Keep perspective and you’ll keep being motivated

Everyone experienced a moment of revelation. Here you are at certain point of time completely understanding what you need to do. You see your goal with clarity and with determination you start going. You are prepared to do whatever it takes and the obstacles you are removing from your path show that you are serious about it.

Then you wake up next day, and suddenly realize that the spark is gone. That you no longer feel like doing what seemed so right and easy only yesterday. You tell to yourself that it is a fleeting feeling and that you only need to take a little break – you’ll get back to doing what needs to be done in few hours.

Suddenly, hours become days. Days become weeks. Weeks become months – and before you know it, it’s another year of your life gone by. By now you are also well entrenched in habit of doing things “tomorrow”. Why bother? You know you will do it eventually. Might as well wait for that time when you feel right.

The only problem is – you will not feel right. How can you feel right when you are giving away control? It is your brain and your habits. They shouldn’t control you, you should be controlling them. And only when you take control, the way you do when your perspective is clear, you will feel right.

Motivation is easy when you know exactly where you should be going. So, cling to your perspective for sake of your own sanity and good of yourself. Because if you don’t – circumstances, habits and others will choose for you. They will take over and tell you what is it that you should be doing. Do not let that happen, because nobody knows your dreams as well as you do. Keep your perspective, always and forever.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be -Lao Tzu

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be -Lao Tzu

There’s a hole in my soul, I can’t fill it

We are all in the constant search for meaning. It’s part of human spirit – the need to matter and contribute something meaningful. Some of us are aware of it, some are not. But all of us feel it – that nagging feeling of emptiness inside.

Sure, we can try to numb it – but eventually it’ll always resurface in one way or the other. Defeats are temporary. Whether you’ll allow them to hold you down for a day, month, year… or a decade – in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. You’ll only negatively impact yourself and people around you. Someone else from the global pool of talent will do what you were supposed to. And he will reap the benefits.

Understand that hole in you is there to stay. With every backward step you take – it will grow. With every step forward – it will shrink. You are built that way. You need to be part of something greater to function. Struggle in itself is irrelevant – whether you are fulfilling your meaning is the only thing you should worry about. And this is something you cannot fake. You can lie to yourself that you don’t care. You can allow laziness to destroy your dreams. But you can’t fill the void in yourself without honest and meaningful effort.

Hole will always be your sole responsibility. Others can try to help. You can try to help others. But in the end, fulfillment is a solo mission. Be grateful for that – majority is often a hindrance, not help. It’s OK. They are not against you – they are just trying to do what’s best for them. Help them if you can. Leave them if you can’t. But don’t dwell, don’t yell and certainly don’t start conflicts. It serves no-one and destroys you.

Focus on the hole in your soul. And work on filling it the best you can.

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. -Samuel Beckett hole in the soul

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. -Samuel Beckett

Stop distracting yourself

It is stunning to witness the impact of distractions in the world today. When you look at dynamics of everyday life you’ll see that most of us are not bound by hard limitations. Sure, we will complain that we don’t have enough smarts, resources or time. But closer inspection will almost always show that none of that is the real issue. The real issue is focus.

The biggest challenge is to actually allow ourselves to do what needs to be done. As soon as that hurdle is passed, everything becomes easier. Center yourself and start – and most often you’ll just keep going.

If you made commitment, honor it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve promised something small or something big. What matters is that you stop allowing yourself to stress daily about things you’ve thought through multiple times. Understand that your brain wants to protect you – we are wired to always look for easy way out. But you should be responsible enough to recognize when easy way is not the right way.

Sure, rethink your decisions once a week. Set a time, sit down and see what you can improve. What is missing from your routine? What are the results of your work so far? Can you do something better – eliminate unnecessary tasks? Try out something new you haven’t so far? Ask and answer all the questions that popped in your head when you were about to perform work.

But in the meantime keep doing what you decided to do. Do not challenge. Do not procrastinate. Do not think.

Do.

