It's Your Life, Take Control of It.
Everyone of us faces adversity. The purpose behind this blog is to chronicle my own challenges, and at the sametime share the insights that I've gained through this process.
I believe that it's through our most difficult challenges that our character is is honed. (The hottest fires make the strongest steel.) Whatever the challenge is, it is unquestionably going to have an impact on us. It's up to us to determine whether that challenge becomes a stepping stone to greater things, or a step back to further despair. Its entirely in our control.
I certainly don't have all of the answers, but I know that there are certain truths that apply to us all. These truths can help us not only overcome adversity, but create the lives that we want for ourselves and our families.
A few weeks ago I read an article about how frequently our brain transmits new thoughts. The human brain transmits approximately 6,500 new thoughts a day. That is a new thought almost every 4.5 seconds. I started to wonder, how many negative thoughts do I have on a given day. I decided to be my own guinea pig and do a little experiment. I went and bought a clicker. For those of you who don't know what a clicker is, its the little thing the counters hold as you walk into a Costco. Their job is to physically count how many people come into a store. My objective was to count how many negative thoughts I have on a given day. I stopped counting at 500 and I hit that number before noon. I realized I was consumed by negative thoughts. Those negative thoughts were a manifestion of how I felt about myself and were reflected in how I carried myself.Needless to say, I realized that if I didn't change my thought patterns I was going to continue struggle with my circumstances. I may not have control of my circumstances, but I do have control of my thoughts and how I deal with my circumstances.
The next day I decided to flip it around. How many positive thoughts do I have in a given day? Maybe they balance each other out.
That first day I counted only 42 positive thoughts. Take into consideration that I had to consciously be aware of my thoughts, so I'm sure that I had more positive thoughts then that throughout the day. None the less, it's easy to see that my dominate thoughts patterns were negative. How could I possibly began to rebuild my life when all I could see was the negative.What the mind focuses on is exemplified in how we live.
Do you know someone that is so insufferable that everytime you're around them you are emotionally drained? Their demeanor exudes a sense of dread and unhappiness. The sky is always falling. It's my contention that they act that way by choice. Subconsciously they have decided that it's easier to be miserble than to be happy. Let's be honest, human nature is to focus on the negative and not the positive. It's easier to ridicule and criticise than to help and build up. It's easier to focus on all that is bad rather than everything that is good. It truly takes effort to be happy and positive.
Life is filled with challenges for us all. Success and happiness depends on the person that is willing to accept the bitter with the sweet. How can one possibly recognize the light if they haven't experienced the dark? All things, good and bad, begin with a thought. The thought precedes the action. The action precedes the outcome. The outcome in all of our lives will be determined first by our thoughts.
My assignment for you this week, go and buy a clicker. It may be the best investment you ever make. As I said in an earlier blog post. It is our individual responsibility to "know thyself." At the end of the day, we have true control over only one thing, that is ourselves and how we respond to any given situation. That response begins with a thought.
As always please feel free to share this with anyone you may think this might help. Also please contact me with your own thoughts and feelings.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Utilities or Groceries
“If you can’t see the bright side to life, polish the dull side.”
One thing that I’ve learned about dealing with adversity is when you’re right in the middle of it, it’s hard to see the proverbial forest because of the trees. Some days are better than others, but when things aren’t going as planned, it’s much easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive. I think that’s probably a truth that applies to life regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Sometimes being happy is a lot of work; It takes effort.
A few months ago I had been working on a project that had all but been funded. I was told that the project was a go, documents were signed and I was waiting to be paid for my services. I needed this project to close just to provide for my family. A lot was riding on it.
I sent my client an invoice and felt like things were starting to look-up. A few days later I got a call from my client. He told me he needed a little time to pay me he didn’t have the money and he needed some time to pay me. He needed 30 days. My back was up against the wall and I didn’t know what to do.
Two days later I’m going through our family finances picking which bills to pay and which ones I can postpone. I realize I only have enough to buy groceries or to pay for the utilities. I don’t have enough for both. At that moment, it was easy to feel sorry for myself and I did. But that didn’t solve my problem. I still had a choice to make. Depending on how I dealt with it, I was either going to make it a really big issue for the kids, or I could make it a small issue. It all depended on how I presented it.
The next night when I got home from work, our water had been turned off. I went out and went grocery shopping. I told the kids that I’d forgotten to pay the bill and that it would be back on in a couple of days. I’m sure the older girls knew I was hiding something but they didn’t let on. We made do with what we had.
In the scope of challenges other people are facing, I know that this is relatively inconsequential. However, all of our struggles are relative to where we are emotionally at that time. What may be a struggle for one person may not be that big of struggle for another. My struggle was the realization that I couldn’t provide the necessities for my family; even if it was only temporary. The blow was to my pride.
In the end what made the difference was we made the choice to get through it.
A few days later I was sitting by myself thinking about that experience. This feeling of relief overcame me. It was as though this enormous weight had been lifted off of my chest, and the thought came to me to “just let it go.” It was a voice that spoke to me. As I thought about it more, the relief I felt became more tangible. It was a real thing, an actual object and not just an emotion. I wrote that saying, “just let it go” on a little piece of paper that I carry with me everyday so that I don’t forget.
I also realized that the pressure that I was feeling was just as tangible and just as real as the relief. It was a real thing, not just an emotion that I had imagined. I could feel it crushing my chest.
I’m facing one situation, and depending on how I deal with it, it affects me in two very different ways. The situation is difficult, but the outcome is entirely up to me. Ultimately what I have, what we all have is the ability to choose. That is the one constant. Our choices whether they be good or bad are ours. We can choose how we deal with life’s challenges. That is the ultimate freedom. It’s also the ultimate responsibility. My belief is once we accept that responsibility, we become truly free.
As always thanks for reading this blog. Please share this with anyone you think it may help.