“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

I was ready. It was time. I wanted to live my truth.

I had spent so many years ignoring my true desires, and what was in my heart. Instead, I followed the expectations of others. My family, my partner and what I felt that society expected of me.

I had a career that was financially rewarding, but I didn’t enjoy it, and I socialized with a group of people that I didn’t feel emotionally connected to.

At the time, I felt that I got a lot in return. I felt safe, secure and a part of something. Even though, it wasn’t something that I particularly believed in, or that was a good fit for my soul. From the outside, it looked like the perfect life.

When I began to awaken to this discovery, I didn’t realize what was happening. Now, I can see I was discovering my own truth, but at the time, it just felt uncomfortable and lonely.

When I made the decision to commit to my truth completely, and live life according to my passion and purpose, I felt so much fear. All the time.

It was a long time coming, and stepping into the unknown wasn’t easy.

Deep within me, I knew that I if I didn’t listen and take the leap then, I might never take it. And, I knew the ‘perfect’ time just did not exist. I did not want to waste any more time.

While some people encouraged me, others did not. That made me more fearful. I hesitated.

I decided that even thought I didn’t know how it would turn out, and I couldn’t control the outcome, all I could do was take a leap.

I began to study to become a psychotherapist, and over time began working as a psychotherapist. My emotional self was thawing out, and I began to feel my emotions again. The good, the bad and the sad. I was healing.

During this time of transition, on the surface, my life looked the same, but I felt very different.

The way I was showing up in my life had completely changed. I had awakened to something deeply authentic in me. To my creativity, wisdom, spirit, joy and love.

I didn’t really know why I was feeling different, but I knew I wanted to keep it up. I was catching on to a new way of being that was better than the past.

I felt open to receiving my truth and all the love in the universe. I began to feel a deep sense of peace within me, and I knew everything would be ok. I trusted that. I would always show up for me.

I allowed myself to be supported during this process. Both by professionals, friends and loved ones.

Sometimes we have to struggle a long time before we awaken and listen to the truth within ourselves. I know that I did.

Everyone’s truth looks different. And you don’t have to struggle.

You may come to realize that your life no longer works for you. Your job, your relationship, your community, or a combination of these things may no longer feel right for you now.

If you’re honest, some things in your life probably haven’t felt right for a long time.

When will you commit to your truth daily, so that you are perfectly aligned with love, consciousness and joy?

When I stepped into the unknown, I felt anxious and scared. That is my truth.

And now I am free.

To create a flexible future, based on love and desire, rather than external forces.

What about you? Is it time to live what’s in your heart? Here are some considerations on the path:

1. Turn towards your difficult feelings, instead of turning away — notice when you want to distract yourself by comparing yourself to others, working too much, exercising, watching TV, socializing, or by telling yourself that you are not normal for following your new path.

2. Be patient – take as much time as you need — you’ve lived your life in a certain way for a long time, and it will take time to learn a new way of being. Don’t rush it.

3. Embrace chaos – (and there will be chaos) — you may feel out of control and directionless sometimes, and this is to be expected. Welcome chaos, and within the chaos, there will be change.

4. Feel in order to heal — be open to your experience, and all emotions are welcome. The way you feel at any time won’t last too long.

5. Allow yourself to receive – open to your vulnerability and allow yourself to be supported by loved ones and professionals — people who will listen without judgement, take time to understand your struggle and help you make sense of what’s happening for you.

I’ve learned so much during this journey towards truth. I now take time for myself every day. I’ve added breathing, yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices to my daily life. I’ve established a practice of being with my feelings and feeling compassion and love for myself. I see so much love and beauty in myself, and within others as well.
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I spent hours reading and reading The Journals of John Cheever. I also read the A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf and Vladimir Nabokov’s memoir Speak Memory.

And in each of these personal works, I learnt hard lessons that helped me view the world a little differently.

Here are five of those lessons:

1. Discipline is more important than passion

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anytime, I avoid writing because I’m tired, bored or devoid of ideas, I remind myself of the importance of discipline.

Almost every writer I’ve read about sacrificed to pursue their work. They rose early or worked late into the night and the wrote because they had to and not just when they were inspired.

Virginia Woolf wrote most mornings until the early afternoon. Today, it’s striking to listen to read about scribbles of pen on paper and page.

“I generally write with heat and ease till 12.30; and thus do my two pages. So it will be done, written over that is, in 3 weeks, I forecast from today,” she writes.

Cheever bemoans his lack of discipline throughout his journals. However, in an entry written shortly before his death in 1982, he recognises he possessed this essential, and now-departing, personal strength.

“I have climbed from a bed on the second floor to reach this typewriter. This was an achievement. I do not understand what has happened to the discipline, or character, that has brought me here for so many years,” he writes.

2. It’s productive to have a side-interest or hobby

Yes discipline is important, but not at the cost of day-to-day life.

For a long time, I thought there was nothing more important than filling a blank page with sentences.

Now, I spend time swimming, running, reading, working, eating, meeting friends and sit quietly.

I do other things that aren’t writing.

And I’m OK with that.

Even if you’ve found a passion, side-interests are essential.

When you’re in danger of burning out, taking time pursue a side-interest will stoke the embers of what inspires you.

Woolf chronicled her long walks while Cheever wrote dozens of entries about swimming, cycling, and meeting friends.

“I do have trouble with the dead hours of the afternoon without skating, skiing, bicycling, swimming, or sexual discharges or drink,” he writes.

Nabokov had little time for eating, socialising or drinking coffee with friends.

Instead, he loved to solve chess problems and study butterflies. Both of these interests informed his work. And his novel, Zashchita Luzhina (The Luzhin Defense), features an insane chess player.

He writes in his memoir, “And the highest enjoyment of timelessness…is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love.”

If you’re having trouble finding a side-interest or hobby to complement your passion, exercise is the most simple and effective change you can make to your life

3. Even the greats are insecure

I don’t like writing posts like this. I worry how people will perceive me, and if I’ll upset or offend anyone.

I’m insecure, but (sometimes) I write these kind of posts anyway.

Virginia Woolf taught me even the greats were insecure about their work and that if I didn’t worry, then something would be amiss. Criticism can even help writers improve their craft.

She writes, “What is the use of saying one is indifferent to reviews when positive praise, though mingled with blame, gives one such a start on, that instead of feeling dried up, one feels, on the contrary, flooded with ideas?”

