Friday, September 28, 2012
Love yourself. A very simple sentence, but one of the hardest things we have to learn. We are who we are. We all have strengths and we all have flaws. We may wish we were smarter or stronger or braver or a better leader or naturally talented in many things, but we are who we are. While there are things we can change about ourselves, we have to be comfortable with who we are.
We often hear people extolling the virtues of those who are humble while being egotistical has a negative connotation. While it will often be labeled as egotistical by those on the outside looking in, we have to take pride in who we are and what we can do. Being humble might sound nice, but taking pride in who you are and what you do is necessary for truly loving yourself. Once you love yourself, there will be times when you should be humble.
Many of us use self-deprecating humor throughout the day. This has become a crutch for many of us who don't love who we are. We use this humor as a light hearted attempt to defuse situations or to just have a little fun, but there is often some truth to what seems to be only humor. Most of us wouldn't say some of the things unless we truly believed there was something to them. This is a habit you will never be able to stop overnight, but pay attention to when you use it. Think about it and ask yourself why you said what you said. The more conscious you become to it, the more likely you will be able to find out why you use it.
Many of us also get stuck on the things we don't do as well as we would like and we forget about the things at which we do excel. It understandable to focus on things we want to improve, but we can't do it exclusively or at the detriment to ourselves. We all wish we could do something that we can't, but we rarely want to put in the work to make it happen. Frustration and depression set in when we can't snap our fingers and make things change overnight. We want things to happen now, not at some point down the line.
Loving who you are right now is the first step to leading a happy life. This doesn't mean you can't work on things for the future, but you have to be comfortable with who you are and what you have to offer today. While it sounds so easy, it really isn't for a lot of people. We focus on the mistakes we make or the stupid things we do. We believe other people are constantly judging us for these things, too. The truth is, those who matter don't judge us for these things. Those who do judge us don't really matter. We have to stop worrying what anyone else thinks.
Believe in yourself. You have the ability to do great things, even if you don't yet know what they are. Yes, you have flaws, but this doesn't make you flawed. We all make mistakes and do dumb things from time to time. Just like you should cut some slack to the people around you; you need to cut yourself some slack. Focus on the things you do well and then do them. Work on the things you don't do as well, if you want to do them better. But, no matter what you do, love who you are. There are people around you who love you for who you are, flaws and all. Take a cue from them and find the love for yourself. This will move you closer towards the happiness you have been searching for.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We need to be more mindful of the moments we are in. All too often, we spend our time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Neither of these do any real good, but doing them causes us to lose track of the moment.
Our life is a series of moments strung together. Many people go through life without ever really experiencing any of these moments and because of this, spend most of their life unfulfilled and dissatisfied. It is impossible to be satisfied with what you are doing now if you are spending your time wishing you did something different yesterday or worrying that you won't be able to do what you want tomorrow. We can go through our entire lives thinking about yesterday and tomorrow, but never really living today. We shouldn't.
In the end, we will look back at the moments of our life that mean the most to us. I know I want to have as many moments as possible to spend my time remembering. I know I won't think about the times spent worrying, but I will focus on the times I enjoyed by being one with the moment. Instead of occasionally having these times, we need to make sure we are having them on a daily basis.
Get up and watch the sunrise. Enjoy the sunset. Laugh more. Have a leisurely lunch with friends. Go on a walk. Spend time with loved ones. Have coffee and conversation. Cook an amazing dinner. Go out to eat. Plan a trip. Do whatever it is that you love to do and just enjoy doing it. Stop thinking about everything else going on in your life and spend time just being in the moment, letting the feelings overwhelm your senses.
Stop placing value on your life based on the number of hours you work or the amount of money you make or all the shit you own. There is way more to life than traffic and money and cell phones and meetings and job titles and salaries. There are moments in time that will live with you forever. There are people you will never forget. There are meals you will want to eat again and again. There are amazingly beautiful sunsets. There are personal goals to accomplish. There are unbelievable concerts. There are long walks with friends discussing life.
