There was a time that seemed so long ago. I remember this time. In fact, I remember these times very well. And looks were everything back then. Life was different. The world was a different place to me. Then again, I was different then too. I was young and wild, crazy, and eager to be someone.
I had all the hopes but no direction. I was working at my first gig at the time. Dear God, I must have looked like a 12 year-old in a suit. I was baby-faced and carried a briefcase. I had hopes to make my first million by the time I was 21. The only problem was I never really knew the work this entails. Plus, there wasn’t much money or hopefulness in the business I was in.
So, I want to ask you something. This is just a question really.
Are you ready?
Okay, so here it goes.
What is fear?
It is safe to say that we meet all kinds of people. It is safe to say that we will meet unforgettable people. We will meet the remarkable ones who no matter where they are or where they come from or move to, there is and always will be a place in the heart for them.
Along the way in this thing called life, we will meet friends. We will love people. We will need them in our life and of course, there will be times when fate is being unkind. Yet somehow, almost mysteriously but always timely, the people we need most in our life instinctually arrive. We need these people. We need to be sure to keep them whenever possible.
There was a sales class I took where the teacher explained that it is best to always find a benefit to every fact. Whether the fact is positive or not, the idea is to always find a positive benefit and learn to connect to our co-workers and clients with a strong level of commonality. I saw how this helped me as a salesman. Moreover, I can see how this helps me with everyday life.
Everyone knows what this is like but yet, when it all goes down, there is in fact an inherent sense of loneliness. When life fails or when you find yourself at the bottom of misfortune; or wait no, even worse is when you find out you’ve been wronged or betrayed, or wait no; when you’ve invested so much into someone for so long, you worked and bled, sweat and your tears were all given; only to wake up and realize that it all went wrong. You wake up to see your life blow up in your face. Your hopes are sunk and your heart breaks. In the meantime, there is nothing but the truth of what just happened. There is nothing but loss and the taste of contempt that coats your tongue. This is life sometimes. No one gets out without a scratch. Unfortunately, heartache finds everyone.
I have had the chance to speak in small rooms and large auditoriums. I have presented in front of people that ranged from young kids to adults. I do not change my speech. I do not change my explanation nor do I change the flow of my story. First of all, my story is my story so why change it?
And the answer is yes, like anyone and everyone else in this world, I have a past. I have a past that I am not proud of. I have a history that was marked with shame. I have a stigma that I had to learn to change.
There is a popular saying that goes, “I am my own biggest critic.” There is another popular saying, which goes, “I am my own worst enemy,” and all of which can be true. We can beat ourselves up. We can hold ourselves accountable for things that were far beyond our control. We can blame ourselves and punish ourselves but the punishment is in the mind.
Marcus Aurelius once said, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Think about this for a second.
Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.”
If you want to do something then do it. If you want to go somewhere then go. If you want to be someone then be it. Don’t let a small thing like intimidation set you back.
Don’t allow the worries or irrational fears to keep you from your dreams or your happiness. Above all things, don’t allow your dreams to be exchanged for a life you never wanted. Be mindful. Be aware of excuses and be diligent on your course towards happiness.
I remember the first time I ever read the line “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence.” I like that line.
For some reason however, we view others and put them on a pedestal. This begins at birth. This begins with the people in our life and in our family. This begins with our mothers and fathers and older siblings. We are trained to believe in a pecking order. We are taught and trained to think and hold people in specific regard because of who they are and the positions they hold.
It’s time to have an uncomfortable conversation.
There is one painfully undeniable fact, which is there are no easy ways to have a difficult conversation. The truth is whether we want to talk about the struggles we face or not; the struggles are still real. There is no denying the problems we face. More importantly, there is no reason to deny them.
There is no denying the issues and there is no denying that sometimes, life moves too fast. Gravity can be too heavy. There is no reason to deny the fact that deep down, there is something that drowns us in what I can only describe as emotional quicksand. Know what I mean?