More Control In Your Life

We cannot control every aspect of our lives and we shouldn’t even attempt to. In fact, most of the misery people feel in life comes from attempting to control the uncontrollable.

We can’t control the economy or the weather. And we most definitely cannot control others.

All we can control is ourselves – our character, our outlook, our actions and contributions.

Everything else, for the most part, is largely uncontrollable.

But still, we try. Why?

It is an instinctual desire to have a larger sense of control over our inner and outer worlds. We want control over our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We want to control our outcomes and the relationships we have in the outside world. But we mustn’t stray to far.

Control is a double-edged sword

If we have too much control, we can become rigid and inflexible. We start expecting things to turn out exactly as planned and lose our ability to adapt when things go awry.

On the opposite end, if we have no control in our lives, we can feel like we’re in a tailspin. No control means little choice over our wills, paths and life purposes. We are left to the whims of luck and chance.

We can’t tell you how much control is sufficient. It varies from person to person. Our levels of control might be someone else’s definition of too much or too little. We all need different levels at different points in our lives.

Although, through our many experiences, we have figured out one thing we can control, without wandering too far in either direction.

Control our inner world

Sometimes the bus arrives early and we miss it by a few moments. Or someone close to you hurts you. Or it could be as trivial as your roommate drinking all the milk.

Regardless of the problem, most of what happens to us is completely out of our control. However, our ultimate response – how we react – is directly under our control.

How we perceive each situation determines how we feel. But, a positive outlook is tougher than we might expect. Our perceptions are informed by a compilation of what we consume on a daily basis.

Almost everything we see or read is some form of negativity or chaos. The average person watches four hours of television and then spends another few hours browsing the Internet.

Between the television and the Internet, we can’t escape the clutches of negativity.

If we want to control our inner world – our thoughts, feelings and actions – we have to consider the information we consume.

Perhaps we should use the extra ‘TV time’ purposefully consuming positive and empowering information. Or meet with friends that will lift us up. Or work through and tackle new challenges that remind us how strong we really are.

We have to safeguard our outlook to control our interpretations of the world around us. We have to seek optimism with urgency.

Being an optimist means that we are able to find the glimmer of good in every person, situation, and problem. We able to be hopeful when things go awry. We are able to adapt when things don’t proceed as planned.

Optimism, like pessimism, is a choice completely under our control. Given the choice, which should we choose – a life of positive experiences or negative expectations?

Which way shall we steer our lives today and every day?

What will we stand for today? Will we allow petty situations to overwhelm us? What kind of positive values and beliefs shall we release to the world every day?

When we align our positive outlook with diligent intention, we can begin to take control of our internal worlds and feel happier and more fulfilled.

We can face the worlds’ challenges head-on and become an unshakeable fortress.

So today, when everyone is trying to control the bus schedule or trying to stop their roommates from drinking all the milk, spend your time purposely with the intent of controlling your unshakeable optimistic outlook.

As always, our beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free, and love on.

Control-Button

How To Escape From A Rut

I’ve been in a complete standstill for the last three weeks. I was stuck, unhappy and saw no end to it. But, today is the first day I actually feel ‘alive.’

I made a conscious decision to pick myself up by the bootstraps and start anew. I realized three things that pulled me out and, today, I started my day properly.

It begins with a change in perspective.

Realize that it will end

In the natural progression of life, standstills will happen. They will occur frequently and, perhaps, for extended periods of time. But realize this portion of your life is short-lived.

You will feel better, if you allow yourself to.

Life occurs in cycles. As sure as the seasons change from fall to winter, spring to summer, so will your ups and downs. At some point in your life, ruts will occur, but don’t wallow. Realize it and push through.

Use it to grow stronger

In my last article, I mentioned that every negative situation has a positive. Well, every bad stretch serves a purpose to your larger life.

This bad portion, for lack of better words, is bad. But treasure and notice the changes.

A stronger person is born out of ruts because you learn. You learn how to manage debilitative emotions, how to handle lack of progression, and how to pull yourself out.

Take this valuable knowledge and store it in your back pocket. When the next one occurs, you apply it and learn more, carrying little bits of knowledge throughout your entire life.

Actively search for solutions while you’re in this phase. Every rut has a silver lining. Explore it.

Have an end goal

I don’t know the exact reason for my rut. I woke up and felt different. This different feeling held on for the next three weeks. Maybe I let school or my relationships get to me.

Regardless of the reason, when I look forward, everything changes. In a few months, I’ll be done school and moving out. That is my end goal. This rut is a momentary.

Everything changes when I enter a new phase in my life and that excites me. It breathes new life into my lungs.

Have a goal solidified in your head. Keep the image strong and push toward it. Through your rut, hold it firm and be steadfast. Goals are important to give you that little extra nudge.

Ruts will occur. It keeps life different and interesting. If we didn’t have them, we would probably complain about a mundane life. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be able to cope.

And, worst of all, we wouldn’t grow as a person. Growth is the central purpose in life. Through ruts, we become stronger, happier and more fulfilled.

We can learn a lot from them. So don’t toil and wallow. Stop, learn and progress.

Be bold, be free and love on.

