Perseverance is important when it comes to being successful. Right motivation and strong willpower helps you overcome the tendency to give up.
Many of us accept what life gives us instead of going out and creating things for ourselves. Those who have the determination to achieve their goals always surge ahead to chase their frontiers of success. Success largely depends on living with right intent, virtues, purpose and direction.
Successful are not necessarily smarter or more talented than their less successful counterparts. They are only more disciplined, determined and courageous to use their will power in righteous ways in getting what they want. Many smart people fall by the wayside because they strive only when there are short bursts of motivation or either they use will power without the right purpose. Perseverance is an important trait to develop in order to become successful.
Perseverance is diligently working towards challenges and the ability to maintain the effort over long periods of time despite facing difficulties in the path. Motivation and Will Power help you persist in your endeavours.
Why Motivation is important?
When you want to achieve something or when you act out of desire to pursue a habit or a goal, you depend upon the feeling of motivation or interest. Motivation is like a welcome wind at your back that helps you to stay persistent. Motivation can vary in nature depending on the factors that influence you to pursue your goal.
You tend to act on extrinsic motivation when you expect something in the form of reward or act because you will be punished. For instance, you exercise because you want to be complimented on how you look. This kind of motivation has its downsides as it only lasts as long as the external motivator is applied and you value it. Extrinsic motivators can be created in order to achieve a particular habit or a goal.
You are intrinsically motivated when you do something because you find it inherently satisfying. May be you eat healthy food because you prefer the taste. This is more powerful than extrinsic, but the downside is that there is not always a way to create it. This depends on your interests, likes and passion.
This motivation comes from the desire to help others or support a cause you care about. This can be very powerful motivation and has both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. For instance, you might want to work harder to create something that will benefit people.
Knowing why your goal is important and finding what motivates lets you build positive aspects that support your chosen purpose. Tapping into your motivational energies improves your ability to persevere.
Sometimes, when we plan to take up one goal or purpose like learning a new sport or losing weight, we enjoy motivating ourselves for short period, but after the initial gratification, when things get harder, when there are certain obstacles, most of us feel stuck and we are unable to push through. That is when you should rely on the will power to carry you through.
“Use motivation when you find it, but rely on willpower when you don’t.”
Motivation only works in the moment. In order to persist in non-windy days, you have to rely on your Willpower.
Here are some ways to strengthen your will power to move in the direction of your goals.
Sometimes failure and difficulties distort the perception of your goals. It also distorts the perception of your abilities. You should learn to endure the situations that seem to be against. Learn to tolerate the unfavourable situations and overcome the obstacles in order to pursue your goals. In the pursuit of your goal you might face rejection and criticism. Strengthen your willpower by being tolerant and to be independent of the opinion of others.
Be patient with yourself
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”
Seeking a goal makes you impatient with your progress. Most of us suffer from the expectation of immediate gratification ‘I must have it now.’ We don’t have the patience to wait and get irritable if we have to. Impatience is a resistance to learning. We want the answers without doing the steps necessary. Impatience weakens your willpower to persist. If you are patient, you can nurture the seeds of will to achieve your goal.
Establish a routine
You can achieve a little bit of something if you learn to follow a simple routine which requires to little or no effort. Sometimes establishing a routine with proper rest and not putting too much pressure can make the daunting process of pursuing your goal much easier. When it is broken into small steps and repeated every single day, it becomes an automatic behaviour. Establish similar routines for every goal you want to achieve.
Develop mental toughness
You can train your willpower to help you handle difficult situations so that you can persevere without losing confidence. Mental toughness can be developed by exposing yourself to tough situations. This way you can slowly push your limits and can expand your safe zone. Continuous small improvements will ensure you won’t give up on your goal. Apply time-limited and quantity-limited discipline to make yourself mentally tough.
Focus on what is in your control
Willpower involves self-control. By controlling your habits and tendencies, you can accomplish what you will. Breakdown your goal in question to those aspects that are in control. Then go through the aspects that are not in control. You will need to determine what you can and cannot control. Your behaviour is the only thing you can control by applying your will. Focus only those things that are in your control.
“If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.”
Developing passion in whatever you do helps you to persevere longer. Having realistic expectations and figuring out what is that you really care about and what matters you most improves your perseverance. There is no added pressure and the interest will make you stick to the goal you are pursuing.
