The tendency is to think of challenges as either good or bad, and act accordingly. In looking at the situations we face, we want to either complain when things are bad, or rejoice when they are good. We think of good and bad as forces acting against us on purpose. Instead, they are just random acts of reality. Good and bad are nothing more than stories told from a certain perspective in our lives.

A story can entertain, distract, or enrage. We are all storytellers, though we might not know it. Stories define how we interpret the world. They give meaning, but also limit meaning by pigeon holing us in to one point of view. But, the truth is, that stories only do us so much good.

At some point you need to set aside your stories, or at the very least question them. There are many times when we let the spiral of a story drag us somewhere we never wanted to go. Stories can take on a life of their own. They need only a willing narrator to set the stage, and they can grow and develop without your conscious help. When we look back, after the dust has settled and the damage has been done, we wonder: How did I end up here?

At that point it is almost always too late to change that story. You must now accept where that plot line took you. Stories are not all bad, though, which is why we rely on them. At times, the stories regarding good and bad in our lives help us cope with situations that we have trouble understanding. They also help build up the good times, and focusing on the good can bring us very far.

The good that stories bring is why we trust them, even when we should not. A story is nothing more than how you interpret a situation, one way of looking at the world, one viewpoint, one perspective, one attempt to understand.

The Challenge

When facing challenges, good or bad, sometimes we do not need to understand as much as accept. If we are able to pause from our story making and just encounter and over come the challenges before us we stop taking life personally. A challenge can just be a hurdle we need to overcome so we can continue on with our mission, how ever you define that.

Putting a story to a challenge gives roadblocks in your life more meaning than they should have. Why glorify your struggles? Instead, see struggles as a necessary part of life, but not the norm. Stories make challenges the status quo.  Regarding bad as impersonal turns challenges in to just another day, just another obstacle.

We act as if good and bad are these things just floating around the universe that pick out people at random and act upon them. But, good and bad just are. They occur because that is life, and for no other reason. The challenge is not giving stories credit. The difficulty is refusing to build up the importance of challenges through stories.

Self Motivation

Acting impersonal towards challenges is not the same thing as acting without passion. Impersonal behavior sometimes has a bad rap for not caring, or for disconnecting you from life. I’m not telling you to live without passion. Instead of stories, the challenge is focusing on growth. You must observe good and bad with fascination at the wonder and diversity of life, and pursue your mission with passion.

Passion is really just another word for self-motivation, or living with a desire to continually improve yourself. This is something that you should never become impersonal about, and a place within you that any story can never touch. Stories add color to life, but stories provide entertainment. They are not meant to control your emotions and define your actions. They distract, not make you better.

The next time you face a challenge, and you feel a rising anger, pause for a second. Before the story takes hold, or before the story starts a new chapter, realize the plot line of the moment. Realization, consciousness, destroys the hold emotions take over us. Awareness returns you to what matters, and puts all of your challenges in perspective.

Are you happy?

Reflect on that for a minute.

If tomorrow, everything you had, everything you are, was taken away and your life was over, would you be okay with that? Would you truly believe that you had lived life on your terms?

Today we are going deep.

We have to. If you wish you were doing something else, if you have been putting off that project, that dream, that goal, then right now is the time to change that. This is your push, because you need to explain why you aren’t doing what you love, what makes you happy.

There is a truth of reality that can help you start right now getting where you need to be. This is a truth I have believed in, and followed, for a long time now. Once I started believing in this concept my life changed because I went from thinking about all the reasons I was failing and started focusing on finding ways to succeed.

The Law of Attraction

This universal truth regarding the law of attraction separates those that win, and those that spend their days just getting by. The concept goes by many names and variations. Visualization. Fake it until you make it. Prioritizing. Goal setting. Here is the idea:

If you continue to do what you have always done then you will continue to get what you have always got.

Unhappy in your relationship and want something different? Unhappy at your job? Overweight or feeling weak instead of strong? Want to own your own business? Want to start a blog?

Change what you are doing. Sounds simple. It is. Do not over complicate this. Do not think too much. You will overthink this, and your mind will prevent you from making change. Just remember the concept and speak the above to yourself when you need a boost to do something new. Then, with the mindset of success… do it.

