This Morning’s Thoughts

I don’t want to conquer the world; I want to conquer my own fears and self-doubts.
 
I don’t care about a lot of money; I want a lot of love.
 
It takes a lot of courage and strength to be weak and vulnerable.
 
It’s okay to make a lot of mistakes and fail spectacularly if it’s in pursuit of growth and towards something personally meaningful.
 
Sometimes the most loving thing you can do–for yourself and others–is to keep certain people out of your life. But–and this is important–don’t build walls so high you keep everyone out. Find and recognize those you love, who make you feel safe and loved in return, who’ve earned your trust, and always let them in, let those people get close to your heart.
 
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Especially if you become a public figure at all. Other people’s perceptions of you are out of your control. Know yourself and surround yourself with loving friends who know the real you–the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly–and recognize that you’re only human, just like them.

Heartbeats

It’s an odd moment. One of those fleeting moments of enlightenment where everything feels so clear.
 
I’m laying here, resting. And I can feel my heart beat. Beating, constantly, within my chest. I can feel it inside me. Pumping. Beat after beat. It’s strong. It’s healthy. But all of the sudden, I’m aware I’m mortal.
 
One day, hopefully after another 3-4 billion more beats yet to go, this heart will finally pump its last, and beat no more.
 
I will be dead. And this thought doesn’t depress me. It’s not dark or scary. It assumes I live a long and healthy life.
 
But it’s a life that’s finite. There are only so many days, so many beats, left inside me.
 
And suddenly, I wonder why I let myself be scared or shy for so long, afraid to ask out that cute girl. A delay, holding myself back, for what? To avoid some potential rejection?
 
Why do I waste so much time afraid to follow my dreams? Take meaningful risks? Recently, I moved to LA to live more from my heart and actively follow my dreams. AMAZING things have been happening since I did, even in a short period of time.
 
But how many years did I waste playing small, hiding, not taking risks, not pursuing my dreams? Years where I *knew* who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live–but I was too scared, too full of self doubt and limiting beliefs.
 
I’m not being hard on myself. This is just a sobering moment. A waking up. A realization.
 
How many years have I held onto grief, shame, anger? Waiting for an apology that would never come? Waiting for forgiveness I could only receive from myself?
 
How many years have I indirectly waited, hinted, hoped, and prayed for love–rather than express my true feelings with someone, even if it meant those feelings might not be returned, or it might make our friendship weird?
 
What if it hadn’t? What if it brought us closer? What if she said yes and we fell in love and began a new romance–however long it might last?
 
But even if she “just saw me as a friend,” even if it did make things awkward and uncomfortable for a while… Wouldn’t it have been better to know then, so I’d be free to move on, and find love with someone else, rather than wait and be stuck in a no-man’s land of wondering and endless waiting? Never having the courage to take that chance.
 
I only have so many heartbeats. I want to spend them well. Share them with a girl who’s heart wants to beat back in harmony with mine. I want to spend those heartbeats doing jobs I care about. On work that’s meaningful to me. Regardless of what it pays. I want to spend those heartbeats living MY life–not under the rules or expectations of anyone who tries to guilt, shame, manipulate, or obligate me into living some life other than what’s true to my heart and inner calling.
 
I think, in retrospect, I have achieved that in many times throughout my life. It’s a calling I try to live by. But I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I get scared. Sometimes I shy away. Sometimes I let fear and doubt control me.
 
Maybe not as much with public things, like career goals. But definitely a lot in my private personal life, when it comes to relationships. And sometimes, and for many years, even public career things too.
 
I don’t want to be scared anymore. I don’t want to wait when I’ve found something good. I’ve waited long enough. I may not be ready. I may not be perfect.
 
But who is, really, at the start?
 
Many of my heartbeats have been lived with purpose. Many have not. Going forward, I want even more–the majority of however many beats remain inside me–to beat on purpose, with courage, with love, with hope, with faith, with kindness, with joy.
 
I’m allowed to make mistakes. I’m going to be imperfect. I will, I’m sure, experience a broken heart again, a failed attempt at a dream, times of sadness and sorrow and loss.
 
But I don’t want to spend any more heartbeats sitting still, being quiet, not speaking my truth, not expressing my feelings, not taking a chance–on someone or something​–just because I’m feeling scared or insecure.
 
Because I only have 3-4 billion heartbeats left. Maybe less. And then whatever awaits after this life will come. But this life, this body, will be spent. This life, this body, will be over.
 
So why would I be afraid of rejection, failure, or mistakes​ now?

Secret to Happiness & Success

Think about something you want — a relationship, a career path, a personal goal. Does it scare you? Is it something YOU honestly want (verses “should” want or others want for you)?
 
