Some days are gloomy, others sunny. Figuratively. But be not carried away by life’s changing seasons and ebbs. They do not matter much. What matters much is your every breath, your every smile, your every tear in each of the seasons.
You’re designed to live a life so full. Universe does not say a full life is one free of pain or sorrow. To live fully is to be present whatever season your life is in. Your life’s seasons is not dependent on your environment. It’s dependent on where you are in your state of life. Whether you are in spring where your life is just budding; in summer where your days are longer and you think only of relaxation and fun; in fall where you’ve matured much and let go of excess baggage in your life; in winter where everything around is cold, like people and relationships, and all you want to do is embrace yourself tight and stay indoors than be outdoors.
Being present in all these seasons with all that you are makes the journey easier, lighter, and real. Be done with illusions. Throw away expectations. Be an avid fan of life. Be bold. Be brave. Be you. Live.
I read somewhere of someone asking how to make her life extraordinary. Is your life ordinary? Mine too. The good thing with life is we are all born ordinary. Yes, others may have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, but that does not make them extraordinary. Outwardly, perhaps. They live in huge abode than anybody else, do not need to clean their toilet like anybody else, and even have bodyguards and assistants who are always attentive to their every need.
Still, those things do not make someone extraordinary. Being extraordinary is an inward thing. It is a journey. It is a choice. Media may have its definition about being extraordinary by the way some things or people present themselves. That is why many aspire to be great, famous and wealthy in order to become extraordinary. Worse, they do all means whether acceptable or not just to get there. And we are all amazed at how they managed to climb on the pedestal they are currently standing on. However, when some things got out of hand, we then become shocked upon learning that someone with their standing committed suicide, or got divorced.
Having the same feelings and emotions is what makes us ordinary just like anybody else. What makes us extraordinary is the way we handle ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, our gifts, our pains, our life questions.
How then can we become extraordinary? I got the following hints from ordinary people trying to lead extraordinary lives. Together let’s walk through the pathway of their experience.
Be the best version of yourself
When we are in a difficult situation we tend to forget our better self. Most often we associate our self with the situation. When the situation is unfavorable, we also believe we are unlucky or just plain stupid. Being the best version of our self does not mean we are perfect. It means we are the best in our imperfections. It is to maintain grace in the presence of pressure.
It also does not mean we have to be somebody we are not. It’s normal that we admire some people. They only serve as an inspiration but not paintings to be imitated stroke by stroke. Thus, we need to discover our strengths. From there we follow the blueprints within us that make us great just as we are.
Be nice with others
Be nice to yourself first. You could not give what you lack. From there extend that niceness to the people around you. Most people shrink when they are expected to be nice. All because being nice is wrongly linked with being weak. They do not know that it requires great strength to be truly nice. As Richard Dawson said, “Be nice to each other. You can make a whole day a different day for everybody.”
Follow your passion
J.K. Rowling became the first billion-dollar author by following her passion. Passion is a flame that ignites our very being every time it is expressed. Whether our passion is as simple as gardening, nothing can compare the ecstasy we feel every time we see literally the fruit of our labor.
Look for beauty
Beauty is everywhere. It can be the smile of a child, the grace of old age, a flower in bloom, or simply looking within. Beauty presents itself effortlessly when it is sought by an unclouded mind. It is easier to find beauty by freeing our minds from our conditioned thoughts.
Practice random acts of kindness
When you show kindness to others the one who benefits more from it is our self. Take that from me. The sunny feeling of having been kind lasts a lot longer. And it brings a lightness inside for having shared a part of yourself with others.
Build people up
It is easier to tear people down than by building them up. That is why this is so challenging for most of us to do. If we want to be remembered or leave a lasting legacy, we have to muster all our strength to build up others.
Be surrounded by extraordinary people
In one of my unlucky days, I asked myself why had I been so stupid in my judgments. It then dawned on me that I had been surrounded with people of mediocre thinking. They’re nice, they have dreams but they’re not the type who’ll do anything to chase their dreams. Hence, I exited myself from their presence. We may not be physically surrounded by extraordinary people, but their works are much accessible through the internet. Also, we can join organizations online that draw out the best in us.
The present is inevitable. We could not change the weather, our culture or other people. We have to accept whatever the present puts in our table. The present is just the way it is. If there is something we don’t like in the present moment, we have to accept it, then tweak something that would promise us a favorable future.
Be the hero of your own story
Each of us has our own dragon. We may either slay it or tame it to our advantage. The surest way is to slay the thoughts that would bring the villain in us. Heroes too never give up that easily. Whether in victory or captivity, we can be heroes when we maintain that tenacity within. Heroes are powerful. That power lies within. And when that power is brought into the open, others would benefit from our hero journey.
Heroes do not serve themselves. They serve Someone up there greater than themselves. And when they do it rightfully their power is increased.
Let us then serve God even if others do not. Remember, we might be the only gospel that others ever read.
Are you now ready to live the extraordinary life? Me too!
If life had been designed in black and white, living must have been easier. It is the shades of gray that make things a little obscure. At times we say things when we mean the other, and take things that aren’t supposed to be taken in its vague form. Because sometimes we are not great communicators, our words are taken out of context.
