Wise Advice for Waking Up to Your Life

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Here’s a Damn Good Recipe for Failure & Unhappiness, for a life of misery.

Be self-righteous, wallow in self-pity, drown the day in fear and complacency. Look at your life and others with anxiety, jealousy, and hatred.

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Now here’s a More Delicious Recipe for Harmony, Peace & Happiness, for an extraordinary life.

Take it on the chin. Be flexible, resilient, forgive more. Work smart and hard and always look at life with confidence and gratitude.

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The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

When life feels like . . . .

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Repeat this little prayer. . .

a prayerRight now I am frustrated because I am not taking better care of myself. Which got me wondering about the payoffs I experience for staying stuck in my progress. For not waking up more and doing what needs to be done to change what I don’t like about my life.

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Dig deep for the payoffs for not moving towards your goals today. Ask yourself some BIG questions.

  • What am I avoiding? Hard work maybe? Self-discipline? A little pain now for bigger gains later?
  • Who am I punishing by staying this way?
  • Am I avoiding the true expression of my emotions? Are they too frightening to feel?
  • What if I am waiting for a guaranteed miracle? Who will bring it to me?
  • Perhaps being stuck is really manipulating myself and others?
  • Maybe I am looking for special attention? Wallowing in self-pity?
  • What will I miss most if I do succeed?

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Understand the difference between I will try and I will find a way  “Results are a function of your commitment. Most people are unaware that where they are is exactly where they want to be.”

 

 

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Dismiss What Insults Your Soul

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“Life requires of man spiritual elasticity, so that he may temper his efforts to the chances that are offered.”

Viktor E. Frankl

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“Change is essential for survival. All life forms must adapt to their fluctuating circumstances. All form of life result from the process of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance. The universe is in a constant state of chaos. We each have chaos implanted into our bones. Nature wires all of us for change.”

Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

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“One of the most remarkable of man’s characteristics is his capacity for becoming used to conditions of almost any kind, whether good or bad, both in the self and in the environment, and once he has become used to such conditions they seem to him both right and natural. This capacity is a boon when it enables him to adapt himself to conditions which are desirable, but it may prove a great danger when the conditions are undesirable. When his sensory appreciation is untrustworthy, it is possible for him to become so familiar with seriously harmful conditions of misuse of himself that these malconditions will feel right and comfortable.”

F. Matthias Alexander, The Use of the Self

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“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

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“There’s no such thing as a mistake, really. It’s just an opportunity to do something else.”

Ralph Steadman

 

A snake doesn’t mourn when it is time to shed it’s skin.

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Featured Illustration – Walt Whitman

 

 

Nine Ways to Strengthen Your Mind

This post ponders the idea of turning sour feelings. a.k.a. – a shitty state-of-mind – – into persevering resoluteness.

I am thinking about the alchemy of emotions. Turning fear into fascination; frustration into fortitude, pain into power and anxiety into assurance.

It’s about turning my life around. Drilling deep into my psyche to pull through life with courage and conviction.

What I believe to be True

When we do things thoughtfully we have a better chance at transforming for the better.

Think about it. . .How numb have we made ourselves to our heart felt emotions?

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When we are thoughtful we consider more possibilities. New ways of doing the same old things. Even the possibility of doing things differently. Disregarding old habits. Doing less of the busy and more of the productive. Challenging the status quo. Removing the habitual actions we have done in the past that no longer serves us well today.

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New decisions lead us to a new destiny. A better, more balanced life.

Beware of Bad Decisions

Unfortunately, even smart people make bad decisions when they are in a lousy state of mind.

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Good decisions come from clearing the head and pondering the problems. Becoming curious about why we are so dissatisfied with our lives.

What needs to change about our thinking?

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Real change, sustainable change comes from deliberate choices. What new choices can we make today?

 

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Problems are reversible when we get to the root of the cause.

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I want to change. . . .

Feeling Rushed & Overwhelmed

I despise the feeling of racing through my day. Moving so fast, juggling so much, attempting to “get it all done”. That rushed and over whelmed feeling leaves me discouraged and disappointed.

