Recently, the Pendulum summit was held in Ireland. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it as I had prior commitments but thousands of people came from thousands of miles around to be inspired into transforming their lives and businesses. I am certain that those who went found it incredibly powerful. However, as they bring that sense of motivation, excitement and self belief back into the world, they will be faced with the toughest obstacle to success.
I started my personal development journey 23 years ago when I was just 14. I started by studying hypnotherapy and psychotherapy and then progressed onto NLP as I studied Psychology in University for 8 years. I started because I hated myself and my life and, in learning from these approaches, I gained more and more insight into how I could change how I thought and felt about myself.
The challenges I faced then were quite simple. I wasn’t very good with people. I had terrible self esteem and no self confidence. I was quite angry, sensitive and hurt easily. I was also studying an area of interest that had no real Irish role models. Personal Empowerment or Development was seen as ‘very American’. Demonstrating confidence was seen as being arrogant. There was a huge emphasis on being modest and humble and operating below the radar.
To this day, I have noticed myself feeling uncomfortable with self confidence from time to time. When I get complimented my first instinct is to put my head down and wait until the torture ends. There is something admirable about that we learn. Let other people be the ones to sing your praises. Never do it yourself. Nobody likes a show off.
There are hundreds of books out there that you can read and which can help you turn around your life. From the earliest wisdom of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ to ‘The Secret’, positive self-help has become a huge industry. The advice isn’t always helpful but very often is.
Fundamentally, the idea of it all is simple: You have the opportunity to take charge of your own destiny. You can change how you feel. You can determine your own success. It is up to you.
When you attend a seminar or you watch an inspiring TED talk or you read a brilliant book in the area, the problem comes when you try and share it with others or when you try and apply what you learned. You say ‘Thank you’ to a compliment and it may be seen as ‘arrogant’. You start believing in yourself and being positive about yourself and people may ask with passive aggression ‘Who do you think you are?’ You tell them about the seminar and they ask you how you could be hoodwinked into a cult.
These are the dangers that we face when taking charge of our own futures. People don’t always like change. They don’t like it when you act differently than you did before. They don’t always like to see others happy or successful. It reminds them of their own lack of success. Furthermore, we often take our own self-worth from our comparisons with those around us.
Personally, I have experienced this lots with some friends and colleagues. For a while, I held myself back and sabotaged the opportunity for success under a false belief that it wasn’t worth it. But over the last few years I have realised something crucial.
We have one chance in this life. If we want true fulfilment, we need to find ways to reach our full potential the best that we can. If you want to enjoy great health, success in business, happy relationships… a large part of it is down to you. To fully and completely experience life, and do so in a way that makes you feel delighted to be alive, you need to push the boundaries on what’s possible. You need to revel in success and in manifesting the kind of life you want. You need to get clear over what you want and propel yourself forward into the future. You need to do this because it will make you happier.
We all need to grow and become our very best selves. So, how do you handle negativity? Simple. In the wise words of modern philosopher Conor McGregor ‘Losers focus on losing. Winners focus on winning.’ Remember that every act of begrudgery is an example of someone saying in the subtext of their words… ‘I feel bad about myself’. Haters will hate and begrudge because your success triggers for them a bad feeling because they don’t have it too.
They feel bad so they attack. Their weapon of choice mockery or sarcasm or cynicism. No matter what you do, however, they will react how they react. Your job is to decide, once and for all, that you will not allow it to stop you from growing. If they suggest you are in a cult, agree and exaggerate it. Make it as ridiculous as it is. If they suggest you are arrogant, suggest that you are the most modest and humble person on the planet (and wait until they get the joke). If they warn you that it won’t last, act dismayed and then conclude that you may as well enjoy it while it lasts. In other words, use humour to defend against such attacks. Avoid taking them seriously.
It’s also important to accept that the higher you climb, the bigger a target you are. It’s an inevitable part of life. Recognise this, plan and strategise for how you will deal with the attacks as they come. I love my country. Ireland, to me, is the greatest country on the planet. The people are the best in the world. It’s time we started to support each other and were proud of ourselves more.
Read all the books you can. Attend whatever seminars have been recommended by people you trust. Be positive about yourself to the world. Practice what you learn and work on being the very best you that you can be. Some relationships will change… and that’s okay. Some people will hate… and that’s okay. Laugh it off and see if you can help them succeed. If they resist, accept that… that’s okay. But never hide your light from the world. It needs all the watts it can get.
Knowing this helps remind you that you don’t have to live your life down to anyone else’s expectations. Instead live your life up to your own.