Each of us was created with a purpose deep inside of us. Maybe you were meant to be a teacher, write a book, inspire others. Whatever your unique purpose is, you owe it to yourself, your loved ones, to the world to find what it is that you have to share and do it boldly like no one else before you did. We all have that ability to find that passion in our lives that drives us and gives us the fuel to reach our purpose. It has been statistically proven that people are much more likely to start something new at the first of the week, month, or year. We see the possibility of doing something that helps create a new life. But after a few setbacks or failures those dreams quickly fade and that new thing is put to the side and forgotten. This has certainly been true in my life. In fact, this year I set an ambitious weight loss goal in which I had a lot of traction in the beginning, but broke down, got frustrated, and abandoned after a few weeks of not seeing the expected results. You can blame this on our instant gratification culture, but really it is just human nature.
I am here to tell you that though we were created to be resourceful and adapt to our environment, we were not created to merely survive. We have the power to thrive within us, instilled by our creator. And in the image of that creator we are creators ourselves. We build bridges and skyscrapers and spaceships. Individually, we can create a life in pursuit and fulfillment of purpose as well. I’m not talking about positive thinking garbage, I’m talking about drive and commitment and passion. Have you ever wanted something so badly that you couldn’t stop thinking about it? Something so important to you that you talked about it to everyone you met? A transformation in your business, body or marriage? By being focused on something so intently you eventually turn your subconscious towards that goal and it figures out how to make it a reality. You may still be uncertain, life is uncertain. But you start taking steps towards it anyways, with the uncertainty, and you make it a reality. I’ve known people personally in my life that truly wanted something that by any standard of measure they were not destined for. But they had this passion for it and talked about it everywhere they went. Constantly they talked about it. It became nauseating they talked about it so often. But they were hooked – they knew they wanted to do this thing and didn’t know how to get there but knew they had to. Eventually, as if by some miracle, they accomplished what they set out to do. Why? Did they speak it into existence? I believe they spoke about it so much, with such conviction, they finally convinced themselves of the reality of it and were eventually able to create the new reality for themselves.
What stops most people from reaching their goals? The thing that usually stops us is fear. The fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of being disapproved of. It is the uncertainty. We have to take control of uncertainty, but it first takes getting control of our own mind. What we focus on tends to determine how we feel, and where we go. Years ago I was in a motorcycle safety course and I don’t remember much about it, but I will always remember this one thing the instructor said, because I found it so practical and relatable to life. He said what you focus on is where you will end up. If you are looking at the gutter, that is where you will eventually be. You have to be looking ahead on the road in front of you. If you are going through a curve, you need to be focused on the point you come out of that curve. Even if someone is in front of you, you are looking at the one in front of them. That way you can react before the one in front of you even does. Is this not true of our life? If our mind is in the gutter – be it just focusing on what we don’t have, or negativity, gossip tv, pornography, etc., it takes us out of our lane and we end up in the gutter. We always need to be looking ahead – always on the path ahead and ready to react to changes coming our way. We need to stop focusing on the things in our life that we can’t control – the external stimuli if you will, and focus on what we can control. We need to have gratitude for what we have and stop obsessing over lack.
Anyone who has been successful has had vision – something they wanted, something they wanted to create, something they wanted to make happen, a desire to contribute in some way. This is part of what separates the highly successful from those who merely manage their life. Some will work at a soul-sucking, dead-end job their whole career moving pennies out of every dollar into an account and hoping that there is enough to cover food and taxes when they retire. Others get a big dream early on. They forgo cable, nice cars, going out to eat and put everything they can into their dream they are creating. Because they know what they want and know they can’t get there doing bare minimum. They bust their ass creating the life they want and are able to retire before 40 (but typically don’t because they love what they do). Do you want to be the one that puts their whole future into the hands of a company – trusting that you will always have your job and will always get a paycheck? Do you want to trust Wall-Street to properly invest and safeguard all of the money you save your whole career and not find a way to screw you out of it? Or, do you want to take your financial future into your own hands and chose your own destiny? What is it that motivates you? What is that calling inside of you?
If you envision something clearly enough and you drill it into yourself and you speak about it as if it is a forgone conclusion or that you are already in the position you want to get to in life and just start showing up as this new person – it won’t be long until you bring this new reality into existence. If you really want to thrive, focus on what you are excited about, what you want to create, what you want to bring into the world. To be successful you need to find something you are so excited about that you are compelled to make it happen. You have undoubtedly done this before on a smaller scale, now chose to do it with your future. It doesn’t matter if it is not the first of the year, and don’t even put it off till Monday because Monday will come and go and you will still be waiting. Figure out what you want to do and start today. Nothing can change your life like making a decision to take action and put out of your mind any possibility that it won’t happen.
Combine vision with decisiveness, and you can do anything. Being decisive means that you make decisions even when some uncertainty exists. This is personally one of my biggest struggles, but something I am working on daily. It is easy to talk yourself out of things when you are indecisive, because a level of uncertainty will always exist. You have to move beyond fear and into action. Airplanes are off course from the time they take off until the time they land. How do they get to their destination? The pilot gets the plane into the air and adjusts the course as needed throughout the flight. We have to do the same thing. We have to make the decision and take the action to launch into whatever dream or project or routine we want to do and make adjustments as needed. Sometimes we are going to check our progress and we are going to be off course. That’s ok. We may have to change course a 1,000 times, but as long as we stay focused on the destination we will get there. We are human. We will make mistakes. Even when we fall down we can get up and keep going. If you are sitting in the middle of the mall and decide to go to a certain store, but are uncertain of which direction it is in, will you get there faster by sitting and trying to make up your mind on which direction to go or getting up and walking? Maybe you keep and eye out for a map and/or ask people you pass for directions to get there faster? Even if you start out in the wrong direction, at least you will figure that out faster because you took action. Even if you find every wrong possibility before finding your destination, you still got there faster than if you never got up.
When you know your vision, it is time to move on it. If you are unsure or fearful, it is still time. Don’t wait until your opportunity to move has passed. You want to change your life – decide. Do something crazy. Go all in. Be the man or woman you envision yourself to be. If you don’t know who that is then take time to figure that out but don’t dwell on it forever. It is too easy to get stuck in our head. We start building ourselves up and then tear ourselves back down. We have a dream and start to get excited, then convince ourselves that we can’t do it and we never take action. We have to get out of our head and into motion. Newton’s first law of motion is summed up by saying an object at rest tends to stay at rest but an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Get that mental picture of who you can be, that vision in your head. Say it out loud. Tell everyone you know and don’t know. Take steps every day towards accomplishing your goals. When you trip, get back up. Don’t sit back down. Keep moving. There is no real decision without action. If we want something but don’t take action, our dream dies in our mind. Make a choice and live it.
When we start to take action, we may have to fail over and over before we succeed. There are ways to minimize our failure rate, however, and hasten our success. One way is through modeling. By this I mean that we find someone that has already become successful doing something similar to what we want to do. Success always leaves clues. We can find someone and study what they have done. We can also take a more direct approach and find a mentor that can help us to learn from the mistakes and successes of others, and maybe shave 10-20 years off our journey. Why walk through the mall aimlessly when you are only looking for one specific store when you can look for a map and ask others? You can’t be afraid to fail but you should never be too proud to ask for help either. There is no reason this day and age to be struggling to figure out how to do something that has already been done. There are typically many who have gone before you, made the mistakes and can show you how to avoid them. Absorb their knowledge and build on their shoulders.
But whatever you do, make the move from thinking to doing.