In order to turn small achievements into a solid foundation on which to build your life you need to develop the qualities of a successful person.
Many people say they want to write a book or run a marathon and some even try. But when faced with the first difficulty — writer’s block, a rejection, an injury, or interference from a toxic person or sheer laziness — they give up.
Those who succeed in publishing a book or running the marathon are the ones who embark on the journey knowing that they need to be committed to the goal, that it won’t always be easy and that they need to do whatever it takes to make it.
A failure, just like a success, is circumstantial. Some people accumulate many failures but they use them as stepping-stones to achievements that lead to one huge success. For instance, Thomas Edison failed numerous times before he invented the light bulb.
Other people pile on achievements but can’t manage to make them lasting or profitable and they soon find themselves again engulfed by failure. For example, someone who lands good jobs but can’t manage to keep any of them.
So far I’ve overcome an eating disorder, faced unemployment, reinvented myself professionally, survived poverty, published a number of books, and come out on top. That does not prevent any of these challenges from happening again, it just makes me feel better prepared to deal with them, should they arise.
Taking the plunge in Haiti © Lorraine C. Ladish
Some of the qualities of successful people:
1. Patience — Don’t expect to see results immediately. If you are a writer and submit your manuscript, get used to waiting weeks, months or even years to see your work published.
2. Perseverance — Be ready to work “in the dark,” without knowing if what you are doing is taking you where you need to go. Trust your instincts, trust yourself and keep on going, no matter what.
3. Resilience — Develop the ability to bounce back from failure, from poverty, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, illness — everyone goes through rough patches in life. If you are resilient, you will thrive.
4. Creativity — Be creative in finding solutions to life’s problems. Creativity is not restricted to the arts. Think beyond the “normal” ways of doing things.
5. Adaptability — Be open to change, always. Life is change. It may sound trite, but you need to embrace this. If you hang on to old ways of doing things, you will not be able to go forward.
6. Joy — Of course there will be times in which you will feel sad or depressed. But, exercise the muscle of joy, and you will become a joyful person, even in the direst circumstances.
7. Compassion — Put yourself in other people’s shoes, often. Look at things from their perspective. It will prevent you from blaming and complaining and you will feel empowered.
8. Productivity — Talent is a good thing to have, but if you don’t produce, nothing will happen. Don’t wait for things to happen: make them happen.
[This post originally ran on Viva Fifty!}
Speaking at the Sports Illustrated “Sportsperson of the Year” ceremony held in her honor on Tuesday night, Serena Williams addressed the body-shaming that she has had to face and overcome throughout her career, emphasizing just how important internal acceptance is when seeking external success.
“I’ve had people look down on me, put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger,” she said in her acceptance speech. “I’ve had people look past me because the color of my skin, I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman, I’ve had critics say I [would] never win another Grand Slam when I was only at number seven — and here I stand today with 21 Grand Slam titles, and I’m still going.”
Williams continued, spending much of her time onstage addressing the difficult ride she’s had and the self-confidence that has been necessary to ignore the naysayers and achieve greatness.
The trek to get to this stage and this moment of her career was not easy. “I’ve lived through tragedies and controversies and horses,” she said, the latter being a not-so-subtle reference to the recent debate as to whether she or the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was more deserving of the “Sportsperson of the Year” title. But now, looking back, Williams explained that each and every one of these emotional and physical hurdles, these internal and external struggles, led her to that podium in New York City on Tuesday night, making history as the first individual woman in more than three decades to earn the crown of “Sportsperson of the Year.”
“For all the ladies out there, yes we can do it,” she said. “My hope by winning this award [is that I] can inspire many, many, many more women … to stand right here on this podium and accept another ‘Sportsperson of the Year,’ so yes ladies it can be done.
“In 1984 in Compton is where I began my journey of becoming a tennis player on beaten down courts,” she said. “Now 30 years later, I still have goals and still have dreams of winning, and this award actually makes me want to work harder to reach more goals.”
