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Nothing Is Over Until You Stop Trying

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What is stopping you in the pursuit of your dreams?

That’s you.  Standing in front of the ice.  The lake.  The mountains.  Subconsciously we quickly think of the journey as being impossible.  That know matter how much energy we exert, we won’t make it.  That this is the end of the journey for us.

And at first glance, anyone would think the same.  I mean look at it. The very sight of it makes you want to question your sanity.  To be honest, most would just quit there.  Just stop.

But we aren’t the stopping kind of people are we?  We aren’t going to let obstacles get in our way are we?  These are  just tests, trials and tribulations to see if we are strong enough.

To see if we have the grit inside of us to carry on.  And you and I both know that you do. We have overcome more in our lifetime than many others.  Many who have succumbed to the weight of it on their shoulders.  We don’t stop. We don’t quit.

We just lean into it and keep going.  One foot in front of the other.  slowly going across the ice on this cold river of uncertainty.  Climbing the mountain not able to see over the top for hours, days, maybe months and sometimes years.  We climb towards the inevitable.  Only one thing is certain on this trip:  Failure and quitting is behind us as we move further and further away.

And why would you want to quit right in the middle?  Listen, quitting doesn’t make you a bad person. But it doesn’t make you a better one either.  If you are stop trying something because it’s too dangerous, I get it.  But if you are stopping just because it makes you uncomfortable……that’s the point!  The point is to shed the comfort zone and move to somewhere else unrecognizable.

Time to make the unfamiliar very familiar.

This is your wake up call.  Time to climb some mountains.

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends.  I would great appreciate it!

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Explore. Expand. Evolve.

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Many people will tell you that childhood is the age of discovery. Others will say that your adolescence is when you find out the good and bad of the world and the rules society places upon us.  That pretty much by the time you reach adulthood, you know how things are done.  And either you conform or you don’t.

But I believe, like many, that life is a continuous process of learning.  That every day we should seek out something new to learn.  That we should not put our head down on any surface until we can say we have accomplished that task.

But there are many I see and come in contact with who feel otherwise.  I once had a leader in the military tell me that a brand new soldier couldn’t teach them anything.  I felt sorry for that person. Mainly because it was a young person who helped him learn how to operate his new iPhone!

See that type of thinking is close minded and really has no place in society.  You should be open and accepting to learning new things.  Good or bad.  Because ultimately it’s up to you whether you retain the information and use it at a later time.

That leads me perfectly into the reason why I am writing today. Because I want you to simply use the following three words to enrich your life starting now.

EXPLORE. EXPAND. EVOLVE.

I want you to explore parts of your town that you haven’t been to yet.  Safely of course.  I want you to check out a different genre and style of writing.  I suggest The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.  It’s about finding one’s destiny.  Or read up on a part of the world that lives very much different from you do.  The point is to find something that will require you to be outside your comfort zone.

Then I suggest you use that new found information to expand your thinking. To truly have an open mind and understand all the new knowledge you have acquired.  What have you got to lose?

Absolutely nothing.  But you have everything to gain.  You truly start to see that everything doesn’t revolve around your block or in your city.

Expanding your mind allows your thought process to grow.  It allows you to see things through other’s eyes and brings a greater understanding and compassion to our troubled world.  It won’t let you pass that man lying in the street and not feel something. It will compel you to stop and aid him in some way.

And this all leads you to evolve.  The most important aspect in this journey.  By evolving you leave your old ways and become a better person. You start to see and think differently in situations you are placed in.  You subconsciously steer clear from things that bring no value to your life and well-being.

You would rather use that time to talk to a young group of kids looking for direction.  Or volunteering with a literacy program.  Evolving will, in my opinion, make you more compassionate.  Not centered on your own individual needs.

Explore new things.  Expand your thinking. Most of all, evolve into a better person. Then start the process all over again.

What new things are you going to explore today?

-alv

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Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

It is said that an average human being can have between 25,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day.  Imagine how many of those are negative thoughts.  How many times you are subconsciously telling yourself that you can’t accomplish this.  You can’t do that.  It will never work.

I had a difficult background, filled with no concrete role model and a lot of figuring out things on my own.  I am honestly not unlike many other kids who had to fend for themselves during their adolescents. Sure, I had my father and step-mother, but there was not a lot of child rearing and teaching lessons. 

I had to fend for myself.  I didn’t hear a lot of “great job” and other accolades.  It was as if I was expected to achieve greatness and success with no blueprint or example to go off of.  Saying it was tough would be an understatement.

My attitude and outlook became very pessimistic and I was depressed.   This went on for the first ten years of my military career. But when I finally got fed up with living a mediocre existence, I changed.  It honestly took seeing other people happy and enjoying their life.  What’s the difference between me and them?

They didn’t wallow in self-pity.  They worked hard and enjoyed the process, keeping their goals in the front of their mind.  The progressed past me in rank and responbility.  All because they had the right attitude.  That of perseverance.  

See, I had a bright future with a good career.  I just let the dark clouds and obstacles get in the way. When I mapped out my plan it made it easier to seek out people who could aid me in my journey.  My biggest problem is I compared my life with theirs.  My happiness to theirs.  Bad idea.  Success is ultimately an individual thing.  I need to do the physical and mental work to achieve it.  Only I would get the emotional high of achievement when it was done.  

The last ten years of my career flew by when I changed.  But I remember it like it was yesterday because I was happy.  I got out of a marriage that I wasn’t fully invested in and have a wonderful family now.  And when the military wasn’t fun anymore, I retired.  Best decision ever because I found my first love again:  writing.  

Surround yourself with the right people.  People who have no negative thoughts prevalent in their mind.  You ever walked into a room and there was someone else there, but they weren’t in a good mood?  You can feel the tension and bad aura.  You just want to leave the room so it doesn’t rub on you.  

