We’ve all been thru heartaches, depressions, unfulfilled aspirations & endlessly chasing dreams. The list can go on & on. Often I hear statements such as “That’s not what I wanted to do for a living”, “I regret not doing such & such”, “I wish I fulfilled my dream of (fill in the blank)”. My grandmother used to say that “worst things on the end of life are regrets”. I’m sure if you ask an elder or someone on their dead bed, they will share what they regret not doing. It only requires a little bit of effort, commitment & inspiration. Goals without diligence are useless.
Accomplishments don’t necessarily have to entail to promotion, productivity or profits. Sometimes the most fulfilling things we do in our lives bring very little recognition. Write down what your goals are or what you’d like to change or accomplish in your life. Specify time frame- if it’s now, within the year or long term. It is the list otherwise known as the “bucket list”. The same list that we carry with us most of our lives, reminding us of how much more we have to accomplish. It is important to write all of it down & place it somewhere where you can always see it. Don’t write things that scare you, but I do recommend confronting fear at least one time. Facing fear is essential for personal growth. Figure out what it is & come up with the way to confront it in a way that encourages you. Don’t be afraid of failure. The only thing worse than failure is not trying at all.
When the list is done put it somewhere. On the fridge, pin it to the wall, tape it to the TV…I don’t care where it is as long as you can always see it. It’s been proven that putting thoughts or ideas in writing contributes to its completion.
If you can’t come up with an inspiration, try desperation. Desperately try to find something major you’d like to change or something small to accomplish. Keep in mind, it’s not the size of an accomplishment but the accomplishment itself. The point is to get out & do something. As Nike would say, “Just Do It”! Shift to a determined, creative mindset. It’s been said that journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So whether it’s a 1 mile run or preparing five course dinner- small wins & successes are better than no wins at all. Gain momentum by starting small. The smaller the goals- better the chance of its achievement. Try to find an inspiration in your rear view mirror. What life experiences or events from your past can help you move one step forward? What have you accomplished so far that can give you a jumpstart? Give it some thought. I’m sure you can come up with a list of examples. What if your life depended on it and in order to live you had to make one dream come true? I bet that it would get you going. All of the sudden you would find motivation or money to do it. You would immediately carve out time for whatever you need to complete. Absolutely. Frame your mind, have realistic dreams & I predict lots of successes. Despite of what Rolling Stones tell you, time is not on your side. The clock is ticking so no better time like the present.
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one” – Dolly Parton
Believing that life should be easy and straightforward often leads to dissatisfaction, un-fulfillment and sadness. You might find certain parts of life challenging where other people seem to sail through. Finding shortcuts in life can become a fault or character defect. Wouldn’t it be easy if there was some switch we can flip? An App we could use?
It’s natural to want the good & easy things in life without paying the price. We want to lose weight but don’t want to exercise or sacrifice your favorite foods- so we give up. We want the promotion but don’t want to put in extra hours or effort- so we stay in a miserable job. Research shows, that having a sheltered childhood that involved a lack of exposure to difficulty and challenge, often means that when we face any level of hardship in adulthood it feels unfamiliar and intolerable. Relationships end because they feel too difficult, careers are cut short when it gets too hard, family dramas that could be resolved are swept under the rug and challenging opportunities aren’t taken. Believing that relationships, outcomes, feelings, people and careers should be a certain way is one of the reasons why it becomes a road block when you find something challenging. We start to say “maybe this isn’t for me?” We have a deep belief that easy is better. It is not better. Success is not defined by “easy”. Every success & accomplishment has a price tag. You can’t just follow the yellow brick road. We want everything to be perfect. We want our ideas to be big ones. We hope to get everything right the first time. We want to make millions with the first business venture. We ignore the fact that we never owned a business before. We ignore the fact that we never created anything new before except for maybe a dinner idea. We ignore the fact that by expecting perfection we create impossible reality. We often think that since perfection will never happen, why bother pursuing an idea, so we don’t even begin. Be careful asking for an easy life. Easy life is not worth examining. Easy life creates a routine & monotony. Dreams have gone unfulfilled. Business ideas are not implemented. Relationships stay miserable. Friendships are undiscovered. Instead of making a huge splash, we just dip our feet in the water. No one’s life is easy. Not your rich neighbors, not your colleagues, not your friends, not even your social media friends despite posting photos and status updates that make it seem like their life is one big vacation. Instead of wishing for easy life, wish for skills to handle life. Problems will always going to happen. Be prepared to move a lot of dirt in life. Picture gold miners. The more dirt they dig through- the more gold they find. Bottom line- success doesn’t come easy- so keep digging.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”- Bruce Lee
According to my research most of the psychologists argue there is no such thing as “pure” altruism. I started to think, there must be some benefit for helping friends, strangers or animals. We definitely want to feel good about ourselves but in my opinion it’s a very small percentage. We want people to like us & respect us and that’s what boosts our egos. Those who are believers want to increase their chance of getting into heaven. Some of us believe in reciprocal altruism (we do good to people & people will return the favor someday). So whether we know it or not, we do help ourselves in some way, shape or form.
Altruism is defined as an ego defense, in which a person copes with his anxiety by stepping outside himself to help others. I started to wonder, what about people in altruistic vocations such as medicine or teaching? There is an expectation of honor & respect towards doctors, nurses & teachers. Which ultimately leads to entitlement, pride & satisfaction- also defined as an altruistic behavior. This argument is always attacked on different grounds. Starting with money, economic status, emotional & physical job demands, material gains etc. Often, altruism is discussed as if no compensation should be expected.
