We are curious people and by nature we want to understand everything. We interpret the world around us based on experiences from our past, friends and families.
And we tend to give meaning to just about everything. Lookat all the meaning that you have assigned to your life – all the stuff that you have made up about yourself, your circumstances, and other people. Now, let me be clear… I certainly do not mean to imply that your circumstances – the facts and situations in your life – are made up.
What I’m talking about is the meaning we give these facts and circumstances. We can do such a disservice to ourselves by assigning meaning that does not support or make us feel very good.
We are meaning givers – it’s human nature. Now here’s the deal: The meaning we give something is a choice that we get to make.
Let me share an example:
I will be 60 in less than a year. And as an almost 60 year-old man, I’ve decided that I’m behind with my career, income, retirement account; I could go on and on. There are times that I think, “It’s too late – I’ll never reach my potential.”
Notice how both of these ideas, I’m behind and It’s too late for me to reach my potential are made up. I have given intense meaning to turning 60 that makes me feel bad about myself – wow, how yucky is that?!
I’ve made up that to truly make it at the level I want to make it, and to have the impact I want to have, that it’s too late. I’ve run out of time.
Now even as I say this, I realize I don’t know where this idea came from. I totally made it up! What’s important is that I’m awarethat I’ve made it up.
Age is an easy place to keep us stopped. And yet many have had true success in their latter years:
1). Louise Hay started Hay House when she was 60! Today, Hay House is the largest publisher of self-help, inspirational and transformational books and products in the world.
2). At 96, Harry Bernstein published his first book, “The Invisible Wall,” three years after he started writing to cope with loneliness after his wife of 70 years, Ruby, passed away.
Wow, if they did all of that, what can you and I do?!
Knowing that the meaning we give something is made up – we get to choose a different meaning that may serve us better.
Try this… “My 60 years have given me the perfect amount of life experience to be very clear about what message I am here to deliver.” This makes me smile and gives me a sense of pride and joy. It even motivates me.
And… I’ve made it up that I have to work really hard to be successful. And that means I need to work 60+ hours a week, deliver back-to-back workshops and keynotes, and travel nonstop around the globe.
This just makes me tired!
Hard Work = Success is an equation that I’ve created that does not serve me. A new equation might be… the quality of my work matters more than the quantityof my work.
Notice what you’ve made up.
Take a good, hard look at yourself, and see what you’ve made up. Discover your beliefs that no longer serve you.
Create a list. And then ask yourself: What is the meaning I want to assign to these beliefs. What do I want to make up now?
As you become conscious of what you’re making up – and what you’re not – clarity will begin to occur. And when there is clarity, there is choice.
It is within your power and consciousness to decide.