Can We Change Our Lives?

[This question came from my Twitter Q&A last Thursday. These Q&A posts are getting so big I'm going to start rolling them out in smaller pieces. If you like them, please Facebook Like above, or Follow me on Twitter and join me for the next Q&A, every Thursday from 330-430 EST. ALSO, if you have more answers for the question below, please put them in the comments. For instance, how have you changed your life for the better?]

CAN WE CHANGE OUR LIFE

Emeric Caron ‏@CaEmeric: hey James, a little question. I work in a bank that I hate, do you think we can change our lives for the better?

ANSWER:

The worst is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow to do the exact same horrible things you did today and have been doing for maybe years.

Where will you find the strength for these incompetent people around you, for the running runing RUNNING, all over the place and getting nowhere, despite attempts to escape the crushing necessity, the sickening feeling that destiny won’t change, that every night you will be down and out, crushed by the dread of even more sordid and more insecure tomorrows?

(sometimes it feels hopeless)

But right now it’s over. Starting this second. You might have feelings about the past (“I did nothing with my life”, “I hate that I took a job at the bank”, etc) but those are just feelings. The past is gone. Yes, you have feelings about it. Say hi to them. That’s it.

The future is wide open. The music in you hasn’t died just yet. We’re always afraid that the ever-closer old age will threaten the worst, ending with cruelty and malice, ending with NOTHING, but it never has to threaten the music. Instead we’re going to finetune the instrument. Make it more melodic, make it more symphonic, make it sing with beauty.

How can you bring about a better future?  I’ve been in unhappy jobs. I’ve been broke. I’ve been in an unhappy marriage. I’ve been depressed, medicated, lying  on hotel hallways passed out with people walking over me. Lying on the corner of 52nd and Lexington at 2 in the morning passed out drunk while cars that could barely see me swerved around me. Making it home just in time to vomit, just in time to wake up to meet with investors the next day. Could I change?

It’s not fun to be unhappy.

But that changes today. Right this second. Are you breathing? Take a second and check. Take two deep breaths. Are you breathing? Ok, now you can change completely.

You need to get your body back in shape. Not just your body but everything inside of you. Your brain. Your soul. Your emotions. Your angers. Your worries.

Make four goals for today. Just four.

One goal to make your body physically better (don’t drink, don’t eat carbs, sleep 9 hours, exercise, walk around the block, CLEAN YOURSELF, etc – that’s all. Just pick one of those goals. Or two, or three. Whatever you want).

Make one goal emotionally: Be grateful for someone in your life. Tell them. Connect two people who should meet. Read a book you love. Be  nice to someone you know. Say “no” to someone you don’t like, someone who brings you down. Again, just pick one goal. Maybe even this: everytime you think about the past that brought you here just say, “I acknowledge I have bad feelings about the past” but stop the blame that you caused it. It’s done. Make that your one emotional goal of the day. The past is one arrow that has been shot at you. But blaming yourself is the second arrow. Don’t kill yourself with the second arrow.

(answer in the comments: what is your emotional goal for the day. What are good emotional goals?)

Make one goal mentally. I always suggest coming up with ideas but it doesn’t have to be that. Read a book. Underline things you like in the book. Memorize a list of 7 letter words for Scrabble. Here’s one for today: every article in the newspaper think about how that article is lying to you. Because they all are. Not on purpose but because they don’t know better. Just think. A simple goal. Later you can add to your mental goals.You can list ideas for companies you want to start. You will start a company. You will break free from the bank. But you need the other three categories to do that. And you need to build up your mental body first the way you would build up your physical body.

Spiritual. Surrender. Accept the past. Here you are in the present. It’s happened. There’s nothing you can do. So accept it. And accept the future. Why accept the future? Because you know the music is not going to die. Because if you do these four goals every day life is going to get better and better. Surrender to that. Because doing these goals begin to unlock the mysteries inside of you. They want to come out and play.

Every week add one more goal in each category. You will be the lighthouse of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and all of the other lost boats will seek you out. Your light will shine through all the fog until you can see all the shores around you.

Use tdp.me to track your goals (Again: the developer, Jay Shirley, is going to kill me for giving out the URL before final features are in but it’s a great tool for monitoring and tracking these goals). Put your goals in there. Make sure you check the box on them each day this week. Each goal is in a different color. It’s pretty when you see a week’s worth of goals checked.

Note: this is not “The Secret”. There’s no visualization here. There’s no future that we create. Today is about TODAY. Do what you need to do today. Surrender to it. Tomorrow will take care of itself once you do that.

Your life is going to change with such blinding speed you won’t believe it. It will feel like magic coming out of your fingertips and your eyes. But change will happen. Do these goals today. Surrender to them.

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