You can make your life purposeful, meaningful and enjoyable, and can choose to be the driver of your life or be driven by others. The choice, as well as the excuse, is yours. I pray that we retain the ability to choose what we want in our lives.
Success is not necessarily driving a Mercedes, having a luxury home, yacht, or making a six-figure income. It is not about doing better than your friends, classmates, siblings or parents either.
Success is rather living the life you want to live with or without things.
Nothing in life is more important than knowing yourselves, who you are, what is that you want, and how do you get it. Remember, no one knows you better than you.
I am pleased to share my experience with you, hoping that you can relate with it.
Once upon a time, I was an ambitious guy and was driven to conquer the world, and simply did not have the patience with people who lacked ambition. A divorce and the death of my mother had humbled me down, as other things have humbled others. I started understanding the varying ambition levels in people and decided that there was no need to drive oneself nuts. I have learned to respect the otherness of others and have accepted the God-given uniqueness of each one of us. This has brought peace, tranquility and happiness to me.
Another year is about to go away. Some of my friends will read this note next year, but those who read it now, I urge you to consider spending an hour with yourselves creating a purposeful blueprint for 2014.
Where to Begin?
The most important thing is to commit yourselves to actually sit down and write out what you want in 2014. I am serious. If you make that simple commitment, you will find yourselves a life that you can enjoy. If you are afraid of making that commitment, then it is time to challenge yourselves. You got nothing to lose, but gain.
Goethe wrote, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy... Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.... Whatever you can do or dream that you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."
Here As a Step-By -Step Outline.
Grab a writeable napkin, email yourselves, open the note pad on your cell phone or simply write on a 3x5 card -- Hell with these, write it on your palm -- the following seven things in any order you want.
It should not have taken you more than five minutes to write this down. Now you can get back to your work, driving, eating or whatever you were doing.
When you get the next coffee break or have to go to the rest room, think of other items that are important to you. Register it in your mind and let go of it, and don't worry about remembering it. I guarantee you, it will come back to you because you have made the commitment.
Number One Friends
On your way home, work, gym or grocery store, think about your item number one and don't let anything crowd you, not even item number two. Let's say your item number one is Friends. You then will spend the next few minutes reviewing about your friends, and what you need to do. Think about a friend who can listen to you, encourage you, and uplift you.
Do you have a friend that you really like, but resent his or her criticism of everything you say or do? It is time to be straight forward. Good friends will not go away if you gather up the courage to say, "Joni, I need your help. When I say something or do something, please hold on to your temptation to critique me, and kindly listen to me and encourage me with positive thoughts. I am having difficulty in coping with criticism at this time."
If they don't like it and want to break the relationship, let them. If you fear a loss of a relationship, then you really did not have the relationship to lose it. You don't lose good friends, no matter what happens, unless you steal their spouse.
Consider reducing your close friendships to a few who can take and give crap without affecting the relationship. Good friends can tune in to your moods or listen and be gentle to you when you want them to be, or brutal when you need them to be, but always be truthful.
Please remember, no one knows what is going on in your mind and you don't need to be afraid of seeing all the possibilities from useless to useful and everything in between.
Number One Family
If you were to select Family as your number one item -- please understand that many people are hurt. Some of the relationships are good, bad and ugly, and unfortunately that is a fact of life. You still have a life to live and how you want to steer it forward is your choice. Let that be your choice and don't let anyone to run over you, as it may have happened through this date.
Start with each relative. Give at least a minute to each one of them, but don't hesitate to dwell on them as much as you want. Whether you believe in God or not, those are incomplete transactions of life that will bite incessantly until they are closed.
Closure comes with death. There is nothing you or they can do, and the ugly transactions do close upon death. Do we want to live in agony till then? We owe it to ourselves to have freedom from that bondage now. Forgiving is the most powerful tool available to humanity -- there is nothing like it. It brings freedom.
If you are religiously inclined, and are Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Wicca, Pagan, Zoroastrian or from a native tradition, your tradition has a lot to offer on the subject. God's love is not denied to anyone who seeks it. Every religion is beautiful -- it is our understanding that is flawed.
Number Seven Health
Now that you have thought about each one of the seven major items, it's time for you to take an hour out -- the best hour of your life that you can spend on New Years Eve or New Years day.
In that hour, you get to finalize your plan for 2014. You sum up your thoughts in bullets or paragraphs -- it is entirely up to you.
You Are Done Now.
It is a great feeling to know oneself -- it is liberating. The mere exercise will put a blue print in your hands. Now you are ready for 2014. You have a good idea where you are heading and once you see the pathway, you just have to walk on it. If you get in the car, you need to know where and how to go. Your blue print can be simple or more detailed.
Those of us who can free ourselves from tension, pain, anxiety, apprehension, hostility, malice, pressure, tension, stress, strain and conflicts, are showered with blessings of peace and joy. It is good to be free.
As an example, I am pleased to share about my life. Of course, this is the generic information and not specifics, which will remain private. By the way, there is not much that is private about me. Here is the Ghouse formula for happier living -- Happiness and secretiveness are inversely proportional (i.e., greater the happiness, lower the secretiveness and vice-versa).
1. Family wise there is improvement and more time will be spent with family in 2014.
2. Relationships with friends have been steady. I have not added any new friends in 2013. However, 2014 will have at least one new friend. I will work on mutual growth of at least three friendships to grow into my venture of teaching pluralism.
3. Financially, I have not improved a bit over the last year and I plan to restore the financial status I had several years ago.
4. Professional goals:
- Publishing 313 articles per year was my goal and I accomplished it with 317.
- Over 300 newspapers have published my work worldwide this year.
- The release of my book, Standing Up for Others, is delayed to January.
- Failed to open a session at Capitol Hill with pluralism greetings and prayers.
- Will be on Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Piers Morgan shows in 2014.
- Workshops on pluralism at Capitol Hill and Senate will be conducted.
- College campus tours to talk about building a cohesive America.
- The Pluralism Journal and Pluralism Institute is planned, patrons invited.
- You can count on learning about every major festival this year.
5. Spirituality has become boundary-less for me.
6. Volunteerism will continue at a slower pace than the past years.
7. My future is what I make with the blessings of the spirit around me, and from my friends and well wishers.
We will never go to any place if we don't have a place to go and we will never have the joy of knowing ourselves, if we don't make an effort.
Please share your goals with your close friends or public to hold you accountable, and to keep you on the tract.
Happy New Year.
Mike Ghouse is a motivational speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a "Cohesive America" and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. His book, "Standing up for others," is due to be released in January.