Have I been living under a rock? I just discovered Zig Ziglar and the fact that this is the case explains why it’s taken me this long to get to this place in my life. Apparently, my husband knew about him, (because somehow he seems to know everything) and was rediscovering him with me.
I love a good what I like to call, ‘mind f*ck,’ the kinds of mental jewels that get my mind racing, connecting and flipping my world inside out because of its simplicity and depth. They usually come in bite sized beautifully wrapped quotes that make you think, “I knew that, but I have never heard or thought of it like that. Well, mister Ziglar gave me a couple of those, but the one that struck a chord for me was this particular quote on the subject of friendships.
If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
This was poignant for me to come across because I’ve learned trying to live a life of true happiness and abundance is a road less traveled. Not too many people want to take the journey with you and they don’t understand why you would want to. I’m talking about family and friends you’d just assume would be there to cheer you on through your scary and bumpy ride, suddenly forget your number. Worst yet, laugh and ridicule you when you’re not around.
I’ve learned early on the the term friend is probably one of the most abused words in the English language (second to love). We throw it around and use it to classify people that haven’t proven themselves worthy of the title. When I use the term friend, I expect a whole lot from that person I assign it to because I know what I am prepared to do if I’m considered “a friend.” I’m likes German Shepard, with a willingness to learn and can become overly protective of loved ones.
I find it a little difficult to find that same standard for friendship I hold myself to and continually get disappointed at the motley crew I’ve had the self-inflicted pleasure of surrounding myself with because of my choices and happenstance. Real friends are absolutely as scarce as Zig claims they are.
I’d like to say I’ve “lost” many friends for various reasons, either because of jealousy or duplicity, but I came to the realization that the only real way to lose a friend is if they’ve passed away. A “friend” that stops being my friend was never a “friend” in the first place. To this day, I have never been the one to cut off a friendship. Not because I’m a sap, but because I don’t believe there’s a problem that can’t be resolved through honest and open dialog. Sometimes we get lost in the story lines we create for ourselves, especially in those times where we feel slighted. We think, “so and so did this to me” because of this or that, but more often than not, people’s actions and choices are made based on self preservation, you’re just a casualty in the bigger scheme.
Real friendships are built on solid foundations of trust, mutual respect and reciprocity. If one of us don’t share that between us both, then we’re just people who like each others company most of the time.
My husband is my last standing friend. All the others have been reassigned to family or acquaintences, because that is what they’ve proven themselves to be. For the past few months I’ve been wrecking my brain trying to figure out where I should go to make new ones. I joined meetup.com, attended some events with like minded people hoping to make a deep connection with some new people. It proved to be harder than I thought. Just because you share similar thoughts and ideas with someone doesn’t mean they see the world through your eyes. I had a 20 minute conversation with someone and I think at least one of us walked away thinking, “well, that was a waste of time.”
If I heed Ziglar’s words, I’ve been going about this all wrong, which for a very long time, has been the story of my life. Sayings like, “show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you” are poignant, but Jim Rohn’s, you are the average of the five people you spend your most time with begs you to immidiately think of the people you’ve chosen to keep in your company. They are your friends, at least those you voluntarily spend your time with.
Some people will think about this question, think about those five people, freak out a little, and then go on with business as usual. I certainly didnt realize I was slumming, untill i realized that only one of those five people I chose to orbit around was on the same path I was. Most of them were content to live within the saftety net of the barricaded cattle fields.
I was easily fooled. The right things were said because it’s cool to talk about the things you want, but real actions were few and far in between. The minute my husband and I decided to jump off the cliff, we realized no one jumped with us although they said they would. It was a crushing reality and honestly stirred some bitterness within us. No time for sulking though, and that jump landed us in a place that forced us to realize that we were living in the Matrix, the one we built for ourselves. Our so called friends did nothing to propel our cause or enhance our lives. We were constantly dragging them around because we didn’t want to go it alone. They were dead weight and it literally explained why our endeavours, no matter how strong our efforts or intentions would only go so far. Those friends were now the crabs in a bucket we thought we had gotten rid of years ago.
I don’t blame them though. The blame is all mine. I’ve come to the realization that not everyone is willing to do what it takes to get what they say they want, so I should go find people that do. And in the process, understand that these new friends have no duty to me to be anything, but who they are. If our values, mind set, attitudes and goals align, all I have to do is be a friend. That makes life so much easier.
So, I was stumbling on Stumbleupon when I stumbled upon an interesting post that was all about asking questions intended to expand your mind. Out of 50, three questions inspired this post. Perhaps you can ponder and reflect on your own answers to these fun and thought provoking nuggets.
1. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
Wow, right? One of my biggest fears has always been to live a life chosen or expected by others. For instance, a friend of mine became a Dentist because her father wanted to be one and transferred that dream on to her. She ended up hating everything about it even though the money was good.
On the other hand, my cousin became a Pharmacist for similar reasons, but the difference was, she was very specific about what kind of environment she wanted to work as a Pharmacist. She was absolutely adamant about not doing retail pharmacy and she didn’t. Today, she works as a Pharmacist for the VA system, consulting and counseling veterans who are discharged from active duty. I truly believe she’s the kind of person that would go back to work the very next day even if she won the lottery. She finds purpose In what she does and that is part of the recipe for happiness and higher existence.
That is also how I measure my level of happiness in the work I do. If I were to win or be given a wind-fall, would I still continue to do what I’m doing? If my answer is yes, then I am doing what I believe in.
2. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
I asked my husband this question and he said, no, because one, he doesn’t want to be famous and two, he said, “I’m already extremely attractive”. I laughed at this because he was absolutely serious. Though I personally find him very attractive, he wouldn’t make People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People…perhaps in an alter universe. He ‘believes’ he is attractive however, and that is one of the things that attracted me to him. He’s extremely confident and thinks very highly of himself, something I have struggled with my entire life on account of my daddy issues. When a little girl doesn’t have her father to tell her that she’s beautiful, it makes it hard for her to believe it.
Ask me this question 10 years ago and I probably would’ve said yes. Ask me this question five years ago and i’d probably still would have said yes. in my mind, losing 10 years of my life for happiness would be an excellent trade off.
It strikes me as sort of sad now, however, because the only reason I’d take that deal was because I wasn’t happy with my life and who I was. When you’re not happy with who you are as a person you’d be willing to trade places with anyone at anytime especially when the grass seems greener. It’s only since my recent quest to self enlightenment, freedom, success and happiness that I have learned to embrace myself in the now, and accept my flaws not as flaws, but as the little details that make me unique.
Now it just seems foolish to lose 10 years of my life. Extraordinary things can occur within a span of a decade, and that is 10 years of missing out on helping others, 10 years of not eating and laughing with loved ones, 10 years of lost living. When I think about it, there are millions of attractive and famous people who would gladly give up 10 years of their life for a crack at happiness, because having those things don’t guarantee anything.
3. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
Early on in our lives we learn that getting too close to the fire will get us burned, and if we ever get burned, we try to stay from anything that could start a fire, including matches, gasoline or anything possibly flammable. We avoid anything that could ever cause us to feel that kind of searing pain again.
Well, mistakes can feel like a burn sometimes. The more severe the mistake, the more painful and the more we are determined never to feel it again. The safest thing to do is to not put yourself in that position again.
Most of us live in the space of fear, relegating ourselves to a life of safe bets, security and mediocrity. The problem is there are no real safe bets. The security you think you have isn’t security at all and everything you do has you running right there in the middle of the herd.
Nothing extraordinary can be gained if you haven’t ever fully committed to walking through the fire. Yes, you may get burned, but once you’ve come out the other side, a stronger, more resilient and empowered version yourself, you’ll be astonished by your invincibility. I truly believe that for myself and living it as I speak. It’s hot and sometimes it hurts like hell, but not so much that I cannot endure it.
I have a few questions for myself that I will try to answer during my journey. Here they are:
1. Are the things I desire and wish to acquire for my own happiness, or do I want them because of what people will think of me?
2. Am I living the life that will have people saying the things I wish for myself at my funeral?
3. Is the truth worth saying if it hurts the receiver more than it frees you?
4. What extraordinary task can I accomplish today?
5. I’m I really being different, or just being stubborn?
I’ll keep adding to this list and come up with my own list of 50 questions. Questions are a great way to get the answers we didn’t even know we were seeking.
Have a great weekend!
One of my favorite movies comes to mind, Gone With The Wind, (I assure you, I am not as old as I sound). The lines that stuck with me since the first time I heard it came from the privaledged Scarlett O’Hara. Set during the American Civil War she comes back to find her childhood family home burned, and deserted. She learns her mother has died of typhoid and her dad starts to lose it due to the stress. They have lost everything and everything seems to fall on her shoulders, including taking care of what they have left as a home and even tending the fields. She has never experienced such hardship, but being the beautiful, bull-headed manipulative brunette she’s always been, she makes a declaration while on her knees in the middle of her wreckage saying,
“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
I absolutely love that line and although it was a fictional story, I do believe in the power of declarations. There are several instances in which the ‘be careful what you ask for and say’ warning has proven to be sound advice that should be heeded.
