I am flying to California today to meet with the CEO and the editorial director of HayHouse publishing about their plans for my new book “How To Love Yourself” and about my career direction. I am actually looking forward to this business visit because everything nowadays is done from behind a computer screen. There are people I have worked with for years that I have never met in person and will most likely never meet in person. I think business lacks a human element now. And in my line of work, the work I do is so deeply personal that it is crucial that the personal element weaves it’s way through the business side of things (such as the promotional side of the work) as well. The more connected my business contacts feel to the work I am doing, the better things they will do with it and the more justice they will do to the work and to me. Also, It allows me the opportunity to connect in with even more unique people so that potentially one day, if they feel like they want help or camaraderie from someone, they will feel as if I am available to them.
I like making a personal connection with people who play a role in my life and my life’s work. Everything in the world of success owes itself to two things, talent and contacts. Talent goes nowhere without contacts and contacts can only take a person without talent so far. Now before you let that previous statement cause you to feel as if the universe has “gypped” you because you doubt your talent level, you must know that there is always an abundance of talent in the area related to what you are meant to do with your life. Your purpose cannot escape you and your purpose will always bring you joy. If you feel as if you are not talented enough to do what you want to do, either you are struggling with self-hate, or you have not found your actual purpose yet.
I thought I was meant to be a professional athlete. I wanted it worse than anything. My longest standing dream (starting at age 4) was to win an Olympic gold medal. But even though I had athletic talent, I was not the best at any of the sports that I chose. I never made the evening news for my outstanding results in any race or competition. And even though I was good enough to make it to a professional level, I made enemies of the other female athletes because I took many of the sponsors that they deserved to have, based on the fact that I was physically sellable due to my sex appeal (sex appeal, which other, better athletes lacked). I hated the athletes that made it seem easy. I had to work my butt off to be anywhere near the level that they were at. Many of them would wake up hung over, after a night of being drunk and turn in better results than I would, with my perfect lifestyle of strict bed times and perfect diet plans. My athletic career was a constant struggle with my body and mind. Not one minute of it was easy. And even with my competitive spirit, I hated competitions. I had so much “race anxiety” that I had to show up early, just to get the half an hour bathroom time out of the way because I had the tendency to throw up before races. I remember the constant feeling of deficiency I had when I would watch the people who would win all the races, give their interviews and act so nonchalant about the entire thing. It was as if they actually enjoyed the races and the competitions and it was as if that was the only reason they were doing the sport in the first place. I thought, how the hell can anyone like the terrified feeling of careening down a 45 degree, water injected course in frigid temperatures with their leg muscles and lungs burning to the point that it is dizzying? How could anyone like the feeling of their entire sense of self worth, riding on a one minute, thirty second race that they spent years training for? I love skiing. It is perhaps my very favorite past time. But one day it occurred to me, if I have to ask those questions, perhaps racing isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my life after sports. Sports were my everything. But I let myself flow in the direction of what felt good every day and low and behold, now it all makes sense. Our real purpose shouldn’t feel so hard. Instead, it should simply feel like the thing we are so compelled to do that we would have to expend great effort to not do it. The energy expended to do it, doesn’t feel like effort, because even when it takes great energy to do, our being is filled up with joy doing it. It is only now, that I have fallen into what I am really meant to be doing that I realize why racing was so easy for those athletes I used to be so jealous of. It was their purpose. For me, sports were a means to my purpose. Now, I am in the same position as they were. My job is difficult, but it does not require effort. I could not force myself to stop doing it if I tried to. In fact, what I do now has always come so naturally to me, that I overlooked it and took it for granted all my life. I convinced myself that anything worth doing, should be hard to do. It is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves when we haven’t yet found our purpose. Now I wouldn’t trade in my current career for all the gold medals in the world. I have found exactly what I want to be doing with my life.
The decision of what to do with your life is a decision which all of us must make. We will after all, end up “doing” something regardless of whether it is a conscious decision we make or an unconscious decision we make to do that thing. If you don’t decide how you want to live as well as what you want to be and do, then someone or something else will decide for you. If this happens, instead of living according to your own inner values and enjoyment, you will yield control of your life to a combination of subconscious influences such as genetic predispositions, upbringing, social conditioning, environment, or the opinions of other people in your life. This surrender of control of your life is the direct result of not listening to intuition. Inner values are expressed through intuition. Intuition is the voice of the true self. It is for this very reason that it is so important to get in touch with your intuition and who you really are so that your true self can be allowed to operate in your life. This process can be a scary one because your inner values may run counter to everything you’ve been led to believe. Your inner values my even run counter to the inner values of everyone else around you. But if you are brave enough to live according to your own inner values, the result will be a level of freedom, joy and fulfillment, which you have never before experienced.