Stop trying too hard
Sometimes exerting too much pressure causes lapses in your willpower. Like the muscles get fatigued when they are overworked, similarly your willpower can fail you when it is overworked and undernourished. Be aware of how much effort and willpower you are exerting. You must avoid situations where your willpower will be continuously taxed without rest. Engage yourself in certain activities that you find relaxing and refreshing in order to restore your will.
Transform your negative habits
To make yourself persistent at your efforts you must liberate yourself from negative tendencies. Some psychological traits or behaviour that we pick from others tend to shape our life. They produce patterns that appear fixed and automatic. We have to exert force of our will to change our negative habits. Make use of the opportunities to transcend these negative habits to gain better control of your will.
Shying away from risk and wallowing in self-pity puts you off from going after things you really want. Just going with the flow because it’s easier weakens your willpower and cannot persevere during tough times. Create a plan and stick to it with certain amount of discipline. Discipline yourself by being in charge of your thoughts to organise your behaviour towards a specific goal.
If you are pessimistic and have been reinforcing negative thought patterns your whole life, you need to make an effort to break out of those and start thinking in a more positive and success oriented manner. Mindfulness can be practiced as an intentional form of meditation to restructure your negative thought patterns and to strengthen your willpower.
Finally, In any of our efforts there are bound to be difficulties, moments of doubt, anxiety, disappointment and setbacks. But we most likely overcome if those efforts contribute to something larger than ourselves and give us meaning. Find the right purpose as it can be a powerful source of motivation for you to persevere and be patient as it can take time to overcome your negative thoughts and habits.
Try and apply the above steps to persevere in your endeavours.
Know what is it that you want to achieve. Know how you are going to achieve them. Replace negative self-talk with positives.If you aren’t getting enough, try new approaches to persevere.
Seeing things from a new point of view can be very enlightening. Be open to change your perspective.
“ It is your vibrational thoughts that give life to the goals you wish for”
Are you holding on to fixed ideas or assumptions about yourself?
Are you allowing yourself to be controlled by the past failures?
If yes, then you are limiting your abilities by holding on to self-limiting beliefs. These limiting beliefs of yourself hold you back from reaching your full potential.
The preconceived ideas tend to block your possibilities to do what you want to do. Dreams are essential, but it is also important to know what is keeping you from having it. Sometimes that might be your limiting subconscious belief.
Let us look at some of the self-limiting-beliefs.
Beliefs like “I can’t do” or “I am not intelligent enough” or “I’d fail if I tried” or “ “I lack the experience” and so on destroy your desires. Many tend to attribute their lack of success to not being able to have proper education or financial stability and live a life consumed by their inadequacies.
Some don’t want to move out of their secure zone. Belief like “I am secure where I am” puts limits to explore new possibilities or keeps them from taking a different approach towards their goals.
Thinking “There is no way to solve the problem” or “competition is just too much” or “I am not capable enough” make you hit the rough barrier soon and kill your desires.
The size of your goals and abilities depend on your environment. Your ambitions and personality is the result of your psychological environment. The environment in which you belong might label your ideas as ‘impractical’ ‘foolish’ ‘luck determines success’ ‘you are too old’ or ‘too young’ and so on.
You subconsciouslychoose or attract those people and experiences you believe you deserve. If you feel worthy you tend to make productive choices. If you feel unworthy, you tend to make limiting choices. Low self-worth generates tendencies to sabotage your own efforts. You may start to feel unlucky as things don’t turn out well.
All these perceptions make your perspective narrow. You fail to make out the overall picture and you will not be able to seek new solutions or take different approaches. You end up making limited belief that you can’t get ahead, so you don’t bother to try. Sometimes these same perceptions lead to self-destructive behaviour.
‘You are what you Think’ is an eternal truth. The words you say matter. So do your thoughts. If you want something different out of your life, then you have to do something different. Similar is the case with your thoughts. To overcome your limiting beliefs or whatever you find yourself complaining, you can make changes by taking responsibility of your thoughts. You can bring about a change in your perception of situations, problems and people in your life by adopting a new point of view. Seeing things from a different perspective creates new opportunities.
At every opportunity, it is important to believe that you have the potential to do better than you are now and should be willing to make an effort to overcome your self-limiting-beliefs.
There might be many detours on your path towards your goal. You can take these detours in your stride by Revolutionising Your Perspective. (RYP)
Changing your perspective lets you work around the hurdles. For instance, while driving, if you come to road closed’ situation, this simply means you can’t go where you want to go on this road. You will find another road that takes you where you want to go. You don’ have to change your desired goal.
