Day #322: Mission Critical – 7 Truths About Living Your Dream

If you’re on a mission to build a dream which can be made a reality – then you will know that the journey is full of ups and downs and that the only way to really get there is to keep in keeping on to simply say the least. But to be clear, there are 7 points or more so truths and realities everyone must face during this journey and if you cannot get through them, then you need to buckle up for a long ride ahead… 

In the journey to living your dream you will find:

  1. It’s not always fun
  2. You have to keep pushing
  3. There will always be struggles
  4. Sometimes you have to settle
  5. It can overwhelm your life without you realizing it
  6. You start to wonder if this is what you wanted the whole time
  7. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you keep going and keep climbing

Based on the above – even when you get to your destination of fulfilling your dream (the top of the mountain), you should have a plan for something more… There is always a new level – a new goal, a new achievement. This life is not meant for those who want to be happy with little. No matter what – the minute you decide you are satisfied is the minute your dreams start to slow down. Look for new dreams and realize that though this is hard – it is always worth it. Remember a dream doesn’t need to be a lifestyle change. 

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Unknown

Day #321: Appreciate Life – Or You Will Regret It

Today I have a challenge for you to understand the ideas and appreciate what you have for your current season of life. Ask yourself what ideas you have about life that are currently not being met. You may not answer this – but the most common answer is usually to ‘find work that you’re passionate about and have friends who care about you’. If this is something you also want then continue reading. 

Firstly, you should try accepting the reality and find the goodness in the present, rather than compare your present life to an ideal life. The comparison and the ideals can cause dissatisfaction. The reality isn’t so bad if we let go of the ideas and just see the present moment as it is. If you take the time to look at any moment, even uncomfortable ones, you will find that there is a lot to be curious about, a lot to appreciate, a lot to discover and love.  I’m not suggesting you give up your ambitions and aspirations. It’s only difficult when we attach too tightly to them, and then we can become unhappy with the present. I’m suggesting you loosen the attachment to these ideas, turning to the present to appreciate it and that getting to know what’s in front of you is better.

Once you do this, and accept what’s in front of you, you reach a place of peace.

Either way, you take action towards your aspiration, but it can be either from a place of dissatisfaction (and wanting to change something crappy) … or a place of acceptance and peace and wanting to do something good for yourself (or others).  As a high level, here is how you can take action in regards to this:

  1. Notice your dissatisfaction.
  2. Notice your ideas that you’re holding tightly to.
  3. Loosen your hold on these ideas, and turn to the present moment.
  4. Really see the present moment with curiosity, find something to appreciate.
  5. Accept the present moment completely, with love.
  6. From this place of peace, respond, take action. It might be an aspiration, or not, but it’s a response from a good place.

“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Where there’s life, there’s hope.” – Stephen Hawking

Day #320: The Day Is Determined By You

Today will either be another day to fall into a good day or a bad day category. Well, that’s how the majority will see it anyway and it is all determined by you.

How about we make today something more than the just category of good or bad. If it is bad, then why is it bad? What has defined it or limited to being bad? Get real and ask yourself what has made the day so bad that the whole of it should be discarded. Have another think, have another look and see what you can learn and possibly grow from. Just because it didn’t go your way, doesn’t mean the day should be all that bad or at least defined as it. Try finding 3 things great, positive and encouraging from each day. Before you go as far as turning your attitude sour and discarding the day. Every day has a lesson, every day has a chance to be better than what it really is. It is all about attitude, perception, and choice.

With this in mind – let’s not make today just a good day, but a day bigger, better and greater than before. You can make it so much more than it is, if only you look, work and take action in doing so. Yes, it is great to have a good day… But once again what is making it good? What is the meaning behind it and how it can that be utilized to empower another day or each day forward? Ask yourself!

Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life. – Joel Osteen

The change will never happen without everyone being receptive to other opinions, ideas, and viewpoints. Each one of us only has our own way of looking at any situation, and that perspective comes from our life experiences. Listening and expanding our own perspectives is how we become better human beings and create a better place to live.

