I’m very seldom happy or satisfied with where I’m at in life. It seems like no matter what I do I feel I could have done better, given more, gone an extra step or two… there are times when I allow myself to feel grateful for all I have, I certainly am grateful for many, many things… but my days are often caught up pushing, striving and working to achieve MORE. I am also EXTREMELY critical of myself as well. Anything perceived as a failure, or not up to the standards I’ve set for myself can be emotionally devastating to me.
I have no idea where this personality trait comes from, maybe one or both parents, I’m not really sure. I do know it has benefits and drawbacks for me, as is often the case with many things in life. As a young musician, I wanted to play everything perfectly and effortlessly, so it drove me to practice 2+ hours/day for years until I became a good enough player to be satisfied with my abilities. I take that same drive into anything I do – I want to not just learn something, I want to be one of the BEST at anything I do… which, of course, is not always possible… especially at first. It’s this drive that has helped me become a fairly accomplished musician and salesperson, although the same part that drives me also looks back at what I’ve done and usually thinks “I could have done better”…
The drawbacks of this “I should be instantaneously great at everything I do” attitude include having to go through the emotions of doing things at first that aren’t so perfect – whether it was playing that first show, making that first sales call, writing the first chapter, giving the first speech… and dealing with the outpouring of negative emotions that follow. The interior dialogue that says “That was awful, what were you thinking? You can’t do this!”… It can kill things before you even get started.
I gave a speech in 2012 that didn’t go very well at all. Now, I also gave many talks in 2012 that were very good. The one that sticks with me is the “failure”. I gave no talks after that, even thinking about it now fills me with negative emotions. When prepared, I can do a pretty good presentation. I think I went into that particular speech just thinking my natural ability would carry me – sometimes it will. That day it didn’t. I stopped really looking to give talks after that. It also has affected my writing… I don’t have much confidence in my writing. Because of that I am very critical of anything I post.
I’m writing a book called FEED YOUR ANGEL not because I believe I have it all figured out – but because I DON’T. I need to remind myself every day that my thoughts will create my reality, to focus on what’s going right, to look at the bright side…
There is almost always a battle raging within me. As I write this I’m thinking “Very few people will ever read this, nobody cares what you think, you’re not a very good writer, this is a stupid idea”… At the same time I’m thinking “This is a great idea, if you continue writing and speaking there’s no limit to the amount of people who’s lives you can positively impact, keep going, you’ll get better, you can do it”…
It’s a battle similar to this that keeps most of us from ever trying anything new – starting a business, relocating, writing a book, whatever it is… it’s always easier to stick with where you’re at and what you know than to make any changes or try something new. Change can be scary. Failure, even if it’s only “perceived” failure, is very hard to overcome. The path to self confidence runs through the road of failure, though. Only the things you are truly passionate about will give you the drive to succeed.
Writing a book has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid. I intend to succeed. In the process I hope that some of what I write resonates with someone else in a positive way.
Every night and every morning I say these words silently to myself:
I am rich
I am prosperous
I am abundant
I am healthy
I am happy
I am love
Every night these are the words I fall asleep to, these are the thoughts I give my subconscious mind to work on while I sleep.
Every morning, these are the words I use to start my day with the right attitude.
I’m writing a book called “Feed Your Angel” because for years I never saw myself this way. I saw myself as poor, unhappy, unhealthy, angry and insecure. I need to put supportive thoughts into my mind on a daily basis or the negative mind stream finds its way back to my subconscious.
There are many books that speak to the power of using the words “I AM”. Be very careful what you program yourself to believe you are. Using the phrase “I AM” followed by all the things you wish to see in your life every morning and evening gives you 730 opportunities per year to program your subconscious properly. Your subconscious mind will begin to act on those beliefs.
When you use the term “I AM”, believe that whatever you say after it is true for you. See that feeling or emotion as being who you are. When you say “I am love”, see and feel what that means for your life.
Personally, I use “I am love” because I can have trouble controlling my anger at times. When there’s a lot of stress and I feel pushed or things aren’t going exactly how I want them to I can get frustrated and angry. You can tell what’s inside a person when they’re squeezed and too often anger is what I see in myself. I want to replace that with love. So, 730 times a year (at least) I tell myself “I am love”, “I am love”, “I am love”… and I see myself mentally responding differently to these situations. You can’t put that much positive energy into your mind without seeing a positive impact on your life.
