I feel compelled to share some thoughts from a conversation I had recently. The topic is too important and too relevant to everyone and I don’t think we can be reminded of it enough.
I got this email from a TAL Family member…see if you can relate at all and then we’ll talk about it:
“In regards to your question on negativity, I do feel negative towards what I am doing.
I am in the military and going to graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology.
I thought going to school for 18 months (paid for) in return for a 3 year service commitment upon graduation was a good deal.
Well it turns out, I do not have any interest in what I am studying. I know that I have the ability to chose how I feel. But deep down, I feel like I am wasting my time by putting in the hours to do a job that I do not enjoy.
I have come to believe that life is short so you have to do something that makes you happy. By default your happiness will make the world a better place. It is an interesting place the military. I went to the Air Force Academy because it was a free education and the AFIT because it was free and a good deal.
I look back at my life and I’ve spent the last 7 years doing things that I don’t like doing in order to obtain education that I do not want.
All because of financial security and people telling me it is respected and they wish they would have done something like it so they could retire (20 years for lifetime benefits).
I know that I have been blessed in many ways, but imagine if I would have spent all the time in pursuit of something I am passionate about.
I look at the hard work I am doing now (6 months left at AFIT) and can only think I am going to work 3 years afterward doing a job I do not want to do.
It is a struggle to not feel cynical and like I am crazy.
I wish I could surround myself in pursuit of something great. Life to me is not about working so I can eventually retire and then what? Live then? Life is too short, I might as well do what I love?
What a curious adventure this life is!
Do you ever feel negative about your job, or whatever it is you find yourself ‘stuck’ doing for the majority of the day?
I know for a fact that many of us get stuck in the pattern of ‘just getting by’ in our work, or school, or parenting…just ‘grinding it out’, and just suffering through it.
It’s so easy to get sucked into waiting until later to truly enjoy life.
I know, I’ve been there plenty of times. Not much in the last few years, but in 2011 I was very much living in that state.
Well…at least partly miserable.
I remember 2011 feeling on a high in many areas of life: My family life was awesome, and every morning and every weekend I would ‘escape’ work to go running in the mountains and with friends, or to play with my family.
I loved those parts of life. There was a lot of joy!
But come Monday morning there was misery.
So I numbed it…I distracted myself during work with things that felt better. You know…Facebook, or blogging about running, or anything else I could find to take my mind off of the job I had grown to dislike.
Ugh! Is that really how we are relegated to live life?
Loving parts and escaping others? Dreading Mondays and always looking forward to 5 O’Clock and the Weekend? Really??
Can’t we live in a state of love for all of life?
As I’m sure many of you know probably even better than me…of course we can!
I absolutely LOVE Mondays these days…simply because my thinking about them changed.
My circumstances had not changed at all when I began genuinely loving Mondays.
Do we ever have to wait for something to happen in the future to start fully living?
The awesome news is…absolutely not!
Because our circumstances do not have the power to dictate our joy in any area of life. Only our thoughts influence our feelings. And we have the ability to influence and change our thoughts.
Brandon, one thing you mentioned I’d like to clarify – you said, “I know I have the ability to choose how I feel”.
Well, I believe that is true…only indirectly. I believe we have some ability to change and direct our thoughts. And it is our thoughts that influence our feelings.
While we are not in control of every thought that pops through our head…we do have the power to think and direct our thoughts. And we do have the ability to change our habitual thought patterns, which has proven to be powerfully life-changing for many of us.
And since our thoughts are the source of all of our feelings (not our circumstances, as we all-too-often fall into believing),…
…Our circumstances do not have any power to stop us from living fully and loving our life.
Circumstances are all neutral – they are simply symptoms, or results, of past thoughts, feelings, and actions…of us and many other people. They are never the cause of our happiness or sadness or fulfillment or any other emotion. Only our thoughts cause those feelings.
As we remember that truth, it enables us to stop resisting and fighting against our circumstances, and it opens our mind to new ways of thinking about things.
If you happen to be feeling at all like Brandon, here are my thoughts for you.
Clearly you needed to learn those lessons deeply for yourself. Everything is conspiring for your benefit. Now you can clearly see what you don’t want.
I must say, I totally agree with your logic. Life is too short to spend any of it not living in a state of love.
I know it is possible to live in a state of love for wherever we find ourselves regardless of the circumstances. Right now, for example, you have this awesome realization. You will find the path that is right, that your heart leads you to, because you are open.
Meanwhile, to live in a state of love and joy today, you can keep on finishing your studies well, and express gratitude for where you are, and honor your Self and God for guiding you to this moment in time.
It’s hard to see it now…but your path in life has been perfect for you.
You did the best you knew at the time and now you see more clearly.
I love that you are consciously striving for greatness and feeling a deep desire to live a life of passion and love. You aren’t willing to settle for mediocre and you’re unwilling to stifle the greatness inside you from leading you to your heart’s calling.
Life is a truly amazing adventure indeed. When you said, “Life to me is not about working so I can eventually retire and then what? Live then?” I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment!
Life is about living today.
When I had that realization a few years ago I immediately retired from working for the money ever again. I committed myself to working for the love of life — starting that day — and for the rest of my life.
And I also decided that I would never ‘retire’ from working for love until the day I die.
I have had a few occasions of needing to remind myself and recommit to that since. In fact, every day I need to remember who I truly am and recommit to living from a state of love.
It is so tragic to witness the far-too-many people who work for money for their entire career only to retire and then die, or live a miserable existence because they still haven’t given themselves to the purpose of living in love. So they tragically, unknowingly, throw away the opportunity to live and love life fully.
Let’s not allow ourselves to live even one more day like that!
We can choose to love this day and accept and be grateful for whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
I’ll leave you with one final SUPER important reminder on this:
NONE of our circumstances have any power to make us feel negative or down. Not our job, our boss, our sickness, our lack of productivity today. None of it ‘makes’ us feel anything.
Our feelings come from our thoughts.
So it’s your thinking about what you’re doing that is causing your negative feelings about it. Remembering that will free you from feeling like a victim to your life. And it will open your mind up to new ways of thinking about things that will sooner or later cause you to feel better.
Such as the fact that everything, including where you are at this specific moment in time in this specific job, is actually conspiring for your benefit…
…Even though you can’t see exactly how right now.
Make Today Amazing!
PS – If you ever feel like it’s a struggle to not feel cynical and crazy…welcome to the club! That’s simply the result we all feel when our thinking convinces us that our circumstances are the cause of our feelings. Of course we feel crazy then! Because we can’t control all our circumstances.
There is freedom from insanity in remembering the truth…our thinking causes our feelings.
Chief Life Lover
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