The Power of Presence and Freedom From Outcome

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Several years ago, I stumbled into the world of personal development. Having just gotten out of a long term relationship and still licking my wounds, I decided I was tired of allowing my heart to be shattered. So, I decided to do something about it. I started researching, and I then discovered life coaches.

Up to now, it’s been a long, enlightening journey of self-improvement and self-discovery. I’ve been a knowledge junkie, always on the hunt for more information to consume. I frequently watch seminars and listen to coaches on YouTube. I’ll watch a coach who will reference another coach, so I will look them up.

Some coaches often recommend books to read, so I seek them out. Although I love to write, I have never been much of a book reader, but I can handle audio books. Recently, I listened to an audio book called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle, and I absolutely loved it. I could not stop listening to it until it was finished, and it was eye-opening for me.

The main message of the book relates to that of my last article Inner Peace: The Power of Forgiveness, but of course, the book is much deeper and more comprehensive than my teeny little article.

After my first time through the book, what I took from Eckhart Tolle’s message is that we should be present to the moment, or in other words, our focus should be on the here and now. He calls this being in your conscious, as opposed to being in your unconscious. Time is a manmade concept, and it is not real. The past has already happened, and the future has not happened, so neither actually exists. What is, simply is. All we really have is right here, right now, in this moment, so the sooner we can bring ourselves out of the past and stop stressing about the future, the sooner we can concentrate our focus on the only thing we really have: the now.

With this concept, he puts different topics and life circumstances into perspective. There are some things that really stood out for me.

Be Conscious of Your Thoughts

To be conscious is to be self-aware; to be present. In the book, Eckhart Tolle writes about a particular thought he had in his early twenties: “I cannot live with myself anymore.” He then brought himself to analyze that thought. Who is “I”? Who is “myself”? It is as if he is not one person but two people: the “I” and the “self.”  This moment of realization was his defining moment of self-awareness or consciousness. A little weird, I know. It was for me at first, too.

When we are in our conscious, we are fully aware and observant of our thoughts. Conversely, if we are in our unconscious, we allow ourselves to feel pain, anger, fear, sadness, etc. We fall victim to our emotions. The moment we stop to observe our thoughts rather than be controlled by them, we can come out of our unconscious and into our conscious, being fully self-aware, and thereby allowing ourselves to heal and be at peace.

Learning to be conscious and present to the moment helps us put life’s circumstances into perspective.

The Illusion of Fear

What is fear? Why do we fear? What kinds of things are we as human beings typically fearful of? We fear that we might get hurt, that we might lose someone or something, that we might fail, and so on. What do all of these things have in common? They are all events that have not happened yet. They are all things that might happen. While your physical body is here in the now, your mind is in the future, an imaginary place that has not happened, that you have no control over, and is therefore merely a projection of your mind, not reality. As a result, your thoughts may manifest into emotion, and that emotion is fear.

One might argue that we require fear for survival, which is a fair argument, but is fear actually an aid or a hindrance?

Eckhart Tolle addresses this using the common analogy of a child touching a hot stove. After having been burned the first time the child touches the stove, does the child now actually fear the stove? No, the child simply has the knowledge and experience to know that the stove is hot and will burn.

Another example is a scenario where you are in immediate physical danger. If you were face-to-face with a person threatening you with a knife, would your mind be concerned with the past or future? Probably not. All that would matter in that very moment is whatever it would take to ensure your survival. That is an extreme instance of being present and one which I have experienced personally. What role would fear play in this scenario? Would it cause you to think more or less clearly? Would it cause you to panic and freeze, or would it encourage you to take proper action? Would you be full of crippling fear or intense focus?

When an athlete is present and fully focused on his task at hand, he is more likely to succeed. When riding a dirt bike, if a Motocross racer has an ounce of fear in him as he approaches a big jump, it may cause him to hold back and possibly get hurt rather than committing and clearing the jump. His mind would be too caught up in what might happen and not would not be focused enough on what he has control of in the moment.

The idea is that being present allows us to be more focused on what we have control over now and to act more effectively and efficiently. It’s similar to what a good friend of mine used to tell me: don’t stress over something you have no control over. If our minds are stuck in the past or the future, neither of which we have control over, then we are preventing ourselves from performing at our full potential right now.

