Don’t Lose It All

lost2Have you ever really looked up to someone? Maybe they seem really successful, they could be on television and maybe they have gained a level of success that is admired. I have had many of those people in my life that I have looked up to over the years.

My hero’s haven’t all been massively wealthy but generally speaking have changed lives in some way or another. I think we have a tendency to admire those we want to emulate.

However, what I have learned over the years is that it is very dangerous to put anyone on a pedestal, to think for a moment they have it all together and that their outward achievements equal inner character. In fact, anyone can learn what to say and how to say it and still not know how to live it.

Hard work, skill, learning the right things, developing in some areas will create success in your life. It just depends on what area you are working on. But what we often don’t work on is character and for this reason you see many who have risen to the “top” and then come crashing down because they weren’t as strong on the inside as the pressure was outside.

As we go after our dreams and goals in life it is so important that we build character in our lives in order to keep that success. True success is built upon a good foundation. If that foundation is not tried, broken, and built on a strong foundation of character you can rise to the top of your mountain but at some point your true character will come out.

Many people think that money will solve their problems but the truth is money only magnifies who you already are. It will never change you to become a better person. Fame will only put more pressure on you to “be” whatever it is you’re famous for.

That is why it is important to do the work of change, to look at our lives and be willing to make difficult decisions that make us better people. Address those big things before they have the chance to become anything.

When I was in my 20s I was preparing to move overseas and do charity work. But they had to train me for the process of adapting to a new culture. Many don’t realize the process you go through when you begin to live in another culture and it is not an easy one. Part of this process was understanding that when you are in a foreign place and you begin to go through the different phases of culture shock it is almost like a pressure cooker. Many people would move overseas and then the worst parts of themselves would come out. So in order to avoid this we went through intensive counseling, therapy programs and the like to deal with anything we might have not dealt with.

In the long run I ended up not permanently moving overseas, but I am grateful for going through that process. It allowed me to deal with “stuff” at a young age and allowed me to become a better person as a result.

Now when the fire of life hits and I am in the pressure cooker there is nothing that rises to the surface. No bad habits, no attitudes, nothing that would ruin my future. I think the worst I have experienced was some short term low self esteem after going through a few battles, which is quite normal.

It is so important that we realize that dealing with our stuff and building character is such an important key to our success in all areas of our lives that we should run to it even if it is difficult.

I cannot tell you how many people I have looked up to in my life and fast forward you find out they were involved in some sort of scandal, you find out they are the nastiest people on the planet in person, you discover they are now in jail or some other horrific situation. All of which could have been avoided if they were willing to deal with their stuff and that means not blaming others but taking responsibility.

Trying to ignore your problems, pretend they don’t exist or hope that a level of success will cure you is an illusion. It all can be taken away in a moments notice simply by not building upon a good foundation.

As you develop yourself to become great in whatever it is you do, remember not to neglect yourself and what matters. This doesn’t mean that you walk around like a victim looking at your navel lint, but that you take responsibility for yourself, choose not to blame your life on anyone but your own decisions and make the changes you need to in order to be successful long term.

Choose the path of long term success, no matter how painful the process. It will be far less painful if you face the music now than later.