Maximise Your Potential

Amrit Sandhar

Who dares wins…

“What if?” What if it all goes wrong? What if I lose everything? What if people laugh at me? We make ourselves helpless, paralysed by fear and end up living an unfulfilled life. I’ve just finished watching the film ‘Who Dares Wins’, the moto of the SAS, after not seeing the film for many years. A great film that reminds you of the great work carried out by the armed services.

Who dares wins…think about this statement for a second…think about it, have you ever seen ordinary people doing extraordinary things? Have you seen an average looking guy who had the guts to approach the best looking girl and suddenly they are happily dating? Have you ever seen an ‘ordinary’ person set up a business anyone could have, and go on to make a success of it? Do you know anyone who had the conviction to follow their dreams and are now living a fulfilled life? As human beings, our survival instincts are set to look out for danger, to keep us alive. These survival instincts can go into overdrive and if we allow them to, they can prevent us from doing the very things that could unlock our potential, that could allow us to follow our passion, that could allow us to live a happy life.

Fear is a powerful emotion. Marketing thrives on creating fear and then providing solutions to alleviate it. It is said that human beings are born with two fears….falling and loud noises, everything else we learn. We learn to fear trying something different, we learn to fear deviating from a well-trodden path, we learn to fear realising our dreams…but Who Dares Wins…it always makes me think of an old Atari racing car game. Did you ever notice that when you were chasing the car in front, you always overtook it, yet whenever you were in the lead, your focus inevitably went to the rear view mirror and sure enough, you would get overtaken. Susan Jeffers in her book ‘Fear the fear and do it anyway’ shares the principle that feeling the fear, is part of being human. That doesn’t mean that this is a sign to stop. Focus on the fear and that’s what will happen. Focus on our dreams and fear can become excitement. So, just as the SAS dare to win…is realising your dream, your potential, your fulfilled life, worth daring to act for? Who Dares Wins…

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Never sell yourself short…

Did you ever imagine to find yourself where you are now? Are you working in an environment that is not aligned to your values and beliefs? Do you find yourself patiently queuing whilst everyone else is jumping ahead? Are you frustrated with the injustice going on around you and no one speaks out? Every day, we sell ourselves short, whether its through enduring service at a restaurant that is unpleasant, to accepting behaviours at work, day in day out, that you could never have imagined you would have tolerated.

Why oh why do we become so accepting of this pain and suffering? Is change so awful that it is better to suffer in pain than to do something about it? Did we ever dream as children that we would become so worn down that we would accept such injustices?

I remember as a child, thinking I was really special, different, and that I was here for a greater purpose. As I grew older, that feeling wore away and before I knew it, I had been assimilated and was working hard to fit in and conform. I am convinced that we all had those feelings when we were young. Yet as we go through life, they are dampened down until eventually, they whither and die.

Last weekend, I went to see the film, ’12 Years a Slave’. I had no idea how powerful a film that was going to be. At the end, the whole of the auditorium was full of people crying, full of people in pain. How could human beings cause so much pain and suffering to one another? The slave trade like the holocausts and countless injustices all over the world, demonstrated how a collection of people, through torture and pain, could be worn down to feel so helpless and powerless that they accepted the intolerable practices of a few, on the many.

After the film, I couldn’t help but wonder whether in life, whilst the horrific injustices are no longer present, have we exchanged the cotton farms for the working conditions in corporate life? Have we exchanged torture and pain through physical harm, to office politics causing mental harm to each other? That hope that we felt as children, for a better world, is still within us all. Many thousands of people all over the world, gave their lives that we may live in a free world. The hopelessness you may feel, may be just that, a perception that needs testing. Just like the baby elephant tied to a stump. As they grow older, they assume the same stump will stop them getting away, so they don’t even try.

We must never sell ourselves short. Everyone deserves the right to better their life. Everyone deserves the right to dignity and we are all equal. If you are dissatisfied with any part of your life, the question is, what are you going to do about it? For we are not helpless and we must never accept that ‘this is our lot’. The best of humanity comes out when we need it most, and human history is scattered with people like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and countless others. They were born just like us. They decided that we were worth more and did something about it. May we never see the injustices that the generations before us endured. I cannot begin to imagine how they coped. To honour our past, we must ensure we make the most of our present. We must make sure we never sell ourselves short and make the most of this wonderful life, together…

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Can 2014 be a better year?