Cheever wasn’t one for paying too much attention to his critics.

He almost never re-read his works or the reviews about them.

That said, even Cheever occasionally dreamt (worried) about how people saw him.

He writes in his journal, “…and last night I had a dream that a brilliant reviewer pointed out that there was an excess of lamentation in my work.”

One way to overcome insecurity is to practice expressing gratitude.

I try to do this by thanking those who take time to read or even share my work, and by appreciating that writers today have more places to express themselves than before.

4. It’s natural to consider mortality and death

Several years ago,I became a father for the first time.

It was a happy time but after my son was born, I dreamt about death and how my life would end.

I knew I wasn’t depressed but, for a while, I worried there was something wrong with me. Then a friend (also a recent father), confessed the same thoughts.

As we get older, it’s natural to consider mortality and death. To pretend death isn’t exist is to live in ignorance of the bond we all share.

There are echoes of death in Woolf’s, Cheever’s and Nabokov’s memoirs, and these echoes show it is *unnatural* to never consider our place.

In the opening pages of Speak Memory, Nabokov unpacks the notion of time as a single linear event. He challenged the reader to see not just the end point of life, but the beginning of life as well.

He writes, “….my mind has made colossal efforts to distinguish the faintest of personal glimmers in the impersonal darkness on both sides of my life.”

Rust Cohle would agree.

5. There’s a place for happiness and sadness

The journals of Cheever, Woolf and Nabokov taught me that keeping a journal helps identify negative patterns, thoughts and behaviours.

Woolf writes about her depression at length. In 1934, she describes the period after she finished her experimental novel the Waves.

“I was, I remember, nearer suicide, seriously, than since 1913.”

John chronicles his alcoholism at length in his journal and towards the end of his book, it’s hard not the feel the same sense of relief as he does upon *finally* becoming sober.

I don’t want to be too morbid here.

The journals of these authors aren’t all filled with dark life lessons and lamentations. Nabokov writes at length about his love for his mother and father, his son and Russia of old.

And I’ve yet to read a more powerful personal mission statement than Cheever’s aspiration:

“To write well, to write passionately, to be less inhibited, to be warmer, to be more self-critical, to recognise the power of as well as the force of lust, to write, to love.”

And Finally…

I’m not going to lie and pretend there’s something in these journals for everyone. These are just lessons that authors John, Virginia and Vladimir taught me.

Perhaps they affected me because I’m interested in the lives of other authors.

I feel as if I know them because their problems and struggles are one-part unique and another-part universal.
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For over 25 years I wandered the world. Along the way, I had many adventures and learned about myself, people and the world.

These are some of the things I learned:

1. I learned that people all over the world want the same basic things: enough to eat, clear water, decent shelter, good health, education and opportunities for their children, an honest way to earn some money and respect.

2. I learned that some of the poorest people on this planet are also some of the most generous. They share what they have, even if it is only a glass of water. When someone offers you something from the heart it can be considered very rude to refuse the generosity.

3. I learned I could be comfortable in the company of world leaders and dignitaries and, with people in the slums of Africa, South America and Asia. Take away our outer trappings and labels to find underneath we are all the same.

4. I learned you have no idea what you will do when mugged. In Lesotho, I had a knife to my throat and still negotiated to keep the things in my bag while offering them my money. They agreed. Foolishness or a moment of total clarity?

5. I learned that each culture has a different interpretation of personal space. From experience, I have found that the more populated a country is the less personal space you are given.

6. I learned in some countries going by local bus meant sharing a space with more than just people. As this is the only means of transportation for many, you could find yourself sharing a space with an assortment of chickens, goats, produce and anything else which needed to be transported.

7. I learned to appreciate everything I had and yet to have no attachment to them. This was taught to me when Iraq invaded Kuwait. During this war I lost most of my possessions, including all my professional documents. Things can be replaced.

8. I learned how resourceful I was. In Zambia, daily skyrocketing inflation resulted in a diminishing salary. Being open to suggestion, I found alternative means of earning more money, and lived well for two years and became closer to the local people.

9. I learned to trust strangers. In Alexandra, Egypt, a friend and I were standing under a street sign trying to decipher the Arabic on our map with the Arabic on the sign when an elderly man stopped to help. With gestures we indicated where we wanted to go. He called someone, a young boy appeared, then he waved for us to follow the boy. We did and we arrived at our destination. Later, we discovered we were in a part of the city that most Egyptian wouldn’t enter unless they absolutely had to. Sometimes you just have to trust and know everything will be just fine.

10. I learned the joy of spontaneous laugher, singing and dancing with new friends in Greece, Russia and Latvia. Freedom is completely enjoying the moment.

11. I learned to be completely aware of my surrounds and notice things that were slightly off. In Ethiopia this saved me from being shot at. I was driving toward the centre of a small city when I noticed how still everything was. In an instant I knew something was wrong. Within seconds I was facing tanks, soldiers and a mob of people. Because I had slowed down, I was able to take the next corner and get out there right before shots were fired. Trust that voice that says, “get out now”!

12. I learned to experience life fully and to embrace whatever was presented. I learned to love all people and to respect this beautiful planet that we live on.

You don’t need to travel to the world for experiences, they are present all around you every day. You just have to be willing to look at the blessings each holds.
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It’s very easy to compare ourselves to others in order to gauge our own lives. Like Karen, I often find myself looking at how other parents juggle their careers, family commitments, and passions. Then I get nervous that I’m doing something wrong. It’s times like these that I have to force myself to stop the comparisons, for several good reasons.
If you often find yourself lacking, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Constantly judging your achievements against successful superstars often leads to low self-esteem. In life, there is always going to be someone subjectively “doing better” than you, and if you judge yourself by those standards, you’re never going to feel good about yourself. This can lead into a downward spiral of giving up on goals because you feel you can never measure up.
If you usually feel superior to others, you’re ignoring areas that you could improve on.

You might think that comparing yourself to people who are “beneath you” will help you achieve goals. While it may help your self-esteem, people who belittle others often become too egotistical. I’ve seen this played out again and again with start-up video game companies. Whenever faced with genuine criticism of their games – whether that be from customers or developer peers – they lash out that people just “don’t understand the vision” of their game. In the same breath, they don’t understand why their game doesn’t sell. In order to improve in a skill, you have to be able to take critical feedback and turn it into something you can use to improve yourself. This gets lost if you think you’re better than everyone else.
Comparisons don’t take into account our differences.

