How was last year?
Did it deliver all your dreams or did it test your resilience?
Did it flow?
Or was it full of obstacles?
Were there mountains that you didn’t want to climb.
Was it full of challenges that you didn’t expect?
Were there events beyond your control that changed your life forever?
Life has a habit of showing up with surprises.
Good, bad and not wished for.
I had one of those years.
Lost my partner and best friend.
Taken from me.
Stolen by the fragility of life.
My resilience was tested.
Your past isn’t your future
But despite the past the future has not been written yet.
It is a blank page.
You stand on the edge of new possibilities.
The new year lies before you.
It stands in front of me.
You can either let the past define you.
Wallow in its pain.
Or you can choose to strike out into new adventures and opportunities.
You have the power to choose.
But the path to making a masterpiece of your life and year has many enemies.
The enemies at your gate
You have enemies at your gate. Obstacles in your way.
They are many.
This is something that money cannot buy.
Time cannot be bought.
It’s an ever-present enemy.
The hour glass
My young self thought I had eternity to live the life imagined.
To start and build my dream.
But life is short
It passes while we make plans for the future.
We get lost in triviality
Not building strong foundations.
We waste moments.
Avoiding the deep work and becoming a master maker that changes the world.
We scroll on our devices.
Posting small updates that seek validation.
Stopping and focusing on building a monument to our passionate purpose.
Crafting creations of consequence.
Composing life changing symphonies.
Make sure that your time is not spent creating distracting trivial ditties.
2. The trivial
The trivial will get in the way.
Often seen as busyness.
If you allow it.
We fall in love.
Absorbed by the responsibility and the noise.
Our present and future built on busyness.
But our focus on getting urgent things done.
Paying attention to what makes the most noise.
Gets in the way of creating a masterpiece.
We need to prioritize the importance of devoting time to the non urgent but important.
Focus on the strategic life changing actions.
Often the life building but vital consequential creations are forgotten or neglected.
Don’t let busyness stop you doing the things that matter.
We often neglect our strengths
Doubt the gods within us.
Not understanding that heaven is inside.
We doubt the innate abilities that makes us the beautiful unique person that has no peer.
Doubt the genius that happens by daily action.
Doubt the gifts that we alone bring to the universe.
We compare our insides to the outsides of others revealed in polished Facebook feeds.
Scan the Instagram posts that create envy.
Doubt that our lives are not what they should be.
Don’t doubt the greatness that lies within you.
You are greater than you know.
It’s a phone with alerts.
Friends with good intentions.
Well meaning invites to events that don’t serve you.
Getting lost in the distractions of others who will waste your time for their amusement.
Don’t be distracted by the career climbing while neglecting your person building.
Don’t be distracted by the acquisition of things instead of the daily learning and the wisdom built on life experiences
Wisdom is not a thing.
It is not a product
It is the insights gained by learning from life’s challenges.
It’s the wisdom we learn from pain.
The resilience learned from facing problems head on.
You need to be willing to listen to its lessons.
Grow from its obstacles.
They are inevitable
So…. welcome it.
When it shows its frosty fierce face.
You don’t know your strength until you confront the demons.
You are stronger than you know.
5. Dark voices
You are both the thinker and the listener.
We have conversations.
The dialogues often uninvited.
And full of doubts.
Don’t let the negative thinker rule your life.
Don’t let them rule the house of your mind.
That dark voice should be labelled like an evil uncle.
If he was talking to you at home you would ask him to leave.
Not welcome and never to return.
Eckhart Tolle had this to say about the unbridled mind.
“Allow the dark and judging thought to rise. But don’t follow it.
That’s what it wants to do. That’s what it does. Like a dog following a scent
Disappearing into the horizon”
Tame your consciousness.
It requires stillness.
Be in the now.
That needs the discipline of …
It means being aware.
Of the conversations of our mind.
Learn to let it serve you.
Not become your master.
Be careful of the names you give to the events and feelings that cross your path.
Life experiences, moments and thoughts are often given labels.
Good, bad, tough, depressing are often used.
We often will blame the world.
Scream at the moon.
Blame ourselves and others for our lot in life.
Give dark feelings a name.
By naming we give them power.
Make them real.
But they are just zephyrs.
A traumatic life event has many possible labels.
“Life is terrible”
“I have an opportunity to grow from this challenge”
They should be seen as an opportunity to learn and flourish despite the circumstance.
Don’t fight it.
