Why is that some of the most successful people in life often go through the worst nightmares? Here are just a few:
Oprah Winfrey: abused and molested as a child
Tony Robbins: his mother abused him and chased him out of the house with a knife at age 17
J.K. Rowling: depressed, broke and divorced as single mother
Steve Jobs: kicked out of his own company at age 30, left depressed and devastated
While I’m by no means anywhere close to those people in terms of monetary success, I also went through depression and wanted to kill myself. At the time, I hated my life but today I look back and am very thankful for this experience (more about this later).
So what’s the difference between these great leaders and the rest of us? Despite failure, rejection and many more adverse situations, these people have always persisted.
If you start doing a little research, you will find that all of them have something in common.
It is the way they look at themselves and the things that happen to them. Take for example the all-time classic of the glass filled with water. Is it half empty or half full? Both statements are objectively correct but there is one significant difference in the way we look at the glass. When the glass is half empty, we look at it from a perspective of lack (there is not enough water) and/or fear (I’m running out of water). This is a rather disempowering meaning we give to the glass. If however, we look at the glass as half full, the meaning completely changes. The prevailing thoughts will be abundance and a feeling of confidence (there is enough water). It may seem like a small unimportant change but when applied to all areas of life, a transformation will happen!
Our brain has a powerful tool called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that allows you to focus on certain things at a time. Consider it a switch. Whenever you think of something with enough intensity and duration, your focus will follow. Did you ever fall in love with a particular car or outfit and kept on looking at it on the internet? Chances are, you will start to see this car or outfit in real life much more often. It’s not like these things magically appear out of nowhere but rather that your brain is conditioned to see it. Suddenly you start to notice things that weren’t there before and this works beautifully with everything else in your life.
Going back to the glass. When you view the glass as half full, you are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. What happens when you have a more positive outlook? You start to see opportunities that were not there before! All because you switched your focus towards a more empowering meaning.
Tragedies, losses & failures are a natural part of life. Whether you are the most successful entrepreneur or a beggar in the streets, they will happen. The only (and significant) difference is the way you look at these things. We are not in control of WHAT happens in life but we are in control of HOW we view these events. The glass could be a certain type of person, maybe you think that all men are assholes because someone treated you like that in the past. In a moment you will form your story about that type of person and immediately make up a meaning like “men are assholes” or “all men just want sex”. Something you may want to look at if your dating life isn't working.
Ultimately, this creates the story that is running your life. Think about it, we do this with everything on a consistent basis. We create so many stories that dictate our lives when all we have to do is change the meaning of that story. How would the story change if you showed compassion and understanding towards the guy who treated you badly? What kind of empowering meaning could you give difficult times of your past?
When I changed the meaning of my failed career as a pilot, I started to see it as something that would empower me. A learning experience that prepared me for even more challenging times ahead. No longer do I focus on the pain and hardship but the immeasurable value of experience. Today, I’m very grateful for it because it helped me find my path to fulfillment & happiness.
In the end, we carry the pen that writes our lives story. You can always go back and change the meaning to live a life of empowerment.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer said,
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Take control of your life and discover The Power In You by changing the meaning of the story.