The Solution

Realistically predict the amount of time something will take me to do and add 60 minutes to that as a cushion. Build in some thinking time. Breathable time. Note to self: Realize life is a process, not just a checklist. It’s my pace, my life. If I can, I will always do it on and in my own time. 

Slow down, stay as organized as I can, surf the waves instead of fighting the tide, so that I get the work done and not drown in a sea of distraction. No matter who is pushing me to move faster.

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Feeling Tired & Exhausted

Serving others, really helping those you care for  is our true purpose. I believe it is the most important thing we can be doing. To be of service. However, becoming a slave (persona non-grata) to everyone’s whim is simply enabling and demeaning to myself.

Solution

I choose to review every request for help I get today. I will no longer run myself into the ground for anyone or anything. I will take breaks throughout the day. I am not a puppet, I pull my own strings. Oh, and I rest at the end of the day. Sometimes in between projects too.

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Feeling Insecure & Helpless

One of my best traits is that I am always learning something new, discovering new ways to do my job, developing more skills and increasing my worth. One of the worst things I do is say I can do something before I have mastered the skill. Yup, I do that and it is wrong. This lets people down. I over promise and under deliver.

Solution

I will never overestimate my talent or skills again. I will practice and become better, while only taking on paid projects that I know I can manage and execute.  I will be very careful to accept money for something I am still learning. I commit to asking plenty of questions and never saying I understand something, until I truly do.

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Feeling So, So Scattered

I am the dive right in type and I believe this is a good character trait to have, but I must learn to evaluate the waters before I jump in to the next project or relationship.

Solution

I promise to consider the possibility that I might not have the time to add anything else on my plate. I must have a plan before I attack. I must really look at what needs to be accomplished and not blindly beginning doing the task at hand.

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Feeling Frighteningly Frustrated

Why do I rush? Who is pushing me to move any faster? Is it the warped sense of time that this global interactivity thrusts upon us? Must everything be done in an instant?

Solution

Hell to the hasty and heedless. No more rushing. It is time to calm my heart’s dark waters.  I will take pauses, collect from deep thoughts and breathe deeply through it all. Especially the most difficult projects.

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Feeling Like a Victim

Okay, I will own it. When I am in a lousy state I tend to repel those around me. I bark at people. I speak to them like they are inferior. This in turn has them on the defensive and they return the favor. They bark back.  It becomes one big ugly dog fight.

Solution

I promise to stop taking on the world. Not everything is my problem to solve. I speak my truth more assertively and clearly without dictating or treating others unkindly. Sure I point out the elephant in the room but without embarrassing anyone. I will remember, it pays to be more patient.

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Feeling Super Guilty

Us alpha types, we just like to stay ambitious. We have so much to do – to accomplish. Then soon come the distractions once again. The texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls. The favors asked.  In an endless loop of “I don’t have time for this!” I begin to feel guilty. I get confused about doing the right thing vs doing the “what I want to do thing.” Oh I hate disappointing others.

Solution

I leave room for interruptions. I prioritize helping those that I know need me. I question how important their requests might be. I help by empowering, not by doing it for them. I understand my responsibilities with each role I have in life. Mom, marketer, wife, daughter, writer, creator, friend – while giving my 100% imperfect effort to each role.

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Feeling Scammed

You know, I am a bigger believer in that we know who we should and should not get involved with – but we continue to make the same mistakes over and over. We give people second and third chances. We continue to pick the worst friends, business partners, clients. People that let us down.

Solution

I hold my standards higher. I listen to my instinct the first time around and I promise to be realistic about the people I am getting involved with.

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Feeling Sad and Down

Luckily my regression to the mean is happy. Not happy in a ceremonious and demonstrative way, but in a satisfied way. I am not a high maintenance human. I require little to keep me satiated. However, sometimes, when I feel a pity party coming on, I can go places dark.

Solution

Move more and laugh more, while getting out of my own way. I make a thoughtful decision to have more fun with problems.