  • This scares me + it’s not something I want = Danger! DO NOT ATTEMPT.
  • This doesn’t scare me + it’s not something I want = Pointless. Don’t bother. There’s nothing here for you.
  • This doesn’t scare me + it’s something I want = Meh. Success is likely, but growth and fulfillment is not. Mediocre results.
  • This scares me + it’s something I want = YES! THIS IS WHERE LIFE IS!!! DO THIS.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about it = Wait and see, no action required at this time, just keep busy and live your life normally for now. Clarity will come automatically in its own time.
 
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When your heart says “I want this,” but this also terrifies you and you don’t know “how” it’s gonna happen — THAT’S what you want to be and do. Just start. Any way you can. Fail forward. Mess up. Make mistakes. Just start in any small step towards it.
 
Miracles happen when you do. That’s where all the magic in life is.

It’s Okay to Fail

Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly. No one’s born an expert, master, or with great talent. Everybody starts as a n00b. But if it’s worth doing well someday — start today, f*ck it up, do it badly… Just start. Just try. It’s okay to fail. Fail miserably. Fail spectacularly. Mess it up, screw it up, be a loser at it.
 
That’s okay. Get that huge flaming pile of failure done, so you’ll discover you did in fact NOT die, and life goes on, and there’s another chance to try again tomorrow. 🙂 And maybe next time, you won’t blunder quite so hard.
 
And maybe the time after that, you might even be passably mediocre.
 
And one day… if you keep going… that’s when you’ll be a star.

You Get What You Ask For

I’ve started noticing this. In life, you pretty much get what you ask for, that you also believe you deserve and can have.
 
That last part’s the tricky part for most people, myself included. But as long as you’re asking for something, anything — ask for what you REALLY want and believe you’re worthy of.
 
Has anyone else noticed this?

Merry Christmas 2016

Ho ho ho! Merrrrry Christmas, one and all! (Or *whatever* holiday you may or may not be celebrating around this time of year!)

Love and *hugs* to you all (unless a firm handshake or enthusiastic high five is more your thing, in which case, pretend we did that instead–but personally, I prefer hugs.) 😉

The holidays can be an emotionally mixed time. Some of us have friends or family to share the day with. That might be wonderful, or depending on your family, it could be a little stressful… And some of us don’t have anybody.

If you find yourself alone today, I know all too well how that feels. I’ve been there before. I’ve had Christmases and birthdays and other important life moments when I was all alone. I’ve shared your pain. But I’m here to tell you, there’s hope, my friend.

If you find yourself in that situation, remember that the past does not equal the future. You can change. Your life can change. You might meet someone, move someplace new, fall in love, get a new job, make a new friend. Anything’s possible. Tomorrow’s a new day. Next year is a whole new year. Anything… is possible.

Yes, even for you.

Maybe it’ll be more of the same. If you’ve got a good life and are surrounded be people you love–perfect. Keep doing whatever you’re doing and appreciate it all.

But if you aren’t living the life you want, in any area, it’s okay. It’s okay. Nothing *has* to stay the same forever. If you want a better tomorrow, we can resolve to make new decisions and start ourselves on a new path, in a new direction, today. A path that leads us to a brighter, happier, better tomorrow.

As long as you’re still breathing, there’s a chance to change; there’s hope; there’s the ability to start a new course and find a new future.

That’s one of God’s gifts to all of us. Freedom.

It’s *your* life. How do *you* want to live it?

I’m not saying every dream will be easy. I’m not saying you’ll know how things will turn out before you make your decision. But I am saying, you have the ability to choose and follow *your own* dreams. You have the power and ability to live *your own* life however you want.

Not free from consequences. Nor can we change what happened in the past that brought us to where we are now, here, today. But we do get to choose our next step. Where and how we proceed from here. What direction to point ourselves. What dreams and ambitions we want to pursue.

That’s your choice. That’s your freedom.

Take advantage of this gift.

Find Your “OMG! I Love This!”

I was just chatting with a friend who’s interested in learning how to invest in the stock market. Personally, I love trading stocks and options. But as we were talking and getting her started, I mentioned a piece of advice that I’d like to also share with you.

If you’re JUST looking for a way to make more money, and you discover this doesn’t “click” for you and doesn’t excite you… just be honest with yourself about that. If your heart’s not really in it, you will lose money long-term. It’s better to save your money and wait until you do find something you are passionate about, and invest what you have into that.

I had to apply that lesson in my own life when it came to real estate investing. I learned a LOT about it. Read books. Attended seminars. Even got my feet wet, made some offers… but all along the way, I had to admit to myself, my heart just wasn’t in it, and I just couldn’t get myself excited about any of it.

