Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Brick Walls & Brick Breakers

Last month I had my mid-year review. I began to examine all the goals I’d set at the beginning of TwentyTen and evaluating my progress. To say my progress has been disappointing is an understatement. I don’t think I’ve done 30% of what I intended to.

Whilst discussing my disappointment with my friends and family, most of them told me to stop being so hard on myself. Yet the fact remained I wasn’t meeting the standards I’d set for myself and frankly that wasn’t good enough.

I tried to think about why I wasn’t achieving things that are seemingly within my grasp…..

Was it my car accident?

For about 2 months this year I was out of action recovering from a car accident. Though my injuries aren’t visible they’ve changed how I live. The psychological impact of having to work harder to live in a way that once came naturally has been tough. Yet for the sake of my sanity I’ve had to get over it. I can’t legitimately use the accident as an excuse. Yes it derailed me, but people overcome far worse and the truth is I was off mark before it happened.

Is there a conspiracy to hinder my progress?

Of course there’s no conspiracy! I don’t matter that much. No one matters that much.

Sidebar: People who think the world’s against them usually only have one enemy, themselves.

So what was the problem?

It wasn’t hard to figure out. I was the common denominator in all my failures. The problem lay with me. When I first discovered the power of setting goals and working towards making them manifest, it was a life changing revelation. However there was a crucial problem with my method. I persisted in creating my goals in a vacuum, forgetting goals are actualised in the real world. The real world is full of obstacles. Sadly my mindset didn’t allow for these obstacles. All I had was rigid goals and an inflexible strategy.

In the last 6 weeks I’ve been forced to excavate my life. I shut out the noise and began to dig those areas I’d neglected in my complacency. It has made a huge difference. Firstly, it’s finally dawned on me that goal setting and working hard are the minimum requirements for success and will never suffice. Secondly I realised that when the game changes, I’ve got to hold on to my principles but adjust my strategy.

There’s a chance you’re reading this and you’ve hit a brick wall. There’s an equal chance everything your life is going according to plan. Regardless of what space you’re in, brick walls are one of life’s certainties. It never hurts to know what someone else is using to break down their walls. Today I thought I’d share what I’m implementing in my life, I call them ‘The Brick Breakers’.

The Brick Breakers

1) Get off the seesaw

I’m usually either extremely happy or depressed. There is no in between with me. It’s a constant seesaw, bumping from extreme to extreme. If I’m happy, I’m brimming with ideas and my productivity is at its peak. When I come down, I’ll over-think myself into a state of worry and all my output is mediocre. The ‘seesaw’ was the story of my early twenties.

June taught me that if a positive outlook didn’t become my modus operandi, 2010 would end in disappointment. I had to get off the seesaw. It was monotonous, childish and I needed healthy consistency. Every day I’m training my mind to focus on empowering thoughts rather than allowing negativity to dominate.

Sidebar: A great site with tips to declutter the mind is Zen Habits

2) Learn to Network

Historically, networking hasn’t interested me. I despise those who get to know people simply for what they can gain from them. I want to get to know a person because they’re genuinely worth knowing.

In hindsight I had a myopic view of what networking is. Who says I can’t connect with people who are genuinely worth knowing and can help me with my goals? We live in a world where everyone has something to offer and everyone needs a problem solved. This means within you is the solution to someone’s problem, you just have to find them (and if you’re a capitalist sell it to them!). Anyone who isn’t trying to connect with people is doing themselves a disservice. The more influential people who are aware of what you do, the easier it is to get where you want to go.

3) Remember time is not your friend.

‘Time is always against us. Please, take a seat there."
Morpheus, The Matrix

Since my car accident I’ve developed a sense of urgency about life. In the process I’ve learnt rushing is as counterproductive as being slothful. However we must always be ruthless with time, because ultimately time is ruthless with us.

4) Be Confident

Diffidence has contributed to least 60% of my lack of goal attainment. As such I’m using my twenties to regain the raw confidence I lost somewhere along the way.

I meet a lot of successful people with mediocre minds who have fooled everyone into believing they’re brilliant. YouTube conspiracy theorists would conclude such people are in the ‘illumnati’. The only secret in the society of the successful is confidence. They believe they’re the best and couldn’t care less about who misidentifies their boldness as arrogance. After all, if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, how on earth do expect anyone else to buy it?

5) Break Big Goal’s down into little goals with specific time periods

The Long Run Goal = Marry Trey Songz → 2 years

The Medium Run Goal = Weasel your way into his inner circle → 1 year

The Short Run Goal = Get access to Trey Songz. Buy tickets to a gig. → 6 months

Sidebar: Just to assure you the Trey Songz goal isn’t a personal goal of mine. Promise : )

6) Ask for help

Pride is dangerous. Don’t wait until things fall apart to ask for help.

7) ‘Plus it’

We get it. Hustle beats talent. Yet this doesn’t mean you don’t need to be good at what you do. In fact you need to be so good they can’t ignore you. To do this you must decide to ‘plus it’.

‘Plus it’ is a concept created by Walt Disney. Any time his imagineers would create a new concept he’d tell them to go away and ‘Plus it’. He wanted to push their brilliance to its limits and by doing this he forced them to produce something remarkable.

8) Enjoy it
It’s a crazy ride. I’m slowly learning to enjoy the journey instead of constantly obsessing over when I’ll get to my destination.I recently came across this quote and it hit me so hard I stuck it on my bedroom wall.

‘Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved and will always solve, the problems of the human race’
Calvin Coolidge.

So the final Brick Breaker is: Keep Pressing On

Love & Light




  1. Awwww Christiana you write so well, you should write a blog-book at the end of 2010. I never thought of a mid-year review , now am just so inspired to have one NOW!!!
    That should be the point of writing / anything we do ..inspiring
    Just Never Stop!!!

  2. Nice post. Ugh,'Networking'!? That help issue is one I struggle with(pride's a killer). But can't agree more with persistence.