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Light your own fire

When one’s motivation is dependent on external sources, the moment those sources are absent is the moment one’s motivation begins to fade. This is because motivation is a state of mind.

And if a particular state of one’s mind is dependent on the availability of things it doesn’t always have control over, it can be difficult to attain the state of mind associated with those things when they’re unavailable.

This is why it’s important to learn how to develop the mental discipline necessary to be one’s own source of motivation. When one is able to motivate themselves, they light a kind of fire that can burn indefinitely.

Originally Published on: Apr 29, 2015 @ 09:05

Haters

Inner Peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

While confronting the people who harbor ill will against you can sometimes result in a peaceful resolution, it often doesn’t.

So rather than confront one’s haters, it may often be best to let people be wrong or mistaken about you than waste your time trying to convince them of something they are likely to refuse to believe anyway.

“Be selective in your battles, sometimes peace is better than being right.” — Unknown.

Anyone using their time to bash you is really saying you are the most important use of their time. Because of all the things in the world they could be focused on, they’re focused on you.

In an odd way, it’s almost as if having haters is a compliment. You are so important to them that they would rather spend their precious time giving you (negative) attention than doing anything else.

And while you can’t control critics, you can control how you react to criticism.

And one of the most effective ways to react to unjustified criticism to ignore it — and instead focus on whatever it is that helps you meet your goals, makes life meaningful to you, or makes you happy.

“My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.” — Anthony Hopkins

Haters, more than anything, want your attention. You don’t have to give it to them.

Learning to not have to explain one’s self is one of life’s rewards.

Learning to not get emotionally invested in what people think of you one way or the other is another.

“Life is too short to stress yourself with people who don’t even deserve to be an issue in your life.”

People will like and respect you or they won’t — and getting people to like you doesn’t involve convincing them to.

The best thing you can do is just be yourself and let others make up their own minds. No amount of hate from a tiny minority is going to convince those who know the true you to think otherwise.

Anyone that is so easily swayed to think the worst about someone without giving them any direct consideration or benefit of the doubt isn’t the type of person you want to associate with anyway.

Just be a good person, lead by example, and let people think what they want, the rest will take care of itself.

Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions.” — Will Smith

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Originally Published on: Mar 22, 2014 @ 19:36

Doubters, detractors, and dream stealers

Anyone who ever attempts to achieve a lofty goal in life will nearly always have to deal with people who try to deter them from achieving their goals.

Whether one encounters true haters or simply well-meaning people offering what they consider to be reasonable play-it-safe advice, it may be helpful to know that the most vocal doubters and detractors of others’ dreams are often those who don’t have the confidence, attitude, or tenacity necessary to achieve their own.

“Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.”

It’s not achievers who spend their time trying to steal other people’s dreams, it’s those who gave up on achieving their own — or worse, never tried.

It is the people who repeatedly set and struggle to achieve lofty goals in life that are often the most vocal cheerleaders for others who wish to do the same.

Because anyone who has ever struggled to achieve anything great knows that the journey to accomplish worthy goals is often fraught with hardship. Achievers know from experience that great tasks often appear improbable — or even impossible — before done.

So don’t waste your time worrying about the doubters who don’t believe in what you’re working to achieve.

Disregard those who find it necessary to point out your mistakes or failures without offering solutions.

Refuse to engage with people who seek to scare you from your chosen path by pointing out all of the things that could go wrong along the way.

And resist the urge to repeatedly explain your goals to those who refuse to understand them.

You don’t need the permission, approval, or understanding of others to achieve great things.

When you receive advice or criticism, be sure to consider its source. Those who know what it means to set lofty goals and struggle to achieve them will offer far more sage advice than those who don’t.

And when in doubt, consult your inner voice.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” — Steve Jobs

Originally Published on: Aug 6, 2015 @ 06:05

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Not giving a damn is not the answer

The more I browse social media, the more I see the increasing popularity of the belief that not giving a f*ck is the answer to all of life’s problems…

  • That the answer to caring too much about what people think is to not care
  • That the answer to caring too much about the world’s problems is to not care
  • That the answer to relieving stress in your life is to simply not give a f*ck about anything

And it simply isn’t true. This mode of handling things is just another dysfunctional extreme — the same as caring too much tends to be.

All that “not-giving-a-damn” does is fill the world with more of the types of people no one wants to run into — and as a byproduct, makes the world an even colder and more unfeeling place to be. This, in turn, creates a world of people who don’t care because it’s full of a world of people don’t care — ad infinitum.

The physical equivalent of not giving a damn about anything is putting a blindfold on and sticking your fingers in your ears. It doesn’t make problems go away, it perpetuates them by fooling you into thinking they don’t exist. And it creates a false sense of security and confidence.

The world doesn’t need any more people who don’t care about their fellow human beings (or anything else we share the planet universe with). The world needs more people who know how to effectively channel their energy into strategies that work. Refusing to listen to feedback or care about things is not an effective strategy.

“But I’ve been told not to care what others think or say about me!”, you say.

There is a big difference between not letting what others say about you have control over your sense of self-worth, and simply not caring what people say at all.