The law of attraction ensures that what you focus on, you get. Most people buy in to this idea at some point in their lives, but then give up before things come to fruition. The length of time required to achieve our goals is always underestimated.

If you do not have the patience to prevail for years, then what you are trying to do is not a calling or a passion.

Patience is paramount to success. Do not expect to change your actions and then have your life change overnight. How long did your current life take to build? You might not have even thought about this, but your life was built over years, not days. Your actions over a very long time period put you on the path you’re currently on. Changing your path will also take a very long time. Years. If you do not have the patience to prevail for years then what you are trying to do is not a calling or a passion. What you seek is a passing fad. Let it pass and continue searching for your true vision.

Putting the Law of Attraction to Work

Implementation of this universal truth is easy. Think about the things in your life that make you unhappy. This could be values or traits you embrace, your actions, how you make a living, or your habits. What about your life do you wish was different?

Now, stop wishing and start doing. Momentum built over time compounds; pacing is important in everything- life, relationships, goals. I know you are excited, but there is no need to jump in with both feet right now. Take things slow. Nothing kills momentum faster than burnout, which results from going too fast and too hard then not seeing the intended results immediately.

Do not get discouraged when your new visions take longer than you want to accomplish. This is a long game. Avoid discouragement by celebrating the small victories, and the incremental forward movements towards your vision. Always remember, the law of attraction ensures that what you focus on you get. Focus well.

Whether you move ahead or languish is all on you. Undertaking a program of self-development and growth depends completely on self-motivation. Nobody is going to tell you to become better.  If you are waiting for a mentor, friend, family member, or coach to appear one day and say, “c’mon, let’s get moving” you are going to wait your entire life. No one will push you to level up but you. That initiative has to start from within you.

If you do not put in the time and work on your own self-development no one else will.

Are you ready for it? Some people are not ready yet. They plan on developing themselves down the road, but now is not that time. At times this is an excuse for people to never get started, and at other times this is true. Especially if you are in your early twenties, you have an immense amount of time to do your thing, whatever that thing is. I wish more people understood this. They might choose the right career then, travel a bit more and develop some empathy for others, and then pursue a life that fits their passions. Instead, young people rush in to things that do not make sense for them. They chase the money or end up with a negativity bias.

Invest in Yourself

What are you doing today to make your life better? A path of self motivation means doing things that make you better in the long run, not serve as distractions in the short term. These self investments are such things as reading and constantly learning, eating healthy, working out, and developing good sleeping habits set you up for success in the future.

Habit building activities matter. Too many think that they will start performing in a certain way once a good opportunity comes along, and forget that our actions are not controlled like a light switch. Good opportunities come to those that prove they have self motivation every step of the way, not just when the getting is good. If you can be motivated when your work sucks then you can be motivated when your work is great. In fact, motivation during the worst times is the most important.

Those able to think across disciplines, or combine multiple things that they are good at to be spectacular at one thing succeed.

Worry about your performance at all times, in all things, noticing where you slack out of boredom, frustration, or annoyance. Either change those things to find motivation, or work even harder in those parts of your life to find motivation. I cannot stress the necessity of making self motivation a pattern to live by, versus a one off thing you embrace when you must. The latter is a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

The pattern of self motivation starts with curiosity. Find things to be curious about, and you will stay excited about self development. You can always find something of interest if you search for it. A lack of self motivation stems from not finding anything you can sink your teeth in to. It could be drone racing, renaissance festivals, sand art, or boomerang throwing. At this point, what that topic is doesn’t matter as much as the act of being motivated about learning more in a certain area of life.

Over time curiosity will hone itself to other topics of interest, and self motivation will spread to encompass other areas of your actions as comparisons are drawn between different parts of life. In education this is called being interdisciplinary. In life this is called winning. Those able to think across disciplines, or combine multiple things that they are good at to be spectacular at one thing succeed.

self motivation

Some are ready to take their lives to the next level, but they are waiting for someone to show up and tell them how to do it. That will never happen. Your success or failure will depend only on your self-initiative. If you do not put in the time and work on your own self-development no one else will. Humans respond to where value is, and if you do not value yourself enough to grow then no one else will value you enough to invest in you. You have spoken and said you do not matter.

