“The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.” – Unknown
Some say I’m cocky. Some say I’m too modest. Some don’t say anything.
But others’ opinions don’t stop me from pursuing what I want.
I am often asked how I am able to fit everything that I do into my day. If I ever sleep. If I’m exhausted. Some people even ask me why I do any of it. Those people I avoid. They don’t understand.
Truth is….. I’m not exhausted. Just motivated. I do sleep. Six to seven hours a night. The amount of work I am willing to put into my dreams makes me reject everything and everyone that sends the message that I can’t or shouldn’t pursue what I want.
Another truth… I consider time to be my most valuable asset. The biggest gift I can give someone or something. Time exists for us to do something with it. To create. To inspire change. It’s so precious. No cliché here. It is. I am surrounded by people every day who risk their lives for others, who escape countries where their lives had been threatened, who come face to face with danger every day. I’m aware that the world is not always a pretty place. So I spend my time with purpose. I don’t want to waste it.
Third truth… A little over two years ago everything that I thought was something turned out to be nothing. My life changed drastically. We all have these situations. It’s what we do with them, what we allow them to teach us that either propels us forward or keeps us stuck. My story involves a couch, dark rooms, and many tears. Look for that post on Monday. For now I will tell you this… In the midst of my life completely falling apart and me being completely unsure of the next steps to take, I needed to do some heavy self-reflecting. Who I was, who I wasn’t, and who I wanted to be all collided together. That’s the thing… once you know something, it’s a lot more difficult to put a blind eye to it. You can no longer deny the truth. You can no longer hide. True self-reflection exposes dark corners of our lives and relationships that we would rather keep hidden and quiet. It brings everything to the surface and forces us to look at things as they really are, not how we’ve been wanting them to be. When you face your truth, you learn what you want and what you’ll never want again. This is necessary. This is the first step in formulating your vision.
Three things I don’t do.
1. I don’t watch TV.
2. I don’t allow distractions to consume me.
3. I don’t make excuses.
Are some days more difficult? Yes! Do I lack motivation sometimes? Of course! Do I want to sleep in on some days? Of course!
But there is a fundamental difference between wanting and liking, my friends. They are not one and the same. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that once you get it, you will like it. In fact, according to Kashdan and Biswas-Diener ˡ, humans are actually not so good at distinguishing between the two processes. Each one of these phenomena involves a different part of the brain. Wanting is linked to an appetite and liking to enjoyment. Each serves a different purpose. So while I might want to sleep in, if I give in, and the times that I actually have, I have felt worse when I finally got up. This is one example of how we see the wanting/liking bias in real life. Think about your own life. Think about the last time you really wanted something. When you obtained it, was it as emotionally fulfilling as you had anticipated it would be? Did you like it just as much as you thought you would?
You can mitigate this disconnect by making decisions based, not on strong desires, but on their long-term effects. In other words, think. Think before you act. Anticipate. Plan. Don’t allow your temporary emotions to guide your decisions. Don’t make decisions hastily. Find the value in rationality and long-term thinking.
I challenge you to reflect upon your own vision. Do you have one? Have you ever spent time thinking about it? Has it almost faded from your memory? Is it dusty, lying on a shelf somewhere? From my recent conversations with people, I have come to realize that many people do not hold a vision for their life. They live day to day, going through the motions, without any particular plan for the future. Is it any wonder that you’re lazy, unmotivated, and cynical? Don’t leave your life up to chance. Don’t allow unimportant things control the outcome of your day. You need a vision to stay focused and motivated and working towards what you want.
Look closely and honestly at yourself and your life.
Are you fulfilled?
Are you living with purpose?
Are you tapping into all your skills, talent, and passions?
I believe that you are good at so many things other than just your day job. Your specific passions, talents, and skills could and would bring someone else joy, relief, or motivation. I see the abundance in you. I want you to see it too. I believe in you. I want your eyes to be opened to the immense possibilities that you haven’t allowed yourself to see.
How do you make this shift happen within you? Use the following 4 steps as your guide. I preface the steps with this: Don’t be lazy. Don’t make excuses. Don’t create your own misery. Don’t let your mental blocks govern you.
You have the power to break free.
1. Decide And Feel The Pain
First decide that you want to break free. This realization and decision will probably be painful. That’s because everything that you haven’t been doing in your life will be exposed. All your discrepancies between how you want things to be and how they actually are will become apparent. The growth you still need to pursue will be revealed. Don’t run from this pain. Feel it, accept it, and proceed. Find the value in addressing any and all contradictions, hypocrisy, and incongruencies in your life.
2. Plan Intelligently
Next… make a plan. Your vision can’t just sit pretty on a shelf somewhere. It needs action. What do you want? What are you willing to do to get it? What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you ready to get started? Your plan must be CONCRETE. Each one your goals needs to be accompanied by specific objectives that you will take to accomplish the goal. Do this. Today.
3. Stop Complaining and Work
Then…. WORK. Do a little each day. EVERY DAY. On the days that you just want to scream, or you doubt if it all even matters, or your insecurities start creeping in, keep working. Prepare for these things to happen. Because they will. Fight through them. Just keep going. Don’t think too much. Just do. Keep working. Your thoughts have limited you up to this point – stop letting them. Work. Work through the pain. Make progress every day. Don’t complain. Don’t expect instant results and do not sabotage yourself with distractions. If you think you have a problem with distractions, read Pressfield’s The War of Art and stop complaining.
4. Work Some More
Throughout all this….. don’t expect miracles. Expect results instead. Results will only come from the effort and work that you put in. Don’t blame the world, your boss, your spouse, or anyone else. Stop. No one is to blame. It’s all you. It’s always been you. Stop having unrealistic expectations and put in the work every day. You will encounter roadblocks before any small victory. This is good! This tests you. It tests your resolve, motivation, and commitment. Don’t give in. Continue working.
There is no magic formula. There is only the work that you put in!
Everything starts with a vision. Once you have it, hold onto it with dear life. Yes, modify it, evolve it, improve it. But don’t ever let it go. Don’t let the time of day, your energy level, the weather, your mood, others’ opinions, or a challenging day affect your vision. It needs to always exist. Carve it into your psyche. Through all the turmoil in your life, the pain, the near-catastrophic emotional demons that suffocate you, don’t let it go. Keep it safe and protected. Always. And put in the work.
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs
1. Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener describe the wanting/liking bias in their book, The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self – Not Just Your “Good” Self – Drives Success and Fulfillment. Buy this book today and read it. It’s outstanding. A refreshing and unique look into how all our emotions serve a purpose.
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