Ever feel like the rodeo of life has lassoed you several times and you’re stuck in the middle being pulled seventeen directions at the same time? As you try heading in one direction, sixteen things are pulling you away from your goal? It can be very emotionally draining. Or, perhaps there’s no goal set at all and you’re just letting the people holding the ropes pull you wherever they want. Well, it’s time you started pulling your own strings.
First, become clear on your goals. I have no idea what the percentages are, but I believe the vast majority of people have no clear, concise version in their minds of what they want the future to look like… much LESS a plan of action for getting there. With no plan, your life will be pulled wherever the external influences of your life wish to take you – you’re a ship without a rudder and your chances of landing in a port of your choice are greatly reduced.
Spend some time thinking about what your IDEAL life would look like. Break it up into categories – work, physical, material, etc., and list everything you could ever want for yourself without limits. Let the list sit for a while, add to it, subtract from it, and when you’re comfortable some things listed you’d really like to focus on create a list in order of importance. Then systematically attack that list.
Now you have a list of goals and your #1 objective in place – how hard was that? Not hard at all, just took a little time and effort placed on thinking about where we’d like to go. We are preparing you mentally to see yourself succeeding.
Take goal #1 and start thinking about the steps it will take to get you there. Think about the obstacles you will encounter as well, which are usually the things that have stopped you from acting on a goal in the past. “I don’t have the money”, “I don’t have the knowledge”, “I don’t have the time”… if you let these thoughts defeat you then goal #1 wasn’t really anything you truly had any passion for. What you’re looking for are goals that stir emotion in your heart, when you look at goal #1 your thoughts should be more along the lines of “I’m absolutely going to do this no matter what appears to stand in my way”. Then make a list of all the things that have kept you from starting on this path to attain goal #1 in the past.
Once you have your list, sort the obstacles and steps to attainment of your goal into a clear list that you can logically start working on. Once your list is done, look it over and begin to formulate a plan for achievement by starting with the first step on your list, develop a plan for success. How do you eat an elephant?... one bite at a time. The goal might seem insurmountable on its own, but taken step by step you start to see and believe it can be attained.
Back to the lasso analogy we started with – instead of struggling to get seventeen places at once, you need to pick the one thing that is most important to you and pull it in by focusing your attention on attainment of that particular goal and breaking it into smaller, achievable steps. Once goal #1 has been achieved, we focus on #2, #3, etc., until you’ve pulled all your goals into your life and are free to live however you want to.
Funny thing about goals, though – once you attain a goal new ones will show up. You never really become free from the emotional tug of war, but you can start to take more control by using the methods described above. Success is a journey, not a destination.
If it is true that we become what we think about, (and I believe it is), then what is your vision of the future? Do you have one? If your vision of the future looks pretty much like where you’re at now, guess what? You’re living your future life already. If you have no concept of what you want your future to look like, then by default it will look very similar to the life you’re currently leading. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this unless your current situation is something you’d like to improve upon.
If you’re looking to make a change in any area of your life, it’s important that you are able to visualize your life as it will be after making the change. Get in touch with the feelings and emotions associated with having made the change. You have to internalize the end and believe it for yourself for any change to occur. Then start acting from that belief… NOW! When you see a future for yourself and truly believe this is how things will work out, then start acting on that faith, the change is inevitable.
Belief and faith are integral parts of this equation, though. If you wish to make a change, but internally keep telling yourself it can’t be done it will be pretty hard to succeed. Change will occur when you have a burning desire to live the life you imagine for yourself and fuel it with the belief it CAN be done. Faith that you can do it will come from within once you have the outcome in mind and belief that it is possible for you.
Visualize success. Believe it for yourself. Act on that belief with the end in mind. Have faith. This is the formula for creating miracles in your life. Anything you want to change can be changed the instant you decide to act with a new future in mind.