These moments are the really important things in life. Don't spend your life missing them...
Monday, September 24, 2012
Why are we so afraid of hearing the word no? Why do we let the thought of being told no stop us from asking the questions we want to ask? How can one simple, short word be so scary? What horrible things will happen when someone dares to utter it?
Our fears are rarely rational. Being afraid of the word no is entirely irrational. You should be pushing forward so hard that you hear no over and over every day. Ask the difficult questions. Chase after the things you really want. Put in the work and grab hold of your goals and dreams. Being told no is part of life and you don't need to fear it. Ask for so many things each day that you grow comfortable hearing the word no...though never be satisfied with it. No is not the end of the world. No is not the worst thing that can happen.
If you stop fearing no, how many more questions will you ask? Ask for a raise. Ask for a new job. Ask the person you respect to mentor you. Ask that girl or guy out on a date. Ask for a better price on anything you buy. Ask your customer to purchase more. Ask that person for a reference. Ask for an upgrade. Ask for people to follow you. Ask for support. Ask for anything you want or need. What most people forget is the more they ask, the more chances they have for a yes. If your fear of no stops you from asking, you have no shot at yes. It's time we quit letting our fears stop us before we get started.
Today, take one of the questions you have been putting off due to fear and ask it. What do you really have to lose?
Friday, September 21, 2012
Sometimes, I just feel as if my best isn't good enough. I can't do the work as well as I would like. I can't express my thoughts in writing as succinctly as I hoped. I'm not smart enough. I'm not a good leader. I can't manage people. I have doubts and fears and I let them overtake my life. I wish I could be more and do more, but I can't find the motivation to do anything.
While we all feel this way from time to time, none of these thoughts are helpful. In fact, all of these thoughts are harmful. These thoughts cause people to be depressed. These thoughts urge people to escape with drugs and alcohol. These thoughts cause people to quit doing what they love to do. These thoughts stop people from making their life better, because they listen to the voice saying they are not good enough. These thoughts tear us down and leave us feeling overwhelmed and worthless.
Sooner or later, we have to grow tired of allowing negative thoughts to control our life. We have to stop listening to them and letting them tear us down. We have to do things for us and our way. We have to believe we can do anything. We can be more and we can do more, we just have to do the work. Ignore the doubts. Ignore the fears. Instead of allowing these thoughts to creep in, we have to become our own best cheerleader
By doing this, we can be more present in the now. We can stop letting other people frustrate us. We can stop doubting our abilities. We can stop worrying about/fearing things to come. We can stop dwelling on things that happened in the past. By paying attention to our thoughts as we have them, we can stop listening to the negative thoughts and consciously replace them with positive thoughts. Over time, if we continue to work on this, the negative thoughts will start to decrease and will automatically be replaced with positive thoughts.
This doesn't mean life will become all unicorns and rainbows. There will still be challenges and difficulties and negative times, but more and more of our time will be spent thinking positively. As we become a more positive person, the feelings of inadequacy will lessen. We may not do everything we wish we were able to do, but we will be giving our best and will know it is all we can do. Will life be any easier? Probably not, but it will be more fun and fulfilling. It all starts with recognizing our negative thoughts and consciously replacing them with positive.
I don't know about you, but I am tired of the negative thoughts and feelings. I am tired letting my own thoughts hold me back. I am tired of allowing my mind to tear me down. It's time to take our thoughts back and become the people we are meant to be. Let's start today...it's time to ignore the doubts and fears while replacing them with positive thoughts. Will you give it a shot?
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Simple enough, eh? This advice is anything but simple to institute in your life. It is something you have to constantly work at, but will make all the difference. Your thoughts control your world. The way you view yourself, other people, the things happening around you, really everything, controls the world in which you live.
