13 Things You Should Embrace If You Want Real Progress In Your Life

Kaye Ramos
Oct 27, 2017 · 12 min read

You feel crippled on your goal setting efforts.

You have bad habits you want to stop. Maybe you want to stop eating unhealthy foods. Or stop trying to be perfect. Or stop constantly checking your social media feed that robs your time.

But none of it still works. Perhaps you failed because giving up something does not work for you.

Sometimes, all you can do is embrace things to see some changes. While we may have different definitions of success, we can win against our weaker selves.

What Happens When You Embrace Life’s Unwanted Gifts

Each of us needs a great deal of improvement. The past is fixed and immutable.

We cannot do anything about it, but we can certainly embrace the present and use it to our advantage.

Reflect where you are right now and see what you can embrace:

1. Embrace Harsh Comments

“Don’t let negativity affect your vision. A lot of people have said harsh things, but I don’t let it affect me. If anything, it gives me more enthusiasm and pushes me to do better in my career so I can prove them wrong.” — Nicole Polizzi

We cannot control what people say to us. We can only control the way we respond and take those feedbacks.

Most people have difficulty receiving feedbacks especially harsh comments. They immediately think of it as a validation of who they are.

People who advance further in life know how to deal with even the most painful comment they get. They don’t dwell on the negativity for so long. They don’t despise the other party for his thoughts.

Instead, they dissect it for a possible lesson to improve themselves.

Harsh comments can actually wake us up from a long slumber of settling for mediocrity. Getting criticisms can be very uncomfortable. But they are great reflections on the kind of performance we have.

Evaluate where the criticisms come from. You can be open to harsh comments to become better directed internally.

Separate the criticisms that rot your system and toss it. Scrutinize some painful comments for possible lessons you can get.

2. Embrace Your Failures

“Safe life is a wasted life. God made you for far, far more than the life you let your fears define for you.” — Rick Warren

You are working to reach your dreams. You have high energy, but failure seems like a frequent visitor.

Failure does not only appear in your life. It appeared first in the lives of successful people. But they managed those failures well which eventually ushered them to the position where they are.

Arianna Huffington said:

Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a stepping stone to success. Nobody has succeeded who never failed along the way.

When you let failure scare you, you are preventing yourself to reach the heights you can achieve.

If failures knock you down, get up. Get up until your body gets immune to rising up every time you fall.

3. Embrace that You Can Be the Best of Whatever You Are

“The danger of expecting nothing is that, in the end, it might be all we’ll get.” — Dan Ariely

Most people belittle themselves. They find it hard to believe that they can achieve more than what they have right now. They doubt their capacity to improve their lives and others. So, they remain complacent and accept what life gives them.

Life caters to the seekers. It has vast opportunities waiting to unfold for those who are willing to put in work.

Many successful people in history overcame their own doubts. They stretched themselves despite pain and struggles and believed they can produce great results. And they did.

All inventions, advancements, and improvements in this world started with someone who believed in his capacity to influence others. That belief led them to make the lives of others easier.

This wonderful poem written by Douglas Malloch reminds you that You Can Be the Best of Whatever You Are:

If you can’t be a pine on top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

You can’t be everything to everyone. But you can certainly be something to someone.

You can be the best in whatever endeavor you decide to do. You just have to find your best self.

4. Embrace Your Magnificent Obsession

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” — Les Brown

You won’t reach further on your journey if you only serve yourself.

Successful people know this. That’s why they look for inspiration bigger than them to fuel them to move. They deliver value to everyone around them.

There is only one life to live — to use it to help others will make it more worthwhile. This principle was illustrated dramatically by Mother Theresa.

Mother Theresa left the convent to live with the poorest of Calcutta. She devoted her life to helping people and opened her home to the dying people. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Award for her efforts.

She said:

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Find your gifts and utilize them properly. Share yourself without waiting for compensation or reward. Eventually, life will recognize your sacrifice. People will thank you for being the spark in their lives.

There is no too small or too grand to impact someone’s life. You have that magnificent obsession. Search it. Spread it.