Emotional Pain

Eckhart Tolle describes emotional pain as the resistance to accept what is. Something happens that we do not like, and we dwell, we fight it, we refuse to let it go, and we deny reality. We attach ourselves to an outcome that doesn’t come to fruition, and it results in our suffering. Therefore, pain is essentially self-inflicted.

When we learn to detach ourselves from the past and the future and learn to focus on the present moment, we give our minds room to enjoy life and, most importantly, to have gratitude. As Tony Robbins says, gratitude is the solution for anger and fear, and you can’t be both angry and grateful simultaneously.

The keys to being present are acceptance and surrender. Rather than resisting reality, surrender to it, be grateful for it, and know that it is just another opportunity for us to learn, grow, and become the best, strongest version of ourselves.


Inner Peace: The Power of Forgiveness

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I am a member of several private social media groups where people post their issues, and others offer their advice. I am part of those groups with the intention to offer advice, and occasionally, I get friend requests from other members because they appreciate my insight.

One friend in particular posted on her personal page about an experience she had in one of the groups. She described a situation where a woman had a sister who betrayed her and resulted in devastation and tearing the family apart. After ten years passed, the sister finally apologized with hopes to move forward. The woman still wanted nothing to do with her sister.

My friend then noted others’ opinions on the matter, quoting another member, “I would forgive her, BUT I don’t want her in my house. I don’t want to hang out with her. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that.” She then said that this idea of forgiving someone while still not wanting them around confused her. She asked, “So what does forgiveness mean?”

That is my inspiration for this article. I’m sure we have all been in situations where someone betrayed us, stabbed us in the back, disrespected us, and just plain hurt us really badly. I know I have. Were you able to forgive them? What does forgiveness mean to you?

“Forgiveness is more about peace within yourself than it is about the other person.”

To me, forgiveness is one of the most important abilities to have in your arsenal. It’s what allows you to move forward in your life. Here is my response to my friend’s post:

Forgiveness is allowing yourself to let go of what happened. Without forgiveness, you have resentment. Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, as Tony Robbins puts it. This doesn’t mean you forget what happened, and it doesn’t mean you have to allow a person who wronged you back into your life. It just means that you are willing to accept that it happened, let it go, and move forward without letting it destroy you. Forgiveness is more about peace within yourself than it is about the other person.

Her reply:

Okay! So there are a few people that have done terrible things in my life. And I’ve always said I haven’t forgave them. But obviously life goes on. I’ve moved forward. I don’t spend every day thinking about how much I hate these people. So does that mean I forgave them? Because I thought forgiving them is like something I actually consciously make an effort to do. Say so and so did this to me, but I forgive them. Because I just can’t see myself ever saying that about some of these people.

Me again:

If you can’t see yourself ever forgiving someone, then there’s obviously something you’re holding onto and not allowing yourself to completely move past. Everything that happens in our life, good or bad, is an experience that allows us to learn and to shape our character. How you respond to events in your life is 100% your decision. When you hold onto resentment or blame, you are giving your power away to someone else and not allowing yourself to take control of your own life.

“Ego is the enemy.”

That’s all the input I shared in the conversation, but she went on later to say that she understands that forgiveness is a religious thing, so perhaps she struggles with forgiveness because she struggles with religion. She is obviously referring to Christianity, which teaches to forgive your neighbor as God forgives you, and it can be referenced in numerous verses in the Bible.

Why would someone struggle with a single concept like forgiveness just because they struggle with the entire religion of Christianity? If Christianity is 1080p, then forgiveness is a single pixel. You don’t have to be Christian to agree with or understand a message. Some people are so hung up on whether they believe in God that they completely miss the message. They are missing the forest for the trees. Ego is the enemy.

Like I said, when you hold onto blame, you are giving your power away to someone else. They still have control over you, and you are not allowing yourself to move forward and grow to your full potential. You are not allowing yourself to progress. Progress equals happiness; therefore, YOU are not allowing yourself to be happy. It really doesn’t matter what anyone did to you, because everything is forgivable. Everything! People do some nasty things to others, but you are ultimately in control of how you define the circumstances in your life.

According to Tony Robbins, there are three decisions we make that shape our lives.