FEED YOUR ANGEL every day. Tell yourself why you CAN do things. Don’t listen to the opinions of anyone trying to keep you down. Your entire life is thought. Do you like what you’ve created so far? Great! What you see and believe for your future is what you’ll get… spend some time creating the future you desire.
No matter who we are, how much we work on staying positive, all the reading, meditating, journaling and praying we do… there are days we wake up “down”. Why is that? Where does a “down” day come from? We all know people who start every day down because they’ve predetermined that will be how their life and thought patterns will be for themselves. Why do days like that get thrown in to otherwise happy, positive people, though? What can be done about it?
When you have a down day, try not to get caught up in the negative emotion and let it ruin the day. Instead, look for the causes and try to view it as a learning experience. There are days that you won’t be able to find a cause. There are days that will be down because of grief, loss of a loved one, sickness in yourself, friend or family member, etc… and there are those people who suffer from clinical depression. I’m not talking about extended periods of depression here, just the occasional “down” day that happens to almost everyone now & then.
Down days can be an indicator of stress and/or poor health habits in an area of your life. If you’re in the midst of a down day, or stringing a few together, try to take some time and observe your life leading into it. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating properly? Stress at work/home/money or some other area of your life? Down days can lead you to discover things about yourself that will allow you to make changes and set a new course of action for yourself to create a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. They can be a catalyst for change… change for the better. You have to look within to find the cause for yourself, then do the work to make the proper corrections in your life.
Using down days for your benefit can be one of the best ways to create a life aligned with your core beliefs and values. When used properly they help us correct course and move ahead in the direction our soul intended for us.
Last month my wife and I had the good fortune of being able to visit the island of Barbados. The country is known for it’s laid back, care free attitude and you feel it the second you get off the plane. If the USA is a 78rpm record, Barbados runs at 33 1/3rpms or less. If you want a relaxing vacation I can’t think of a better place to go.
One of the reasons we loved Barbados so much was the attitude of the inhabitants we met. It seems like the whole country has bought into the idea that they’re living in paradise and it shows in how they treat others. I can’t think of a time we weren’t greeted with a smile and a hello, or how often the question “How are you?” would be answered with something about “living in Barbados, how could you be anything but great?”…
When you spend time around that many happy people who love their lives and have created a culture of happiness that permeates not only their lives and their families, but an entire COUNTRY, it can’t help but have a positive effect on you. We became used to the day to day life in Barbados as a matter of fact.
As soon as we got back to the Miami airport, though… reality hit us that we were back at 78rpms and were going to be treated MUCH different here. We’d smile, say hello to people and get NO response. Customer service was awful compared to what we were used to. We saw many more upset, frowning, frazzled people then we’d seen all week in Barbados.
The funny thing is that if you drove through a typical neighborhood in Barbados you’d probably think they live in squalor by US standards. VERY small houses, not well kept, tightly packed together. Yet THEY are the country that, when dealing with people on a personal level, have the better attitude. THEY are the ones who believe they’re living in paradise.
We are all one step away from living in paradise – the only thing we need to do is realize it and believe it for ourselves. Once you truly believe it, you’ll spread that goodwill to everyone you meet, your co-workers, your family, your community and your country. By feeding your own angel you’ll feed the angel in others by default. I saw it work for an entire country.
If you could go back and talk to yourself as a little boy or girl, what would you say? How would you approach it? What are the most important things you would want to let yourself know at that age? Taking some time to put some thought into this RIGHT NOW might be helpful before reading on… Here is how I see my conversation going:
“Little Dave, you are SO special, you’re smart and funny and you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. Don’t EVER underestimate the power of your own thoughts! It’s what you believed was possible that eventually created who you are today, which is me. We all miss some opportunities, everyone makes mistakes. I’m really happy with the results so far, but since I’ve been given the chance to come back and give you some advice, here goes”:
1 – THOUGHTS CREATE THINGS – Be VERY conscious of what you focus on. SEE yourself succeeding! You will become what you think about, so focus on positive, uplifting thoughts that stir passion within you. Don’t allow other people’s negativity to change any thought or belief you know in your heart is right for you. You can do ANYTHING IN LIFE that you believe, TRULY BELIEVE, for yourself. Belief alone isn’t enough. Once you’ve set a goal, move ahead and let your passion inspire you to do so confidently and in a manner that will be so uplifting to others they will want to help you. You can get anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what THEY want.
