This is part 3 in the series ‘Get The Life You Want.’ Part 1 can be found here
A few months back i decided to write a book documenting my journey to my dream life, and helping others to accomplish their dreams. It is not finished yet, but I have decided to start publishing it a few paragraphs at a time as a blog series.
The real work starts here. If you are determined to live your dream life, you need to know yourself inside and out. You need to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires; what created them, and what triggers them.
Finding Your Dream
A Journey of Self awareness and Self Discovery
This can be scary. You’ll have to face parts of your past, and parts of yourself that have been blocked off from recollection. You will have to revisit painful memories, relive losses, and sit with your suffering. It is not going to be easy. In fact it may be the hardest thing you ever do. However, even if you had no interest in finding and realizing your dream, either for your own satisfaction or for the good of humanity, truly knowing yourself is essential to your psychological health and well-being.
The first step is to become an observer of your own life; your own actions; your own emotions; your own reactions. Imagine as if you are something separate from your body, and separate from your mind, and separate from your thoughts. Something that does not do, say, or think anything. It only watches. And it never judges. It does not have a moral compass, and does not see good and evil. It only sees things for what they are. Be the observer, and watch as you live your life. Watch as you interact with your loved ones, with your co-workers, and with strangers. Listen to what you say. Notice how you feel. At least once a day, sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and breath. Let the thoughts come like waves on the beach. as they show up, acknowledge them, and release them. Realize that every thought and feeling that you have is a normal thought and feeling for a human being. If it was not a normal thought or feeling for a human to have, you would not be thinking or feeling it.
If you have never practiced self awareness, do this for at least a week before moving on to part 4.
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How to turn suffering into success
“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?
I don’t think that there is a description I could provide that would do this talk justice.