There Are Always Opportunities

"Feelings Aren't Facts"

We all have setbacks in life. There are times when things do not go our way. Sadly, it seems that the events during these times pile up. They say that things happen in threes. Most of us understand this from experience. It seems when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong. The snowball effect has been felt by all of us.

It is during these times where we can allow our feelings to get in the way. It is easy to feel bad when things are falling to pieces around us. Depression, anxiety, fear, and other emotions (all negative) can arise within us. Unfortunately, we assume a position of powerlessness when we allow these things to take hold of us. The truth is that feelings are not facts.

Many will try to disprove this statement but it not possible. Feelings only serve as a guide. However, it is up to each of us how we process what we experience. There are always two choices: become paralyzed or motivate ourselves to move forward. Whatever the situation, these are always the two choices we are confronted with.

Another fact of life is there are always opportunities in front of us. This is an difficult concept to remember when one is mired in the emotional abyss that can result from horrific life circumstances. Nevertheless, this does not diminish this age old truth. A common occurrence of the last few years is where one finds his/her world turned upside down due to a job loss. Millions of people were put out of work with scarce chance of finding equal replacement employment. Naturally, this creates a host of emotions within a person.

I once heard a motivational speaker get excited when one of the audience members mentioned losing her job the day before. He said "That is wonderful. Now you have 360 degrees of possibilities before you". Obviously, it all comes down to our perception of things. This individual saw the opportunities for this person to move forward.

And that is the main point of this post. It is time for each of us to move forward. There is nothing that should hold us back. Sure, there are times when things occur which are not to our liking. Nevertheless, we are able to choose how things affect us. Are we motivated to move forward or do we want to dwell in the emotional negativity that naturally arises from such events? Those who are successful in life are able to recognize that life happens. Because of this, they take the action that is needed to move forward. Feelings tend to only hold us back since we are apt to listen to them like they were factual. In reality, life does not care how you feel. It judges us by the action we take. In the end, the only challenge in life is to get ourselves to move forward. Change is inevitable. The only way to deal with it is to concentrate upon that which needs our attention. Projection only hinders especially in times like these.

One final note: the greatest of success stories rarely emerged from ideal conditions. This is true whether we look at sports, business, health, or any other facet of life. The successful start from where they are at and take action. Those who play the waiting game ultimately end up stuck in neutral. There are only some many moments on this planet. It is time to get busy.

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Commit or Recommit

Only people who are committed to something succeed at it.

Ponder this statement for a few minutes. When you consider it, the only way to succeed is to completely commit to something. Anything less than that means one's chances are diminished greatly. The examples we can look to keep arriving at this same conclusion.

The top athletes in a particular sport are where they are because of the commitment to that activity. This same idea is true for concert pianists, authors, and airplane pilots. Anything that a person excels at required hours upon hours of practice. People might be born with the natural talent yet time invested is still needed to reach a level of excellence. For every person who excels, there are countless others who were born with the same talent but did not have the commitment to achieve greatness.

Commitment is a vital component in all areas of our lives. Take relationships as an example. People who enjoy 40 or 50 years of marriage only do so because they are committed to each other and the relationship. These people have the same issues as everyone else. Nevertheless, they overcome the challenges because of the desire to succeed.

We see the same thing in the area of physical fitness. Everyone who works out has times when they want to be lazy. It takes motivation and drive to get to the gym even when you do not feel like it. It is also true that sticking with a healthy diet is often difficult. It is a fact of life there are times the ice cream or jelly donut are calling us. It is commitment to a healthy lifestyle that allows one to resist the temptation and stay the course.

Life is difficult at times. Every path has its own set of obstacles. It is commitment that allows us to keep pushing forward even when the route is hard. Those who have what I call a "wishy-washy" attitude will quit at the first hindrance. This is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

Therefore, it is time to commit. If you are not excelling in a certain area, take a look at the commitment you have to it. Many people struggle at work. Delve into how much effort you put in there to succeed. Are you committed to excelling in that career (company) or are you just there for the paycheck? If it is the later, look at either moving to another position or, at least, finding something bigger to latch onto there.

Sometimes we need to recommit to what is important to us. We all can lose our way as the trials and tribulations mount. Our priorities get screwed up periodically and, after a while, it is noticeable. So, if the flat stomach now looks more like a spare tire, perhaps it is time to recommitting to living a healthy lifestyle that includes more exercise and less calories. Whatever the area of hangup, take a look at your commitment level and seek to increase it. Oftentimes, this is the only piece that is missing. It is incredible what is possible once you fully commit to something.
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The Here And Now

We have all heard that life is meant to be lived in the present moment. There are many books on the market referring to the "Power of Now" and how present focus is the only way to reach fulfillment. Many eastern philosophies teach this concept as a basis of their discipline.

Without getting into any of the specifics, this outlook holds a great deal of weight. Most people miss their entire lives because of the fact they are always "off somewhere else". Human beings tend to be masterful projectors in the sense that we are usually looking ahead to some future point in time. Sadly, when we do this it is associated with the emotion termed "worry". This is because people tend to project in the negative. What I mean by this is that when we look ahead, we often envision the situation resolving itself in a negative manner.