I know some people make a ton of money in real estate. But making money solely for the sake of making more money wasn’t enough to keep me going long term. I needed to find something I was actually interested in. Something I actually enjoyed. Something I WANTED to put the time, research, effort, and work into. Something that, even when things didn’t work out and/or I lost money, I didn’t care, because I was still learning and having fun.

For me, I discovered I love being a self-employed writer. Sometimes I write something and it totally flops. It just doesn’t sell. And that sucks. But I still had fun writing it. And I’m still motivated to keep going. I also discovered I really love playing the stock market. Sometimes, of course, I lose money. I make mistakes. But it’s worth it to me. Because I WANT to keep doing this.

Find whatever that is for you. And if you’re not sure yet, that’s totally okay. Keep your eyes and ears open. Look for and try new things. But at the same time, I’ve noticed, often the “best” things in life tend to find us.

You have to be out there trying, looking, experimenting, exploring… but then, unexpectedly, something awesome comes and finds you. And you’re like, “OMG! I love this!”

I hope you find your “OMG! I love this!” Maybe you already know what it is. The next step is actually doing it. Actually taking a chance. Actually trying and putting yourself out there, doing it for real in the real world. That’s scary, but worth it.

And if you don’t know what your “OMG! I love this!” is yet… have heart. Stay open. Keep exploring and living your life. And it will find you when and where you least expect it. Just stay open.

Stay open when it comes to finding your dream job, if you’re not already doing it. Stay open when it comes to finding a great relationship, if you’re not already in one. Stay open to discovering a new passion, if you feel you’re in need of one.

Stay open. Keep living your life. Stay open. Try new things. Read new things. Watch a TV show or movie you wouldn’t normally watch. Meet new people. Visit a new city. You never know where, when, or how your “OMG! I love this!” will find you.

Social Capital

btw, there’s this thing called “social capital.” You get what you give.

If you ask someone for a favor, and they’re reluctant to do it, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It means you’re asking them to give you substantially more than they feel you’ve been giving them.

The more generous YOU are, the more people want to give back and help you. Always be willing to help. Always be cheerful to give. And be authentic about it. (Being generous begrudgingly is even worse than not giving at all.) And watch how many people jump at the chance to help you out and give back to you, big or small.

We reap what we sow. We get what we give. Remember that the next time someone helps you–or doesn’t.

Now, it’s not universal. There are some selfish people, who are only takers. So if you’ve been giving a lot, and when you need their help, they’re too lazy to bother… that’s probably not the quality of person you want in your life. Your generosity is better spent elsewhere.

But in general, I find this rule holds true. There’s an emotional “bank” inside each one of us. In your relationships–friend, co-worker, spouse, sibling, whatever–make sure you’re making more “deposits” than “withdrawals” in their lives.

I find that when you focus on giving, on contributing, on putting the other’s needs first (after your own basic needs have been met, of course–you’re not a doormat)… then those relationships tend to give back far more than you ever put in. They repeat benefits over and over and over again, indefinitely… because you’re the kind of person they want to keep in their lives.

I believe most people aren’t takers. Most people, I find, want to be equal and fair in all their relationships, and just to be on the safe side, give back a little more than they received, to ensure they’re not unintentionally short-changing someone by accident.

But–and here’s the hard part to hear–if you’ve been asking a lot of your friends for a favor, for help, for them to contribute to you somehow–and very few of them seem willing or enthusiastic to do it… that’s more a reflection on you, and how you’ve been treating others, than anything else.

People First

I’ve always believed that it’s in a company’s own best interest to take great care of their employees. When you take good care of your own people, they’re more productive, more effective, less likely to make mistakes, less likely to steal from the company, less like to call out. A positive work environment creates synergy where everybody–including the company’s bottom line–thrives.

That kind of company can attract–and more importantly, keep–top quality workers and talent. Which again, means superior product and service quality. Which means the customers keep coming back for more. Which, again, means more long-term profit and growth for the company.

That’s the kind of company I want to run.

People first.

Respect the work-life balance. Treat every person, at every level in the company, with respect, honor, and dignity. Value each person’s contribution, skills, talents, wisdom, and experience.

There’s more to life than money. Money’s important. Money’s essential to life. But it is not the purpose of life. If a company’s ONLY focused on their bottom line, without care or concern for their customers’ or employees’ welfare, that company is doomed. They may show a quick profit in the short term… but at what cost? There are things of higher value in life. No one on their deathbed said they wished they spent more time in the office. The things we truly value most are our relationships and our character.

Are we a person of morals, ethics, integrity, and honesty? Did we care for and consider one another? Did we make someone’s life better through our words or actions? Did we love…and did we let someone love us?

That’s what matters. Make money to support that. But WHO you are and HOW you live is far more important than how MUCH you made.

Copyright © 2014-2017 David Michaels. All rights reserved.