Here are some aspects to consider to revolutionise your perspective. (RYP)
Be master of your own time
Some do extremely well when they are on tail wind, but as soon as they run into a head wind, they cannot cope. Sailing along in good winds is easy. As soon as the wind swings and changes it’s direction, they get self limiting and cannot move forward.
RYP by demonstrating a strong will and showing tenacity. Think back to how you were a year or two years ago, about your achievements, have gone forward or backward, have you stayed or continued on right path. You will find that although you may have suffered certain set backs in some instances, on the whole you would have made a steady progress. You will come to realise that setbacks or hardships in your life were very brief and were temporary. If you focus only on the difficult times you will end up getting discouraged. Mastering your time makes your will resolute to move forward in difficult winds.
Is it sufficient for us to advance in just one direction. Following just one pattern of thinking limits our possibilities. No one is perfect or capable of sailing through without any problems. The reality is people move to the left then to right, they fail and go down, then they stand up again.
RYP by not clinging to a particular method or fixed notions from your past. Unidirectional approach limits your possibilities and ideas. Being flexible in hard times lets you get through difficulties. Explore new possibilities to get around the problem. A path is sure to open up if you are willing to change. If your limitation is that goal is too big, divide it into small realistic steps. If you think you are not qualified enough,try to gain some required skills and apply them to achieve your purpose.
Be flexible and think of ways to turn the situation to your advantage.
Use adversity as springboard
No one can sail through life or travel on their path without facing set backs, failures and difficulties. Life is not necessarily filled with good experiences, even before you were born. So you are not here simply to have everything run smoothly for you.
RYP by taking difficulties or set backs as experiences provided to make you strong and turn them into opportunities to grow. We are here to accumulate different experiences by repeating the process of trial and error. Make the utmost effort with all the knowledge, skills and ideas you possess to cope with adversity. Do not let yourself swept away by the tides of adversity instead use it as a springboard to move forward.
Think like long distance runner
There are always two ways of considering a situation, short-term and long-term. You may not be a sprinter, but this doesn’t mean that you do not have the ability to run. It is true that people have different levels of ability. Some can master something in short term but some take longer time.
RYP by thinking like long-distance runner. Inspite of being a slow learner or with no potential to do well, with continued effort and certain amount of discipline you can achieve what you desire in the long run. A short-term perspective sometimes has a probability of being less successful and has more chances of people concluding that they are no good and ending up having no goal. In the first place. The fact that you did not succeed in short term doesn’t mean that you cannot in long term. It is necessary to extend your time frame to meet your desired goal and you can do so with better ability.
Nothing in this world is a waste
Sometimes the people in your life become your limiting factor. The main problem lies in our incorrect perception of people and things around. This distorted perception of others makes us moan and complain. We tend to categorise them as good and evil and criticise, dislike and distrust. Because of this many wish if they were in a better situation or with better company or with better people. This becomes a major hurdle in working along with others.
RYP by changing your outlook. Ask yourself if there is some other way of seeing a situation. When you happen to meet people you dislike, try and figure out why they are disagreeable to you, or why their character displeases you, or why they have a pessimistic attitude. Unless you adopt to the belief that these negative views cannot be true, you cannot change your perspective. Sometimes it is only our wrong understanding and our distorted views that limits our knowledge about others.
Aim for a goal one step higher
Some find that they are capable of reaching certain point only to discover that success eludes them. Their subconscious fear of total success makes them anxious as they feel that they have not earned it. As a result, they fail to achieve their goals when they have only a little further to go.
RYP to overcome this kind of situation. Instead of getting into trouble, when approaching your goal, practice setting your sights on a goal that is even higher. Making a habit of thinking one step ahead. Plan for your next step and aim for a higher goal. There is always a higher mountain waiting to be tackled. This makes you less anxious towards your present purpose and prepare you better for your next move.
To sum up, you can train yourself not to limit yourself as you have every potential to become what you think you are. So get down to the deepest level, find your limited thinking and beliefs, and try to change your perspective to make them supportive to what you want to achieve. Adopt to a new way of thinking.
Anger needs to be managed and expressed appropriately. Efficient anger management lets us handle situations positively.
Whenever there is injustice around us, we are subjected to anger. The feelings of anger and resentment well up more tension, stress and sadness. We do witness lot of demonstration of anger in the world. But all this anger in the past has enabled people to fight and overcome injustice. Unnecessary hatred and feelings of animosity create hostility. Whereas necessary anger serves a purpose. Sometimes it shows us a new perspective to move on or makes us realise something within us that we still need to work on.