Day #319: The Opportunity To Adapt Or Break

Change and variable come in the spare of the moment when we least expect it and at this very moment we have the opportunity to either adapt or break. For those who know me well, I am a creature of habit and routine. I do this in the sense to enable a simplified, slipstreamed life to allow me to stay committed, disciplined and on track to progression. With this is in mind – I have set time frames, routines and mindsets to enable myself (what I think) to get the result I am looking for and it works. Since my routine is consistent, challenging… yet able – I can do this. What I cannot plan for is any change or variable which can pop up at any time. If you’re like me… the smallest thing can cut you off your mindset and even make you frustrated. 

You see I have a mentality of a perfectionist. I am an all or nothing kind of guy and though this will have its pro’s and con’s it creates a lifestyle in which I am always on the journey to conquer more and be more no matter what. So when change comes – this is like getting punched in the face while casually standing at a bus stop. The unexpected impact comes to a surprise and throws me off my usual, expected routine. Now the old I would have given up, however, the new I has a goal to make it happen and get my result – no matter what. Learning to adapt is a challenge in itself. 

This brings me to my real point of this blog. Being hard on yourself can take a toll – but I think it creates a lifestyle in which will create you essentially into something better. Have a look and you’ll see what people who are hard on themselves will understand:

We Spend So Much Time Trying to Perfect Things

For most people, it’s fine to simply allocate an hour or so a day to accomplishing their goals. But not for people who are tough on themselves, we spend all of our free time perfecting our goals. This is often at the cost of our social life and family commitments. Everything is forgotten about in the name of perfection.

We Become Defensive When Criticized

People who are tough on themselves struggle with criticism even if it is delivered in a gentle way. We take it to heart and store it in a special place for the next time someone criticizes us. Then we bring it back up to the surface again and remind ourselves how imperfect we are.

We Go For All or Nothing

If we think we might get full marks, or first prize we will go for something full speed ahead. But if we think that we can’t reach those high standards we simply won’t get involved at all. This is how much we dislike not winning.

We Are Highly Critical of Mistakes

For the most part, we are intolerant of our own mistakes. But we are often critical of others when they make mistakes. We see perfection as attainable and something that everyone should be aiming for. Anything less and the perfectionist doesn’t understand.

We Set Out To Be the Best at Everything We Do

We aim to be the best and not second best. We feel a sense of urgency as we work in case someone is passing us. We panic at results time if we don’t ace the exam/assignment/test and get an A. We get frustrated during a game if we don’t score enough baskets.

We Get Nervous Sometimes

Anytime we have to perform (at an interview, a presentation, on stage etc.), everything has to be perfect. We put ourselves under enormous pressure to achieve the impossible and so the nervous system caves. This can become worse over time if not addressed. (I control this now)

We Feel Humiliated When Others Perform Better

If it turns out that someone else scores higher on a test, or runs faster, or just generally performs better in a particular area of life, we feel humiliated and disappointed. After all, we worked harder than them – so if we can’t beat them now, we’ll never beat them.

We are Our Own Worst Critic

It doesn’t matter how many times somebody tells us that it’s okay, we will continue to beat ourselves up over the smallest things. If we make a mistake or do something ‘wrong’, we still berate ourselves for it long after everyone has forgotten about it. Sometimes we never forgive ourselves and this can drain our emotional resources.

We are Horrified When Exposed

When we are exposed as being imperfect (which of course everyone is in reality), we are horrified. We cover up our imperfect bodies, and we keep our substandard results to ourselves because disclosing our imperfections is just too horrifying. It’s a lot of hard work when you are hard on yourself.

We Play Things Over and Over in Our Minds

If things don’t turn out the way we hope, we play it over and over in our minds – as if thinking about it will alter the outcome. This becomes obsessional almost, can be difficult to stop and is quite destructive.

We Only Focus on The Result

We keep our eyes firmly on the prize, be it a first place or a good grade, the best outfit or the cleanest house. In the process, we forget to enjoy the journey. The value of learning is lost on us and the joy of shopping for the outfit is immaterial. It’s all about being the best at the end of the day.

