In a recent blog by Seth Godin he paints an astoundingly simple visual when referencing people biking by him at a faster rate, “it’s not a bike race, it’s a bike ride. There is no winning, just the riding.”
These are the mental gymnastics we do daily.
Are we doing enough?
Why isn’t it moving fast enough?
Why aren’t we getting more attention?
A better question is “Why does it matter?”
We would be happier by accepting where we are at and relish the fact that we were able to get to this point.
We don’t need a timer.
Sometimes we’ll feel we are going slow and sometimes we’ll feel we are going fast.
Either way, we must be grateful we are on the path we are on.
Many don’t have the luxury to ride the bike they want let alone pedal in the direction they choose.
We uncover neat experiences.
We discover new opportunities
We are wowed by new people.
Unfortunately, one of the more difficult things in life is to accept that these don’t always last.
That although we might create great memories, these moments pass by.
That shouldn’t make us sad. It should give us hope.
Hope that more will be around the next bend.
Hope that we will continue to recognize these as they present themselves.
Hope that as we grow so will the value of the experiences, opportunities, and people we encounter.
We could be sad that the moments are ending or we could be grateful that we had them at all.
We choose our path. What happens on it is sometimes out of our control.
All we can do is embrace the moments that come our way because we never know how long we have them.
We’ve all had more “failed” relationships than we can count.
Friendships are no longer intact.
Business partnerships split.
Divorce and Break-ups.
It’s happened throughout our lives and emotionally those take a toll on us.
But, there is a silver lining to all of it.
If we are willing we can gain a positive perspective and take away gifts.
Although those relationships have soured, the gifts that have come out of them might make a world of difference in our future.
We are more thoughtful about what we want and don’t settle for mediocrity any longer.
We are more decisive about our actions and don’t waiver.
We are more grateful for the opportunities that arose out of the ashes.
I’ve had many gifts that have come out of relationships that haven’t worked out.
What can be seen as a negative can also be seen as a positive?
“Ugh, the elevator is broken, now I have to climb six flights of stairs” can be flipped around just as easily to “Hey, the elevator is broken, I’ll at least get a little workout in as I climb these six flights of stairs.”
The way we perceive our situation and the world around us influences how we think. If we want to complain, there are many things to complain about. If we want to be grateful, there are the same amount of opportunities for that as well.
We can either control the tempo of the game or always be back-peddling on our heels and retreating.
So, It’s important to play offense as much as possible (be optimistic, think positively, show gratitude) versus playing defense (putting up walls, negative self-talk, and letting others control what we do).
The only way to live a happier life is to do it on our own terms, pursuing the things that brighten our day and expose us to new growth opportunities.
To do this effectively, we must have the ball in our hands as much as possible. We must be in control of our thoughts and actions.
We lost the great John Madden at the end of 2021 and it made me reflect on the impact we can all make, not by being an “influencer” or by showing off but just by living life to the fullest and respecting those around us.
John Madden, from what it appeared, was beloved by many because of how gracious he was with his time, how much passion he put into his work and the people he was around, and how he enjoyed it all.
Life can get overcomplicated and we can overwhelm ourselves with things that don’t end up mattering at all. We add unnecessary stress and anxiety where it’s not needed.
Do what John Madden might have done.
Go to the chalkboard.
Go back to the Xs and Os and the foundation of it all.
Keep it simple.
Be kind to people.
Make the most of each moment and each encounter.
Create a positive outlook on life as things could be much worse than they are.
Push yourself to try new things and tackle new obstacles.
Live your happiness, not anyone else’s.
If you’ve come across this blog then chances are with all the hardships in life yours isn’t that bad.
Chances are you have access to high-speed internet or 5G.
Chances are your phone was made sometime in the last handful of years and would be considered “smart”.
Chances are you have warm clothes on if there is a hint of a crisp morning outside.
Chances are when you arrive at work today it’ll be in the car you drove in or just a short few steps away from where you rolled out of bed.
Chances are, if you have kids, when you drop them off at school you are almost certain without worry you’ll pick them up safe and sound in the afternoon.
There is a good chance that your life (and mine) is a heck of a lot easier and more comfortable than a large majority of the world’s population. Probably 99% of it.
Yet, with that comfort also comes a barrier.
A barrier to let things go, seemingly meaningless things, that have almost zero effect on our lives.
A barrier to be patient and wait our turn instead of getting frustrated and causing a scene.
A barrier to thinking about how lucky we are to be in this position in the first place and cherish the hand we were dealt.
A barrier to enduring discomfort. Something the majority of the world has to live with every day.
We are fortunate for the opportunities we have and it’s important from time to time to call those out, head-on, in order to help us lead lives worth meaning and purpose instead of complaining and finger-pointing.
There are greater tragedies in life and many of them we are grateful to never have to think about.
