When I was in grade school, I was well, um, different. I am not sure what else to say about it. I was not a total geek –well, i’m at least fairly sure I wasn’t. lol!
I just didn’t have that one thing that I was “all about.” And, I was much to non-conformist to really hang tight with the popular crowd.
I can remember thinking over and over, “Why are we doing this? It seems so stupid.” when it came to the social cliques. However, it sure did not seem like anyone around me was asking those questions, or if they were, they were keeping it to themselves.
Anyway, the questioning has persisted through to adulthood. It is still just too easy for me to ask the question, “Why?” And along the way, I have learned that this can be an amazingly powerful question.
The more you are caught up in the rat race the harder it is to ask the question “Why?”. You just don’t have enough time. That is why the question why is favored by children and philosophers – those with time enough to ponder rather then just act.
As Allen Watts says, “a philosopher is nothing more than a yokel who walks around staring at things that other people think are totally commonplace.”
Well let’s take a page from his book for a minute.
I have written a lot about what I think is important and the power of caring more but why are we doing this? I am not even just talking about your work. I want you to ask this about your whole life.
When was the last time you asked yourself “Why have I chosen the life that I have?”
And then take it one step further, what is the BIG point? Why are you here? Why are you conscious and aware? And, why do you choose to stay that way, become more so, or even become less so?
If you can’t answer these questions with an answer, and an answer that you feel proud of, then I can bet you that you are not as happy or as successful as you would like to be.
Growing up I often heard the phrase “You shouldn’t care so much.”
Derivatives of this idea included: So what if they’re talking about you. Who cares what they think? He’s a jerk; why do you care about him? You’re your own person; why do you care about what she’s doing?
I associated the word “care” with stress, because in all these instances, caring meant feeling bad.
It meant being overly worried about someone’s opinion of me, or feeling for someone who didn’t feel for me, or thinking someone was somehow better than me.
I frequently responded, “What kind of person would I be if I didn’t care?”
I also argued that not caring could be a limiting choice.
Sometimes someone else’s criticism contains a valuable lesson. Sometimes someone who seems like a jerk really needs someone to take a chance on him (or her). Sometimes someone else’s choices help us illuminate the path we really want to take.
If we decide to stop caring in all instances that might push and challenge us, we risk closing ourselves off to insights, relationships, and ideas that could change our lives for the better—and potentially do the same for others.
I’ve since realized that the real message isn’t to stop caring, but instead to recognize how we care and why so that we don’t give our power away.
Sometimes we care with love; sometimes we care with fear. Sometimes we care with self-respect; sometimes we care with self-contempt. Sometimes we care with a sense of possibility; sometimes we care with fears of inferiority.
The important thing is that we don’t let caring about people or circumstances detract from our ability to care for ourselves.
A friend of mine recently told me she’s stopped caring about what people expect of her. Knowing that she values those relationships, I concluded that she really meant she stopped stressing about how well she met their expectations.
She essentially decided to stop worrying about things outside her control, and focus instead on all the things that were within her power.
That’s what it means to care for ourselves: to do our best and celebrate that, even as we keep learning and growing.
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series, Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, and Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions.
My upcoming book is called Apathy is Noxious: The power of giving a damn. I really like the way it is shaping up. The book is a step on the path to getting what I believe is the most important message: Care More.
After thinking a lot about it, I realized that if I could change one thing in the world. It would be to get people to care more. I believe that harnessing our power to care is life changing, world changing, and downright transformational on every level.
It might sound trite but think about it for a second. How often have you said to yourself “I think that if I just cared more that would solve this problem?”
How often have you thought, if that person or group just cared more then this problem would be solved?
Kind of interesting right? Most of us have found ourselves lamenting the lack of care that we see in another group of people. Maybe even sometimes getting upset because how much we care about something is getting in our way: We care about a person and they hurt us. We care about a cause and we see it fail our ideals. We care about an aspect of our life and we loose it.
Then it turns into blame. It must be someone besides us that is messing this all up, right?
What if I were to tell you, no?
What if I were to tell you that if you really cared about yourself and others that it would blow the doors off what you have been up to now calling your life.
The truth is that there is a place inside of you that is so full of love for you and for everything around you that when you tap into it you will no longer be caring because you are expecting an outcome. You will care because it is who you are.
