In the early spring 2012 I pondered and wrote for many weeks about what it was that was bringing me so much joy. And why I woke up so thrilled with each new day now. And why all my circumstances improved so dramatically and suddenly. I felt drawn to creating a crystal clear written reminder to myself of what was causing all this new found joy and enthusiasm for life, in the event that something happened to pull me off track or make me forget in the future.
On a flight to Boston (to run my first official marathon in April ) I wrote page after page the entire flight, asking the question “Why?” Every time I wrote an answer, I asked the question again of that answer. I kept digging and digging and just dumping every thought that popped into my head onto paper. I couldn’t believe we were landing a few hours later, it felt like 30 minutes.
The result I came up with was this poster that I created in Photoshop and had printed and framed on my wall. (Click the Pic to zoom in)
This poster is my ‘why’. It contains the reasons I exist. Living these principles is the root of my joy and fulfillment. And you’ll notice that ‘have millions of dollars’ or ‘have the perfect body’ didn’t make the list. Those things are great, but living a truly amazing life has little to do with material possessions and everything to do with your heart and mind and the decisions you make.
I came to realize that every single aspect of my life lined up with these words, and that is why I felt so good and so happy all the time. And from then on I wanted to keep it that way!
I realized that if something I thought or said didn’t line up with the ideas on this poster, then it had no place in my life. Because living a Truly Amazing Life means to stop settling for less than I want in any area. It means, among other things, that I create the life I want and there is never a good reason to settle for less. It means living life full of awe, wonder, and amazement at the beauty of it all, and focusing on serving and giving love.
So I created this poster as a reminder for myself. In case I find myself settling again and telling myself that life is just OK. If I find myself thinking again there are good days and bad days, then I just need to look over at this poster and it will remind me of the beliefs that actually serve me. I created it for a foundation. As an anchor to keep me from drifting away when future storms would surely come. As a tool to keep my mind focused on what I want most and more importantly why I want it.
And I encourage you to do something similar. I encourage anyone who will listen, to look themselves in the eye and sincerely ask themselves “why am I alive?” And be completely open and brutally honest, and then write it all down. Then clarify it and keep it close as a reminder. Seek to understand what truly motivates you at the deepest level possible, and what it’s all about for you. And once you know yourself at that level, make some way to remind yourself of your true self, because time and life will tend to make you forget. But if you can remember who you truly are, you will live in a state of joy, peace and fulfillment that is indescribable.
After creating the poster I realized that these answers to my questions are universal and apply to everyone. I believe anyone who lives the principles on this poster will be fulfilled and joyful. What I have found personally, and seen and heard from hundreds of others, is that loving, giving and constantly growing is where true fulfillment is found.
Little did I know when I made the poster however, that just a few months down the road it would help pull me through the most painful experiences I could possibly imagine. Something inside deeply motivated me to make it as a reminder for myself, for reasons I couldn’t know at the time. And I’m so glad that I did.
Everything is for your good
That spring continued to be an amazing and blissful time of growth and expansion. Here’s a journal entry from May 6, 2012, written after I read this scripture:
“The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been since the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. And putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, meek submissive, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” -Mosiah 3:19, The Book of Mormon
The point for me today is this: All things that happen to us are from God and are for our good. Our job is to submit ourselves to God’s will.
This is so simple! It doesn’t need to be hard. Simply accept, believe, know – without doubt or hesitation – that ALL things are blessing you, teaching you, and benefiting you. God is stretching out his hand all the day long. It is only when we try to separate ourselves that we suffer. But as we submit humbly, willingly, full of faith – and even cheerfully – to everything that God sees fit to place in our experience, then we find consistent joy, fulfillment, peace, and progress.[/content_box_grey]
I knew that to be true and it had radically altered my state of living. And I began spending as much time as possible devising ways to help others discover a similar state.
By this time I had successfully outsourced or delegated all the most time consuming duties in my real estate business. I enjoy real estate. I like the process of buying a house that is beat up and transforming it into something beautiful for people to enjoy. I also enjoy the freedom of running my own business, deciding my own schedule, and living on my own terms every day. But I felt drawn toward freeing up my time to spend more of it each day pursuing things I felt would make a much bigger impact in people’s lives.
I felt called away by a voice inside telling me I was not living up to my full potential. That I was capable of giving much more to the world and it was time to start giving it.
As I outsourced my business tasks, my time freed up dramatically, and I also I found the tasks accomplished better and with greater attention than when I did them myself. Bonus!! The result was my real estate business became more successful than ever while I worked a fraction of the previous amount.
Life was really, really good. I could not help smiling…a lot. Pretty much all of the time in fact. To the point that some people even mentioned to my wife that they were annoyed with how happy and positive I always seemed to be, while they were feeling discouraged or down. I certainly didn’t try to annoy anyone! But I think I can understand where they were coming from…sometimes it’s hard to see other people so happy when you feel so down yourself. And I was learning that sometimes perhaps I might need to tone down the enthusiasm in order to be more considerate of others when I notice they are not feeling great.
Is that true? I’m not really sure actually. What is the best way to help someone who is down and discouraged? Get down and discouraged with them? I don’t think that’s it. But I can also see how just bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm and big grins because life is so amazing may not help them much either. My gut tells me it’s somewhere in between. That being empathetic and simply listening with an understanding ear is likely the best thing to do. I wrestled with this quite a bit through the first half of 2012. Many days my wife struggled with severe sickness in her first trimester of pregnancy with our fourth child. I looked for ways to reconcile feeling so fantastic personally, while watching her suffering and feeling miserable.
