25, Jun, 2010

Risk, Change, and Optimism


img0001Life is full of risk-taking and change; and both are stressful, but necessary for success and potentially very rewarding. In order to live fully, we need to be willing to continue to move forward, grow, and change. Adapt or perish, right? Making changes in our thinking or behavior require a bit of risk-taking — we’ve got to leave our comfort zone.

We can increase our self-esteem and improve self-image by banishing negative thoughts, attitudes, and mistaken beliefs, which block success and happiness. This positive change can be brought about surprisingly quickly, but it requires risk-taking, as we learn to let go of the old familiar thought patterns and processes we picked up in our family of origin and dragged along, like a ball and chain, throughout adolescence and adulthood. Even self-inflicted misery can seem comfortable in its familiarity. But when we summon the courage to change, grasp the power to change, and begin to take contrary action, we get swift results. Anyone who has made a list of self-enhancing, positive statements or affirmations, and then systematically applied them, knows how powerfully this process can create change and increase self-esteem. These tools begin building new neuronal pathways in our brains, and as we continue the process of positive reinforcement, we create a new super-highway of self-realization, success, and happiness.

Another effective way to increase self-esteem is by developing our bodies, changing our body image. When we’re building muscle we’re building our brains. Say we want to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat — we’ll be required to leap off the comfy couch, drop that bag of Cheetos, and head for the gym; in so doing we risk missing our favorite TV show, or time on Facebook. But anybody who engages in regular workouts experiences a physical and psychological payoff which trumps any online or cable benefit. Our bodies show gratitude, make no mistake. As we continue a daily program of physical exercise, we build new muscle, growing strong, energetic, optimistic, and confident.

The more often we reinforce the new behaviors, the more benefits we enjoy. We learn to set new, measurable and do-able goals for ourselves at regular intervals; “upping the ante” and increasing risk and change in order to multiply success and enjoyment of life. In so doing, we climb higher and higher up the scale of vitality. Along the way, we extend a hand to others, passing on all the positive energy we can in order to empower others engaged in the climb. Sharing success with others increases benefits for the entire human race. The more happy, healthy, powerful, optimistic, fearless people who live on this planet, the better. It’s definitely worth the risk!

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