What You Focus On

What are you focused on? “Where focus goes, energy flows.” If you focus on the negative things in life, then you will naturally attract more negativity. The key is to focus on the positive. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Focus on where you want to be, and you will get there.

What Does This Mean?

You are only a victim of the circumstances in your life if you choose to be. “Nothing in life has any meaning except for the meaning I give it.” Choose to take responsibility for the circumstances. Own them. Like I told my friend, it is your decision whether you look at the events in your life as opportunities to learn and grow.

What Are We Going to Do?

After you determine what something means, you then decide what you’re going to do about it. Are you going to sit and complain? Are you going to feel sorry for yourself and seek sympathy from others? Are you going to be angry about it? Are you going to accept that you can’t change what happened and move forward?

I’ve had my share of struggles, but I am thankful for all of them, because without struggle, we don’t get stronger. To build a muscle, you work it out past your comfort zone, the muscle gets damaged, and the muscle fibers tear. Then, the muscle repairs itself and grows bigger and stronger. It adapts. That’s what we need to do mentally. Learn and adapt. Struggle, recover, repair, and grow stronger.

So, forgiveness is acceptance. Forgiveness is willingness to let the past be the past and move on. Forgiveness is the desire to live life without holding grudges and thereby not allowing yourself to be poisoned with resentment. Forgiveness is resolve. Forgiveness is freedom. Forgiveness is strength, inner peace, and self-love.

Are You Valuable?

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I recently watched a TED talk on YouTube by Kalina Silverman entitled How to Skip the Small Talk and Connect with Anyone. She shared her story of struggling to connect with people in her sophomore year of college, and she found herself contemplating and questioning what her true purpose in life was. In her TED presentation, she then shared the first half of a YouTube video from her personal channel. The video’s concept was skipping the small talk and getting straight to the point by having deep, meaningful conversations with strangers, which she calls “big talk.”

After I finished watching Kalina’s TED presentation, I immediately went to her channel to watch the rest of her video she shared. The title of the video is Before I Die I Want To…, and in this video, she asked two questions that moved and inspired me.

“What do you want to do before you die?”

What do you want to do before you die? This question is evident by the title of her video, but it’s really a simple yet not so simple question. What do you want to do? Are you doing it? What’s your passion? Are you pursuing it? Have you ever really thought about any of this, or are you living life by accident rather than with purpose?

What do I want to do?

  • I want to make a positive impact on this world. I don’t want to just make a small impact; I want it to be massive. I want to rattle the planet and help, influence, and inspire others as others have done for me.
  • I want to get married to the woman of my dreams and have lots of kids. I can hardly wait share with them all the knowledge and lessons I’ve learned in my life. I am going to raise strong, independent winners (and good-looking, of course).
  • I want to run a successful business, build wealth, and gain financial freedom. I want to comfortably do the things I want and go where I want to go without money being an issue. I then want to take this wealth and give it away. I just love the idea of philanthropy. You reap what you sow.

There’s a quote that I love from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness, I believe, in which Will Smith’s character says, “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time.” It’s so true! I was talking to my cousin the other day, and I told him that life is about people. Life is people. Life is relationships. It’s impossible to be successful in life without interacting with others and building relationships. You have intimate relationships, business relationships, platonic relationships, etc. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can get everything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want in life.”

All of life is a sale. All of life is a negotiation.

How do I achieve all these things that I want? How do I get the world’s attention to the point of influencing them? How do I meet and attract the woman of my dreams? How does a business become successful? The answer is the same for all of them: by having something of value that others want.

For example, men, if there is a woman you really want to ask out on a date, what do you think is going to make her agree to going out with you and cause her to genuinely have interest in you? The simple fact that you want her is not going to make her interested in you. In order for her to want you, you have to give her what she wants, which is a person she sees value in. This doesn’t mean you start boasting about having a nice car or lots of money—at least not if you’re looking for a quality woman. Having valuable material possessions doesn’t make you a valuable person. You have to carry yourself in such a way that communicates you are valuable, that you’re comfortable in your own skin, that you’re ambitious, and that you’re confident, and you can’t just fake it; you have to be this person and truly believe you are these things. All of life is a sale. All of life is a negotiation. In this scenario, you are the product. In order to make the close, she has to believe the product is worth her investment.

