The prayer of gratefulness is not a one-time occurrence. To access its power, you must make it part of your routine. It is one of the most powerful tools you can employ to shape your future, and it’s easy to do. Take a moment right now to come up with a list of things you are grateful for—it could be the weather, the food you’re eating, someone in your life, or the challenges you’ve faced and overcome. Now take one of those things and expand upon it. What is it specifically you are grateful for? Why are you grateful for it? What effect has it had on your life? Take the time and say thank you. Bring this gratefulness into the now.
The cloud lifts. I am optimistic. I am strong. I am looking forward to my future. Those things that were weighing me down are gone and I feel lighter. I walk into my day with a smile and a sense of adventure, open to the possibilities that anything can happen today. I have the faith and belief that I am loved and entitled to succeed, and that the universe will deliver. While I may not be able to control everything that happens, I can take responsibility for how I deal with it all. I am back on the path to greatness, looking towards my future...Buy the Book
Being reactive is a hard habit to break, and not just because of inertia. One of the major impediments to creating change in our lives is the pleasure we take in causing ourselves pain. When I was 19 years old, I remember asking myself a very simple question: Why am I messing up my life so much?
I found my answer in the works of Edmund Bergler. Bergler was a Freudian theorist who believed that many people experience a phenomenon he called “psychic masochism.” In his 1954 text, The Revolt of the Middle-Aged Man, Bergler wrote, “Psychic masochism, while still largely an unknown disease, is one of the most widespread of human failings. To define it briefly, it is the unconscious wish to defeat one’s conscious aims, and to enjoy that self-constructed defeat.”1 In other words, Bergler argues that we
1 Bergler was riffing off Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), who saw anxieties, depression, unhappiness, and distress as unconsciously motivated negative manifestations of what he referred to as a state of neurosis. Bergler believed that as children, we have to reconcile the natural aggression we feel towards our caregivers that results from realizing we are not omnipotent with the drive
Look Up 9
derive pleasure from the anxieties and unhappiness we experience, and that is why we keep putting ourselves in situations and behaving in ways that cause us pain, continually feeding a destructive cycle of our own making. In plain English, we derive unconscious (emotional) pleasure from our own pain...Buy the Book
It is easy to get distracted by the many choices now available to us in our fast-moving world. The multitude of professions we can pursue, the places we can live, the media we can choose to consume, and the people we can meet and commit to. With an unprecedented wealth of choices at our doorstep, it’s no wonder that people find themselves frozen in fear at the thought of missing out. FOMO (fear of missing out) is an anxiety disorder in this day and age. It leaves people wondering what they missed out on and causes them to lose out on the present. Worse, it can create a continual state of indecision.
The cure to FOMO is simple. When you love yourself and fill yourself with conscious gratitude, you will be content with wherever the universe has dropped you off and your feelings of missing out will disappear...Buy the Book
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in six words. He came up with the famous six-word story: “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Inspired by this story, Larry Smith of SMITH Magazine challenged others to try to write their lives in six words.
I thought this idea was quite the challenge. How could you encapsulate a life in six words? I was struck by both the brilliant simplicity and the enormity of the challenge: sum up the total sense of who I am and what I believe and package it in a six- word micro-memoir.
I was stumped. For several days, I considered what impact these six words would have on how I value myself. Six words does not allow for any excess; it requires the writer to focus in on what is most important. The exercise took on a new challenge for me. I realized it was asking me to distill my life down to my core essential truth.
When I eventually committed my six words to paper, I felt a great wave of relief come over me. I was calmed by its truth: Living my Life on my Terms. In six words, I captured the feeling of the gratefulness I felt and how far I’d come to understand what a gift life is. Every time I see these words they continue to strengthen and inspire me.
Try it yourself. What are your six words?
A point of caution here: Stories of grievance have a shelf life. There is a point of repetition where you risk becoming a broken record. No one has the patience to listen to the same grievance over and over again. Grievances can also eventually manifest themselves to include things that did not happen. People who have chosen to dedicate their lives to bearing crosses often become so obsessed that they lose the connection to what really happened.
Don’t become trapped in this cycle. You get a limited number of passes before your story of grievance needs to evolve into one of “heroism”—and this is the story you can tell over and over again. No one gets tired of hearing about heroism. It is motivating and positive. A story of overcoming hardship gives strength to others, and every hero deserves to share their story.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a theory of human motivation in 1943 now called “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.” He believed that our choices and behavior are governed by five stages of needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self- actualization. A person must have their needs met at each stage before they can move on to the next. The most primary needs are psychological, safety, and social; these create feelings of being secure, being loved, and belonging. The next level is esteem, which manifests as confidence and self-respect.
