Monday, April 18, 2011


How to be the best version of yourself 
- by Nick van der Leek

If we believe we have limitless potential, why is it we’re perennial underachievers? 

The world is full of stories about early starters, but there are late starters too.  Consider James Earl Jones, a man from Arkabutla [where?] Mississippi, a black man, and a man with a stutter. He was 46 years old when he was offered to play the voice of a certain very dark character, and due to the dubious nature of the role, Jones didn’t want to be credited.  Darth Vader in ‘Star Wars’ propelled Jones into a career spanning seminal flicks like ‘Field of Dreams’,‘The Hunt for Red October’and ‘The Lion King’. Perhaps Jones would never win an award as an actor, but that voice – well, that could certainly take him places.

Sometimes a little humility and a lot of faith are just the ticket to take you places.  But what if unlocking our potential is as simple as taking a pill?

While this is the compelling premise for the contemporary film Limitless [Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro], don’t be fooled for a second!  It’s a myth that we use only a fraction of our brains. Actually we utilize most regions of our brain each day, we simply don’t call all regions into service at the same time.  Concentrating demands a lot of energy from the body, about one fifth of the body’s energy is just for the brain.

But the brain is also the key to unlocking your full potential.  In the following ten steps to becoming SUPERYOU, notice how much of the process is not about physical strength, but attitude and just learning to flow.

SUPERYOU in 10 easy steps:

1. Family Support First
This is both the most crucial and the hardest ingredient to guarantee.  A cursory study of the world’s top achievers, from Superman to Bill Gates, Ryk Neethling to Richard Branson, from Lance Armstrong to Neil Armstrong, reveals the consistent but unseen face of family support [in Lance’s case a single mom].  That love is a driving force, a motivator, that’s hard to beat.

2. Dream Bigger
What inspired someone like Oprah Winfrey to greatness?  Sometimes it is seeking a life that is the complete opposite of the life you once had.  If you’re nowhere, especially if you’re at rock bottom, be still and take a moment to dream, to really dream of the your personal mountain summit. Set goals and don’t stop aspiring to be better!

3. Start Now
Each moment is precious. Start young, or, if you’re already old, Nelson Mandela was when he emerged from prison, try at least to maintain a fresh outlook on life.  Be open to new thoughts. Each day, harness the power of the morning.  Get up early and get yourself out there into the world.
One of the most motivated South African triathletes you're likely to meet is a chap from PE by the name of Alec Riddle.  Here's an extract from a 'Note' he posted on Facebook recently:
Dawson Trotman once said "The greatest time wasted is the time getting started," so make sure you do get started sooner, rather than later as the last thing you want to do is go to your grave with the 'dance' still left inside of you. Our lives change when we change something that we do everyday and success is the sum of many, many choices and sacrifices.
Don’t wait for the right moment, in fact don’t waste a single second.

4. Train Hard
It takes hard work to get anywhere.  Practise does make perfect.  Each moment spent focussing on a goal, and applying yourself to it, teaches you to be better at it.

5. Toughness Means Humility
They say BMT cannot be taught.  It can.  It’s a mindset.  Find different levels of success, and start out with humility.  Make sure, no matter what you achieve, that humility doesn’t change because it’s one of your best tools for learning. 

6. Use Models
Every famous person aspires to be better than themselves, and their stepping stones tend to be models.  Find someone to believe in, but don’t forget to believe in yourself once you surpass their achievements.

7. Celebrate Failure
Failure presents us with the best lessons ever for learning how to improve, and ultimately, to win.  You can’t do this without buckets of humility.  Before Ryk Neethling won a single Olympic medal, he gave up on swimming.  It was once he started swimming for fun that he noticed he might be better as a sprinter [he’d been coached in long distance for most of his career].  By celebrating this failure [rather than sulking] he turned his life into success.

Constant And Never-ending Improvement.  It’s something the motivational speaker Tony Robbins came up with.  It means every day, every time you do something, concentrate on doing it better.  Focus on what you’re doing, love what you’re doing, rather than trying to get it over with as soon as possible.

9. A Successful Lifestyle
Success must become a lifestyle.  The ingredients to success involve successful habits,  high personal standards, and a minimum level of constant discipline.

10. Never [ever] Give Up
Did Lance give up when he was diagnosed with cancer?  He could have taken his insurance money, over $1 million, and retired.  Instead, he backed himself. 

Backing yourself is the first and last step to becoming Super You.  But the business of getting to your full potential is also just a function of the choices you make and that depends ultimately in the faith you have in your self.  Once you get the faith, keep it locked deep inside you and you can take it all the way to the top.

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