This is why I gather as much knowledge as I can all the time. I’ve written an article on personal development and life coaches. The more I learn, the more valuable I can become. I’m currently watching seminars and training videos by the master salesman himself, Jordan Belfort, AKA the wolf of Wall Street. How do you get what you want in life before you die? You become great at selling yourself. In order to sell yourself, you have to become a person of value. To become a person of value, you learn as much as you can every single day, and more importantly, you apply what you learn. Learn how to communicate with others, build quality relationships, and increase your personal value. Become the best possible version of yourself.

The second of Kalina Silverman’s questions really tugged on the ol’ heart strings.

“If you knew you would die tomorrow, what would you do?”

If you knew you would die tomorrow, what would you do? Who is the first person you would call? Who would you go see? Would you even tell anyone? Like one of the guys in Kalina’s YouTube video, would you reconcile differences with one of your parents or loved ones? Speaking of loved ones, is there a particular loved one you would need to say something to before you’re gone? Would you make things right with God? If you’re a non-believer, do you think you might begin to believe in God if today was your last? If you were to die tomorrow, what would be your regrets? How many “shoulds” would you wish to have followed through with because they weren’t “musts”? These are questions I couldn’t help but ask myself when watching Kalina’s video, and they are what recently lit a fire beneath me.

This question really reveals what’s important to a person—what one values. What do you really value? What are you willing to do to achieve these things in your life so that you aren’t shadowed with the pain of regret in your last days?

Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream.

Personally, if I knew I would die tomorrow, I would regret that I didn’t live life to my full potential. I would feel that I had fallen short of achieving things that I know I could have achieved, and I would be more disappointed in knowing that it was because I hesitated with fear and doubt (I covered “personal responsibility” in my last post, The Most Valuable Lesson I Ever Learned). I know exactly who I would call and exactly who I would go see if today was my last, because all their faces immediately popped into my head when I asked myself the question.

I’ve been really focused on my next step, my goals, and my vision of where I’d like to be in the next five years. I’ve been in business meetings, and I’ve been reading, writing, researching, and studying every day to make myself better. I have been getting in the flow of writing blogs, and more topics are naturally emerging in the process. So, I’m getting the hang of it, and it’s actually pretty fun. I’m happy that I’m making progress, but I’m not quite content with the speed of the progress, which is what fuels my hunger. Reaching my goals is on my mind every single day.

So remember, you don’t only live once; you live every day, and you only die once. The clock is ticking, and you don’t know when your time is up, so why not go after what you really want? Right now. Do something every day, whether big or small, that moves you in the direction of your goals. Don’t just dream about it; DO it! Take action. Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream. I don’t know about you, but I’m neither mediocre nor average. I’m outstanding. I’m extraordinary. There is not one single person on the planet who is the same as you or I am, and that which is rare or scarce is inherently VALUABLE. Get out there, and start selling.

The Most Valuable Lesson I Ever Learned

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Are you where you want to be in life right now? If you are, then you can probably stop reading this right now because you won’t get much out of it besides maybe entertainment. If you’re not where you want to be in life, then why aren’t you? What’s holding you back?

Most of us have been there, resenting other people or blaming our circumstances for our shortcomings. How has that worked out for you? As I’ve quoted before, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Who are you really hurting by resenting others? How far have you progressed by doing so? If you’re not in denial, then the answers to those questions should be “myself” and “nowhere,” respectively.

Try to remember a time when something happened to you that you blamed or resented someone or something for. Who or what was to blame? Was it your parents, your sibling, your significant other, your ex, your car, the weather, traffic, a thief, your job, or the government? As you recall this particular event, remember who you thought did this to you. Now, go back to moments earlier. What could you have possibly done differently that may have changed the outcome? Be honest with yourself.

My point is, every single circumstance you experienced in your life has been the result of a decision you made at some point. An exception may be when the doctor spanked you when you were only a minute or two old. That wasn’t your fault, but I digress. Anyway, there is a term for this concept, and it’s called personal responsibility.

Were you late for work this morning? Was it because of traffic? Perhaps you could have checked the traffic report on your smartphone. Maybe you could leave your house early enough to account for possible traffic jams. I had a manager who shared a useful rule of thumb, which is that you should always aim to be at least 15 minutes early, so if you’re late, you’ll arrive on time.

