I am sure some of you think the life of a motivational speaker/author is one of sunshine and rainbows. Although I firmly believe I have found a way to live life with a passion and joy that few are fortunate enough to have, there are still challenges for me. Some happen when major events occur. Some, like we are going to discuss today, happen almost daily.
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” You have heard me use this quote of Earl Nightingale quite often. I do this because I believe it is truly one of the truest things ever spoken. I do not believe success is a point to be reached, so much as a way of traveling. I don’t believe we ever truly defeat our demons, so much as live to fight them another day. Sometimes we win, sometimes they do. To be successful, we must identify them and develop ways to outflank and attack them daily. With practice and persistence we shold begin to prevail more than we fall victim.
Case in point for me – negative self-talk and dwelling on the negative. This may sound shocking as those are two things that I preach everyone should work on. The reason I say that is because I do so daily. Recently, on my day off at my day job someone came and destroyed my work area. It took me a good 20 minutes to clean the area up before I could even begin my work day. Yes, this sucks. No, nobody knew anything about it. As I made my way through the projects I had to attend to that day I found myself thinking about this episode. Not even really consciously. It was almost as if my mind was having a conversation about it. “Who would really do such a thing?” “Why would they leave it that way?” and a million other thoughts raced through my head.
The more this happened, the more the event seemed to bother me. This was foolish as it had already been addressed and corrected. Dwelling on it did one thing and one thing only – lowered my emotional state and mental well-being. Then another thought crept into my mind. “If I spent this amount of time visualizing my goals, I would be a lot further along.” For that moment, my demons won. I did not let it stay that way. “Persistence is another word for faith. If you didn’t have faith, you wouldn’t persist.” Another Earl Nightingale quote I love. At that moment I made up my mind to take control of my thoughts again.
Dwelling on an unpleasant episode can be hard not to do. This was only a mild inconvienence. If you have an emotionally charged episode like a disagreement with your spouse, for example, that can seem insurmountable. It is not. That is not to say it will be easy, but it is possible. We realize focusing on what we have to be grateful for in our partner would serve us far better than dwelling on that thing they said or did that upset us. We also realize that dwelling on that will only increase our anger and make the likelihood of a possible resolution far less…well…likely. We certainly may not be able to shift our thinking away from the upset and towards gratitude, especially in the beginning. As we practice and continue to go to war with ourselves and our demons, we will experience one victory. We can use that and the good feelings it brings to build upon.
If your demons are negative self-talk, dwelling on negative situations, do not give them power. Be persistent and have faith. Even if some days they may get the best of you, wake up to fight another day.