A few weekends ago I had family over and they reminded me of a little plaque that hangs in the hallway of my apartment. It says:
“Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.”
I originally bought this plague because I needed the reminder that, “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” But the conversation I was having with my family reminded me that although good daily habits bring long-term success, bad daily habits lead to depressing outcomes.
Little Things become Big Things
Those who know me well, know that I’m a huge believer in “The Law of Attraction.” Ever since I read and re-read “The Secret,” and then Eckart Tolle’s “A New Earth”, my life started changing. I had been stuck in a rut of drama, bad relationships and self-induced dissatisfaction. Understanding the concepts in these books made me realize that I’m in the driver’s seat of my own life.
Let’s say you’re one of the many who is unhappy with their job (although this scenario can apply to anything you are unhappy with). How many times have you sat with your girlfriends over cocktails:
1. Bitching about your job and how miserable you are?
2. Brainstorming other career paths you’d like more and writing down the first few actions steps on a bar napkin so you can get there?
My guess is you’ve experienced the first scenario, but rarely (if ever) the second.
Consider the outcomes of each scenario. In the first scenario, you’ll probably be having many more sad cocktail hours that sound like a tape on repeat. In addition, you’ll probably remain in your situation- miserable. This manifestation of constant negativity will likely turn into other bad decisions that come with unhappiness: drinking too much, which may lead to over-spending or over-eating. Or, your complaining might keep you in a bad relationship because you can’t bear one more bad thing in your life. This scenario also lends itself to losing friends and losing respect from co-workers because people don’t want to be around your negativity. ”Negative Nancy” will likely wake up one day and say, “everything is going wrong in my life!” Or, “why does everything bad happen to me?”
Now what about the second scenario? The person who starts brainstorming positive alternatives and then commits to testing them out will have a whole different future. Replace your complaints with actions:
- Ask your friends and family more about what they do for a living
- Ask for introductions to people whose career you are curious about
- Read books about things that interest you
- Talk to everyone you meet about their career
- Try out some free consulting to get experience
- Join organizations that interest you even if they seem to have nothing to do with a career (you will likely meet people like you who it will be easy to form a relationship with)
- Volunteer or get a part time job trying out something of interest
My advice here is no magic bullet. Even the positive person will likely be at their job for a while longer (I’m not a believer in quitting a job before having another one lined up in most cases). Yet when someone asks, “How is work going?” they’ll be able to take the focus off their job and get excited about other things, “It’s going fine. I’ve been getting involved with X, Reading ABC and talking to a few people who do Y.” When you’re excited and making decisions based on where you want to be, you’re putting yourself in the path of opportunity, which leads to a whole different set of outcomes.
“The future comes one day at a time” means to me that a person’s daily habits become their reality. Thoughts turn into actions, and actions turn into reality.
Today I challenge you to replace every complaint with a positive vision.
And dream big while you’re at it. Save pictures of what these visions look like into a file you save on your desktop. Look at it every day. If you want a different job, envision the following:
- What does your office look like? Where is it located? What are your co-workers like? What is the company culture? What will you do in your ideal world? Will you manage people? What will your ideal manager be like? What do meetings look like?
Follow the same line of thought for anything else you want to change. For example, if you’re single and wish you weren’t, write down and envision what your ideal mate is like:
- What does he or she look like, sound like, dress like?
- What does s/he value?
- How does s/he treat you? Your family? What is his or her family like?
- How does s/he treat others?
- What is s/he passionate about? What little things does s/he do to make you happy?
- What do you admire about this person?
The future comes one day at a time. Before you know it, days become weeks and weeks become months. Every complaint is the opportunity to envision a different life. Thoughts become actions, actions become reality. What life will you choose?