Ultimately, comparisons generally don’t take into account the many differences individuals may encounter. First, the successfu” person is often portrayed as an overnight sensation when, in fact, this almost never happens. Successful people work hard, and their setbacks are rarely celebrated. This makes the successful person appear lucky when they are not. Second, there are no true one-to-one comparisons. People will encounter different obstacles on their path to success, and you can’t truly judge your own worth by looking at someone leading a completely different life than your own.
The only real measurement of success is yours.

Ultimately, success isn’t about someone else’s life. It’s about your life and your outlook about it. For example, let’s say you are an aspiring children’s author, and your book gets picked up by a local press. That, in turn, gets you more writing gigs and you eventually make a decent living in your region. If you compared your body of work to Dr. Seuss in terms of profitability and fame, you would appear wanting. But making any living out of writing children’s books is nothing to sneeze at. Letting go of comparisons can help you define success for yourself.

If I were to compare myself to Karen, she would blow me out of the water in many ways. Since the day we graduated together, she has gone on to have a more high profile career. She always has and still does run circles around my modest exercise routine. And she’s managed to do this while having a family. But my life is not hers, and I would not want to compare myself to her. We have found our own paths, each with its own merits. I’m happy for her, and I hope by sharing this article, she can become a little happier about her life without all the comparisons.
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Something had to give and it did —my health. An auto-immune disease I’d kept in check for years reappeared. Who could be surprised given that my sleep, nutrition, leisure and social connections had all suffered?

I remember dashing between my desk and the printer actually wincing from pain. It was like my body was screaming at me to wake up to myself.

It was only the shock resignation of a close work friend that finally snapped me to my senses.

I quit and did some contract work while I pondered my future. I restored a healthy lifestyle and recovered. In as much as it was a confronting and painful time of uncertainty, it also set me up for a better, healthier future.
10 Common Stress Reactions That Only Make Things Worse

I was lucky to have leapt out of the hot water after a risky period of coping.

But we have all witnessed others who were not so lucky (or perhaps you yourself have come to harm). People go on to suffer anxiety and depression, lose careers and relationships, or succumb to addictions and other destructive behaviors.

What kind of copingstopped them (or you) from leaping out of harm’s way? Which of these 10 reactions fostered a dangerous tolerance for stress?

1. Minimizing —you tell yourself and others it’s “no biggie.”

You downplay your difficulties, forever pointing at someone who is worse off. You dismiss your challenges saying, “It is what it is.” Your feelings are suppressed, nothing changes, and the pressure within you continues to build.

What to do instead: Dare to acknowledge that thing’s aren’t great, and that it’s human to have feelings about that.

2. Distraction —you look everywhere except at your issues

Filling every moment of every day is easier than ever. You can squeeze out any doubt or niggling aspects of your life. You keep your head down and don’t stop. Problems fester but work, kids, social media and endless apps mean never having to feel anything much at all.

What to do instead: Take the difficult step to schedule time to tune in…journaling, meditation, catching up with a sensible friend. You need a regular activity that involves stopping and setting devices aside.

3. Numbing —you use or abuse a substance or behavior which numbs bad feelings

Tired…bored…disgruntled? No problem. Any pain or discomfort can be quelled. Any mood lifted or calmed. You can reach for a caffeinated or alcoholic drink, prescription or party drugs. Gaming, shopping and eating offer an immediate “fix”for stress (but unfortunately they are also a significant source of it).

What to do instead: Choose healthy activities that promote good feelings,and that build your awareness and tolerance for more challenging sensations (e.g., walking, martial arts or yoga).

4. Wallowing —you opt for a pity party to get some relief, but get stuck there

Venting emotion can alleviate anguish. That’s good if it provides impetus to constructively respond to issues. However, take care not to settle for a difficult situation and wear the stress as a badge of honor.

What to do instead: Choose a venting partner with a healthy and realistic perspective.

5. Denial —you cannot admit there is adversity in your life

We may be adept at recognizing denial in others, but it is harder to notice in ourselves. Warning signs include adopting an absolute positive mantra —like “it’s all good”—when things are bad.

What to do instead: Wherever possible, own up to what’s challenging right now and strike a balance between positive and negative. “Mum’s not well but we’re trying to make the best of it.”Or, “Business is tough; I have good and bad days.”

6. Isolation —you struggle to ask for and to receive support, preferring to tough it out alone

Independence can be a strength, but if it is driven by a fear of burdening others, or of being vulnerable in their presence, be wary of it.

Withdrawal is a symptom of stress and depression. Don’t give in to it.

What to do instead: Choose less demanding people or situations, but stay socially active —let those close to you know you’re not at your best and that you need them to push you.

7. Acting invincible —you say, “Bring it on!”

Being under the pump gives you a buzz. Adrenaline is addictive. And feeling invincible is more alluring than feeling vulnerable.
You derive satisfaction from working, training, doing everything harder, longer, faster. But at what cost? Where do you draw the line? Are you even able to draw a line?

What to do instead: Schedule commitments that force you to stop your busyness at a set time—a long weekend, a dinner date, a massage.

8. Self-blame —you feel certain that you have brought this on yourself

This reaction is often fostered in childhood. You get told, “Cheer up, stop making a fuss, what’s the matter with you?”This provides a solid grounding in self-recrimination.

You believe you should cope better. You admonish yourself for seeing the glass as half empty, and all the while add to your stress.

What to do instead: Remind yourself that stress and stress symptoms are real and universal. Picture how you would respond to a friend in your shoes and try showing yourself the same compassion.

9. Striving —“never say die”is your motto

You struggle to say “no”or to ever cut corners. The risk of not delivering is ever-present and an enormous strain. Being the go-to person feels good, but always saying “yes”is not sustainable.

The perfectionist whose high standards are a crutch for feeling in control is especially at risk of worsening stress in this way.

What to do instead: Seek out opportunities to say “no,” or to try out lowering your standards. These are new muscles you need to flex and strengthen.

10. Overthinking —you try to think your way out of uncertainty and ambiguity

Change and unpredictability are stressful and anxiety provoking. You want answers and you want to be able to make decisions. Being stuck in the unknown is unbearable for you. Your head goes into overdrive, trying to think your way out of there.

