“I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman.
July 4th is a national holiday commemorating the declaration of independence of the U.S. from the British Empire. A lot of Americans are celebrating today by having get-togethers, barbecues, going to beach, shooting fireworks, etc… However, the U.S. and a lot of Americans are still not truly independent. In the Bible, Proverbs 22:7 says, the borrower is the slave of the lender. How can you be independent when you’re $22 trillion in debt?
Sure we have some freedom but we don’t have it in all aspects of our lives. If you work at a job you hate but have to keep on going back to it, you’re not free. If you’re buried in debt and living paycheck to paycheck you’re not free. You have some freedom but real independence is when you have complete autonomy over your life and living out your purpose.
Our thoughts have power and are influenced by our environment. Be mindful of the company you keep, the things around you and what you ponder on. Our thoughts dictate our actions. When we fill our minds with bad thoughts, we are inviting bad things in our lives. As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. We can make a conscious effort to be positive and attract great things in our lives as long as we accompany it with actions toward our goals.
Let’s take a look at the Adam and Eve story for example. Satan approached Eve and got inside her thoughts and convinced her to try the forbidden fruit. Satan didn’t just shove it in her mouth and force her to eat it. The work was done through her thoughts. Satan manipulated her into wondering what it would be like to try the fruit and then she did the same to Adam. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of the company you keep. The wrong crowd and environment can influence us to do bad things. We can control our thoughts by choosing wisely who our friends are, the neighborhood we live in, our workplace, and what information we let inside our head.
If you watch the news every morning, you’re more likely to be in a depressed state of mind. The average person will tell you to watch the news to stay informed but in reality, you’re exposing your mind to depression. The news is designed to tell you bad news and make you depressed. That’s how they get their ratings. The news reporters will do anything to emphasize how bad things are to keep you watching. It is not a coincidence that local news airs in the morning before most people go to work and in the evening when most people get back from work. Why would you want to start your day with bad news and then end your day with bad news? People who make a habit of watching the news on a daily basis are putting themselves in a depressed state.
Your friends, your neighborhood, your workplace, the movies you watch and the music you listen to are all considered part of your personal media consumption. Time spent consuming media that does not add value to your life is not time well spent. Instead of letting non-productive content in your mind, read a book, take a course, or do a research on a topic you’re interested in. Limit your entertainment consumption and make it a habit to be involved in activities that would foster growth in your mind. That will lead to better thoughts, actions, habits, results, and future.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry Thoreau.
Everyone had big dreams at some point in their lives. Sadly, not everyone accomplished them. They gave up and now the’re making up excuses to justify why they did not persist. Yes, life can knock you down but you’re supposed to get back up. If you don’t and decide to settle for a life of mediocrity, you’re living a life of quiet desperation.
Everyday there are people who complain about going to work because they don’t like their job but are happy when it’s Friday. Those people optimize their weekends and holidays. They’re miserable but they don’t have enough belief in themselves and guts to strive for what they really want by quitting that job or starting a business on the side. Instead, they’ve conformed to society, gave in to life’s circumstances and settled for a job they don’t like that has nothing to do with their purpose in life. Those people are living a life of quiet desperation. Meaning, they want to do something else or something more but they are refrained from taking that step because they are afraid.
A lot of people smoke, drink, and use drugs to relax and reduce their stress. What they’re really doing is quieting their desperation. Those people are either not where they want to be in life, in a bad relationship/marriage or they hate their job. Instead of finding a solution to get out of their present situation, they would rather take drugs, and engage in activities to quiet their desperation.
Success is managed frustration. When you’re frustrated it’s a sign that you need to find a solution and take action. Consumption of drugs and alcohol to make you relax in order to stay complacent is living a life of quiet desperation. That period of frustration needs to be used to be productive. Within every adversity or frustration is an opportunity. You’ll find it only if you manage your frustration well enough to look for it. You can’t do that if you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Even if you don’t do drugs or drink you can still live a life of quiet desperation. If you come home from a job that you don’t like and all you want to do is watch TV or play video games, you’re living a life of quiet desperation. None of those activities will solve your problems. Therefore, don’t invest time in them. God created us for a purpose. It is our duty to find that purpose and fulfill it. Don’t just work to pay bills and die. Don’t let anyone who has given up on their dreams tell you, that’s just the way it is. It’s not. You just need to have the courage to be relentless in getting your way in life and not settle.
Netflix is a successful company because they help average people quiet their desperation. A lot of subscribers spend hours each week watching movies, or TV series on Netflix while they’re unhappy with their lives. What they’re doing is quieting their desperation. When they’re watching a movie or a TV show, they don’t have to think about their struggles. It makes them feel good not having to think about it. Feeling good is fine. But feeling great is better. You achieve greatness by finding solutions to solve a problem, not by using entertainment as a distraction.
