FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY…
I got a letter from a friend today. He’s a young man, I met him because he reached out to me as a listener of this show and we became friends.
In his letter he described his on-going struggle. He has a strong desire to be a better man. He is trying to apply the things I talk about on this show and things I’ve shared with him personally.
He feels like the harder he try’s, the harder it becomes. He is wrestling with some things like a video game addiction, some family issues, and some of the other things that we all encounter on this path of being a better man.
He said he feels like there is an invisible ceiling in his way…he keeps looking for the improvement, for some good to come out of his efforts and he doesn’t always see them. In the meantime he keeps pushing on, trying to be a better man but feeling discouraged, like he is fighting a losing battle.
I decided to share this with you because it occurred to me that if he is experiencing this…then there is a good chance many of you are. The struggle is real. Now I’m going to share an excerpt of my reply to him, and then expound on that a bit.
I told him;
“I have found that nothing worth while is ever easy…nothing.
It might help to focus on the journey, rather than the destination. In other words, don’t get bogged down thinking about where you are trying to get to…do not focus on what you perceive is lacking, because that will expand those things.
Instead focus on the journey! The day, hour, moment you are living in. Focus on the things you are doing well, because then those things will expand. Really, all we have control over is each moment we are living in, prepare yourself for a slow, incremental improvement, and keep living in the present. Because the past is gone, the future hasn’t even happened…all you have is right now. That invisible ceiling you spoke of may be the future…or the past, make it irrelevant by focusing on the moment.
Of course you will have failures, we all do. Don’t focus on them or beat yourself up over them. Just acknowledge them, learn from them, and drive on forward, with the intention of not repeating them. And don’t forget to celebrate your victories…because you will have those too.
Hang in there man, the fact that you are trying is huge in itself.”
So that’s what I wrote to him, and I hope it helps. Look, in these days we live in we are so accustomed to instant gratification, we have become programed for it.
I can totally see how a guy would make a decision he wants to be a better man and then wake up the next day feeling discouraged…because he doesn’t feel that much better yet. Because of our programming, we want to be a better man instantly, and then go on with our lives…but it doesn’t work that way guys.
Like I told him, we have to focus on the journey itself. It’s not something that there is even an end to. The end will come when you stop breathing, in the meantime all we have is this moment we are living in.
It might seem tedious, and slow…and it is. But each day as we consciously do something, every time we seize an opportunity to be a better man…the wheel is turning forward.
If you are living in your past, or bogged down in a future that hasn’t even happened, then you can’t see the progress. That’s why its so important to live in the moment, because then, you can see it! Living in the moment you will have the capacity to acknowledge the things you do well, you will be able to celebrate your victories and be aware of your progress. That’s what focusing on your journey is all about.
Also, like I told him, focusing on the things that are not right, focusing on the things you perceive you lack, or aren’t good at, or that need improvement…will only serve to make those things bigger and more difficult to deal with.
You might be wondering how you are supposed to improve those things if you don’t focus on them. Good question, here’s how.
There are two sides to every coin, right? So for example, lets say you have a problem…like…umm, you swear too much, for an example. You offend women and children with your language everywhere you go and you realize you would be a better man if you could tone that down, that’s the problem.
OK, one side of this coin is you are focused on the fact that you swear too much, you are focused on how you feel it is wrong, you are focused on the guilt and shame you feel when you see the eyes of mothers as they hurry to get their children away from your fowl mouth. That’s one side of the coin. If you focus on these things, they will expand.
The other side of the coin is focusing on not swearing, rather than swearing. Focusing on how great you feel every time you don’t offend people with your language, focusing on how people will regard you differently and respect you more because you can carry on a conversation without offending anyone. Focusing on the fact that you are being a better example of manhood. If you focus on these things, they will expand.
See the difference? One side of the coin is purely negative, the other side is purely positive, even though they are about the same thing.
Think of every issue you are dealing with as a coin. It’s your choice which side of the coin you decide to focus on…whatever you choose, that is what will expand, that is what will get results. Choose wisely, and be patient.
If you re-program yourself to live in the moment and focus on the positive one year from now you will be a better man, five years from now you’ll be even better, and you will continue to improve incrementally until you die. Having left a legacy of a man who lived each day as a better man, than he was the day before.
That’s it for today guys. Hey don’t forget to join the Facebook page, and I’m on twitter @Alfbeingbetter. While your’e here at the website, write me a letter, I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s show or about whatever challenges you might be facing.
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Now head out into the weekend, remember every coin has two sides…focus on the positive side to effect the changes you want, be patient, and you will be a better man today, than you were yesterday.
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