Man Sitting In Valley

The Power of Thoughts

“I, Leroy Milton, will be present, enthusiastic and inspiring.”

Is something I started saying twice a day, about six months ago, habitually. This is a reassurance of my character, to keep it in my conscious thoughts everyday.

It’s called an affirmation. It has helped me strive toward this challenge, constantly focusing on the now, being increasingly excited and bold.

What are Affirmations?

The Secret originally proposed this idea. Through your thoughts and conscious attention on those thoughts, the universe grants your imagined outcomes.

Apparently, people have won the lottery, married their dream spouse and lived in their dream houses through this mystical method. So I had to try it for myself.

They worked a few times, but sometimes they failed. I couldn’t understand why. How does the universe differentiate between my requests? Is it even the universe divinely granting something? Or, maybe God?

I am increasingly skeptical of this ‘ask and you shall receive’ mentality. It doesn’t seem logical that you can ask the universe or God of anything and it is magically arranged.

However, I still do it and it has worked.

Why the skepticism?

I don’t think it is some divine power that grants your request. I think you are in complete control of your thoughts and you determine the outcome.

My constant reminder to be present has brought me back when my thoughts stray into the past or the distant future. My constant reminder to be enthusiastic has pushed me to be my best, most excited self. My constant reminder to be inspiring has allowed me to approach every situation with an inspiring message.

I feel like through my thoughts, great and powerful outcomes can come to fruition.

However, I cannot discount peoples’ thoughts on spirituality and religion. Instead, I propose this view. When you pray or ask God or the universe, I feel like your ‘desire’ is not granted. Instead, opportunities for that desire are granted.

Situations arise that help you reach your goal. You may find yourself doing a free photography job, only to have your work discovered for a huge contract. Or, a girl may randomly approach you, and it’s up to you to make a connection. These situations challenge you to act a specific way, where your outcomes may be granted.

I was put into situations where I needed to stay present, where I needed to be enthusiastic, where I needed to be inspiring. Through these situations, I slowly added more power, more feeling and more positivity to myself.

There is a lot of power in personal thoughts. Had it not be for my positive affirmations, would I have confronted these situations the same way? The affirmation allowed me to approach each situation very uniquely.

Steven wrote an article on mastering your thoughts. You can take a look at it for tips. I implore everyone to use positive thoughts, focus your energy and through them, you will approach every situation differently and obtain something great along the way.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

self-help graphic

 

Four Stress Relieving Methods

Recently my life has been quite stress-free. There haven’t been any problems worth worrying about and everything is going according to plan.

I don’t mean to brag. I’m sorry. But until school starts, my life will continue to be relatively stress-free. But like death and taxes, stress is virtually unavoidable in today’s world.

Although stress is an unavoidable factor, there are ways to manage it. If you manage stress, you manage your mood. I feel like it’s safe to say that everyone has an identical final goal – to be happy.

Managing stress is one of the many yellow bricks on that long road to happiness.

yellow brick road pic

1) Confide in someone

“A trouble shared is a trouble halved.” – Chinese Proverb

But don’t complain. Sharing a problem with someone close allows you share that stress factor. Share it with someone who may have encountered the same problem.

Their guidance will be extremely helpful. But be weary! Don’t complain to people, especially to random strangers.

Remember that everyone encounters stress and the majority of people do not want to hear how bad your day was. Keep your thoughts with close family and friends.

2) What are you thoughts?

Everything stems from your thoughts (well, your brain). How does your brain deal with stress and stressful situation.

i) Write it down

And throw them away (or burn them). I find, throwing your thoughts, worries, and stresses away have some profound effects. The physical act of throwing away written negative thoughts can mentally purge them.

You can also burn them. Call me a pyromaniac or arsonist (none of which I am), but there is something incredibly therapeutic about fire.

Creating-Realistic-Burn-Paper-Effect-in-Cinema-4d

ii) “Cancel Rule”

A friend of mine suggested the “Cancel Rule.” Personally, I find this method extremely effective. Next time you are stressed and find yourself lost in your thoughts, start repeating cancel to yourself.

Repeat the word ‘cancel’ over and over again and that negative thought appears to have vanished away.

3) Go for a walk

Being in nature is calming – but even looking at an image of nature can decrease stress levels and increase positivity.

Personally speaking, I love walking outside. The sights and smells have a very calming effect on my body. Sometimes, I take outside for granted. When you stop everything and go for a walk, you really start to appreciate the beauty.

Everything is green and striving. That energy is transferred to me.

4) Breathe deeply

I’ve mentioned the importance of breath in a previous article (You can check it out here). Too few people breathe improperly. The breaths are shallow and faint because breathing is left to the unconscious mind.

Stop for a few moments and listen to your breath. Feel your breath entering your stomach and exiting your nose. Pay close attention to your breathing. It allows your body and brain to get a burst of oxygen, relieving any stress that may occur.

There are a lot of little problems in the world that can be stressed over. The key to managing stress comes from ignoring the little problems.

These problems find their way into your brain and fester until they become large ones. Following the mentioned techniques has helped me manage my stress levels.

How do you deal with stress and stressful situations? Leave a comment below. My readers and I would love to hear from you.

Be bold, be free, and love on.