It’s hard to define what “dating” is, because it means something different to almost every person. Here, I’ll be talking about it in the sense of being in a romantic relationship—whether that’s as someone’s girlfriend, boyfriend, main hang, et cetera. (And if you aren’t in a relationship like that now, or don’t ever want to be, that’s totally OK.)
A question you may have asked yourself, whether you’re in a romantic relationship or not, is: How am I supposed to BE when I’m dating someone?
For years, I didn’t think about this at all. I based my idea of “being a girlfriend,” which was my particular role in relationships, on what I gleaned from movies and TV. And sadly, many of the characters I saw were relegated to hanging on to someone’s every word and existing only to make the other person’s life better. I didn’t realize that the laziness of screenwriters shouldn’t translate to my own romantic life.
Romantic relationships are different than most relationships in that they’re a little like all relationships, all at once. There are aspects of friendship, because you’re hanging out with a person you like, and who shares at least some of your interests. It’s also like having a crush, in that you often want to cram as much of a person, physically and/or emotionally, into yourself as possible. Then there’s a weird hurt that can come with being in a romantic relationship, because you have to make yourself vulnerable to another person, which means they have access to the tenderest parts of who you are. So how do you juggle all that?
The first, most important step is to be an advocate for yourself. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you stop caring for your own needs, and only care for the other person’s. You are in charge of taking care of you, physically and emotionally—the other person should not have that job. Don’t push yourself further, or be pushed further, than you want to go. Give your body what it needs to feel healthy.
Make regular, quality time for friends you can rely on for fun and venting and hugs. This is really important. Your romantic partner should be an addition to your life, not the centerpiece, and you shouldn’t be the centerpiece of their life, either. You are the centerpiece of your own life. You don’t want to put all your emotional eggs in one basket, no matter how romantic it seems.
New couples often get into a nesting phase, when they’re very happy to ignore the rest of the world. After a short grace period—maybe two, three weeks tops—make sure your relationship can be incorporated into your life, and not the other way around. If someone wants to break things off because you want to hang out with your friends, they weren’t worth being with in the first place.
When you’re taking care of yourself in all these ways, you can really get to know another person, and let them get to know you. That means considering the other person’s needs and wants (but doesn’t mean you always put them first). It means listening and asking questions. It means taking note of things they like, and trying to do those things. It means compromising sometimes. It means revealing information about yourself, in a way that deepens your bond and makes you feel safe. It means letting the other person earn your trust, rather than giving it away or keeping it for yourself.
You also have to remember that the person you’re snugged up with is not perfect. Not out to trick you. Not your future spouse (sure, maybe, but most likely not). They’re someone who makes mistakes and smells bad sometimes and has feelings and says sweet things to you. Being with them doesn’t make them always right or always wrong—you are just two people navigating holding each other’s hands and hearts.
Being close to someone in this way also means having physical and emotional boundaries, and allowing those boundaries to gently evolve. Not to be pushed, not to be broken in the name of love, but to evolve. Allow yourself to test your own boundaries and see what feels comfortable and fun for you. Sex doesn’t make a relationship romantic, and romance doesn’t have to involve sex. Saying, “I love you,” doesn’t have to be a part of the equation, either. You can care about someone very much and never have things go to lovetown. And if that’s the case, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful or fulfilling.
You and your partner may have in-jokes, talk to each other in an embarrassing secret language, or have silly nicknames for each other. It’s totally OK for that stuff to stay within the boundaries of your relationship. Your friends don’t have to know about it, and that doesn’t make you any less true to yourself. At the same time, you and your pals may share those exact same things, and without those things ever entering your dating sphere. Learning how to be yourself, with some thought-out boundaries, and within different relationships, is part of the process of becoming you. ♦
Tips for Recovering From Depression
If you’ve had depression, you know how hopeless you can feel. It’s important to get professional treatment. But there are things you can do to ease symptoms of depression. Exercise, changing your diet, and even playing with a pet can improve your mood. Click to the next slide to see how you can start regaining control of your life.
