Well let me first warn you, I don’t have one of those ‘sales letter’ pitches where I can astound you with tales of how much money I’ve ‘manifested’ in the first several weeks of following x, y or z regimen. No, nothing so glamorous.
But what I’m realizing is that this personal development stuff is work which pays off with small victories at first, and the more you notice them, the more rewarding it becomes. Sounds ironic because I believe the ultimate goal is to just let go and return to ‘being’ which by all accounts is the most effortless way. But the path to it – not so easy when you’re fighting against 20+ years of programmed thoughts and behavior! Some days you just don’t want to do it. Sometimes you want to wallow in a lazy, de-motivated mindset, because it’s just easier – it’s the way you’ve been programmed. And sometimes that’s ok.
But, as I always say, it’s like going to the gym. The more you use certain muscles the easier it becomes and once you start seeing results the easier it is to motivate yourself. So while I can’t point to some huge quantifiable change, I can see the pointers along the way.
I’ll share some with you here – perhaps they will help you be more observant of your own small victories which will fuel your motivational fire.
I’m always having ideas these days. Always. Ideas for businesses, ideas for blog posts, ideas for additional services I can provide. Ideas that will help me provide more value. Ideas about how I want to live. I document everything in a notebook or in a Word doc, and there are pages of them. So in my view, that’s a sign of abundance right there – an invaluable resource that keeps me feeling motivated. Now, one of my personal problems that I am working on is actually executing all these ideas but that’s a topic for a different blog post 😉
Well up until a couple of years ago, I did not own a car. Now I do, and I’m paying pretty much exactly what I planned on and felt comfortable with despite friends and salesmen telling me I was nuts. I’m not particularly materialistic but this has made life much easier and has enabled me to do much more.
I also moved about 6 months ago to a great new apartment that I’m really happy with, in a neighborhood I love. Before I went on the hunt I made a list of all the things I wanted my new apartment to have, and even threw in a couple things that weren’t deal-breakers but would be nice. And guess what? I got ‘em all for the price I wanted. The apartment hunting was an experiment in trusting the universe. I found a place I thought I really wanted and was one of 2 candidates they were considering. I lost out for no particular reason, was totally bummed and thought I would never find a good place. But shortly thereafter I came upon my current abode and now I see that I’m much happier here than I would have been in the other place.
I’m not quite the Dalai Lama yet 😉 but I’m noticing that I’m starting to feel happier, and for no particular reason. That another thing I’ve realized – once you start assigning meaning yourself and don’t expect it to be done for you, you begin to feel more grateful and happier about the small things. I’m a pretty shy person and sometimes that can come off as aloof or even rude. But these days, since most of the time I’ve decided that people are not all evil and the world can be a friendly place, I find myself being a little more approachable and friendly to strangers, even in casual interactions at the grocery store, coffee shops etc.
I’m more organized now and take more pride in being that way. I used to be one of those people with piles of stuff around and was convinced that I knew how to find something in exactly which pile and so didn’t need to ‘get organized’. I’m still far from perfect in that respect, but definitely much better, and it’s not even a struggle for me now. It also reflects in my work – I’m much better at keeping track of work for clients, staying on top of things, implementing systems to execute and track work more efficiently. The more that I do that, the less I feel that I am drowning under a pile of work and the more in control of life I feel.
And hallelujah I’m procrastinating much less! Procrastination is just a symptom of lack of motivation and, when you are more motivated more often you find less reasons to procrastinate. But again, the motivation comes from changes in my thought patterns and learning more about what actually motivates me, then finding the meaning in the tasks I have to do to the point where its less a chore and more something that I find value in. That shift has been really important for me and has made me a better service provider.
Don’t be afraid to be grateful for the small things – this can really help. I used to take the small things for granted – I was always looking for something bigger, something really astounding. But because I never found it, I was always in a state of, well, “blah” which was particularly unstimulating.
What I’ve come to learn is that happiness comes from appreciating the small things in life. These days anytime a friend unexpectedly buys me a meal, or a drink, or I park at a meter with plenty of money already in it, I’m always thankful and see those things as signs that the universe is somehow taking care of me.
The flip side to that is that I now try and be more generous myself – I give a small amount of money to Kiva and other charities each month. And overall I try and just be more relaxed about money – instead of focusing on not having, or not being able to do something, I try and focus on an abundant mentality. And while this could sound like a pie-in-the-sky mentality – as if I expect to just sit around while checks come flowing in – the opposite is true. All these things activate more creativity in my thought patterns and I come up with more ideas for services and value I can provide to clients, other things I can do that will create revenue as well as provide value and give me meaning.
So those are some of the little pointers I’m noticing along the way – nothing totally drastic, but I’m noticing how they all impact each other and how the result is a gradually happier life for myself. I also believe that these things function in a snowball effect kind of way. I went for maybe a year or so without really being able to sense the changes, but once I saw the smallest result it confirmed my faith in the path I was on and from there the changes and signs of manifestation come more frequently and thus fuel even more change and motivation within myself.
So no matter at what stage you are at – don’t give up! The light is really at the end of the tunnel and if you keep on immersing yourself in positivity, you’ll start to see the benefits slowly but surely.