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A New Definition of a Billionaire (No.6)

True transformation, real personal change, can come from a spark of inspiration or devastating disruption. When you have been so turned on that your Hell Yes becomes your mantra for mind-blowing transformation or when you have dug yourself into such a deep hole that there is no way out but a mandatory intervention of

something has to f😎king change.

That moment that transforms your mind and ignites your soul can be fueled when you follow through with relentless daily discipline and commitment.

Are you ready?

On Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

In order to evolve we must have a deep, deep, deep desire to make the transformation true and we must be committed to doing things differently than we have done before. The danger lies in falling into daily ruts and remaining stifled by how we feel.

We can get comfortably uncomfortable with the false security of rituals and habits that do not serve us well in the long game of life. We trade out comfort for the moment, doing what feels natural and safe, for what might makes us healthier and stronger in the future. It’s the sacrifices and compromises that we don’t want to do now for a stronger and more fulfilled tomorrow.

Boxing Ourselves In

This in turn limits our lives. Boxes us in. We become strangely satisfied with what the day brings and when we stop seeking and searching for improvement we fall into a sleep walking state. A trance that keeps us from improving any further.

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Unraveling our Lives

If you can challenge yourself to become stronger, to feel uncomfortable, to stretch your mind and body, just a little bit every day you can unravel the state you are in.

It begins by waking up, by becoming more aware of the excuses you make for yourself and others, the annoying and recurring problems you have each day. The pain points you drown in another glass of wine or another tasty toke.

Do like those in the program. Clean up your errors. Admit your mistakes. Don’t kid yourself. Apologize and move on.

Facing Frustration

There is something absolutely energizing and almost fun when we begin to agonize over decisions and face our frustrations. Too little money, too much weight, not enough true friends, exhausting tasks at work. There is something empowering that happens to us when we face the frustration and work on each problem one at a time.

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Are you doing the things that are putting you in a position to soar?

Are you preparing yourself for how you will respond when

life destroys your sense of meaning?

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I am currently obsessed with developing a way to bring on an exhilarating neurostorm of enlightenment to the truth and limitless possibilities of this moment and the next.

It is what it isn’t. 

I have zero respect for the status quo, for what is and for what we perceive to be the “truth”, this so-called reality. I  also have distain for the phrase “it is what it is” – so much so, that I banish those that use the phrase from my mind kingdom.

anxiety-and-depression-gemma-correllNo, no, no your reality right now, whatever it may be, is precisely what you have chosen it to be right now. Your reality is what you perceive it to be. Your reality is connected to your attitude and the attitude you have can completely transform whatever situation you are in right now.

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Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Read: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Focusing Intently on What You are Becoming

Doing What Feels Natural isn’t Always What’s Best

Sure your habits might feel natural. You might explain your actions as something you just do, but that doesn’t make them good. Trade up your habits in favor of getting rid of what’s “natural” for  you. Eat less sugar, walk a little further, smile a lot more. Raise the stage for something that’s better. Experiment with new ways of naturalness. Upgrade your life.

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Undervaluing & Over Working Yourself to Death

If your frustrated and tired of not making enough money or stressed about how much you give in return for what you get, perhaps it’s time to stop undervaluing and over exerting yourself.

If you were to truly value all the gifts you give to the world, how would your world change? It is one thing to be modest and humble; it is another to have poor , low self-esteem. Do you know the difference?

Sometimes our esteem can be lifted by learning, by becoming more valuable through knowledge to have us become more confident at what we do. Remember, we don’t necessarily get paid for our time, we get paid for the value we bring to the hour.

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Seek, discover and focus on yourself. A winner is someone who recognizes his talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills and uses both to accomplish goals.

Regardless of anything else, always do more than what you get paid for, and do it well. This is not undervaluing. This is doing the right thing and the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Living in Fear

I have a four year degree, but I never paid attention in history class.  It was an online Coursera course with Professor Jeremy Adelman ( Director of the Council for International Teaching and Research at Princeton University) co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of Humankind from Beginnings to the Present that led to a big realization.