Your life is not determined by the conditions around you, the environment, or your circumstances; it is defined by how you interpret these things and how you respond to them.

I recently started reading the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, and just in time for this blog post, I learned his first habit is to be proactive. In the book, Covey describes proactivity as meaning more than just taking initiative but also that we are all responsible for our own lives. Personal responsibility.

Covey then breaks the word responsibility into two parts—“response-ability”—which he describes as having the ability to choose your own response. Your life is not determined by the conditions around you, the environment, or your circumstances; it is defined by how you interpret these things and how you respond to them.

“I’m a victim of soicumstance!” says Curly of the Three Stooges. Don’t be a stooge.

I own an old car, a 1991 Honda Accord. It has been broken into numerous times and stolen from me not one, not two, but three times! The first time, I had just gotten home from performing with my band, parked my car on the street in front of my house, and I finally went to sleep around 2:30 in the morning. When I woke up that morning, my car was gone. The second time, I was hanging out with my girlfriend at my place, and my roommate knocks on my door around 8:00 in the evening and asks if I’m home because my car was not in the driveway. The third time, my car was stolen from the parking lot of my apartment complex overnight.

Why was my car stolen so many times? Why me? Why do people choose to victimize me by stealing my property all the time? Newsflash: thieves exist. The reason my car was stolen is because I did not take the necessary measures to keep it from being stolen. I failed to take initiative. I was not proactive. This does not justify the actions of the criminal, but the criminal is also not 100 percent responsible, especially in the third instance. I made the decision to park my car in the open. I made the decision not to put a club on my steering wheel. I made the decision to own a vehicle with a statistically-high probability to be stolen or broken into. What is whining about my victimhood or denouncing car thieves going to do for me? Not much. That thief is still a thief, and resentment sure does burn going down.

The longer you hold on to what could have been, the longer you inhibit yourself from what could be.

You can even apply the concept of personal responsibility to relationships. I’ve been seeing a meme circulating on social media lately that reads, “Did you know? Men who respect women are mostly single.” Then the men predictably go on to complain about how women mistreat men and about how “nice guys finish last,” an expression that I don’t buy. These guys do nothing but cast outward blame, which Stephen Covey calls environmental determinism. This is the belief that your circumstances are a result of your environment. Guess what, men: YOU are the problem! The tone of the meme is of a man who is bitter about being single. That in itself communicates neediness and low self-esteem. Women do want a nice guy, but that’s just the beginning. Being nice is a prerequisite. Do not confuse being nice with being an approval-seeking pleaser. By being this pleaser, you are demonstrating your lack of self-respect, and in turn, no woman will respect you. The difference between the nice guy who finishes last and the nice guy who finishes first is self-respect and assertiveness.

I have come to learn so much about relationships, it’s not even funny. I’ve had my heart broken, and I was sad, I was angry, I blamed others, and I said things that should not have been said, but it all comes back around to me. I am the reason these things happened to me, not anyone else. I am responsible for the conditions of my life based on the attitude, actions, and responses I chose to exercise.

So take responsibility for your own life. Happen to the world; don’t let it happen to you. To dwell on the past, to be angry, or to be hateful are to be paralyzed. Free yourself from the shackles of anger, resentment, and regret. A great friend taught me not to stress over that which I cannot control. The longer you hold on to what could have been, the longer you inhibit yourself from what could be. The sooner you accept responsibility for yourself, the sooner you can proceed and progress.

Become Your Best By Serving Others

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Why are we here? What is your purpose? I have realized that you cannot be successful without other people. We all serve others in one way or another, whether you’re a teacher, an artist, a doctor, a builder, a coach, etc. Your service could be in the form of a tangible product, or it could be entertainment. How are you contributing? What do you have to offer the world?

Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, people get into the business of helping others because they themselves are damaged? Actually, I believe that’s the case most of the time. I believe the key to living a fulfilling life is discovering your purpose and going after it. I want to help others.

Have you ever joked about psychiatrists being crazy? I have. It’s kind of funny to think about, but as you may have heard, many a true word is spoken in jest. If you say you’ve never thought there was truth in that joke, I would have to wonder if you were lying, or maybe you’re crazy. I’m joking again. Sort of. I was chatting with a friend about this concept, and if you really think about it, it’s an interesting phenomenon which seems true in many cases. For example, when prison inmates attend their groups, the groups are often led by people who were once incarcerated. I want to use my experiences, challenges, and struggles to help others who may be going through the same thing I have.