All of these needs must be met to reach self-actualization, where a person has the opportunity to achieve their potential by knowing what they want and what their purpose is. The reality is, however, that very few of us are fortunate enough to have all these needs met all the time. Situations in life may conspire to endanger our safety, or impact our social or esteem needs. When this happens, we must recognize what has happened and find a way to address it before it drags us down into a reactive space. When we successfully adapt and overcome these deficiencies, we have the opportunity to reach the final stage: self-actualization.
There is a great deal of effort involved when one or more of your needs is not met in early development. You are left to figure it out for yourself, and the unfortunate truth is that not everyone… Buy the Book
“What I call the four foundations—openness, faith, future, and forgiveness—are principles that we can use to change the way we interact with the world. These foundations will be the topics of Part One of this book. Our perception—how we see the world around us—is shaped by our life experiences. In our earliest years, we form many of the biases we carry throughout our lives; these biases often predict how we react to the world around us and prevent us from making the changes necessary to living our greatest lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We all have the potential to become mindful of our biases and loosen their grip upon us. With conscious effort, we can achieve a state of being that aligns with who we want to be, not where we came from.People often say that change starts with altering actions and behaviors, but I believe this statement is a case of mistaking means for ends. We start the change process by having a vision of who we want to be or what we want to accomplish. Only then will our actions and behaviors change to accommodate that vision.”
"People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."
-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
It’s a beautiful summer morning on the ocean, and the perfect wave is coming in. You’ve spotted the wave, paddled hard to be in the right position to catch it, and now you are on the top—on the crest. You lean in, commit yourself, and tip the board forward. You invite the surging force of the breaking water to take over, and the result is a massive jolt of acceleration. Looking back, it seems as if everything that happened was pre-destined, there is such perfect harmony between yourself, your purpose, and nature. In that moment, riding atop the surge, is acceleration.
"I have trust in my intuition, powered by the confidence that comes from past achievements. I have done it before; I can do it again.”
“Foundation 4: Forgiveness
The final foundation is forgiveness. When an injustice has been perpetrated against you, it can be incredibly difficult to heal and move forward. That said, when we hang on to the anger that resides deep within us, it tarnishes the soul and blurs our ability to envision and realize the future we desire. To move forward, we must prevail and overcome. But how? How do you move on?
The chapter on forgiveness was the hardest and most personal for me to write. For a long time I struggled to forgive people who had hurt me, but in my journey I realized that only through forgiveness can we unlock a future in which we become the best versions of ourselves. That future is worth the discomfort of being vulnerable. ”
“If you put your best foot forward and do everything within your power, you will come to a place that is your destiny. “Believe” that you are loved. “Believe” that you have value. And “believe” that you are an important part of this vast universe, one that is a far better place because you have chosen to pursue your greatness, and in doing so, have affected the world in ways that you may never become aware of.”
“If you are meant to be on the path that you are on, the universe will find a way, even when you can’t. When you realize this fact, you will have stumbled upon one of the secret ingredients for success; if you focus on “what” you need to happen—you articulate your goal—the universe will supply the “how.” That is the power of faith. ”
Accelerators are the fuel for greatness. With every personal and professional project that we commit to and bring to the finish line, we increase the confidence we have in ourselves, the faith that others have in us, and our abilities to achieve larger tasks. But to open those doors, it starts with commitment. It starts with taking the shot. Just do it! as the famous ad campaign goes.
Mrs. Ellison, my grade five teacher, who at the time seemed older than God, would single me out because I did not have my lunch or because my work was not completed. She would hear no excuses. It did not matter to her that at ten years old, I had no one to make me lunch or that I would come to school in pretty bad shape. She would look me straight in the eye, a tremor in her voice, point a shaky finger at me, and say, “Young man, where there is a will, there is a way.”
In retrospect, I have to thank her for her unwavering lack of empathy for me, even if the appropriate action might have been to call a children’s aid society. She drummed that phrase into my head and it stuck. When I find myself in front of what appears to be an impenetrable wall, I recount her words, often saying them out loud in a chant-like fashion.
This mantra has kept me pushing and persevering over the years. There is always a way to move through walls. I have moved through many in my journey, and I will move through more. The commitment to moving through walls reminds me that by keeping stock in my faith and asking the universe to deliver, I will find that crack in the dam and a trickle of opportunity will make its way through to lead me to the next great place on my journey.
Challenging ourselves and pushing the boundaries of what we think we’re capable of is a powerful accelerator. Accelerators related to physical endeavors can be particularly powerful. By persevering through physical discomfort, we learn to access new sources of confidence and motivation. Not to mention, it keeps you looking and feeling great, which is an accelerator all on its own!