Everything you will ever do starts with thoughts. If you want to live a positive, happy life, then you have to start with positive, happy thoughts. The more you dwell on the negatives, the more unhappy you will be. It looks simple from the outside, but you have to constantly remind yourself to not dwell on the negative things that happen (or at least what you currently view as the negative things). You will never change the world for the better until you change your thoughts for the better.
Choose to be happy. Choose to believe in yourself. Choose to laugh more. Choose to see the best in the people around you. Choose to view the "negative" occurrences as nothing more than challenges. Choose to chase your dreams. Choose to cultivate a passion in what you do. Choose to push forward. Choose to learn something new every day. Choose to be open to change. Choose to embrace the world around you. Choose to find the positive in everything.Choose to make your world one in which you are excited each morning and exhausted each night.
You have power to change your world. What choices will you make?
Monday, September 17, 2012
We spend a great deal of time thinking about what we can't do and what we don't think is possible. Instead of working towards goals we have, we think about how hard it is or how it can't be done. We have failed without even starting. We give up before doing any work.
No matter what it is, to accomplish anything, we have to start. Our goals will not come easily and we won't be able to accomplish them immediately, but unless we start, we will never accomplish any of them. No matter what your goals are or how out of reach they seem, taking the first step brings them closer.
Just as you wouldn't be able to get up tomorrow and run a marathon, none of our goals are something we will accomplish overnight. You have to get up every morning and put in the work. You can't let anything stop you. You have to have passion and motivation and dedication. Nothing is impossible, if you believe you can do it.
If you want to run a marathon, but haven't ever run before, find a training regimen to follow and start running. If you want to quit anything, focus on not doing it. If you want a new job, start networking and get your resume into people's hands. If you want to eat healthier, purchase healthier food. If you want to write a novel, start writing every day. Whatever it is you want to do, start out doing what is necessary to get there. It may not seem like much, but the small amounts of work you put in to start will add up.
Don't let difficulties hold you back. Don't let doubts stop you. Don't worry what anyone says or thinks. If the people around you don't support your quest towards your goals and dreams, eliminate them from your life. Don't let the voice stop you. If you dream big, set your goals, believe in yourself and do the work, anything is possible. It just starts with doing what is necessary.
Friday, September 14, 2012
This voice pops up all the time, whether you are exercising or training or applying for a new job or learning a new language or studying a subject you find interesting or taking classes or doing anything new and different. It holds us back and convinces us to not give our all. I don't know if this is a survival mechanism from when we were hunter/gatherers or something new, but we have to learn that it has no place in our life.
The good thing is you can start to quiet it when you prove it wrong. It doesn't matter how you prove it wrong; all you have to do is keep going when it says you can't do something. Don't let it stop you or zap your motivation. Keep pushing and keep going. You will break through. You are capable of doing anything, if you put in the work, no matter what this shitty, little voice says.
The key is to recognize this voice for what it is when it pops up. You can even give the voice a name, if you want. Tell it to shut up, argue with it or just ignore it, but don't believe it. This voice will come up with great reasons why you shouldn't do things...it's too cold or wet to run, it's too late to study, you're not smart enough to learn that, this TV show looks better than hitting the gym, you don't have the qualifications for that job, you can't afford to go back to school, etc. These excuses are all bullshit.
Nothing you really want to do is going to be easy. If it was, you would have already done it. But, if you really want to do something, then it matters to you. Don't let bullshit excuses from a voice in your head stop you from doing them. Get out there and do the work. Don't let the rain stop you from running. Don't let fear of failure stop you from learning something new or applying for the job or moving across the country. Don't let any of the excuses stop you from doing the work you need to do. Don't let the voice convince you that doing something hard is a waste of time. It's not. Letting the voice win is the waste. Don't spend another day letting it control your life.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
We must stop living someone else's idea of what our life should look like. This is our life. If we don't like any of the paths laid down in front of us, we need to blaze our own. We don't have to do things because we think they are expected. We have the right to find our own light and to chase it to the ends of the earth.