You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do -Henry Ford

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do -Henry Ford

You already have it in you. Turn tomorrow into now.

Tomorrow is the new day. It is a clean slate, a second chance. It doesn’t matter what happened today, yesterday or whenever in the past. Tomorrow is the new day that you can use to start fresh and do whatever you need to do so you can fill your life with happiness.

The only problem is that power of tomorrow is so big and tempting that many of us live in constant anticipation of it. There are few hours left in today’s day, there is energy in us, yet out of laziness we allow ourselves to say – tomorrow. Like dozen of hours will make a difference. Like we will magically wake up feeling ready to do everything we were supposed to be doing for the past year.

You already know that’s not going to happen. Learn from the past and dream about the future. But do your work right now. The only time you can influence is the present. You know you are already equipped to do what you are supposed to do. Stop blocking and lying yourself that you will feel better tomorrow. The only thing that will make you feel better is the sense of accomplishment. Knowledge that you gave your 100 percent, and not some meager output circumstances and excuses allowed you to give.

Tune out the distractions, close your eyes and remember. Remember the plans that you made, the path you are supposed to follow and the goals that are yours to conquer. Understand and accept that you can get anywhere you want but that you must start from your present point. No amount of resting, procrastinating or fooling yourself will move your from where you are. Only good, old, hard work and willingness to stick to it will.

So – do your work. That way when tomorrow comes, you truly will feel better. Not because you magically woke up in a better state, but because you can remember previous day and see that instead of giving up, you conquered the day. And that you are ready to do it again.

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you -Thomas Jefferson

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you -Thomas Jefferson

Let focus and persistence guide you toward your goals

It’s incredible how much human beings can achieve when they have a clear plan that they relentlessly follow. When you look at any great achievement there is always sense of awe when you consider the time and effort. It is easy to think that you would never be able to do that. Yet, people whose work you admire are not much unlike you.

We often fool ourselves by saying that we are not good enough. The problem is that we focus too much on the result and not on the process. Nobody is a genius all the time. It is the daily grind over years, millions of seconds spent focusing and doing the work… that results in something that someone at some time may look up to.

And I get it – it is scary to acknowledge the amount of work ahead of you. But you know what is scarier? The possibility that you’ll end up not even trying. That you’ll spend lifetime hiding from everything you should be facing head on. That you’ll be left in a cloud of misery simply because you decided to do what needs to be done – tomorrow.

The best lives belong to those who take challenge head on, the first time it comes. By each action train yourself to perform, the same way someone else trains themselves to procrastinate. Bring habit and momentum on your side by making the right choices.

Embrace your focus and hold it against all doubts. Persistently and relentlessly attack. And stop only once you see that your goal is lying ahead of you, ready for the taking.

Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. -Abraham Joshua Heschel focus

Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. -Abraham Joshua Heschel

Give in and surrender, so you can focus on things that matter

In today’s opinionated world the worst thing one can do is get lost in countless battles that are around us. Who would be the best president? Which sports team deserves most attention and recognition? What is the ideal form of government? Why is group A attacking group B and who is right there?

Those who managed to educate themselves and focus their brain understand that most of the questions most of the people ask themselves most of the day are completely irrelevant. Yet, those questions are the ones people answer every day in their heads over and over. Until they are lost and drained of willpower.

Consciously decide what topics interest you. Do not let advertisements, TV or yet another yelling idiot take you off your path. Do not let someone else decide what you will be thinking about during your day. Reign in your brain and focus it on topics that interest you.

Be especially careful about giving your time and interest to other people. One of the easiest ways to drain your willpower is to get involved in confrontations with others over trivial things. Integrate others into your plans but don’t depend on them. Focus on your production and things you can do, not others.

When you know what is important for you – follow the advice – give in and surrender. Everything that you decided not to be worth of your time, simply fold and surrender. Do what needs to be done, so you can take a loss and move on. Only then will you be able to double down on things that lead you ahead. Only then will you be free to embrace the grind that leads you to toward path of happiness, secluded from pointless arguments. Only when you surrender what you don’t care about can you fight for what you do care about.

