The world is not a fun place right now. Especially in the U.S. I mean things are very bad. It seems as if all of it is a really bad dream. But it’s not. It’s real life. We are going through some significant changes to our fundamental way of life in America and I liken it to chaos.
Really. Brother against Brother. Friend against friend. I don’t know about you, but it can be downright draining. Feeling like you can’t think or even function because madness is all around you. It’s like our body has an emotional, physical, and mental bank account that is being drained. Bankrupted even. We are allowing so many outside forces (media, people, etc) to control our day to day thinking. I know it can be overwhelming and highjack your feelings and self-esteem.
But we can keep these feelings at bay. How so? By believing in yourself, surrounding yourself with good people, and practicing resiliency.
Believing in myself
Sounds simple, huh? Well, it’s not. As human beings, we are ingrained with a tinge of doubt. Not just in the things we encounter but in ourselves as well. The problem is we are always seeing the good life that others are supposedly living on social media. But that doesn’t always tell the real picture. Everyone has bad days, but if you let social media trick you into believing otherwise, then you will be fooled 100% of the time.
Recognize that everyone goes through it and you are just seeing 50% of the truth. Now, back to you. You can and will be great at whatever you decide to be in life. You just have to believe that life is an endless marathon. Not a sprint. I know it sounds cliché but it’s absolutely true.
I am in the second leg of mine (working in Saudi Arabia) and moving to my third (returning to the U.S.) and I am excited. But I would have never gotten here if I didn’t believe in myself. Really. If I had five dollars for every person who thought I couldn’t do it and succeed…..
There wouldn’t have been a need to come. I would have been rich!
Honestly. The “odds” were stacked against me. I was just about to “retire” from the military and many didn’t think I had the experience to take on this job in the corporate world. Let alone do it overseas with no safety net. I don’t even think the man who hired me thought I could pull it off. But he saw something in me, I guess (thanks, John!).
Why? Because he saw that I believed in myself. I didn’t get the job the first time, but it was offered to me later and I jumped on it. Well, my wife said yes for me….lol. But when I finally met my employers I exhumed confidence because I showed up like I belonged there. I simply believed that I could excel at the job and I did.
I want you to do the same. So while the world may feel like it is crashing all around you, ultimately you will make it through it all. If you believe in yourself.
Surround yourself with good people
Surrounding myself with good people was something I didn’t understand early in life. I didn’t know that you grew stronger by having the right people around you. I kind of just fell into place but didn’t reap the benefits of it. As I got older I started seeing how having a mutual colleague who could push you to achieve your goals helped.
Ideally, you want someone who is going to tell you the truth always. I don’t know about you, but I value the friends that tell me when I mess up. Because I know that it’s genuine. Trust me, you will know if they are saying something to you maliciously. Because real friends will stand right beside you and fix your wrongs.
You don’t want people around you who are always putting you down and picking at your mistakes. You want people around you who are going to give it to you straight. People who are going to kneel next to you and help pick up the pieces of your life. Then help put it back together.
So look for people who have your best interest and are genuine. Then turn right around and be that person for them.
So for the better part of my adult life, I served in the military. And before resiliency became a buzz word I was doing it day in and day out. In the profession I chose, I had to be able to bounce back from changes in tasks and missions and act as if nothing happened. I only have a few seconds to process what was happening and then move on to something else.
That’s what resiliency is all about. The ability to bounce back quickly from adversity. The best way to do that is put yourself in uncomfortable situations and test your resolve. Test how you’re going to react to things is going to make you uneasy dealing with them. Then simply bounce back. You choose to let it affect you for the good or hold you back for the bad. The right thing is to turn it to fuel for good. Now I am not telling you to deal with how you feel because emotional intelligence is important. Your mental state is key to achieving success so deal with it thoroughly, quickly and move on to greatness.
We make mistakes. The problem is many of us don’t learn from them.
We go on to repeat them over and over again. And continue the question why we are stick in this vicious circle.
Because we don’t want to grow. We like being complacent. Even in our misery. We like to be comfortable.
We hate failing so we play it safe. Forget safe. The road to success is riddled with failure. I personally like to fail because I know success is around the corner.
So fail and fail often.
They will tell you that you can't move mountains. They will say that you can't cross seas.
That you can't dig deep and realize your own seeds of greatness and plant them to become better.
They tell you all of this because they love living in their comfort zone.
And because you want to do something, they lash out and criticize you.
But that's just their insecurities talking.
Find what makes you passionate and do you. And do it because they said you couldn't.
They are busy watching and trying to imitate celebrities. Why? Because of money? Their fame? Because they seem to have the perfect life? There is no such thing.
How about this. Be yourself. Be your own celebrity. Be your own motivation, inspiration, and be driven in the pursuit of your own utopia of existence.
Trying to be someone else will have you missing out on your own highlight reel of your life.
I do not believe in fear. Early in my former career, I learned that fear was indeed self-induced and was and it kept me from achieving many of my goals in life. See fear stops you from achieving your highest potential. It creates self-doubt and worries in the best of people. But it’s preventable. It can be overcome.
See I would rather be afraid of something than fearful. Why? Because being afraid creates a sense of urgency in us. It makes our body start pumping adrenaline and ignites the “fight or flight” in others depending on their situation. Being afraid tells the body that we absolutely have to pick an option. Go left or right, up or down, street or stay on the sidewalk, but we are moving!
And having this attitude makes us succumb to our own internal peer pressure and forces us to do something. And why can’t that something be what we wanted to accomplish anyway?
Being afraid has gotten me a hell of a lot further than being fearful. Through jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, war, retirement, and now living overseas in “The Kingdom”. Fear rules nothing. Be afraid and get farther in life. Who’s with me?
There have been some times in my military, hell life in general, that I had wanted to quit. Give up. Walk away. Ring that damn bell. But then I came to the realization that some things are worth the pain and sacrifice if I really wanted them.
We used to say to “take a knee and drink water” during long marches or operations in the Army. It may seem silly now but it was during a time that you may have lost your bearings or felt like having a pity party. The idea was to take a knee, wet your palette and collect your thoughts. To take a quick second and look deep inside yourself for that second wind and reason why. And when you found that reason you would give your team a boost of confidence, inspiration, and keep pushing to accomplish the goal.
So why can’t you use this same example in your life? I do. When times get you down. When we see our “friends” achieving more and we are stagnating, take a knee and drink water. Collect your thoughts, reenergize your base and get after it.
Because we aren’t tapping out or ringing any bells around here.
You can do it. I know you can.
In high school I was never the popular kid. I just never felt the need to have to belong to a group of people or follow the norm. Sure, I had plenty of friends because I socialized with everyone. But I didn’t live and die by what they thought of me.
I was also very fortunate to become conscious and self aware of who I was as a young 17 year old. So I didn’t subject myself to society’s view of a young Black Man. And I have constantly evolved in my 20s, 30s, and now 40s.
But one thing is constant: I am not bothered by what others think of me.
Live your life and be who you have always wanted to be. On your terms.