Looking back is not easy, but using it to light your creative fire is the secret to your success.
As I look back over my life, I can’t help but be thankful for where I am today. Every now and then, memories invade my thoughts and cause me to place a high priority on why I do what I do.
There were moments as a kid when going in the bathroom was like walking across a steep hill. The floor was basically caved in beneath the bathtub, revealing the ground below it.
There were moments when food was scarce and money was nowhere to be found. Being sent off to school on an empty stomach was normal for a span of time, and so was wearing the same clothes to school without a uniform policy.
If you saw me today, though, you’d never assume these things happened to me. You would never guess my childhood was anything close to dark and overcome by poverty.
And you know why?
I’ve taken those past experiences and converted them into motivation by simply reflecting.
Refusing to Undermine Thanksgiving
Along with a high level of gratitude, I’ve used former days to propel me forward, cherishing every present moment to honor the process of growth as much as possible.
If there’s one thing I can say without hesitation, it’s that we all have pasts. They are composed of good and bad memories. The balancing scale varies from person to person. But that reality stays the same.
What we typically try to do with those not-so-special moments is throw them away. Reflecting on them just ruins our moods and attitudes. They also tend to contaminate our outlook on life.
Still, there’s a different option.
You can choose to be grateful. You can look around at what you have and focus on what’s in front of you instead of what you lack.
Doing that with ourselves makes for a greater level of motivation because we see how far we’ve come. We see what our lives could’ve been like had we settled with where we were.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a chance to get together with family and friends and present our appreciation for life. But it isn’t the only time when valuable our time is important.
Every day should be filled with that same mental framework of gratitude. It’s the only way to move forward, improvement multiple aspects of skill and creativity.
Double-Checking Your Assumptions
We often assume things about other people without knowing who they are, the substance of their stories, or what makes them strive for more in life. They may come across as bright ones or individuals who lack inspiration.
Truth is, we all make assumptions. But that doesn’t mean they’re right.
A huge part of being a creative involves interacting with other people.
I talk a lot about creative solitude and the importance of being alone with your thoughts as a way of bringing out your best self. But sometimes we forget that we were designed for human interaction as well.
I’ve spent part of my early twenties living in isolation, trying to uncover the deepest parts of myself. But some of the clearest revelations about who I am have come from a combination of quiet time and fellowship.
We need both if we want to grow as humans and get to know others who’ve had some crazy experiences. We should never end with our assumptions.
Instead, we should begin with a conversation, an encouraging comment, and a willingness to push for improvement in all aspects of our existence.
Time: A Slippery Slope
Today I started thinking about the things I wish I could do throughout my day and why I can’t do them. My next thought hit me like a ton of bricks:
Many of us have the time. We’re just not using it intentionally.
If you aren’t careful, you can drift off into doing something completely irrelevant to what you should be doing. That’s why time is such a slippery slope.
Being passive about time won’t get you far, and having that mentality will do more harm than good, for sure.
I also realized this morning that a lot of my time is consumed in other peoples’ lives. I don’t spend enough time reflecting on my past or my personality. And in a way, it’s been hindering progress.
There’s no doubt difficulty in looking back on things that have happened to you. But I’m not saying you should stay there. I’m not insisting that you allow your hard time, failures, and abuse to define who are as a person.
Instead, I’m urging you to let those experiences light a fire in your drive to make good, better use of your time.
You don’t have forever. And as much as it hurts to say that, it’s the reality we must cope with.
I wish I could say we could wait until another day to make active steps for improving our lives. But you don’t know if you’ll have another day.
Running hundreds of mile today isn’t the point. The road to progress is still a marathon. The point is that each of us should take simple personal steps today towards our goals, despite the doubts and regardless of how crazy they seem.
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