choosing a book to read that you have very little or no experience can help you to learn something new. For example, if you do not know how to start a business, read a business book. It is amazing the kinds of things you learn and the ideas that are generated when you read something you do not know anything about.
- Watch documentaries– When you watch a documentary, you often learn things you never knew about. It can be a great topic of conversation with a stranger. You could even store the facts you learn for another day in time.
- Watch a Trivia game show on TV- Watching programs like The Chase, Who wants to be a Millionaire and Hard Facts to name a few, you can sharpen your trivia question skills which believe it or not can come in handy at some random times in your life. Besides learning about things, you do not know, you feel knowledgeable when you get the answers to the questions correct.
So there you have it. Some of my top things you can do to increase your personal development, sharpen your mind, exercise your body and improve your skills.
Now it is your turn, you can use all or some of what I have suggested, or you can make up your own. If you do have some you would like to share, please comment below.
Be your Best Mentally, Physically and Emotionally
A personal area that a lot of people need to work on is their patience. Patience is a virtue but is not as easy to obtain or control. Think about the times when you may have become impatient. Perhaps while waiting in long queues, or someone cuts you off on the road, your baby is crying uncontrollably, or your child is pulling at you wanting your attention when you are talking to someone or on the phone. Many of these situations could make you think you have no patience at all. A lot of the times, rather than deal calmly with a situation we tend to lose control and lash out due to not having enough patience.
Patience requires a lot of practice and a sense of calm. Every situation that calls for you to be patience is different, so you need to find what triggers your impatience and work to change the situation to your benefit. Part of becoming a better person is learning to have a lot of patience. If you do not practice being patient, it can work against you in many situations at work and in life. Keeping calm is one of the many keys to success, another is keeping a positive mind about the situation that is causing you to become irate.
When we add in factors of stress, anger or tiredness with impatience this can be a recipe for disaster. This could cause a small incident to escalate into something bigger, for example, road rage turning into a violent incident.
So how do you overcome your impatience? The first thing to do is recognise when you get impatient. What situation is causing you the most frustration or anger? I believe that to make a change in any aspect of ourselves, we first must acknowledge that we have a challenge that needs to be addressed. When it comes to impatience, it is better to work on the situations that cause you to become extremely frustrated or angry and work backwards. Working on your most significant challenges first makes it easier to overcome the smaller situations.
Now how do you know what is the worst situation? Think about the things that make you really mad, and you get so angry and frustrated that you yell, scream, swear, or whatever it is you do to release your frustrations. Then think about what triggered that feeling. Sometimes we think that some situations are not critical as they only frustrate you for a brief moment but think about how that brief moment of frustration may be affectting others around you, especially children. Could your brief moment of anger leave lasting impressions or emotional scarring on those around you?
Once you have recognised your triggers, now you need to work on changing the way you react. The first thing to do is try to remain calm. Counting to ten or taking five big deep breaths usually does the trick. Next, think about being in a positive state of mind rather than a negative one. For example when someone cuts me off on the road I think to myself “that’s ok, they are probably in a hurry, no worries”. For me, this empowers me, and I remain centred and patient. It is really can be that simple, staying in a positive frame of mind and being calm allows you to learn patience. After a while it becomes second nature, and you will become a very patient person.
Here are some situations which may cause you to become impatient
and what you could do to change the situation before you get frustrated and lash out.
Stuck in traffic- Use this time to get your audiobook out or learn a new language. Did you know that trying to get to your destination via back streets actually takes longer than if you just waited it out in traffic? There is an exception to this, and that is when the road had been closed, such as an accident on a freeway and you are stuck literally.
Crying baby- Babies cry for many reasons. The best thing for you to do is first take a deep breath, second clear your mind and stop doing any other activity, now focus yourself on calming down and then go through the baby crying checklist:
- Do they need a nappy change?
- Are they hungry?
- Do they need a cuddle or your attention?
- Are they overtired and need to sleep?
- Are they sick and need help?
Try all of these things, and if these do not work let your baby cry for a bit and try to soothe them and repeat the checklist.
Waiting in a queue- The reason we get impatient while waiting in a queue is simply we have to wait. Our time is precious and we are very busy people. Having to stand and wait, causes us to slow down and we can get impatient.
Some tips include:
- Start a conversation with someone in the line. It is incredible how quickly the line goes when you are talking.