So Christmas is over, having overindulged on extravagant meals and snacking in between.  And like so many people, the following day, I was out there trying to find as much fruit as possible, to correct the balance my body was yearning for. Since Christmas, I have been on the green tea, fruit smoothies and as much fruit and water as I can take. My body was yearning for nutrients and I had to respond.

Various experts have told us that it takes approximately 30 days to form a habit. We have so many aspects of ourselves that we torture ourselves for, whether it’s our weight, our lack of organisation, the inability to quit smoking, the inability to persevere at something and the list goes on. Yet 30 days goes by so quickly. Reflecting back on the year, I cannot understand where the year has gone – all 365 days. What did I achieve? Did I do everything I wanted? Was I a good father, husband, son? How could I have been better? Could I have organsied myself better so I had more time at home? Did I look after myself enough so I had the energy to make the most of the weekends with my wife and kids?

2013 is now at an end and we look forward to 2014, filled with hopes and dreams for a better year. What would make 2014 a better year? Maybe 2013 was a fantastic year. I must admit, I’ve learnt more in 2013 than any other year than I can remember. But it’s not winning the lottery or getting that fantastic job, which may or may not happen, that would make 2014 a better year. It’s the simple things that would make a real difference to our lives. The new habits, which if we could give enough focus to achieve, would have a massive impact on improving our lives.

So what stops us? We all know what gets measured gets done. What if you focused on getting more organised? What would you need to do? Plan each day, with achievable tasks, and then complete them. This done for 30 days would put us in a better place to deliver many other things. Improving our health would require us to eat healthier everyday for 30 days combined with regular visits to the gym throughout this period. Yet many of us, within the first two weeks, give up and go back to the self torture. For those of you who have seen the film ‘Run fat boy, run’ this reminds me of the scene where Simon Pegg when running the marathon, is faced with a wall which he must breakthrough. The wall was a psychological one but a wall just the same. Great film if you haven’t seen it.

So much has happened in 2013, both good and bad, which is essential in life. Life is made up of the yin and yang. We will have missed many opportunities to develop ourselves throughout the year with new habits. Whatever your New years’ resolutions, start by marking the days off on a calendar, for everyday you achieve your goal and see if you can get to the 30 days mark. Just as Simon Pegg was faced with a wall (in this case our 30 day mark), you too might find yourself breaking through and finding the rest of the journey far easier after this point.

I will not be giving up my new lifestyle and I too am marking the days of my healthier approach. Let’s make this a happier and healthier new year by doing what we have been holding back from for so long….by achieving the simple things that will make the biggest difference….

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Dreamed a dream….but did nothing about it?

How often have you had thoughts of wanting something or doing something, only to put the thought out of your mind, thinking it will never happen? How often have you explored the possibility of what would need to be true to make it happen? At what point does the dream become an action plan?

I have for the longest time, been aware that I have needed to strengthen my inner core. By this, I mean my stomach muscles and upper back. I have been frustrated with not having enough time to look after myself. I found that I had tension building up and I had no release. It was a conversation with my wife that made me think about why I was holding off doing something about it, despite being convinced this would help me. It was her wisdom that made me take action.

Well, I took the plunge and decided to get Pilates training. Yes, I am a man who now undertakes Pilates and guess what….I am loving it. When you take time out and listen to your body, you know deep down what you need, whether this is more sleep, a massage or a specific exercise. I knew my body needed Pilates. My trainer has been brilliant and I am releasing tension and building core body strength making me think I should have done this years ago.

We hold off looking after ourselves so often, even when we know the value it will add to our lives. It took my wife to make me realise that I had to stop complaining and do something if I really wanted it. It’s the same with the rest of life. Wanting something is no good without then taking action to get it. We so often, look at other people, wondering how they have what we yearn for or how they achieved their dreams. Whilst we occupy our time dreaming, we need to have a point at which this converts to action, if we really want it. So, if like me, you have been holding off, whether it is a life long dream or doing something you know you need, take action and make it happen. Until then, a dream is just a dream…

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