We have within us the power to start over again.
The future is always beginning now.
Every experience – positive and negative, strength and weakness, love and hate, health and sickness – adds to your personal growth. You will never be called upon to face any challenge which you do not possess the strength to overcome.
But there are great enemies: anxiety, fear, worry, etc. These inner demons set up conditions which disturb and prevent the clear thinking you require.
Calmness, confidence, receptiveness – with these your spirit can flourish; with these you will find the answers you want from day to day, and even more importantly, you will find the right questions.
So when stress and unhappiness begins weighing down on you, take a deep breath, clear your mind and ask yourself…
- “Should I turn around?” – Sometimes when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path. Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly okay. U-turns are allowed in life. Remember, no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward; sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win. (Marc and I discuss this in more detail in the Adversity chapter of 1,000 Little Things.)
- “What makes me happy?” – Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy. Someday you will look back over your life and you will realize that the best moments – when you felt most alive – were the moments when you let your instincts and passions guide you. If your passion takes you down a path few people travel, so be it. Some people may ridicule you for being different and not living up to society’s standards, but deep down, some part of them wishes they had the courage to do the same.
- “Is it time to write the next chapter?” – When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, or criticize you, remember, they’re telling you their story, not yours. It’s time to take your life back from the people and circumstances that are causing you pain and making you unhappy. This is your life and you’re the author of your story. If you’re feeling like you’ve been stuck in the same negative setting for too long, it’s time to start writing a new chapter of your life.
- “What can I do now to change my situation?” – When you blame everyone and everything else, you give up your power to change. So don’t get too upset with other people and peripheral situations. They are powerless without your reaction. Take full accountability of your life. External forces may be able to knock you down on occasion, but keeping you there is a whole different ball game – keeping you there is a choice only you can make.
- “What have I been doing wrong all along?” – When you are willing to fail miserably, you are able to achieve greatly. It is by facing the sometimes ugly truth that life opens up to us. Admitting your mistakes and weaknesses does not diminish your strength, it shows your courage and development. Sometimes you have to shut up, swallow your pride and accept that you were wrong. It’s not giving up, it’s growing up.
- “What do I need to try again?” – Just because you have faced many defeats in your life does not mean you have been defeated. Life has many ways of testing your willpower, either by having prolonged periods where nothing happens, or by having everything happen at once. This is why you have to be strong when you feel like giving up, and you have to fight when you just want to run away. Because sometimes that’s all you can do to KEEP GOING – which is precisely what you need to do.
- “How can I motivate myself?” – To accomplish great things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe. Be a dreamer, a believer, a courageous and cheerful thinker. Be a planner, a doer, a go-getter who keeps her head in the clouds and her feet on the ground. Let the spirit of passion and possibility ignite a fire within you to do something worthwhile and leave this world a little better than you found it. (Read The $100 Startup.)
- “What excuses am I making?” – When something is a priority it gets done. Period. And it’s not what we claim are our priorities, but how we spend our time each day that reveals the truth. You can make excuses. You can always try to wait for the perfect moment, the perfect this, the perfect that… but it won’t get you anywhere. To get where you want to go you just have to start DOING. It makes all the difference. Making excuses takes the same amount of time as making progress. (Read Getting Things Done.)
- “What other questions should I be asking?” – The most common and harmful addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. Don’t be someone who never asks, “how?” or never pulls back further to ask, “why?” Too many people don’t ask these questions because they know the answers would require substantial disruption to their comfort zone, and they don’t want to endure it. But that’s how the human mind grows. When your mind is stretched with new questions and the resulting experiences, it never shrinks back to its previous dimensions – you are forever more competent and capable.
The floor is yours…
What has been draining your happiness? And on the flip-side… What goals and dreams excite you? Please reply below and let us know.
Photo by: J.T. Noriega