We fail to recognise how accelerated our lives have become. The speed at which we are living results in racing thoughts where the mind goes rushing from one attitude to an other. This overstimulation creates emotional illness. It produces fatigue and frustration and we begin to fret about everything from our personal troubles to the state of the nation and the world.
At individual level, these chronic patterns of anger, hate, resentment and criticism raise the body’s stress levels and weaken our immune system. Anger clouds our thinking and concentration and leads to delusion and loss of memory. Anger is a natural energy and must be used constructively. If it overpowers, it can ruin us, but if we are in control, it can add to our welfare and strength.
“ Anyone can become angry- that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy.”- Aristotle
It is important to express your anger
Many of us experience bouts of anger from time to time. “When this anger is not expressed outwardly, it will be manifesting inwardly in the body and develops into a dis-ease or dysfunction.” The denial of anger and its suppression are unhealthy emotionally and physically. So it is good to release or express it in positive ways when it comes up.
Here are some ways, how anger manifests into various side effects based on its expression.
Some people are afraid to show their anger. They hate making a scene and don’t like to offend others because they are scared of rejection. Many women are taught that anger is a bad emotion and for those who are parents, that losing your temper makes you a bad parent. So, many try to swallow their anger and suppress it. Despite being angry, they feel they don’t have a right to express it. This built up anger which is not expressed over a long time turns into bitterness and resentment. This might result in to depression and sadness.
Some build anger against others or situations over time. They express it by sulking or criticising and tend to hold a grudge. They may not be screaming and shouting, but there is a good chance they’ll finally snap. This is aggression veiled in passive terms. Sometimes they end up venting their frustration on wrong people. Holding on to grudges will continue to keep them in a state of constant anger which effects their psychological well-being.
Some are angry for major part of their lives. This is habitual anger and becomes their second nature. They always want to get their own way and are impatient. They are verbally expressive and frequently get into arguments. They have short fuse and slightest thing can set them off. Habitual anger is not good for the body as it gets lodged in there and might manifest into major health issues.
Learn to Manage your anger
Anger is a useful emotion and needs to be controlled and managed. With all the stress and pressure in our lives, it is easy to lose our cool at the slightest irritation. Like any other emotion, being aware of your agitated feelings lets you you recognise, accept and deal with them in a positive way.
Efficient anger management also lies in learning how to express your anger appropriately. We all know the damaging effects of anger and how it ends up creating negative thought patterns. So it is healthy to release anger to create new space inside for loving, optimistic and cheerful thought patterns.
Here are some techniques to help you manage your anger.
We all become defensive and tend to over react during unfavourable situations. You don’t have to give everything a reaction. The best thing to do sometimes is to stay silent and walk away. It is better to realise that what matters so much in that moment may become insignificant later. Realise that being angry is to give away power to others. Instead control your own emotions.
Change the way you think
When you are angry, your thought process gets dramatised and exaggerated. Swearing and cursing leads to erratic behaviour. Recognise the situation and rationally replace them with calming thoughts. Make a conscious effort to rationalise your thoughts so that you can figure it out eventually. Restructure your thoughts for a favourable outcome.
Learn to communicate
Repressing anger is not healthy. Go beyond your emotional hurts and get out of ‘done me wrong’ syndrome. Learn to communicate your issues openly to the person with whom you are angry. It is always better to ‘Say’ rather that to ‘Show’ your anger.
It is ‘okay’ to be angry with your children or parent or spouse or employee or friend. Perhaps the anger is because you are not communicating with others. Clear up your mind by having healthy conversations and expressing it constructively. You will be able to see your situation in new light and find solutions.
Be aware of anger triggers
We cannot fight anger, but can be aware of what causes and when it arises. Rejecting and fighting the feelings of anger will only make you more agitated. Recognising and accepting with total awareness protects you from its damaging effects. Identify what is that you are really angry about and what are the situations that make you angry and resentful. Knowing what triggers lets you handle your feelings and gives you better control over those things and situations.
Forgiveness is an act of freedom unto yourself. Holding on to the feelings of bitterness and anger will only make the issues bigger than they originally were. When you hold onto something from the past, it will continue to make your present moment disharmonious. Forgiving the person with whom you are angry and letting go of the anger will dissolve the disharmony and removes hostile thoughts and feelings. This gives you freedom to move on with present.
Think before you speak
Take a second to think about what you say in the heat of the moment. Saying something hurtful will have its dire consequences. If you are in a bad mood, it is ‘okay’ to avoid the confrontational situations until you are ready. Give yourself time to process it. Making others wait for your response is better than reacting immediately by saying something that you will only regret later.