5. Embrace that Nothing in Life is Free

“Anything in life that is worth having is worth working for.” — Andrew Carnegie

Newton’s Law of Inertia states that an object at rest will remain at rest unless a force acts on it and will remain in motion unless a force stops it. If you want some improvements in your life, necessary forces and efforts are needed to change your position.

Successful people know that to achieve what they truly want, they need to work for it.

That would entail long hours of work, asking help from the right people, being humble that you need to learn and sacrificing instant gratifications. They know there are no easy handouts for a fulfilling life. They force themselves to work even when they don’t see results right away.

Whatever you are harvesting today is the outcome of what you planted in the past.

Nothing in life is free. If you want to get the best out of life, a much-needed work has to be paid in advance. If you are not ready to pay the price of success, then you cannot have it.

Nobody became successful by merely wishing.

If you aspire for a better life, put in work. When you do, you’ll be surprised how generous life can be. When you are ready for learning, you will recognize it in every way.

6. Embrace Your Difference

“You have to be brave with your life so others can be brave with theirs.” — Brené Brown

Many people get insecure on various aspects of their lives. These insecurities are the breeding ground of excuses. They think they are too different to even be a great basketball player, writer, singer or something else.

Successful people like Steph Curry don’t mind how different they are compared to the norm of the field.

Curry received unremarkable comments about his physique. He was told that he would get trampled and pushed around. But those comments didn’t paralyze him to improve his art.

He trained so hard and targeted a minimum shoots of 250 a day and 100 before every game. He turned his difference into his advantage. That’s what made him one of the best NBA players in history.

He said:

“If you take time to realize what your dream is and what you really want in life — no matter what it is, whether in sports or in other fields — you have to realize that there is always work to do, and you want to be the hardest working person in whatever you do, and you put yourself in a position to be successful. And you have to have a passion for what you do.”

If there is something that holds you back from opportunities because people use that against you, well, you can certainly twist the trend.

Your difference can be your major asset. It can be used as your area of excellence. You just need to tap it.

7. Embrace Playing in Private

"It's good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.” — Anne Lamott

With the advent of technology and rise of social media, it can be very tempting to share instantly what your plans are.

Research shows that announcing your intention of pursuing a new goal can be detrimental on your success. When you tell people what you intend to do, you condition your mind that people think you achieved it already. This could lead to a decline in energy to push for the goal.

Talking too much about the tasks makes you think that you are close to achieving it even though you have not started something yet. Talking and doing compete for the same time and consume your energy. Use your energy to something that gives results.

If this does not convince you, probably a wise advice from Napoleon Hill will:

“If you talk about your plans too freely, you may be surprised when you learn that some other person has beaten you to your goal by putting into action ahead of you, the plans of which you talked unwisely.”

If you have a big goal, that is a great sign that you are open for a change.

Openness does not translate to deliverance. You have to show up, act on it, and translate it into reality. Before you know it, success already creates the noise for you.

8. Embrace the Roadblocks in Your Life Right Now

Be open to opportunity and if things don’t go well, move on! — Gary Vaynerchuk

Successful people discard the myth of overnight success.

They aren’t afraid of their slow progress. They don’t get easily discouraged if they have zero views on their articles or videos. They don’t fret on how many failures they have. They know that roadblocks are part of their success story.

Most people rely on their motivation and willpower to sustain them.

It hurts their ego to see that they are being ignored despite their efforts. They feel it is unfair not to get the desired results after putting in the work. They don’t have the stamina to keep running amidst the pain. So they give up not knowing the next phase can be their success.

In every depression or sorrow, seek for the learning experience.

For every challenge, there is an opportunity that awaits behind it if you have a positive attitude.

Focus on results rather than roadblocks. Roadblocks are instruments that signal something better is coming.

9. Embrace Your Slow Progress

When we get so wrapped up in our heads, we miss out on what’s available to us right now at the moment.” — Jen Sincero

Henry Ford spent 12 years before he had the Model-T known today as Ford car.

Napoleon Hill took more than 20 years of research and work to produce his classic best seller book, Think and Grow Rich.

Theodore Roosevelt spent most of his teenage life doing gymnastics and weight-lifting to improve his sickly body.

