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
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
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.
You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do -Henry Ford
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
You have probably heard some variation of negative life philosophies. They often focus on criticizing life and things you shouldn’t, won’t and can’t obtain. Lacking and terrible; you’ll never be good enough, they say. Then there is also a part about our existence being mere coincidence which can be erased by number of likely scenarios. If humanity doesn’t destroy itself that is. We almost destroyed ourselves in the recent past and as news tells us, some tough times are ahead.
So, looking from that perspective – why even bother? We all will die anyway. Even if we spend every waking hour of our life working and trying and giving our best and struggling against adversity and fighting disappointments, we will essentially end up in the same state as those who decided not to bother at all and went on with distracting themselves.
The core problem with negative life philosophies is not whether or not they are *correct*. The core problem is that they are built as an excuse. People who end up embracing negativity always first acknowledged that it is easier to give up than try. It obviously is. And once that easy choice was made, all that was left is finding excuses to justify the decision.
Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. The same way others pick pessimism you can pick optimism. Will making that choice be harder? Sure – but only for start. After someone truly makes positive outlook part of his character he is unable to let it go. For all those unhappy who need one small reason to get depressed, you have those who you can’t knock off happiness no matter what you try. Throw obstacles, frustrations and problems toward someone who is positively-focused, and he’ll keep evading and crushing them while laughing like a maniac.
It’s inspiring, really. Knowing that a persistent shift to the right state of mind is all we need to become unstoppable. That those unhappy ones laying around and saying “I don’t care” to everything offered are using exactly the same phrase that happy ones utter while facing challenges. So, decide to try and stay positive for your own sake. Ignore or deal with negativity of environment the best you can, depending on situation. And just keep going!
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way -Viktor E. Frankl
Note: This post was inspired by life and work of Dr Viktor E. Frankl. Kind human being who survived Auschwitz and bore no ill will toward anyone. Not even to the neighborhoods who reported him and his family to Nazis. The same ones he treated as a doctor – both before and after the World War 2.
More yet, he wrote a great book – Men’s Search for Meaning. I highly recommend that you read it. Learn more about this great human being.
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
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
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
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
By now you have probably experienced depressing impact circumstances and people can have on your plans. You were doing great and going toward the goal when suddenly external influence changed everything. Losing control you got upset and eventually your focus is completely broken, crushing you for a day and leaving you crippled for a week as you try to regroup and reorganize you plans.
This may bring up lots of questions like: Do you need to involve yourself in extended planning discussions? Should you be aggressive until others start realizing their negative impact? What about prevention of unexpected circumstances? Do you need a roadmap on dealing with possible negative scenarios? Should you argue with others about your plans?
To all previous (and similar) questions answer is easy: no. What you simply need to do is make plans with less dependencies and conditions. Do not make plans which assume that everybody will act in their best interests. When you actually take time to think about it, you can easily realize that people seldom act in their best interest. As soon emotions kick in, majority of us will completely lose it.
Don’t allow yourself to do that. Fight against impulsiveness that takes you away from your goals. Take the charge and own your plan to the point where you are ready and committed to do everything by yourself. Do not run away from obligations and lure yourself with false promises of somebody else doing your work. Nobody will.
Only you can do your work. Only when your plan has as little dependencies as possible are you ready to begin. With clarity it’ll be obvious why top performers are also the ones that do not shy away from obligations but rather strive to carry everything on their shoulders. Only when you start refusing to count on scraps from others and commit yourself to your personal excellence will you be able to bask in the joy of pushing toward your goals oblivious of obstacles and distractions.
Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. – Erica Jong