Failing takes up such a small finite space in time. It exists only to be a placeholder for the next achievement, one that wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the failure that preceded it.
It begs to reason, then, that we should welcome failure with warmth and kindness.
“Playing it safe” actually becomes a fools’ errand. It makes us believe that we are working in our best interest to protect ourselves from harm. In reality, we are starving ourselves of exactly what we need to achieve greater happiness; facing failure head-on and coming out stronger.
Like a long-lost friend that showed up unexpectedly, we should welcome the failures with open arms.
Life is random and unexpected. Things happen that can be extremely magical at times and can make us more fulfilled than we ever expected.
But we can’t take those moments for granted.
We have to be grateful for the entire path of uncertainty that led us to this point. We have to drop the ego.
If we believe we are the sole contributor to this “success” then we become shortsighted with how much luck was involved. We, therefore, miss out on the golden opportunity to gain perspective that we are incredibly lucky to even be in this position in the first place.
Being in the right place at the right time. Other decisions in the past led us down this path (a breakup, getting laid off, etc). Swiping in the right direction.
Most of it is luck.
The timing is lucky.
Serendipity plays a big part in our journey.
By using gratitude as a tool to open up opportunities, we start building a great foundation to base decisions on knowing that inevitably a “roll of the dice” will come into play.
If it’s in our favor, we can be thankful for the opportunity. If it’s not, we can recognize that not everything will go our way and there will be many times we can’t control the outcome.
We must stay positive for the future and await the next spin of the wheel.
Imagine a world where we have less than what we have today.
What could be taken away to still make us feel like we have enough to have a happy life?
What can we do without?
Even more important to ask is if we had less than we have today would we be grateful for everything we have today? Would we complain about that little thing that didn’t go exactly perfect? Would we overthink things that are out of our control? Would we respect the people around us that have differing opinions and leave them be?
In a world where we’re always thinking more more more, have we ever stopped and considered what if we had less?
It’s a new year, a new decade, and a clean slate to get it all right this year. “This is going to be my year”, It seems is the type of thing we say to ourselves each orbit around the sun. Why will this year be any different? What have you learned in the past 12 months that will make you believe you can change?
We all have aspirations at one time or another to break outside of our comfort zones and explore new ideas or endeavors. Then fear sets in and the excuses start to flow on why we “Can’t” do it. Just like a butterfly that landed on your shoulder, it’s there for a second before the idea fleets from your mind. All too often, that isn’t the last time we think about it. It continues to pop up at random with no regard for the timing of it all and the longer it goes without being acted upon the fear generally turns into regret. A disappointment of what could have been. Arguably, one of the worst individual feelings one could have.
I have a hunch that as you are reading this there is something festering inside that you want to accomplish but for whatever reason, you haven’t taken the leap of faith yet. Whether it is the smallest action or the biggest idea we all know that overcoming the fear of starting can be quite challenging. Let’s try to get started on it before the chance of regret from not trying can even weasel its way in.
I think I have the key that will unlock that door for you. It might be quite literally the simplest action you can do but could end up being the hardest. Because it involves self-observation and accountability for your actions.
Think of all of the reasons or excuses you can come up with as to why you can’t get started. You can write them down or just think of a couple in your head. They probably seem legitimate and you may even be able to convince yourself there is some truth to them.
Now I’d like you to try something.
Simply change the “can’t” in the sentence to “won’t” and see how that sounds.
Here is an example:
I can’t go to the gym because I don’t have time.
I won’t go to the gym because I don’t have time.
Which one stings a bit more and why?
“Won’t” does sound a whole heck of a lot worse because it’s a choice. Can’t is final. Can’t has some boundaries. Can’t is a line in the sand that we are not able to cross.
But won’t, that’s a different story. That’s personal. That’s a direct reflection on you as a person, what you prioritize, and how you want to live your life. You are making the conscious decision to not do whatever it is you want to do. You are standing in the way of it happening. You are your own worse accountability partner.
This simple exercise on reflection can fundamentally change your perspective on what you are trying to accomplish and get you in the right frame of mind to accomplish it. I’m not saying it’ll work out every time and you may find instances where you confirm that this isn’t the right path. It’s okay if that is the outcome. However, most of the time, it will allow you to take a deeper look in the mirror and help you gain perspective on why you are scared to do this in the first place and what you would really lose (if anything) from trying.
We all have fear and doubt. We all overcomplicate things. We all worry about stupid shit that is ridiculous and mostly meaningless.
It is the perspective shift that is needed in order to overcome these obstacles and start moving forward. Please keep it simple and believe that you can do it. Once you alter your perspective and start improving your mindset it can open up a lot of doors you never imagined possible.
Now get out there and crush 2020!
The Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Sure You Start In 2020Brian Ondrako2021-03-19T10:41:55-04:00
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