There are incredible learning lessons to be made along any journey to a big goal. Nobody will walk the entire journey ahead of you or even probably beside you the whole way. But others before you have lit part of the trail for you. So, you have their many failures, successes and therefore valuable insights to learn from. Intrigued by this fact, I interviewed numerous leaders all over the globe to learn what insights they could offer from their vantage points. I compiled these in my latest book Spiritual Activism: Keys to Personal and Political Success, and highlight some that stand out.
Keep the Vibe High
Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist who made significant contributions to understanding atomic structure tell us, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are spinning and vibrating. Each one radiates at its own unique energy signature. The implication is that we are not mere observers of matter but actually influencing matter through our thoughts, emotions, physical states and so our level of vibration these create.
Optimism isn’t just a fancy idea. People who are optimistic keep going when things get rough. They get up when they fall. They take responsibility and try again. They are vibrationally connecting to circumstances that support more reasons to be satisfied and optimistic about going even higher. Pessimists on the extreme tend to see all the reasons to give up sooner under the pretence of being “realistic”. They tend to take fewer healthy and calculated risks. They are generally less satisfied.
Insight #1: You hit the next level by changing your focus from present undesirable circumstances to focusing on exactly where you want to be.
Productive people have faith in something larger than themselves and/or something within themselves, a power that is indescribable because it is beyond the physical. Literally everyone I interviewed, no matter what religious faith or none-“faith” who I categorized as highly productive believed in something that pulled them forward in their lowest times and brought them further than their own minds could fathom in better times. The crux here is that they absolutely believed that they were going to do it and could somehow relax into something beyond what they could logically observe and describe to ensure that they do. You don’t have to be religious and it doesn’t matter how you define “spiritual”.
Insight #2: You hit the next level by absolutely knowing that somehow you are going to hit it. Period.
Productive people don’t try to do it all on their own, nor do they give over their power to others to take care of it all for them. They sit right in the middle. Unproductive people believe they have to be independent. There is actually no such thing as “self-made” individuals. Productive, successful people worked and cooperated with other people in interdependent relationships to hit their next levels.
To be interdependent requires that you strengthen yourself in all areas of your life so that you are whole and functional and can pull your load with others to achieve value, not just for yourself but for others — family, community, etc. … the whole.
Insight #3: You hit the next level by optimizing all parts to your wholeness — your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.
What Are You Creating?
Going to the next level isn’t about going after another big goal. It’s about going to something bigger, brighter, more impactful and more positively contributing to the whole. The smart thing to do is to evaluate your goals. Where is what you are chasing taking you ultimately? Just because you’ve hit many goals so far doesn’t mean you just hit any old goal again. Where is what you are going after contributing to the whole — your family, your community, the world? Productive people go to the next level of categories of goals. Because if you’re not going to the next level, you’re actually shrinking. You’re actually shrinking because evolution is taking place, whether you grow to the next evolutionary stage or you stay the same in your little world.
Insight #4: You hit the next level by going for the goal that is bigger, brighter, more impactful and more positively contributing to the whole.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time” (Andre Gide). It’s okay to be stopped in your tracks. It’s okay that things seem to stand still. Choose to pause! The person who keeps pushing and pushing and forcing their way “forward” trampling over others, or ignoring blessings life offers, actually isn’t a productive individual at all.
You can’t be productive when you expend your physical, emotional, spiritual or mental energy, or you ignore the direction and blessings life is giving you. Look at anyone who has been super productive and successful. They paused. They stopped in their tracks. They opened their eyes to reevaluate, reassess, and often changed direction iteration after iteration. They don’t see their pause as time lost but rather opportunity for so much more out of life to gain.
Insight #5: You hit your next level by taking plenty of breaks, reevaluating where they heck you are going, and enjoying life and those you love along the way.
The Illusion of Matter: Our Physical Material World Isn’t Physical At All, 2013, http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/12/05/the-illusion-of-matter-our-physical-material-world-isnt-really-physical-at-all/
Wanda Krause. Spiritual Activism: Keys to Personal and Political Success. New York: Turning Stone Press.
Originally published at medium.com