We’ve Always Been at War

At first I as astonished at how violent our world history really was – from Genghis Khan to Adolph Hitler. I have come to accept that we have lived in perilous and troublesome times for thousands and thousands of years. Nothing has changed. There will always be disruption, pain, corruption and manipulation. It is how we deal with the pain of living, how we face our fears and obstacles that makes us who we are.

Read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way

Worried about your job? The stock market? Your 401K? Your worth is directly related to your philosophy, not the economy. What is your philosophy towards life? How can you improve it?

1. Focus on What You Are Becoming

Some of us can survive (for how long?) as an elemental force of chaos with supernatural charisma, sloppy planning and dumb luck. We make decisions driven by emotional reactions, petulance and paranoia and in turn we make a mess of our lives.

If you are stuck, remember your life is very malleable. The best way out of a problem you have right now is to do your best right now.

Make a decision to set goals – what people do you want to meet, books you want to read, places you want to go, experiences you want to have. . .

If you dare to change, everything will change for you. Adopt a new vision as your truth. When mankind decided we would fly, we flew.

Distort your reality field. Imagine you, only different.

Sure we can all use more money, good friends and less worry. For one day, forget about what you need and focus on what you are becoming.

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2. Ask Better Questions

In the age of smartphones, Google and Quora, answers are a dime a dozen and very easy to find.  Forget about the answers. If you want to solve the bigger problems, ask better questions. Start with “What if . . .”

What if I took that online course? What if I said I was sorry? What if I joined the gym?

3. From Emotional Pain to Physical Embodiment

Don’t be so focused on your work that your ignore signals of your body. Especially stomach issues.

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4. Getting into The Flow State

Supercharging your thoughts is a healthier way to stage yourself for altered states of being.

Get out of the every day. Take on new experiences, new places, new spaces, transcend the ordinary. Rest, relax, seek novel experiences and environments. Disconnect and reconnect with your child-like mind. Rediscover the place of wonderment. Get into a state of unbelievable lucidity. Chase experiences that put you in the zone.

Try it. For one day, give everything you’ve got into everything you do.

5. Plus, Minus, Equal

Find three important people in your life. A mentor, a partner and someone to inspire.

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6. New Definition of Billionaire

Become a billionaire. Someone who positively effects the lives of a billion people.

7. Your Mental Diet

Stand guard at the doorway of your mind. Feed your brain delicious food. A few inspiring books, blogs and people I have been consuming this past week.

Jason Silva’s Seeker a dose of knowledge to help you make sense of what is happening in the world around us.

Steve Job’s 10 Rules for Success.

Why it’s important to always stay a student, Ryan Holiday author of The Ego is the Enemy.

Life advice from the mentor to the masters, Jim Rohn

Wait but why? one of my favorite new blogs. Check out this post on building a mental swiss army knife.

The sky is not the limit, but your mind absolutely is.

Where there is an open mind, there will always be a new frontier.

 

 

The Few Things You are Here To Do

 

In a world of constant distraction, how do you focus on what is important? Watch the one minute video above for great advice from Rob Bell.

And the next new thing in your life comes when you leave behind things that previously would have belonged.

You, fully grounded and centered doing a few things, not distracted, or exhausted or or burned out, but you fully present doing a few things are 10x more powerful than you spread thin busy being distracted doing a 1,000 things.

In order to say no you first had to have said yes.

For many people there is no filter for what they say no to. It begins with a few things you have said yes to.

Ask yourself, What are the few things you are here to do?

And then you say no to everything else.

You know you are making progress when something that would have survived 18 months ago, no longer makes the cut because there is always a narrowing of the way.

The narrowing of the way always involves saying no to something that previously would have survived.

You are the steward of your energies.

Where are you using your energy?

Rob Bell, How to Be Here, June 2016

Self-Awareness – Observing and Learning

A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.”