When you look at an aspect of your life, you will know that it is not like that because you don’t have the right amount of money or because you couldn’t get the love of someone you were interested in but because you did not care enough to do what it takes to make it something different.
And that is something most people do not want to hear.
Because it means that they are both the problem and the solution.
So, look at your life, look at your relationships and your work. Are they the way that you want them to be? Ask yourself am I caring as much about myself as this other person, idea, or thing? And, am I caring as much about this person, idea, or thing, as I am caring about myself?
Is there a way that I can care more? What would I do if I was willing do care more?
Ask and act on these questions and, trust me, your life will change.
Do you charge ahead, willing to give anything a try and persisting in the face of setbacks, criticism and failure? Or do you hesitate, waiting until you feel you can put the pieces together so everything will be “just right,” ensuring that everything goes as planned and everyone is happy?
My grandfather’s motto for life is: “Just get in there and have a go.”
As I look back on decades of risky career moves and wonderful adventures around the globe, I thank him every day for giving me the confidence to show up for the things that have mattered most in my life.
In fact, I didn’t realize just how good his advice was until I recently recorded this podcast with Katty Kay, co-author of the best-selling book The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know. Thoughts into actions
“Confidence is what turns our thoughts into actions,” explained Katty. “With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.”
It turns out confidence isn’t simply feeling good about yourself, saying you’re great—perfect just as you are—and believing you can do whatever you want. Nor does it require you to be a jerk who always has to speak first, ignores other people’s ideas, or demands to be given what you deserve. Rather, confidence is what allows you to stop mumbling, apologizing and hesitating, and instead start acting, risking and failing.
“Confidence matters more to our success than competence does,” said Katty. “If you choose not to act, you simply have less chance of success.”
Unfortunately, Katty’s research found that confidence appears to be a particular challenge for women across professions, income levels, and generations. And while our genetics, our schooling, our upbringing, our society and even the way we look are all factors that affect our confidence, it’s also a result of our own choices. Choose to become more confident
As a result, Katty believes we can improve our levels of confidence through three simple steps:
1. Take action—Nothing builds confidence like taking action, especially when the action involves risk and failure. So step outside your comfort zone, and if the very idea feels overwhelming, focus on how your actions can benefit others to kick-start your confidence. Start with small challenges that allow you to grow, improve and gain confidence. If you fail, think about how you can do it differently next time, and try again. If you succeed, set yourself the next challenge and keep stretching yourself forward again and again.
2. Think Less—Note the stories you’re playing over and over, and ask: Is this the only explanation for what’s unfolding? Try to note as many plausible alternatives as possible, and invest your attention on the explanations that build rather than destroy your confidence. And if all else fails, try a little self-compassion and talk back to yourself, as you would to a friend who was full of self-doubt.
3. Be Authentic—Be confident in a way that feels genuine to you. You don’t always have to speak first; you can listen and incorporate what others say. You can speak calmly but carry a smart message—one that will be heard. Play to your distinctive strengths and values. Express your vulnerability. We’re at our most powerful when confidence emanates from our core.
What would you be doing right now if you had a little more confidence?
It’s so easy to set goals in life. How many people actually take the time to set specific life goals? Not many of us, is my guess. You want to make more money. You want to enjoy more productive relationships with friends and acquaintances. You want to make a difference in the lives of others. You want more responsibility in your career.
Unfortunately, while all of these goals are admirable, they are also very broad. Most people fantasize about being rich, famous, and well liked. However, these are not necessarily goals. These are common images of success that the media wants us to believe in. Human beings are programmed by books, television, movies and Internet to believe in someone else’s values. After all, did you ever want to be Bill Gates before you knew he was filthy rich? Better yet, did you ever want to be filthy rich before you knew that money could buy you luxurious accommodations, fun new gadgets, and exclusive world travel?
Step 1: Know the Difference between Dreaming and Doing
When a person claims that making a lot of money is his or her “goal”, they are not truly seeing the future. A person who is “destined” for success, programs their own mind to achieve something remarkable but feasible. A person that is motivated to achieve a goal does not think in terms of failure and winning. (As in, I failed at becoming a millionaire. So it’s not meant to be) Rather, this person follows a set path towards their final destination.