Your true, essential self (often called your soul) does not need to go searching for who you are. It knows exactly who you are and what you love and what your deepest desires are. We are not born upon this planet searching for our souls as if we have lost them. In fact, young children for the most part live entirely according to their own souls. It is only when we become self conscious enough to adopt external values, opinions and advice that our own souls become suppressed and obscured to us. It is only due to this suppression that we forget who and what we are. Most of our lives we strive to do what is “right”. But the question to ask yourself is… right according to whom? People adopt external values, opinions and advice for one primary reason; they hold the illusion that happiness and worth and security and love and care and direction comes from others. We must accept that lovability, security, worth, care, direction and happiness do not come from others. They come from ourselves.
The risk of placing value on what you want, what you love and who you really are often feels like the risk of not being loved for what is real about yourself. It can also feel like the risk of being seen as a failure by others (which is a threat to most people’s sense of self worth) so it is easy to see how placing value on what you truly want and who you truly are can be a very frightening proposition. But until you reveal your true desires and true self, it is not possible to be truly loved. True love is love which exists for the truth of someone, not a façade put on for the perceived benefit of being accepted or the perceived benefit of affirming another person’s inner values by adopting them. There is nothing in this world that compares to being loved for what is real about yourself. Until you reveal your true desires and true self, it is also not possible to be truly happy.
When you are trying to decide what to do with your life, it is important to first find out where you are. It can be a frightening idea to admit to ourselves that we are not where we want to be. But the way to get to where you want to be is to first realize and admit that you are not currently in a place where you are living according to your true self. Ask yourself in this very moment, are you happy? This is not a question that refers to mere contentment. Asking yourself if you are happy, really means are you passionate about your life? Do you get more excited about going on vacation than you do about doing your day-to-day work? Are you in love with your existence? Are you delighted to be here on earth at this particular point in time? Do you like where you live? Do you enjoy your relationships? Once you have your answers, without calling them “good” or “bad” you can begin to move forward to the place where you want to be. You can begin on this path towards living the life you want to be living by understanding that underneath every erroneous decision and mistake a person makes in their life is illusion and fear. But if you look even deeper, you will see that beneath every erroneous decision and mistake a person makes, is a soul striving for relief as well as an invaluable lesson to be learned. Finding your own values and priorities may take some risk. It takes being brave enough to trust your own talents and internal knowing for security instead of trusting anything outside of yourself for security. It takes being brave enough to remember who you really are again.
A major reason people often do not live the lives they wish to live is because of negative beliefs. Beliefs are just thoughts repeated so often, they become reality. They are thoughts which are on a repetitive loop which have made themselves so much a part of our physical lives, we regard them as truth—or even worse, become completely unaware of what they are. The term that has been used for this over the years is a negative, self-limiting core belief. These beliefs— are only as true as you believe them to be. We develop beliefs because of conditioning. They are beliefs which limit you such as “no one can make a living doing this or that” or “fun is irresponsible” or “I am worthless if I do not go to college”.
Many of us turned away from our natural desires by being taught to adopt the beliefs and values of others (especially authority figures) at such a young age that we loose touch with our desires completely. So, one of the best ways to get back in touch with the real you, is to think back to your natural inclinations as a child. Make a long list of things you knew you loved when you were a child. Make a list of your natural talents as a child and try to remember what you wanted to be when you grew up. Now, after you make that list, make sure to ask yourself why. Why did you love those things? Why did you possess those natural talents? Why did you want to grow up to be those things? Then ask yourself do I still enjoy and practice these things? If not…why? Can I remember what caused me to stop? Was it because of someone else? Do I remember how it felt to stop doing those things?
From here, fast forward. Ask yourself what your favorite part of your entire life was so far and why that particular point was your favorite part of your life. Get as detailed as you can in order to discover the true reason you enjoyed it so much. And after that, ask yourself what you enjoy about the life you are living in now? What am I passionate about in my life currently? Have I devoted those things to the back burner, or are they the primary focus of my life? This process will help you to understand what it is that you truly enjoy separate of your conditioned and logical brain that (being mechanical in nature) has often been taught to minimize feeling states such as joy and passion.