Do take pride in your intellect and analytical skills, but beware, no amount of thinking can turn grey into black-and-white.
Constantly thinking things through and rehearsing in your mind can lead to rumination and obsession.

What to do instead: Learn to catch yourself overthinking. Let yourself write down your thoughts once, or set a five-minute time limit. Employ healthy distractions or a trusted friend to help you be vigilant in catching and stopping yourself.

So what will you do instead?

Don’t be a champion at taking stress in your stride, like I was.

Because coping just deepens the rut.

Take a moment now to picture the last time you were stressed and notice how you responded —do you recognize any of the strategies above?

If so visualize doing something different instead.

And when stress visits you again, be ready to try your new way.

Dare and commit —feel the heat of stress and respond with new awareness.

It’s time to make things better, not worse.
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I am a reforming perfectionist, reforming being the key word. Change in our relationships with ourselves is a process. It requires vulnerability, acceptance, and compassion.

I’ve gone through phases of comparing myself to others and discounting my own good qualities. I’ve experienced the restlessness that comes with never feeling good enough. I have developed my own love/hate relationship with control and certainty.

It has not always been easy to look at this part of myself. Any of us may have that place within that we would rather not see. We wish to hide it for fear of rejection and disconnection, or we may wish to deny it to avoid the discomfort that comes with acknowledgment. It is hard to see ourselves clearly from this position. This is when the “good enoughs” and “shoulds” may be most persuasive.

Long before I understood my relationship with myself, I was aware of the exceptions to these feelings. I enjoyed the brief moments of separation from my thoughts and judgments. In those moments, I could appreciate me.

Time with nature has always helped me find my center. An act as simple as sitting in the backyard could provide me with peace. Even while moving, I find that nature encourages stillness within.

The sky, stars, and trees have a great deal to teach us if we are ready to learn.

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” – PemaChodron

As I mentioned, any of us can become identified with problems, emotions, and thoughts. We can be attached to what was or what should be. I’ve certainly been there.

The sky and its changing faces teach us about resilience and acceptance. The sky can teach us that most things in life are temporary.

We are not shattered by life’s obstacles any more than the sky is shattered by thunder and lightning. We are not washed away by tears any more than the sky is washed away by rain. Our emotions are no more permanent than the wind.

Even after the brightest days, the sky must also see the dark of night. We, too, must learn that both the good and bad shall pass.

Isn’t it liberating to know that are like the sky?

We can remain, stable and expansive, accepting of both the ups and downs in life. We can find peace, even in times of disorder. We can accept the present moment knowing that change is on its way.

“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sometimes, we overlook what is good. Positive events can be overshadowed by troubles. Close friendships may be invisible in times of conflict. Our own value seems to fade with comparison and competition.

The stars can be like this. Have you ever noticed what happens to the stars away from the bright city lights? They are luminous. They are everywhere. It seems that they have just appeared, but the stars had really been there all along. They were just covered up.

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you actively noticed the stars? It can be easy go about our evenings and never look up. The stars are always there waiting to be revealed, but we must also remember to look for them.

In this way, the stars teach us about gratitude and self-compassion. They teach us that many good things have been there all along, even if we can’t see them.

It is important for us to first remember that like the stars, our strengths, close relationships, and positive moments are there even when they seem invisible. We must then remember to look. Appreciation is not always automatic, and kindness toward ourselves may not be routine. We can, however, learn.

What are your stars, and what may conceal them? What can you change to see them more clearly?

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

For me, perfectionism has everything to do with vulnerability. We may fear that allowing for imperfection will result in failure. We may perceive embracing our imperfections as giving up. We can tell ourselves that allowing someone else to really see us could lead to rejection.

The forest can teach us about vulnerability and relationships. Within the forest reside creatures, many of whom are hidden in dark spaces. There are shadows in the forest. There are trails to unknown destinations.

There are also clearings, brooks, and flowers in the forest. In the forest, one might hear birdsong or happen upon a majestic view.

We could avoid the forest to stay safe and avoid getting lost, but at what cost?

Like the darkness of a forest, we may all fear that secret place within ourselves that we see as unsafe, unknowable, and unlovable. We avoid looking altogether. We may disguise, suppress, and bury.

We might similarly resist vulnerability in relationships. We hold ourselves back and close ourselves off. We do this because allowing others in leaves us vulnerable.

As with the forest, entering that uncertain territory holds risks but also abundant rewards. When we stop hiding, we can truly know ourselves. When we are vulnerable with others, we can also find true connection. Only then can we reveal the good within us and appreciate the good in others.

For me, nature has allowed me to find a center and teaches me about my relationship with myself and others. What are your experiences with perfectionism, gratitude, compassion, and the like? Where do you find your center?
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“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” 

I used to live in a world crowded with expectation.
I had expectations of others, expectations of society, and expectations of myself. Then there were also the expectations others had of me.
Gone are those days! Well almost… let’s just say things have changed drastically.
I describe myself as an optimistic person. I like to be happy, I like to see others happy and I always strive to focus on the brighter side of life. Some might describe that as being a bit of an idealist, but personally I don’t see the point of going through life focusing on the doom and gloom.
So when people share good news with me, I am always happy for them and I always visually or verbally express that happiness for them.
If someone is having a rough time, I’ll always do my best to be empathetic. I’ll look for some practical solutions to help them with their challenges and do my best to cheer them up.
This is my default way of operating in life and so for years I expected other people to be the same. If I achieved something, I expected friends and family to congratulate me. When I was excited about a new opportunity, I expected those closest to me to be excited for me. If I was feeling low, I would expect people in my life to offer me support and empathy. However, as I have grown older, I’ve realised that life doesn’t work that way and that not everyone acts the same way I do.
For years I would feel let down, disappointed and sometimes hurt when someone close to me did not share the joy of my achievements. People I thought would be happy for me expressed little or no reaction to accomplishments that I was proud of. I just didn’t get it. I would think, if the shoe was on the other foot, I would be ecstatic for you, so why do you not feel the same for me?
One day it dawned on me, people have the right to feel and react anyway they choose. If I don’t like it or it upsets me, I too have a choice. I can choose who I share my achievements with. I can choose who I spend my time with and I can choose how I react to their response. In fact, their response is probably not even personal to me.
I have learned that people don’t disappoint you, your expectations of people do.
When you expect something and you don’t get it, of course you are going to feel let down. Expectations set you up for disappointment; however it is human nature to have them. The trick is to avoid becoming attached to your desired outcome.
I now accept that not everyone reacts or behaves in the same way as I do. Instead of investing my energy into working out why they do not appear happy for me, I focus on maintaining my own positive and optimistic outlook on life. Don’t get me wrong, it would still be great if all the people in my life are happy for me when I achieve a meaningful goal, however I no longer expect it of them.
I also recognise how important it is to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. I used to believe those people would be my family and friends, by default, but I now know that is not necessarily the case. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some supportive and encouraging people in my life; however I also had some that were not.
I realise that it is best not to expect a reaction from a person, which is different to their default. Instead, I find that it is better for me to spend more time with people who instinctively express joy for others.
Changing my expectations of others means I can truly enjoy my achievements as I no longer fear a negative response from others.
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“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” 

When I was younger, in my early twenties I wasn’t always my own best friend.

