How to turn suffering into success
I accidentally posted this on my other blog yesterday. So, if you are subscribed to both, you may see it twice.
Sometimes, I get really worked up and worried, and I have to sit myself down, and talk some sense into me (Mostly because no one else will):
“Oh self,” I say, “Oh if only I could be like this person, or that person.”
You don’t need to be like them. Just be yourself. There is nothing wrong with that.
“But they have it so easy!”
You don’t know that. You only know the ease or difficulty of your 0wn life.
“Okay, I guess. But what am I even doing here? I need some direction. I need someone to show me the path. How do I know if I’m doing whats right?”
The answers are inside of you. Everything that you seek without and fail to find, is hidden within. You know what is right, you know what you should be doing, and you do not need the approval or acceptance of anyone else.
“But what if I screw up? What if I fail? What if I change my mind?”
Making your own decisions, good or bad, right or wrong, and facing the consequences, is the only way to grow. It is the only way to find out who you are. Without failure, and without change, there is no growth, there is no life.
“But I’m scared”
That’s okay. Its part of being human. acknowledge the fear, and release it. Then go on doing what you know is right.
“I really don’t think I can do this, but I guess I’ll keep trying.”
“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.” ~Lao tzu
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha
“Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse.” ~Zhuangzi
Last week, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to help others, I would have to Help Myself First. The plan was to create some new good habits, and to quit the old bad habits. Sounds like a good idea. Well, I was trolling my old blog, and found that I had come to the same realization just six short months ago. I made a plan of action, which involved meditating, exercising, and free-writing for 10 minutes a day each, and let me tell you it was not successful.
What Went Wrong?
So, why did I fail?
- The changes were too big
- I took on too many habits at once
- I didn’t commit to a certain time of day
- I had no accountability
- I did not have any reminders or habit triggers
So this time, I am committing to exercise vigorously for 2 minutes upon rising in the morning. I will also be placing a little sign that says “Exercise” on the bathroom mirror (one of the first places I look in the morning).
It may seem unimpressive, but I would rather have a one humble goal that I can achieve than a hundred impressive goal that I will never accomplish.
(From “Do You Believe That?” on 4-10-14)
I have been reflecting lately, on the purpose and meaning in life. I have found that, no matter what you believe, the ultimate calling on our lives is to help others. There is nothing more fulfilling than positively impacting the life of another human. to give them something that they could not have attained on their own.
However, in order to effectively help others, I must first help myself. If my life is a wreck, and I have no direction, and no clue how to handle my own situations, how can I ever hope to benefit another person. But how do I help myself? I would say, the first step is to learn about myself. In doing this, I will be learning about all human life, as we share the same desires, the same fears, the same ambitions, and the same needs.
In an effort to accomplish this, I have started three new habits: Meditation, Free-Writing, and Exercise. I plan to do each of these every day for 10 minutes a day, for at least the next month.
In our fast paced society, we do not often take time to sit quietly with ourselves, and just observe our own thoughts. There is always something flashing, making noise, moving around. We live in a world of constant distraction, and do not get the opportunity to just be. Meditation is a great opportunity allow the world to simply turn underneath us, with no worries, being confident that, at least for now, the earth will take care of itself.
When I meditate, I do worry about perfect posture. I simply sit in a relaxed position, and focus on my breathing. I do not worry about emptying my mind. If a thought enters my mind, I acknowledge it, let it go, and go back to my breathing.
I have found this to be very relaxing, and a big stress-reliever. It releases any thoughts that have been weighing on my mind, and helps me to expound on ideas for projects and articles. I hope this will help me to be able to express myself more freely and easily when I write, as well as helping me to learn more about who I am.
In my search for self-awareness, I not only want to become more familiar with my mind, but also my body. Exercising regularly will help build discipline, and help me to be aware of my physical body. I have not started this habit yet, but when I do, I plan to keep it simple. Running, walking, yoga, anything that will get me moving, and increase my physical self awareness.
Thanks for reading, folks.
“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” ~Japanese Proverb
These words are a refuge to me, and they bring great joy each time I hear them. Trying to be healthy, trying to be a good husband and father, trying to make a difference in this world, I fall. I have fallen many more than seven times, but there is so much comfort in knowing all I need to do is get back up, and keep going. No need to waste time fretting, or complaining, or wishing, I just need to know that I can learn from my mistakes, and press on.
As I was pondering this phrase yesterday, I found the numbers a bit odd. If I fall seven times, I would only have to get up seven times, not eight, right? Well, that is assuming that I started from standing. But if my original position was on the ground, I would have to stand up first, before I even fell once. We don’t come walking out of our mothers womb, but we begin in a position of helplessness, and remain that way until we are strong enough to pull ourselves up, and start taking those first steps.
It is the same with any other aspect of our lives. We do not start out as masters, we do not start out on our feet. Once we do stand up, we do not need to worry about falling, because we can’t fall any farther than to the ground, which was where we started, and we already know how to stand up. Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. For your successes, for your failures, for your imperfections. For keeping your cool, for losing your temper, thank you. Everything you have ever done has helped to bring the world to where it is today. Everything so far has led up to this moment. Your joy and your tears. Your victories and defeats. Your honesty, your deception, your cold silence, and your mindless chatter.
We all have regrets from the past. We all have situations that we wish we would have handled differently. Many of us have grievances we cannot forgive, hurts that will not heal, and events that we wish we could wipe from our memories. Looking through the history books, we may not ever agree on who was right, and who was wrong, or which pages we would be better off without. But can we agree that life is precious? That existence is unspeakably astounding, and that this moment, this very moment, is beautiful? All of those events and situations, no matter what we think of them, are a part of life. They all had a hand in bringing about this beautiful moment, and I think they at least deserve our acceptance, if not our appreciation. Thank you.
The public school system highly values structure and conformity. The more closely you can follow instructions, the more highly you are praised. The more accurately you can regurgitate information, the better your grades. Many of us spent a good deal of our childhood learning these skills, and we have gotten quite good at them. Do what you’re told. Memorize this.
When I look at successful people, I see that for the most part, they are innovators. They are on the cutting edge. They have something bold and new and different. Something that makes you say “Hey, I didn’t know you could do it that way!”
In other words, to be successful, you have to do the exact opposite of what you have been taught to do your entire life.
These successful people are going against the grain. They are fighting years of brain-training. They face the fear of failure, and rejection.
But, what if instead of demanding obedience, we gave our children freedom? What if we encouraged individualism, and creative problem solving? What if we told our children that failure was not something to be afraid of, but a stepping stone to success? Could the world handle an entire generation of innovators?