And there is a big difference between listening to feedback & compromising yourself to meet other people’s expectations, and listening to feedback, considering it, and moving ahead still confident in who you are and what you believe.

“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” – Robert Downey Jr.

Listening to and being receptive to feedback is an important life skill and vital to being an effective communicator. (But so is knowing your environment and your audience — ie. youtube, Reddit, Xbox live…)

For example, if all you get is negative feedback about your attitude or behavior, then this may be a sign that there may be room for improvement in some aspect of how you handle things. If you keep finding yourself in similar negative situations with different people, employers, or relationships, then this may be a sign that the problem is not an external one.

This is sometimes evidenced by people who declare that they hate drama — and yet they are responsible for being attracted to or inviting into their lives the drama that they say they hate so much.

Another example, just because you don’t mean to hurt people’s feelings, but you inexplicably find yourself doing it over and over doesn’t mean it’s not your problem. It may be a sign that you are unaware of something you are doing and that you could easily improve upon if you chose to acknowledge it.

We can only experience freedom in direct proportion to the amount of truth that we are willing to accept without running away.” — Robert Anthony

I’m not suggesting you should change for others or try to please everyone. I’m suggesting that if you are consistently causing issues that you don’t intend to, then that may be something worth taking a look at if you truly are open to improving things about yourself.

No one is perfect. We are all works-in-progress. And there is always room for improvement.

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” – Joss Whedon

Sometimes we are so blind to our own behaviors — because we judge ourselves based on our intentions, not our actions — that we don’t realize when we suck. That’s when we actually need feedback from people to alert us to the things we are unaware of.

Most of the people who inconvenience others in the world don’t walk around thinking, “Yeah, I’m a sucky person.” On the contrary, they likely don’t realize that they are exactly the type of person they don’t want to be because they’ve learned to not give a damn about anything by ignoring negative feedback and giving positive feedback too much weight.

They’ve also never taken a good long look at themselves or what kind of affect — or inconvenience — they have on those around them. They might disregard feedback they’ve gotten with, “Well, I don’t care if people don’t like me.”

While you should, by no means, try to be liked by everyone, being likable matters in life:

Being likable, connecting with others, and forming relationships — whether it’s with an individual or an audience — is an integral part of being successful in life.

And being liked can have a direct impact on your health, your wealth, your general level of happiness, and how effective you are at achieving goals. (from Likability. Being liked and unliked)

And caring about things matters in life, too. The desire to make the world a better place doesn’t come from apathy. It often comes from discontent and a desire to fill a void or solve a problem.

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress.” — Thomas Edison

It’s not people who don’t care that change the world. It’s people who do. And they care so much about something that their intense focus on whatever is within their power to change results in the whole world being affected.

The answer isn’t to stop giving a damn about everything.

The answer is to stop trying to have control over things you can’t change and to instead focus on those that you can. The answer is to not let the actions or words of others control your emotions. The answer is to develop strength from discomfort. The answer is to believe in yourself.

By all means, care about things, but learn to let go of those things you have no control of (or no desire to).

Did someone cut you off, cut in line in front of you, fail to hold a door for you? By all means, care about these things, but learn an effective way to deal with them and to let go of those that don’t have any solution. Complaining? That’s not a solution.

In the end, regardless of the feedback you get in life, none of it has to bother you unless you choose to let it (See: You are not a book and why that matters). The point is, you should be able to accept feedback without leaving your sense of self-worth and well-being in the hands of others.

Allowing yourself to be open is a sign of confidence, and it’s a strength that will get you much further in life, and provide you with the ability to weather more storms, than simply pretending that storms don’t exist.

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” — Kahlil Gibran

Some steps and questions for dealing with what life throws your way:

  1. What can I learn from this?
  2. Can I do anything about this? Is this with my power to change?
  3. Evaluate. If yes, is it something I actually want to change? (If no, then move on).
  4. React (or don’t react) accordingly.
  5. Move on.

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Originally Published on: Nov 11, 2013 @ 13:07

Don’t sacrifice the kind of life and health you truly desire

Excerpt from: The master of your destiny

Don’t sacrifice the kind of life and health you truly desire by catering to your short-term comfort over your long-term goals.

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Originally published on: Dec 29, 2015 @ 06:04

Focus, attitude, and actions

The trajectory of your life is largely determined what you choose to focus on, the attitude you harbor when you focus on it, and the actions you take as a result. And each of these things is completely within your power to control.

Yes, sh*t happens, but whether it’s an obstacle on the way to your goals, rejection that stings, or an unexpected negative event, it is not the end of your journey.

Rest up & refocus if you need to, learn what you can from the experience, and then push forward.

The more you implement this strategy into your life, the more progress you’ll make and the more resilient you’ll become.

Do something

You can put yourself on a better path in life starting today, but it requires you to actually do some things.

You must stop perpetuating your own dissatisfaction with yourself, your career, your relationships, or your life by doing nothing. You must commit to no longer settling for the path of least resistance. You must commit to working towards your goals instead of relying on wishful thinking. And you must be willing to deal with life’s challenges without allowing yourself to be overcome by them.

Excerpt from: Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled Volume 1

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