When you feel fully relaxed and at ease, it would be difficult to feel angry or frustrated. When you relax, you can do much to release the tension associated with anger. Practice taking a handful of deep breaths before responding when you are angry. There are several breathing exercises that can help you deal with anger issues.
Mindful breathing has calming effect and makes you better equipped to manage your frustrations and impatience.
And finally, make a conscious effort to slow your pace or your tempo to quieten your thoughts. Repeat a series of words which express quietness and peace and perform your daily activities mindfully.
“What we perceive as needs and what we perceive as wants, influence the choices we make.”
NEEDS motivate human behaviour and they correspond to certain beliefs we have. For every habit we have, for every experience we go through over and over, for every pattern we repeat, there is NEED within us for it. Primary influences on our decisions and choices we make in our lives are often the perceptions we have of our needs and wants.
If there were not a need, we wouldn’t have it, do it, or be it. In other words we are always motivated by our needs. Both needs and wants represent the desired results we strive to achieve. They are important influences. Many times we might end up choosing a want over a need. We are often pushed and pulled in many directions with a need elevating the choice of one want over that of another want. Differentiating NEEDS from WANTS helps us to weigh our options more carefully by knowing what is influencing our decision.
NEEDS are different from WANTS
You may WANT your NEEDS, but more frequently, you end up wanting things that are not really associated with your needs. Needs are gaps in results and there is a satisfier to close those gaps. Needs have purpose and there are always multiple alternative satisfiers to any need.
WANTS are choices we make on the basis of what we believe is important. There is nothing wrong with wanting things. What is important is that we should be able to differentiate between our needs and our wants with their satisfiers in order to take better decisions. By focusing on what we want, we may miss the things we need most to meet our goals. The decisions we make are directly proportional to the needs we have to satisfy.
Nature of NEEDS
Some needs are instrumental and their existence depends on there being an end goal or purpose. They are gone once the goal is achieved. Some needs are absolutes. They just exist. For instance, you can never overcome a continual need for food, water and shelter. Understanding the nature of needs as whether they are absolutes or instrumental is important to recognise their implications on how we consider needs within our lives.
The needs at personal level might vary from absolutes to being instrumental. First, you must meet your basic-level needs ( such as food and shelter) then needs of safety (such as personal, financial, health and well-being) before you are motivated to focus on higher-level needs (such as belonging, creativity).
The needs at societal level to achieve our societal ambitions like well-being, survival, and quality of life are absolutes. Needs at organisational level are instrumental. Universal needs for competence, freedom, and psychological relatedness motivate our behaviour and these needs are absolutes. They are essential to our psychological health and well-being.
Know your NEEDS
Our decisions are responsive to our needs. We know our needs by feeling them, as we feel strong desires or emotions. Needs are more like medical conditions, they have signs and symptoms. Through these symptoms you get to know your needs. We always get motivated to take certain actions in order to reduce the internal tension that is caused by unmet needs. Think about the nature of needs in your life. Are they absolute? or do they serve a purpose? Knowing their nature provides you a better perspective.
Struggle between our needs and wants influence our decisions, though most of us pay little attention to them. Identifying and assessing your needs can improve your decisions and help you achieve valuable results.
Here are some changes you can make to improve the quality of results you get from your decisions.
IDENTITY your needs
Here is a simple way to identify your needs. Look back into your past and ask yourself what needs were being met whenever you made right decisions. Make a list of your needs, check them by asking is this true need for me or do I want it because of something. This way you can identify your actual needs and not confuse yourself with wants.
ASSESS your needs
You can make comparisons among your needs and use the information to guide your decisions. Identify your needs and assess them by comparing the results you want to accomplish to the results you are currently achieving.
MEASURE your needs
Needs should be assessed and measured in order to help guide your decisions towards your desired result. Measure gaps in results by subtracting the current result from the desired result.
FOCUS on the results
Focus on the results you want to accomplish first. “ if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” If you don’t know what results you want to achieve, then any decision will do. Plan your actions by aligning with your goals and objectives. If you have a purpose, you know how and what you need to do and can assess your needs accordingly.
PRIORITISE your needs
Understanding the purpose and results help you prioritise your needs. Do not just limit your needs to just being those things which you can’t live without.
Write down the results you would like to accomplish in a year and compare this to your current result, assess your gap and prioritise and take your actions to close the gap.
