Waking up this morning on the eve of turning 30 I couldn’t help but naturally think about the previous 29 years leading up to this point. At so many times when I think back about the experiences, the relationships lost, found, or permanently changed , the handful of triumphs, and the countless failures I can’t help but accept that everything is exactly the way that it must be.
I’ve spent more time over the past 2 years of my life fully immersed in trying to understand what it is that helps people squeeze every drop of life from the human experience than I could ever accurately calculate. The conclusions in the broadest stroke are what you’re about to read. These are the things that I first came to realize, adapt, adopt, and refine with myself and then confirmed their impact with others (In no particular order after #1
1. There is a greater organizing intelligence to the many miracles around us. For me to start anywhere else would be not only inappropriate it would be flat out wrong. For me the greater organizing intelligence is God and for that matter the life that I along with others are privileged to live is due to His sacrifice and the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.
I have always identified as a Christian but I have not always practiced a Christian lifestyle and I fail at least 10-15 times a day trying. I’ll never make the claim that I am a model of Christian living but the greater point I’d like to make and the takeaway I’d like to emphasize for those reading this is that there is in fact a model to live by.
To consider the many “miracles” and perfectness of our existence makes it difficult for me to believe anything other than we have been created as part of a divine plan and with a purpose for our time here. Special thanks to my friend Rita Ford for the eye opening conversation we had to help me understand the placement of this understanding!
2. Change is what others see in us, progress is what we feel. In my opinion progress = happiness. The law of life is that if something isn’t growing toward or into something new then it is dying. If we consider this in all areas of our existence the laws holds true. Relationships, careers, goals, etc. if we aren’t moving toward something we lose focus, steam, and ultimately enthusiasm toward what we want to create. There have been cases in everyone’s life in which a goal took a long time to achieve but for as long as it felt like we were steadily moving toward it we were content with the delay in achievement.
If we are attempting to lose a 100lb’s we can do that a pound or two at a time over a long period but the problem I’ve seen is when people hit a plateau and progress is stalled, this is usually the initial cause of defeat. Even if people around us are telling us how great we look….(change vs. progress)
3. 2 of the most destructive words in a person’s vocabulary are “I know.” A mind full of conclusions leaves no room for expansion. Even if the information that is being presented to us is something that we are aware of “I know” shuts off our ability to further connect the dots. “I know” might move us past the moment but it ultimately expels the opportunity to explore 2 of the most powerful words in a person’s vocabulary, “What if?”
4. The best thing that ANYONE can do for their self and their quality of life is to raise their own self-awareness. This goes back to #3, we think that we know and the simple reality is that we don’t. The issue with this piece (mostly in men) is that people assume that I’m saying that they have to change and that is exactly not what I’m saying. Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are in place for a reason, if they didn’t serve us in some way we wouldn’t do them. At first swallow of that statement people always try and refute it with examples but it always proves true in the end. More on this at a later time……but I welcome you to bring examples in the meantime.
Just know that self-awareness will tune you in to the development of your desired reality…
5. The secret to living is giving. While it’s likely that this has been written on a Hallmark card at some point it doesn’t diminish its truth. The point that I’d like to make here is not just that giving is something that we should do as a moral act.
As I said previously I am committed to increasing a person’s performance. So with that I want to know the why and how of giving as it pertains to increasing the quality of life for someone. I get that there is a piece of our spirit that is tied to giving and I’m not discounting that – it is important. But beyond that what is the importance of giving? I believe it to be….
Giving and especially giving when and/or to the point of discomfort moves us out of a scarcity mindset. Holding on to what we have with clinched fists also causes us to squint our eyes and miss the abundance of opportunity around us to attract more. There are significant metaphysical principles here that we could go into further discussing the flow and attraction of things but we won’t. Just know that giving not only is nourishment to the soul, it’s an expansion of the mind – it says there is more love, money, resources, etc. available to me.
6. The most devastating disease in the world is Fear. Fear when not managed and poked holes in keeps us from the life experiences that we really want. It’s seldom that I ever find the greatest roadblock to performance for someone is something other than fear (myself included). I’ll go a step further and say that specifically the fear of judgment from others is the biggest obstacle to success. We fear what others will think and say about us if we do something that we really are passionate about (this is what took me so long to actually put my thoughts into writing and then publish them. I mean what would people actually think if I started talking about development?)
To some degree I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the influence of others (most I don’t even know) could keep me from doing what I love most- working with and coaching people to do a little bit better. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that it’s something I’m still battling. I know that my success is slow moving because fear is something not that I’ve not completely overcome. I am a people pleaser. I like to think that everyone is going to like me – they’re not. This is a work in progress; it remains one of the many personal development pieces that I continue to work toward moving past.
7. One of the greatest joy’s you can bless yourself and others with is detachment. I’ve just recently come to understand and apply this and its return to me has been nothing short of fantastic. I have also recently tried to explain this to others and have been not so fantastic at doing so. Please allow me to attempt to do so now.