We have to search for what makes us feel alive. If you haven't found it yet, don't stop looking. Blazing our own path in life is difficult, but is worth it. What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? What do you see yourself doing in five years? When you look at your daily life, how does it make you feel? These are all questions we need to be asking ourselves and each other, but we rarely do. When we do get asked them (often in job interviews), we have stock answers, but not honest ones.
We are often stuck, not being entirely happy, but not entirely unhappy, either. We are afraid to make changes as we aren't sure what will happen or if our choices will move the needle closer to happy or unhappy. Because of this, we don't do anything. I am here to tell you that this is no way to go through life. We all have to stop freezing with fear and spend more time taking that first step. Once we start moving, we have a better chance of continuing to move.
Discovering your meaning in life is tough. Many people never do, but this is because they constantly search for their meaning along someone else's path. They are convinced they have to do certain things or act in certain ways because of what they have been told. They never summon the courage to follow their own path. We have the ability and the duty to live a life that matters to us. No excuses. No apologies. Blaze a path other people will want to follow. You only get one shot at this life, isn't time to start making it count?
Monday, September 10, 2012
How long are you going to continue to take this risk? Before you start arguing that you don't do this, spend a little more time thinking about your life. Are you really doing what you want to do? Are you just biding your time until you have enough experience or money to then do what you want to do? Most of us are spending too much time doing something other than we want to do and not actually getting any closer to doing what we do want to do.
We work in companies where we aren't really respected. We spend time with petulant coworkers who can seemingly do anything they want to do. We have the stated culture, which often has nothing to do with the actual culture within the organization. We are treated like nothing more than a cog in a machine. Many of us work in organizations that could care less about us...we are disposable and treated as such.
Even when we are lucky enough to work in a place where we are treated with respect, we aren't given the opportunity to do things to help us grow. We try to be original and unique, but aren't allowed the opportunity or the ability to make things better. We still work towards goals which are not our goals and are expected to do what we are told, nothing less and nothing more. Rarely are we given the opportunity to prove we can do more. This doesn't mean the company is terrible, but probably means we are doing things on the bet we will be able to someday buy the freedom we so desperately desire.
Is the risk worth it? No, it isn't, but I am just as guilty for taking it. Chasing what we want to do is scary. What happens if we don't have enough money? What happens if things don't work out? What if we fail? Chasing our dreams and doing what we want to do is risky, but it is less of a risk than never doing it. Would you rather spend you life doing what you don't want to do in hopes that someday you will be able to do what you want or take the risk to start doing what you want right now? I say figure out what you want to do and start doing it. What do you have to lose?
Friday, September 7, 2012
The sad fact is the vast majority of people never reach their full potential. Many of us never will. We don't push ourselves. We don't try new things. We don't keep searching. We settle. We think tangible things matter. We stay away from the things that scare us. We resist change. We stop learning. We spend more time in front of the television. We don't read enough. We shy away from challenges. We ignore our dreams. We stop listening to our heart. We give up.
Why do we do this? It's easier. We're afraid. Doing something new or scary takes courage and we don't know what will happen. We like knowing the outcome before we start. We want to know what will happen if we do A or B. Not knowing scares the shit out of us. It's easier to stand still or do what we have always done.
Allowing this fear to take over breeds complacency and laziness. Once it takes over, it becomes harder and harder to make changes. You convince yourself that you are living the life you should, but the little voice inside of you disagrees. You still have dreams, you have just gotten better at ignoring them. Many people can go through the rest of their lives like this. They can believe they are content, without coming anywhere close to their full potential.
But, even these folks feel the doubt. For them, it doesn't come along as often, but every now and again they will catch themselves wondering if their is something more out there. They will often forget these thoughts as quickly as they come, but they still have them. You have these thoughts. I have these thoughts. We all do. Having them doesn't matter nearly as much as how we react to them. Ignoring them is never the answer. We have to become better at listening to our heart and mind.