To the successful person, succeeding in life is a daily responsibility, one full of setbacks and solutions. The successful person doesn’t merely think in terms of “becoming rich” overnight. They study the path towards financial freedom, as handed down by others, and create a feasible and specific plan to increase their profit through the years. They learn about their chosen industry. They learn about office relationships and business strategies. They learn about investing and wealth building over time. Making money is not just a fleeting thought or a wild idea that must be tried at least once—it is their continuing journey for success.
Similarly, a determined person who wants to become an actor or actress will take steps towards this ultimate goal. They will study the craft and attend auditions on a regular basis. Furthermore, they will study the history of show business and model their own career after the careers of successful actors and actresses. They see the entertainment industry as their career and works according to a plan. Do you see how this mindset is different from another person who simply wishes it would be nice to be paid $20 million dollars for three months of camera posing?
Step 2: Set ‘Stretch’ Goals
Achieving one’s vision of success depends upon the setting and completion of ‘stretch’ goals. A stretch goal is a realistic goal with a little more added to it for it to be a stretch. I think stretch goals are a little more motivating and inspiring than goals that are ‘realistic.’ Stretch goals do not follow someone else’s idea of success, but only your own. After you study the profession that appeals to you, you begin to understand the steps involved and approach your profession from a results-oriented perspective. Set your goals on a long-term and short-term basis and work your way down to weekly goals. It is easier to take smaller steps than trying to focus on one big goal or many big goals.
As you reach milestones along the way, your self-confidence increases and the ultimate objective becomes clear. You are no longer confused about what action you should take. You don’t start projects and stop them; rather you channel your enthusiasm and passion in one specific area, moving closer to the desired result. Along the way, you learn to prioritize your time, as setting specific goals helps you to avoid unproductive actions. When you apply your energy and resources to your goals, you are able to accomplish more in a few short years than most people will ever do in one whole lifetime. When you set your own goals you are given total power over your life. You don’t surrender your time and energy to the will of others, as if subject to someone else’s control.
Step 3: Don’t Procrastinate
The successful person doesn’t typically procrastinate or procrastinate often. Some have stated that dreaming or wishing is actually a form of procrastination, especially if no goals are being set to achieve a dream. Once you have created an action plan, you have no reason to delay taking certain action. You may find that once you start to put your plan into effect that your outlook on life may change. When you have specific goals in mind and keep a positive perspective, you start to achieve more things in life. You may use other’s achievements as a guideline if you are new to the industry and profession; however, you choose your own goals based on where you want to be and by when you want to be there. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or hold you back from achieving your goals and desires.
What is the difference between dreamers and doers? Dreamers usually spend a great deal of their life whining and wishing things were different. Doers go after what they want, in essence, adapting to a system to prolong their life and prosperity. Doers create their future. Jim Cathcart says, “Dreamers stay stagnant and blame others for their lack of progress.” Are you a dreamer or a doer?
Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. Business owners and entrepreneurs who utilize Anne’s proven systems and processes work less, make more money, and have a more balanced and successful life. Anne is the author of the book, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives.
A lot of times, especially when working with women, we hear that they over-give, over-accept, and over-care. These people might hear my message, “Care more” and say to themselves “The solution to being more successful and fulfilled can’t possibly be to care more? Can it?”
Well, actually, yes.
But, if you are one of these people, you don’t need to care more about others – you need to care more about yourself.
If you are hurting, you are not caring for yourself. You are hoping that if you care for someone or something else that you will get that care back.
Caring should not hurt, period.
Sometimes, people get caught in the trap of shutting off their care because they got hurt one too many times and don’t want it to happen again.
If this is you, you may respond to the message, “Care More” with “No way that always ends badly! Isn’t it smarter to make sure I can trust that there will be a good outcome before I invest my care?”
Well, while you always want to use your head, basically, no.
If you are one of these people, I have one question for you: How is it working? Have you managed to stop getting yourself hurt?
The problem with cutting off your care is that as humans, we want to care. It feels better to care! When we cut off our caring due to fear it leads to numbness and you will not find fulfillment from being numb, trust me.
So, your solution is the same as above. You need to be able to care for yourself exquisitely to be able to care for others.
