You probably have a toolkit, or a junk drawer, that contains tools that you use to perform tasks such as cutting paper, tightening screws, gluing things together ... Have you ever tried to cut paper without scissors? Tighten a screw with your fingernail? Get something to stick together without glue? You probably have - and wished that you had (or found) the appropriate tool.
And yet, you probably perform life tasks without giving any thought to using appropriate life tools - the tools that enable you to more effectively perform tasks related to the demands and challenges of everyday life.
It's time to check the contents of your life toolkit to determine if you have forgotten, or are missing, some vital tools!
Visualize opening up your life toolkit and dumping out the contents. Next, visualize organizing the layout of the toolkit into 4 compartments.
- Label the first compartment "ME" - this is where you will keep the tools you use to enhance your abilities and diffuse your obstacles.
- Give the second compartment the label "OTHERS" - this is for tools to improve your interactions with others.
- For the third compartment, give it the label "MAXIMIZE" - this will contain tools designed to help you get the most out of what life has to offer.
- On the fourth compartment, put the label "TROUBLESHOOT" - you'll need these tools for when things go wrong.
Organizing your life toolkit and acquiring new tools should be an ongoing project. The objective of this article is to get you started!
In the compartment marked "ME" include tools such as positive thoughts, understanding how personal filters influence how you evaluate and process information, techniques to control unproductive worry and to manage stress, and techniques for practical problem solving.
It is not possible to discuss all of the tools that can go into your toolkit compartments in the context of an article. However, to illustrate how using appropriate life tools can benefit you, let's look more closely at a particular tool. The tool of positive thinking is a good one.
You have often heard that you need to have positive thoughts. Do you know why? It is important to understand why in order to effectively utilize it as a tool. Here's why.
Thoughts that receive your attention, whether they are good or bad, go into your subconscious as ideas. Your subconscious then looks for opportunities to manifest these ideas as events in the real world.
For example, let's say that you are driving to a busy part of town and it will be necessary to park the car. If you approach the situation with negative thoughts, such as, "I hate parking in this part of town. I'll never find a spot", your subconscious will cause your eyes to see the parking spots that are taken. If you change your approach and think positive thoughts, such as, "I'm sure I'll find parking easily enough. Many have gone before me and they have found parking", your subconscious will cause your eyes to see the opportunities, such as, a parking garage or a car that is just leaving a suitable parking spot.
Therefore, if you have positive thoughts, you are more likely to discover positive things. If you have fearful thoughts you are more likely to find that which you were afraid of. As Henry Ford said - "whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right". So, your thoughts are a powerful tool that impacts your behaviour and your behaviour creates your circumstances. Positive thinking is an essential tool for your toolkit.
Let's move on to the other toolkit compartments.
Likely, the greatest external factor influencing you is other people. They have their own thoughts, perceptions, expectations, strengths, and weaknesses. They are a constant source of demands and challenges that you need to deal with effectively.
Therefore, you need tools for the compartment marked "OTHERS". You should include tools such as giving others the benefit of a doubt, understanding 'venting/solving' interactions, understanding insecurity and its effects, understanding and identifying mirroring, and techniques to facilitate effective communications.
The world is full of possibilities - so is your life. In the compartment marked "MAXIMIZE" you'll want to include tools such as appreciation, fun, courage, being true to yourself, and ways to find your own meaning of life and happiness.
The world is not perfect. You're not perfect. Your family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers are not perfect. Things may not go according to plan. People may disappoint you. So, as the Latin Proverb says, "if the wind will not serve, take to the oars".
In the compartment marked "TROUBLESHOOT" you'll want to include tools to deal with things like depression, disappointments, perception distortions, "poor me" attitudes, negativity, anger, grief, nightmares, and unsolvable problems.
This exercise of organizing useful life tools will help you to remember to use appropriate life tools to perform various life tasks and enable you to better deal with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
There are far more tools that you can add to each compartment than what I have briefly introduced here. Your life toolkit is an extremely valuable asset. Keeping it well stocked and organized, so that you can use the appropriate tool to perform life tasks, will facilitate success and happiness in your life.
Copyright © 2007 Denise Lammi
Denise Lammi, B.M.A., C.A. is a Chartered Accountant, former partner in a successful firm, instructor, co-author of the personal development book "Your Own Devices": A Life Manual and author of numerous professional development seminars. She believes that both personal and professional development is required for an optimal quality of life.
If you want more information about the tools mentioned in this article or additional tools to add to your toolkit, purchase the book titled "Your Own Devices": A Life Manual. This book is interesting, informative, and easy to read. It provides short summaries on the more common and important life tools and their uses. The book can easily be purchased at most major online bookstores (e.g. Amazon) or directly www.yourowndevices.ca