I’m not saying today is the day you’ll begin to change. It could be, of course, and learning that it is, would make me quite happy; and knowing that it could be is a great lens through which to view every day. But that’s not what the title means.
I mean that the day you begin to really change, may look the way it did for me. For some reason, it seemed important to get that out of the way. Dispel any confusion, you know? Maybe I have dispelled nothing. Anyways.
If you feel totally frustrated with where you are in life, this post might be for you. I want to relate to you some of the unexpected, watershed moments when my life and goals really began to shift in the last six months. I can’t point to dates at the moment, but I can point to days.
The day I got sick of thinking negative thoughts.
There is a difference between being distressed by your negative thoughts (like I was for over a decade), and being so dang sick of them that you start actively replacing them. Not with an eye to change something out there, or as a step in a process towards some grand goal, but as something you’re going to do because you’re just not going to live like this anymore.
The day I woke up sick of my negative thoughts, was the day I started taking thought-replacement seriously. Still have a ways to go, but I’ve made leaps and bounds in the last six months. I was just done with the plague of negativity. Of course, I spent months figuring out which supplements would give me the best chance of thinking more positively and of taking control of my mind, but then I actually had to make the decision. And now I make that decision every single day.
It’s like a happy, little reverse virus. Anti-body? When I think a negative thought, I remember, “I’m too old for this. I don’t got time for this.” Haha!
The day I got sick of taking things personally.
I don’t know if it’s pushing 30 or what, but I’ve been getting sick of a lot of old thought patterns lately. One of them is taking things personally. What a load of poo. What a waste. What a wonderful habit to be sick of.
When I mysteriously woke up tired of taking things personally, I started making an effort not to do so. And, as time goes on, it gets easier and easier. Very soon, little remarks and awkward situations will hold no more power over me beyond the moment they occur.
When I find myself revving up to overthink something, I decide that I’m too tired, too grown-up and too darn busy to think about it. My ultimate answer is generally some variation of, “Oh well. So what? Who cares?” It doesn’t mean I don’t care about things. It just means I don’t care about things that don’t matter–like how someone looked at me just now, or the way someone asked for something, or the length of time it took for someone to respond, if they ever do.
Oh well. So what? Who cares? Not me.
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz is a HUGE reason I began adopting this philosophy. I highly recommend giving it a read. Heads up to my religious readers: It’s a little new age-y, but its core lessons of being impeccable with your words, not taking things personally, not making assumptions and always doing your best are absolutely in line with Biblical teachings.
The day I got sick of putting my goals on hold because I felt blue.
Every time. Every single time I got down or blue, I would put everything on hold. I would give in to the doubt and “take a break,” or “take a moment” to decide whether I really was doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I would waste time researching endlessly, or just “relax” and watch Netflix in the evenings for a week.
But the result was always the same. When I rediscovered my passion, picked up where I had left off, I was exactly one week behind, and no happier. Or more certain.
When you’re feeling not-depressed, just enjoying a project or activity seems to be enough. When you’re depressed, all heaven and stars must align for whatever you’re doing to have meaning. Absurd.
For years, I was that guy who looks at his face in the mirror then walks away and immediately forgets what he looks like. The fact is, I keep coming back to the same things–music, writing and mindset. I can assume that after my next bout with doubt, I will find myself in the same spot. So maybe they’re not some Grand Reason for Being, but I might as well keep at them even when I’m feeling low. Because, when I feel great, I’ll be able to say, “I got stuff done even in the dark moments. And look! I’m a little farther along.” That’s a great feeling.
If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving forward. – MLK
Even if you discover, eventually, that you should be doing something else, you will have learned to crawl even when inertia would have been easier. And you’ll have a project that you enjoyed, to look back on.
The day I realized that I would never be happy until I gave the ideas in my head a solid, planned attempt.
This was my most recent watershed moment. In fact, I woke up with this thought last week. And it definitely has to do with age.
I will never be happy until I go all in on one or all of my ideas. I don’t mean being a starving artist, either. I mean deciding to put organized, intentional time into things that keep tugging at my soul. Basically, instead of choosing things that
always often leave me feeling like I wasted time (TV shows, YouTube deep dives, etc.), I choose activities that leave me with the opposite sensation. Purposeful. Tenacious. Focused. A good steward.
Now is as good a time as any. I am as free as I’ve ever been. I am of an age where I can literally do and go whatever and wherever I want. It’s time to give those things rattling around in my head the justice they deserve, after they’ve hung on for this long–to strategize, execute and assess. It’s intimidating because once you decide to really try something, you have a lot more to lose. But I have decided that the risk of failure is worth giving it an honest try. And that’s just that.
The day I decided that life is too short for self-curation.
I am not saying that you should always say what comes to mind, nO maTtEr the CoNseQUencES. Or some silly, easy-to-ignore idea like that. There is a time and place for all things. I’m not going to get into the minutiae. I assume you have the sense to know that wearing a bikini on the boardwalk is very different from wearing one into a department store in mid-city, even if you consider it a form of self expression.
What I mean by self-curation is holding back on core aspects of who you are, when they can inform a situation, conversation or relationship. Perhaps you’ve been avoiding sharing your faith, your politics, or your latest foray into spooky science, as Einstein put it.
Personally, I’ve really wanted to share more about how my research into mindset and high-vibe thinking, relates to my politics. It informs deeply the way I examine the news and current election cycles, but I don’t share about it because it seems too woo-woo, to use a scientific term, or out of touch. Yet there is plenty of evidence to suggest that how we think changes our surroundings, and that, in aggregate, those thoughts can change the course of our lives. And, here I am, curating that core aspect of my thinking.
The last seven months went by fast enough for me to realize how little time we each have on this earth. And that is assuming we live to 90 years old! For some of us, not to be macabre, it’s even shorter. As such, it’s time to free ourselves from the burden of self-curation and let our core ideas, whether good or bad, be tested by the light of day.
To conclude, all five of these days had one massive similarity. When I got tired of the ways things were, the way things should be began to appear. And, translated to apply to you, my reader:
When you are done with things as they are, things as they could be begin to appear.
I believe it was a robot in Interstellar that said, “The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind.” Notwithstanding the fictional context of the quote, I believe this remains true with personal development. You must leave behind the childish belief in luck and the bitter crutch of blame, to take full responsibility for your life and build a future you’re proud of. You must surrender your perfectionism to reach completion. You must release the need for universal approval to create something meaningful, and live a meaningful life.
So I stand by what I say now: That your frustration with an area of your life means you might be closer to change than you think! Embrace that irritation and see where it leads you, for a few minutes. Maybe you’re an inch away from shedding shackles or lies that have kept you from really trying, and with one intentional thought you can finally say:
I hope you do!! 🙂
P.S. – You have a powerful mind, an iron will and the heart of a lion.