Lastly, there are people who believe it is all dog-eat-dog and that all this caring stuff is the worst. They are not on my list. In fact, they think that I am super annoying. All they need to do, is live in the world that they built…
Recently I was looking at this top level coaches website and while we are VERY different personality-wise, our messaging was very similar. In fact, when I read some of the things that she wrote they were almost exactly what I had written on my website.
I felt my stomach turn and I started having all of these jealous thoughts.
I went from feeling abundant, successful, and really inspired by my messaging to being crabby, catty, and disenchanted. Reflecting on this experience made me think that jealousy would be a good topic to write about.
I am sure you have heard before that jealousy helps you clarify what it is that you want in your life. This is true and useful.
But knowing this still does not help you transform jealousy. It merely has you clear that you really want what another person has.
Here is a definition:
Jealousy: mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry.
I like this definition. I am going to talk about it broken down into those parts: suspicion, fear, and rivalry.
Suspicion is by definition and unfounded belief. It points out a flaw in our ability to think about our lives. If we have no proof, why would we choose to think negatively about a situation? If we find ourselves being suspicious, isn’t it better to focus on what we want rather than we don’t want until we have proof that it is otherwise?
Fear is typically experienced in response to real or perceived information. The first question we can ask ourselves is “What is the actual harm that could come if what I fear is true is actually true?”
Can I take care of myself in a way that decreases my fear? Or, can I switch my perspective so that I can see how things might be different?
Rival. Going again to the dictionary:
“A person who is competing for the same object or goal as another, or who tries to equal or outdo another.”
Here are my questions: Can two people actually have the same goal? And what is the point of equally or outdoing another person if what you want to do is live YOUR life?
To wrap this all up, in my case where I was on someone’s website and I started feeling jealousy, I make the following mistakes:
I saw similarities in what we offered.
I created a competition where one of us needed to win and one needed to loose.
I became afraid of the outcome where I did not win that I had created and then felt jealous.
This is what I could have done instead, just by shifting my mindset:
I could have seen the similar message and been inspired by its compatibility with mine, noticed our differences and recognized that we had different people to serve, and even gone as far as creating an outcome where we align with each other to help more people.
So why did I choose in that moment to be jealous rather than be inspired?
There are a million reasons. We all have a million reasons. But, these millions of reasons if not confronted will hold us back from being both successful and fulfilled.
It is not that we need to avoid feeling jealous. It is just an opportunity for us to ask some of these powerful questions, understand ourselves better and move in the direction of what we want to create in the world.
Very recently, Clarissa Pinkola Estés, poet and Jungian psychoanalyst, said of the late Robin Williams, “He learned for 63 years of his life how to be ‘the fire handler.’ That is where I would praise him, for what he has managed to do for six+ decades; handle fire, while being made of parchment” (Estés, 2014).
I gasped after reading her words, letting them kindle again for a moment the brittle parchment of my own soul, which has itself apparently survived many conflagrations ignited by failures, losses, and challenges—as well as many other unexpected moments of ecstatic wonder, inspiration, and triumph. Indeed, Estés’s words and Williams’ career—during which we encountered him as Fool, Trickster, Sage, Poet, Hermit, Sacred King, and many more archetypal embodiments—have me reflecting on the true power of the Sacred Wound.
That which might be termed “soul loss” in indigenous and shamanic healing contexts, suffered as a consequence of life’s vicissitudes, is certainly painful and responsible for so much despair and disconnection from meaning, purpose, will, power, beauty, and love. Yet, the hunger to be whole, while leading to a seemingly endless array of mistakes and false starts, can also serendipitously bring wisdom and sow the seeds of transformation. The effort to heal those perpetual wounds engenders—or perhaps illuminates—the unique gifts that only we possess, and more to the point, that only we can deliver to the world in our utterly unique way. After all, no one else can be us better than we can. We have but to make the seemingly foolish choice to turn and face our pain, to lean into that which wounds us, to face with courage what has victimized us, addicted us, or had us on the run for most of our lives.