THINK of wants as Underlying needs
We often fail when we try and cut back completely on our wants because of their happiness inducing nature. Wants are just an expression of underlying needs. Totally cutting out our wants will never last because we are actually cutting that need. Think of a want in your life and what underlying need(s) you are fulfilling with that want. Decide on ways to fulfil those underlying needs.
Know your OPTIONS
You will improve your decision-making by considering options. All needs have multiple satisfiers. Look for different options even though you think one satisfier is going to be the best choice. There are always multiple ways to achieve any result. Thus, there are other alternatives to consider.
RECONSIDER your needs
When the need pops as “I need to….” ask yourself what results you really want to achieve. Do you really need it? Or is it want? or can you change things so you don’t need it? Do not elevate any want to the level of need as yet. Always think of what purpose it is going to serve if you fulfil it. This way you will be able to take right decisions and be at your personal best rather than being part of the rat race.
Finally, push yourself to think bigger than your personal needs or organisational needs. Work with others and align for higher purpose. Doing so will give you a broader perspective and help you define your needs more concretely.
Memory is an essential pre-requisite of all learning. Building strong memory improves thought system and intellect.
Memory is an important aspect of your ‘self’ and is formed by your mental habits.
“The human brain can remember events, skills, habits, and experiences. The sum of what is remembered is called a memory”-Frank Knoll
Memory loss is often attributed to aged and elderly. As you get older, you lose your imaginative skills. However, in recent years, there is a sharp increase in the number of people reporting memory related issues irrespective of their age. Majority of these cases are associated with lifestyle dysfunctions, over dependency on technology, and information overload. Tension and stress further weakens our memory system.
It is interesting to know that the left side of our brain deals with logic, language, numbers, and sequence, while the right is connected with visualisation of images, colour, and awareness. However, both can undertake all kinds of activities. You shouldn’t say that you do not have the capacity to learn or that you are weak in a certain subject. In fact, it may be because you have not developed an interest in that particular subject. By improving your memory you can use both sides of the brain.
Impressions of all mental and physical actions, observation and Visualisation in our subconscious mind creates our memory.
Our memory system has the ability to retain impressions of past thoughts in the form of attitudes, moods, or resolves. Memories are not duplicate impressions of earlier events, but reconstructions of earlier events.
Memory is an active process and depends on what your brain chooses to remember and for what duration. There are three stages by which clear memory is formed.
Registration: Registering the information by the perception of sense organs forms the short-term memory system. This is very limited and should be used for registering the information clearly. Otherwise, the waste and negative information might replace it.
Retention: This is the process of storing the particular information for longer duration and this involves visual images and association with words or other experiences such as smell or sounds.
Recollection: The information stored up is brought up into conscious mind when required. This further depends on the state of the mind which helps to recall the full information stored.
Depending on the above stages, each information is processed and stored by our brain based on its intended use. Memory can be further classified.
* We tend to forget certain information as soon as it has served its purpose. This is termed as Working memory which usually lasts for few minutes to few hours and cannot be retained for longer hours.
* There are certain memories that occur at particular time and place. We register and label them with time stamps and in certain context. This is Episodic memory which allows your brain to travel back to that place and time when you try to recount that event.
* Procedural memory involves deliberate acts of learning and we can eventually recall without deliberation. For instance learning how to play a musical instrument or learning to drive.
* When we learn Information based on facts and related to general knowledge, it is stored in the brain. This is Semantic memory. This can be retained for longer time and depends on the practice and differs from person to person.
Why do we forget?
Lack of Attention
Attention directs mental activity to register an object or situation. Not being able to pay proper attention to anything forms a weak impression on our memory. In the absence of clear attention, no clear impression and therefore no clear memory to recall.
Lack of Mental exercise
We get mentally out of shape when we stop challenging our minds. This happens when we opt for habitual solutions instead of purposeful thought or when we confine ourselves to limited range of interests. Your ability to make decisions, to solve problems, to concentrate and to think creatively depends on how well you exercise your mind.
Lack of Physical exercise
Our bodies are very much a part of our learning as learning is not an isolated brain function. Every nerve cell is a network contributing to our memory and our learning capability. Complex movement stimulates complex thinking. Lack of these movements leads to low memory.
Lack of Interest
Interest is important for concentration and thereby for improved memory. Things, which we are deeply interested in, are remembered without conscious effort. Lack of interest leads to interference of other thoughts and activities which distract us from giving undivided attention to a certain subject or situation.