We are Acutely Aware of Others

What other people think of us is of major concern to us. We want them to know that we are the best, the best-looking, the most charismatic, the best performer etc.

We aren’t Always Happy

People who are hard on themselves often suffer from depression and anxiety as they live in a world where they are in constant pursuit of the impossible. We push ourselves harder and harder to achieve something that is unattainable. Of course, this can only result in great disappointment. After some time, this kind of strain becomes too much for the human spirit and we start to break down.

But it is possible to change – to learn how to go easier on yourself

I have taken the steps and I still am to ensure I am making the most of the pros, the values, and the structure being hard on yourself enables. In terms of the negatives, these I have diminished or have already and if you’re like me and hard on yourself… don’t worry you will get there too.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” – African Proverb

blog derived from – Brenda Richardson of lifehack org.

Day #318: A Passion Reality Check…

As we grow closer to the end of the year – yes you should be still finishing off your goals or going above and beyond. But you should also be in the mindset thinking and be preparing for how 2017 is going to look for you. What new goals, what passion will you be chasing? So with this all in mind today I wish to remind you and challenge you if you are CHASING your passion. I think this is one of the most important elements of your life and the sooner you realize it the sooner you will be happier than ever before. Your dreams are at stake. If you have never really dazed off into dreamland, I dare you to do it. The longer you hold back – the longer and the harder it will be to take the dive. 

Take a moment to just dream of the things you want to aspire for. Not just the goals for next year or goals you have already accomplished, but the years ahead. What do you want your life to look like? Are you going to stick with the same? With the old? Are you going to be part of something you don’t even enjoy?

If you don’t have a dream to work for than who are you actually working for?

Is it possible to follow our passion and make a living? Ask writers from J.K. Rowling to Zadie Smith, filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to James Cameron, artists from Jeff Wall to Tracy Emin, musicians from Adele to Will.i.am, sportspeople from David Beckham to Usain Bolt. No matter what the industry is there will always be someone out there living their passion. The funny thing is, following your passion can even potentially pay much more than the traditionally esteemed jobs.

Here is a list of the top regrets of those on their death-bed:

“I wish I had lived my own life rather than how society taught me to live.”

“I wish I discovered my purpose earlier.”

“I wish I had taken more risks.”

“I wish I had taken better care of myself.”

“I wish I’d allowed myself to love.”

“I wish I had touched more lives and inspired more people.”

“I wish I had been a better partner or parent.”

Now if that list doesn’t prove why following your passion is a need, not a desire, then nothing will!

So today’s challenge is to ask yourself…

What do you want to be saying at the end?

The only thing required for a dream. Is a determined heart.

Follow your dreams, your passions and see where your heart takes you.

If you do what you love, you will always love what you do.

Why are your dreams at stake? If you are not willing to put in the time now, to invest in yourself in picking up the slack and really working to achieving your goals. How can you expect yourself to get to these dreams, if you not willing to do anything about it, let alone a subset of it?

The characteristics, the skills and the motions you learn, develop and put into action from achieving short-term goals, are all going to play a HUGE part in the long run.

Think about it. Is it worth it?

I think so.

Day #317: Resilience – Having A Vision For Your Life

The question you need to ask yourself today is a kind of simple one… Do you have a vision for your life?

We all crave success. Our own definition of success drives us, causes us to fret, infuriates us at times, and inspires us! We all have people who we look up to as meeting our definition of success. However, there are people who have much grander visions than most and are able to achieve them. They plow their way through obstacles of all kinds, climb mountains unimaginable to us, and cross seas that we wouldn’t dare consider. What gives these people the strength, courage, and conviction to fulfill their vision and achieve success? The answer is mental skills.

However, the one I really want to touch on today is RESILIENCE.