However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with ever growing assurances from well-meaning memes and media that the act of turning, confronting, and fighting our demons will itself magically vanquish them and automatically transform everything in positive and helpful ways—as if the act of doing an about-face in our flight guarantees the desired outcome. Irrational thoughts don’t go away just because we dispute them effectively. Beliefs and attitudes built over a lifetime don’t give way to different ones in an instant. Addictions don’t die just because we admit we have a problem with them. Leaning into the storm does not banish its tempests, and one day those storms might indeed have their way with us. Powerful emotions can arise from very deep, abysmal, murky wells. As these fragile bodies lose strength and vitality over the course of a lifetime, we may have the will but not the strength to keep confronting the monsters, and eventually even our will could erode.
Yet, bones that break do often become stronger when healing around the break. Our bodies and spirits can develop an ethereal, silvered grace through the adventures and misadventures of our lives—just as storms and floods etch beautiful lines and curves into rocks, trees, and riverbeds.
Authentic heroism and greatness do not expect, demand, or depend on success. In the best stories, the goal or objective of the quest actually plays a minimal part in comparison to the courage, passion, and integrity of the hero or heroine. These qualities arise out of the decision to remain true to oneself even in the face of doom and failure. Happiness, is not after all, everything.
Moreover, what we understand to be “mental health” might be a chimera against a reality that is itself meaningless, arbitrary, and “insane.” Our artists, poets, actors, mystics, and crazy people—and perhaps some teachers as well—live on or close to that edge of realization, where there is much terrible beauty and beautiful terror.
By no means is a deliberate exposure to being abused repeatedly by those who have shown themselves to be chronically malicious and untrustworthy a good or noble thing to do. Yet sometimes, when heart and body together experience a moment of rightness in a relationship or context, an unprecedented opportunity or growth may present itself. In such a moment, being deliberately, honestly vulnerable—particularly after all that has demolished us and that perhaps continues to wound us—is possibly one of the greatest acts of courage, insanity, and strength that we could ever imagine or embody. To show our tenderness and risk being torn apart again can be an act of power.
Talking about our vulnerability with someone that we hope is trustworthy is admirable, deserving of validation and support, even as it may risk scorn and judgment from others. Actually embodying it, though, in particular moments is wonderful and takes breathtaking courage. It empowers us to be windows on Beauty for those who have eyes to see it, appreciate it, and be inspired by it. Actually living it in an ongoing way reminds me again of Estés’ metaphor of the parchment that holds fire—a life lived fiercely and fully, most likely for a span that passes all too quickly, albeit unapologetically.
That parchment will not be of long duration, and how tragic for those who might never witness directly the beautiful flame it holds. But what wonder is there for those who do, and what secret language written upon it might be momentarily revealed in the heat of the flames?
Read more articles by Drake Spaeth here
Napoleon Hill suggested that when we have a failure or disappointment, there is always a seed of an equivalent benefit that will be revealed later on. I have found his advice to be true, and it has saved me a lot of grief in my life.
The genius of Hill’s theory is that we will be happier if we change our view at the time we are discouraged to focus on looking for the benefit rather than dwelling on the misery. It really works.
Do you have an example of where a disappointment had a seed of a wonderful benefit that was revealed to you later?
Want continued support so you can shift your focus, achieve more and feel more successful? Email us and Kate will be happy to meet with you so that together you can find the right program for where you are at today!
There are rich people who are miserable and poor people who are happy and there are people who are terminally ill who seem more alive than the healthiest person… So what is the secret to happiness when the things that we seek or seek to preserve don’t necessarily insure our happiness?
When it comes down to it, how we feel each moment-to-moment, is the greatest asset we have. It is the only thing we should use to measure our life and our work.
But quite often, I hear people say that they go hours and even days without knowing how they feel. They have so much to do that they are on autopilot for all or most of it.
Is this you?
Have you had enough?
I know that this last year pushed me to the point where I was not willing to settle for feeling badly and waiting to feel good.
I was no longer going to be with people that did not feel good to be with. I was no longer going take advise from people who were just pretending to “have it all,” and, I was no longer going to make choices that limited my sense of fulfillment or had me living someone else’s version of success.
And, it was the best thing I ever did.
So how about you? Are you ready?
The secret is that there is nothing in your way. It is so easy to find a circumstance that stands between you and your fulfillment but all you need to do is decide.
Decide that your happiness is the most important thing you will ever have and claim it. Decide that anything that is not your happiness should be discarded.
Let’s start a revolution! Let’s end suffering! Let’s be free.