Would you rather be ignorant or stupid? Probably neither. If that is the case, the responsibility is yours. Ignorance refers to "not knowing" something. Stupidity refers to "knowing something but not acting correctly on that knowledge". We should avoid being ignorant by exposing ourselves to knowledge. We have the ability (especially in this day and age of technology) to expose ourselves to many diverse views and ideas. But ignorance is understandable as it is impossible to know everything. However, stupidity is something that we have more responsibility to avoid. Sure, we may forget something. That too is understandable. But knowingly acting in opposition to the knowledge we have is on us.
Power can be a loaded term. It can be seen as negative if you are on the receiving end of abusive power. Power is obviously positive when in our own hands and used for noble purposes. Power is something that can be awarded but is also something that we all can obtain. Everyone! Referent Power (respect/amiability) and Expert Power (knowledge/talent) are not easily acquired but they are obtainable with effort. Effort is not a birthright or a genetic trait. Effort is a choice. Effort allows us to move closer to our potential, including our potential to acquire power and effect change in our own lives and the lives of others.
There are a lot of great reasons to help others. Unfortunately, helping others is often seen as in opposition to helping ourselves. "If I help others, then I am taking away from my own prosperity". And when it comes to a choice, we usually choose "me" over others. Obviously, having the mentality and the heart to put others first is most desirable. However, if that is too much to ask, then look at the research. Motivation is one of the keys to personal success. Research shows that the greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves (Give and Take by Adam Grant). So when you find yourself falling short of your own goals and hopes and dreams, then spend some time to help others to reach their goals and hopes and dreams, and you may find that you both end up winning.
We perform our best when we are completely absorbed in the task at hand. When there are no physical or mental distractions in our way, we are able to put all of our physical and mental energy toward our current activity. Fear is a distraction. Fear takes our mind off of the task we are currently attempting to complete, especially tasks we hopefully complete at a high level. Fear is a result of a lack of trust. We fear the dark because we do not trust what is in the darkness. We fear public speaking because we don't trust that we either know what we are talking about or we don't trust that the audience will be receptive of what we have to say or more specifically, if they are receptive to us. We fear because we don't trust our own ability to accomplish something. To free ourselves from fear, we must allow ourselves to trust. Trust our training. Trust our ability. Trust our coaches, teachers, parents. Trust our God.
Mental toughness is defined as "The ability to respond to an adverse situation in an expedient manner". A big part of having the "ability to respond" is to understand that "adverse situations" are going to happen and although they may impact us, the longer we allow them to impact us in a negative way, the more difficult it is for us to achieve our objectives. We shouldn't wake up with a pessimistic attitude that negative things will happen but we should start each morning prepared for things to go wrong and to have a process in place to resolve them.
When someone is seen as being "determined", they are seen to have "resolve". If you look at the word "determination", you see the word "termination". Both "termination" and "resolve" refer to "completing" something or "an ending". When we say we are "determined" or have "determination", we are saying that we will take something to its full completion. We will stick to it until it is done. It doesn't mean that we will stay with it until it gets hard or difficult or boring or uncomfortable or when we lose interest in it. When we have a hard conversation with someone and we are willing to stay engaged until we find a resolution, then that is determination. Determination is what helps us persevere when others quit.
We are often encouraged to do more. We are often tempted to do more. More is better, after all. But that is actually not the case in all situations. More is better if you aren't doing anything at all (more of zero is better than zero in many aspects of life) and more of a good thing can often lead to success. However, often times the answer to our problems is not "more" but "different". We need to allow ourselves to be open enough to attempt difficult and risky and uncomfortable and scary alternatives or substitutions to what we are currently doing. The solution to getting beyond a barrier is not always by pushing harder (giving more effort) on the barrier. The actual solution may be to go around it, under it, or even asking for a boost over it.
"Comfort" and "Success" are not compatible (unless seeking immediate comfort is your only goal in life). Seeking both comfort and success will not lead to much if any success and most likely only lead to some comfort. Success requires risk and failure and sacrifice, while comfort opposes those actions. When we set our alarm for an early wake up call and choose to drag ourselves out of bed to workout in the cold and dark early morning hours, we are much more likely to reach our athletic or fitness goals, while experiencing a varying range of discomfort. When we deny ourselves a third or fourth dessert, it is very uncomfortable but brings us that much closer to successfully reaching our New Year resolution goals. When we step out of our comfort zone and have that hard conversation with a family member or friend or co-worker, we are closer to a more meaningful relationship that is built on trust and respect. When we take time away from leisure activities to serve others, we help others have success and are reaching our potential toward successfully helping "others". If we desire to move closer to our goals, we must also seek to being uncomfortable.
When me and my brothers were kids, my parents had a procedure whenever we loaded the van to go to a practice or sporting event. My Dad would say, "got your cleats, shin guards, uniform, ball ..." or "got your glove, cleats, bat, ball, cup ...". That tradition carried on throughout our lives and is something I find myself doing today with my girls. The interesting thing is that as we embarked for a sporting event or practice, my Dad never said, "got your confidence, focus, mental toughness, positive attitude, determination, coping skills ...". I don't blame my Dad for that as those weren't necessarily on the radar back in the 1970's. However, as a coach, I see those items much more important than the uniform or the ball when it comes to athletic success. I can borrow a ball from someone else and even play in my street shoes but if I don't bring those mental attributes and use them, I may as well stay at home.
We have choice. We are not robots that are programmed to systematically proceed through our day. We are constantly faced with decisions both inconsequential or "life changing". One choice that we face on a routine basis is whether we choose to let our past negatively impact our future. Our past has ... passed. It is behind us. We can either use those experiences to motivate and fuel and inform our future or we can be anchored to those experiences and allow them to demotivate, deflate and deter what is ahead. We may have been victimized but we can choose to be a victim or choose to not allow others to dictate our joy. We may have been hurt or harmed but we can choose to heal. We may have made mistakes but we rationally know that failures is what most often leads to success. We can choose to allow our past to make us bitter or to make us better. Today is a new day and it will only be negatively impacted by yesterday if we allow it to.