I wish I could tell you about the big, enlightening “ah haaa” moment that brought me back to life. But, the truth is, there wasn’t just one. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of moments like this once I consciously began my journey.
Every day that passed felt like things were getting worse. I couldn’t imagine a better life for myself… I literally couldn’t see it happening. And if I couldn’t picture it, how in the world was I going to get there?
That’s when I started doing something that greatly contributed to my growth, and continues to do so today. I began listening to podcasts. I wasn’t just listening to any station, I was specifically choosing to listen to people and conversations that I knew could benefit me in some way. Ted Radio & The School of Greatness introduced me to a world of stories, similar to the one I am telling you now. Stories of transformation. Stories of triumph. Real life stories, belonging to real people. There’s something tremendously moving about hearing someone’s true story. I decided to pack my day with these inspiring episodes. Not only did these success stories inspire me in all aspects of the word, but listening to someone else’s struggles, helped me to cope with my own.
Ted Radio & The School of Greatness introduced me to a world of stories, similar to the one I am telling you now. Stories of transformation. Stories of triumph. Real life stories, belonging to real people.
I started to get this feeling that maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe everyone out there is struggling, even just a little bit.
The more I learned about the truth of others and how they overcame so many hardships in life, far more extreme than I, the less I felt sorry for myself. I listened to stories of mountain climbers losing limbs, only to develop the technology for a better-than-human leg so they could go back to climbing.
I learned about an “average Joe” who grew up so poor that his family couldn’t provide a Thanksgiving meal for themselves. He is now a multimillionaire speaker and life coach, with a resort in Fiji, and he is able to provide meals for over 100 million people across the world. I could go on and on…
What was most important about listening to these stories on a regular basis was the impact that it had on my vision of the world and what it held for me. Our perception is all we have. Our imagination is very powerful, yet it can be very restricted if we do not expose it to the necessary input. I began to shift from, “I don’t know what I want” to “I don’t want THIS” to “I want THAT.” I started to play around with hope in my head. I couldn’t help it. Instead of focusing my thoughts inward, where they were often dark, I chose to focus outward on what was going RIGHT in the world. I became obsessed with learning about healthy, happy, successful, truly confident people. I knew, from their stories, that they didn’t just arrive at their wonderful beautiful life right away. They had to work for it. So then I went further. Instead of just learning about these people and their success stories, I asked myself, how. How did they do it? I thought if I could learn how they healed themselves, and overcame the struggles that they were faced with, maybe I could take some notes.
I realized very quickly that these individuals lived a lifestyle that resulted in what was now their life. They didn’t make one single important decision, or overcome one difficult battle. They had to choose every single day, in every individual moment, to be the person that they truly wanted to be. HABITS. The similarity between all of the “success” stories I found was the consistent habits that these people had implemented on a regular basis.
I knew my habits were shit. That’s why I quit all of them. So I knew I had to start adding in positive habits that would eventually mold me into a new me.
Each day I would learn something new about what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, how not to exercise. I learned about how my brain works, and how my body works, as though we are machines in need of a manual… because we are. The more information that I acquired, the more I could detach myself from my feelings, and begin to see myself as a science experiment. This worked wonders. Now, I could look at my symptoms objectively (overly emotional, bloated, tired, irritable, anxious, achy, etc.). Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I searched for solutions. The solutions are always out there. There is always something that can help you. It may be an accumulation of info as opposed to a magic pill, but its still a solution and its the only lasting one. I had always reached for the quickest, easiest, most convenient “band aid” to my problems. So this effort thing was a little bit weird to get used to.
Instead of focusing my thoughts inward, where they were often dark, I chose to focus outward on what was going RIGHT in the world.
When I began to put trust into the process of it all, and realize this process would take time, I could allow myself to relax just the slightest bit. I didn’t give up and let life take the reins. I simply realized that as long as I was putting in the work, that eventually, I would see progress. I felt a small sense of hope. I began moving my body just to feel it moving. I would take deep breaths and feel my lungs and diaphragm expand. I started to realize my existence and how miraculous it truly is. I’ve always been able to see the beauty in others and to love them regardless of their flaws, but this was the first time I could use that same pair of eyes to look at myself.
I started my mornings with speeches by Eric Thomas, Muhammad Ali, Tony Robbins, Joe Rogan, Les Brown, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Lewis Howes, Sam Harris, Graham Hancock, Aubrey Marcus and more.
Our brains can only actually focus on one thing at a time, so I forced mine to focus on thoughts of strength, courage, honesty, and truth. I wasn’t going to leave my thoughts up to chance, I couldn’t afford to.
When summer came, I walked everywhere. I walked to the grocery store, the coffee shop, the gym, you name it. I used this time to listen to more speeches, more interviews, more facts and stories of success. Learning became my drug, and I couldn’t have been more happy about it. My inner dialog began to shift. For with every new piece of information I acquired, the better I could live.
Through this constant input of knowledge I had never experienced before, I felt my consciousness begin to expand. I started thinking long-term and “big picture”. I was getting less caught up in the temporary negative feelings and started to think about bigger ideas. I would contemplate why we are here on this planet, how we are here, what our purpose is, do we even have a purpose at all? And yet, throughout pondering these thoughts, I felt delightfully unaffected by each conclusion. I found myself looking objectively at my life, and the world as a whole. It was a beautiful relief…
It’s the thing we’re all afraid to admit. Yet once we do, we are set free.
Each one of us is going to die. Really, truly die. Everlasting nothingness. We are so insanely small, yet we are made from the same particles that make up this vast universe.
Once you process that concept, and stop avoiding it or slowly killing yourself in fear of it, you can accept it and move forward. Then you can start harnessing this life that you do have and run at your potential full-speed. “Go after it as if your life depends on it… Because it does,” as Les Brown would say.
And although I wasn’t quite sure of what that was for me, I went after it anyway. I went after my potential in whatever way was possible at the time.