When you wonder, do something. This is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Do something that scares you. Learn something new. Turn off the television and get some exercise, spend more time thinking, read a book, have a conversation with someone. Just do something different. The further we push ourselves, the closer we come to realizing our potential. You will never know what you are capable of until you have given it your all. What really scares you? Get out there and do it!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Most of us will look at this poster and smile or smirk and kind of laugh to ourself and then move on. We won't take it seriously and will assume that Zappa was just being Zappa. But, there is a lot of truth here. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard someone say they were unhappy with something and there was nothing they could do about it. Or, the number of times people just take what they are told as truth and continue on without thinking for themselves.
Seriously? All of us need to wake up and really start thinking for ourselves. We don't need to do what other people have told us to do. We don't have to live someone else's idea of a good life. We don't have to be average. We don't have to take anything as a truth without first questioning it. We don't have to fit in or be liked or give a shit about things other people give a shit about. We don't have to eat the same food or watch TV or like the same books or believe in the same politics or pray to the same gods.
We have a mind and we really need to start using it. What makes you happy might make me miserable. What you love to do might be on my list of things I would never want to do. The ideas I have for living a great life might be completely different then yours. All of these things are okay. The key is to believe in yourself and have the strength to do what you love to do. You have to be able to think for yourself and decide which idea is best for you. You have to have the courage to stand up for what you believe and know not everyone will agree with you.
Just stop living a life that is not yours. If you are unhappy, do what makes you happy. If you don't like the people around you, find new people. When you are told anything, question it before you believe it. Forge your own path and be true to who you are. Don't care what other people think you should do or should be. The only person who has control over your happiness is you. Your heart and mind, not anyone else, already know what you should be doing. Learn to listen to what is inside you instead of what everyone around you says.
The only person who has to live with the life you lead is you. No one else. Other people might think they have your best interests in mind, but they don't. They may not mean to be disingenuous, but unless they support you in everything you do, they are. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your choices. Do what makes you happy. Question everything. Come up with your own ideas and thoughts. Be true to yourself and live the life you were meant to lead.
Monday, September 3, 2012
I know there are a lot of people out there who hate lists. If you are one, you can stop reading now as this post is going to turn in to a list. I have been doing a lot of thinking this last week, which I know is normal when anyone is dealing with loss. I wanted to be able to string together everything I have been thinking about into one blog post, but my mind keeps bouncing all over the place and anything I write does too. Instead, here is a list of some of the things I have been thinking about. Some of these may be blog topics in the future, but many express what they need to express in a sentence or two.
- Spend more time with those you love. These are the times that really matter in life.
- Spend more time doing things you love to do and less time doing the things you hate.
- Take time every day (or at least once a week) to just think.
- If you hate your job, quit.
- If you like your job, then work your ass off to do the best work possible.
- The culture of a company is built by the people. If the culture isn't right, then the people aren't right.
- Embrace change, especially when it brings more work for you.
- Try new, little things each day. This will make it easier to embrace big changes.
- Don't automatically reject new ideas.
- Be honest and straightforward with people, even if it seems painful. Difficult conversation are usually important conversations.
- Stop worrying about everything.
- Don't hold back. If you have an idea (no matter how crazy), speak up.
- Be more active. It's amazing how much better you can feel if you just get a little exercise each day.
- Stop talking about doing things as much and actually start doing them.
- Figure out what you need to change to become a person you can love and then make the changes.
- Believe in yourself and be confident, but not an egotistical asshole. It's a fine line and one you need to find.
- Feel free to be different, if that is who you are.
- Have fun. If you aren't having fun, then figure out what needs to change so you can.
- Laugh as much as possible. Don't take things so seriously.
- Things will work out in the end. It may not be the way you want them to work out, but you can only do so much.
- Encourage the people around you by believing in them.
- Friendship and loyalty are expressed in deeds, not words.
- Don't be afraid to let go and move on. Don't dwell on the bullshit of the past.
- Nothing is impossible.
- Chase your dreams, no matter how crazy they are. You are in control of your life.
- Follow your heart...it already knows where you should go.