At one time, driving a car used to take a lot of effort and expertise. There was no automatic. In today’s automatic and computerized cars, the engine is shifting without you even knowing it. If you’ve ever driven a stick shift, you know what it means to truly shift gears.
Living your life on autopilot is like driving a car on automatic gear. You pay little to no attention to what’s happening around you and hardly question what you do on a daily basis. You miss out the incredible opportunities of your life slipping away each moment.
The first step to breaking out of this automatic loop is to pick one pattern and break it, no matter how simple it might seem.
- Want to stop being late everywhere you go? Next time, don’t make hollow promises to yourself. Instead, set a timer to get out fifteen minutes earlier than you normally would.
- Want to save more money? Start by picking one night this week to cook a meal at home instead of ordering takeout.
- Want to start finally tackling that dream project you always said you’d finish? Get on YouTube and watch videos to learn how to do that thing you don’t know how to do. Today. Make yourself accountable.
- Want to finally finish that college degree that’s been hanging over your head for years? Take an online course or class at a local university to create momentum to finish the necessary requirements needed to make progress.
- Want to move to that new city that you’ve dreamed about for years? Make a plan to visit the city once a quarter and have informational meetings with people who work in your desired industry to start building relationships.
Putting in this effort requires a new awareness—shifting gears, taking some risks, and not going through life at the same speed as everyone else.
Find Your Edge
When you regularly find the edge and push yourself beyond the limits that you’re used to, sometimes you can find yourself feeling a bit of a letdown afterward. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Antonio calls this energy shift “earned sadness.”
Earned sadness is what you feel when something comes to an end because it challenged or stretched you like never before. It could have even been a profound life-changing experience or a project that took some time to complete. It’s like when kids go off to summer camp. They’re afraid to leave their parents, siblings, and home. However, when their parents return to pick them up in a couple of weeks, they’re sad to leave behind the amazing friends and experiences they’ve collected. They’re different people than they were just a couple of weeks before.
This feeling of sadness, when a meaningful experience comes to end, means that you’ve done something right. It means that you’re finding the edge and that you’re jumping.
Build Your Team
A good way to look at your team is like the starting five of a basketball team. Each player has a unique role to play. Here are the key types of players:
- The Encourager. This player does the work that many don’t see. During tough spells, they support you with perspective and their unwavering commitment.
- The Playmaker. When you need a jolt of creativity, energy, or motivation, they are your person. They move fast and don’t have patience for indecision.
- The Facilitator. This player sees the big picture and supports you in managing the flow of information. They’re good at knowing when you can speed things up or slow things down.
- The Rock. This player is the veteran. When all hell is breaking loose, they help you remember what’s most important and provide you with perspective.
- The Bruiser. A bruiser holds you accountable for what you said you were going to do. They are metrics-based and measure success by the progress you do or don’t make.
Once again, it’s important to remember that your players aren’t always going to be your best friends. You probably won’t talk to them daily. But when it’s time to play ball, they’ll bring out the best in you every time.
Be Your Own Benefactor
Being your own benefactor means taking a leap, putting yourself out there, and not being afraid to fund your dreams with your own commitment.
To illustrate, crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter help people and organizations raise money for important causes, businesses, and other projects. They could be a good resource for you, too. Unfortunately, some people have allowed platforms like these to paralyze them into believing that they can’t start a company, write a book, shoot a short film, or embark on a new journey without the financial support of others.
As individuals, we can learn a powerful lesson from these platforms: we can kick-start ourselves. What did people do before these platforms existed? They invested in themselves—not financially, per se, but with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to stick through the tough times. It all starts with seeing yourself as your own benefactor.
You Were Born to Live
Your happiness hurts no one.
Please allow that to sink in with all of your being.
Of course, it won’t be all happiness all the time. It won’t all be perfect. But every day, you have the opportunity to learn from the bumpy roads you encounter. You have it within you to brush yourself off from falls and bounce back.
Be warned that you’ll regularly encounter people who are fighting their way through life. The choice you get to make is living life open, always ready with a hug, versus living it with a clenched fist, always ready to fight.
‘Not Much’ Means Everything
Celebrate every day when “not much” happens. Making your kids’ breakfast in the morning. Going for a walk with friends or family. Taking out the garbage. These are things that people describe as “not much.” But that “not much” is actually EVERYTHING. They are THE moments.
Don’t fight your way through life, celebrate it.
Don’t wait for a special occasion to celebrate. Make today a special occasion. Open up that great bottle of wine on the shelf. Wear that new dress or suit that makes you look and feel fabulous. Don’t wait until someone’s birthday to celebrate them.
When you talk about the “good old days”, you’re talking about today. The good old days are now, waiting to be lived. You create them with your choices, attitude, and actions. The best thing to happen to you is still ahead of you.