Just like a stretched rubber band that bounces back to its original shape, to have a successful vision for your life, one must be resilient. They bounce back from failures and difficulties. They do not let tough situations pull them down. They are able to keep going towards their vision, irrespective of any obstacles. This is a crucial skill to master. Most people give up on their dreams after their first failure or difficulty —as they say, When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

“Everyone experiences tough times; it is a measure of your determination and dedication how you deal with them and how you can come through them.” – Lakshmi Mittal

So how do you go about mastering this skill?

Start observing what your attitude towards tough situations is. Do you tend to give up easily? Do you feel scared or frustrated and resort back to the comfortable? Once you identify where you stand on the spectrum… then you can take steps to improve it. Consciously work on becoming more adaptable and flexible in all situations. Positivity and hope, when added to the mix, will boost your resilience factor. Lastly, using every situation as a learning experience and identifying what can be done better next time are key strategies to mastering this skill.

Day #316: The Keys To Discovering & Actualizing Your Passion

In the end, it all comes down to you and your passion. But you might be reading this and thinking it’s really nice I found my passion and became a better person, but you don’t know what your passion is yet, so what should you do? How does this help you? Some people will tell you just to keep looking and you’ll know when you find it, but I don’t think that’s true. It’s like telling someone to randomly toss a bunch of seeds on the ground to see which one grows into a plant without actually making sure they get enough light and water. Let’s be honest… if the plants aren’t growing? Throw different seeds on the ground!

If you’re not sure what you want to do, don’t just look for it outside yourself. You should also cultivate the right mindset inside yourself. Find something to work on that you can meaningfully contribute to, something you think is worthwhile, even if no one else cares. As long as it makes you think, it makes you happy, it motivates you and it is not something you need to be dragged out of bed to do. This is your passion. The only step post this is to get REALLY GOOD AT IT.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  — Howard Thurman

It happened to everyone… as an early as kindergarten, we find ourselves getting pestered with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Unless you are one of the very few people who actually became a veterinarian, odds are, your answers have changed every year. Then there was the cliche of “Don’t worry,” they told me. “As you get older, what you want to do will become crystal clear.”

But to further points above – if you are struggling to still lock down your passion here are some quick tips to ignite it… 

  • Do things you like, even if you don’t “love” them.

  • If you don’t know what you like, start with what you don’t like.

  • Try new things.

  • Don’t stress out over it.

Honestly, who cares if the only hobby you can think of off the top of your head is sleeping? When people ask you what activities you enjoy, feel free to make things up.

It’s really okay to not have your life figured out, and even more okay to admit it. Hopefully, I have at least 50 more years to live, and even if I don’t figure out my life’s passion by then, I’m sure I’ll still be doing just fine.

Day #315: Calm Your Inner Enemy & Befriend Your Mind

Despite how different we all are, we all aim for the same goal: peace of mind. We vary in our routes, but not in our destination. Peace of mind is a state. You can’t find it in money, love, children or fame. It’s a state of mind you have to earn. Once you realize you can’t buy it, steal it or wish for it, it becomes yours. The shortest way to find peace is by befriending your own mind. Here are some steps to help do just that:

Step One: You Can’t Run Forever…

You can’t run from decisions you’ve been delaying, plans you’ve been postponing or actions you’ve been putting on hold.

A chaotic mind may prevent you from obtaining peace. If there’s something haunting your thoughts, let go of it. A mind stuck in the past will never progress. Face whatever is occupying your mind with courage and pride. Be the monster to your worst nightmares.

Step Two: Me Time

“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.’’ – John Mayer

Spending time alone doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lonely life. It’s okay to feel the need to distance yourself sometimes. People should know it’s nothing personal. It’s only something you have to do to feel good about yourself. It will help you discover who you really are at heart, with the noise of the world around you muted. When you show enough courage to defeat your negative thoughts, your mind will start to surrender to how powerful you’ve become.

Step Three: Learn To Never Judge People – You Can Only Judge Actions

Letting your subjective judgment determine your relationships, or at the very least influence, them is a bad habit you need to steer clear of. A troubled mind is constantly looking for reasons to be doubtful and for ways to spread its negativity in your system. Learn to appreciate the people you know, and also the ones you once knew. Don’t judge the presence of someone in your life, or the moral behind why your roads aligned for a while. Open yourself up to all sorts of experiences and influences from everyone.

