…have you ever stated this before as well? Have you ever wondered, what would need to happen to become a “better” person or to live a life that is so much fuller and richer? Have you ever looked at other people and wondered, “Hmmmm, they seem to have it all, why can`t I have that?”.
Mind you, there are a few traps to beware of that could deceive and entangle you, bringing you on a course that is not useful for you at all. In the following I invite you to become acquainted with a few of these traps so you will be better prepared to avoid them in the future.
Trap #1: Direction (“Where am I heading?”)
Many voyages start with a clear picture of where you want to go. This is where the first question arises: Do you know, where you want to go? How clear/precise/crisp is the image that you have in front of your mental eyes of your goal?
Human history is full of examples that show: many engagements are doomed for failure due to lack of a clear vision for the impacted people. And in contrast think about this sentence: “Before the end of this decade, I want us to land an American on the Moon!” (announced by former US president John F. Kennedy before the US Congress in 1961). This is a perfect example of articulating a vision that electrified many people to make it happen. And it really happened. In summer of 1969 Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 stepped off the Lunar module’s ladder and onto the Moon’s surface.
Trap #2: Self-perception („Who am I?“)
Currently we see many people in public life – may they be statesman, business leader or just prominent – who obviously suffer from a syndrome called Dunning-Kruger effect, shortly: DKE. This phenomenon is characterized by a distorted self-image and an overconfidence in one’s own actions. Two interesting results from studies carried out by Dunning and Kruger:
- Incompetent people often make wrong decisions.
- Incompetent people often do not realize that they have made wrong decisions.
This is what also explains why “faked news” are existing. In an attitude of shame (having said something obviously not true) and overconfidence, many people just stick to an obviously false fact pretending it to be true nevertheless.
All this shows that it is quite challenging to really understand “Who am I?” if I suffer from DKE or never ask for honest feedback regarding my behavior from others. How could it be possible to develop into a direction that makes me a better human being if I have a distorted self-perception and do not accept feedback from others? Impossible.
Trap #3: Ambition („How much do I want?“)
If you took a new job and the HR person would ask you: „How much do you want to earn in this position?“. What figure would you mention? A maximum figure, a medium figure or maybe a minimum? Or even none at all? The outcome of your actions depend on the ambition that is implied with setting a target (or a figure). Staying in the picture of the mentioned example, any figure stated by you has implications on your interaction with the HR guy. If you name a low figure he/she may think you have low expectations or a rather small self-confidence. If you state a very high figure, you may face early resistance and it could difficult to negotiate. Giving the other one a medium figure might be ok for him, but will it be ok for you? Do you really want to earn medium taking a new job? Or do you want to improve your salary taking this new challenge?
Yeah, the question was rather rhetorically…
Lastly, not stating a figure at all may leave the responsibility to your HR person (to come up with an offer) but it is risky for you as well. If you do not know, how much you deserve how could you ever be satisfied once you receive your first salary having started in the new job?
You need to set goals that attract you. Hereby, two positive consequences are implied for you: a) These goals get you energized and every morning tell you why it is good not to stay in bed but getting up to make something happen. b) You have a clear indicator showing you when you are successful. The SMARTer your goals are the easier it will be for you to reflect on your past once you have reached a milestone or let pass some time.
Trap #4: Competition (“Me in relation to others or me in a unique way?”)
Dave Ramsey once said: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” To what degree are you already part of a rat race with a “carrot” dangling in front of your face? How often does it happen that others attract you with certain benefits you could get if you just gave a little extra effort? Do you enjoy this competition? Is it good for you, mentally and physically? The rat race phenomenon is deeply ingrained in our socio-economic systems. They have certain benefits (innovation and growth for many), however also many con’s that lead to people suffering from burn-out, depression or a strong lack of purpose in life.
Many people have already found out that there are alternative ways to a rat race competition and that it can be in fact quite fulfilling to lead a life of uniqueness.
I invite you to read more about how to achieve more of EVERYTHING in my next blog.