What is it?
What is the difference between you or me or anyone else? I understand about DNA. I understand that we are all born with unique and individual talents. Some are born naturally funny. Some are born with athletic ability. Some people are born from the lucky gene pool and for them, simple things like money and financial security will never be a worry.
Yet still, even to them, life comes with difficulties.
Even to some of the wealthiest in the world, their money does not buy what they want, which could be happiness or freedom from depression, freedom from anxiety, or more to the point, freedom from themselves.
To say to someone, “What could you possibly be depressed about?” is really idiotic, especially if this is a medical condition. Therefore, it is true to say that I have met miserable millionaires before. Nothing is ever enough. I have watched people that live high up in the corporate structure and seen them take and steal. They always want more because deep down, they are compensating for the fact that they never have enough.
I have seen people that abuse their positions of authority to get what they want. I have watched people molest the system, simply because they could. Then again, I have also seen people with the most generous heart. I have met people who’ve been through tragedy and pain, and yet, all they do is give themselves to others. All they do is extend kindness in a way that is almost absurd. As if God above were to look down and say, “I’m not even that kind.”
It is true to say that I have met the happiest people who in fact, live on a budget and financially get through life on a one-day-at-a-time basis, and yet, their smiles are ear to ear. I have met good people in places that no one would expect, such as jails and institutions. I have seen the most perfect smiles in places like homeless shelters and hospitals wards for those who are in need of special attention. I have seen people down on the ground before, and yet, somehow, they are able to keep going.
What’s their secret?
How is it that some people find the magic solution to life? How do people keep going until they achieve their dreams and make them a reality?
How many times have we watched others climb the ranks and wonder why they became successful?
What makes them different?
No one is super human. No one escapes life without pain or disappointment. We understand that some have different talents. Some are able to adjust to the work climate and rise above the rest.
I have met bosses that are genuinely concerned about their colleagues. I have met people in positions of authority who’ve kept their workers down to maintain their job’s security. Why do people like this differ from each other?
I met a man that ran a plumbing company. He worked in different buildings throughout New York City. He gained business and lost business as well. This man worked his entire life and still, he was able to smile.
I once asked him how he pulls this off.
He told me, “I don’t allow myself to be intimidated by other people.”
He told me, “I don’t mind when people correct me. I don’t mind suggestions. And I don’t get mad when people try to teach me things.”
I have met people that have literally changed their life from the ground up. I have seen people go from homeless to wealthy. I’ve loaned money to someone who couldn’t put ten bucks together and now he sits in an executive role at the corporate level.
(He still owes me the ten bucks, by the way.)
I can say that I have seen people work to find their personal redemption. I have watched people stick to their plan by any means necessary. My Old Man used to call this sticktoitiveness [Stick-to-it-iveness] which means no matter how the world twists or shakes, no matter what, you hold on and you don’t let go.
But the question is still the same. How?
I have listened to people share their feelings for years now. I have heard counselors tell us, “You have to believe in yourself!” This is interesting to me.
Think of the key word in this sentence. ‘You have to believe in yourself.”
Telling someone you “Have to” believe in yourself when all they understand is doubt or shame, regret (or otherwise) is no different from telling someone with a terminal illness, You have to live.”
(But I’m dying . . .)
I understand the reasoning. I understand that yes, you do “Have to” believe in yourself but the truth is there’s a magical solution to life which is not one-size-fits-all.
There is more than one way. There are literally endless paths to success. The problem is we all see them. We all know about the roads to success. We know about the hard work. We know about the odds, which could be hugely against us. However, our connections with failure and the intimidations we have are what chain us to an undesirable life. Therefore, without letting go of our intimidations, how can we move forward. And there it is again. The question is “How?”
I don’t ever tell people, “You have to believe in yourself.”
I don’t like when people say this to me. So, I don’t say this to other people.
It is surely helpful to believe in yourself but when you don’t, you just don’t. And telling someone that they have to “Believe” in themselves only serves to prove one problem. This reinforces the fact that no, they don’t believe in themselves, which brings on more shame, more regret, more grief and more ideas of rejection.
Don’t tell someone to believe in themselves.
Teach them how to believe. Show them steps that are useful to regain a sense of self. Let them see the work in progress and help them to define this for themselves.
Understand that the most powerful conclusion anyone can ever come to are their own conclusions.
I don’t always know what my magical solution is. Like the rest of the world, I find myself moving the wrong way sometimes. There are times when my heart aches. There are times when I’ve had too many doors slam in my face.
I have heard people in higher ranks put me down. I have heard people say that I should stay in my lane (so-to-speak) and that I’m not ready for the big leagues.
I have been put down before. I have been challenged and tasked. I have hurt and bled and lost skin and sweat because right or wrong, I wake up on a daily basis and do the only thing I know how to do.
I have to move. I have to keep moving. I have learned that movement creates a physiological change in the body. I have to do this; otherwise, I can lead myself into the murky waters of depression and shame.
Success is relative.
I get that.
Our achievements are more than we consider. They are abundant; they exist in great quantities; however, since we judge them, we never seem to realize how great it is that we were able to get up another day and move forward. The fact that the sun is out is a victory today. I choose to realize this because otherwise, I would think about ideas that are not forward-facing.
I am up. I have been awake for a while now. I have plans today. I have people to see and things to learn.
I don’t know how to play the guitar. I don’t know how to sing very well. I don’t know how to do too much. But I do know how to wake up and get out of my bed. I know how to come here and speak with you.
The secret of my endurance is that I keep moving because A) it’s hard to hit a moving target and B) my stillness is my weakness. I have to keep moving forwards. Even if I fall short of my goals, I have to try because falling short is much better than falling flat and doing nothing at all.
The truth is I don’t know why some people hit the top and some only find themselves in the mid to low-levels. All I know is that wherever I am and wherever I end up, I don’t want to be miserable nor do I want to look back and wonder why I quit, why I gave in, or ask myself the question, “What would have happened if I just kept going?”
So I keep going . . .
I don’t always know how, I just know that this is what I do.