Honour The Struggle. Bring The Joy!

You are the only person on the face of the planet who doesn't have their shiz together. You know that's a lie, but isn't that something you tell yourself often? Be honest for a second. If anyone else put you down the way you put yourself down, would you ever speak to them again? Hell no! If you're like most people (I've coached and taught thousands of people over the last couple of decades, so I can PROMISE this is true) you're your worst critic. 

When you're criticising yourself like this all the time, what excuse do you give yourself for being so mean to yourself? Is it that you're a perfectionist? Is it that you don't want to get too comfortable being average? Whatever it is, stop it! 

Life Isn't Perfect

The truth is that life isn't perfect... for ANYONE. The gurus or celebrities you follow, who seem to have it all together, are human beings. They're showing you their lives through a PR filter. You're getting the highlight reel. As the meme says, you need to be very careful not to compare your first draft to someone else's highlight reel. 

There is freedom in understanding that life isn't perfect. Everyone struggles. My mentor, Brendon Burchard, is fond of urging people to honour the struggle. You must do this. The current fad is to pretend everything is wonderful, sandwiching your brain between the hands over your ears, as you ignore the news and focus only on what you want. That doesn't work. Even if you look into Law of Attraction, the 'rockets of desire' that spring forth from experience come from not getting what you want. From that point, you seek a 'better feeling thought' as Abraham-Hicks put it. You cannot have any depth in life without shadows. Think of a picture. Without shadow, it's 2 dimensional. You throw some shadows in there and you have depth and 3-dimensional reality. 

So We Should Focus On Bad Stuff?

Nope. The bad stuff is there to provide context, texture, depth. It's there to provide plot twists. If you take the minor keys out of action, we lose some of the best music ever made. Don't run away from the struggle. Embrace it. That's where the lessons are. That's where the progress is made. It's where invention is inspired. Go straight into it.

People think their greatness is on the mountain top, next to the flag they just planted. It's not. Their greatness is the moment that they kept going despite the frost bite. It's not finding greatness while standing on top of the world. It's the moment that you are able to dwell inside your greatness inside the dark and lonely cave. THAT is your point of greatest strength. Face this stuff head on. Know there will ALWAYS be struggle. There will always be hardship, and honour that. 

Bring The Joy

In the midst of the last recession we Brits didn't just keep chipper, we managed to brand the recession with our 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster. All around the world, people took this to heart and modified it to fit their personal struggles. In fact, it was one of a collection of posters due to be pasted onto the walls and doors of Britain in the event that the Nazis in WWII 'won' ... temporarily... until we turned things back around.

It was this spirit that I was raised in too, as bomb threats happened daily during my childhood due to 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland. One day, there were six bombs along my journey. It caused a bit of a delay, but I didn't panic about it. You didn't cry. You didn't hide. You waited until the bombs were cleared and then you did exactly what you'd planned to do that day, because 'the terrorists don't get to win'. We didn't know what the future held, but we knew that the situation would eventually improve, even if we didn't know how or when. Until then, we would be ourselves, and live our lives. Eventually, things did improve. But in the midst of everything, we kept our sense of humour. British humour is pretty dark. That's part of the reason we've historically been a fairly resilient bunch. And you need a dark sense of humour to get through all that life throws your way. Only laughing on sunny days just isn't a good plan. Living on a stormy little island teaches you that. You've got to be able to laugh at the storms, and use every challenge as an opportunity to get stronger. Within that lesson, you find the light. You find the joy. Don't wait for it. 

The storms will pass, and the sun will shine on you again. When that happens, joy will bound towards you like a happy puppy. Until then, remember that at the core of the storm is calm, and in that calm is a moment of joy. 

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