Map out what needs to be done.  Share it with those closest to you, but you do the work.  You climb the damn obstacles.  And be optimistic in the pursuit of your greatness.  I am rooting for you.  

-alv

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How Your Attitude Effects Your Growth


Attitude determines altitude

Your mom always told you about your bad attitude as a child, huh?  Mine used to tell me that a bad attitude will stunt your growth.  Luckily I listened because I am over six feet tall now!

But is the old wise saying even true?  I would say yes.  Think about it this scenario:  You just had an argument with someone and minutes later you are still reeling from it.  You are thinking the worse derogatory thoughts imaginable about that person.  You are festering in a bad aura and can’t think about anything else.  Practically seeing red.

Now it’s been ten minutes or so and you finally calm down and allow the anger to subside.  But what have you gained?  Nothing.  But you have lost six hundred seconds of productive time.  The time you could of spend achieving something worthwhile besides a bad attitude.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that you must go through life never being angry.  That’s ridiculous. What I am saying is the more you stay in the positive zone, the more you will achieve.  Yes, you will learn through pain, anger, and despair.  But the quicker you get out of those zones and into the positive side, the faster you will see growth.

See, when you fail at something you feel beaten down and have a solemn attitude.  If you wallow there, you will continue to stay at the same level.  But if you take the necessary time to learn from the mistake and then apply it, you quickly move out of your current position to a better one.  A lot of times it’s a vertical position and not lateral. Ultimately placing you above where you just were and at a heightened sense of awareness.

Make a conscious effort to go into work, school, or just start your day with a good attitude.  Make an effort to smile and speak to people.  Help out a friend at work and get them a coffee on the way in.  See how much it changes their attitude and how more productive they become.

You will indeed grow and add points to your overall character and reputation amongst your colleagues. Like the picture suggests, having the right attitude will have you soaring above the clouds quickly.

What are you consciously going to do today to make sure you start  the day with the right attitude?

-alv

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The Choice To Change Is Always Yours

we can choose to be affected by the world or we can choose to affect the world

 

Occasionally you run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while and you catch up.  You both tell each other how your life has been and then the conversation turns to talk about the popular kids back in the day and where they are now.

Who cares?  Honestly.  You are the popular kid now.  You are the one shaking and moving and making things happen.  Not some kid who lettered in football.  Not some girl who was the Captain of the cheer leading squad.

See there is nothing wrong with doing those things, but that was the past.  And they aren’t still doing them.  Back then, you allowed the actions of others to set the conditions of your life.  You thought that they had it all together.

Some did, but many didn’t.  For those who did, they knew the secret early on.  Hell, we all did.  Just not many of us listened. The secret?

AFFECT CHANGE.  

Simple enough but very hard to implement.  Especially at a young age.  Think about it.  Remember a time your parents made you upset.  And you said, “When I get older I am going to move and do what I want”.  It’s been said for thousands of years, but many have not actually done it.  For those that have, I applaud you.  But not the rest of you.

That changes now.  Seriously.  I don’t know what you plan to do in your life. I don’t know how long you plan to stay in that job you hate.  I don’t know how long you will keep letting people push you around and run your life.

I do know that you have dreams, aspirations and goals to plan and complete.  I do know that you are better than that job you hate and need to get to work on something else to replace it.  I do know that none of those people physically inhabit your body so why do you let them control you mentally?

I absolutely loved the military.  I was great at my job, but I grew tired of the mundane and repetitiveness of it. I let my distaste for the day to day tasks gradually wear my spirit down.  I loved leading and mentoring soldiers living and working all over the world.  I just grew tired of seeing soldiers not reach their fullest potential and making mistakes that I did in the beginning.

But you know what I realized two years ago?  They saw themselves more than soldiers and wanted to do something else. Shocking, huh?  To someone one who was a soldier for over two decades, it was very shocking.  And I realized that I was not affecting change.  I was allowing the military to dictate change for me.

After a while there was only so much change I could affect.  So I began the process of retirement.And in this process I  walked into an abyss and the cold dark world of normalcy. I don’t regret it or look back as a failure.  I am where I belong and I love it..

I affected change and with it all the emotions that could be expected.  I feel like I felt October 7, 1992 when I left home to begin my journey.  I feel the nervousness.  The feeling of change masking itself as goosebumps and rising the hairs across my entire body.

It’s exhilarating.  You know what change feels like for me?  Freedom. Not a physical freedom from bondage.  But a sense that it was time to stop doing things like the 99% and walk the opposite path with the 1%.

Freedom to find a new uncharted path and break ground.  To be able to affect a new set of ideas and make these dreams come true. It’s not going to be easy, but affecting change never is.

What are you going to do to affect change in your life?

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What Are You Chasing Anyway?

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Everyone I know is chasing something in life. Notice I said something and not someone.  There is a clear and definable difference.  Now, I am not talking about your friends in your circle of trust.  Because I am a big advocate of having friends smarter and more accomplished than you. I believe that true friendship and healthy competition makes us all achieve more. Continue reading “What Are You Chasing Anyway?”

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Trust The Journey (MM)

I went home to the place of my birth this past Friday and Saturday. Hampton, Virginia.  It was a quick trip to see my mother and brother and their families.  We had a blast and it was good to reconnect with my roots. As a child I didn’t spend that much time there because my father was in the military.  But I still call it home since the nucleus of both my father and mother’s family live there.   Continue reading “Trust The Journey (MM)”

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Come What May (Friday Focus)

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Happy Friday!  You know since the implementation of the modern work week people have always looked at Fridays the same.  The end of a tough week. I can hear the voice in your head, “If I can just get through this day  I will be alright.  But it never really works out that way does it? Continue reading “Come What May (Friday Focus)”