You are no wiser than the next person in a particular area just because you have lived on this planet longer or because you have more experience in that area.

I know that one might say I lack adequate life experience at a still-young 29 years old, but I believe I’m intelligent, observant, and critical enough to be taken seriously. I believe age does not directly correlate to wisdom. You are no wiser than the next person in a particular area just because you have lived on this planet longer or because you have more experience in that area. To me, that’s a cop out. It depends on the quality of the experience. Quality over quantity.

One thing I have learned is that most people are actually good people. Most people care about others, including strangers. All people have endured their own share of challenges in their lives. Everyone has a story to be told. For some—myself included—the act of telling the story is quite therapeutic. I do write in a journal, which is a great outlet, but there is something about sharing with others that just feels good. It’s one thing to get your thoughts out on paper, but it’s another when you know people are listening to your thoughts. People can relate to you, and feeling heard and understood is so satisfying.

If you follow me on social media, you have probably discovered by now that I have a strong interest in the use of life coaches, and it probably seems like I can’t shut up about Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, and Dave Ramsey. Well you would be correct; I can’t shut up about them. I often look to them for tips on personal, entrepreneurial, and financial success. I love to watch their seminars on YouTube or listen to their audio books. I never really found reading fiction novels entertaining, but when it comes to personal development, I’m all over it. I still haven’t been able to get through the audio version of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie because the narrator’s voice always puts me to sleep. So I may need to pick up that physical book.

To me, a life coach is much like a pastor of a Christian church, and a pastor is essentially a type of personal development coach. The motives are obviously different (secular and spiritual), but there is a common goal of improving others’ lives. I’m still searching for answers in my own spiritual journey (I didn’t grow up in a religious household but do believe there is a God), but in my perspective, a pastor seeks to deliver God’s message to people in hopes of improving their lives and ultimately leading them to live in such a way which fulfills God’s word. This is one reason I love going to church. I always enjoy the message, and I hold my pastor in very high regard. I’m currently listening to an audio version of the Bible. Anyway, I could write a whole different blog about my perspective on religion. I’ll save that topic for a possible future post.

Do you know how much time I wasted thinking about it? Too much. I stopped thinking about it and made a decision to just do it.

I embarked into the realm of self-help in late 2014. I was escaping a financially exhausting and mentally draining living situation, so I finally decided to get myself out of that situation and move to a new city. I was also simultaneously struggling with a recent heartbreak from a long-term relationship. I was so fed up, so I sought help because I was tired of feeling miserable and depressed.

Tony Robbins was the first coach I discovered, and he was the gateway to the numerous other coaches I utilize. One concept of his that I always try to employ is the power of making a decision. I contemplated writing a blog. Do you know how much time I wasted thinking about it? Too much. I stopped thinking about it and made a decision to just do it. Just start writing! When I’m sad or depressed, I decide to be happy. If you stay sad or depressed, it’s because you’ve made the decision to stay there. Make the decision to be happy. Is there something in your life that you want to change? Decide! Jim Rohn said, “If you want things to change, you’ve got to change.” I’ll get to Jim shortly.

Here’s a quick story on the topic.

Last week, I was having a drink after work, and I met a guy just a few years younger than I am. He’s 25. Let’s call him K. He was telling me his story of his past. He told me about his aspirations to be a head chef one day. He had recently met face-to-face with a chef of a local high-end restaurant to introduce himself and submit a resume. He also began to talk about his struggles of growing up in foster homes, getting in fights, and having resentment and anger towards his mother. He went on to share that he was so angry and still is. I was just listening and chiming in now and then. When he said he was angry, I simply asked, “Why are you angry?”

K replied, “I don’t know. I just am.”

I asked what he’s angry about, and he said it was because of his mother and how she wasn’t really there for him. So I asked, again, why he’s angry about that.

K replied again, “I just am. It’s something I can’t change.”

“Why can’t you?”

“I don’t know. I just can’t help it.”

“Says who?”

Checkmate. I could have sworn a lightbulb appeared above his head. His eyes widened had an expression of shock as if he just had some sort of epiphany. He said, “Oh, I see what you’re getting at.”

