Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – AE

As you all may know, balance in life is ultimately important!  Whether it is how you eat, work, recreate yourself, sleep, exercise or even think, you need to have a balanced life in order to progress and move forward in life. This is no rocket science, really. I mean how many of you have not yet heard that drinking too much alcohol  is not good for one’s health? Not only have you might heard it with alcohol, but I’m pretty sure you have had it with hearing all those lectures about controlling how much fat and sugar you introduce into your body or about how work can’t take more than a certain percentage of your overall living activities, and so on. Well, whether you’ve had it or not, whether you’re tired of hearing those realities or not, know that they’re far from being rumours and speculations but  instead, real life issues. Oh, and we could expand the list by adding all those other things that need to be controlled and well-balanced in life, but how about we go a little deeper?

If you’ll agree with me, I think that one person’s life history can be divided into three distinctive periods; past, present and future. Of course, the past; including all of what we’ve done, both accomplishments and mistakes, the present; where we are now integrally because of our past actions and behaviour; and last, the future; where we want to be and which I believe is the sum of both our past and our present. Knowing that, you’ll note that there are also, inclusively, three types of behaviour when it comes to the actions deployed towards obtaining something or becoming someone. They are divided in the same historical life periods; the past individual, the present individual  and the  future individual.

Past. First, there is the past individual who is constantly wandering and dwelling back into his past. Usually, when this happens or when someone is always subject to cling to his past, it is often because he is not completely satisfied of what he’s done and what kind of person he was. Rarely will someone focus on his past so much, if he’s satisfied with it –  usually, he’ll keep moving forward. Or if he does, he will do so in a positive way – like looking back in retrospect of the consequences of his actions in order to do the same or differently. His past becomes a bed dream where he makes up these infinite scenarios of ”what ifs”. He keep wondering how his present and future could’ve been if  he acted differently in order for him to be a ”happy” person today. All his energy is put into trying to see how he could’ve done any better, knowing for sure that fixing anything he did in the past  is impossible. Still, he does it as a way of comforting himself by feeling like he owe it to others to pity himself or because he is too scared to step into the present – afraid he’ll do the same mistakes again. Many other reasons for this but most importantly, this not only can make him mentally  ill but can also compromise his present and future – taking all the energy away. They also often think that there’s no way out, that because of their wrongdoings, life is basically over for them. Sadly they forget that where life exists, hope is there too.

Present. Can someone be focusing too much on his present? Well yes and don’t worry, focus is the right word here! This is the  present individual. Living for today like there’s no tomorrow is the very signification of caring for the present only. He will risk his future and block away all the lessons he could’ve learned from his past. What he wants  is instant gratification only – he wants everything now and immediate pleasure, not thinking of any of the consequences they might bring upon him. He’ll have impulsive desires and make sure he finds a way to fulfill them right away, with no analysis done. This can be translated by spending money carelessly, making friends or going out with just anyone and constantly scheduling everything for tomorrow – as if it were promised – excluding all efforts and work in his life.  As much as working today in order to have a better tomorrow is crucial, focusing too much on your present can be a harmful danger. You work for a better tomorrow and not for a better present – your past has taken care of that already.

Future. This one is pretty common. Big dreams, big ambitions, big aspirations and that’s pretty much it – no work and no effort.  The future individual will often have a well-defined plan of what he wants in life but all he will do is  continuously embellish the picture. He often knows what he wants and knows how to get too, but will do nothing or just not enough to obtain it. Contrarily to the past individual who is scared to make the same mistakes by moving forward, the future individual is aware of the amount of work and effort to be done but just don’t want to get involved, too scared he won’t succeed or simply because of he doesn’t have the sufficient will and motivation. So he just sits there and wanders about. There’s this Bible verse that I like very much that says, ”Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34). ”Each day has enough trouble of its own” – do what you have to do today and tomorrow will take care of itself. The working and effort is not to be put into the future but at the very moment. The only thing you can do about the future in the present is 1) knowing what you want 2) who you want to be and 3) who you want to be. The future never comes until today has passed.