Featured comment of the week: Luck is when opportunity meets preparation by brilliantviewpoint

Surrender: Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days -Zig Ziglar

Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days -Zig Ziglar

Set yourself in happy state of mind, simply because you can

Sometimes it seems as if everyone around us is so blessed and happy. How is it that while we are struggling with our life others are enjoying theirs? What is the secret that separates those who are happy from those who are not?

The answer is simple – it’s the state of mind.

In today’s world everything is attainable. Look around and you’ll find people who go from poverty to being millionaires before they turn 30. Kids without parents that become stars in professional sports. People who lose 100s of pounds in a few months after spending most of their life being obese.

Scratch the surface and you’ll see that the most important thing these people did was: setting the right state of mind. They replaced depressive, negative, busy thoughts with ones that are supportive, positive and focused. They chose to hold themselves accountable. They chose performing over criticizing. They chose being happy over being unhappy.

You can do exactly the same thing. Understand that happiness is not a goal, happiness is a state. You can’t obtain happiness the way you obtain 4 year higher education diploma. Feelings inside you can’t be stored and owned like a piece of paper. They can however be retrieved and reignited over and over until certain feelings become identifying part of you. Relearn your brain to power positive thoughts instead of negative ones. Make happiness your identifying trait, a habit, and you will find yourself unable to be unhappy even in the darkest hours.

Ignite the flame of joy in you. Not tomorrow, the next year or the year after. Now! Seize the realization that your happiness belongs and is controlled by you. And that there is not a single reason to delay being in the happy state of mind.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions -Dalai Lama happy

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions -Dalai Lama

Choose to belong and fight for others. Depression targets those with no one around them.

One of the most impactful things in life is the group of people you share your time with. We humans climbed to the top of the food chain by organizing into tribes and standing united against stronger, faster and meaner enemies. What we couldn’t even imagine as individuals, we achieved as a part of a group. Tens of thousands of years we spent roaming and evolving together left the imprint of social animal all over us.

However, in this era of distractions and shallow entertainment many of us seem to have forgotten how important real relationships are. There is no surer way to box yourself into depression then to cut ties with everyone around you. At first it may seem like a great idea, but as time passes you’ll start to realize that you need someone, anyone to share your thoughts with.

So, choose to belong for sake of your own sanity. Understand that everything becomes easier when you truly invest yourself and share time with people you care about. Find those who share your values and goals. Stay away from those who don’t. But be prepared to give – the best relationships are those where you can help others with their need and have them satisfy yours.

Now, will you be burned more often than not by giving and not receiving? Of course. In the rapidly changing world of today, everyone needs so much, and tomorrow they will need even more. Know your limits but do not let those limits hold you. If you are able to give – give freely. Rejoice that you were able to provide and contribute to the social network we all depend on.

The more you give, the more you will develop yourself. We all end up getting pulled toward our own group. Leeches always end up with leeches. Givers always end up with givers. Don’t let adversity and disappointment knock you off your path and drive you toward group you don’t belong. Choose to give and be foundation for people around you and help them develop. Make your group a giver’s group and start carrying each other on the path of happiness.

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. -William Gibson

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes -William Gibson

How I would handle it: faking your feelings for sake of others

I truly enjoy being part of community. So, for me, the most lacking aspect of blogging is it’s solitary nature. Finding good blogging group is hard. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon Community Pool – and connected with various individuals over last few weeks. Reading other people’s blogs is inspiring – it gets me thinking about stuff they are going through.

Last week I had extended conversation with Yoly as she commented on my Reduce dependencies and tune out distractions post. You can see our whole exchange on Community Pool. I would say this paragraph best represents our discussion:

I have to swallow my “wants” so everyone can be happy. But there are times that I can’t anymore so I’m the angry with everyone. I have good days and bad days. I’m the problem here, I can’t be honest with my myself because I need to sacrifice my needs to make others happy.