The thing is, he made the decision to be angry about something in the past which he can’t change. He decided that he has the inability to stop being angry. He can’t help it because he just accepted that he’s an angry person, and he would rather point blame rather than move on. Who else is going to decide for him to change his attitude; his recent ex-girlfriend who he said meant the world to him or his mom who he doesn’t have a good relationship with? Neither. It’s all about personal responsibility and thinking about what you can do right now. To quote Rafiki from The Lion King, “It doesn’t matta! It’s in de past!”

One thing K told me after we chatted for a while is, “The only reason I’m still talking to you about this right now is because I can tell you genuinely care.” At one point, he asked, “Why do you care so much?”

I told him, “Because not only do you reap what you sow in life, but you reap even more.”

“Tenfold,” he agreed.

When the conversation was coming to an end, before he left, he thanked me for talking with him. He told me that I really helped him out that night and that he learned a lot from me. He told me he knows that I will be successful in whatever it is that I’m pursuing, and he shook my hand and left.

Resentment is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Now back to Tony Robbins.

Another thing Tony talks about that intrigues me is the six basic human needs. Understanding these needs has helped me understand why people do what they do. The six basic human needs are: certainty, uncertainty (i.e. variety), love and connection, significance, growth, and contribution. There’s also enough content on this topic for its own blog post.

Lastly, I learned a lot about fear from Tony. Pessimism, stress, and anger are examples of manifestations of fear.

Pessimists, who often describe themselves as realists, are those who have convinced themselves that something cannot be achieved, so they don’t even try. They fear failure. Optimists thrive on failure. They see a possibility to achieve, so they try. Though they may fail, they consequently learn, improve, and progress, which is why the optimist tends to reach goals and become more fulfilled than the pessimist, who remains stagnant and discontent.

Fear is at the root of anger and resentment. Tony says if you tell him what is stressing you, he could discover your deepest fears. People get angry when things don’t go their way because they are fearful of a potential outcome. He also said, “Resentment is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” In other words, anger and resentment only hurt yourself and get you nowhere.

The late Jim Rohn was Tony Robbins’ mentor. One of his philosophies that continues to resonate with me is how to get out of a blue mood. He says that to get yourself out of a blue mood, talk somebody else through theirs, because when you talk somebody through their blue mood, you will hear yourself say some amazing things, which will ultimately end up helping yourself. Jim was full of great quotes and philosophies.

Finally, Dave Ramsey is not only a master financial guru, but he is one of the strongest advocates of giving to others. It seems counterintuitive that a key to becoming financially free and fulfilled is to give your money away (e.g. donations and tithing). This is the man who coined (see what I did there?) the expressions, “The secret to living is giving” and “Live like no one else now so that later you can live and give like no one else.” Let that sink in.

So, whatever it is that you want to achieve, whatever you’re passionate about, and no matter how crazy anyone else may think your goal is, make a decision to go after it.

These coaches, among others, have changed my outlook on life in a positive way, and I find hope when I remind myself that these three giants–Tony, Jim, and Dave–have all been at the bottom at some point in their lives. Tony had about $19 cash to his name at one time and gave it all to a young boy accompanying his mom for lunch so that the boy could treat his mom to dinner. Jim was in his late twenties, broke, and married with children when he met his mentor and finally started writing down his goals and pursuing his ambitions. He then became wealthy about six years later. Dave was married in his twenties, then broke, got rich, went bankrupt, almost got left by his wife, and got rich again! I’m 29, have a secure job with health benefits, a retirement fund, sources of supplemental income, and a business I’m trying to get off the ground. So I’d say I’m in a good position in comparison to them.

That’s all I have for you in this post. Remember, go after what you want in life. Like Dave Ramsey says, normal sucks, and if your broke friends are making fun of you, then you’re probably on the right track. Like Jim Rohn says, even your closest friends may secretly try to hold you back from your success, not because they want you to fail, but because they don’t want you to leave them behind. So, whatever it is that you want to achieve, whatever you’re passionate about, and no matter how crazy anyone else may think your goal is, make a decision to go after it. Don’t waste time dwelling on the past. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. The world is yours. Get out there. Take action. It’s your life. Make the best of it.