Change Becomes You
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Change Becomes You

Are You Stuck on Life’s Ferris Wheel?

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Do you remember your parents taking you to the funfair? These were amazing moments from a childhood filled with happiness, joy, excitement, awe, and wonder. The scale of the funfair had your imagination, dreams, and expectations firing in all directions. What ride would you go on first? You scan the environment to see which ones carry the most risk through speed or height. The fear on your parents faces when you point to one that even scares them. So, what do they do so as not to diminish your excitement? There is only one option that will suit all parties in this negotiation: The Ferris Wheel.

It’s not built for speed, but it can reach great heights when you’re a child. You can view the whole funfair from your lofty position, and you feel overjoyed with life! But wait, there is commotion down below and the operator brings the ride to a stop. You are now stuck on the Ferris Wheel. What started as an enjoyable and exciting experience has now turned into how I get off this thing! The operator shouts everything will be fine and starts exiting everyone one carriage at a time.

How did getting off the Ferris Wheel become so flat, mundane, and arduous? When we are stuck in life, it’s all too easy to wait for your turn. You are more than content to use any excuse for someone to go first! Those feelings of belief, motivation, desire, and imagination we used so easily when children start to disappear.

Can you relate to this? If so, how do you get those feelings back?

During COVID-19 and after becoming a new welfare claimant (hard pill to swallow) I set down and asked myself some very hard questions (coming up later) and began reading to fill time during the day. The book I read was Unfu*k Yourself from Gary John Bishop a New York Times Best Seller. To say this book had an impact on me wouldn’t do it justice. I lived the 7 assertions mapped out in its pages every day. The outcome? Well your reading part of it now! So let’s begin.

The Power of Willing

If you aren’t happy with your life, you need to start asking questions of yourself. These questions require deep self-analysis and reflection of all those times, moments, and thoughts you have buried in your mind. You can do this in three ways:

  1. In front of a mirror (you can’t hide from yourself.)

2. Find a quiet room.

3. Take a walk outdoors.

There is real power in this process. But you must enter the process to understand what it is. Remember you are not happy with your circumstances. You are the only one who can change it. There may be external events that have impacted you (COVID-19, as an example.) However, it is how you internalize these events that determine how you manage them. When you embrace the Mindset of the Willing you dispel all those excuses you created to not take action.

“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself” (Epictetus)

The Power of Winning

Do you imagine what it would be like winning in every area of your life? What does that look like, and how does it feel? Do you remember what winning felt like as you moved through life? These wins could have been in school sports, when starting a new job, upon receiving a promotion, driving a new car, when you bought a house, got married, had children, the list is endless.

So, what’s different from then to now? Those little setbacks where you haven’t quite hit the goal you pursued have turned into gigantic events that are rendering your motivation stuck in reverse. Is it fear or alibis that are holding you back? You need to take a step back and get aligned with all those feelings, emotions, and behaviours that made you successful previously. You know how to win. Now, you know you didn’t reach your goals through wishing and dreaming. No, that was hard work, perseverance, and desire. To win again start writing down those targets into miniature chunks. When you start reaching them, acknowledge the success and move on to the next one. Do this repeatedly every day until it forms a habit.

The Power of Perspective (I Got This)

There are numerous times throughout our lives when we face major challenges. Do you recall those moments? How did you get out of the dark tunnel? What did you learn? Let me give you mine to see if you can relate; losing a business, family home, whole professional network, liberty when 18 years old, living pay-check to pay-check, welfare claimant, dead-end jobs, and sitting in dread for 18 months. Wow, that’s a lot of Crap. It may be to some, for others it may not scratch the surface of their experiences. Therein lies the power of perspective. Every person’s circumstances are unique to them. To take back control you need to start analysing how you dealt with the situation previously. In doing so you should start to gain clarity. Is this situation so bad, or am I making this situation bigger than what it is? Remember when reflecting on past experiences it’s your perspective of what you did and when, how you felt, the emotions that created, and all the events that have shaped your life until that point. When you shift your perspective you become clear on solutions.

The Power of Uncertainty

If 2020 has taught us anything about external events impacting our lives, then the COVID-19 pandemic should be a huge learning curve. The crisis has put the whole world in a tailspin both socially and economically. Who knew the devastation it would cause in February 2020? How are you managing during the crisis? For some, the crisis acted as a catalyst to review their Life’s direction and plot a new course, while others let the pressure, stress, loss of connection with friends and family start to consume them. I can relate to both groups. At the start of Lockdown, I was feeling anxious, stressed, and worried about supporting a family on a welfare cheque. Not a great place to be mentally, when you can’t go anywhere. There was only one choice to make, and it wasn’t to let the situation consume my thoughts any longer. What would I do? I sat down with a pen and paper and started writing down questions:

· Are you happy? No.

