Step no.1: Imagining my Ideal Self

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Well it’s all very well to say that I want to become rich and that I want my life to change. But in practical terms what does that mean?

I once went to a seminar where the subject was ‘Your Ideal Self’. At the seminar we were told to imagine what our Ideal self would be and to write it down. I remember what struck me was the lecturer’s words ‘when you think of your ideal self, don’t hold your creativity back. Don’t limit yourself only to what you think is achievable. If you could do anything or be anything and you had absolute freedom to do so, what would you be or do? Imagine that and then write it down.”

His words were a bit of an epiphany. Like a door had opened up that I hadn’t even realised was closed. I realised I had never pictured myself being or doing anything that I did not deem feasible and practical in terms of where I was currently at. Sure I’ve had my moments of practicing imaginary acceptance speeches for an Oscar in front of the mirror (I sometimes even bring tears to my own eyes with the heartfelt gusto with which I thank my parents), but I never really entertained the notion that I could ever actually one day win an Oscar (which is quite logical considering I can’t act, sing or do anything else of Oscar note-worthy importance).

It was now obvious to me that all these years the theatre of my mind had been run by a sardonic pessimistic director who took great pleasure in shutting down any unrealistic productions. Sure I have no outstanding talents, but blimey whose to say I couldn’t win an Oscar if I really wanted to?

So here I was at this seminar with a paper filled with questions on what my Ideal Self is like, and a sudden sense of daringness. I started answering the questions: What job does my ideal self do? what income does my ideal self earn? how does my ideal self spend her time? Where does my ideal self live?

It was exhilarating. All of a sudden I could see myself travelling the world, being a bestselling author, writing award winning screenplays, having a loving, healthy and beautiful family, living in a beautiful home, having lots and lots of money and being able to give and give freely, both time and money to my loved ones and to people in need. My ideal self was this healthy, happy, confident, fit, energetic, organised, capable, and fun person who enjoyed life to the fullest. Just imagining her made me feel all glowy inside and out.

The seminar ended, I went back to my normal not at all ideal life, and the image of my ideal self that I so fell in love with, quietly receded into the background of everyday angst.

But the time has finally come to drag her out of the musty corners of my mind, put her centre stage and take a good long hard look. Because it is only by imagining my Ideal self that I can pinpoint what it is I want to achieve, what I think will make me happy and what I ultimately want to turn into.

I asked myself once again, what is the job my ideal self has? How does my ideal self spend her time? What is her relationship with her husband like? Does she have kids? Where does she live? What are her friends like? What is her home like? Does she travel and where does she travel? What’s her body like? How does she dress? How much money does she make? What sort of person is she? What kind of life does she have?

With her image clear in my mind after answering all those questions, it was time to move on the next step. Setting my goals.

Things won’t change if you don’t change

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So it’s the well-known adage, if you want to win the lottery, you’ve got to at least buy the ticket. If I want my life to change, so it figures that as a minimum, I have to change. How can I expect anything to be different, or go differently, if I just keep doing the same old things I’ve being doing all my life?

Change, for me at least, has always been incredibly difficult. Firstly, because there is a very big part of me that doesn’t believe people can actually change. You may argue differently and I will grudgingly accept that sure, there are people who may have managed to reinvent themselves completely, but me? Been the same undisciplined, unorganised, scatter brained, low self-esteem, insecure person I’ve always been, and no matter how many self-help books I read or self-help seminars I go to, I always seem to revert to type as soon as I’ve closed the book or exited the seminar room.

Secondly, I adore my comfort zone, its warm and snug with luxurious pillows and deep seated couches and all I want to do is snooze there all day and maybe read a book or two. After all there’s no better place to read about other people’s adventures then from your own safe haven of sameness.

Third, I’m petrified of it!! Somewhere in my childhood ventures, the program was put in my head that change is not a good thing. Possibly because most of the changes in my life led to things that were (at least for me) not so positive. We moved countries= my parents got divorced, I changed jobs= ended up working more hours and getting paid less than before. At the end of the day I have an amazing capacity to imagine all the bad things that can come about from change, even positive change. For example, let’s say I become more assertive and self-respecting. How does my mind see this as negative? Well if I become more assertive, I will end up fighting more with people around me (especially my colleagues) because I will no longer take their shit. Just like my mum, who is the queen of assertiveness, I will be left alone with no friends or husband to speak of, because I will have fought with all of them!

I didn’t even have to spend time thinking of that one!!

Ok so we have established that I have issues with change, but I go back to my initial premise. Do I want to be a millionaire? Yes I do. Do I want my life to be better than what it is now? Yes I do. Then my mind is made up. I need to change and my beliefs and programs need to get in line with the new regime.

So, now that that decision has been made, next step to figure out is, what do I have to change?

Introduction

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I am a perfectly normal and average person. I live a life whereby I have a steady job, steady income, average salary, and a very normal if somewhat mundane lifestyle. Life consists of the daily routine of work, home, chores, eat whatever I can muster in the space of 15 mins, shower, sleep and repeat. Weekends are dedicated to more chores and never-ending familial and social obligations.

So why am I complaining? Life being normal and average can be a good thing, and I recognise that and am grateful for all that I have. But like most human beings, whether warranted or not, in simple terms, I want more.

I want the fairy-tale life, you know, the one where you love your job, get loads of money for doing what you do, travel the world every other month and live life to the max, have the perfect happy and healthy relationship, perfect happy and healthy family and at the same time also get to help out friends and family in the process. And it wouldn’t hurt if I could also have enough personal time a week to get lost in a couple of books or so.

In short, I have decided that I want to be rich. And I want to get rich doing something I love. My mid-30’s has become the point at which I either move forward and take action to achieve my dreams, or I actually stop dreaming and start accepting that normalcy and status quo will be mine for the rest of my years.

So how do things change towards the better? Most self-help authors will have us believe that all external factors in our life arise from internal factors, and therefore if you change yourself, bingo! You can change your life. And whilst there has always been a niggling doubt in the back of my head as to whether a person can really change (anyone been regaled with the ‘a leopard doesn’t change its spots’ saying much?), I think the point has come in time where I need to at least try. I have a shelf full of self-help books with what are purported to contain brilliant nuggets of wisdom that I have never once managed to actually implement for more than a few days, and about a hundred notes I diligently wrote down at self-help seminars which I would tidy away upon returning from the seminar and promptly forget. It’s time to give it all a whirl and see if it honestly really does work.

So here it goes. The commitment is set, and day 1 begins. Let’s see if I can succeed in getting myself from normal to riches.