Archive for the ‘Reflection’ Category

Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything on here, but I received an interesting couple of messages over the past week that really got me to thinking, and thus, prompted this post!  They were messages from people I know but don’t really have much correspondence with on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis.  To me, their messages were completely random and unexpected.  To them, they had been thinking about sending me something for months.  Their messages were basically sent to thank me for writing these posts and for the things I share on Facebook and Twitter.  If you think about it, it almost seems a little silly, but in reality it’s evidence of how profound everything we do can be.

And all I was doing was living my life and being myself.  Trying my hardest to make myself better every day.  Doing my best to leave everyone’s day I come in contact with better for having me been a part of it.

This reminds me of part of a quote – “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

Are you giving the people around you the courage to be their best?

The thing that I think too many people forget is that who you are affects EVERYONE around you.  But do you ever stop to reflect on who the hell you actually are?  With all your good qualities but also with all your faults?  Who are you?  How do you impact the people around you?  For me, I am constantly evaluating how I treat other people.  Could I have said or done something that would have made a more positive impact on the interactions I had with someone?  Is there something about me that I need to work on?  What are my best qualities?  What are my worst qualities?

How can I be better so I can, in turn, make everyone around me better?

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think about you – but what they think can still be used as a point of reflection about yourself.  Ultimately the people who recognize you for all the good you bring to their life will appreciate it and thank you for it.  For those who just want to point out all your mistakes or short-comings, well, let them suffer in their own world of self-imposed misery.  As long as you can say that you did your best today, well, that’s all you can do.

As Christmas (and the holiday season for non-Christmas celebrating people) fast approaches, take a moment to think about the people who make your life better… and thank them.

Feliz Navidad!

(Chad)

Advertisements

Fixing Your Fundamentals

Growth and change, often times, doesn’t feel good.  It hurts.  Nothing fits into place.  All the pieces that make up the puzzle of your life are a jumbled mess.  You struggle to find your way.  But the sooner you get used to this feeling the better because that’s how life works.  When your growing and changing your life has to, in a sense, fall apart, so things can rearrange and fall back together.  And you have to be willing to lose some things so you can make room to gain others.

This happens a lot in our lives.  Most of the time they are small changes and small steps to becoming a better person and improving our lives but every so often there are times when this growth and change is life altering.  Times where it redefines and reshapes who you are and where you’re going in life.

Having experienced what I consider two such life changing times I’ve begun to realize some really important things.  Probably the most significant is that the fundamentals can make or break you.  Just like professional athletes have to master the fundamentals so they have a strong foundation to build higher level skills off of, you too, need to master the fundamentals of life so you can build a solid foundation in order to achieve more or accomplish more.

When I talk about fundamentals I’m talking about low-level basics and about developing consistency in this foundational stuff.  I think the basics all starts with having a great attitude.  Without that I think everything else is a built on a rocky foundation and is doomed to fail eventually.  So get your attitude right before trying to fix anything else in your life.  Other foundational stuff includes eating right.  Drinking enough water.  Getting enough quality sleep.  Exercising, or just being active in general, on a daily basis.  Spending quality time with friends and loved ones.  Being financially organized.  Having quality alone time.  You get the point?  It’s all simple, basic stuff but it’s the stuff we start skimping on as our careers and lives get busier and more demanding.  It’s also why we eventually hit a wall and have to take a vacation or why relationships fall apart or why our health deteriorates – because we’ve stopped doing all the little things right and eventually those little things add up.

I think it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate this stuff every so often.  Ask yourself if what you’re doing still makes sense.  And make sure that your foundation doesn’t have leaks in it.

You may define the fundamentals of your life differently than what I did above but it doesn’t matter.  Whatever your fundamentals are make sure you haven’t lost sight of them.  They are extremely important.  Scratch that, they are beyond important, they are imperative to your long-term happiness and success.

So set aside some time to think about the fundamental pieces of your life.  What are you doing great?  Where are areas for improvement?  Address it sooner than later – in some cases you may not get a second chance.  And if you can consistently do all these little things really well you will be on the right track to setting yourself up for long-term success.

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

Are Dreams Really Worth Pursuing?

There are certain moments in our lives that define who we are as individuals.  They are generally moments where ever ounce of our strength, courage and willingness to succeed is pushed to its limits.  I always find it interesting to reflect on these moments.

For a few years of my life I worked a full-time job basically to support traveling all over the place to make it as a professional soccer player.  Nothing else really mattered to me except pursuing that dream.  The dream to step out onto the field in front of thousands of people to play the game I loved.  But this wasn’t an easy road to travel.

I experienced moments that nearly broke me.  Moments where I felt so low that I didn’t think I could possibly go on.  Moments that broke my heart and broke my spirit.  Moments that tested ever last ounce of will-power I had within me.  Moments that, to this day, still give me the chills when I relive how I felt during them.  And I often wonder why I did it for so long.  Why did I continue to put forth a tireless amount of time, effort and commitment just to repeatedly come up short?

