Get Out of Your Own Way

Most oppression comes not from others but from a source we least suspect: ourselves. Self-oppression is evident whenever we limit ourselves. We stay home instead of going out because we are too anxious to explore. We procrastinate on an important assignment or exciting new venture because we cannot overcome our uncertainty. We lie to ourselves, break our own resolutions, allow our dreams to slide away without grasping at them. Is it not clear to us that we can be our own worst enemies? But we can also be our own saviors. Through the active expression of our genuine natures, and the steady efforts to master our minds and move our lives forward, we can experience the freedom and joy that we deserve in life. Thus, personal freedom is more than just being free from pain—it is about being free to live, to truly enjoy and expand in life. It is not merely freedom from bad things that limit us, but freedom to experience good things that awaken us.

Let Go of Fear

Most of the fear we feel in life is simply anxiety arising from our anticipation of two kinds of pain that change might bring: the pain associated with loss or hardship. The first type is a thought pattern in which we worry that we will lose something we cherish if we take any given action. We think, If I go on a new diet, I'm afraid I'll lose the joy I feel in eating my favorite foods. If I quit smoking, I'll lose that 20 minutes of peace I get by going outside. Once we sense that we are anticipating loss, we must question whether or not it is true. The more we look for evidence of our fears, the more we realize they are often faulty, quick assumptions of a tired or undirected mind. The people who examine their fears of dieting, quitting a bad habit, or leaving a bad relationship come to realize there is always less to lose than to gain in making healthy decisions for themselves. Focus on the positive, for it is much more useful than the long nightmares of negativity.

Believe in Your Dreams

When we find ourselves hopeful but not motivated, we need to add a little more faith to the mix. Consider the woman who wants to compete in a triathlon. In order to succeed, she knows she cannot say to herself, "I hope one day that I get in good enough shape to maybe do a triathlon." Instead, she clarifies why she has this ambition, and she tells herself that she will race to the best of her ability and succeed; she visualizes herself in the water, on the bike, on the run, crossing the finish line. She summons her motivation and makes the choice to begin, to train, to succeed—because she believes she must and she believes she can. So, to those who say, "I wish I were motivated," we reply, "Do not hope for motivation; choose an ambition to become motivated for. Fix on a dream and believe that it will see daylight and soon a great swell of enthusiasm will enliven you."

Work with Your Support System

It's time to stop seeing others as obstacles to our dreams but rather as collaborators. Have we sat down our loved ones and told them what we truly desire of life and why? Have we asked our teams to help brainstorm new ways to work together so that all our desires can be met? Are we engaging others enough so that they will be supportive and participative in our life's pursuits? Real progress often comes in our lives once we make people our allies in accomplishment.

Shake Off Disappointment

Many people break from their integrity because of disappointment. Things don't turn out as they desire and their ego flames and fumes, causing them to break commitments to themselves and others. This is the woman who tries a new weight loss program and gets results, but because she hasn't lost as much weight as she anticipated, breaks her resolutions and goes back to old habits. It's the workingman who promises to work harder but upon seeing his first efforts go unnoticed, quickly drifts back into mediocrity. For most, disappointment isn't the problem; it's what they do after they feel disappointment—they quit. More conscious people see disappointment as a common and harmless reality of having high aims and standards. If we are not disappointed from time to time, we are not attempting anything new or bold or significant. So let us realize disappointment is necessary and holds no real power over us. Rather than being saddened or frustrated to a point of failure, we must simply become curious. Successful people feel disappointment and learn through it and let it go. They use disappointment to enlarge their competency, instead of letting it cut their character or fell their dreams. A disappointed failure or a learning achiever? Let us choose this day, once and for all, which group we shall belong to.

Find Joy in the Struggle

I'm not going to sugarcoat it: The vast majority hate the struggle required to advance. They complain with great angst that the road to independence and abundance is too hard, too inconvenient, too slow. If there is no straight and speedy line to success, the journey never begins. People don't go back to school because it will take too long. They don't exercise because the results come too slowly. They don't fight for their dreams because it would require long nights stacked on top of already busy days. The outcome is a stunningly large segment of society that is overweight, uninformed, unskilled, unhappy. None of us will rise tomorrow and say, "I do not wish to advance my life." But our wishes are not what are measured at the end of tomorrow—only our actions speak to who we are and what we really desire. So let us rise tomorrow with minds set for advancement. Let us be bold again. In the face of any concern, we can remember that fortune favors the brave, and that action alone will illuminate the next step.


Next Story