Step Four: Trust Your Instincts

Your mind might sometimes get caught up in details, mixed signals, and complicated emotions, but your instinct will seldom fail you. Following your own instinct will eventually enhance the way you perceive things around you. At the right time in the right situation, you’ll instantly know what to do. The power of your instinct is an innate gift, and you should always refer to it in your time of need.

Step Five: Have A Little Faith In Yourself

Doubt is one hell of an enemy; once you let it control your thoughts, it can own every fiber of your being. Having faith in yourself and in your capabilities is strong enough to defeat any negative thoughts you may encounter. Sure, your mind will struggle a little at first, but once you’ve established a concrete relation with your strength points, embraced your weaknesses and realized your potential, your mind will shift from destructive to constructive self-criticism mode.

Day #314: Don’t Have A Routine? – Follow A Structured One

Structure and routine can help you become smarter by creating strong healthy habits. For example, if you structure your day to read an article that helps you learn something new, over the course of a year you will have learned 365 new things. Imagine what this equates to over a lifetime. Add more books, articles or podcasts to your day and your knowledge and intellect will grow exponentially. But take a step back, there are plenty of benefits of a structured life. Here are some of these aspects in which applying structure to your life will enable: 
  1. Get your priorities straight – One immediate effect that one sees while following a routine is that things that are important are actually done. 
  2. No more procrastination – Everyone in today’s world seems to be affected by this disease called “procrastination”. But, being in routine will never let this happen (provided you follow the routine, not only make routines).
  3. Work, passion & learning together – A good routine must contain an equitable division of time for work (that earns you money), passion (that what gives you happiness) & learning (that which will help you grow). Once, you have all these things going on, you will never be unhappy about your life.
  4. Keep yourself on track for goals –  When things are actually getting done, you will always be moving closer to your goals, be it a life goal, career goal, educational goal, etc. 
  5. Bring variety in life – No one is unfamiliar with the fact that they are mostly living the life in such a way that every day looks the same. For example, general people’s day is :- wake up -> go to work/college -> ? -> sleep. In this routine, hardly someone will try to fill the ‘?’ with more than one thing. They will extend one activity to fill up everything between work and sleep like, watching some TV-series, playing games, browsing internet/social media, etc. In a proper routine, you will fill the gap with many things targeting different things, like learning something, enjoying, doing hobby stuffs, spending time with people you love, etc.
  6. Avoid wastage of time – Your routine should be full of things until a sleeping time so that you don’t let your mind be idle and just do things that are a waste of time. If you don’t have anything to fill up your day, you are living life in the wrong way. There are so many things to do in this world that you cannot even do a fraction of them in your whole life. Learn things that you don’t know be it small things like driving, swimming, oration or skillful activities like a proper dance form, a sport, playing a musical instrument, etc.
  7. You will be healthy – Every daily routine should contain proper time for eating (healthy preferably), sleeping, physical activity/workout. People interested in (and not interested in) mental peace and health should also include meditation/prayer, etc. Having your meals always at the same time makes your body efficient in food consumption (kind of like increasing your body’s mileage).
  8. Be happy and satisfied – Once you start seeing that you are able to do everything that you wanted to do, you will feel happy and contended. You will become more friendly towards people. Your attitude will change, people will start appreciating your behavior.
  9. Personality development – As you are giving time for your weaknesses, you will keep improving. You will learn new things, you will be disciplined, you will be becoming a better person in many ways. All this provided you are taking off some time for your development and learning.
  10. You will be respected – (In the long run) If you see any famous/respected person, one thing is common. They were all consistent and dedicated towards their passion. Consistency is a must if you want to achieve something and routine will let you be consistent.
  11. You will know “you” – The worst thing is life is to live it for decades and still not be able to know yourself fully. The process of making an effective routine for yourself will allow you to know yourself, your strength, your weaknesses, your fears and your talent. In turn, you will at least try to make yourself such a person that you yourself are satisfied with it.

