Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves” – William Penn
Life is about quality experiences and honorable achievements you work towards.
Life is not about getting ahead of everyone else. Life is not about accumulating every attention-getting trinket in existence. Life is not about comparing yourself to others as if they are the official measuring stick of accomplishment. Granted, I’m being completely subjective here. I know to others life might very well be solely about acquisition of power, wealth, fame, stuff; who knows. I’m sure having ultimate power might be cool, for a while; being able to buy whatever my heart desires would fulfill my wants, for a while; having people adore me and fawn all over me might be gratifying and feed my ego, for a while.
But I’ve observed that a lot of times people compare their status with others (usually ones ahead of them) and feel as if they are not as successful or accomplished as they should be; then they lose sight of what they have in favor of what they might be able to attain. So they persist in their drive to acquire more and more, never really appreciating what they have now. This ladies and gentlemen is what is called the rat race.
My suggestion is to never start running that race, because once you do, you immediately lose. Striving to be successful is an admirable goal; one I agree with and continually work for. However, I’ve learned to follow an ideal of what my future successful self looks like, but only compare myself to where I have been and what I have achieved in the past. You see an ideal is just that; an ideal, it is not real and most of the time it’s not attainable in a realistic sense. Think of how you structure your future self’s image. Is it perfect? Maybe not but it’s probably idealistically constructed, meaning ‘if things were perfect’ played a small part in its creation, even if you weren’t consciously aware of it. So striving toward that ideal gives you focus and a goal, which is good. Comparing yourself to the past and what actually was keeps you grounded, examining real world facts.
It is unfortunately very easy to fall into the trap of thinking things like “Everyone has so much more than me,” “I’m never going to have as much as that guy,” or “I’m never going to make it.” That’s jealously talking there. In the grand spectrum of success, there will always be those ahead, and behind you. This is a fact. Worrying so much about what other people have accomplished and comparing yourself only to those that are more successful will ultimately lead to you feeling like a failure. Now it’s okay to model your actions after successful people (they’re a success for a reason); any other comparisons on success is just shortchanging yourself.
I once fell into that trap. I’d look at all the successful authors out there and lament that they succeeded where I still failed. I saw their body of published works and compared that to my unpublished writing. And I was miserable. What I failed to look at was just how much more I wrote in the last two years compared to the eight years preceding them. In the last two years I’ve written a weekly blog entry almost every week, I’ve written a Novel, and two short stories. The previous eight years I wrote only a fraction of that. So in comparison to myself the last two years have been a resounding success. And I gained fulfillment from those valuable and rewarding writing experiences. Sure I’m not published yet, but I’m light years ahead of where I was. The key there is me, not those published authors. My being jealous of them served no purpose except to make me feel like crap. So I changed my perspective. And guess what? I changed my life, yet again.
You can do it too. I dare you.
Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Stay strong in body and mind
Have you ever been accused of being stubborn? Are you stubborn? Being single minded about an objective or goal is actually a very good thing. It keeps you focused. I call it fortitude. Applying your personal strength and conviction to a single goal helps achievement, but what about applying fortitude to life in general. What good is that and what purpose does that serve? Well, having the strength of mind to withstand the pains and adversity of life is a pretty valuable asset don’t you think? I’ve talked about perseverance and how it aids you on your life’s mission and keeps you going toward your goals. But perseverance isn’t enough. That’s right, you need fortitude. Being able to keep going is one thing, being able to maintain your mindset and inner strength as well is totally different. There will be a time when challenges in your life beat you down so much you might think you’ve lost. But if you have a solid foundation of who you are, what your values are, and why you have them, well that’s fortitude, and you can take comfort from that; draw strength from that and carry on.
The only person that will always be with you throughout your life is you. You better like that person’s company if you’re going to find any value in your life. I know a person who has compromised everything they ever held dear because they thought it would be easier to attain what they wanted. That person was wrong. I know another person that never bothered to set any life goals, look toward the future or bother to develop a strong sense of self worth or conviction. That person’s life is very unhappy.
I’ve had my values tested, my convictions called into question, but I’ve always focused on who I was, what I wanted and what I valued. When I weighed the options and saw what compromising my ideals would bring, I chose the right path. Fortitude isn’t just about being strong. It’s about believing in yourself when things go wrong, look terrible and you doubt everything. When I got divorced, everything seemed go to wrong, then get really bad, and then get horrible. I was hungry, homeless, penniless and thousands of miles away from family. Let me tell you, sleeping out on the street for a few days really tests your fortitude. I made mistakes, chose poorly, and didn’t listen to common sense. I paid the price. But because I took the time to re-examine my path, but stay strong to my convictions, I steered back toward my goal, and continued on my mission.
Getting through the bad times can be done. I know it from experience. Don’t give up. Stay strong. You never know when things will turn around.
Thanks for reading, post a question or comment. I’d love to hear from you.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Achievement can be considered the pinnacle of effort. That which you have strived for, worked for, endured much, promised little and sacrificed to accomplish all becomes secondary to the pride and joy that comes with Achievement. You’ve done it! All feats, great and small bring with them a sense of satisfaction. Once you’ve experienced that sense of wonder and awe at your own abilities you will finally understand what it means to be self-reliant, resilient, and persistent. Picking a goal and powering through what life gives you to accomplish that goal has no substitute.
Once you have reached that level of accomplishment and know what it takes to get there, you must push yourself even further. You may have heard the old cliché “don’t rest on your laurels.” Well basically that means you need to keep challenging yourself. If you don’t, your achievement will fade. I believe a fundamental goal in life should be to continually strive and push yourself to achieve ever greater accomplishments. I can tell you personally, after 4 years, I’ve finally finished my Master’s degree. I just received my diploma in the mail and it is now hanging on my office wall. It means a lot to me, because I went through a lot, professionally and personally while trying to achieve that goal of getting my degree. Now that I’m finished, I’m thinking of what my next challenge should be.
Sir Edmund Hillary’s quote is quite apt, at least for me, but at the same time, I’m reminded of that little ditty we’d sing when we were kids “…The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain… to see what he could see. He saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, so guess what he did. The bear went over the mountain…” Life is full of mountains. Go climb them, and conquer!
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