· How did you get here? Piss poor decision making.

· What are you going to do? Stop thinking.

· How are you going to do it? Take action.

· Who will help you? Myself.

· What is standing in your way? Nothing.

· What’s your Why? Hit rock bottom.

Once I answered these questions (brutal truths) it materialised into 30,000 words about key moments in my Life where the crap hit the fan. These stories have been shared on numerous platforms to date, and I’m still writing. (No need for high fives) However, another thought hit me. Who else was feeling like me across the world due to this pandemic? How would I reach them? Is there a value in our stories? In this process, I did not let fear, judgment, or outside events take control of me. In embracing the uncertainty I flipped the thought process to certainty. The time had arrived when I needed to take action.

The Power of Thoughts and Actions

To change your thoughts you need to focus your attention on making changes that will benefit you. Sure it won’t be easy but making changes never are. To make those changes you need to get into forwarding motion.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy” — Dale Carnegie

There are thousands of self-help and personal development books reinforcing the same message. So here we go; send positive thoughts into the universe and they will be returned (rinse and repeat). How can you think positive thoughts at all times when Life is throwing hot irons at you from every direction? Sometimes it’s fine to sit down and embrace the crap. That’s Life. The only way to change your Life and the circumstances dictating it is through action.

“You are not defined by what’s inside your head. You are what you do. Your Actions” — Gary John Bishop

So how did I take action? I sat down and devised a schedule that started at 5.10 am every morning. Why 5.10 am, are you crazy? The motivation for the early start was three-fold:

1. It will be challenging (we are in lockdown).

2. Start the day before others rise (exercise, positive music, review tasks)

3. Get work finished (reading, writing) before others rise.

Now I want you to sit down and asked yourself could I do this? You know the situation I was experiencing and managed to find the will to act. Change your thoughts and take action

The Power of Relentless

How often do you think about what others will say before you take action? To become relentless you forego any negative thoughts in your mind about challenges you may face. In which there will be many. But that’s all part of the journey.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty” (Theodore Roosevelt)

What happens when you come out the other side of difficulty? The sense of accomplishment can be overwhelming. From a position of I can’t do this. I just did this. There is no better feeling in the world. So stop thinking about what you want to achieve and attack it like an express train. In the book Relentless from World Renown Sports Performance Coach Tim S Grover he sums up it perfectly;

“In real life, being relentless is a state of mind that can give you the strength to achieve, to survive, to overcome, to be strong when others or not”

Getting up at 5.10 am every morning with no work, stores closed, unable to leave house, can influence many a man’s mind. However in becoming relentless to the schedule, the negative situation did not enter my thoughts. We have exited Total Lockdown, but I’m still completing the schedule every morning. Why would I stop now? The benefits have been transformative.

The Power of Nothing and Everything

Let’s start with an everyday scenario. No one touches the mail as I’m waiting on the outcome of a job interview. Is it excitement, nervousness, fear, or dread you are experiencing? In this situation, you are planning for something that has yet to happen. The mail hasn’t arrived yet the weight of expectation is playing havoc with your thoughts. We can spend large parts of our days thinking about how things might have turned out if I had of did this differently. These thoughts can lead to feelings of judgment, worry, anxiety, anger, and stress. Now take a step back and focus on the areas of your life you do control. Sounds easy? Far too many people think 3 steps ahead and don’t deal with the here and now.

You need to be present and in the moment to tackle problems as they arise. When you live your life from a position of expecting nothing and accepting everything you can manage what life throws at you. We can’t predict the future, although we can still plan for it. If those plans need to deviate slightly, let it marinate. It’s impossible to be certain of how everything should turn out all of the time (not to mention exhausting) To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius “We cannot control the uncontrollable”

Exit to the Left

At the beginning of this story, I used the Ferris Wheel to communicate how you can become stuck in Life. During my adult life, I’ve got stuck on the Ferris Wheel 13 times. So what did I do? I changed direction, set a new course, and took action. Now, that’s a lot of learning and experience gathered over that period. Maybe it is, you can be the judge of that? What I can say with resolve is this “Even though I have fallen many times I still found a determination to get back up” Did I learn from all these failures? You would think after 13 times I would be a Jedi Master. However don’t let the grass grow under your feet, keep learning, and developing. Isn’t that what Life Is all about? These 7 assertions enabled me to find inspiration during one of the darkest periods in decades. Will they work for you? You make the choice. When you want to change your circumstances you need to accept that your way of living to this point is making you unhappy. This requires you to be honest with yourself. You can’t blame anyone for what you tolerate. But you can do something about it. Get out and Get Moving.

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get” (Forrest Gump)



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Michael J Mc Cusker-The Resilient Irishman

Michael J Mc Cusker-The Resilient Irishman

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