That got me thinking – how would I handle that? Feeling that I am in position I don’t want to be, yet I need to pretend that I am happy so I don’t disturb others. Sure enough, I’ve been there often. We all have. Parents and married people are especially vulnerable to this. Situations where they need to project “everything is great” image are everyday occurrence.

Here's to Friday... oh, that's right, we're parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Here’s to Friday… oh, that’s right, we’re parents. Friday means nothing anymore.

Being able to satisfy others is a sign of strength

For me, the most important part is perception of “fake your feelings” strategy. Lots of people believe that one needs to be authentic 100% of the time. Yet, as one of my favorite quotes says “Every general statement is false”. Nothing is black and white.

So, as soon as you understand that it’s OK to fake here and there – everything becomes easier. Like: accept it’s OK to pretend that you are fine in front of your child. I mean, do you really want to saddle little kids with your issues? If children are able to help – sure, give them a chance… tell them what they can do so you can feel better. But in 99% situations you children can’t help you. Thus, swallowing your wants and pretending is way better alternative.

Now, faking is only half of the problem. No matter how strong of a person you are – you can’t fake your feelings long term. So, you absolutely need to define plan that allows you to get into setting where you can meet all your desires. But, you need to be realistic. We all would love to have billions of dollars, admiration of others, bunch of houses and yachts. True happiness in life comes with ability to define a “sweet spot”. A situation which you are able to maintain long term, yet that makes you happy.

Most of the people that are stuck in life have disconnect between ability and reality they desire. And there are only two ways to bridge this gap:

  1. Either you increase your ability
  2. Or downsize your desires

When talking about this subject almost everyone lauds option number 1. Yet, in practice, 90% of people choose second option. Depression is a poster child for option #2: one completely accepts that he will never improve. And willingly gives into expecting nothing.

Conclusion

So, in a nutshell this all comes down to two things: accepting imperfection and having discipline for continual improvement. Be OK with things not going your way most of the time. Isolate yourself and take a break when you need it. But take control of your life and accept responsibility. Work every day to keep going toward situation that you desire.

Theory is pretty easy. Application of what I am laying out here is the hard part… especially in Yoly’s situation. I am now regular visitor of her blog – as she is quite prolific and intriguing author. Here are some her posts in which she casts more light on her situation:

Considering post is already pretty long, I’ll stop here. See if there is any feedback on what I wrote.

If there is self-improvement subject you would like to discuss in detail – feel free reach out. Leave a comment or use Contact page; either will work!

Practice what you know and you’ll be happy

It said that truths are often forgotten only to be rediscovered in somewhat similar shape and form. Just look at happiness – one of the most studied topics in the history of human kind. We know more about happiness then about almost any other subject. Countless books have been written on the subject of happiness; and funny enough, some authors even tried giving a list of steps you need to do in order to be happy. Yet so many of us are unhappy.

The problem is that knowing and practicing are not the same thing. We all know that when hitter steps in batters box he should hit baseball out of ballpark. But give us a bat and we would look ridiculous while trying to do something we know so much about when we see it on TV. We allow our brains to simplify until the point where everything looks so easy, yet it becomes so hard when we actually need to do it.

If there was no distinction between knowing and practicing – being well-spoken would be inherent trait since we all talk. But, only few of us actually pay attention when speaking. Others are too busy thinking about problems of the past, expectations from the future and that video on YouTube they need to revisit and watch.

In this moment, if you allowed yourself to think and dream – you would find that you absolutely know in which direction you should head out in order to be happy. True enough, you also know doubts, uncertainties and obstacles that are keeping you from starting toward your goals and happiness.

It all comes down to asking yourself – will you stand up and bask in the light of doing or stay crouched in the dirt of knowing? Will you actually practice what you already understand? Will you commit yourself to refocusing your mind from distractions onto things that you truly care about? Will you allow yourself to be happy?

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are - Theodore Roosevelt

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are – Theodore Roosevelt