It is a November morning and I intently gaze outside the kitchen window. The moisture around the window edge turns into water droplets that run down the glass. I look at the freshly cut grass that now has a hue of white. It is the first frost of the season. Everything in the backyard is so still, so peaceful. There are no birds at the bird feeder, no bunnies hopping across the lawn or no squirrels running along the fence. Nature has once again changed. Noticing the visual differences of the cold weather season, ironically I get a warming sensation as this is one of my favorite times of the year. My stare outside of the window is broken after a few moments as I hear the final spew from the Keurig. Coffee’s ready. A full mug of liquid happiness to make a great start to a great day.
As I take the first sip of coffee, I start thinking about just how much I have changed over this past year. With the change of the season we come to expect the same changes in weather every 3 months or so, however the change I have seen in myself is far from expected. At this same time just a short year ago, I felt like I had no direction. I had no idea what in the world I wanted to do with my life and like so many of us, I was just going through the motions every day. I had a wife who was watching me struggle and a daughter who, even at the young age of 5, could sense how lost I was no matter how much I tried to hide it.
As I take another sip, I see how much I have progressed. Today I feel much more optimistic about my life and my direction. I feel like I have more control and more power to make the positive changes that I want. The funny thing is that what got me here is certainly not what I expected. I have discovered that in order to make a drastic change in your life, it is the small, slow changes that have the most impact.
Although this is not a complete list by far, here are five things that have changed me for the better.
- Seeing what I have vs. focusing on what I don’t
Many times we spend so much time on focusing on the negative, focusing on things that we cannot control and focusing on what could be. When we start shifting our attention to the things we don’t have the feeling of negativity sets in. Then, the more negativity we focus on, the more negativity we attract. The good thing is that the opposite is true as well. The more positivity we have, the more positivity we experience. I have learned to focus on the positive and to focus on what I have; a loving family who supports me, a job to go to that allows me to pay the bills, a roof over my head and a place to rest my head at night. Many times we lose focus of these things and lose gratitude because “they are a given”. But when we truly focus, we realize that they are not. They can be taken away at any time, by any means, without warning. There are millions of things we do not have, but I am grateful for what I do.
- Finally understanding that some of the best things in life are indeed worth waiting for
We always hear the phrase “the best things in life are worth waiting for”. I have really seen just how true this is. We can’t have everything right now; that is not the way the world is meant to be. I have been through such a terrific internal change, but none of it would be possible without a starting point. If we get what we want when we want it, we gain no sense of accomplishment, no sense of hard work. Things need to be tough in order to be worthwhile. Yes, there are many who may have it harder than others. There will always be people who things seem to come easy to, but that is not the point. The point is that we all can only live one life, our life. Relating back to number 1 above, we need to focus on what we have so that we can appreciate the things that are yet to come. Things may not happen when we want them, but they always happen at the right time.
- Realizing that fulfillment is possible even without a fulfilling job
My job is something that I continually struggle with, as I have mentioned in earlier posts. Although work can drive me crazy, I am grateful that I have a job to go to that provides me with a paycheck. I used to go to work, day in and day out waiting for a sense of fulfillment. For years I did this. It was not until more recently that I realized that I need to seek fulfillment, it will not just show up. That is when I started this blog. No, even today I do not get fulfillment in my day-to-day job, but I do get it from my newly found passion for finance and writing. I always thought that I would need to find a new career to find fulfillment and to feel like I was making a difference. I used to go on spurts of job hunting so that I could find the perfect job that would give me that feeling while also providing me with a good living. I realized that I have gone about this all wrong. I don’t want to let my work define what I do and define my happiness. Instead, I want to pursue what makes me happy. Rather than live my life for my job, I have started to work at my job to fund the live I want to live. I still have a long way to go on this one, but I have certainly made steps in the right direction.
- Focusing inward before focusing outward
This has been such an amazing year for me and my personal growth. I truly feel like I am a whole different person from who I was 12 months ago. For years I was unhappy because I was focusing on my job, my situation and any external problems I had. I have discovered that before I can fix what is around me, I need to fix what is within me. Broken things cannot be fixed with broken tools. By focusing inward, I have found new passions, new interests and a new desire to learn. These have led to more personal growth this year than the past 5 years combined.
- The past can never be changed and the future will never be now, but your life will always be in the present
This change is something that I discovered while reading the book “A Happy Pocket Full of Money”. (See Review: “A Happy Pocket Full of Money”) The only time that we truly have control over is now. We can dwell on the past and wish there was a way to change things that have happened. We can look toward to future and dream of the ways we wish things will be. However, the only way to get to the future is through the present moment. Right now is truly the only thing we have. I have realized that I need to use the current moments to create the life I want.
I have found it amazing just how much we can change in such a short amount of time. Seeing these changes within me has allowed me to realize that, just like nature and the seasons, change is what allows us to move forward. The small changes that we make today can lead to a much fuller and fulfilling life tomorrow.
What changes have you made in your life for the better? How have you been doing on your path to personal growth and development? I would love to hear from you in the comments. You can also reach me directly through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on my Facebook page or on Twitter @defeatingnormal. Thanks for reading and keep up the work to defeat normal.