On April 19, 2016, I turned 43…..
For some reason, this year’s birthday hit me much harder than my 40th. The night before my birthday, I laid in bed contemplating what it meant to turn 43 and my life accomplishments so far. What did I truly learn throughout my life’s adventures and struggles, and most of all, am I happy?
Around two years ago, the trigger to answer all these questions started to come together. You see, as one of the official spokespersons of the company I work for, and being a marketer by profession, I get asked to speak in various forums, and since I am an avid reader of self-development topics, and I try to use as many opportunities as possible to share my learnings with others. The more forums I spoke at, the better I developed my material. I would combine my marketing skills and knowledge of how people can improve themselves and their lives.
One of the main lessons they teach you in any self-development course is that once you attend a course or read a book, you must share the learning with others. This will help make the new knowledge resonate more in your subconscious, and you will then capture the learning experience much better than just reading it. Ironically, while I have been reading into self-development topics for almost ten years, I have only presented my learnings in public venues in the past two years. So it’s only during the past year that I started to grasp my teachings and adapt them to my life. Some of the main ideas that I have truly adapted are:
- Appreciate where you are in life, even if it’s still not where you want to be, for every season has its purpose. Note that happiness is not a destination; it’s the journey itself and the ability to enjoy every part of it. It’s all about being self-aware of where and why you are there, for everything happens for a reason.
- A life filled with “OH WELLs” is far greater than one filled with “WHAT IFs.” Fill your life with experiences, not things, as those will last with you, and create the memories you will cherish later in your life. Don’t let fear prevent you from going after what you want; even if you don’t get it, you have at least tried.
- In life, make sure you (play to win), and don’t just (play not to lose). We all have a choice on how to lead our lives, either to live in our comfort zones where it’s always safe and secure, yet nothing happens there or in the accomplishment zone where we would live an adventurous life filled with success stories and dreams.
- Every experience you go through offers a lesson; make sure you learn it; otherwise, the experience will repeat itself. True life will make us live some experiences more than once because we did not understand the lesson the first time, and sometimes a few times. So make sure you always look for the learnings in everything you go through, as that will make you grow wiser and equip you with the proper knowledge for the next stage in your life.
And if you are a follower of my blog posts, you are probably waiting for the movie references that I usually use in my posts, so here it is. In one of 2015 most beautiful movies (in my opinion), “The Age of Adeline,” the lead character, Adeline, played by the beautiful Blake Lively, is in a scene with the lead male character, Ellis, whom she is supposedly falling in love with him. In the scene, she tells him, “tell me something that I can hold on to forever and never let go.” He replies, “let go.” That two-words statement is so powerful and yet so simple. In fear of letting it all down because of the (what if) factor, we carry lots of excess baggage throughout the years. The movie is about someone who lived many long years without having a life. Hence our lives are not only measured by how many years we live or how old we are; instead, more by the memories we create and the experiences we live.
“Let go” might sound too obvious, but it’s not. We as humans tend to cling to what hurts us, hoping somehow that things will sort themselves out and that we will be able to solve that issue as if nothing ever happened. In most cases, we carry excess baggage on our backs for many years with no outcome except the pain of the weight. Letting go, in its essence, is surrendering to God’s will, with a strong faith and belief that he knows best and, thus, his decision is better for us. I can hear many of you saying that we all believe in God’s will, one way or another, but in reality, we don’t to the level we should. We usually try to work things out in our own way, and if we fail or can no longer get it right, we pray for God to intervene, asking him for help. We tend to forget that he was there all along, watching and waiting for us to finally realize that we need him every step of the way, in good times and bad. This does not mean we don’t give it our best shot or strive to do more; on the contrary, it means exactly that, with a hint of faith added to the mix, we should always trust that God will always give us what is best for us, not what we think is best for us. If we truly believe that, no matter what happens, we will always be at peace, simply because we know it is for our own good. I know this is easier said than done, as in many cases, letting go is hard, for it usually means choosing between what you want and what is best for you in the long term. Hence, we are wired to be more attached to what we want, or think we want, in the short term.
In Islam and most other religions and faiths, we attract to our lives what we truly feel (the law of attraction); hence, when we truly believe that no matter what happens, God will give us what is best for us, then we will get that. We will simply not get it when we believe we don’t deserve the best. It ties in with what we call today being positive to attract positivity, and when negative, we attract more negativity.
Personally, I have really learned this concept in the past year, and since then, I can really say that my life has dramatically improved. To let go is to accept where you are in life and live in the moment, making sure you really live it with all it has to offer, and not live from the side bench where you don’t get to play but only to watch others play/live.
By the end of 2015, I set my resolutions for the new year, but I committed myself this time (unlike past years) that I would do whatever it took to live by my resolutions, and of course, I also made sure that they are three only and achievable.
- Make working out part of my daily routine and not an item on my To-Do list.
- Spend more money on new experiences vs. new possessions.
- Finish my first book.
What I am sharing here might not be a revelation or the secret of happiness to many of you, but my own revelation made me wake up and see my life more clearly.
Finally, I would leave you with this thought, If you were given a book with the story of your own life, would you read it till the end?