Lack of Sleep
When we are sleeping, brain consolidates, revises information, builds and strengthens pathways for particular memories. If you routinely deprive your body of sufficient sleep, your longtime memory will eventually deteriorate. Many harmones that are important for healthy brain functioning are secreted during the night time. Any interruption to this will make it difficult for us to recall even those memories that are retained.
Lack of Emotional Clarity
When we are emotionally upset or worried, we cannot concentrate and register the information properly. Emotional distress shrinks working memory and so diminishes the ability ṭo think and imagine clearly. Our memory and emotional states are closely linked. All our confusions are emotional ones and they befog the mind and rob it of it’s clarity.
“A clear mind remembers, a confused mind forgets.”
Lack of Relaxation
Moḍern lifestyles compel multitasking and can lead to too much work, loads of information to process, and less time to rest or relax which reduces our concentration power and creates stress. General and unwanted information leads to more confusion and loss of memory. Very less energy is spared for sharpening the mind and becomes dull and less receptive.
Lack of Relevance or Understanding
We remember what is relevant and important to us. The more relevant, the better we understand, the better we learn and the better our memory system retains and recalls when necessary. Lack of association, relevance and understanding results in non-comprehension and loss of memory power.
Few techniques to improve your memory.
Create strong impressions: Various impressions of past,present and future converge upon the mind. For stronger impressions, you need to involve all your five senses. When the impression is stronger, the memory recall will be faster and easier. Stronger impressions are formed when more than one sense is involved. Create impressions of positive and necessary information which further strengthens same impressions in your active memory.
Create interest: Improve your concentration by strengthening your interest. This compels you to give undivided attention and to concentrate by excluding other thoughts that might interfere. When you have clear-cut goals and when you know what you do helps you achieve your goals, you will automatically develop an interest.
Concentration: Develop the habit of reining your mind every time it wanders to other things. Concentration automatically leads to stronger impression. Try to build habits such as mindfulness and other habits that are conducive to concentration. A quiet mind is the best guarantee of concentration.
Unclutter your mind: Overwhelming your brain with unwanted and too much information will make it difficult to encode the information in the form of memories. Unclutter your mind by scheduling, organising, setting goals, planning for next day and preparing a ‘to do’ list. This way you can free your mind from unnecessary burden.
Association: Association helps improving your memory. The mind has a tendency ṭo associate the new to the old that were similar.
“Here’s a basic memory rule: You Can Remember Any New Piece of Information if It Is Associated to Something You Already Know or Remember” – Harry Lorayne.
Create memory technique of comprehension: Comprehend the subject of interest under six headings that is why, where, what,when, who and how. Try to understand by asking these questions. It is a permanent way of remembering.
Build positive emotional memory: Emotional memory is the memory attached to past events, people and places. Positive thoughts with positive emotions create healthy mind and receptive mind for better memory. By creating positive emotional memory, you can recall successful solutions to the similar problems of the past.
Remain stress free : Stress reduces brain functions such as memory, intellect, and even brings premature old age. It affects our concentration and learning ability all of which are essential for effective performance at work. Remain stress free for better recollection. This can be achieved most naturally when both the body and the mind are relaxed. Deep breathing and other meditation techniques help you remain stress free thereby enhancing memory power.
Mental and physical exercise: Some of the simple games we played as children can help tone up the brain and reinforce the functions of sequential thinking, logic and remembering the names and dates. Crossword puzzles or a round of scrabble offer as an excellent method of mental workout. Swimming or other physical activities stimulate brain synchronisation. Rhythmic movements such as dancing, skating, or walking also improves the memory.
“ The more you connect to the power within you. The more you can be free in all areas of your life.”
“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.”
So many of us hide from ourselves and we don’t even know who we truly are. We don’t know what we feel, we don’t know what we want.
Consciousness is essential to know who we are and to leave our limited thinking and beliefs behind for a bigger and cosmic view of life.
What is consciousness?
To be conscious is to go within and know who and what we really are, and to know that we have the ability to change for the better and recognise the power within. Being conscious is to live without fear, judgement, blame, and guilt.
Total awareness breaks the bondage that is rooted in our unconsciousness. It is the freedom to be the real you.
Why is it important to be conscious?
Conscious people own their commitments by owning their results. They experience what is here and now and are not trapped in old patterns.
Unconscious people are cut off from an authentic experience of themselves and people around. They are more reactive about the past or an imagined future and their ego or mind takes over. They lack creative impulse and tend to live out of familiar patterns again and again when fear or anger kicks them into reactivity.