If you don’t do what you want, you’re someone else’s slave. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for a cause he believed in. He did not quiet his desperation. He fulfilled his purpose. Now that he has passed, he has a great legacy. He’s respected all over the world for his action, courage and accomplishment toward abolishing the South African apartheid system. If he didn’t persist and gave up, he would have lived a life of quiet desperation and he would’ve not be known as one of the greatest activists to ever live today.
It takes courage and sacrifice to pursue something great. Stop wasting years of your life doing things that don’t make you feel fulfilled or bring you happiness. Find work that is in line with your passion or allow you the flexibility to pursue your passion. Get what you want out of life instead of settling for mediocrity. The worse thing you can do is live a life of quiet desperation. Do something different, have faith and become who you were destined to be.
A selfish decision is when you decide to do something just for your own benefits and ignoring the wishes of others; When you put your own happiness first.
Traditional wisdom says to give, being selfish is not worth it and to put others first before your own. However, you have to be selfish at times. You have to put YOU first, your happiness, your dreams and goals, so that you can become what you were destined to be. You can’t be a people-pleaser all the time. There comes a time when you have to make a decision simply for yourself and stop caring what everyone else thinks. When you are ready to do that, that’s when you are ready to become all you were created to be.
Happiness and fulfillment are not achieved when you constantly care about what others think and when you let their opinions hold you back. It happens when you are secure to be on your own, ready to fly and leave the herd.
Never judge a book by its cover. We should not be too quick to judge others. We don’t know WHO a person really is based on appearance. We should take the time to get to know people before we form an opinion of them.
Those are sayings that we’ve all heard before. It takes a very noble person to not judge or jump into conclusions. No matter how great and awesome you think you are, everyone you come in contact with is superior than you in one thing. Humble yourself and give everyone a chance. The person that you think is not worth your time might teach you something valuable that could change your life if you’re open minded and receptive.
When I was in high school I gained self-confidence by realizing and accepting that everyone is dealing with their own struggle, some that you can see and some you cannot. Knowing that gave me strength and hope to move forward in spite of whatever I thought I was lacking. No one has it together 100%. We’re all lacking something in our eyes but we can succeed in spite of that. Each one of us is blessed differently and were designed to serve a unique purpose. Never allow yourself to become jealous of another person. Each of us has our own struggle that we have to prevail through. Being jealous of another person is not going to help your situation. Instead, find out how they were able to overcome and use their story as inspiration for you to keep on moving forward at your own personal journey.
To conclude, don’t be someone who easily look for faults in others. Any fool can do that, it takes somebody special to find greatness. Take the time to find the greatness in everyone and help them build on it. Everyone was created for a purpose, look deeper than the surface.
When we decide to step outside of our apartment or house to drive somewhere, there will be stop signs, red lights and potholes on the road. It’s the same thing when we are striving to accomplish a goal or a dream. When we hit a stop sign or red light, we don’t turn around and change our mind about where we planned on going because of a red light or stop sign. However, we do plan for traffic. If we know there’s going to be traffic, we might plan to leave early, or wait for traffic to die down before we leave. It depends on the importance of the place we’re trying to get to.
When we’re going to work, it doesn’t matter if there’s traffic, we have to go. We just have to plan to leave early to make it there on time. We are also mentally ready to hit traffic. We have to use the same willpower we tapped into to wake up and go to a job for our personal goals. Be positive of the outcomes but be mentally prepared to maintain a positive attitude in the event of failures. Be ready to keep going forward. Never allow failure to discourage you or to quit. We may take a different route to get there if there are roadblocks, closures, traffic, but nevertheless, we should still aim to get to that final destination.
As long as we have a very good reason why to do something, we will be motivated to keep going. That’s why once you have your goals written down, you also have to write down your reasons why as well. Your reasons why will keep you going when things get tough. It will be a reminder. It will be your fuel. It’s easy to give up when something is not important. You have to constantly remind yourself of the reason why you started in the first place.
Real success is not achieved overnight. Never compare your journey to someone else’s. You have no idea what a person had to do or go through to get to where they’re at unless they’ve told you. It may seem that it should have been you in the position but that kind of thinking is not going to get you far. Jealousy is a trait of unsuccessful people and God wonderfully made you to serve a unique purpose. People with a success mindset are inspired by the accomplishments of others and energized to pursue their own goals.
Enjoy your journey to success no matter what obstacles you have to go through. Once you’re there, average people will look at you and say, you’re lucky and you’re an overnight success. The truth is, you just had the guts to work relentlessly harder than them over a long period of time despite setbacks and failures. Be one of those people who don’t give up and it will be rewarding in the end.