Researchers pointed out that the sense of self-satisfaction we receive from helping another, along with the idea that we “bank” favors by helping others, is evidence that humans are simply selfish. I think that being selfish to some degree is good. Some unanimously say that pure altruism doesn’t exist & it’s nothing but a selfish behavior. This brings me back to the main question if pure altruism really exists. If self satisfaction & feeling fulfilled are what we ultimately strive for in life- then theory of pure altruism is automatically eradicated. The challenge lies in finding ways to evoke the better ways to do good. Regardless which side of the spectrum you are, if you have a desire to make a positive impact & it warms your own heart- this is ultimately the worthy act. And the worthy act is, always, the greatest act.
“I don’t do things for the response or for the controversy. I just live my life”- Rihanna.
“The only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. Dr. Phil
I came across this quote twice in my life. The first time I heard it I was convinced that Dr Phil was watching me from a hidden camera. It felt like he was observing me, whispered the quote into my ear, and left me to figure out the rest. I have to admit that it made a small impact but I didn’t think much of it. Every now & then I would remind myself of it but again didn’t make a big deal about it. Years went by and I continued to live uneventful & tedious life. I noticed however that my life started to irritate me, make me sad & I began to suffocate. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong but each day I felt less & less happy. I did however put a good face to a bad game. I adore & respect Megyn Kelly and I was very excited when her book “Settle for more” came out. I was reading it & all of the sudden there it was. Same quote starring at me, right into my face: “the only difference between you & someone you envy is, you settled for less”. I have those words pinned to the wall in my office. I look at it daily. Megyn went on explaining how it was an eye opener for her & I recall the time froze on me. I felt paralyzed. I kept reading it over & over sitting straight up in my bed as I discovered world’s greatest secret. This time I knew it was meant for me to see it. I knew right there that I did settle for less. It felt like an intervention. I couldn’t sleep that night. Time to re-examine my life I thought. I was afraid that if I didn’t act on it now, I would miss out in life. This wasn’t a coincidence.
I reached deep into my heart & soul and started visualizing my dreams. I categorized it as short & long term but I stayed realistic. Some changes required immediate action & some remained on the list for a while. Warning, dreams also come with setbacks. I have accepted mine as part of the process instead of giving up on everything all together. Setbacks build patience and perseverance. I adjusted my attitude and started working on myself & the emotions that caused my unhappiness. I pretty much created an improvement plan. It is crucial to stick to it & give yourself a deadline. Continue to visualize your dreams and don’t betray your authenticity. Few months went by and I started noticing how my attitude changed. I made small steps towards small goals at the beginning. All of the sudden I became curious of how much more I can stretch my ambitions. Turned out that opportunities were endless. My future was 100% in my hands. I stayed consistent with the plan because only consistency leads to personal transformation. I did experience hurts & fails during my journey. Big ones. The truth is, the more hurts & disappointments you experience- the more challenges & fears you can face. Important is to honor commitments to yourself. Don’t make excuses because excuses are dream killers. Be specific & commit to it. If you truly want to send an earthquake through your soul, when you know it’s time to make a change- you will somehow figure out the way to make it happen. Don’t let the dreams scare you. Devote your time, your energy & money if necessary. Be true & honest with yourself. Otherwise it will not work. And remember, settling for less is not an option! L.
“…I have been asking myself some tough questions. Ones I’m not sure I want the answers to. I fear screwing up my life. Why can’t I be satisfied with what I have? Because, in my heart, my soul, I want more. I hope I have the courage to listen to myself. I hope I figure out what settling for more means in my personal life and have the strength to do whatever it takes to have a full, meaningful life….” “Settle for more” – Megyn Kelly
Have you ever wondered what life is really about? I have. Many times. Especially when I was drained emotionally & exhausted physically. That’s generally when thoughts as such creep in.
Everyone is more receptive to common, very average life where everyone’s expectations are the same. How about experiencing uncommon life? Life where you feel fully alive, where you let go of your inhibition & where you live life of the highest aspirations. No one wants to climb mountains that at the end turn out to be the wrong ones. Don’t always look for tangible things in life. Look for things that are deep inside of you & things that will guide you to better life. Perhaps life that is unexamined yet. Those qualities are inside of every single one of us. We just need to wake them up.
- Have a self- honor. This means- be true to yourself cause you have no one else to fool. Respect your values & accept your flaws. Flaws are part of who you are. Flaws define you.
- Respect your ideas even if they are different & unconventional. Go towards your dreams even if everyone around you don’t get you. Keep your chin up & be proud of your ambitions. Have confidence & stick up for yourself.
- My favorite- be genuine. We are all build to love. Open your heart & forgive anyone you haven’t forgiven. Let go of relationships that steal your happiness. Love people unconditionally & faithfully. Nurture with your heart- not your hands.
- Express your creativity. I’m a super creative person. Ideas flow constantly thru my mind. I’ve always been different & original. So don’t hold your creativity. Be ridiculously curious. Adore books & learn to love learning. Exercising your brain is great.
- Experience life’s beauty. Travel broadly. Start hiking. Get lost in the woods, forests or mountains where cell phones don’t work. Fell in love with nature. Read books. Laugh loudly with friends. Smile every time you make eye contact with someone. And smile like you mean it. Eat delicious food, drink great wine. Buy flowers. Loosen up to dancing. Play songs you like & just dance to it. Dance when you’re alone. Be yourself. No one can see you. Sing in the car when you’re stuck in traffic. Play your favorite song & sing it out loud. No one can hear you.
- Be altruistic. Generosity is a beautiful & fulfilling thing. Whether it’s monetary or simply volunteering- start giving. Pay it forward. We need kind & generous people now more than ever. It’s not only how you live but who you help.
Those 6 are my personal believes of what’s life’s all about. All 6 define me and have never disappointed me. I wrote this with an open heart and utmost authenticity. If you feel unfulfilled on some level & you don’t know how to change it- borrow my ideas. Because life is waiting for you & days are slipping away.
“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind” – Taylor Swift