INITIATIVE – Initiative is the ability to act and make decisions without the help or advice of other people. 기선

Initiative is essential to be able to look after yourself and maintain a level of independence that will ensure that you don’t rely on others by default. Have you ever had a situation where some action would be beneficial but you feel like “I don’t know what to do.”?

Initiative is a muscle that can be grown or that can shrivel with lack of use. It is a creative flare that we all have to some degree. It is possible and worthwhile to grow your capacity to think creatively outside of your normal box of thinking.

A child that is encouraged by their parents to figure things out (when they can) will teach a child to think for themselves and give them the self-belief to use their initiative in the future.In contrast, a child or teenager that is constantly rescued by their parents or friends will never learn how to do it for themselves and may come to believe that they are actually incapable even if they tried.

Here are some feelings and thoughts that can get in the way of initiative.

• Stuck
• Inadequate
• Hopeless
• Frustrated
• Afraid of failing, getting it wrong, making a mistake, or disappointing somebody.

Sometimes these feelings can be really strong and indicate we have got the wrong idea about something along the way and this reflects in our thinking (subconscious or conscious) which in turn changes how we feel and blocks our creative thinking. Nobody thinks creatively when under emotional pressure! Time to get the pressure off!

Here are some possible thoughts or assumptions that can be hiding in our mind and putting pressure on us, or letting us off the hook too soon!

 Failure is fatal.
 I can’t cope with mistakes.
 Only perfect is acceptable.
 It’s not my responsibility to think of anything.
 Somebody else will do it for me.
 It won’t affect me.
 It will be ok regardless of my participation (or lack thereof.
 I can’t do anything about this anyway.
 It is of no consequence or relevance to me now or in my future.

The best way to change the way you feel is to change the way you think! Here are some thoughts that can take the pressure off so your brain can do what it does best; create ideas and possibilities! The trick here – replace your toxic assumptions with these antidotes! This is about rewiring your brain.

 Other people can help me but ultimately my life is my responsibility.
 If I don’t do anything about this somebody else will have to look after me, or maybe it just won’t get done.
 Aspects of my life will fall apart if I don’t take the time to consider what I can do, or need to do now or in the future.
 There is probably a way to do this.
 I am capable of learning to look after my life and new situations.
 There is something I can learn from this even if I make a mistake trying.
 Getting it wrong is better than not trying at all.
 It is ok to do it badly whilst I learn to do it better.
 Failure is not fatal, just feedback.
 This fear of feeling stupid is not to be listened to. In fact, it would be stupid to listen to it .

A curious and engaged mind is what we are growing here. Sometimes some key questions need to be held close to help kick start the mind. Pick some of your favourites from this list and keep them on hand for when you know you need to practice your initiative.

Kick Start Questions
 What other alternatives are there in this situation?
 How can I best learn from my/their situation?
 How does that apply to me?
 What made that successful/fail?
 What would make that better?
 What risk is involved here?
 What other good things could be brought out of this?
 What are the possible solutions for this?
 What would ‘a friend with lots of initiative’ suggest I do?
 What resources can I use to help me deal with this?
 What practical ways can I assist in this situation?

Your heart and mind may have been bruised in your early years by a couple key experiences. A debrief from those events and resulting conclusions could free up your initiative. Here are a couple questions that might help you progress.

• What event or situation in my life has affected my ability to think for myself?
• What did I decide on that day?
• What did I learn in my childhood that has slowed my mind down in this area?

Initiative Exercises:
1. Read this every morning.
2. Find a way to remind yourself to read this every morning.
3. At least once every day when you make a mistake, take a moment to write down, or mentally note all of the lessons that can be learnt from it.
4. Take that to the next step by exploring what other applications that principle may also apply to.
5. Look around the room you are in now and list: What has not been done well in the room, what has been done, what could be fixed or tidied, what might be unsafe, what could be useful in an emergency, what belongs to me that I might forget about.

“How am I going to do it?”
“Why can’t I do it?”.

It’s a change of focus.

What is the answer when, ‘no’, or ‘I can’t’ is not an option?

Joel Young 2016 ©

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