To go from striving to arriving the practice of detachment is mandatory. Detachment is quickly and easily rejected by those that are constantly chasing more and more success and materialistic things (I’m not suggesting you don’t get success or things. Detachment isn’t about denying yourself achievement or abundance, it’s actually the opposite. Detachment opens us up to attracting more (see #5)). The more attached to things and people we are, the greater number of obstacles we will find in our way on the road to success. I was recently attempting to explain this to Amber, I always know I’m doing a poor job explaining something (which happens often) when she just half-heartedly smiles, nods, says “oh that’s good” and then changes the subject after I talked for 5 minutes. I in short told her that I have to detach myself from her, friends, people I work with, family members and anyone else for that matter.
I’ve come to understand that we are all on our own path and that people are just trying to do the best that they can, with what they know and have in the moment. I believe this lack of understanding has cost me a great deal of disappointment in previous relationships. The strong attachments I had to people drove me into trying to “control” the situation and others. I was regularly disappointed in what resulted because I was too attached to the way that things should be and what others should do.
I am happy to say that Amber and I have something unique in the most loving and healthy way possible. I believe this is due in great part because I am detached and I can allow a free flowing expression of life on her part to just simply be. (As I’ve mentioned before, she’s a unicorn and this type of living comes naturally for her). This has given me such a sense of peace and has banished the thoughts I might have had previously about “are we really good for each other?” when we demonstrate how opposite we can be.
Being detached requires an increased sense of peace with yourself. I believe that this is a major contributor to why it’s never been available to me before. I now choose to use this as a gauge to where I’m living in the moment both emotionally and psychologically. When I start becoming too attached to things or people and find myself judging or disappointed in what others did or didn’t do I immediately start shining the light on myself. I begin dissecting what’s wrong or not going the way I want or need. You would be shocked to know that at times it can be simple and ridiculous things such as I’m hungry or as large as I need to change professions. Nevertheless the takeaway is, if you find yourself bothered by the actions or inaction of others – start cutting deep into yourself to find out why that might be.
The most common areas I’ve seen that need the bonds of attachment cut are: Attachment to things, attachment to people, attachment to the past, attachment to our body, attachment to being right, and an attachment to winning.
8. Men need to feel success, Women need to feel security. This is not to say that the opposite isn’t true to some degree as well. It simply means that the guidelines of happy relationships are most regularly written with this understanding. Men….I cannot tell you the difference in your life it will make by finding ways to help your lady friend feel secure in every sense of her world. I encourage you to have that conversation with her, don’t attack her for having insecurity. Try to understand the insecurity and then attack it, not her. Women if you want in on a secret, men feel successful when you are happy. Before you say anything go back and familiarize yourself with #3. The most common statement made by men in failing relationships is “no matter how hard I try I can’t make her happy.” And please whatever you do don’t say “well he knows that he makes me happy and I’m proud of him.” This is the exact equivalent of him saying “she knows that I think she is still beautiful.”
I am 100% certain when I tell you that if you understand only one thing about the other person in your relationship this is the one you need to know. Coming to the realization of this led me to the next very very very bold statement…
9. Relationship problems are 100% influenced by the man. Now before the women start with “I’ve been saying this for years” let me explain. I believe strongly in this idea because one of my personal beliefs is best summarized up by the letters C.P.A – meaning that I Cause, Permit, or Allow everything in my life to happen and if you truly put #8 into practice you would immediately reduce the tension and arguments in your relationship by 95% (thats a statistic I made up but it is a high percentage).
When a man is at a good place (at peace see #7) then he is in a much better place to lead himself and his relationships and he’s more equipped to protect those around him. A lot of times the protection that a man needs to provide to those closest to him is from the dragon that can rise up from within him. If you closely read the underlined heading for this section you will notice that I didn’t say “Caused by the man.” I chose the word influenced because when we are “living in a good place with our self” then we are more empathetic and in tune with the needs of those around us. When we equip ourselves with a sense of peace and become aware of our surroundings we can then influence them for the better. We can see that our spouse is feeling a little insecure about her body or she has been getting whipped by the kids and either consciously or unconsciously getting a little insecure about her being a mom. My experience tells me regardless of the source of her insecurity that it can show up and be directed at you, the man, in odd ways.
You can see a classic example of this in the video below from the movie The Break Up with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston.
Making it to 30 is admittedly something that I didn’t think at times I’d live to see and if I did I never assumed I would have done so with a clean arrest record. I’ve squeezed a lot of living into this past decade of life. I’ve laughed until my sides hurt. I’ve cried tears of mixed emotions. I’ve seen jungles and foreign lands. I’ve welcomed new people into my life and been forced to walk away from others. I’ve fallen down a hundred times only to stand up 101 times. I’ve been disappointed by others and have done my fair share of disappointing.
Considering the rollercoaster of experiences I’ve had leading up to this point only affirms to me that it was all necessary. It was the tuition I had to pay to move forward into what I expect to be a new decade of consciousness for me.
It was all the required footing to be able to get traction for where I’m headed next!