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“When great people cross our path, it forces us to reckon with what we’re doing with our lives.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the 11-time Tony award winning musical Hamilton
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #108
The people we come into contact throughout our lives either enter to offer an opportunity for us to change and grow as an individual or an opportunity for us inspire change in that person. And while we will never know the latter, we can always be aware of the former. And while sometimes the person who offers us a life lesson or an aha moment is someone who we are thankful to no longer have contact with, sometimes, and I would argue if we are continually learning and applying the lessons, more often than not they are people we feel fortunate to have crossed paths with.
And while Miranda clearly never met founding father of the United States Alexander Hamilton in the flesh, he did however meet him due to his curiosity and exploration. Perhaps that is how you have met many of the people who have opened your eyes of how to live a better or more in alignment life with who you are and can be. Maybe in a book, a class, the theater or a documentary. Maybe you were able to see them in the flesh, but only listen to their lessons from the seat as an audience member. No matter how a great person has crossed you path, when they do, if you are open, if you are ready and if you have an inkling that you may just have more to give than what you already are, you will be spurred to live ever so slightly or magnificently different.
And no matter what you are spurred to change or to do, the ability to master these four components (shown below) will hold a key to your success of making the most of your life no matter what occurred in your past, no matter what people expect of you, no matter what your imagination up until now has limited you into believing was possible. So whether a great someone recently crossed your path or did so years ago and you still haven’t capitalized on the ahas they brought to your life, here are the four tools that once you accept and incorporate into your life will bring about change in profound ways.
1.Create a clear life vision
“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” —Oprah
In order to know what to do, we must know where we want to go. Sounds simple. But sometimes the mere act of writing down what we desire, want or envision for ourselves is intimidating. Whether because we feel we are being too selfish or asking for the impossible because we’ve never quite seen it come true for anyone else that we see as being similar to ourselves, the act of writing down what we want our lives to become is a powerful first step.
It doesn’t have to be written down with such exquisite detail as “The house I will eventually buy will be blue“, but it should be something such as “I will be living in a home of my own which will provide me with sanctuary, security and a place to spend with those I love.”
There is a concrete goal as well as a reason for why you are seeking it within that last statement. You can make it a reality when you know precisely what you are seeking. You can now set mini goals, no matter how many it will take, to help you attain this goal. Be brave. Set a grand vision for yourself. And then believe in yourself enough to do the work that is necessary every single day. It will happen. It’s only a matter of time and initiative.
2. Embrace your awesomeness
Take the time to listen, explore and come to understand who you are, what you are drawn to and what talents you have that may seem ordinary to you because you’ve had them all of your life but are actually quite extraordinary. Discover your strengths, be mindful of your weaknesses, and accept the entire you that you are.
Stop trying to seek approval from others who you feel are superior. Instead try to accept yourself. Come to understand why you might subconsciously seek out people who have traits you wish you had. By way of doing this, you may be seeking external approval, so when they for whatever reason reject you, you see this as a rejection of yourself. It is not. Instead seek out others who have similar strengths. Are you HSP (highly sensitive person)? Stop seeking and expecting non-HSPs to be über-sensitive, and embrace their strengths. As well, begin to seek out people who can appreciate your strengths, perhaps other HSPs or others who are aware of the strengths HSPs possess. The same can be said for any strength a person may possess.
If we repeatedly return to people who don’t understand us and based on their confusion or rejection lead us to feel unworthy (which we aren’t), we are ultimately inflicting the pain upon ourselves. But if we recognize there will just be some people who we cannot connect with on a deeper level, we can peacefully move on and seek out others who we feel comfortable being our awesome selves and we reveling in their awesomeness as well.
When we know ourselves fully, we can ascertain more quickly and accurately who to invest our emotions with and who to keep at arm’s length. We give ourselves a powerful tool and a clearer path to fulfillment when we stop trying to impress and befriend everyone and instead befriend authentic and mutually appreciative companions.
3. Let go and move forward
Let go of cyncism, let go of stereotypes, let go of extra stuff, let go of these six fixed life ideas, let go of what others think, know what let go of and what to hang on to and discover how letting go will elevate your life. In my first post focused on the topic of letting go, I address the reason letting go is so difficult. It is fearful to let go of what we know even if it isn’t exactly or at all what we want. However, the only way to realize our greatness, and create the grandest vision in reality for ourselves is to let go of what is holding us back or blocking our path.
Whether it is the negative thoughts we allow to creep into our minds (discover and learn and then become habituated in how to retrain our thoughts), seeking out people who perpetually unknowingly or willing thrash the self we are (limit or eliminate time and energy with these individuals), or daily habits in our diction, routines that perpetuate unknowingly the life we don’t wish to lead (acknowledgement and self-discipline must be adhered to), we must let go.
And when we let go, we dare to fly. We dare to fly into a horizon that up until now we only gazed upon with admiration and affection. It may take longer to get there than we had imagined, but if we keep flying, if we keep trying to learn and grow, the vision can become a reality.
4. Form a partnership with your mind
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” —Lao Tzu
The thoughts we think spontaneously are very much like a record that has completed playing and just spins around and around. It is stuck basically, but an alternate route has not been given, so it keeps doing what it knows how to do – whether it works (plays nothing for anyone to hear) or not.
In order to change the thoughts that are not working for us: worry about our future, doubt about the success we can attain, negative self-talk, anything that is not helpful, we must purposefully change the thoughts that we automatically jump to in our weakest moments. We have to build up our mind’s ability, much like a muscle and keep exercising it regularly. The good news is, we are capable of changing our mind’s patterns. Why? Because we made them in the first place. Maybe not consciously, and maybe by influence from those we grew up with or surround ourselves with, but we made those ruts, those tracks that do not serve us, and therefore, we can make new tracks.
It will take time, but it is possible.
A few other ways to keep our mind in shape:
~Practice creative visualization.
Albert Bandura, a Stanford University psychologist is credited with defining the term self-efficacy theory, which is the “idea that we need to believe in our own capabilities to effect change and lead successful lives”. And if we can successfully visualize and then bring to fruition what we imagine, we not only reach our goals we “experience a greater sense of wellbeing, of optimism, of happiness.”
~Practice daily meditation
In a post written in 2014, I share six powerful ways regular mediation can change our lives for the better. From reducing stress to increasing productivity, even just five minutes each morning every day will have a profound difference. Don’t know how to meditate? I break that down as well in this post. And just for the record, I still only meditate five minutes each time. While I am working up toward 15-20 minutes, even just the small amount done regularly has brought significant calm each time I make the time to do so.
Four fundamental tools that will take you places you may have never thought even possible.
Get ready for a transformation because it’s coming. And while it will appear slow, gradual and maybe even non-existent to you, I encourage you to keep a journal as you make the journey of change. Because it is happening, and you will be forever thankful for that great person who crossed your path.
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Image: TSLL IG in Devon