Here’s to Being the Best You Can Be in 2020 & Beyond!
Okay, it’s the first few days of January 2020…so you probably know what this one is about.
Every year, around the globe, people celebrate the coming year with new hope and great new aspirations. The sad thing is that by February, approximately 80% of those new aspirations and dreams vanish and fail to materialize so people go back to their old ways and give in to the unrelenting failure that they perceive their life to be. PERCEIVE is a BIG word here. Why? We all have a story that has shaped or lives. It may be true, it may be warped but it is probably how we see ourselves and justify how we live our lives. We all perceive ourselves as something other than we most probably are. We perceive ourselves as less than what others perceive us to be and we are harder on ourselves than others are on us, or maybe that all seems to just go on in our own minds.
Is it reality? Well I guess that depends on you and your mind set and what you allow yourself to believe. There are exceptions to every rule for sure, but I believe that we all start out on a level playing field. If we come out of the womb relatively healthy, we all have the same chance at fulfilling whatever it is we see our life’s dreams to be. Problem is that life gets in the way and that perfect start can run into something unavoidable that throws it all off. Sure, some people get fortunate breaks, or does it just seem that way to us? Some people come from so much adversity and rise to become, successful, wealthy or revered by others when others who don’t have so much adversity seem to falter quickly. For so many years I wondered why this is? We all go through this but why do some react differently and as a result have a different outcome?
When I was very young, my Mom and my Father died. I didn’t feel before this happened that I was the most brilliant kid around, but when this happened it did me in for a long time. I think it was in grade 5 or so that Mom was gone and coincidentally that is when I started to fight at school. I was getting pushed around at school before this anyway, but this was the tipping point!!! Kind of like that movie “A Christmas Story” with Darren McGavin as the father and I was the nerdy little kid in that movie that the older kids pushed around and took their lunch money and pushed to the ground. I mentioned the tipping point. I think the last time that happened was when my Mom died. It never happened again after that. Once the crying and the “how comes” and the “who’s going to look after us” were over, the rage started to set in. The first time I fought was an exhilarating release of emotion for me. It was a feeling that I was alive, scared, but alive. It was also the only thing at the time I felt that I was really good at. I know that seems sick now, but it’s the truth. I didn’t like myself or my life and I sure as hell wasn’t going to take it anymore. This was a revelation for me although I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ll get back to that later.
I watched a movie in 1976 called “Network”. At the time it came out I didn’t realize that this movie was the answer to a tragic event, but that movie really resonated with me. The movie Network came only two years after the first on screen suicide in television history, of television news reporter Christine Chubbuck in Sarasota, Florida. The anchorwoman was suffering from depression and loneliness, was often emotionally distant from her co-workers, and shot herself on camera as stunned viewers watched on July 15, 1974. This was obviously a very “successful” woman who didn’t see her self as that. In that movie, William Holden is a news anchor and announces to the world on live TV that he is going to “blow his brains out” on live TV in one week’s time as he is being forced to retire due to low TV ratings. Everyone loves a train wreck, right? The network wants to get him off the newscast…. but the allure of the possibility that this tragic event could save the network and its ratings is more than they can pass up…so he continues to do the news and rating go through the roof in anticipation of the finally. It is a sad statement of what can happen to people when they don’t love themselves anymore. There is a part in the movie where William Holden gets up out of his seat and starts yelling for people to not take it anymore. Don’t take the injustice, don’t take the BS anymore and to stand up for themselves. He is obviously having a melt down and a revelation here. He tells people to get up now and go to their windows and yell out to anyone who is listening that “They are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore”. The scene shows people hanging out of their apartment windows screaming that they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Yikes, well that was a little dark, but you get my point.
I think there comes a “tipping point” in everyone’s lives. These points come at different times and for different reasons for each of us. But why? Mine came quickly at first and gained speed as I became increasingly unhappy with my life and what I thought my future held. Then, as it seemed the final explosion was eminent, something began to change. Had I become Mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore? Maybe, but I was one of the lucky ones. I had a man enter my life as a result of all the fighting and nonsense that I was carrying on with. His name was Jack White. A wonderful man who taught me that I was not the loser that I thought I was. He told me that I was not stupid, but quite smart, although I was making stupid decisions with my life that left unchecked would determine the outcome. That was a long chapter in my life, but the outcome was that I started to believe in myself and to realize that I had this really disjointed story of my life that desperately needed to change. Jack came into my life when I was 14 or 15 years old and I said good bye to him a few years ago as I was asked to be a part of his eulogy and to talk about Jack and the effect that he had on me and the kids he helped in transforming their lives. He was a wonderful human being, who helped so many without looking for reward, recognition or compensation. He lived with his wonderful wife in a small old house in Thunder Bay which was the only house he ever owned. He felt no need to upgrade, it served their needs which were modest. He wasn’t a man of financial wealth. His wealth was the work he did, the people that loved him, the wife who loved him unconditionally and his family and friends. That’s it. No more, and no less. A man to be admired.