EVERYTHING YOU DO from this point forward originates in thought. Get rid of bad, negative thoughts and do not allow negative, cancerous people into your life. Whether you live in light or darkness is your choice. Choose light! Whenever you feel darkness overcome you, look for a light switch – there are times it will be well hidden, but light is ALWAYS available.
2 – DEFEATS ARE STRENGTHS – Defeats are temporary, success is a state of mind. There will be times in life where nothing will seem to be working, where demons will seem to have taken a foothold and darkness falls over your thoughts. These times are the biggest opportunities life has to offer! It is from the darkest of times, our greatest defeats, that we discover our strengths. Always look for the hidden opportunity in every defeat. It’s there; you just have to look for it. Demons try to control your thoughts by handing you defeats in life. They look for weaknesses. But YOU control your reactions, YOU control your thoughts, YOU control your destiny. It’s how you react to setbacks that will show what you’re really feeling internally. Always look for the opportunities in any setback.
3 – BE A FORCE FOR GOOD – In the same way that you always have to be on the lookout for opportunities in any setback and control your own thoughts by focusing on what’s going RIGHT in life, you also need to bring that positive outlook to everything you do. Be a force for GOOD in the world! Help others see the potential in themselves. Change people’s perceptions of what is possible. Just as you can attain whatever you believe is possible for yourself, you can impact any group or organization in life in a similar fashion:
- AT WORK: No matter what the job is, always do your best. If the atmosphere is negative, be a force for the other side. Point out what’s great, look for ways to improve the company and always remember you’re a free agent and can change jobs any time you want to if the circumstances aren’t conducive to a positive mental state. NO job is ever worth doing if you’re just there for the money and dread going in every day. This is one of the most common areas for darkness to sneak into the minds of people. Be aware of this and always look at things from an attitude of doing the best you can and changing things at work for the better.
- FAMILY: Not everyone in your family will be supportive of everything you do. There will be times when other family members are dealing with defeats of their own. Emotional issues with other family members can get heated at times. RELAX… center yourself, and look for ways to change your ENTIRE family’s thought patterns and lives for the better. We first learn to FEED OUR ANGEL and be aware of our personal thought patterns, but families have thought patterns of their own (as do businesses and communities), so align yourself with the angels. Look for what’s going RIGHT, don’t let the naysayers bring you down. Be a leader in your family.
- COMMUNITY: Every community needs leaders. Every community has organizations that help others, where people can volunteer and make a positive impact not only on themselves and their personal families, but the lives of others. A community can be a city, state, country or the world. How many people’s lives would you like to impact? Always look for ways to serve the community. Do what you can to help others align with angels. We can change the world one thought pattern at a time!
“So, little Dave, please take these words to heart. You’re capable of SO many things… really ANYTHING, but you just need to believe it. Setbacks are inevitable, but once you really understand the power of thoughts NOTHING can stop you! And I KNOW because I’m YOU!”…
Unfortunately, none of us can go back and give ourselves advice based on our current levels of knowledge. If we did, we might not be here because the choices we made that brought us here might change because of the impact we had on that awesome little kid that was us so many years ago…
Here’s what we CAN do:
1 – Make sure every child in your life knows these things! You can’t tell yourself, but there are millions of children who need to know what you wish you knew. We can ABSOLUTELY change the world one child at a time! “Be a force for good” in the lives of every child you meet!
2 – You can’t go back and talk to yourself as a child, but… what would the future you tell yourself if he or she visited today? Probably the same types of things! We are ALL capable of SO MUCH MORE than we realize! Find ways to spread LOVE to the world! Learn to love yourself, to FEED YOUR ANGEL every day, then take that love, take that positive, can-do “I can’t be defeated” attitude into EVERYTHING YOU DO! Have a conversation with your future self, they’ll tell you. No matter where life finds you today, you can and must leave a legacy of love. FEED THE ANGELS OF THE WORLD. As we all focus on what’s right, the world will change with us.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
WE ALL CAN!