Especially when I made a mistake. Or when I failed.

No matter if it was in my personal life or in my studies at the university.

I didn’t have much patience for myself when I stumbled and so those situations usually wound up in days or sometimes even weeks when I beat myself up repeatedly about what went wrong.

Now, 10 years later, I have learned to be kinder towards myself.

Because even though self-beatings might sometimes work to perform better the next time it is in the long run a very destructive habit for your motivation, happiness and your self-esteem.

But what do you replace it with when you stumble or have a setback?

Let me share four insights and habits that have helped me with that.
1. Remember: If you want to do something of value in life then you will stumble.

If you want to go outside of your comfort zone, if you want to do things that really matter then you will stumble. You will fail or make mistakes from time to time.

It has happened to everyone over the past thousands of years that wanted to do something of value in the world.

So it is normal and it is OK. Even though some people may try to convince you otherwise.
2. Be your own best friend.

It is OK to feel angry or disappointed for a short while. But don’t fall into the common trap of beating yourself up and acting like an unkind boss towards yourself. That will erode your self-esteem. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself instead.

Ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?

Then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.
3. What is one opportunity or lesson here?

A failure or a mistake is very rarely permanent. It might feel like it is. But most often it is temporary and there is something you can do about the situation.

So tap into optimism and being constructive instead of becoming passive and pessimistic.

Ask yourself: what is one opportunity or lesson in this situation?

My experience has been that there is almost always something that is helpful or good – in the long run – to find in any situation.
4. Take one small action to solve the situation or to move forward.

With your lesson or opportunity in mind ask yourself this:

What is one small step I can take right now to start solving or to moving away from this situation?

Then take that small step. Focus only on that step and on getting it to done.

And after that find the next small step and do the same with that one.

Step by small step keep moving forward towards something better, even if you may stumble again.
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How to Find Some Direction When You’re Feeling Lost

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Just a few of the words I’d use to describe how I felt in my career a few years ago.

Waking up on a Monday morning knowing I had 5 whole days ahead of me in a job that drained my energy and sucked the life out of my soul was, quite frankly, horrendous.

I used to drag myself out of bed, fighting against the little voice in my head that was telling me to climb back into the warm safety of the bed covers before calling in sick.

But I just carried on. Getting dressed. Walking out of the door. Turning up to the vast open plan office where rows and rows of desks and telephones sat waiting for their workers to arrive.

I knew I had to get out of that job. I knew that the environment, the procedures, the office politics…it was all weighing me down. But I just didn’t know what to do.

Unsure of what I wanted, what I was good at or what I could do instead, I felt like I was standing at a crossroads with a hundred possible options and no map. I was completely and utterly lost

Fast-forward a few years however, and the scene is a little different.

I found my map. And it allowed me to figure out what I wanted, how I wanted to live my life and which direction I wanted to head in.

These days I now run two businesses, get to work where I want, when I want and am very much living life on my own terms.

With more freedom than I ever thought possible waking up on a Monday morning is now a joy (a sentence I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be able to say).

So, how did I find my direction?

Well it all started with one simple action that you too can do right here, right now.

I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and I wrote down what my dream life looked like.

Sounds easy, right? Well that’s because it is.

But don’t go thinking that because something’s easy it isn’t immensely powerful.

Regularly thinking about what you would do if money were no object can be a hugely helpful activity.

It allows you to put all the practicalities to one side and work out what’s really and truly important to you so you can begin to take action and turn that dream into a reality.

This one simple activity changed the way that I moved forwards with my life. It allowed me to get to the heart and soul of what I really wanted and was the first step to finding my direction and creating positive change.

So now it’s your turn.

If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know which way to turn, this exercise is the perfect starting place for gaining some clarity and figuring out which direction to head in.

Just do the following:

1) Grab a pen and some paper

2) Imagine you’ve won the lottery and money is no object. What does your dream life look like? Write it down in as much detail as possible.

Think about…
Where you live
How you spend your days
How you feel
What your perfect day looks like
Who you spend time with

TIP: If you’re more of a visual person you could instead try drawing pictures or creating a mood board by tearing inspiring images out of magazines. Just do whatever works for you.

3) Close your eyes and imagine how this life would feel if you were living it. Allow the energy of these positive thoughts to engulf and inspire you.

4) Now look again at your dream life. When it comes down to it, what do you really want in your life? What type of activities do you really want to be doing? And what could you start working towards today? Pick out what’s most important to you and set yourself a goal…something to work towards and action.

Hey presto! You’ve just made the first step to finding some direction!

Working out what you want to do with your life and how you want to earn a living is an ongoing process that develops and changes over time.

However I truly believe that everyone has the power to create change in their lives – it’s just a case of getting started.

Are you feeling lost in your career? I’d love to know what you think of this post. Try out the dream life activity and then come back here to let me know how you feel!
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For many years I certainly couldn’t. I lived my life fitting in: doing what seemed right, in the way everyone else did. I thought it would bring me happiness.

And looking back I don’t blame myself…it was all I knew. I’d been brought up to tow the line, be a good girl, keep my head down and get on in life. I didn’t know there was another way of living – one that brings amazing health, happiness, fulfilment, passion and joy.

And so I did what society expected. I worked hard at college, excelling; I climbed the career ladder, ending up in the top 5% of Microsoft employees; I married a safe and loyal man; I settled down and bought a house and a BMW with the trimmings of my lifestyle.

