Take control of your life

Tonight the door closes on today. For some, it’s been a good day. For others, the best they can say is soon it will be over. For the majority of us, today was a mix of good and bad.

How we view the day largely depends on how we view its events or what events dominated our thoughts and time (more so than the actual events themselves) and the impact those events had on our lives.

Recognizing that offers us an opportunity to look back with distance, a little objectivity, and also with the gems of wisdom we’ve gained from all we’ve added to our personal skills treasure chest, and that reflection, aided by perspective, brings us our biggest opportunities

What biggest opportunities? Well, let’s think about that a second…

We are in a position to review. We can choose what we want to keep in our lives and what we want to cull from our lives. We can choose what we like and what we want to change.

Change. We typically shudder at the word much less the actions that come with it because change means we have to move outside our comfort zone. Even if the way things are aren’t as we’d like or they downright suck, they’re known.

Moving into the unknown carries uncertainty and that scares our socks off. Why?

Because change often is accompanied by conflict or challenges. That makes it a pain for us, and often for those around us who don’t want us to change. They like us as we are, even if we’re not content. Change is work.

We’re tired already, but if we’re not content , we’re not going to get content by staying on a treadmill where we’re not content. And if we don’t do the work necessary to get off the thing, the simple fact is we’ll stay on it.

So we have choose: park and pay, or move and endure until we are content. You can gloss it over all you like, but facts are facts. You want different? Create it, deal with challenges and conflicts and revamp until you are content.

Others will accept or reject it. That’s their choice. You must take charge of your choices. Bottom line, you’re responsible for them.

Change is one part recognition, one part analysis, and one part action.

You can’t get off the treadmill if you don’t realize you’re on it. You’re stuck being unfulfilled or discontent with life as you know it unless you know why you’re unfulfilled or discontent. So you must take a hard, honest look at your life.

Explore what has you unfulfilled, unhappy or discontent. Once you peg specifics, then switch focus to solutions. What can you do to make wise corrections to better your situation? Once you know what has you feeling less than terrific, you’ll know what needs to be done.

Really think about your solutions. Nail them down. Be specific.

Here’s the thing. You can recognize all the challenges in the world and think on them for a lifetime, but if you don’t actually put a potential solution to work in your life, you’re not changing a thing to better your situation.

And that means tomorrow night you’ll be sitting right where you are, complaining about the same things you complained about tonight (and perhaps the night before, and the one before that). You must act

In short, if it’s broken, fix it.

You might have to explore a few solutions before hitting on the “perfect” one for you. Some will try one thing, not like the result, and consider that failure. It’s not. You know it didn’t work. Try something else.

It’s okay to not like solutions and keep seeking the right solution for you. This isn’t a one-size fits all bit of business. We’re talking about YOUR contentment. YOUR happiness. YOUR feeling fulfilled. Those things mean something different for all of us.

Many try one thing, don’t like it, and give up or give in—and remain discontent and unhappy and unfulfilled. Who loses in that? Why do they value their own peace so little to quit and not try again?

Only they can answer, but my heart breaks for them. Because they think they have failed and quit trying, they have failed.

But those who say, “Well, that didn’t work, I’ll try this next.” Those people who keep exploring will find the right potential solution for them. In a very real sense, they fail their way to success.

Now we’ve been taught that failure is a bad thing. But think about it. If you gain something–and knowing what you don’t want/what doesn’t work is every bit as important as knowing what you do want and what does work–then that’s growth, and it is success.

Maybe you’re not where you want to be, but you’re closer. You know now these potential solutions you’ve tried don’t work for you. Try others. You dig enough, you’re going to find the perfect solution for you.

If you’ve been told repeatedly that failure is bad, then consider the previous statement your personal license to fail. Go ahead and just fail your way to success.

Before you close the door on today, review it. Recognize the problem points for you, analyze them seeking solutions, then implement them. Always nurture the good and cull the bad.

Be aware that culling isn’t always painless or welcome (others often don’t like for us to change) but each of us must do what we feel is right. We must remember that doing the right thing is easy when it costs us nothing.

When we pay dearly for it, however, is when we gain the most. Think about it. Have you learned more, gained more from the hard knock lessons you’ve been through, or from the wins?

Bottom line, like it or not, we are responsible for what we do and do not do, and we will be held accountable for what we do and don’t do.

We will also bear the fruit and/or burden of what we’ve done and not done. It's important to remember those little facts.

None of this is a cut-and-run license. This is an evaluate-and-cull-what’s-no-longer-constructive-in-shaping-your-life-so-you-fulfill-your-purpose license.

Doing less leaves you only with regret, and no one deserves only regret. Neither does anyone skate away from the consequences of their actions.

New beginnings require we put old endings to bed. It’s hard to focus on new ventures when we’re dealing with remnants of the old.

Some overlap is inevitable, but the less of the old we have to contend with in the time where our focus should be on the new, the better our odds are of improving our position and making headway on the new and of building momentum.

Momentum is a powerful force. We put down a foundation. Upon it, we build. If one section is framed, we’re limited to going any farther on that one section. If two or three sections are framed, then expansion is possible on all sections.

Momentum builds momentum. So the less time we spend in the past (deal with the old and get it done) the more time we have to invest in the future (welcome the new). So do what you can to clear the decks–and that includes accepting what you can’t change. Don’t repress it, accept it. And then press on.

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