There are two important mindsets that you need to be able to identify. They are fixed mindset and growth mindset.
A fixed mindset individual is one who does not like to try new things. They like to stick to what they know. They are not open to new ideas. As a result, they have limiting beliefs. They are not optimistic. They claim to be realistic. Fixed mindset individuals are “know-it-all.” They claim to know everything just to shut down new ideas and other people’s opinion. They are not willing to be open minded in order to learn. Fixed mindset individuals, don’t like receiving advice because they think they already have it all figured out. They don’t like to reveal their weaknesses or seek help to improve.
On the other hand, a growth mindset individual is willing to try, reveal their weaknesses, learn and get better. They are willing to expand their experiences. Growth mindsets believe that talents and abilities can be improve upon. Growth mindsets believe that if you’re not good at first you can get better through dedicated effort and consistency. People with a growth mindset don’t quit easily. They are usually relentless in their pursuit of excellence. They are optimistic thinkers. They believe that they can overcome setbacks and that pain is temporary. Growth mindsets look at past failures as a badge of honor. They believe they will overcome them.
Take a step back and ask yourself what type of mindset do you have. Also, identify the people in your life that have a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset. By doing so, you’ll identify who you can share your goals and dreams with. Fixed mindset individuals will ridicule and point out all the reasons you should not pursue something while the growth mindset individual will support and encourage you.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. The application of what you’ve learned is the key to success. Be willing to fail in order to learn and grow. In life, you will fail, you will lose money, you will have setbacks but that shouldn’t stop you from trying and keep moving forward. Have control over your attitudes and adapt a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. As the saying goes, “no guts, no glory.” Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and have authentic confidence in yourself. Be willing to be ridiculed and mocked. That’s when you’ll know you’re growing and on the right path.
A closed mind can be detrimental to your life, happiness and success.
There’s a saying that goes like this, the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it’s open. Shutting down new ideas without giving it a fair chance to sync in to analyze how it could be a benefit to you can be very costly.
Piece of advice, if you’re entrepreneurial, when an opportunity present itself to you, just remember to open your mind before you open your mouth. Do your due diligence and see if the opportunity falls in line with your long term goals. Don’t be too quick to say no because in this entrepreneurial world, we may start with plan A and then finish with plan W for the win.
At the same time, one should not be too open. Just as a parachute needs to open to work, if it is too open, or open all the way, it won’t work and you will fall. Find the right balance of wisdom to know when to be open and when it’s time to just focus on what you’re already doing and just persevere.
Objectives are vital for goal settings professionally and personally. The first step to a meaningful life is to clearly DEFINE your objective. You need to have a clear and precise purpose. You have to know what you want or what you don’t want. Sometimes we don’t know what we want but we know what we don’t want. Have it written down and express it publicly. By announcing your goals and dreams publicly, you are making a commitment to pursue what you want and have your loved ones hold you accountable. It’s a healthy pressure to put on yourself. It will force you to step outside your comfort zone to maximize your potential and increase your chances at accomplishing what you’re after.
Next step is to LEARN how to make your goals and dreams a reality. One way to do that is by finding a mentor. A mentor is someone who already has what you want. You learn from them about best approaches and get advice from them along the way. You don’t always need a live person to mentor you. There are plenty of books that you can read from authors and experts in your field of choice. By reading their books, listening to their educational audios, interviews and watching their videos you may learn from them. Learning doesn’t always come in the form of formal education. You can learn through self-education by reading the right books at your own pace or just signing up for a specific online class or get certified/licensed in a field. There are also some paths that you may choose where you will need a formal education and that it is required. Having a mentor will help guide you on which route you should take.
Lastly, just DO it! You have to apply what you’ve learned in order to produce results. Defining what you want and learning how to get it are great initial steps but you’re not going to accomplish anything by just defining and learning how to do it. You have to actually DO it and don’t wait until you think you know it all to start. If that’s the case, then you’ll never start because you’ll never know it all. Experience is the best teacher and don’t let initial failures discourage you. Execute as soon as possible and stay the course!
The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being. – Lee Iacocca
A proper legacy will always involve service and meaning. It has to have a meaning to yourself, others and a higher cause. Whatever you do won’t have any real meaning unless it’s in service of something greater than yourself.
Servicing others can be a sacrifice. You have to give up something. For some it might be their ego, money, or their time. But your real legacy is your service to others, a higher cause and fulfilling your purpose. It’s not just about making sure you and your family are alright. We’ve all been equipped with special gifts and talents. Use them for the greater good and be successful at something that matters.
Now ask yourself, how can you be a service to others? What do you have that only you can do?
Leave a legacy that matters by helping people so they can be good instead of so you can look good.
“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.” Mark 10:43 (MSG.)
The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from others, you’ve arrived. The Lord, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you!