Leave Your Fears Behind

Editors Note: In spirt of my friend Torre’s book launch – I’ve decided to share a litte bit about fear.  

I’m on a plane to New York City, about to start the job of my dreams. 

I’m ecstatic. Yet I’m scared.

Will my coworkers like me? Will I get swallowed whole by the city that never sleeps? Will things go as I planned?

Seven years ago, I lost my best friend. A jet ski accident took his life. It’s a day I will never forget.

Why did this happen? How will I go on?

Six years ago, I boarded a flight to Shanghai China after spending the majority of my young life growing up in Texas.

Will I make any friends? How will I learn the language? What about the food… does it taste bad?

Eight years ago I ran cross country. After pushing through some minor soreness over several weeks, my legs gave out and I collapsed to the floor.

Unable to move my legs voluntarily, I was essentially paralyzed from the waste down for what was the longest two weeks of my life.

Will I be able to walk again? Will I ever be able to run? How will this impact the rest of my life?

The darkest moments produce the brightest light.

In my short time here on earth, I’ve traveled to the highest peaks and the lowest of lows.

I’ve been too scared to sleep, and often felt as if I was the only person in the world.

But you. Me. We aren’t alone.

Your current fears mean nothing when faced in the moment. Your worries today will all but be forgotten ten years from now.

It’s often hard to see the big picture, especially when you forgot that life is a marathon and not a sprint.

Rejected by that cute girl? Big deal.

Bomb the most important job interview in the world? There will be more.

Feel like you’ve amounted to nothing? Success is behind the next door.

I’ve traveled the world, I’ve made friends from all over the globe, and I have a close network of people who want nothing more than for me to succeed and live a happy life.

Yet…

I’ve also faced tremendous challenges. I’ve moved across the world, I’ve lost a best friend, and I’ve thrown pity parties that rival the best of them.

As I reflect on my up coming journey in New York City, I can’t help but smile at the adventures that lie ahead. I’m certain there will be bumps in the road, but I couldn’t be more excited for what’s in store.

You may feel paralyzed by the fears you face today, but I assure you tomorrow you’ll be that much stronger.

Leave your fears behind. 

Do What Got You There

You finally lost those last few pounds. Your relationships are booming. People are finally starting to listen to what you have to say.

Your hard work paid off. You finally found success… or so you thought.

Just moments before you reach the peak of the mountain, things begin to slip.

Those last few pounds to begin to creep back on. Relationships once stable, are rocked by chaos. Your once loyal followers are nowhere to be seen.

The excuses roll in.

I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I don’t know enough people. I’m destined to be average.

It’s tempting to throw yourself a pity party and think you just don’t have the chops to make it.

But the harsh reality is, success left because you got lazy.

You got comfortable. You got greedy. And success doesn’t take kind to being under appreciated.

This pattern has found itself into my life far more than I care to admit. I’ll find success, and slowly stop doing the work that got me there.

Perhaps you can relate.

You stop putting in the hours. You stop eating the right foods. You stop busting your ass to communicate with the ones you love.

Long term success isn’t common because most people don’t put in the work day after day after day. True success is a 24/7 job.

If you want the world you have to give the world.

If you’ve recently fallen from the mountain you worked so hard to climb, the solution is rather straightforward but certainly not easy.

Success knocks as long as you put in the work.

Do what you got there, and answer the door when it rings.

How To Stop Being So Damn Cynical

The economy sucks. Everyone is an asshole. That one blogger? Yeah, she’s a scammer.

Pessimism permeates the air.

Is there anything positive in the world anymore?

It’s no secret that our society is enamored with the temptation of impending doom. It’s what sells… but as information becomes more abundant our options are beginning to expand.

There’s no law saying you have to be cynical. In fact, the most successful people in the world are choosing to opt out of the world of negativity.

No, that doesn’t mean they are buying one way plane tickets to Fuji and ignoring the realties of the world. Rather, they are consciously choosing to focus on what brings them closer to their goals.