Now that some years have passed I can look back on it with a clearer perspective.  I didn’t come up short at all.  Yes, there were some sacrifices.  But I realize now that all of the things that I did during those 2-3 years have shaped who I am and where I’m at today.  Even though embarking on that journey didn’t get me what I ultimately set out to get, I did have some of the greatest experiences of my life, learned some really hard, valuable lessons about life and about myself and met some really great people along the way.  The simple act of not being afraid to pursue my dreams changed the entire course of my life… forever.

Through this experience I’ve learned that we don’t always get what we want, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to live out our dreams and achieve all of our aspirations.  In the end, what do we have to lose?  Even if we don’t achieve what we set out to achieve, chances are the mere act of doing things we are passionate about will lead to something great.

I have also learned that it is often out of fear that we choose not to live the lives we dream.  And that’s a shame.  If fear is such a great motivator then you should be deathly afraid that if you don’t pursue your dreams then you may never become the person you are capable of becoming.

And lastly, and possibly most importantly, it taught me how to believe, even when it felt like there was nothing left to believe in.  A lesson that has come in handy on many other occasions.

The thing about pursuing your dreams is that it’s a lot like being an entrepreneur.  The highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling.  But the lows can break your heart.  That’s why you have to love what you do to such a degree that it’s worth the sacrifice, and, at times, pain.  But you take the good with the bad because doing anything else would be unimaginable.

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

The Alchemist

This past weekend I read The Alchemist.  Honestly, it took me about 3 hours to read because it was just really hard to put down.  The story just pulled me in and ignited my imagination.  I highly recommend you click on the link above and buy it right now.  Sparing you a review of the book I’m just going to highlight some excerpts from the book that sparked my own thought, hopefully they spark meaningful thought in you too.  Note: there are so many inspiring words in this story that I couldn’t possibly highlight them all without just copying the book into this post, so get the book for yourself and read it!

————

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?  […]  It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.  That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property.  But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future.  I’m interested only in the present.  If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.  You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race.  Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”

“There is only one way to learn.  It’s through action.  Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”

“Wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.”

“You have been a real blessing to me.  Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.  I don’t want anything else in life.  But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons I have never known.”

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.  […]  Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

“The darkest hour of night came just before the dawn.”

“Don’t give in to your fears.  If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

————

Now go get the book and read it for yourself.  Honestly, might be one of the best investments you ever make in yourself.

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

What Your Professors Didn’t Teach You About Choosing A Career

In an age where lifestyle design is possible, the most important questions to ask yourself is what, when and how?  We can live anywhere, do anything, be with anyone…

Start thinking differently.  Gain a different perspective.

Creating the life that you want can often be a tough task.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Having a happier and more fulfilling life can be achieved by changing the way you approach your lifestyle design.  Lifestyle design methods of the past are outdated and flawed.  Unfortunately, they have become accepted as the only way – primarily out of routine.  For some people this way still works.  But, for most, I don’t think it does.  Instead, it has bred generations of unfulfilled people.  Things have changed, our way of thinking needs to as well.

So what is the problem?

The problem is that the way we design our lives is backwards – we find a job, then we build a career then we figure out based on the resources we have (read: time and money) what type of lifestyle can we lead.

What is the cause of this problem?

The cause is rooted in the way we are brought through our education system.  We are all taught to go to school, to get good grades so we can get into a good college, to get a college degree so when we graduate we can get a good paying job.  Once we get that job, what’s next?  We grind at that job so we get promotions and 3% raises every year, so that in 40 years we can retire.  That is how our system is designed.  I won’t say this is wrong – I’m just challenging it.  In many ways it has to be this way because you can’t have 300 million people doing their own thing.  There needs to be a system and there needs to be cohesiveness.  But the real question is this: is that the lifestyle you want?  Is falling in line what’s best for you?  It depends.  What lifestyle do you want?

What is a viable solution to the lifestyle design problem?

The underlying issue is in the order we design our lives.  As outlined above we think – job > career > lifestyle.  What we need to do is flip that around and think – lifestyle > career > job.  What lifestyle do you want to lead?  What career would support this?  What job can you get now that will get you there?  Think of the labor system as a resource, which will help you to create the lifestyle you want.

This may not seem like a big deal, but give this a try.  I mean really think about what life you want to lead.  What does a perfect day in your life look like?  Get specific.  What time do you want to wake up?  What do you want to eat for breakfast?  How many hours a day do you want to work?  How many vacations do you want to take?  Where do you want to live?  The questions can be endless but when you really start answering them honestly you may find that what you’re doing doesn’t support your desired lifestyle at all.  If it doesn’t, it then becomes a matter of finding (or creating) the job that does support your desired lifestyle.

Viewing your life in this manner can be one of the most powerful mindset shifts you can make.  The important part of this is that you are taking control.  Demand from your job and career what your lifestyle needs and like water carving out a path down a hill your career (the hill) will eventually conform to your lifestyle (the water).

You have nothing to lose by demanding from life what you want of it.

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)