virgin islands scene

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
-- Emile Zola
 

 

The MONTHLY Motivator - February 2018

path

Peaceful progress

Life is difficult. Achieving and making progress is challenging. That achievement, however, does not have to be overly stressful. You do not have to pay for your progress with constant anxiety. Even when the problems are coming at you from every direction, you can remain calm, purposeful, and fully at peace with your own existence. You cannot control much of what life throws at you. Yet you can completely control your inner response to it all. The world outside you becomes increasingly complex, confusing, frustrating, and confrontational. Meanwhile, you can continue to create, continue to achieve, continue to interact successfully with life. What makes all this possible is your ability to choose your own perspective.

Objective reality is what it is, and your thoughts, your feelings, your attitude can do nothing to change that. However, your experience of life does not line up exactly with objective reality. That doesn’t necessarily mean you are delusional. What it means is, you experience life through a specific, sophisticated, powerful set of filters. The countless details of reality are overwhelming, and you could not possibly deal with every single aspect of the universe in which you live. So the life you experience is your very own unique flavor of life. The world you live in is a customized world of your own construction. Yes, that world is based on reality and is subject to the laws of physical reality. But your experience of it is precisely what you decide it will be.

The perspective you choose defines the life you experience. That puts you in a position of great power, and it is a power which can be extremely harmful or amazingly beneficial to your life and to the lives of those around you. It is a power that has enabled people throughout history to achieve great success even in the face of unimaginably desperate conditions. It is a power with which people, who seemingly are on top of the world, end up throwing it all away. It is a power you can call upon to make consistent, consistent progress in a turbulent world.

Choosing your perspective does not mean that you ignore or deny what’s going on outside you. Rather, it means that you decide how to internalize and respond to the reality of life. When events occur, seek to observe, think, and respond rather than consume, panic, and react.

What does that mean?

Consider the difference between observing and consuming. Observing what’s going on in the world is an intentional, thoughtful action. Observing means you are choosing what to see and how to see it. Observing also implies you are keeping yourself at a distance from whatever you’re observing. Consuming is a whole different matter. Consuming means you’re grabbing whatever is out there and bringing it indiscriminately into your own experience. To use an everyday example, observing would be choosing to watch a specific program on television and consuming would be flipping through all the channels.


To continue reading this member-only content, please log in if you are a current subscriber/member, or if you’re not already a member, you can join today for an annual price of just $15 and get immediate access to the full text of this article and many others, plus additional member-only content such as downloadable audio programs and e-books. If you’re not ready to join right now, we invite you to look through our extensive archive of more than 6,000 shorter daily messages, which are fully available for everyone to read.

--Ralph Marston

More Monthly Motivators...