Most of us live life unconsciously in the habitual nature of our personality and live in regret and anger because of the past and in fear about the future.
“A candid and pragmatic assessment and acceptance of ourselves and our abilities and limitations is essential for our well-being.”
Often a single black line serves as an important model for the measure of your consciousness. At any point, you are either above the line or below the line.
The conscious beings are above the line. They are open, curious and are always committed to learning. They have the ability to tell themselves the truth. Below the line can be attributed to closed, defensive, and are committed to being right. Distortion and denial are the traits of unconscious beings.
When we perceive a threat to our sense of well-being, we go below the line, we don’t choose this consciously, we get defensive, limited and insist on being right. Whenever we are given feedback about our work or how we are perceived, we interpret it as a threat to our identity and tend to go below the line by being right instead of learning. Our ego firmly believes that if it is not right, it will not survive.
When we develop self-awareness and locate ourselves accurately where we stand, is it above or below, creates a possibility to shift from an unconscious being to conscious. By choosing consciousness, we shift from being closed to open, defensive to curious, wanting to be right to wanting to learn, and from fighting to survive to living with trust.
Here are four states of consciousness. Becoming aware of which state you are in and where you stand as to above or below the line, helps you to shift from being unconscious to consciousness.
The “TO ME” Awareness
This state of consciousness is synonymous with being below the line. We all spend most our time in this state. In ‘To Me’ consciousness, you see yourself “at the effect of” meaning you believe that the external conditions are responsible for your unhappiness, failure and insecurities. This makes you question “Why is this happening to me?” that is, you pin the cause of your well-being on external factors.
“To Me” mindset leads to ‘victim consciousness’ in which you are constantly looking to the past to assign blame for the current experience and this in a way disempowers you as you invest more in being right and thus makes you defensive and you experience very little control.
Key to change this mindset is to take responsibility for whatever is occurring in your life, owning up your experience, and letting go of need to blame yourself, others, circumstances, or conditions.
“As long as you cling to the idea of the way “ life is supposed to be,” your life circumstances will continue to reflect a perspective that sees itself at the effect of circumstances beyond your control “
The “BY ME” Awareness
When we shift from below the line to above, by taking responsibility, we move from living in ‘victim consciousness’ to ‘creator consciousness’ and from being “at the effect of” to “creating with”. In this state of awareness, instead of thinking that the world should be in a certain way, we see everything in the world as perfectly unfolding for our learning and development.
“ By Me” mindset leads to creator consciousness where in you begin to understand you are the cause of your experience and you are consciously creating with people, circumstances, and conditions. This mindset empowers and generates interest and curiosity. You experience a sense of control and power.
Key to develop this awareness is to choose curiosity and learning over being right and defensive. Opening yourself through curiosity helps you learn from the difficult situations. You start asking: “What can I learn from this situation?”
The “ Through Me” Awareness
As you open up “ Through Me” consciousness, the “ Me” starts to open up to another. Curiosity you developed in “By Me” state of awareness guides you to a different mindset of how everything relates to with you being the centre of consciousness. You begin to notice something beyond yourself with a bigger purpose. You start asking : “ what is the life’s highest purpose that wants to manifest through me?”
“ Through Me” mindset lets you understand that there is “other”in addition to “me” that wants to make something manifest in and through you. Instead of figuring out, it lets you pay attention to various things that are being communicated there by improving your intuitiveness.
Key to gain this awareness is to surrender and let go of control of people, things, and circumstances. By developing an higher sense of your purpose and clear vision, you let life’s highest idea to manifest itself through you.
“ when I finally get all my ducks Ina row, I realised they’re not even my ducks.” Let go of the illusion of control.
The “AS ME” Awareness
You begin to experience “ oneness” in this consciousness. There is only one reality and it is not divided and there is no separation. You are in fact, part of the oneness of universe. Once you realise the truth of oneness and who you are, your consciousness changes dramatically.
With “As Me” awareness you realise this oneness and that you are living in a world without any separation. No separation between you and your environment or you and your competitors and so on.
Key to develop this awareness is to meditate on interdependent and interconnected nature of the universe. The strong conviction of oneness acts like an anchor that keeps you stable and prevents you from drifting.
“ To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.”
– Nhat Hanh-
The above mentioned are not stages of development. We don’t move from one stage to another, but they guide you in becoming aware of which state you are in. As you develop deeper understanding of your true self, you can choose to shift your awareness from “ at the effect of” to “creating with.” You further strive to find a higher purpose through universal oneness.