Success depends on the ability to move forward and requires persistence. We succeed at work, at our social life, our parenting, relationships, love life, finance or health only if we can keep moving forward in spite any setbacks.
In the movie “Touching the Void”, the concept of moving forward no matter what, had a life and death flair and gave no option to fail. There is a beautiful Zen saying “Fall 7 times, get up 8”. Successful people do not fail less, they get up more.
Challenges will always be there. Some say we summon them into our life to prove to ourselves that we are strong and able and give us perspective. With every challenge, you have the opportunity to strengthen good beliefs about yourself. Beliefs that you are capable, that you are strong, that you can or that you are persistent. Welcome challenges! They are a main ingredient in self confidence.
Children master the art of pushing themselves a little bit more. Whereas they naturally push the boundaries, adults will tighten them. Before they go to bed, if they want more of your attention, they will say “Just a little bit more… Just one more story”. If you think about it, this is a very wise and positive way to get what they want. Adults, on the other hand, if they need attention from someone else, they will lower the expectations in order not to face a failure experience. Be a child! It will bring you more success in life.
Emotional intelligence research has found that kids’ ability to persist in spite the obstacles reaches its peak at the age of 5 and starts declining from there. When given an impossible task, 5 year-olds made an average of 16 attempts to do it. For them, effort was the only key to success, while 9 year-olds tried only 11 times and 16 year-olds refused to even try, saying it was … impossible. It takes us only 11 years to kill this attitude and when we grow up and start our personal growth journey, we need to re-learn what was a natural and healthy ability. Effort is king. Keep moving forward no matter what.
Whenever I work with kids in special education who were labelled as “hyperactive” or as having ADD or ADHD, I can confidently change the diagnosis only by using the “just a little bit more” technique.
One of “my famous kids” was a 2 year-old boy (let’s call him Matt) who was brought by his mother to an assessment in my day care centre. I usually write down how long it takes kids to stay in each activity and Matt’s attention span was about 5 seconds. He moved from one activity to the next so quickly, I hardly had time to notice what he did. He was like a little tornado. His mother was desperate and said his siblings had difficulties too and she was very concerned about his development since he did not talk clearly and could not stay in one place long enough to absorb new information. He was most “hyperactive” child I had ever seen, but I knew that it does not matter where you start, it only matters how dedicated you are to your progress, so I said to her, “Give me 3 weeks and he will be all right”.
Every day, I brought activities for Matt. Sure enough, 5 seconds after we started, he tried to leave, but I held his hand and asked him a question to keep him just a while longer. When he could sit for 10 seconds and wanted to get up, I held his hand and said, “Can you help me pack this up?” After 3 days, he was like a strong wind but no longer a tornado. His mother said after one week only that he did not move as much anymore. Every time I sat with him, I wrote on my chart: 25 seconds, 54 seconds, 3 minutes… People thought it was funny to count seconds, but I am a great believer in “Just a little bit more” and I used it with Matt until he reached what I thought was the best attention span for a 2 year-old – 15 minutes!
It did not take a year. Not even a few months. All it took was 3 weeks and Matt was able to concentrate for 15 min. A month later, we found out he was a genius, because he had phenomenal visual memory.
Matt came with a pacifier in his mouth and did not speaking properly, yet within about 2 month he became a different child. When people ask me how I did it, I tell them, “By counting seconds and being dedicated to ‘Just a little bit more’”. This “little kid” is now 20 years old and he calls me on Skype me from time to time.
Doing “one more” is an important factor of every change and progress. Success is made up of single achievements, small steps that gradually reach critical mass and tip the balance from effort to success and flow.
Every difficulty in life can be changed by a small step and a little effort and then a little bit more. Dedicate your life to moving forward every day. Here are 10 things you can do just a little bit more of to improve your life:
- If you face sadness and depression, laugh a little bit more. Find one more opportunity to smile about something. The accumulation of smiles and laughs brings more happiness.
- When facing a communication conflict, stay in the argument just a little bit more. Take a deep breath and show just a little bit more understanding to receive just a little bit more of it in return.
- If you want more love in your life, express your love to your parents, partner, friends and children just a little bit more than usual. If you say “I love you” once a day, say it one more time and notice the change.
- When you face eating problems, wait a little bit longer before you pile seconds on your plate.
- If you have self esteem challenges, stand in front of the mirror and admire yourself. Every day, stay a little bit longer and notice how your self confidence changes.
- If you feel lonely, hug more. When you hug someone, hug them just a little bit longer and feel connected.
- If you want to feel good about yourself, give a few more compliments when you talk to someone and notice how they change in front of your eyes. It is a cycle: you give and you receive. Just a little bit more every day can add up to a wonderful feeling.
- When you want to get more rewards from your work, increase your value every day just a little bit more. Study something every day, be more efficient, improve, innovate, connect. Just a little bit more than yesterday, that is all you need.
- When you volunteer your time, volunteer just a little bit more and see that if everyone gives just a little bit more, we all have a little bit more. Abundance is everywhere. Giving is receiving.
- When you throw away something into, be just a little bit more in tune with our planet and recycle.
If you are tempted to do “just a little bit less” (a little less anger, a little less TV, a little less arguing), remember pink elephants and focus on where you are going, not on where you have been.
Success in life goes hand in hand with your ability to stretch yourself.
Even young children can understand emotional stretches. At our house, when my youngest daughter was only three years old, every evening at dinner time we had to count our emotional stretches for the day. Everything that is hard for us to do and we do it anyway is a stretch and a growing experience.
Emotional growth has no limits and small stretches are the least painful way to personal development. Commit yourself to continuous stretching and appreciate it in others around you.
You can create your life “one little step at a time” and grow every day.