Do you know what I used to believe with every fiber of my being?
That I could run away from all of my problems.
It didn’t matter to me if it was an unhealthy romantic relationship, a bill collector’s phone calls, a nagging toothache, or a persistent sadness that I couldn’t seem to shake off, my solution was to avoid feeling it.
That’s because I believed that if I avoided my pain–or worse, if I ran in the opposite direction of my pain–it would eventually go away.
Yours won’t either.
If you’re running away from your demons right now, I can promise you that they will be waiting for you when you finally decide to stop running.
Even worse, at that point you’ll probably be too exhausted and too burned out to deal with those demons.
And it’s at that moment when they’ll win.
There’s a much better way, and just like everything else on this blog, it’s going to require some courage in order to make it happen.
A few months ago, I was line at the gym waiting to swipe my membership card to enter the gym for my morning workout when I heard something disturbing.
Two women who were ahead of me in line started chuckling to themselves and commenting about a woman inside of the gym.
Lady #1: “I wonder if fat-ass Shamu is here this morning.” (Side note: In case you didn’t know, “Shamu” is the name of the huge orca at Sea World.)
Lady #2 (pointing at an overweight woman on an elliptical machine wearing a black-and-white outfit): “Yep, there she is! God, she is such a pig!”
Then they both swiped their membership cards and chuckled their way inside of the gym.
Yes, these were grown women in their 30’s, who got their jollies by making fun of a woman who presumably was working hard to positively deal with the issue that they were currently laughing at her for (if that makes any sense.)
Yes, judgment really is such an ugly thing.
Unfortunately for those two women, what they didn’t realize is that their comments about that woman told me (and the world) so much more about them than it did about that woman.
“Hey Shola, how do you stay so motivated to make the world a more positive place?”
I get that question a lot for some reason.
Motivation is such an elusive thing for many people. Some people can find the motivation to create a million dollar business from scratch, to lose 200 lbs, or to become a Ph.D before they turn 30. Other people can’t find the motivation to shower on a daily basis or get out of bed in the morning.
Speaking of “weird,” here’s my answer to the question at the beginning of this blog post:
I’m really not motivated to make the world a more positive place.
If you’re one of the many people who are currently living a life of positivity, then you probably know how hard it can be. That’s why it’s worth saying it again:
Being negative is the easy route.
The real challenge in life is finding the inner strength to be positive enough to make the world a better place, even in the face of unrelenting negativity.
Since it is a challenge, my goal is to make living a positive life as easy as humanly possible for as many people as I can reach.
Last week, I shared three simple, but very powerful tips to stay consistently positive. This week, I’m going to take it a big step further by giving you one simple rule to instantly (yes, instantly) make the world a more positive place.
Anyone can do it, you don’t need any talent/skills/connections/education/etc, and most importantly, you can apply this rule the minute you’re done reading this blog post.
A couple of years ago, I was giving a speech to 200 people, and less than 30 seconds after I got on stage, I noticed a group of people in the front row who were chuckling, whispering to each other and pointing at me.
This couldn’t be good.
Mind you, at this point, all that I said to the audience was my name and why I was there. I didn’t say anything funny at all (not yet, anyway), so what in the hell was so damn funny??? I was so distracted and it was driving me crazy until I finally figured it out.
Yep, my fly was down.
Here I was on stage with my zipper completely down, more and more people were noticing my “wardrobe malfunction” with each passing second, and at this point I was completely thrown off my game because I couldn’t. Stop. Thinking. About. My. Zipper!
Many years ago, I saw an interview on TV that changed my life.
I wish that I had more details, but to make a long story short, a woman who had been through unspeakable horrors (rape, repeated abuse, false imprisonment, etc.) was being interviewed about her horrific ordeal.
I was actually flipping through the channels trying to find the Lakers game, but something about that woman’s inner strength, poise, and unshakable positive energy caused my thumb to freeze and stop pressing the “Channel Up” button as I listened to her voice.
After watching about 5 minutes of the interview, the interviewer asked the woman a difficult question with sincere curiosity:
“How it is possible for you to move on with your life after going through the hell that you went through?”
Without even the slightest pause, the woman looked directly at the interviewer and responded with the poise and grace that made her strength impossible to forget. Her response to that question has stuck with me ever since I saw the interview years ago:
That’s quite a responsibility, isn’t it? Are you up for it?
Man, I hope so.
Truthfully, it took me a long time to accept this responsibility, but I’m ready for it now.
In order for me to become ready, I needed to learn a life-altering lesson from a complete stranger first.
I’ve always believed that all of us are teachers in our own special way, and there is not a teacher alive who would not give anything to have the kind of impact on his/her students that this complete stranger had on me.
My hope is that he’ll do the same for you too.
If the lesson is successful, you’ll be ready to accept your incredibly critical role as a “world-changer.”
And as a “world-changer,” part of the gig is realizing that you’re here to save the world.
I know that it sounds overwhelming, but don’t worry–you’ve got this.
Before you answer, it’s usually at this point where I start to lose some people. Changing the world by making it a more positive place always sounds like such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very big deal, but maybe not in the way that you might think.
You don’t have to build a new school in West Africa, donate half of your yearly salary to a homeless shelter, start a non-profit organization to fight against global hunger, or give up one of your major organs to a complete stranger who needs it (although, if you were to do any of those things, it would be unspeakably awesome).
Making the world a more positive place is so much easier than that. It’s something that you and I can do right now. Actually, it’s very likely that you are already doing it.
Big changes are not always about doing big things. In fact, big changes usually happen by doing the seemingly little things consistently.
For example, it is impossible to lose 100 lbs in a day. If you ever talk to anyone who has lost a lot of weight, he/she will tell you that it happened by doing the small things consistently. They likely didn’t go to the gym for 3 hours straight/6 days a week or eat nothing but parsley sprigs all day. Instead, they probably took the stairs instead of the elevator once in a while and chose to skip dessert a couple of times a week.
The key is that they did those seemingly small things consistently–and as a result, big things happened.
Changing the world by making it a more positive place is no different than that.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know what I’m all about by now.
More than anything, I want to make the world a more positive place–and one of the ways to make it happen quickly is to make it less daunting of a task for anyone else who interested in joining me.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about how we can do this, starting today.
Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.
Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...
I uncovered a power within myself
...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.