If we want to look at this in the nth degree, we need only to notice how people approach the afterlife. Most of the world's religions contain the promise of some form of eternal salvation after death. Of course, to achieve this, there are a series of things that one must do before attaining this status. Therefore, it is beneficial to consider all the time and money spent by individuals and groups in an effort to attain something that has never be proven to exist.

In this instance, people cease looking at the here and now and concentrate their efforts on a mystical time after death. My outlook is one where we only have a certain number of hours on this planet so why waste it on something that is not guaranteed. Of course, the religionists will have my head for making that statement but it is factual. What I can guarantee is that you have this life on this planet right now. That is for certain and it is up to you to determine how you live it.

Time is a creation of man. If we look at other species in the Animal Kingdom we realize they do not operate under the same parameters. Can you picture a cat worrying about when it will die? How absurd. Death is something that is promised to every living thing. Yet humans, with our profound wisdom and advanced intelligence are the only living creature that fears death. Thus we spend a great deal of time trying to alter that reality.

My point is that now is the only time you have. Happiness and fulfillment is found in the moment. What are you doing today? Are you even in today or is your mind off worrying about something in the future or regretting something you did in the past? Guilt and worry are two emotions that people spent a lot of time engaged in which are a total waste. Like the old saying goes "you cant change the past and the future is not here yet". In other words, those two aspects of time really mean little. The present is what is truly important.

So, how do we apply this? It all starts with being present focused. Concentrate your mind upon the tasks that you are presently doing. Whatever you are engaged upon, enjoy it to the maximum. That is where life's rewards are found. It is interesting to note that when we are truly engaged in something, time ceases to mean anything. We simply are wrapped up in the moment. Sex is an activity where many tend to lose themselves (perhaps I should say good sex). The feelings experienced override any concept of time.

The world offers many wonderful pleasures at each moment. If one is mindful enough to appreciate what exists, life can take on a new meaning. Most spend their days looking forward to another time. How often do we meet people who are looking forward to retirement. Of course, when we meet people who are at the point, they are continually looking back at "the good ole days". This shows how people remove themselves from the present moment which creates dissatisfaction.

Another old axiom is that there is no guarantee for tomorrow. Many will go to bed tonight only to not wake up tomorrow. This past week both Steve Jobs and Al Davis passed away. Their hours on this planet expired. Where did they go, if anywhere. I cannot answer that. Nevertheless, the two men were examples of people who didnt waste their time here. They went after their dreams and desires. Waiting until tomorrow was not an option for them. Instead, they took each moment and used it for what they could.

What mark are you making on your life or the world? Do you spend your time wishing your life away in hopes that tomorrow will be better than today? It is ironic that, for the majority of people, tomorrow is a carbon copy of today. In other words, they forgo the present in hopes of a better future only to realize that life does not work that way. Making the most of the here and now is the only way we will ever create a different tomorrow. Jobs and Davis exemplified this.

This is your life. What are you going to do with it? You can choose to waste it or make the most of it. Focusing in a time other than the present is one way to ensure it is wasted. And this is something I hypothesize you do not want. Therefore, resolve to change it now.
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Each Life Is Alternative

We have all heard the term "alternative lifestyle". This is used to denote a way of life that is different from the mainstream. The promoters of dogma insist on classifying living choices that are different in a less than admirable fashion. In this sense, these are degrading the choices most individuals make. Of course, this is all done in an effort to maintain power.

The truth is that each life is alternative. Those who understand this idea are willing to take control of the path they opt to live upon. No two lives are the same simply because no two people are the same. Sadly, individuality is not something that the "powers that be" want. The prefer obedient subjects who conform to their every whim. We see this idea all throughout society.

Therefore, it is up to you to forge your own path. This requires internal research to determine what it is that makes you tick. Few people ever take the time to investigate this aspect of themselves. Instead, they blindly follow the mantra that is presented to them. It is depressing to watch someone adhere to all the precepts which promise happiness only to find they end up completely miserable.

We have only one life to live. There are times when the choices we make will be unpopular. Family and close friends profess to only want what is best for us but will be the worst critics when we exemplify any individuality. It is almost as if their love is conditional....we will love and support you as long as you are doing what we believe is best for you. Step outside that boundary will net you being ostracized.

When we were born, or in our youth, we were not handed a manual for a successful life. The reason is because this publication does not exist. Many will profess to have ideas about what path to take which leads to happiness, but how many can honestly say they are happy in their lives. Financial burdens are at their all time worst. The divorce rate is over 50% and climbing. Children are suffering neglect and abuse at absurd rates. Drinking and drug use is commonplace while being readily accepted by society. In short, people are miserable. The only relief they seem to get is the nightly vegging out in front of the television.

If you aspire to something more, you must be willing to step out of the mainstream path and do what suits you. Naturally, this does not mean you have to become an anarchist or a complete radical (unless you choose to be that). It does, however, mean that you will have to alter your thinking about the way life "should" be lived. Understand that much of what you were taught is a complete lie. It is not the path to success and happiness for many. Instead, misery and malcontent seems to be the norm today.

Designing your life means making your own choices. Few are willing to do this because of the risks I mentioned above. It is difficult to stand on your own and be strong. However, those that can do it find the contentment inside they are seeking. Those who succumb to the pressure of others find they have that nagging voice continually telling them that they settled. Ultimately, this feeds into more misery.

Decide today that you are going to design your life as you see fit. You have only so many hours left on this planet. Use them wisely.
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