Seneca said, and I’m going to read it because it’s a quote, “It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery engulfed by anxiety that the things it desires might retain its own until the very end, for such a soul will never be at rest. By longing for things to come it will lose the ability to enjoy the present things.”
Now I think this is so appropriate, especially for today in today’s society. The other day I had someone come up to me and said, “Doug, we need to talk.” Now it was done via text-messages, but that’s how I heard it, “We need to talk,” in kind of that deep tone if you can imagine. And it was very easy to go, “Oh crap, what do we need to talk about? Is something wrong?” This is a client of mine and I was just like, “Wow, what’s going on with his or her life.” I went through this process and I’m going to guess I went through this process for all of three seconds, but sometimes three seconds can seem like an eternity. But right away I went right back to my training, and that training has come from years, and years, and years of experience and really working on this. But I went, “I don’t know what he means. He could mean that something’s wrong or something’s amazing, so how do I know?” And I just kind of let it brush off.
But I do remember in the past- Oh, in the past I would’ve thought, “Oh man, what’s going on? What do they need? Something’s wrong, something’s broke et cetera, et cetera,” and I would’ve been miserable about a future advance, or people perhaps it was a visit. Like, maybe it was a guest visiting that I was a little anxious about. It could’ve been somebody coming into town that was staying with us, or even sometimes I say “yes” to speaking events like six months or a year in advance and it gets closer and I’m like, “Oh man, I got to go and speak at this event and I don’t know who’s going to be there,” and, “Geez, do I really want to go, and I’m going to miss my family.” I go through this whole list in my head, and that one, it lasted a little bit longer but it usually lasts only a couple minutes top and then I spin out of that pretty quickly, again, because of my training. But, back in the past, that would have lasted with me for weeks; just kind of been, “Oh man, I got to a speaking event and this is what’s going on.”
I’m sure you can relate. If I called you right now or texted you and said, “Hey, we need to talk,” or that common phraseology, often times we go right away into the worst parts of the future. We project this meaning into the future about what it could be or something bad. You know, human nature, you come up with almost the worst-case scenario. But now if you’ve been listening to these daily growth hacks, you know very well that you have complete control of this, right. You can define the story any way you want. So, what I chose to define is like you know, “We need to talk,” I was like, “Awesome, I look forward to it.” It’s a coaching client of mine and all of my coaching clients I develop really deep, personal relationships with them. So, I actually turned it around, like, “This could be really great. I’m really excited. I wonder what’s going on, what’s happening.”
And so just to give you an idea when we got on the phone, he needed to talk because he just doubled his business. He doubled his business with just a few mental tips, a few mental clicks and changes that he had put into his psychology that was allowing him to produce better results and he was so excited. So he actually got his financial statement, closed a couple key clients, and doubled his income, and so that’s why he wanted to talk; so it wasn’t bad at all, right. But, had I been to that miserable state I would have lost contact with reality, I would have lost contact with this present moment with, again, my family, which I talk about so much on this podcast, but I spend so much time with my wife and my so. When I’m not traveling, I’m here. I got whiteboards all over this room, we got a new one behind me that I don’t use that much. But I would have lost that, I would’ve sat down, I would’ve been moping around and really just waiting for the phone call kind of dreading it.
But at this point, it just changes it. I don’t let misery predict my future. I don’t play into that misery, instead, I want to change my paradigm; so, “What else is possible?” And you always have three possibilities. You have the miserable one, you have the positive one, or what’s else? What else is possible for you? That’s something I want you to think about. Right now if you have your journal, is there something in the future that’s coming up for you that you’re dreading. Maybe it’s a date, maybe it’s an event that you’re going to, maybe it’s just talking to somebody, or whatever it could be. What is it? Write that down, and then what I want you to do is write what else is possible for that, write a positive scenario for that. And this isn’t all about just being happy, this is really about controlling your own destiny and your own life. It’s really about being the author of your own story, right, because if you were to live in that misery you’re going to miss a thousand precious today’s, a thousand precious nows and moments, and I don’t want you to do that.
So write that out and then write down a positive meaning that you can associate with that. Remember, meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life, so change that up for yourself, really make a difference. And that’s going to allow you to enjoy today, enjoying this moment. And if you’re like the old me, this could give you a whole week of your life back and enjoy, and that’s priceless; a week of your life, holy cow, that’s just amazing. And if you can do that week after week after week, then you’ve mastered the art of being the author of your own story. That’s it for me today. Remember, go out build your tribe.
Share this with at least three people right now that you think would enjoy it, and spark a conversation with them. I don’t care if the conversation is about how bad my background looks or how you don’t like them. It doesn’t matter to me. What really is important to me is that you share these with a least three people so you can build your tribe, build the people that you’re having conversations with that matter, and build your base. That’s it. Go out and be the author of your own story.
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