Nothing is much more common than the following scenario: one of your friends or acquaintances is constantly complaining that his/her life is full of more problems than a kiwi is full of tiny black seeds. However, he/she finds ways to ignore and/or even criticizes any of the advice you try to offer him/her. If you should (gasp!) talk about books on success or gently suggest anything that might even remotely pertain to self-motivation, your friend or acquaintance will probably say, “Uh. . .yeah, as if any of that stuff would help me. Those things are for people who have minor problems, not the kinds of things I’m dealing with.” You might even be lucky enough to be in the company of a true pessimist or cynic, who will not only tell you that such things won’t work for them, but will also be the first to discourage you from reading about success and/or listening to tape programs on how to create the life you want. How do you handle a situation like this? Well, first of all, realize that your friend or acquaintance (or boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse) is at a difference place in their life than you are. You have taken ownership if your life, whereas they would prefer to sit up and complain. Does this mean that they are destined to never achieve success? That depends. If they continue to stubbornly resist the idea of making any changes in their life, then, yes, they could easily die with three-fourths of their potential still inside of them. What can you do about it? Well, you can demonstrate to them how committed you are to making your own dreams come true and share with them any suggestions that they are willing to listen to. But you aren’t going to be able to change their lives for them. Of course, you knew that anyway, didn’t you? Anybody who is at my blog and has been reading my posts has probably come to understand that the only person who can change your life is you.
Unfortunately, (and this is really very tragic, if you think about it) some people have actually become somewhat addicted to complaining about their life. It has become a way to excuse themselves from accepting responsibility for the choices they make on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. If you spend all your time focusing on and/or talking about all the ways in which your life is a mess, it will probably mean that you won’t have any time or energy left to pursue your dreams and goals. It would be akin to someone who wants to be a famous artist visiting every musuem they can find rather than staying at home perfecting their own artistic skills. There is something to be said from paying attention to those who have achieved success in your chosen field—namely, you can learn lots of things from them and from the choices they made over the course of their lives. At the same time, you must understand that you are you. . .and if you spend too much time focusing on other people, you are never going to be able to capitalize on your unique talents and abilities.
But why would anyone actually enjoy complaining? Well, that’s an interesting question, and it’s certainly worth examining. One reason people complain is probably because they are afraid. Of what? Of failure, of success, of accepting responsibility for the choices they make, whether bad or good. . .of other people and what those people think of them. . .of not living up to the expectations other people have placed upon them or the expectations they have of themselves. The problem is that the only way you can really take control of your life is by taking those complaints and replacing them with solutions. Rather than complaining about how you don’t have enough money, find a way to start earning money. I know you’re smart or you wouldn’t be reading Success Diva’s blog. Instead, you would be sitting on the couch in front of the TV or you would be on the phone telling one of your friends how everything in your life is going wrong. But, since you are here, I can safely assume that you’re intelligent and want to accomplish something. You want to have the life of your dreams instead of merely sitting up being envious of those who are living the kind of life you desire. Would it be presumptuous of me to assume that you are tired of letting others enjoy success and happiness while you live in a continual state of depression, dissatisfaction, and disappointment? I think, without even knowing you, I can safely assume that you aren’t completely content with your life the way it is right now. Okay, maybe one or more areas of your life is being managed well, but unless every aspect of your life is making you feel fulfilled and happy on a daily basis, then you are not living the life that you deserve. Do all of us deserve success and happiness? Well, the answer to this question may not be one that you’re eager to hear. The truth is, those who both achieve and fully deserve success are usually those who are willing to work for it. And those who are happy are those who have committed themselves to making the changes and choices in their lives that will make them happy. Happiness may be a choice (in fact, Barry Neil Kaufman has promoted this idea through his books and personal philosophy), but it is a choice that nobody else can make for you.
I’ll admit that having the life of your dreams does sound easier than it is. . .and yes, it does sound great. How could it not? But by the same token, it isn’t impossible. It’s only impossible if you refuse to take full control of your life. It will only remain a dream as long as you continue to complain about how bad things are and make excuses for behavior that you say it “just part of who you are” but is really something that you can change if you choose to. As I said in the first post at this blog, what human beings can do is far different than what they will do. So, next time you hear yourself saying, “I just can’t do that. . .” stop to ask yourself this question: Is it that I can’t do whatever it is or is it that I won’t do it? Think about it: by saying you can’t do something, you are actually given your own personal power away. You are implying that you are not capable of going on that job interview. . .or making that important phone call. . .or asking that beautiful girl you’ve had a crush on for weeks or months out on a date. . .or making an effort to be a more attentive husband or wife. . .or making an effort to spend more time with your kids. What you are saying, whether you realize it or not, is that you don’t have the ability to do something that you know needs to be done. But what’s closer to the truth? Hey, you know what I’m going to say, don’t you? I told you that your Success Diva will always be honest with you. And, in keeping with this promise, I’m going to say that I suspect you are 100% capable of going on the job interview or writing the letter or making the phone call or being a more effective parent or being a more loving and attentive husband or wife. The situation is, you are not willing to do whatever is it that you are saying you “can’t” do. That’s right—-once again, you are making a conscious choice. And remember what I said about the choices you and I make on a daily basis? Those choices, whether they seem significant at this moment to you or not, will ultimately determine the life you will be living in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years. . .and even at the time you die. So, unless you want to make choices that deprive you of living the life of your dreams, make sure you make a clear distinction between the things that you truly can’t do and the things you simply won’t do—that is, things you aren’t willing to do. Believe it or not, there are so few things that you actually can’t do that, were you to make a list of them, I would imagine you wouldn’t be able to name more than a dozen. Obviously, if you are 60-year-old woman and suddenly decide you want to become a model for Victoria’s Secret, you could be indulging in. . .well, unrealistic thinking. But, overall, you are capable of doing a whole lot more than you are giving yourself credit for. So, why do you continue to limit yourself? I know you are capable of amazing and extraordinary things, and it’s time you started showing the world how determined you are to create the life you want. Do something today that you’ve been putting off doing up until now. Whether it’s a phone call you haven’t made or a painting you haven’t finished. . .or a short story or novel you never got around to editing and/or submitting for publication, now is the time to take action. Hey, what do you want to have accomplished by January 1 of 2010? Do you want to have spent the next 5+ months on a path to nowhere? Or would you like to know that you have taken full ownership of your life? It’s up to you, you know. In fact, it’s all about you.
Your Success Diva