Quiet Desperation

“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.

Service and Meaning

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!

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Learn, Earn, Return

Here’s a quick backstory on myself. I attended University of South Florida as a student-athlete. One particular evening, the athletic department hosted a networking event to connect the student-athletes with the university’s top donors.  I was very ecstatic for this opportunity because I’ve always had aspirations to become wealthy and wanted to have a millionaire mentor.

At the event, the host introduced all the donors and I listened attentively to their background to decide which one that I would focus on getting connected with. I was able to pick out the one who I thought was the most successful and the one that I would want to be like. After having a conservation with him, I was able to get his personal cellphone number and successfully set up an appointment to have lunch with him. During the lunch, he taught me the concept of Learn, Earn, Return. Before meeting with him, I had never heard of it before.

Here’s how he explained it to me:

The first phase is to learn. By learning and getting educated, you will have knowledge. Everyone must learn something and be able to apply that knowledge into a marketable skill. That’s why we go to school to pick up a trade.

Second, you need to earn. After graduation, you get a job or start a business. Accumulate as much wealth as possible ethically by maximizing your potential in your respective field.

Third, return what you’ve earned. Give back to the less fortunate, to your community, your church and to causes that you care about.

After he explained that concept to me, I understood why he has donated so much money to the university and agreed to meet with me. He was in the return phase in his journey.  He wanted to share what God has blessed him with and be a blessing to others. He was a philanthropist.

At the conclusion of our meeting, I had a meaningful reason to strive for wealth. Initially, I wanted wealth for selfish reasons but now I wanted to help others. No matter what title we may hold today, it’s important to strive to become a philanthropist at some point in our lives.

Begin, Believe, Become!

The proper way to approach opportunities or attacking your goals is to simply begin. Begin by starting where you are and go! Have a plan of course, but a plan without execution is simply a wish list.

If you don’t take actionable steps to execute, you’ll never know whether or not something is for you. By beginning, you take the necessary steps to build belief. Have faith that God will provide and will come through for you whenever your back is against the wall. Believe that you are destined for great things and all is possible through Christ. Simply begin and you’ll learn and grow along the way. As a great philosopher once said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Belief is built on experiences. To have experiences, you have to DO! Even if you fail, you will gain self-awareness that will help you have belief in your next venture.

Begin, Believe, Become is a formula. Muhammad Ali said, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” The key is, you must begin, the belief will follow and then you become.

Success

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

People in our society go about success in different ways. Just as beauty, success is in the eye of the beholder. Do what’s makes you happy. As long as you’re successful in your eyes and secure in who you are, you are successful. At the same time, if you are ambitious, and want more than just a safe and secure life, go for it.

Feel free to be who you really are and achieve what you really want. That’s success. Just because someone don’t view success the same way that you do, doesn’t make them any less successful. We were born in this world unique and our purpose is unique. Be comfortable in your unique self.