Stop explaining yourself
Most who bother to ask don’t care anyway.
Learn the difference between being self-aware and self-conscious. It’s healthy to be introspective, but it’s self-sabotage to constantly live in self-doubt.
You need not apologize for, or justify, your feelings. You need not second-guess what you decide, and what you do. You need not always be right, always look good, and never make mistakes.
Know your values, trust your gut, and get enough information to decide and act in the best way you can. Cultivate confidence in yourself. Crush self-doubt. You’re not an imposter, you’re the authentic you.
Set the clock
“If I had a year off, I’d…. “ Fill in the blanks if you like. It’s still a myth – no, it’s a lie.
Everything you want to do is available now in some way. What’s wrong with now?
It’s a myth that you need more time to do what you love. It’s an excuse for hesitating, holding back, failing to step beyond the fake boundaries you’ve built around the 24 hours you get each day.
You don’t get time, you grab it. You grab it when and where you can. If you want to do something badly enough, you find the time. The rest is BS.
Let go of what you fear to lose
We own nothing. We’re caretakers. Caretakers of time, opportunity, friends, family, possessions and more. Our grip on all of these is temporary and tenuous. Holding on to them tightly, fearing their loss, is like trying to hold water in the palm of our hand.
Wealth is created, and lost, and created again. Friends and family come and go and return again – they stay, then move away; they pass away over time. Possessions decay, or are stolen, or destroyed by calamity. The seasons of life are a cycle of growth and a process of decay, loss and rebirth.
To have a good and meaningful life, we need to overcome our fear of loss, our desire to control, our insatiable appetite to accumulate and possess. We need to create bigger meaning for our lives, and let go of what we fear to lose.
Listen and learn
Even when you think you already know. Stop. Let go of the fragile ego that keeps telling you you’re smarter and better. You’re not. Knowledge can mean everything or nothing. What you knew yesterday can impede you from making the right decisions today. Assume nothing (or at least not a lot), and you’re starting with the right attitude.
Never conclude that yesterday’s success (and what you knew then) will lead to today’s triumph. It’s a fool’s paradise. What got you here won’t get you to where you want to be today – or tomorrow.
All you knew yesterday is but a building block for what you need to learn today. Every day you have to get smarter and better. Lose the ego – listen and learn.
Concern for tomorrow is a trap
It’s an excuse for holding back when you should be stepping forward today. It’s why so many get stuck in an endless cycle of defeat and despair – there’s always another tomorrow to worry about.
Focusing on fear – the worries for tomorrow – cripples and compromises your moving ahead. It robs you of the peace and certainty that what you’re doing today will make a better tomorrow. Ultimately it derails your life.
Let go of tomorrow and get busy with today.
Next year is about no
It’s already begun. And if you think about it, we’re already on the cusp of Eighteen, rolling up to Nineteen.
Seventeen is about saying no to preconceptions and biases, and saying yes to possibility. It’s recognizing the genius and effort of others, and discovering what to learn, what to borrow, and what to nicely steal (like an artist). Hey, how many do you know who earned over $50 million on a cute game that many probably thought of, but only one chose to pursue?
I’m saying no to obsessing on fake news, having baseless opinions, and dreaming so big that I discount the miracles each day brings.
I’m saying no to New Year’s resolutions too. Why not be counterintuitive? The universe generously rewards those who just roll with the infinite possibilities within chaos. Insist on too much order and you can miss it. A tidy life compromises the achievement of dreams.
Seventeen is the year to push beyond the envelope rather than build a bigger and better one. It’s the year to embrace the joy of stillness, as well as blasting forward. It’s the year for saying no to what once was, and saying yes to what will be.
Say no so you can get to yes.
How to not succeed
Avoid pain, discomfort, feeling awkward, looking stupid, feeling like an imposter. Avoid difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Avoid taking action if there is a possibility of failing.
Those who succeed recognize that sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t. But they keep going.
Your level of achievement is tied to at least three things: Your willingness to take risks. Your willingness to take action. Your willingness to disregard all the negative buzz going through your head that tries to stop you.
Stand your ground
Face your fears and confront what psychologists call the fight or flight response. That wiring in the prehistoric part of your brain that mobilizes you to either run like hell or stand and fight in the face of danger – whether real or merely perceived.
Today you don’t face the charge of sabre-toothed tigers like the Neanderthals. Today you face impossible deadlines to please ever demanding customers in a constantly changing marketplace. You face urgencies created by overbearing bosses with fragile egos. You face the myth of security in a world that keeps raising the bar, demanding you either step up or step aside.
Gain perspective. The fears you face are often big shadows cast by small problems, and sometimes illusions cleverly projected by small people.
Stand your ground. Walk through fire. Distinguish between what’s real and what’s perceived. Dare to move forward in spite of feeling fear. Dare to fulfill the wonderful promises you made to yourself.
Stand your ground. Your dreams are too important to abandon to the face of fear.
Every day. Don’t wait for tomorrow, or after the holiday. Don’t wait for everything to fall into place. It won’t.
It won’t, because the time will never be just right. It won’t because tomorrow brings with it new challenges, cares and considerations. It won’t because waiting until tomorrow ushers in a thousand tomorrows.
Quit weighing yourself down with excuses. Get to work. Start today. Chip away. And day by day, make sh*t happen.
Bad theater is bad theater
Cultivate the dramatic, but not bad drama.
Life is a stage. Achieving success includes leveraging your ability to attract, to dazzle and enchant, to make well-crafted responses. What’s in your repertoire?
People who wear their heart on their sleeve become predictable and boring. Overacting can be counterproductive. Be aware of yourself as an actor. Your private and public personas are constantly on view – no matter how many masks you wear.
Be authentic yet graceful. Practice your timing. Think critically about how you respond to the many situations life presents. Being natural requires an element of art.