It is the abstract that separates the wise from the fool. The teachings of Aesop, Jesus, Buddha, and other great teachers are delivered in fables, anecdotes, and parables. It would take for an ordinary person to walk through the thin pathway of his mind in order to digest every word that these great teachers impart. If one does not give time for reflection, then he lost the chance to properly “see” and thereby apply the lessons supposedly learned.
Thus, it is man’s duty to go out into his wilderness and immerse himself in the wholeness of his being. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” So it was said. Abstractions may be confusing, but it’s worth the effort.
Good morning! I miss you guys. Thank you for still giving me the space in your reader feed.
So, what do I have for you today? They say an introverted person seldom opens up himself or herself with others. I will open up to you anyway since I know most of you have wide minds and warm hearts.
Here I am again sharing a bit of my stupidity. I just discovered the path to the unknown is laden with stupid moves and thoughtless acts. Yeah, I am one of those stupid species. I am not ashamed to admit that because…. well, it’s the truth.
My story starts the day I got interviewed for a writing gig by one potential client. Due to overwhelm, everything he asks of me to do I answered yes. He then gave me the job description, requirements, and the deadline. During the interview, I was already doubtful whether I could deliver the project on the agreed deadline. To think I have only less than six hours to deliver two articles with a word count of 1,500 words each. To top it all, on topics I did not know about. And it’s my first writing gig in that job site. Experience does matter a lot.
Mustering all my strength to have that “I can” attitude, I assured him I would be able to do it. With some more few agreements, the interview ended.
True to my word, I beat the deadline. But I was not peaceful in my sleep because I felt less confident of my work. I was too tired to do one hundred percent editing.
The next day, my intuition told me it was correct. My client requested me to rewrite my articles because it was a real mess. I asked for an apology and rewrote the whole thing. However, deep inside of me I was already on the verge of giving up. I just found out writing 3,000 words on topics I have no idea about was beyond my capacity at the moment. The research did not even help.
After I delivered the project, I asked for a feedback with ninety percent expectations that I may not be hired. Even if he’d hire me, I was already too weak to do a thing. Anxiety, overwhelm and fatigue took its toll on me. Besides, the project is more than I can handle. I also told him I was willing to end the contract should I not be hired, that the funds be returned back to him.
And yes, I was not hired. My work failed to pass the project requirements. But you know what? That was one of the happiest days in my whole life!
Why? Because that was one of the very few times wherein someone gave me a constructive criticism regarding my work without making me feel guilty of what I had done. I was so blessed to meet that potential client with a big heart. His act was kind of a breather for my life at the moment.
As you can see, I had been in a financing company for more than a decade. When I started working there, the company just rented a small office space where water drips from the roof every time it rains. I witnessed and even helped the company grow in my own small way. Years later the company had its own two-story building with spaces for rental. Not only in one place but in many places its many buildings stood up. It could be a success story for them.
But for me, it was not. For all the days I was there, I never received a pat on the back. My responsibilities include a sensitive one. I handle the financial transactions of the branch. I always receive and count money that does not belong to me. Allow me to raise my chair here, I did my job well and resisted temptations no matter how tough life gets. Others failed where I excelled. But management overlooked that. They failed to see my efforts and my contribution. Criticism was given, sadly, in a destructive way.
I quit of course. But too late. I was already a broken person inside, seeking to heal.
Thus, the encounter with that client gave me something money can’t buy. It gave me RESPECT for myself. I felt respected for the longest time ever! Yes, I receive respect often. But considering the time and trust a person gave me and failing to do what was expected—that was something awesome of him. Moreover, he considers my effort and pays me a considerable amount for that. But for me, that was the biggest pay I ever received for a work I have ever given.
Respect is very important to a person. It can either make or break someone. Until now my heart is still rejoicing. I know obstacles are still scattered on my way. But this one is a nice retreat to return to when the going gets tough. I am encouraged to do more and be more. Nice people still exist. It’s my fervent prayer to meet some more.
The transition phase
So how was I after two weeks in the unemployment barracks? Well, I felt good, a bit apprehensive but more excited for the new path I am taking.
There are three reasons why people walk away: burn-out, unproductive environment and seeking for something that gives more meaning and purpose to life. I have all those three. For those I have left, my reasons would be unsettling. But life must be lived the way it is meant to be.
Within the two weeks of soul searching, I discovered I need to let go of some things before I could successfully embark on a new journey. I need to shake off the dust from my feet. As I have shared here, for reasons unclear to me, my employer does not like me that much. No matter how much hard work I contribute to the workplace, still she makes me feel as if I were a liability to the company. The insults I received from her left a deep wound in my being. It is not only me, actually. She hates some of her employees and loves some. Internal politics, yes. But it hurts. And affects self-esteem as well.
Should I stay within the confines of the wound and feelings of worthlessness? Nah! Of course, not. Life is too precious to spend on those emotions. No matter how much we learned that dislike of the person and failing to come up with standards are no way to debase someone, it still happens. Sometimes for reasons that are beyond our control.
