If you’ve not noticed, there’s a lot of negativity in the world.
There are plenty of people who aren’t happy with their own lives. Not surprisingly, they resent it when they see others who are happy with theirs.
I had a recent experience where this truth gave me a knockout punch. This is truth that I know deep in my bones but rarely express. But since I’ve been reading Srinivas Rao’s book, The Art of Being Unmistakable: A Collection of Essays About Making a Dent in the Universe, I’ve been on a slowly-developing mission to be a non-B.S. version of myself.
This post will take a few side roads to arrive at how you can make 2014 your best year yet but bear with me. I promise we’ll reach our destination.
You know how there’s a seedy part of town that your friends and family warn you against visiting? We have an online equivalent.
They’re called message boards.
I don’t know why but many times, message boards bring out the worst in people. So do comment boxes. Both present an alluring offer to shrug off civility and embrace rudeness. To say things you’d never dream of saying to someone in person.
Many have had their days ruined because a complete stranger made a totally ignorant comment about them. When you take a step back to think about it, it’s rather humorous. But the reality is, people invest a great deal of their time and emotion in trying to prove someone wrong. Which really is a waste of time since no one ever thinks they’re wrong and certainly won’t ever admit it on a message board.
I gave up message boards years ago. Hanging out with a bunch of people online that I’ll likely never meet while witnessing their sniping, sarcasm, whining, and ignorant assumptions made me realize that I was seeing the worst of humanity. And it was disappointing not to mention de-motivating.
However, I did have a recent brush with a message board that reminded me of all these truths once again, but this time, it pointed me toward a new insight.
Tell me who you’re friends with and I’ll tell you who you are
My father used to say this all the time to my brother and me. It was a reminder that we should be careful with choosing our friends. My father wisely pointed out that even though we might like someone as a friend, if they were involved with treating others badly, taking unnecessary risks, or self-sabotage – it would eventually affect us and not for the better.
Just as negative people attract other negative people in face-to-face situations, so they also attract the same on the Internet.
My experience reminded me that I don’t want negative people in my world. Even temporarily through a message board. Small-minded people live in small worlds and no one achieves anything of value by hanging out with them.
Tough times never last but tough people do
I remember when Robert Schuller wrote a book with that title, I thought it was brilliant. It was a good book, too.
When I thought about the small-minded people from that message board who were quickly offended, easily irritated, resentful, spiteful, and generally unhappy – I realized that tough people probably intimidated the hell out of them. Those who overcame life’s obstacles were threatening.
Because you see, people who are achievers are not thin-skinned.
If you want to achieve anything in life, realize you will experience more failure, more humiliation, more doubt, more criticism, and more ridicule than you ever dreamed possible.
People – and I’m talking about some of those who are closest to you – will mock you for what you’re trying to do. They’ll tell you it can’t be done, that you’re not an actor/writer/artist/life coach/designer.
They’ll tell you that it’s a one-in-a-million shot. Don’t waste your time.
And then you’ll have your world rocked by a sudden layoff, a health issue, a death in the family or bankruptcy.
And this is your moment.
It’s your moment to decide whether you’ll believe the naysayers or believe in yourself.
It’s your moment to decide whether you’ll look at life’s challenges as the final word or if you’ll shout back.
It’s your moment to decide whether the walls others have put around you should keep you in your place or punch through to a new world on the other side.
These moments come often. Some are obvious and others aren’t. But we all have a choice to make each day whether we’re going to continue to drive toward our dream or allow the negativity to keep us stuck on the side of the highway.
Talk to any high-achiever and you’ll eventually hear about the disappointments, failures and the temptation to quit. They had plenty of moments to choose giving up. They had plenty of opportunity to be offended or hurt by people’s opinions regarding who they were and what they produced.
But they didn’t listen.
They didn’t give in.
And they didn’t quit.
That’s what tough people do. They get in the boxing ring and take life’s punches. Instead of lying on the mat in defeat, they rise and punch back. They don’t give up, give in, or give out. They keep going until they reach the end of the bell and realize they went the distance.
Sometimes enduring is a reward in itself.
But many times, we want the trophy that says we made it. That trophy will look different for you than it will for me. Maybe you want to see your name printed on the cover of a book. Or maybe have a full roster of clients who pay well and love what you can do for them.
Whatever it is, know that it will be a fight to get it. It will be a struggle that will require an enormous amount of discipline and perseverance.
Which is why you want to surround yourselves with people of light, people who love themselves enough to endure the tough times and then encourage others to do the same.
I have a friend who is doing just that. He invested in himself by spending a week with a group of other like-minded individuals led by a powerful mentor. It was a tough week, filled with mind-expanding thought and brutal honesty. He faced the discomfort and walked through the fire to the other side. He chose to surround himself with winners and as a result, will likely experience great achievements in 2014.
Soar above the small-minded people, the ones who take potshots at anyone who is trying to escape their cage. These miserable types love to wallow in their own slime and resent anyone creating a different outcome.
So be it.
You have a choice for 2014.
Will you allow others to determine your own destiny or chart your own course? Will you continue to hang out with those who tear you down or find friends and mentors who will challenge you and build you up?
Will you remain stuck in your own limited perceptions or press on to expand your universe and as a result, your capabilities?
You have gifts to give to the world. Don’t ever allow the small-minded people to keep you from growing in your gifts and sharing your light with the rest of us.
Make a decision that 2014 will be your year. I’m counting on it.