How we deal with or address our past is likely the greatest threat to our own personal development. The past can become a deadly albatross around our necks. It can cripple and anchor us to past experiences, mistakes and regrets, making us feel powerless.
What we do with most of our time shapes the greatness, character and aspirations of our humanity. Neither birthright or inheritance plays such a vital role. We alone have the power to shape our destinies.
Extraordinary people are engaged in extraordinary things. For them, time spent is an investment, as much as it is a monetary and an educational commodity. In whatever we do, we are meant to derive some benefit. So, it’s up to us to ensure that the dividend we receive makes us better, healthier, wealthier, and smarter.
When we consider the fate of others, we often place ourselves on a plateau of superiority and view their decisions and mistakes through the lens of our current circumstances. We scoff, and ask ourselves: Who does that? How could they be so stupid?
We conveniently forget or overlook the missteps of our own hidden past, which lacked the scrutiny of others, and arrogantly offer ridicule, criticism, and judgement. After all, we feel we were born above them. We are more experienced, and more sophisticated, but most importantly, we are smarter.
Many argue that our experiences and circumstances define us. They claim that incidents and events intrinsically become a part of who we are and how we live.
The real issue is that others project their own perceptions and judgments regarding another’s experiences, and either do not know, do not care, or do not understand what circumstances that may have led to them, and instead, simply choose to identify and define people as such without direct inquiry.
When we are faced with various hardships, uncertainty reigns over what we should do or whether we will even survive.
Speculation alone can be devastating. At times, doom feels eminent. Still, we labor and suffer through it. We endure sadness, pain, depression, regret and anger. We negotiate to survive and we sacrifice to survive.
In the end, we may lose everything we thought was important, but we survive.
No one can defeat us.
We always defeat ourselves.
When we lose in battle or competition, we surrender through our own arrogance, vanity, ignorance, procrastination, laziness, lack of preparation, low self-esteem and vices.
If we fight against the strength of our enemies, we are destined for underestimation and subsequent failure. There is no actual way to predict or understand who and what our foes possess at their disposal. Therefore, making it our priority and strategy is totally illogical when what we do know and have total control over is our own psychology, inability, and vices.
For many people, it’s difficult simply being themselves.
After all, the way others act and live seems to make them more accepted, more important, more glamorous, more intelligent, and more popular. At least, so we believe.
Being one’s self means to be different. And in society, however, difference often leads to alienation, ridicule, and rejection.
Even those who were later deemed great and ahead of their time did not find acceptance in being themselves. On the contrary, many felt alone, unappreciated and were doomed to poverty.
From growing up, to attending school and college, pursuing relationships, navigating careers, getting married, and starting families, life is a warrior’s journey. Missteps during any one of these periods or processes are enough to unsettle, confound and derail lives.
To make it through, both men and women adopt varying strategies. Some become impersonal and harden themselves, disregarding their feelings or attachments while others embrace the exact opposite, attempting to please everyone, not only avoiding conflict, but becoming overly accommodating.
Critics don’t have any answers or solutions. They only specialize in problems.
They are pessimists hopelessly drawn to what is wrong with things and what is wrong with people. Their expertise is steeped in stagnation and the negative. They do not show or demonstrate how nor do they really understand why.
When we are at our lowest, we must be our most cautious. We are fighting for our survival while our enemies are envisioning our demise and believing it is inevitable. Any wrong move we make could tip the scale in their favor and make it game over.
The help that we wish for usually does not come as perfectly as we imagine. If it does, it usually is a trick, or a trap to further ensnare us or hammer the final nail into our coffins.
We can never be truly certain about someone else or their commitment to help us. Regardless of who they might be, friends, family members, or even spouses, commitment or dedication is often relegated to situations or circumstances despite the best intentions.
Everyone has their limits, particularly when intervening or extending one’s self on another person’s behalf or when there is risk, sacrifice or cost involved. Love, selflessness, or goodwill does not change this.
When we are confronted with challenges and struggles, it is natural for us to become consumed with what we are forced to endure: the discomfort, the sadness, the suffering, and the hardship.
The pain blinds us. Our suffering is even amplified as we recount our woes to whoever will listen. Momentarily, it offers us relief, but in the end, we are left frustrated, unsatisfied, empty, and overwhelmed.
Most people aren’t born wealthy or with unparalleled, athletic prowess, intellectual genius, or artistic mastery. The fate or destiny of many is often dictated by their hard work, focus, discipline, faith, and commitment to their goals. All these together comprise persistence.
It is the job seeker’s submission of yet another application and resume after years of “thank you for your interest letters” and no interviews; the aspiring author’s continued agent queries on his supposedly, unmarketable, all-American novel; or the aspiring actor with no experience, who travels to New York, works as a waiter or bartender at night and takes acting classes and auditions for roles during the day in pursuit of a successful acting career.
Change requires real work.
Often times, people equate or hope to achieve personal change by altering their circumstances or by changing those whom they associate with. They seek new jobs. They pursue additional training or undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degrees. They learn foreign languages. They join professional organizations, as well as Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities as well as civic and community organizations. They also attempt to broaden their personal circles of influence by attending professional networking events and meet ups.
Forgiveness is healing. It is a balm for both the injured and those who caused the injury. When we wrong, injure or betray someone whether it is physical, or most often, emotional, we cannot simply ask for forgiveness.
Ironically, and most importantly, the injured must first forgive themselves for the blame and guilt they often unconsciously feel before finally forgiving the person responsible for the wrong.
We live in a world of voyeurs.
When people need help, people are more inclined to first use their cellular phones to record the video rather than call for help.
Some silently listen and immerse themselves in gossip without a challenging word, allowing others to be humiliated, defamed and even slandered behind their backs.
People are generally negative because it’s easier and requires no belief, no thought, and ultimately, no vision.
They can’t see anything better or anything good in their present or even in the near future. In their minds, ironically, they are especially cursed or doomed since they believe they are the only ones who have ever faced their particular challenges.