Sure, the world isn’t perfect. But don’t let that stop you from seeing the good in the world… there is good, a lot of it.

As someone who prides himself in looking on the bright side, I too can have bouts of pessimism. I’ve found the following tips helpful in keeping focused and grateful when bombarded with waves of gloom.

Admit You’re Being Cynical

That’s right.

Admit you’re viewing the world from a dark grey lens. No matter how positive you may be, there will be days when the world can’t do anything right.

It’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

When you catch yourself complaining, or getting in bed with negativity, acknowledge it.

“Wow, that thought I just had was pretty negative..”

Then let it pass.

For many, being negative is so natural and embedded in their every day lives, that they quickly forget it doesn’t have to be their default state.

I know, because I’ve been there.

Simply by noticing your thoughts, you’ll discover that you have more control over what you think than you give yourself credit for.

Admitting the problem is the first step to fixing it. 

Audit Your Network

Every time I find myself in a rut or experiencing long bouts of negativity, I try and reevaluate my network.

Are my friends in real life being negative? Am I following a bunch of pessimists on Twitter? Do my Facebook groups love to complain?

Who you surround yourself with both in real life and online has a profound impact on your daily thoughts and actions.

Simple logic says that if you surround yourself with positive and energetic people, you too will become positive and energetic.

The opposite also holds true, if you surround yourself with people who only look at the ground, you’ll soon forget that there is a sun shining bright in the sky.

Most people know this in theory, however, in the real world it can be a little tricky understanding the dynamics of your network.

If you find yourself being negative, start to take notice of your social circles. When are you most negative?

I’m not suggesting you ditch all your friends. Instead, begin to notice who brings you up, and who brings you down. Can you shift your time and resources to better service your needs?

Your network is yours to build or tear down. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the love and support you need to get the most out of your gifts and talents.

Guard the castle with everything you have, one or two intruders can bring the walls tumbling down.

Check Your News Channels

The majority of news is negative. Yet, hour after hour we find ourselves clinging to the latest breaking headlines.

North Korea has nukes. People are on a ship with poop. Child murdered in the inner cities.

It’s no wonder many of us find ourselves depressed. I’ll be the first to admit, I do like to keep up with the latest trends on what’s going on in the world.

That being said, there are a few things you can to do keep negativity to the minimum.

Limit checking the main news networks. CNN, Fox, NBC, will do anything to keep your interest, so they fuel with fire with doom and gloom.

I recently saw a clip of Anderson Cooper the other day and literally every single one of the five stories on his broadcast was negative. No thanks.

Instead, look to stay updated through a variety of different means. These days, I get a lot of news from Twitter, and if it’s something that I’m interested in I’ll then do a quick google search.

Sometimes I’ll use subreddits on Reddit to keep me informed on issues I’m interested in.

There are an abundance of resources out there to keep you informed, while keeping you sane as well.

Are your news networks adding value? Or simply adding more drama to your life?

Practice Gratitude

Perhaps the greatest thing you can do to leave the world of cynicism is incorporate gratitude in your daily routine.

I like to write 3-5 things I’m grateful for each day before I go to bed. Despite being surprisingly simple, this little trick has significantly helped me be more positive.

Knowing I have to write 3-5 items down, causes me to search for the good in my day. Will you still occasionally have negative thoughts? Of course. But don’t underestimate the power of training your brain to look through the lens of positivity.

Regardless of your current situation, there is an abundance of things going right for you. It may be easy to focus on what’s wrong or the things you lack, but doing so won’t get you any closer to your goals.

Instead of being envious of your friends on Facebook, or your friend with her dream job, focus on what’s going right for you.

As someone who used to be an extreme pessimist, I know it’s not always easy being positive. Some days down right suck. I do know however, that the more I’ve practiced seeing the good in the world the more good I’ve been able to see.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

If you find yourself being cynical and looking for ways to change, put these tips into action. I promise the world looks so much better when viewing from a positive lens.