But I felt dead inside. I was overcome with a feeling of dread every Sunday afternoon upon contemplating the week ahead. My heart sank each morning I drove into a car park of 2000 cars. My packed diary just made me feel more empty.

There were so many things I was passionate about that weren’t getting a look in. What had happened to my life? The one that I’d thought I’d have. The one where I was happy, fun-loving, passionate, enthused, joyful?

How had I ended up here?

I’d done what seemed like the right things, but I felt sad and betrayed.

I knew something had to change. But I didn’t know how, I didn’t know exactly what and I was scared – I wasn’t the type of person who went after what they really wanted. That was for people somehow braver, stronger, more confident, more well-connected, with more money and more talent than me.

And yet I did go on to change. I consciously chose to tread the path to living my life my way and it’s brought me such un-puttable-into-words joy, fulfilment and peace.

Looking back on my ‘change’ CV, I sometimes can’t believe it’s me:
I’ve lost half my body weight; going from 20 stone (280lbs/127kg) to 10 stone (140lbs/63kg)
I’ve broken free of the corporate world and started an online business doing what I most love
I’ve left my comfortable marriage and gone on to find a partnership that I could have only previously dreamed of
I’ve left my native England to live in Italy, the land of my childhood dreams
I’ve transformed my chronic health issues through my diet and lifestyle, and proved my doctor wrong, naturally conceiving a child.

All this from the girl who ‘didn’t do that sort of thing’.

And I’m here to tell you some truths about change. Some truths that instinctively you know, but that have been covered over by years of living your life to fit someone else’s mould. Read them, breathe them in, know them to be true and go take steps to life your life your way.

1. You must accept and take responsibility for where you are.

You are responsible for your own life – no one else. If you want to be happy and you’re not,you need to do the changing.

Distractions abound to help us avoid accepting where we are: TV, media, celebrity culture, gossip, ‘entertainment’, food and alcohol, busy-ness. We can lose our whole lives in it. No wonder we don’t change.

Here’s a challenge: Try going a week working just the hours you are paid for and not going out, watching TV or otherwise distracting yourself from your life. Then see how you feel about where you are.

As I approached my 20th birthday I was over 280lbs (20 stone/127kg). I’d been overweight and desperately unhappy for many years. Accepting and taking responsibility for my weight was a challenge. I felt sad and helpless realising the state I was in. I felt scared when I thought about what I needed to do to fix it.

It was only in accepting that I wanted to lose weight and realising no one else was going to do it for me that I was able to move on, shed 140lbs and be living now in a body that I love.

2. You’ve got to know the direction you want to head in and allow yourself to feel it.

In my work as a mentor, I’ve spoken to hundreds of people who want to change and the biggest thing that stops them is that they aren’t connected enough with what they want to change to.

And that’s understandable. We are too scared to allow ourselves to dream, to acknowledge what we really want and allow ourselves to feel what living that way would be like.

We’re disconnected from our dreams. This is because:
We’ve been taught to go after what’s sensible; what seems like the best option
We’re scared of setting our sights too high for fear of failure and disappointment
We’re more tuned in to think about what we should do rather than what we want to do
We listen to society’s advice; which is saturated with the three sure-fire change inhibitors above!

If you want to life your life your way you must step beyond these things – they hinder you getting what you truly desire.

If I’d engaged with the ‘sensible’ option when I’d wanted to leave my corporate role, I’d have taken a job with Microsoft’s entertainment wing – I was more interested in the content, and I would have still had the benefits and salary that I was used to. I wouldn’t have gone after and got the job that I really wanted and that started me on the path to transforming my life into one that I’d always dreamed of.

Think about how your life would look if you were truly living it the way you want. Dream about it, write about it, visualise it – and most of all feel it; feel what it would be like to live your life this way.

3. The only way to be successful at this is to follow your passions.

The story of my move to Italy is one of following my passions. I’d always loved the country and it was the intensity of that passion that got me there.

Actually making the move was challenging. I’d just been through one of the darkest phases of my life – I’d sustained a neck injury and moved back in with my parents after 10 years of living independently. In that darkness, I knew if I could just get better, I had to get out to Italy. And I did.

Change is sometimes hard. It’s challenging; it’s about facing fears and demons, stepping further than you have before and making brave decisions. You’ve got to love what you are working towards to know that when push comes to shove you will do what you need to. To get out to Italy I had to retrain, I had to tell my boyfriend not knowing whether it would mean the end of our relationship, I had to get better. It was my passion that kept me going.

There’s no point going after something you are half-hearted about – you just won’t succeed. You won’t give it what you need to; you won’t see it through.

4. Remember that big changes are all about small steps.

What change is about: Taking action.

What change is not about: Taking massive leaps.

The most popular question I get asked when I tell people about how I’ve stepped away from the ‘norm’ is:

How did you have the courage to take such big leaps in your life?

And I always respond in the same way:

“I didn’t take any big leaps; everything was about small steps.”

So many people are terrified of moving towards what they really want because they think change has to be about a death-defying leap from one mountain to another.

But the one thing that I’ve learnt from all of my changes, from choosing to live my life my way, is that it is all about small steps: Figure out the direction you want to go in, take some small actions. This moves you closer, it feeds back to you, it gives you confidence and then you move onto the next few steps. This is how lives are changed.

My move from house-owning, BMW-driving Microsoft employee to working for a music charity in central London, earning 50% of my previous wage, cycling across the city every morning to get there, was not about waking up one day and throwing my whole life up in the air. It was about small steps: reading and researching to work out what I wanted to do, industry investigation, job searching, working out a budget, revamping my CV, applying for jobs (and getting plenty of rejections), going for interviews, thinking about where I wanted to live, taking trips up to check out areas…the list goes on.

None of these steps was in itself scary, and each one naturally led to the next, so that before I knew it I was ready to hand my notice in, totally confident that I was doing the right thing.

5. Finding the right support will make or break you.

To move to the life you want you have to step out of the life you currently have. And support in doing that is essential.

As part of building Path Less Trodden, the inspirational online coaching, writing and speaking business that is a joyful representation of everything I love, I’ve taken brave decisions to invest financially in coaches – because I value the support. I know just how much difference having a listening-ear, outside opinion, accountability, challenge and impetus makes.