- Get out your phone and reply to emails, do a quick survey or read an article on artofpersonaldevelopment.com
- If at a supermarket, pick up a magazine and read it. You may just want to buy it
- Sometimes you can ask the customer service attendant to SMS you when you are about to be served. You can then do some shopping. I know big phone companies do this such as Samsung and Telstra
Standing to wait in line without a distraction will cause you to think about the waiting and the time will seem like forever. There is an old saying which rings true here – “a watched kettle never boils”
Trying to find a car space- I love this one, and I have the ultimate solution that I have tried and tested a hundred times without fail. However, the technique does require patience, but I guarantee this works every time. When you go into a big shopping centre and try to find a car space do you continuously circle around the car park looking for a car space only to lose a spot as you pass one?
Stop doing that, research says it takes you ten minutes or more to find a car spot this way. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a car space in under six minutes? Of course you would, here is the secret that many people know but do not do it as they do not have patience.
First, you need to find an empty aisle, any aisle will do as long as no one else is waiting in it. Move your car about halfway down and as close to the parked cars as possible. You want any vehicle behind you to be able to go around you. Put on your indicator and wait.
Put on your stopwatch and watch what happens. Usually, within the next 10 seconds to 2 minutes, a shopper will come out of nowhere and get into their car in your aisle, you will need to be vigilant and practice being patient.
I make a game of it, and to my surprise, the longest I have ever waited for a car space was 4 minutes 20 seconds, but that only happened once. On average I wait between 30 seconds and 2 minutes tops, keep in mind though that even 10 seconds can seem like an eternity, so persevere.
There are many more scenarios but ultimately you are trying to improve your patience, you can also try YOGA, meditation, massage or other relaxation techniques as these will assist you to become a calmer person.
Be your best Mentally
Have you ever wondered how you suddenly turned the age you are now and how quickly you got there? Life happens so fast. Most importantly, how do you look and feel now your twenties, thirties and perhaps even your forties are over?
I woke up one beautiful sunny April morning. I looked in the mirror and thought to myself I am forty today. I stared in the mirror wondering. How did I suddenly get to forty? Where did my thirties go? Where did my twenties go? I felt a sense of panic rush over me, and I started to feel anxious. I did not want to get older, who does? Feeling older created a little sadness, and I started to become mildly depressed. I am sure most of you who are reading this may have also felt this way sometime between thirty and fifty.
I remembered my twenties like it was yesterday. The years had rushed by so fast that I had missed or had forgotten half of it. I stood motionless, looking into a face weathered by the years. A face was telling a thousand stories some good, some bad, some ugly and some sad.
By the end of 2001, I packed up my life in Sydney and moved to Melbourne. I knew the first thing I needed to do to change my life was to get away from my current life. I also thought to myself now is a time to do something I had always wanted to do and that was to be a personal trainer. Something I had procrastinated about for the past ten years: by the time I had arrived in Melbourne, my partner supported me by enrolling and paying for my fitness course, paid for my food and the rent until I got on my feet again. A magnificent person that I never thought I would ever find. I was delighted to do the course as I had not done any educational courses in over ten years. Learning to become a personal trainer turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. It changed the direction of my life and my life’s purpose.
There is something extraordinary about the Fitness industry. A sense of positive energy, calmness and comradery among the many people who live and breathe health, fitness and wellbeing. I had an instant connection and fell in love. The incredible thing about the fitness industry is it is not just about exercise. It is about changing your life for the better. Change your body through training yes, but also to lead a happy, healthy life that loves to help others to do the same.
If you want to make a change to your current situation, you must make some significant changes, cut people out of your life, maybe even change states or countries as I did. It is going to be rough and tough but, in the end, if you genuinely want to have an extraordinary life then you must make some sacrifices. Change is hard for everyone, and I tried many times to make a change without success. It takes determination, hard work, and tears. However, in the end it will be so worth it, you will look back on it and perhaps you too will write an inspiring story.
I know you may think I am a little crazy to cut out family or friends from my life, or that it is easier said than done. Very true, however you do not need to cut them out if it is impossible. What can do is not share your dreams or goals with them until you have achieved them. Nine times out of ten if you tell a negative person in your life your dreams or aspirations they will find every excuse why you will fail. However, if you achieve your goal or dream and tell the same people, it could go either way. They could be jealous, or they could say “I knew you could do it”. People can be fickle; we need to be self-aware of this when discussing our dreams with others.