Paul Coelho, author of “The Alchemist”  said something very enlightening on Tim Ferriss’ podcast “The Habits of a Master” interview about observing, listening and learning as we live our lives. He believes it is not so important to journal and evaluate every action we take. He believes if we think about our lives and contemplate our actions and then let it go, the important will remain with us.

Somewhere between Paul’s no need to take notes, go live and the daily habit of keeping a diary/notebook of our daily thoughts, I believe we can grow so much faster and in turn become better versions of ourselves.

I know keeping a journal (morning and evening) helps me observe and consider my emotions and behavior in any circumstance that moves me. There are lessons that life teaches us from every situation that we could never learn in “school”. Every encounter that makes us angry, happy, sad or relieved is an opportunity to learn.

If we observe our thoughts and behavior as life unfolds we can begin to see what type of people we are and decide who we want to become. Like a scientist taking field notes from the front lines, we can observe ourselves and contemplate why we do what we do.

And hopefully, the important will remain.

Three Things to Make Your Life Better

 

how-to-get-people-to-tell-the-truth2-620Three things that are helping me grow right now . . .

1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy

The Quest:  How to know the truth.

Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.

2. Awareness of The Likability Bias

The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.

It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.

3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions

The Quest: How to have better outcomes.

I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”  

I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”

I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.

The Benefits of Designing Your Own Life Training Program

trainingUnlike those in the military, police force or competitive and professional sports, most of us are not required to have a disciplined training program every day. I have come to appreciate that no matter what you do, whether you are a graphic designer, content writer, human resource manager, executive recruiter, financial advisor or dog walker – it doesn’t matter – all of us could benefit by designing our own quality training program for life. I am in the process of reading the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work and while I find it amusing and a fun read, what I am really looking for in my own training program is something a bit more well-ordered and purposeful.

Result Rituals – Mind Wide Open

While I have started a daily program of what I call “result rituals” I am always in the process of fine tuning and adding elements to my regiment to increase my chances of results. My main goal – to become the best version of me I can be.  I think it’s hard to argue that we should all strive to be the best we can be. One book that looks like it might help is Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

A Quality Training Regiment

A quality training regiment (both physical and mental) that includes-

  • A physical workout that also focuses on maintenance to prevent injury.
  • Learning something new everyday to stay up to speed in our field of work.
  • A spiritual program to keep us connected to our personal higher source in order stay in line with our values.

The Frustration of Staying Focused

I had a moment of realization today as I was thinking about how to be more focused. It’s hard to stay focused when we try to do too much. I think my brain begins to realize that if I have 20 things to do on my list, it will be impossible, so without my evening realizing it, my brain doesn’t believe I will get everything done and starts to struggle with the idea of feeling overwhelmed. Unrealistic expectations set us up for failure. Thinking we can accomplish too much in too little time. Be very mindful of how much you put upon yourself each day. Set realistic goals for the days, weeks and months ahead. Goals that have you improve, but with doable steps. We rarely leap to success, it’s usually in the small daily wins that we find we eventually reach our goals. 

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I am currently working toward the following goals.

Be More Here –  All the Time.

Just ten minutes of meditation has helped me throughout the day. I am less apt to get distracted and learning to be at home in my mind and body. Meditation teaches us to watch the state we are in – are you daydreaming? worrying? what are you thinking about? One great tip -have a mirror at your desk and every once in a while look at yourself. Where are you? Are you here?

 A Lasting and Consistent Way to Stay in Line with Our Values

Every morning I have been reading a few paragraphs of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl which reminds me that it’s easy right now to say that I want to be the highest version of myself, but it is in the midst of darkness and despair when we need our faith and values most. I am training for the future. For the days when things might not be so bright and easy.

A Quote from Man’s Search for Meaning

I mentioned earlier how everything that was not connected with the immediate task of keeping oneself and one’s closest friends alive lost its value. Everything was sacrificed to this end. A man’s character became involved to the point that he was caught in a mental turmoil which threatened all the values he held and threw them into doubt.   Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Side note:

Great list of the 10 Biggest Mistakes When Setting Goals by Michael Hyatt.

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#mondaymotivation