If you read this and it feels like a self-empowerment motivational speech then I'll consider that a mission accomplished. If it makes you want to jump up on your feet and scream "I can!" at the top of your lungs, than feel free to do so. I write these blogs to help myself remember what is important and possible in life just as much as I write them for the readers. Although what I share may at times be the "ideal" situation, they are still the standard that I strive for.
Sometimes life can feel like we aren't in control, I of all people can relate to that. Work can feel repetitive and romantic relationships stagnant. Personal fitness goals can seem impossible and recreation inexistent. I admit that at times it can feel like the universe has plotted against our existence and that our goals simply won't come to fruition.
I obviously can't speak for everyone, but despite how hard life gets, I still need to remind myself that the world really isn't against me. In the end, we are still in control. Things might not happen exactly like we want, but if enough fortitude and persistence is applied, eventually it will work out.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit in a brief from a Lt Col in the Marine Corps and listen to his top advice for obtaining a successful life and career. His advice included key ideas like (1) Be great at the basics, (2) Do the right thing for the right reason, and (3) Have a mentor early on. Thinking about it now, one overarching theme from his brief stands out to me; this is that regardless of how we seek to improve our lives, its up to us to make it happen in the end. He never said to just sit back and let life happen, but that it's up to us to take control. Life doesn't simply happen, but we can influence it.
Being in the military and especially because I'm currently in training it can feel like I don't have much control in my life. Compared to when I was able to plan out every moment in my day, I now am forced to follow a certain schedule from the time that I wake up until nearly the time that I go to bed. I am told where to be and what to bring with me when I get there. Despite the situation, I need to remember that even I am in control. Yes, someone may determine a lot of my schedule, but they don't determine how I carry myself throughout the day. They don't determine whether I am successful or not. They don't control my evenings. They don't control the attitude that I have.
I am thoroughly convinced that we are in control. Sometimes we get knocked down, sometimes we are doubted, but if we keep pushing forward, it will work out. We are in the drivers seat.
This reminds me of a quote I read from Chip Gaines' book Capital Gaines.
"Some of the greatest success stories of all time come from people who were misunderstood or even miscategorized. Maybe their strengths weren't noticed or valued. Perhaps they got a slow start or went about things in an unusual manner. They somehow didn't fit into the world's narrow definition of what constitutes achievement or success."
It is important to remember that some of the greatest of all time were counted out on their first try...
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore.
- Walt Disney was told by his editor that he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas".
- Albert Einstein didn't start speaking until he was four, reading until he was seven, and was initially thought to be mentally handicap.
- J.K. Rowling was a single mother, broke, depressed, and studying at the same time she was writing "Harry Potter".
- Jerry Seinfeld went from standup gig to standup gig until making it with his show.
- Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times.
- Harrison Ford was told after his first small acting gig that he would never succeed in movies.
- Theodor Seuss Geisel's (better known as Dr. Seuss) first book was rejected by 27 different publishers.
- Lady Gaga got dropped by her record label, Island Def Jam, three months after getting signed.
Each of the people above could have given up after being rejected. They could have let the universe determine who they were going to become. The entire world may doubt us, but at the end of the day it's up to us to overcome the doubters.
Some days are definitely harder than others. If it's one of those days that feel impossible, don't let it stop you. Fight through the challenge, stand up and overcome it. No matter what situation you are in, you determine your destiny.
There's my two cents for a Wednesday evening.