But then again, healing has to happen. If I just have a magic wand, I would have swayed it in the air and wham! I’m alright. Yet, nature has its own rules of making things happen. I have to go through the process of forgiveness. I need to go through the process of making my inner child remember once again that the way people look at me or think of me has no connection of who I am. I may not be a great person but my Maker sent me here for a reason. Sometimes, it is to do great things according to the capacity He gives each one.
The “why” questions
Things happen for a reason. Why does my former employer hate me? I found out now, it is kind of a domino effect. Experts say over and over again, that the way we look at ourselves has some effect on the way people look at us. Others treat us the way we treat ourselves. I do not hate myself, to be clear. But I admit, I am a nervous duckling.
Way back when I started that job, I was scared to lead. I prayed it would be fine with me to stay in the background as a support and not be the center of the spotlight. True enough, no matter how qualified I was, the other one was chosen as the manager and me as the assistant. Since my degree fits much with the responsibilities at hand, my former employer expected much from me than her chosen head. The blame was always on me every time our team failed to come up with certain expectations. Absurd, isn’t it? This scenario goes on and on until I decided to quit.
Not only that, I found out I am still carrying within me the failures and insecurities of the past.
When I was nine years old my mother and her friend had a talk in my presence. Her friend shared how good her kids were. My mother retorted, “good for you, my kids are all good for nothing.” That remark left a big scar in my self-esteem. Though I understand where my mother came from.
Her mother died when she was five years old. She and her two brothers were left with a drunkard father and an “evil” stepmother. Thus, the three of them grew up with lashes and scorn. Notwithstanding the fact that they were literally poor.
She struggled to take care of her own family and loved us the way a mother should. But the ghosts of her past appear from time to time making us experience the bitter taste of it.
Then when I was in the last year of my secondary school, I messed myself up by mental block in a declamation contest. The experience embarrassed me much. How I wished the two hundred plus audience would instantly forget my name. This might be the reason I dreaded to be in the spotlight, and be a center of attention once again.
The correct mindset
With my first-hand experience as the subject of my own case study, proper mindset plays a big role in job success or in whatever undertaking one sets himself to. Because I started with the wrong mindset, I ended up in a wrong working environment. This is the reason why few people excel and most fail. Whether we like it or not, this is how the world is designed. There is a saving grace, though—learning the WAYS of a proper mindset.
Wrong form of prayer
Dr. Joseph Murphy said that prayers could have negative effects if done incorrectly. When we pray we should see to it that we already have in mind the result of what we pray for. This is called nowadays as visualization.
This is where I am guilty of. The fact is, I am a prayerful person. Only that I prayed out of fear. When I pray, what I had in mind was the worst case scenario that could happen—thus I prayed that it would never happen. Sadly, that worst case scenario is already happening in my mind. Consequently, my prayers seldom were answered.
Focus is the key
What do I do now? FOCUS. Focus on what could happen rightly. Focus on my desired results. Focus on my bright future. Focus on becoming the somebody I was designed to be.
The wrongs of the past are not meant to destroy me nor anybody. If we just ask the right questions: why do things happen the way they did or why did I do what I’ve done, then we are onto the path of making the most of our dear life.
Each of us has a unique purpose. If we find and fulfill that very purpose, then we are no longer the nobody who wandered aimlessly into this world. We become the somebody who managed to do it despite everything we have been through. Be that somebody. I’m so glad to be on my way.
Daily Prompt: translate
Today I learned a major life lesson with the sting of embarrassment. As what I have shared to you in my previous posts, one of my major goals for this year is to focus on following my career path online. In fact, January thirty-first would be my last working day in the corporate world. Yes, I already submitted my resignation letter and it had been officially approved.
I posted such major decision in my life in my FB account. Many friends reacted and asked why. I had been in that employment stint for twelve years. Since the path I choose to follow is yet to be started, I did not give any clear answer to the inquirers as to why did I resign. I only said I want to move on to something better. However, some members of our closely-knit family got worried and thought something unlikely might have happened which prompted me with the resignation.
Last night my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law asked me for the reason behind that decision. Out of a deep discontent that I felt in my workplace, I gave them answers that should not have been shared with them. There might be a spark of truth in what I said but it sounded as if the incompetencies of my co-workers were what prompted me to get out of the place—the usual victim story. And that message was not so healthy. My conscience filtered my answer. It then asked me back why do I focus my answer on the negative instead of focusing it on the positive? If a more positive life is what I am after, then I must start now. I am still in this process, so I just have to forgive myself. I must learn once again that I am also not perfect. And even if people aren’t perfect they also made me smile in their own unique ways at some point.
Chasing dreams is subjective. Sometimes it is awakened by the discomfort that someone feels around him, which is really true for me. But it does not mean someone has to get out because he is surrounded by an inept tribe. It might appear to be like that on the surface. Yet, deep down the person is not just meant to be there any longer because his strengths do not fit really well in that place.
As health psychologist Kelly McGonigal said, it is much helpful to focus on chasing the dreams than on the discomfort of the situation. This way stress is lessened. And she is very right. Lesson learned fully well!