Fears and doubts are very much part of our emotional life — they show up daily.
Everything causes them: finding new work, dealing with financial uncertainty, creating something new, contemplating failure.
But it is critical that we keep fears and doubts from impeding our ability to fulfill our potential.
From Epictetus to Ralph Waldo Emerson to Buddha to Dr. King to Marcus Aurelius, I seek every bit of inspiring wisdom I can to practice optimism and courage.
It is about self-awareness, wisdom, and understanding our strengths — often in the face of adversity. I have found that you can cultivate these personality traits through daily practices. And it does get easier and stringer over time.
The following ten practices helps me to continually develop my courage and optimism:
Everyone is familiar with the saying, “If you believe it then you can achieve it.” We call it faith. The great question to ask is how strongly do you believe in yourself and your journey.
Order can come out of chaos when efforts are made repeatedly, when we are mindful about options and possibilities. A quest — whatever it may be — begins with curiosity and intent.
It is only when we zig zag through our journey do we discover our treasures from serendipity, synchronicity, and chance encounters.
And in any journey — entrepreneurial or otherwise — there are many encounters. Some are planned; some are by accident; and some by divine intervention. When we have faith — ‘help’ often does show up when we need it most if you are open to possibilities.
This ‘miracle’ happens when two people or events are drawn to the same time and place based on a similar intention. Often this is referred to as Synchronicity (as defined by Carl Jung).
For me, many ‘miracles’ have occurred when least expected — and many of the people I’ve encountered have become business partners, friends and family. And whenever those encounters initially left me with a “negative” experience, they turned out to be much-needed lessons for me.
I believe chance encounters happen to those who remain optimistic no matter what.
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” — Muhammad Ali
According to quantum physics, our thoughts have a frequency and a corresponding unique vibration that attracts similar frequencies into our lives. So negative thinking attracts negative energy; positive thinking attracts positive energy.
Buddha, Aristotle and many others have suggested the same, how we think creates the energy that ultimately manifests our realities. If we go into a situation with a negative thought process then we are almost destined to have a negative outcome.
This also applies to group thinking or collective consciousness. When a collection of people together guides their mental energy for a positive outcome, the likelihood of their success is usually lot higher and than otherwise. Their collective energy attracts positivity or negativity.
“The emperor writes: How should you be? You should be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continuously pounds. It stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say — “How unlucky that this should happen to me.”
But not at all.
Perhaps say instead how lucky I am that I am not broken by what has happened, and I am not afraid of what is about to happen. For the same blow might have stricken any one, but not many who would have absorbed it without capitulation and complaint.”
This passage says it all. Fearless among us will get stronger by accepting and embracing our battles.
Nelson Mandela in his teens, heard a tribal elder say, “These are our young men. They are our future. But the truth is they are second-class citizens … they will always be boys.”
Mandela made a decision to change South Africa upon hearing this. And his decision changed the world.
Fearless people work with what they have and turn obstacles into opportunities. They are at ease with challenges, disappointments, and rejections. Instead of setbacks, they try to see these events as gifts and find ways to utilize them to move forward.
The fearless are busy creating their future. They visualize their future and invent their way into it. Nobel Laureate Dennis Gabor in his book, Inventing the Future, writes:
“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented. It was man’s ability to invent which has made human society what it is. The mental processes of inventions are still mysterious. They are rational but not logical, that is to say, not deductive.”
Understanding exactly what we want is the foundation for our success. But executing that success requires taking the next step, every day, no matter how difficult it may be. That means you don’t get to sit around and wait for success.
There is just no substitute for hard work. Almost all very successful people work harder than most people can ever imagine. Fearless people tend not to dwell on things, they find their strength by staying devoted to their craft.
Based on Buddha’s teachings, I believe devotion begins with:
Right effort — without effort, nothing can be achieved.
Right mindfulness — to actively observe and guide our minds toward our journey but staying in the moment.
Right concentration — concentration on wholesome thoughts and actions.
While we cannot control everything by an act of will, we can certainly be devoted to life’s pursuit.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Fearless positive people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt with ease during adversity. They develop a set of powerful mental traits.
Resiliency begins with flexibility and adaptability. Success and happiness does not always come from blasting through rocks and impediments, rather from having the faith, courage and ‘letting it happen’ attitude to cope with harsh realities of life.
Above all, positive and optimistic people lead themselves by constantly finding encouragement within their soul. They surround themselves with other positive people. And they inspire others despite their own personal adversity.
The more you give out positively, the more you get back.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone. Mine often comes from writing, reading and watching movies — books and movies that combine life stories with a spiritual journey.
Writing allows us to consciously put these positive reaffirmations on paper to visualize our destiny. I have also found writing is therapeutic for coping with my adversities.
It allows me to turn my anger, fear, and disappointments into inspiration for myself and my readers. It serves as stress relief when you try to turn negative into positive by finally expressing what you feel down deep inside.
The realization of the power of patience was most obvious to me during my visit to the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan. There, I stood in front of a famous Japanese calligraphy, a quote by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868.
It says: “The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.”
Over time, I have found that the practice of patience begins with:
Compassion — The Dalai Lama says, “a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively or hurt you.” It is perhaps one of the hardest things to practice, yet there’s no substitute for compassion.
Gratitude — When life turns upside down, staying in an attitude of genuine thankfulness helps us realize what we have.
We all know that the people we surround ourselves with make the difference between failure and success. If you’ve ever been around someone who leaves you feeling exhausted and drained, you have probably encountered an emotional vampire. These people don’t drain your blood, but they do drain your vital energy. Emotional vampires can be found anywhere.
It is important to avoid people who bring us down, waste our time, take us backward, and have no empathy in our suffering. Make a deliberate effort to spend time only with people who uplift you and make you stronger.
Copyright © 2017 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.
I am an entrepreneur and author. Founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka enables aspirations to lead, innovate, and transform. Shadoka’s accelerators and solutions bring together the management frameworks, digital platforms, and thought leadership to enable innovation, transformation, entrepreneurship, growth and social impact.
Author of “Everything Connects — How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability” (McGraw Hill) and “Survive to Thrive: 27 Practices of Resilient Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Leaders” (Motivational Press). Follow me on Twitter Faisal Hoque. Use the Everything Connects leadership app and Suvvive to Thrive resiliancy app for free.
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