Let Your Pet Nuzzle Blues Away
Sometimes your pet really can be your best friend — and that’s good therapy. When you play with your pet, you take your mind off your problems. Also, when you take care of your pet you’re fulfilling a commitment to something outside yourself. Caring for others can be very therapeutic.
Eat Smart to Lift Mind and Body
There’s a connection between mind and body. Although there is no specific diet that works for depression, a healthy diet can be part of an overall treatment plan. Build your diet around plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help boost your physical and emotional health.
Choose Foods to Boost Your Mood
Some studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 — especially for people for may not get enough of these nutrients — may ease the mood changes that are part of depression. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids. So do flaxseed, nuts, soybeans, and dark green vegetables. Seafood and low-fat dairy products are sources of B12. Vegetarians who eat no meat or fish can get B12 in fortified cereals, dairy products, and supplements.
Try Low-Fat Carbs for a Pick-Me-Up
Serotonin is a brain chemical that enhances your sense of well-being. Carbohydrates raise the level of serotonin in your brain. Low-fat carbs such as popcorn, a baked potato, graham crackers, or pasta are options. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grain options also provide fiber.
Drink Less Caffeine to Improve Mood
Do you really need that third cup of coffee? Anxiety can accompany depression. And too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious. While possible links between caffeine and depression haven’t been definitively established, cutting back on caffeinated drinks may help lower your risk of depression and improve sleep.
Treat Your Aches and Pains
Feelings of depression can be related to pain. Work with your health care team to treat your depression and your pain.
Exercise to Change the Way You Feel
For some people, exercise works almost as well as antidepressants. And you don’t have to run a marathon. Just take a walk with a friend. As time goes on, increase activity until you exercise on most days. You’ll feel better physically, sleep better at night, and improve your mood.
Choose an Exercise You Enjoy
If you don’t like to run, you won’t last long training for a marathon. But you will stay with a moderate exercise you enjoy. For instance, try walking, golfing without a cart, riding a bike, working in your garden, playing tennis, or swimming. The important thing is to pick something you like. Then you’ll look forward to it and feel better when you do it.
Exercise With Others for Support
Staying connected with other people helps overcome the lethargy, exhaustion, and loneliness of depression. Join an exercise group or exercise with a friend. You’ll stay connected. And you’ll have support to help you stay on track!
Be Sure You Get Enough Sunlight
Do you feel more depressed during darker, cold months? You may have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is most common in the winter, when there’s less sunlight. SAD can be treated with light therapy or exposure to artificial sunlight, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Explore Your Creativity
Painting, photography, music, knitting, or writing in a journal: These are all ways people explore their feelings and express what’s on their mind. Being creative can help you feel better. The goal isn’t to create a masterpiece. Do something that gives you pleasure. It may help you better understand who you are and how you feel.
Make Time for Mindful Relaxation
Stress and anxiety can increase your depression symptoms and make it harder to recover. Learning to mentally relax can help restore a sense of calm and control. You might consider a yoga or meditation class. Or you could simply listen to soothing music while you take a long, hot bath.
Become Actively Involved
Being involved with others can help you regain a sense of purpose. And it doesn’t take much to get started. Try volunteering with a charity. Or join a discussion group at the library or at church. Meeting new people and doing new things will help you feel good about yourself.
Keep Friends and Family in Your Life
The people who love you want to support you. If you shut them out, they can’t. If you let them in, you’ll feel a lot better. Call a friend and go for a walk. Have a cup of coffee with your partner. You may find it helps to talk about your depression. It feels good to have someone listen.
Get the Healthy Sleep You Need
Depression interferes with healthy sleep. Some people with depression sleep too much. Others can’t fall asleep easily. As you recover from depression, relearn good sleep habits. Start by going to bed and getting up the same time each day. Use relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep. Healthy sleep makes you feel better physically and mentally.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs can slow or prevent recovery from depression. They can also make your depression worse and interfere with the medicines you take for depression. If you have a problem with substance abuse, ask for help now. You’ll have a far better chance of recovering from depression.