Staying in your current world you will not move forwards. If you know you need to change,seek out others – writers, internet groups, training courses, supportive friends, meet ups, coaches. You can only see so far; go out and consciously expand your horizons, be under the influence of people who think bigger, who’ve done what you want to do, who live in the way you want.

6. Trust that you know best.

Society doesn’t know what’s best for you. Only you know that. And by believing that and acting from that place you have the power to create miraculous change in your life.

I was diagnosed with PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) in my teens. I went through my 20s and most of my 30s with no natural menstrual cycle. About 5 years ago I realised just how much I wanted to be a mother and went to visit my doctor, who said to me, “Alison, you will never bring your periods back through changing your diet”.

I didn’t believe her, and as she spoke a little voice in my head said, ‘Yes, I will’.

I had been on an amazing health journey and hadn’t taken as much as an aspirin in over 3 years. The thought of turning to drugs made my heart sink. I took the heart-breaking decision that, if I couldn’t conceive naturally, I would accept that being a mother wasn’t meant to be.

And I carried on doing what I believed in. Last summer, after 5 years without any sign of a menstrual cycle, I was able to restore my hormonal health solely through my diet and lifestyle choices, and to, within a week of trying, naturally conceive a child.

This was something a doctor – the expert – told me wasn’t possible. I could have listened, I could have gone down society’s route of IVF, no one would have criticised, but I just didn’t believe in bringing a baby into the world like that. I followed my belief, I had confidence and faith that I knew what was best for me and it has brought me the most amazing miracle – a natural, healthy pregnancy.
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Why There’s No Such Thing as “Unhealthy” Emotions

The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.”

When I first started exploring personal development and digging down past my defenses and conditioning to find a more authentic version of myself, I thought the aim was to “fix myself” so I could be “happy”.

Not having any clue about what “happiness” really meant at that time (or what I wanted it to mean to me), I remember going into my first therapy session thinking that, if the therapy was a success, when I finished I just wouldn’t experience uncomfortable or challenging feelings anymore.

Little did I realize then that an important part of my journey would be learning to accept that those feelings, as uncomfortable as they might be, are in integral part of the human experience. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that so-called “unhealthy” feelings like anger, envy, and frustration are not only natural experiences but they can actually be helpful.

What makes or breaks our relationships and experience of life isn’t whether or not we feel these emotions, but how we respond to them.
To feel or not to feel?

Early on in my self-discovery journey, I became confused. I was reading a lot of self-help and New Age wisdom that talked about letting go of feelings like anger, jealousy and bitterness in order to reach a state of enlightenment. At the time, the way I interpreted this was that it was wrong to experience these emotions and that, if I wanted to be a healthy person, I needed to reach a point where I didn’t feel them anymore.

At the same time, I found that I couldn’t stop myself feeling what I was feeling, and my therapist was encouraging me to focus on accepting these feelings rather than trying to get rid of them.

I felt stuck. I wondered whether there there was something wrong with me and I wasn’t quite getting it. After all, I was still experiencing anger, I still felt jealous of other people, and I still got frustrated.
The reality of “unhealthy” feelings

What I also realized, however, was that there was wisdom in these experiences. When I questioned my philosophy, I realized that, for me, these feelings were full of information about my values, needs, and desires.

I also didn’t find that I was consumed by these feelings: in fact, I noticed that when I was willing to accept and make peace with my experience, these feelings were transitory. It was only when I tried to push them away that I started to suffer. Over time, I realized that feeling these feelings wasn’t the issue. It was my resistance to feeling them that was ultimately stressful.

The truth is that we can’t stop ourselves feeling certain things or get rid of certain emotions. What we can control, however, is what we do next.

My experience has left me concerned with our tendency as a society to label certain feelings as “healthy” and “unhealthy”. Feelings are just feelings, and the danger with labeling them is that we start to reject our own natural internal process.

When we push down or reject the emotions we think we “shouldn’t” feel, they don’t go away. In fact, they get stronger.
All feelings are helpful, it’s how we respond to them that matters

In certain situations, anger is a just and healthy response to feeling threatened, attacked, or wronged (or seeing this behavior inflicted upon others). Other times, we might experience anger because of false beliefs we have about ourselves or the world, or because someone behaves in a way that reminds us of past hurt.

Whatever the root cause of the anger, exploring the “why” behind the feeling helps us gain a deeper understanding about ourselves. Then, we can make a more informed decision about how we want to respond to that feeling of anger: do we lash out, blame, judge, and shame, or do we use the feeling as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, our beliefs?

As a coach, I notice that many of my clients struggle with this concept of healthy and unhealthy feelings. When I hear someone say “I know it’s wrong to feel that way…”, my experience has led me to ask “Why is it wrong?” and explore the beliefs underneath that statement. Without exception, when people start learning to accept these feelings, rather than labeling them, the feelings become less intense.

The most helpful and self-compassionate response to uncomfortable feelings that I’ve found is to return to that question of “why”. Today, I invite you to experiment with this approach and, in the face of challenging emotions, to ask yourself: Why am I so afraid of this? What do I fear? What does that tell me about my needs right now?

We don’t get to control how we feel, but we do get to choose how we respond: will it be from a place of self-compassion or self-criticism? From self-discovery or self-rejection? It’s our decision, each time.
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In my life . . .
To take deep and abiding care of myself---------heart, mind, body and soul--is a sign of love. It is a sign of a deep and abiding love for myself.

And in doing this gentle and conscious attendance for my own being, I learn how to be of deep and abiding assistance to you.
My own life is the working ground and the growing ground of my spirit.
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“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

A more spiritual definition offered by Deepak Chopra is that intuition is intelligence beyond the rational mind that gathers information from universal intelligence.

However you define it, your intuition is your internal guidance system, living your life with you, and knowing exactly how busy you are, your level of risk aversion, and the balance of your checking account.

In short, your intuition will never guide you to a place that is outside the parameters of your comfort zone.

It will, however, push you to the limits, especially if there is a fear you need to confront before you can move on.

Read these steps

1. Find at least 5 quiet minutes per day only for you.

Most of us can find 5 minutes in our day, which often leads to the 15-20+ minutes we really need to reflect on where we’re at and where we want to go. Intuitive insight often arrives in the pure clarity of silence.

2. Talk to your intuition.

Ask your intuition the questions that are most on your mind – big and small. If an answer doesn’t arrive immediately, look for signs in the coming days. For example, if asking whether you should go back to school, and a university flyer arrives in the mail the next day, followed by news that your Great Uncle Fred passed away and left you enough money to cover the tuition – then I’d say that’s your intuition talking.