Thomas Edison tried nearly 10,000 times before he got the light bulb right.

Brooklyn Bridge’s construction took 14 years yet still going strong since 1883.

Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots and lost 300 games, but he became one of the great basketball players.

No matter how slow you are right now, progress is still a movement forward. Acknowledge your effort and don’t beat yourself on how slow progress is.

Successful people embody this principle. They know that if they keep digging, they’ll find the diamonds. If they keep swimming, they’ll reach the finish line.

The fact that you are easing forward is a good sign that you are doing well.

Do not be intimidated by the achievements of others. It is your own race. Inch by inch, step by step, brick by brick, you’ll get there. “Stay in the fight “til the final round”, as singer Mandisa says it.

10. Embrace Your Definition of Success

“If you believe you can do it, most of the time you can. It’s mind over matter.” — Vernon Wolfe

Adhering to society’s definition of success will drain you. Money, Fame, and Power. Do not pressure yourself with these.

Life has more to offer. Success can be achieved every day. No one can define how successful you are. It is your own definition.

When you don’t live in other people’s definition of success, it helps you to fully express yourself. No definition of success is better or worse than the other. It’s yours.

Do not just focus on chasing accomplishments. Find something that will fulfill you.

When you are happy inside, you’ll feel more accomplished.

11. Embrace the Need to be Schooled

“The burden of learning is on the person who wants to learn, not to the person who wants to teach.” — J. Milburn Smith

You can learn just about anything you want, and you can grasp any skill you wish. Provided, you are willing to learn.

If you don’t strive to increase the learning you have right now, you will likely get behind.

On this fast-changing world, those who can adapt easily are the people who are willing to be taught and accept that there is always a space for learning.
You stop growing when you stop learning.

Find an effort to learn something new in any way that is consistent with what you want to achieve. Take the proper action to apply the information you learned.

The more you learn, the more you will be humbled by how little you know, and have yet to learn.

12. Embrace Alone Time

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Being alone is often equated with anxiety and depression.

If you look at it from a different angle, you can actually use it to help yourself. Take it as an opportunity to revisit your life. Check what’s working and not. Find what drains your energy. Know yourself more.

It is in quiet time that our best ideas occur to us.

Spending time alone can free your mind and will get you to do what you want to do. In the process, you become more creative. This is what Daniel Goleman, author of Focus refer as “open awareness.” When you hit that creative insight, make sure to apply deliberate focus to ponder on it.

Whether you got laid off, came from a recent break-up, or waiting for a job, embrace this alone time. Treat it as a golden phase that will help you to target your goal better.

13. Embrace Other People’s Achievements

“Seeking your own self-interests above all else is the most destructive and unfulfilling way to live.” — Philippians 2:3

Feeling a little behind?

Does it seem like all trains are moving forward except yours?

Why can’t you feel happy for others?

Jealousy is a poison that lives inside most of us. It can be overpowered with acceptance and humility.

Accept that every person deserves to be happy and excel. Be humble enough to focus on your journey than comparing yourself to the achievements of others.

Successful people are generous givers. They know how to be happy for other’s success. That’s why when they succeed, others are happy for them too. This is what Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, found out from his research.

There’s enough room for happiness for everyone. Enrich your own life by enriching the lives of others.

When you stop hating and be happy for the success of others, it can free you from frustration and worry. It can establish a good relationship with others and attract more positive energy.

What you share will multiply and grow. What you withhold will disappear and decrease.

Choose to share happiness and love and it will come back to you hundredfolds.

The Journey Is The Reward, It Really Is

Wherever stage you are right now, you can be better than yesterday.
You can be the successful version of you. You can witness the bright future meant for you.

When you take the initiative to change, the universe will bless you with more opportunities. If you keep walking, you’ll reach the destination you aim.

Don’t fret on how slow your journey is. Every day is a battle with ourselves.

When all is said and done, the journey is the reward.

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Kaye Ramos

Written by

Sharing things that Matter and Deliver. I aim to inspire you through my writing.


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning.

Kaye Ramos

Written by

Sharing things that Matter and Deliver. I aim to inspire you through my writing.


A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning.

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