Continue Your Treatment
The steps outlined in these slides may help you feel positive about your life. But alone, they’re not enough. They won’t replace medical treatment or talk therapy. Depression is a serious illness, and it carries a risk of suicide. If you are thinking about suicide, seek help immediately. And never stop or change treatment without discussing it carefully with your doctor.
When I picked my son up from his first day of 4th grade, my usual (enthusiastically delivered) question of “how was your day?” was met with his usual (indifferently delivered) “fine.”
Come on! It’s the first day, for crying out loud! Give me something to work with, would you, kid?
The second day, my same question was answered, “well, no one was a jerk.”
That’s good…I guess.
I suppose the problem is my own. That question actually sucks. Far from a conversation starter, it’s uninspired, overwhelmingly open ended, and frankly, completely boring. So as an alternative, I’ve compiled a list of questions that my kid will answer with more than a single word or grunt. In fact, he debated his response to question 8 for at least half an hour over the weekend. The jury’s out until he can organize a foot race.
Questions a kid will answer at the end of a long school day:
- What did you eat for lunch?
- Did you catch anyone picking their nose?
- What games did you play at recess?
- What was the funniest thing that happened today?
- Did anyone do anything super nice for you?
- What was the nicest thing you did for someone else?
- Who made you smile today?
- Which one of your teachers would survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?
- What new fact did you learn today?
- Who brought the best food in their lunch today? What was it?
- What challenged you today?
- If school were a ride at the fair, which ride would it be? Why?
- What would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
- If one of your classmates could be the teacher for the day who would you want it to be? Why?
- If you had the chance to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?
- Did anyone push your buttons today?
- Who do you want to make friends with but haven’t yet? Why not?
- What is your teacher’s most important rule?
- What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
- Does your teacher remind you of anyone else you know? How?
- Tell me something you learned about a friend today.
- If aliens came to school and beamed up 3 kids, who do you wish they would take? Why?
- What is one thing you did today that was helpful?
- When did you feel most proud of yourself today?
- What rule was the hardest to follow today?
- What is one thing you hope to learn before the school year is over?
- Which person in your class is your exact opposite?
- Which area of your school is the most fun?
- Which playground skill do you plan to master this year?
- Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?
For confidence building.
Your favorite workout pants are dirty in the hamper, your iPod is on 3%, and your bestie just texted asking you to join her at happy hour. We all have those days where getting to your workout feels more difficult than the actual exercise. So we reached out to Franci Cohen, a board certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and the creator of a cardio resistance workout, to get the scoop on why you should listen to that little voice in your head telling you to get out there and sweat.
You Have A Cold
Running on the treadmill with a runny nose isn’t ideal but, it’s possible a good workout session could help you get rid of your cold. “Working out when you have a cold can actually be beneficial. It can boost immunity, and allow you to rid yourself of the invading bug a lot faster by flushing it out of the body by increased perspiration, respiration, and urination,” says Cohen.
You Missed Your Workout Class
Missing Zumba class may feel like grounds to head home and hop in bed early, but use this opportunity to try something new. Catch the late cycling class or try mixing up your own workout routine. Still sad you missed Zumba? Turn on Spotify’s Zumba playlist (yes, it exists) and create your own routine.
Your iPod Is Dead / You Forgot Your Headphones
Music can be a great exercise buddy, but forgetting your headphones isn’t a sign to go home. Try thinking of all the reasons why you started this journey and how far you’ve come. Instead of throwing in the towel (literally and figuratively), use this time to clear your mind and focus on each muscle you are working on.
You Can’t Find the Time
A wise person once said, “You and Beyoncé both have the same 24 hours. So no excuses.” Okay, so maybe you don’t have the access to trainers, dieticians, and specialty fitness routines like Beyoncé, but think of exercise as an investment in yourself. Some alone time to relieve stress and clear your head goes a long way.
Cohen suggests getting a buddy to help you fight through the days when you’re “just not feeling it.” Of course, be mindful and listen to your body. If you have a fever or your body feels achy, you may want to skip your workout and give your body time to rest. After all, it’s all about living and feeling better.