Malcolm Gladwell says “If you work hard enough, if you assert yourself enough, if you use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world according to your desires.” Do you want to shape your world according to your desires? What does it really take to do that? The most important thing here is to learn how to assert yourself.Here are a few suggestions to begin with.
- Know exactly what you want. It is most important for you to be clear and specific as to what your expect from yourself and others. A lot of people don’t really know what they want in their personal, social or professional life. They have a general idea like they want to be rich, famous and successful but they really don’t know what they are willing to do for the same. You need to not only know your specific goals, dreams and aspirations but also understand that to achieve those you would need to be clear and specific with everyone who is going to help you in your path of success. No one makes their dreams come true in isolation so you need to learn how to motivate others which is possible only when you know exactly what you want.
- Differentiate between ego and self respect. Self respect is the core of a high self esteem which is the base of success. However, very often people act out of their ego rather than healthy self respect. What is the difference? Well if you catch yourself reacting to others with the thought ‘how could he/she talk to me like that or do that’ chances are you are about to operate from your ego. Whereas, if you catch yourself thinking ‘that sure is unpleasant behaviour, how can I work around it’ you are operating from a high self respect. It is important to express your displeasure but at the same time understand that others are free to choose the way they respond to you. Never lose your self respect but at the same time always keep your ego in check.
- Respond – Don’t React. Reaction is an automatic response to a stimuli. For example, if you touch a hot vessel you’ll jerk your hand off. That is the instant reaction. Response is the choice you make after experiencing the stimuli. In the same example, when you put your hand under cold water you are responding to the burn. In physical emergencies like burns reacting before responding is understandable but in emotional emergencies like disagreements, conflicts, unpleasant life events, etc reacting instantly is not very wise. Try responding. For example, if your friend yells at you, your instant reaction maybe to yell back and defend your stand. Try responding instead by making a statement like ‘I can see you are really upset with me about this. Let me see how I can work it out differently’. Most likely your friend would stop screaming and also work towards a solution.
- ‘NO’ is an option. A large number of people find it difficult to say a simple word like ‘no’. Are you one of them? Usually people don’t like to refuse because they feel if they do they would displease the other person. Most people either consciously or sub-consciously spend their whole life unsuccessfully trying to please others by displeasing themselves. It is important to understand that unless and until you are happy and pleased with yourself you can never please anyone else. You spread what you have… so if you have happiness within you, you spread happiness and if you have anger within you, you spread the same. The inability to say ‘no’ builds anger and frustration within. Go out and please yourself. For a while it may seem like you are displeasing a lot of people by doing so, but in the long run the same people will be happier and more proud of you and the relationship.
- Accept limitations. We all want to be superhero. But unfortunately, life is not like the movies. It is not humanly possible to be everywhere and do everything well. So accept that there will be certain things that you cannot do and let that be handled by someone else rather than you struggling to change. Remember, strong-stronger-strongest and weak-weaker-weakest. Whatever you focus on in life goes to the superlative, so if you focus on what is strong in you it would become strongest and if you focus on weak, it would become weakest! Don’t waste your energies over your weaknesses, no one is perfect. Strengthen your strengths to compensate and ignore your limitations. You rather be a master of one than a jack of all!
The way you handle your relationships is the way you will handle your success because the steps to success are made of innumerable relationships. The key to healthy relationships is a high self esteem and an assertive attitude. Think big, be confident, be assertive with yourself and others, sky is your limit!