Do you get the picture? Yes, you have to be balanced in time! You have to be able to organize and understand all of your life periods in order to have a balanced focus on them and move forward. Just a pinch too much of one can destabilize all your goals and dreams. Remember, they’re all useful and important. Your past is not less significant than you future or your future more important than your present. Do use your past to learn from  mistakes and accomplishments – reflect on how they made you feel and you’ll know from there to do even better. Use your present with all you might, learn to work with what you have and do not constantly complain or wish you had anything better – what if you had nothing at all? Finally, do remind yourself from time to time of what you want in life and why you want it, it’ll keep you grounded and push you through it. Do remember, “Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – AE

Advertisements

Choose the kings!

March 12, 2012

”Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” Proverbs 22:29

This verse couldn’t have been more relevant as I remember encountering quite a few people constantly dictating what they would like to see accomplished in their lives.  Or others, simply unable to find a way to succeed in whatever they would engage themselves into. When this become frequent, you start asking yourself some questions. For instance, why does it seem so hard for him to get what he wants, especially when it seems like he’s doing everything he can. Oh so many reasons can justify this, but if we look it up according to this verse above, sometimes, it requires that we need to learn from the manners of a king!

What does it mean exactly to serve before kings/obscure men? If you’re not too familiar with the Bible, this verse can have several meanings (meaning as to how we can apply it in different areas of life such as the work field, school, family labours, etc.) and does not exclusively targets the precaution we need to have when choosing the people we befriend with. This verse is found in the Old Testament which is put in a context of kings having servants at their commands. In that time, you could learn many lessons and develop a wise thinking and attitude by actually being ”labelled” as a servant who’d work for supremacy. And that learning would only bear fruits if  only that same supremacy was wise itself;  so their servants could  be likewise.  Yes, slaves could learn from their masters. It all depended of the nature of the master himself and the level of qualities of duties given to the servant. The work and tasks given were not to be seen as a burden, if wanted to take lesson from, but as an opportunity to take example from their ways of doing, their manners. Have you not heard that the more time you spend with someone, the more you are to think alike, do alike, speak alike and whatnot? Well, it is true to some extent.

Simply put, you have a better chance at moving forward in your life and you’re more likely to be ”…skilled in [your] work” if you choose the people you hang out’ with and take lessons from accordingly. I do not need to go as far and as deep into the study of social psychology or behavioural science to prove you that your ultimate entourage have a direct effect on your personality and on the way you think. Personal experience itself is enough to show it. I also believe that this is nothing new to you as I’m sure a lot of you have heard the famous adage that says, ”Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are […what you’ve become, what you do in life, etc]”, which can also be applied to the topic. On the same note, whether you are serving before kings or before obscure men can be a great indicator as to why you’re where you are now. Some people do not see the danger in choosing their friends randomly, with no analysis done. Or choosing who they work for without not even a little background check. In fact, making a wiseful choice of the people who you decide to be in your life, as a friend, a confident, a soul mate, etc., can make you benefit from many opportunities where you can learn from and in same, guard you from many useless disappointments.

Servants and kings can still be found in the world today, but a little bit less significantly than before. Thus, if we would have to apply this verse in our modern lives today, serving before kings would inclusively mean choosing with a careful manner  the people that are likely to have an influence on us. Serving before kings could mean that you are choosing the most ”skilled friends” to be in your life, that you’re working for the wisest and most diligent business company in town.  You’ll note that one does not grow only from taking examples from joyful experiences. Sometimes, falling is necessary. Lessons can be taught from mistakes of others which can warn us not to do the same by seeing the consequences endured. Although, it is better to keep company with those who can have a positive effect on us as opposed to ones that can bring us negativity. Whenever you feel like giving up at something, the positive vibe surrounding you and the wise counsels from your ”kings” can be just enough to give you that one more step into accomplishing what you wish to!

”Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

I think there’s a point in life where everybody come to realize that time, as subtle and invisible as it is, can be one of the greatest teacher in our lives. Often taken for granted, we sometime use it however we want and neglect to cherish and manage it as it should be. Or worst, we don’t know how to use it at all. I think we best acknowledge this when we take a moment to navigate into our past, from time to time, only to find out as a result that we should have been more serious with anything that was presented to us. Of course, you will be proud of any accomplishments and good deeds in which you have put efforts and energy, but a lot of times, you’ll find yourself asking why you haven’t fully profited from any opportunity that was given to you. Thus, I know that for many, even myself, if we could go back in the past to fix a couple of things here and there, we wouldn’t hesitate to do it. Today, the result of the usage we did with our time is in front of us. Some will feel satisfied with most of it and maybe just a little upset about the other parts. Without not even a bit of an extremists’ behaviour, others just can’t seem to find satisfaction anywhere. Either way, how can you deal with this, without having to compromise your future?