Embrace the monsters
Laugh in its face.
Stare them down.
It will pass.
Your attitude to life will define you.
7. Lack of direction
This traps many of us.
Drifting and meandering into life.
If you know your passionate purpose you are one of a lucky few.
The lucky 20%.
The rest of us need to go hunting.
But don’t settle until you have found it.
Listen to the still small voice.
It doesn’t shout.
Your mission in life is to discover your mission.
8. Friendly fire
Friends and family will want to guide you to safe harbors.
Want career paths that offer seeming security.
They will mean well and you should consider their experience and wisdom.
“To say no to the ordinary and to say yes to the extraordinary“.
But at the end of the day it is your life.
When you grow up choose to be you.
We are all gods.
Stepping into the unknown of an imagined life has a price.
Failure “will” show up.
Turn up at your front door.
But it’s an opportunity
To learn and grow.
How do you create a masterpiece?
The life skills for flourishing
What are the life skills that will help you grow, flourish and thrive.
Invest in the habit and routine of continuous life learning.
In today’s world there is one constant.
Your college degree is just a step.
The piece of paper is just a ticket.
Just a brick in the wall of your life’s work
Ideas are one thing
But nothing happens until you take action.
Listen to podcasts that challenge your thinking.
Enroll for a lifetime of education.
Invest in yourself
Your body mind and soul are not separate but intertwined.
Exercise, eat well and stop and welcome stillness.
Learn to communicate
Hone the art of listening.
Polish the art of speaking.
Confront your fears.
Grow and learn from challenging yourself.
Learn to tell better stories with your art.
Invest in your body, mind and soul.
Dare to dream
In Willy Wonka’s classic theme song “Pure Imagination” in the movie “The Chocolate Factory” the necessity for dreamers in this noisy distracted and digital world is….
“Come with me, into the land of pure imagination. There is no better life than the one you can conceive. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it. Simply look around and imagine a better life. Anything you want.
The essence for realizing a dream? Of creating a world of pure imagination?
Action trumps ideas.
Nothing happens until you start.
Do something every day towards a life imagined.
Even if it just a small step.
And in those steps lies freedom.
Take your dreams.
People do not think their way into change.
They act their way into change
The busyness of life will get in the way.
Reality will confront the dream.
Make you pause.
Ignore the doubt and….
The only way to manifest your dreams is to take a step.
One day at a time.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t over plan it.
Choose your direction.
Cast doubt aside.
The 3 step freedom code
What is the code to freedom?
It took me many decades. Making mistakes. Stumbling.
Getting lost. Rising falling and picking myself up again.
What did I discover after making decisions that didn’t serve me and hanging out with people that distracted me.
Step One: Creating
I commenced my creation. Started.
A few words.
Brief online posts. 100-300 words a few times a week.
That was my art.
It was the art of creating.
That simple act of writing.
Amateur and imperfect.
But the first bricks.
Step two: Publishing
Creating is one thing but revealing it to the world is where the magic happens.
Despite the noise.
Doubt will often make you stop.
But I knew had to make my work visible.
Sharing it on the social and mobile web.
Exposing my ideas online.
Crafting headlines and growing my online social media community.
Many of us are creators.
Living in quiet anonymity.
But revealing your voice to the world has power.
So…..Take your deep work to the world.
Step three: Flourishing
You have created and are now sharing your gift with the world.
But there is a magic that I didn’t expect.
With people from all around the world.
I was being drawn into a global community that gave a me a place and a space to thrive.
As I continued to create and publish I started to “flourish.”
The 2 way conversation I had with people all around the world on my blog comments and on my social channels started to change me.
I was influencing them and they were changing me.
As I read and researched and wrote the simple WordPress blog became a publishing portal that grew in complexity.
The simple machine grew to 2,000 articles and 2 million words.
In just one decade we have had over 30 million visitors.
The world showed up.
The act of creating one day at a time had become a portfolio of work.
I was free without gatekeepers to muffle my voice.
I didn’t have to beg the media moguls to publish.
I didn’t need to pay for attention.
But flourishing is not just a happiness path.
It is not always full of joy.
It requires a strength that only comes from a life lived.
Of stepping outside the cocoon of security.
Hard work and grafting.
You will be tested and that is where flourishing is revealed.
Don’t wish for an easy life.
Ask for a life well lived.
Learn to rise when others are falling.
Grow from the pain.
It is your attitude to life’s challenges that will define you.