If you’re a person who says that passion just isn’t your personality, or isn’t necessary to life then you should know that you have sacrificed too much. If you’re living on purpose instead of by default, passion will be the normal state of your life. Passion will not suddenly transform you into an unbalanced, emotional wreck. Passion is the most powerful of positive emotional states next to love. It will push you to live your full potential. Intellect can only get you so far. There’s a difference between deciding to achieve a goal and actually achieving it. Your intellect can manage the former, but it’s incapable of achieving the latter. You will feel passion directly as the emotional result of heading in the right direction. If you find that passion is gone from parts of your life, see the message behind that lack which is that it is time to make a new decision. It is time to change directions.
Many decisions made with intellect in the moment, seem like good rational ideas, but when you imagine how these decisions will play out over the next ten, twenty, or even fifty years, their weaknesses become immediately apparent. Take your job, for example. Where will it lead you in the long run? Think about where it will take you between now and the end of your life. Imagine looking back upon your career and life. How do you feel about it? Are you living the life you want to live or would your life seem like a life not really lived? If you’ve made the correct decisions for yourself, then you should feel no regret; you will feel like you have lived a life full of passion and purpose.
It may be helpful when deciding what to do with your life, to try and discover your life’s purpose. To do this, you will have to practice emotional intelligence. One way to find your life’s purpose is to take out a sheep of paper and write down a list of all the different things you can think of which might be your life’s purpose. Any answer that pops into your head should be written down. Repeat this as many times as you possibly can until you reach the answer that evokes a strong emotional reaction from you. In other words, the one that makes you want to cry. This usually takes some time to clear all of the thoughts out of your mind until the answer that goes down on the sheet is the one voiced by your true self. You may discover a few answers along the way that seem to give you a mini-surge of emotion, but they don’t quite hit you in that epic way that the real answer does. They’re just a bit off. Make sure to highlight those answers as you go along, so you can come back to them to generate new permutations. Each reflects a piece of your purpose, but individually they aren’t complete. When you start getting these kinds of answers, it means you’re getting warm, so keep going. When you write the one that truly reflects your real self, you will know it. Once you find the answer, ask yourself if you are living your life according to that purpose. If the answer is no, ask yourself, what steps could I take right now in order to live according to that purpose? Is there a way that I could foresee creating my life by incorporating the things that I enjoy and feel passionate about into the very life’s purpose which I’ve just discovered? If you can, take the risk of doing so. If not, put forth the intention for the opportunity to do so to come to you. It may come completely out of the blue. You do not need to know the HOW of things. The how will be presented to you. You simply need to know what you want and why you want it and then be brave enough to jump at opportunities as they come along.
You do not need to fear making the wrong choice; if you take the risk to try something that you feel is in line with your true self it will bring you joy. And even in the unlikely event that it doesn’t, you can always change your mind and try something new. This world is a mutable world. There is no such thing as permanence. We are meant to come into life and find our calling here through exploration according to our own joy. We are not meant to come into life in order to begrudgingly fulfill a duty to destiny whether we like it or not. Be brave enough to take the risk of following your internal guidance regardless of what any one outside of you says. Many people avoid risks habitually. It is because they have been told that to play it safe is the intelligent thing to do. But the question you must ask yourself is …Why? We will all die one day. Our lives are not permanent. And all too often people do not take risks only to arrive at death… safely. But anyone who lives this kind of life regrets it in the end.
Everything that is ever done is done for one reason and one reason only, because the doer thinks they will feel better in the doing of it. If a person lives for fun, it is because they think they will feel better in the having of fun. If a person lives to help others it is because they think they will feel better by helping people. If a person lives for purpose, it is because they think they will feel better if they have purpose. So you see, everything ever done is therefore done in the quest for happiness. So, it is best to cut to the chase and make happiness the true goal of your life. If you begin to do this, you will find yourself on the path of your ultimate desires, even if it is a path you never in a million years thought you would find yourself on. Treat each day as if it could quite possibly be your last. If you do this, you will search for enjoyment above all else and therefore you will be living all your days according to your true nature. Your life is yours to live. Your life has no more limitations than the limitations you, yourself impose on it. You are truly free. Your life can change at any moment. You can make your life whatever you want it to be.