As I was motivated to have a better life and make something of myself that I could be proud of, things started to change. I started to read endless books on business and motivation and anything and everything that I thought would help in my quest to improve who I was. Along with the successes came the confidence. Although the successes bring money, I realized that it doesn’t necessarily bring true happiness. True, money can make life more enjoyable, but only if your happy. Hmmmm. Many years ago, as I was struggling with working so hard and working all the time, I said to someone that I felt like a hamster on a hamster wheel. I started to explore other things like who I wanted to become as the previous thrust had been centred on what I wanted to have, and although that worked for what it was intended, it still didn’t have the happiness that I craved.
Through the learning years, I had listened to all of Tony Robbins tapes and material and it was at this “Hamster Wheel” phase that I heard of an event that he was putting on in Vancouver and I took my son Myles. It was called “Unleash the Power Within”. There we walked on a long bed of red-hot burning coals which was probably 20 feet long without getting burned which in itself shows you the power of your mind over adversities that you are faced with. I decided to join his Mastery University which were events in many cities with the last at his resort in Fiji. It was going through this process that lead me to understand something very profound. Tony Robbins is very misunderstood by many that have not experienced his philosophy. What Tony talks about comes from his life experiences and learning that there is a story that you create in your mind and how that story is most often very messed up. It’s like the tobogganing hill that I remember from when I was a kid in Thunder Bay that was enormous. Once when I went back there years later, I was shocked to see how small it actually was. Hard to understand how we ever got a toboggan to move on it. But in my mind and memory it was enormous!!!!
What he stresses is something that applies to everyone, that we all have 6 human needs which are:
1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
These are the things that bring us happiness
Tony also stresses that there is the fear that you are not enough. Second, there is the fear that you will not be loved. No matter how confident you are, no matter if you are the President of the United States, or the greatest athlete in the world, every single person has these two fears.
My point here is not to write something dark, its for people to stop looking at themselves like they are losers. You are only a loser when you tell yourself that you are or let others infer that you are and allow yourself to believe it, because you will succumb to that. If you believe that then shame on you!!!! When you give up hope and opt for the easy route, and I am firmly convinced that there is no easy route, then you opt for mediocrity because it’s easier and you don’t have faith in yourself. If you don’t have faith in yourself, don’t expect others to. The better your life will get and the happier you will be is totally contingent on how much effort you are willing to put in to make YOU the best you can be. A friend of mine, who is a renowned speaker, used to say at his conferences, “if you were 90 years old right now sitting on your porch in a rocking chair and you could look back over your life, would you be happy with what you saw or would you be full of regret and remorse for the things that you wish you had enough courage to have done but were just too afraid to try.
As they say, life is not a rehearsal, you only get one shot. Make it your best shot for what you want your life to be, and that will be different for different people. Think about what you see as your story. Is it real, or is it an easy way to escape putting the effort in to have a wonderful existence here?
Over this next week put pen to paper and make some decisions to turn 2020 and beyond into the life you desire and can be proud of when you look back at 90 sitting on that porch in your rocking chair. Don’t you deserve to have the life you always desired?
- What type of person do you want to be?
- What are the things in your life that you are grateful for?
- What is important to you
- What are things that you can improve to bring more happiness to your life?
- If you’re not happy, why is that?
- What are you prepared to do to change the course you’re on if it isn’t working?
- What will you have to do differently in 2020 and beyond to change your mindset and move on in a more positive way?
- Do you have faith in yourself? If not, why? What will it take to have that faith in yourself?
- Are you committed to making changes to your life if you are unhappy with it? There are only 2 answers to that question by the way 1. Yes or 2. No. If you choose Yes, your life will change, if you choose No then you better get ready for more of the same.
The important people in your life will love you for who you ARE not what you have. They will also respect you for the effort you put into your life as well as your contribution to others lives. Make your life a positively memorable one for you and others around you. Have the wisdom to change the things you can and accept the things you can’t.
We wish you all, only good things for 2020 and beyond.
Brian & Myles