Get into the habit of visualizing your success. Now sitting around and daydreaming in generalizations about it is not what we mean. You need to visualize specifics. To return to the basketball example, daydreaming about being carried off the court on your teammates’ shoulders is just daydreaming. Picturing in your mind how you will work a play if your opponent makes a particular move, picturing your exact response to it, is visualizing specifics. If you run through specific moves in your mind, you will be prepared when the need for those moves arises.
Don’t be afraid to use your imagination to visualize new and better ways to accomplish things, as well. Here in your mind, you can try doing things in ways that are different from the usual. This is a creative process – you may have heard of creative thinking. Training yourself to think creatively is largely learning to let your imagination work on methods that are different from the “way things have always been done.” It’s breaking away from the idea that a thing can be done effectively in only one way. It’s looking at a problem from all angles. Just play a game of “what if.” Ask yourself, “What if I did this thing this way?” It’s OK to get a little crazy sometimes.
But, you must also spend some of your thinking time at specific visualizations of the moves you need to make to accomplish your goals. Visualizations are important but actual physical practice of your skills is important, too. Practice the boring little skills that are necessary as well as the skills that you enjoy. Don’t let yourself rely on just the things that come naturally and easy to you.
Develop your limited potentials as well as those that you feel are your assets. Work on developing the more general attributes that are important to almost any goal: Success comes more easily to those who have a pleasing personality. This is not to say that you should bend to everyone’s wishes or scrape and bow. Rather, develop an attitude that is respectful of other’s opinions but true to your own beliefs.
Be flexible – don’t be so rigid that you can’t accept another’s opinion when it is superior to your own. Be willing, even eager, to learn from others. Changing your opinion in light of more facts is a sign of strength of character, not weakness. Be willing to extend a helpful hand, be a team player.
Develop a sense of humor. Be polite and caring – but be your own person. Learn to guard against emotional responses. You are susceptible to errors of judgement when you let your emotions get in the way. Of course, everything we do is done based somewhat on our emotions, but strong emotions have little place in decision making.
Hold your emotions in check. Try to delay decisions if you are in an emotional state. Learn to ignore your emotions and use reasoning to arrive at your decisions.
Develop the habit of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm works like a magnet – it draws people and success. It’s a pleasing personality trait that people like to be a part of. It seems to be contagious – the people around you become enthusiastic, too, and become more cooperative. Enthusiasm sparks initiative and singleness of purpose. We’ve talked of working to develop habits – the habit of focusing on your goals, the habit of focusing on your strengths, the habit of learning and “researching,” the habit of visualizing, the habit of enthusiasm. Now we will talk of habits in a little different light – breaking them.
First, assess your habits looking for the ones that may be displeasing to others. Offensive habits can hold you back from success – they are often a part of an unpleasing personality. Look for things like grumbling or grunting at people instead of answering, gazing at anything but the speaker when conversing, smirking or sneering when you don’t agree – anything that is an automatic, displeasing mannerism. It will be very difficult to assess your habits accurately. After all, a habit is something that we do without thinking much about it.
You will have to spend some time at this and be very conscious of yourself. Ask someone you trust to help you with this assessment. It may take a lot of work to break yourself of displeasing habits. Try substituting a different, more pleasing behavior for the habit you wish to break.