See, time is time and it cannot be redeemed. No one can compete with it, not one human being can have more of it than another. In fact, I think that time is one of the most equal element that can be given to everyone on earth. Who can change the fact that a day contains 24 hours in it? Or that a year is summed with 365 days in total? Time is the same for everyone. What makes a difference is how we use it. It definitely takes time to recover from the past, or to have what we want. Often times, our goals will take more than 24 hours to come to terms. It will take time; whether it is because attaining that specific goal also demands a change of character or a profound understanding of the objective (oh yes! Those can definitely take time). It is also time that makes us accept our past and be proud of who we are today, so we never want to go back and try to fix things. As fast moving as we can sometime perceive it, time is invariable.What changes is the attitude you have towards it which can help you understand and accept in a better way where you come from, where you are now, and where you’re going.

Some people say that time is their worst enemy or that time always seems to be against them. They say this only because they don’t yet know how to master it. I am a true Christian that believes it is God who masters it all. Although, it is important to understand that God will not do it all for us; we have a role to play as well. There are elements we have to implement into our personality/attitude if we want our time to be used in the best possible way. Patience is one of the main. This is the key element we have to develop in ourselves if we want to be able to face the times that come in our way in a more positive manner. And this, no matter how confusing and frustrating it may come. Like any other qualities, having patience and knowing how and when to use it won’t be gained overnight. Of course and again, it’ll take some time but also years and years of practice. When you decide to have a ”better attitude while waiting”, many opportunities will be opened to you. Don’t worry if you fail at some of them, that’s how you get to analyze yourself in order for you to know what you have to change about your attitude.

Hopefully, it won’t surprise you if I tell you that patience doesn’t come alone in the process of dealing with time. Let’s take a very banal example. You want to buy yourself a car but unfortunately, you do not have the sufficient amount of money to buy it right away (let’s say that you have the exact amount of the car’s price). In the meantime, you’ll have to work a little more. In this situation, not only do you need patience to wait properly, but you’ll also need some understanding i.e. why you actually have to wait. The understanding behind this is if you wait enough until you have the money, not only you’ll have the car, but you won’t be broke after you buy it. I analyzed this in pieces for you to be able to visualize it, but it’s not that complicated. Usually when one comes, they all come along. Don’t be so quick to judge or be discourage, try to understand where your situation comes from and determine from that if you can take advantage of it. Writing of which, taking advantage of a situation can also be a great mean for dealing with time. It’ll help you focus more on what you can get from it rather than having to be frustrated and stressed out.

So here, you have a better idea of how you can implement patience into your attitude. Whether it is because you want to face your past with a more optimistic thinking or that you want to be less stressed out into achieving something, patience can be a great ”tool”.  With the right training, time will give it to you!

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank A. Clark

Wander back for a moment and try to remember the last time you had set yourself a goal (whatever it may be) and you actually ended up getting away with it with nothing trying to stop you in the long-run. If you can recall a time when this happened, you’d have to tell me your secret, and I’m also thinking, maybe you’re from another world. If you can’t, know that it’s totally normal because obstacles ² are part of every goal-achieving process.

Here’s a little scenario. After telling yourself that from now on, you’re going to do everything to lose that extra 10 pounds and that your first action is to go hit a small 30 minutes jog outside, here comes the rain. Great! Seeing this, you now have two options: 1) go back to bed, or 2) find another alternative where you’ll have that jog done despite of what mother nature has decided.

Asking yourself why it rained on that day, when you were 100% ready to hit the ground is vanity, a waste of energy and will bring you absolutely nowhere. Only your frustration will be fed and we all know you won’t get rid of that 10 pounds by doing so. However, what’s important and crucial is your attitude toward that barrier. The option you’ll choose between staying home or finding an alternative, will strongly depend on your attitude, level of motivation and self-discipline control. But your attitude firstly, because it is the core foundation of the two others.

