If you try and make everybody happy, you will make nobody happy.Colin Powell on Leadership
It has been a long break, once again, from me putting my thoughts on paper, if you will. But I have been through some really trying times this past couple of months. I struggled with many challenges as most people do in their lives. Through it all, I have found that while physically strong, I am extremely weak mentally. I am unable to endure the trials and tribulations associated with the daily struggles we call life. This may or may not be attributed to my time in Iraq and/or my childhood. Nonetheless, I found my life spiraling out of control and I am in dire need to stop the spinning and gain somewhat control of my life, once again.
Accountability. I have made a conscious decision to actively take control of a life I felt I had no control over. Let me rephrase that. Since returning from Iraq, I had increasingly made my world smaller. Smaller world equates to smaller expectations by myself, by my family, by everyone. So I lived in a small box. I maintained a small list of close friends. I socialized with co-workers when required by my job. From the outside looking in, the average person might assume I live a normal life. But in reality, I was avoiding a life with substance. A life with love, a life with happiness. I accepted and allowed myself the bare minimal. I did not strive for a full life of happiness. My goal was simple….just don’t be sad. So long as I was not sad or depressed, I was content.
Avoidance. In my smaller world and in order to reach my goal of not being sad or depressed, I voided many things out of my life. But I soon found that life has a mind of it’s own. There is no possible way to avoid life. This hard lesson was taught on what dreary night when I found out my daughter was having life issues as well and she ingested a handful of vicodine. I quickly admitted her to the hospital where they found that she was going to be okay. This opened my eyes wider than they have ever been. In an effort to protect myself from emotional pain the world brings to my life. I learned that I can not shield myself from things outside of my control.
Adversity. So now instead of avoiding situations that I find will test my mental strength, I try and turn into the direction of adversity and face the monster head on. I hope I live a long life. Many times this optimism is often challenged. But I do. I do hope to live a long life. In order to do so, I can not shy away from people and/or situations that make me uncomfortable. I must be COMFORTABLE being UNCOMFORTABLE! Then and only then will I be able to address my weaknesses and eventually turn those into strengths.
Education. I MUST continue to educate myself. I was ecstatic when I finally obtained my MBA. I thought this was the end of the road for me in regards to my own personal edification. I was wrong. We must always continue to seek additional wisdom and insight. The only constant in life is change. Life will always evolve and I must be prepared to withstand whatever storm awaits me.
Selfishness. I must look out for my own best interests because nobody else will. Far too often I find myself concerned with the way I affect others. To the point where if I make someone unhappy, I will harbor that feeling of discontent for hours, days and maybe weeks. Far longer than the other person might even dwell on the interaction. I must realize that I cannot be responsible for another person’s own struggles for happiness. And if there was something I have done and/or said that effects that person’s happiness, I must realize that I did not do so out of spite or malice. The ones that I care for are the one’s that I am effected by the most. It is hard for me to not make everyone happy around me. But I must realize, as the quote in the beginning of this post says, “If you try and make everybody happy, you will make nobody happy.” And to add my own twist to the end of that quote…..this includes myself.