But, all of this only exists in real world, if you are able to make a good routine that improves you. Be good at different things, don’t stick to a single hobby. The time that you allot for your hobbies and learning, should contain two or three activities over the course of a week. Always keep some time for your development, keep learning and try to BE AWESOME.

One’s daily routine is a choice, or a series of choices. In the right hands, it can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources. – Mason Currey 

Day #313: Nerves – The Reminder You Can Grow

Nerves are a reminder than you can grow. They are your friend. Maybe it’s just me, maybe it isn’t – but when it comes to doing a 10km run or even a 5km run, I start to get nervous. My mind starts to ask questions and even 12 hours out from the actual run itself I am already preparing myself for what is to come. Why? Well if you don’t experience this, or maybe you do and you have no idea why… I don’t either. But what I can tell you is this. Nerves and mind games can be channeled into something more and something which can enable you for the better. This is my interpretation…

Growth

To me, nerves/being nervous is a sign that growth is coming. It is a sign that I am about to step outside of my comfort zone and bring on a new level, or at least try to. But how can this be all from a run? Well, when I run, I run to win and what I mean by that, is I run to outperform my previous run. To do that I need to step it up (push harder) and this scares me, it makes me anxious as I am setting an expectation to achieve higher, to be greater (faster) than before. In order to get to that result, I will endure some hardship of pain and I will need to constantly fight my mind while progressing through the run. I have to tell myself I’ve got this and that I can do this, that I am strong enough and by the end of it I should have beaten my goal. When I don’t, simply put it is a disappointment. But when I do accomplish my goal, I feel like I have conquered the world. So regardless of if I beat it or not – each week I have the same mentality to get out there, to own it and to beat it the next time. Likewise – this is the same mentality across my broader aspects of my life. All that I do or all that I am pursuing. I am pursuing to be better these each day. Growth by each day is a life I will know I have lived to its fullest.

Breaking The Mind

Further to the point before – another reason why I am feeling nervous is because I am about to embark on a period of pain. Pain to the muscles; yes, but more so a deeper pain and battle with the mind. 12 hours before I am out there to do my best, my mind is already scared of the endurance and potential hardship it is going to have to suffer in order to get the result I want. Like when you hit yourself with a hammer, the next time you will be frightened or cringe before making the next hammer swing. Your brain automatically tries to protect you from doing something it thinks you will not want to endeavor. Maybe I don’t. But the better half of me, the one that wants to be a better I has to overcome this mindset and push through no matter what. Once again – this is in reference to growth. It is all about the growth. In order to grow – one must travel through valleys, through mountains and rivers. Through the easy and through the rough. This is all part of this journey. 

A New Reality

Regardless of if I beat my run or not – to me the nerves even when not related to running suggest another point. To me, they imply that change, a better change, a lesson is coming my way. As no matter what is the result of the run or whatever it is causing the nerves, I am either going to come out happy with a new goal or a new level of achievement, or I am going to come out of it experiencing a sense of failure, but with a new battle to fight for and new spark of motivation. When we fail or make a mistake – these are to be fueled by a new energy to try again and to try again harder, bigger and better than the first time. So ultimately I am always going to be coming out of the experience as a better person… sometimes it can just take longer than usual to realize this than I would like.

Ultimately – these nerves are setting me up for a journey in which I will grow, that I will win battles, or create new goals and in the end, it brings me to a new level, to a new location with a new experience and result. From this, as it compounds (with runs, or whatever else it may be), I am going to continue to exponentially grow. The best part is; I am growing in many ways. I’m growing my mental state, my psychological state, my fitness, my health and also my perceptions, my experiences and my ability to conquer fear. 

So next time you feel a little nervous or even a lot. Remind yourself that this is because you are outside your comfort zone – and you need to remember that where the real magic happens, is when you are outside your comfort zone. 

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. – Abraham Maslow

Go on – get out there and shine.