Surely, you’ll have to condition your mind through this. A lot of people try to avoid and not think about this major part of  the whole achievement matter when they engage themselves into something. Preparing yourself and your mind for obstacles on the way should be equally done as to when setting your goals, finding your motivation or writing down your self-discipline list. Clearly, you’ll never know for certain what that hindrance will be like. However, the fact you already know (prepared) that something will try to block you from having what you want is more likely to lower the surprise effect that can often lead to discouragement. Now, when that drag is in action, if you take it too personally, you might give up. You have to think of it as something that was purposely planned in the process of achieving your goal. As if, it was already there.  If it rained on that day, no, it’s not because mother nature don’t like you; remember that the world does not revolves around you. You might have never thought it that way, but obstacles are for you to decide what you want to do with them. In other words, they don’t control you, ever. You control them by choosing what tool you’d like them to be in your life. Usually, depending on the choice you make, they can serve as two main things:

1) Discouragements – when you give up

2) Character fortifier – when you overcome

After choosing one of these two, for example when you decide to overcome, they can also serve as many others like the discover of self-capacities and personality, the motivation to do even greater things, high self-esteem, etc. On a darker note, when giving up, they can build up fear of trying again (because you do not want to be disappointed, again), low self-esteem, closeness, etc. Now, as much as obstacles are important to be dealt with, do not make them you primarily focus by trying to make a plan or concentrating too hard on how you’ll defeat them. Usually, when obstacles come, they come ”on the now”, STAT! Which means retro-action has to be ”on the now” also. It almost comes naturally and with practice, but preparation is the main key.

B.C. Forbes once stated that, “History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

Note that he said, ”because they refused”. You get to choose, not obstacles, not anyone else. You.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Obstacle ²: One that opposes, stands in the way of, or holds up progress.

Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to motivate oneself in spite of a negative emotional state. Qualities associated with self-discipline include willpower, hard work, and persistence.

After reading this quote, maybe you have a better idea of why I decided to make a post on this word and what it implies. Basically, self-discipline is one of the greatest keys that will help you accomplish what you want in life. A lot (even myself) have been engaging into things thinking that the only thing they would need is the desire to accomplish something or remind themselves constantly what reward they’ll get in the end (which can be both classified in your motivation). Don’t get me wrong, these two elements are precious when it comes to realizing what you want. However, they’re not solid enough.

Discipline is often seen as a form of negative or pessimist word. Well, I think it can be associated with one of these simply because of the way we’ve been raised. When you weren’t allowed to chew gum in class or to talk to your friends while your teacher was giving explanations in front of the class, for some, it was one of the most frustrating things because these rules or disciplinary sort of kept you from ”doing what you wanted to do, when you wanted to them”. Growing older, we only have that same perspective of things : self-discipline is torture. Thus, we kind of run away from it. You definitely have to change your mind about that one because despite of how we see it, self-discipline is very important when you want to do something. If you go through something and the main idea you have in mind is that it’s going to be hard or that you’re not going to able to control yourself from falling into any kind of temptations that are being presented to you, it won’t work.

Self-discipline is being able to say yes or no to anything legitimately correct that will bring you one step closer to achieving your goal. Let’s take a banal example. You’re on a regimen to lose weight and there are certain type of foods that are restricted to you. One day, your friend invites you to McDonald’s. If eating McDonald’s is part of your restrictions and if you have no self-discipline, you’ll say yes right away and just forget about your goal.  If you say no because of your goal than you have self-discipline.  Basically, you have to see it as things you have to do in order to achieve what you want. You just have to set a list of do’s and don’ts and follow through with them. Usually, in whatever I engage myself into, I always follow these five simple steps:

1. Set the goal (it has to be something you truly want and meaningful to you or else, you’ll end up giving up)

2. Find a motivation (why you’re doing this, what reward you’ll get in the end, what changes it’ll bring to your life)

3. Self-discipline list (dress a list of things that you have to do, set restrictions and FOLLOW THEM)

4. Have a positive attitude (it’ll help no give up when obstacles come, because they will come!)

5. Be willing and put the efforts

If you thoroughly apply this, you’ll be winning, I assure you!