A very wise man once said, although I argued with him about it for quite some time, “Everything is a matter of perception.” I argued with him because I believed, at the time, that some things were not open to interpretation; that they weren’t open to perception; that they simply were. While I still believe there are some things that are inviolable – i.e. the sun rises in the east – I realize that 99% of everything is a matter of perception.
How we perceive things and how we react to them very much determines whether we have a positive or negative outlook; whether we feel challenged or defeated. Those outlooks can also be called beliefs and I’d like to take a look at a few of them and how they can impact your day by impacting your outlook.
“I am a victim of circumstance.” Virtually all of us can look back at some experience in our life and remember a time when it seemed like everything was working against us. Some of you reading this remember those times easily and how defeated you might have felt. Others of you may have taken a different approach and thought, “I create my own reality; these challenges will not defeat me.”
At those times, when the challenges and circumstances built up to the point of almost intolerance, you might have thought, “Life happens to me.” The truth is that life happens to all of us, but some of us choose to believe that life, no matter how great or how challenging, is a blessing we should cherish. That is they think “Life happens for me,” rather than thinking that life somehow is against them.
“I live in scarcity; there’s never enough.” Plenty of people feel this way even if they aren’t suffering from the lack of available commodities. They have enough food, a roof over their head, clothes on their back, a car to drive, etc. But they aren’t satisfied because they always want more; they want what someone else has or they simply want to have enough where they can’t imagine ever having to go without. Others experience the exact same conditions and instead of thinking that they don’t have enough, they think, “I live in abundance; there is always enough.” For some, having their health, a family, a secure home, enough food to put on the table and enough money to pay their bills is plenty.
“Obstacles hold me back,” is another very challenging thought. You are only defeated if you allow obstacles to stop you. Failure is only a reality if you stop chasing success. Instead of viewing obstacles as something that can stop you, view them instead as something that can help you grow. By learning to overcome the obstacles, you increase your skill sets and your resilience.
“I can’t start until XXX happens.” If you’re waiting for Monday, or until you get a sign, or for someone to say it’s okay, then you’re not committed and you’re not trying hard enough. You don’t have to wait for anything to get started on pursuing your goal(s). You don’t have to be successful to pursue a path of success, right? Success comes from getting started and working toward your goals, and the best time to get started is… now.
“This is too hard. I should quit.” Something I learned a long time ago from a Drill Sergeant in the Army is this: The only person in the world who can make you quit is the person in the mirror. There is no good reason to quit pursuing a goal except that you either lack courage or motivation. No goal worth pursuing is easily achieved. If it’s worth pursuing, it’s worth fighting for; it’s worth working for. Achievement should take hard work.
So, I encourage you to go back and read through that again. Don’t think in a way that limits your chances for success. Think in a way that empowers you and builds your motivation, strengthening your resolve and feeding your determination.