What I found was that staying happy, and remaining in a place of love was the best thing I could do for her. I could see no benefit to me getting miserable with her. I just had to love her, and trust and know this too would pass and she would feel better soon. It wouldn’t do me any good to feel guilty about feeling happy within myself while she was feeling sad.
But it was hard to tone down because I felt so fantastic!
One morning while writing I felt like describing in vivid detail what an amazing way to live life would look and feel like:
May 17, 2012 – A journal entry
Imagine an existence where you open your eyes in the morning and immediately as you glance around, you are flooded with thoughts of gratitude for the abundance in your life. And your heart fills with joyful feelings as you think of dozens of things you are overcome with gratitude for.
Your body feels alive and perfectly healthy. You can breathe, and see, touch and feel. You are capable of walking, running, hiking or biking on a beautiful day of sunshine or rain.
You have amazing relationships with your family, spouse, children, pets, and friends. These relationships bring joy to your heart just thinking about them.
Your mind is alert and capable of reason and choice. You are free to direct ALL of your thoughts and feelings and you deliberately and with ease focus your thoughts on the beautiful, the amazing, and all the good in every person, place, and thing that you are in connection with in your life.
And you are overcome by the amount of goodness you see in your world, to the point that it brings you to tears of joy as you think about how wonderful life is and how blessed you are.
And then you get out of bed! This is just the beginning of your amazing day. You go outside and walk or run or bike and you are filled with joy as your body moves across the earth and you see the beauty all around and the deep love in the creation of this planet and your perfect body. You hear the birds, the sounds of people moving, and smell the earth, and it is so satisfying to your senses and to your soul.
Returning home, as you interact with the people in your life, your face is beaming with a broad smile as you see them and feel a deep sense of love for them.
You kiss them lovingly. You hug them, and hold them close for a moment feeling such a loving bond. Then you laugh as you discuss with delight the plans for the day and the week and the wonderful opportunities and unknown adventures that lie in store.
You thoroughly enjoy a pleasing, natural, light and delicious meal and you savor each bite. Life is amazing. You feel so happy and content. Yet at the same time excited and eager to go out, to move forward, and start giving and interacting.
You spend some time thinking, and writing in the quiet peace of your room or office or back patio, looking up to the mountains, or over the ocean, or simply at a beautiful picture on your wall. Your mind is clear and free from distraction or worry. Nothing can touch you or reach you in your quiet solitude. You are alone, and free. And you feel happy and excited to have thirty to sixty minutes to create. To explore the infinite depths of your mind and the infinite intelligence source that you are connected to and an integral part of. You write yourself the question that excites you or calls to you most in that moment. On white paper, with blue, easy flowing ink. And as you direct your thoughts on what you want to know or create, new thought trickles in, and you write and feel good. Then more comes, soon the trickle becomes a stream, and some days that is all. And it is good. You have more clarity and you have created more and expanded your life and mind. Some days the stream turns into a river of intelligence flowing into your mind. And you write and capture it as best you can. And it feels amazing.
Then you look in the mirror by your desk, and you see beauty, love, grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, passion, and compassion. And you see strength, and confidence, and power. And you are humbled by it. And supremely grateful. And you feel a deep commitment to yourself – to share the love you feel. To reach out and bless your fellow man. You feel the urge and desire to smile and warm somebody’s heart who may really be missing and longing for love and compassion. You feel a deep longing to connect, serve, and bless as many as you can. And at least one other person. At least the next person you see. And you feel the desire to bless every person you see.
And you do it, starting with your thoughts. You leave your room or office and begin reaching out. Or you pick up the phone and begin your journey of blessing and serving. You see the beauty in them, and express it in your thoughts. You send them loving thoughts of gratitude, encouragement and compassion.
Every person in your perception receives a loving thought from you. And the world is better because you deliberately thought love. And your smile and the light in your eyes lifts and blesses everything in its wake. Then you act out of compassion and kindness, in all you do throughout the day. You don’t even feel tension, worry, disappointment or fear. Those feelings are foreign to you, and the people, circumstances, and events that are attracted to you seem to be at peace. Your outflow of love and the frequency of gratitude and compassion at which you are living, attracts new and amazing people and circumstances into your life. Throughout the day you are in awe at life’s beauty. At the grace and ease with which life flows and the universe provides everything for you in perfect timing and synchronicity. You see goodness and blessing in every circumstance and in every person. Even those that you would have thought were not helping you. Your mind is so filled with love, and so connected to your source, that you know without doubt that all things are happening for your benefit in some way, somehow.
At the end of a highly productive, growth filled, joyous day, you smile, and hug and kiss your family. You feel immense gratitude for your life and your relationships. You tell them how much joy they bring you, and how grateful you are to be with them.
If your children are at home, you kneel by their bed and have a wonderful moment talking about the beauty of this day, and the wonder of tomorrow. You savor each moment with each child, each loving word, and thought. You savor the peace. You are amazed at life and how blessed you feel.
As you lay your head on your pillow, your mind is again flooded with thoughts of gratitude for the abundance in your life. And your heart is filled with joy. You are satisfied with the day and the love that freely flowed through you throughout the entire day. And you feel excitement and enthusiasm for the blessing of a comfortable night of sleep that will lead to another wonderful day of life.
This is a truly amazing life.
This is my life. I live to love. And I love all of life.[/content_box_grey]
Can you imagine living a life like that every day? Can you feel how just your attitude toward each moment of each day is really the only thing that makes it amazing or lack luster? It is all up to you.
That was my world at the time. A description of how many days felt. And reading back now, I feel so grateful that I wrote that down, because we all need reminders sometimes about the way to live. I must say that I struggled to live in that blissful state through many of the challenging, painful days to come.
But I know from experience it is possible to attain.