3. Treat your big life changes as a creative process.

Making big, sudden life changes can seem daunting when you have a lot of responsibilities. That’s why it’s better to treat these changes as a fluid creative process that happens over months, years, or even decades. Spending time with your intuitive voice each day will provide slow clarity over time and offer manageable action steps to advance your goals.

4. Write and REVIEW.

Find a special notebook to record intuitive insight and make sure to review what you wrote the previous day or days. We humans need constant reminding if we’re trying to make changes to our life or daily routine.

5. Include action items on your to-do list…and do it!

If we don’t take the actions necessary to change our life for the better, nothing will change – no matter how much clarity we have. When your intuition guides you to take an action, write it down in a place where you’ll remember to do it. If you have a daily planner or sticky notes on the refrigerator, put it all together. For example: buy toothpaste, pick-up dry cleaning, buy new easel and paint brushes, spend 15 minutes painting today, etc

Remember, all big changes are comprised of several small actions. Vow to start taking small, intuitive actions today to align yourself closer to your passions.

Judy, this post is dedicated to you and others like you who have big responsibilities but are ready to reach for your highest goals.

I’d love to know what you think. How do you carve out quiet time in your day for you? Has your intuition ever given you a small action that has had a big impact on your life?
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“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”

A lot of people have a passion – something they’d love to do with their life. They want to be a painter, or a musician, or travel the world. But they put off these dreams because they seem impractical.
When they find out I’m following my passion they want to know my secret. They think I have some magic trick, some incredible piece of wisdom and if they could just find out what it is they’d be able to do whatever they want.Well, I do.

It’s a simple two-step process that will help you achieve any goal you set your mind to.
Want to become an incredible guitarist? The kind of musician who makes Jimi Hendrix look like a bumbling klutz with your effortless blindfolded solos?
This secret can help you.
What to become a great chef? Whipping up the most technical recipes with ease and creating bold new taste sensations off the top of your head?
This trick can make that possible.
Travel the world, master badminton, learn every programing language, earn a billion dollars – many people in all many fields have used this technique to achieve all kinds of things.

To achieve any goal, to become anything you want to be, there’s a simple two-step process:
Be prepared to do whatever it takes.
Don’t quit.
That’s it.
If you follow these steps you’ll either achieve your goal, or you’ll grow old and die trying (in which case it won’t matter to you anymore).

Now, you might be disappointed to discover that’s my secret. When I tell people that’s how I manage to live my dreams they often are.

What people really want to know is how they can achieve their dreams without any hard work or sacrifice. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that question.

1. Be prepared to do whatever it takes.

To achieve whatever you want, the first step is to prioritise your goal over everything else.
You want to be a painter but you can’t manage to sell a painting? Stop paying for cable, sell your car and catch the bus, and get used to eating instant ramen at meal time.
You want to be a guitarist but you haven’t practiced enough? Lock yourself in a room and do those scales, wake up earlier every day and practice, and when the blisters on your fingers pop seal them up with super glue and keep playing.
You want to travel the world? Get on the next bus out of town, hitch hike across the country, if airfares are too expensive you can walk or stowaway on a boat.
I’m not saying these things are exactly what you need to do. I’m saying that if you want to achieve your dream you need to be prepared to sacrifice anything else to get it.
People who are great at something (chess, maths, farming pigs, etc.) have usually focused on these things above everything else (friends, money, sleep, sanity, etc.).
People are always saying “I’d love to…but…”
“I’d love to be a dancer, but I need to finish my law degree first.”
“I’d love to go to France, but the flights are too expensive.”
“I’d love to live in a hot air balloon, but my parents wouldn’t approve.”
Realise that anything after the “but” in those sentences are excuses. If there’s something you want, just ignore everything else and go get it.
You probably don’t need everything you think you need.
You’ll be amazed at how much you can live without. You only think you need most of the stuff you own thanks to a combination of advertising and other people’s opinion.
New clothes, a car, television, anything to drink other than water – these things are nice to have but you don’t really need them. If it lets you live the life you want, you won’t mind cutting down to the bare essentials.
No matter how much you give up I doubt you’ll ever be truly poor.
Recently I’ve been working with the charity World Vision and seeing how they help people in developing nations. Once I saw how the poor live in other countries I realised thinking of myself as anything but incredibly lucky is ridiculous.
Once you realise millions of kids die every day from drinking dirty water, living off pot noodles for a few weeks won’t seem so terrible.
I should also point out that the sacrifices might not be as tough as you think.
My point is, until you try you have no idea what sort of sacrifices are required, they may not be that bad, and even if they are terrible in this country you’ve got a long way to fall before you’re in any real trouble.
Why not give it a go?

2. Don’t quit

The “don’t quit” part people often misunderstand. They think I mean something like “if you want something hard enough hard enough keep at it and you’ll get it eventually”.
That’s not what I’m saying.
The truth is if you go after your dreams, even if you go after them with everything you’ve got, you might fail.
If you become a writer perhaps no one will read your books.
If you start a band people might not like your music.
If you set out to travel the world you might go broke or get mugged or kidnapped in some strange country.
Before I quit my job I had no idea if I could make a living as a comedian. I wanted someone to give me a guarantee that I’d succeed. Unfortunately, no one could promise me that.
What I realised though was, while there was no guarantee I’d succeed as a comedian, I could guarantee that staying in the job would make me unhappy.
If you want to follow your dreams you’ll probably face a similar choice. You’ll have to decide whether uncertainty with a chance of happiness is better than certainty with guaranteed unhappiness.
I’d suggest you take the chance.
You’ll be happier relentlessly going after what you really want (and perhaps failing), than sticking with security and buying stuff to distract you from your dream.
Go do whatever you want to do. If you’re forced to give up after doing it for a year, then at least you’ll have experienced a year of living your dream. A lot of people don’t even get that.
Also, realise that if you try and fail you can try again. Go back to the drawing board, figure out a new plan and give it another go.
Every failed attempt brings you knowledge that makes you more likely to succeed on the next go. And even if you die before you make it, you’ll be happier trying and failing than sitting round wondering what if.
So that’s all there is to it.
  1. Be prepared to do whatever it takes.
  2. Don’t quit.
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