If you are ready to level up then you need to start right now doing it. No one cares if you do or do not. So, when you start taking the initiative to grow do not expect praise or accolades from others. Instead, expect quiet. Everything else will fall away, and the things you once thought mattered begin not mattering. I call this stuff the noise. Those voices in your head, and the distractions from media that prevent you from stepping out on your own. When you practice self motivation none of those things matter anymore.

Life becomes more exciting because you see possibilities and not just the practical. Most things become opportunities to challenge yourself to be better, and instead of approaching a potentially negative situation with anger your find excitement at the possibility to grow. Self motivation also makes you a target, but in a good way.

The most important aspect of self motivation, what continues to drive people forward when they want to quit, is seeing other people who are still grinding away. Self motivation feeds self motivation. Seeing the hard work and motivation of others eases the mind and lets one know that the ambitions one has set are not insane. You have colleagues in that crazy realm of possibilities. The hard part is starting, but once you take a chance on yourself the rest is just perseverance.

I don’t watch the news on t.v. I don’t read the newspaper, online, or a hard copy. I know almost nothing about current events beyond the small bits of information I glean from conversations. I am not trying to be ignorant, I am trying to surround myself with positivity, and our modern news is not at all about that. So, I put myself on an information diet. I worked to control the input of information in to my life. Maybe I am ignorantly happy, or maybe we already have enough negativity in the world without me adding to it.

Have you noticed how much negativity there is in the world? This is easy to see in the way people speak, and their use of limiting phrases like “I don’t care,” or “it doesn’t matter.” The focus right now is on what cannot be achieve, not what can be done. I don’t know, maybe people are bombarded by so many distractions and so much negativity in the media that they have been conditioned to think with limitations. Or maybe, we have become discouraged by the state of the world. We expected hover boards and floating cars and we got Instagram.

Regardless of the negativity, being a force for good means giving more than you get every single day. That is it. Nothing complicated. Just give to others, and you will be surprised to find how much you get in return even when you give without expectations.

Give More Than You Get

There is a pervading idea that if you do not get something from helping another than it isn’t worth the time. This, “what’s in it for me?” concept dictates that every action you take needs to benefit you. Doing good for the sake of doing good is lost to playing angles, looking for deals, and seeing how you can leverage the struggles of others for your own gain.

The irony of this, is that by doing the right thing without expectation of anything in return you usually receive greater gains. But, sometimes shortsightedness makes us look at what is directly in front of us. What are we going to gain right now, instead of, how can I help?

Why Giving Matters

Doing good is a personal choice, and I am not telling you to go out of your way to help others. If you don’t see the value in it, then do not do it.

But, from experience I can tell you that helping others often brings unintended rewards. What is more, these rewards mean more because they come unexpected, not at the expense of someone who needs help.

Giving actually creates value for yourself and others.

The other fear many people have is job security, or decreasing one’s value by helping others succeed. There is a worry that by helping someone gain new, valuable skills to get ahead, by giving away “trade secrets,” or by teaching someone how to win you cut yourself off at the knees.

I have never had this happen to me. In fact, the opposite has always occurred. Not only do I learn from giving to others and doing good, about myself and about being a better leader, person, mentor, and coach, but I become more valuable to others. My indispensability increases, not decreases. Giving actually creates value for yourself and others.

Investing In Doing Good

Finally, giving lets people know that you are playing a long game. You are investing in yourself and others. Instead of finding and taking any shortcut or quick and easy route, you are playing for keeps.

This means you already know and understand that shortcuts only get you so far and that at some point you need to invest in good values. People want to work with those that do the right thing, because doing good business, making good money, partaking in good actions, means that you can be trusted to do right when things come to a head. Because they will.

Not everything will go as planned, and when those unexpected situations occur people will seek out role models to discover how they should respond. Being a force for good, instead of spreading darkness, will make you that person. Living a life as a force of good all starts with giving more than you get. Give without expectation of anything in return because things will work out just fine in the end.