confucius says (part two)

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” – Confucius

Have you ever had something significant happen in your life that makes you step back and think, “Man, this isn’t working for me.” It could be a failing relationship, money problems, health concerns, unachieved dreams, living in your parent’s basement… anything that makes you open your eyes and realize that you aren’t living the life that you wanted.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my future lately, spawned by many of the afore mentioned reasons that would trigger some serious reflective analysis.

I’ve always been a very introspective person. I spend a lot of time contemplating my hopes and my dreams. Unfortunately, it’s usually in a negative way. I think, “Why don’t I have this yet? Why am I not in the place I thought I would be? When will it happen for me?” This way of thinking is unproductive (definitely not Confucius approved) so I have recently switched my approach.

Now, I’m talking about my future goals in purposeful way. I am having conversations about important topics with people who are wise from their life experiences. I am listening to their advice to gain perspective and to build a game-plan to move forward. When you open yourself up to this, I think you will be shocked to see who will come into your life to have these chats and share their experiences and knowledge with you.

One of the key questions that I have been asked is, “What is it that you want? What will make you happy?” After all, if I don’t know exactly what it is that I want, how will I be able to achieve it? I am going to have to spend some time deliberating these questions and determining what I should be focusing my energy on to achieve them.

After facing a terribly challenging time in my life a few years ago, I came out of that with a renewed motivation to “win.” I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could pick myself up, out from under the rubble, and build a life to be proud of. I had a second chance to start from the bottom (think Drake, Started from the Bottom – clean version) and create a better future.

However, all this time later, I find that it’s easy to get discouraged when things haven’t exactly fallen into place. And also, when little bits of my past seem to pop up to haunt me. That is when another piece of advice from Confucius comes in handy:

“When anger arise, think of the consequences.”

I don’t want my life to be controlled by the mistakes from the past. I don’t want to feel like I’m being held back by my regrets and the financial burden that those regrets have put on me. But this is my reality. I need to step away from looking at it as a Poor Me scenario, and instead use it to push myself forward to “reach my full potential.” I will no longer let my past dictate my future, and I will no longer allow it to take away from my current happiness.

The consequence of approaching challenges in life with anger and resentment is that it will impact the outcome. Not only will it make me feel like horrible person, but it will also perpetuate the negativity that’s best left in the past. And that’s the last thing I need.

I’m still learning, growing, and figuring out life. I do know one thing though: if I’m thankful no matter where I am at, it will make the journey a lot more enjoyable.


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