When you say it like you mean it and you declare it, the things you feel, want and desire, good or bad, you’re essentially putting out there, sort of like an invitation and the laws of attraction finds ways to manifest them. The only problem is, there is no guarantee it will be delivered in the manner or time in which you hope for it so you had better get as specific as you can. That is what I liked most about Ms. Scarlett’s declaration, the specificity. Lying and killing made the cut which ultimately tells you that her desire is stronger than her sense of morality for honesty, trustworthiness, or even murder. She wanted it all back, at all costs.
Perhaps once having something and losing it gives you all the more incentive you need to go completely out your way to get it back. After all, she did live a cushy, privaledged life. Now, facing hardship, she was experiencing a whole new level of low that she was willing to do anything to get out of. Her previous life was a great motivator. For those of us however, who has never experienced the privaledge wealth can afford, it can be a little difficult to conjure up that kind of passion and unwavering conviction.
Somewhere deep down inside, she believed she deserved everything she had and I think underneath it all, that’s exactly what you need to get the kind of hootspa you need to weather the storm. So that leads me to question, what am I wiling to do to achieve my version of “success”? Where do I draw the line in my own pursuit of happiness? Do I have a line?
TO KILL OR NOT TO KILL?
I can tell you for sure that murder won’t make the list as I’m sure most of us would certainly agree with. I’m sure most people would say the same thing, but self preservation can be a bitch of a motivation. Under the right circumstances, anyone can be a murderer. I’ve suffered a loss through murder and I think it’s a gruesome end to something so fragile as life and I can’t help but think crossing a line like that would change me in such a way, I wouldn’t recognize myself. Yes, some change is good, it is a necessity for growth, but not if it affects my character in a negative way. I just don’t see how you can be a happy murderer, unless of course you’re a sadistic psychopath.
LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE
I can honestly say however, that lying wouldn’t be so difficult for me, and I’m not talking little white lies. We all give little white lies now and then and some of us do it for a living. Lying is sort of part of the fabric of being a human being and I don’t care if you’re the Pope, you’ll do it as often as you feel you need to. Whether you’re doing it to protect someone, make yourself feel better or get what you want, it’s still a lie and I’m not adverse to it. I know admitting such a thing makes me seem like an untrustworthy person, but I don’t trust those who don’t admit to lying. Lying about lying makes me super uncomfortable.
CHEATER, CHEATER, PUMPKIN EATER
Additionally, when I think about it, I probably wouldn’t “deliberately” steal, but I would probably cheat. I can recall an episode of the show Food Truck Race where this team of Koren college kids pretty much won almost every challenge. The one time they feared that they may not make the next round, they decided to cheat by adding their own money to the till to pad their earnings. The host Tyler Florence revealed that Korilla had cheated by adding over $2000 of their own money into their cash drawer that wasn’t backed up with the sales receipts. They were asked to leave the competition as a result. The irony is if they hadn’t added that money, they would not have placed last and would still be in the game.
I could still see the disgust on Tyler’s face as he watched them walk away in shame to their cars. The lesson I got from that situation was not that cheaters never win…because that isn’t true, but that the majority of us will cheat if necessary when it’s something we really, truly want. So I look at cheating as the measure taken when desire to acquire something is greater than societies code of ethics as it pertains to “the right thing to do.” I haven’t had much practice in the art of cheating however. I can recall flirting with a guy to do all of my graphic design projects while in school. I maybe heavily flirted with another guy will dating my high school boyfriend and I think I walked out of the store knowing I got more change than I was suppose to get…does any of that constitute as cheating? I’m not even sure.
This post is starting to make me sound like a bit of an underhanded, dishonest, harlette with no scruples, but I think I have one single quality that makes up for it, at least if I’m on your side. I am loyal to a fault. I never forget the things people have done for me, no matter how small the favor or the task. I think there has got to be a handful of people that you can always count on and you can count on them never to screw you just to get ahead. I don’t call just anyone a friend so if you are my friend, the last thing I could ever do is screw you to get ahead. I’d rather find another way. Not only would I hate the idea of not being able to look you in the eye, I would hate to be the target on your wall that motivates you to either take me down or show me just how small and insignificant my life is compared to yours.
So, no, I won’t do anything for success and happiness, but I am willing to find my way around everything to achieve happiness and success. I don’t think evil deeds are necessary to get there and in fact, the more honest the journey there, the sweeter the reward will be. I have a sweet tooth so I want that reward to be as sweet as it could possibly be. So…I have no murders scheduled for the foreseeable future.