Becoming the Best You Possible

Prologue

 

Congratulations on selecting this e-book! You are ready to improve your life and that is a very good thing. We all seek change when obstacles arrive in our lives. There are so many adages in our consciousness as all thinking beings have to endure a disruption in their lives at one time or another. There is nothing wrong with going through a tough time. The trick is to accept your circumstances and continue your evolution. Change is scary, but being stuck in unproductive situation, however comfortable, is terrifying.

Most people do not like talking about their negative situations or how they pulled through. It is too personal or fresh to be cocktail conversation. Think of how helpful it would be if everyone united and offered their best piece of advice. What would yours be?

In the following pages, topics will range from motivation to persistence. If you want to jump around then do so. All subjects will be discussed in full with vignettes from other seekers will be provided. As humans, we want to connect through our journey. We are learning machines and sometimes we need to walk in the paths of others to earn heavy-duty knowledge. Certain identifying features have been altered in the story to protect client privacy. All triumphed over their challenges and so will you in time. It is a comfort to read about others in similar emotional situations.

Many areas of life warrant their own books, but the three main topics covered in this e-book are romance, business, and life. Humans like to think they are complicated creatures who have thought of everything under the sun. In reality, most of our thoughts have centered on our love interests, our jobs and the meaning in our existence. With most things, we need to start at the beginning.

 

Why read a self-book?

The economy took a big hit in 2008. America has been a superpower for so long that many scoffed at the idea of The Great Depression happening again. Houses were bought on credit. If you did not have a house, then you were lazy and financially irresponsible: it was a great investment. Many people had too many credit cards so the greater public would think they were wealthier than they were. A new bag, heels and an outfit were necessary for big events. It was getting out of hand as corporations grew greedier and no one seemed to care about the future. Then one day it happened. Everything came crashing down. Markets crashed and overnight unemployment skyrocketed. No one was safe and lives were forever changed. People once secure in their livelihoods panicked. Hardly anyone saved as their grandparents had because there was an air of arrogance. People felt they were untouchable and used retail therapy rather than being truly honest about their feelings. Buying anything cause a little high, though while fleeting was satisfying. Numerous citizens lived above their means. The time of reckoning had arrived. People could no longer rely on material goods to define themselves. Unemployment, foreclosure, and black clouds darkened people’s lives. Adaption was a matter of survival. Money had trumped character for quite a long time in our culture.

Nothing could distract the country during this time. Those that had jobs feared losing them and those waiting to hear back from jobs had volcanoes of anxiety waiting to erupt at a moment’s notice. When you are consumed with denying reality and chasing transparent dangling carrots, you lose the ability to be still. America came to a standstill and for many it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Others had a different experience. They were able to shed the job and lives they hated. It was forced liberation.

Back to you, maybe you have made a decision to improve your life and it is scary. What if you change so much you lose your friends or your job? These are reasonable fears. Whenever you go through a major change, circumstances alter. You chose a different life path the moment you purchased you book. Sometimes when you go beneath the surface, things you have been in denial about are given air. Do not fear. At some point, things will get better. The worst thing to do is to stop and start. Go the distance, remain consistent and be fearless.

A beginning is necessary in order for evolution to happen. Be aware that some people who are afraid of life might try to hold you back from being a better, stronger person. You do not need to avoid them, simply pass them by. When someone tries to put doubts in your ear, think of anything else like your grocery list or participate in a fantasy relationship with your favorite celebrity. Just drown out their noise.

No one wants to lose friends or find that their current circumstances are suffocating. You might start to see that your comfort zone is more like a prison. Step out slowly. Some people want to burn their lives and rise from the ashes. Others want a gradual change and to avoid incineration. Whatever style fits you best, go for it. There is not a paid employee overseeing your life. Take the reins. You will be given a series of exercises to explore your motivations. The process is not easy, but is worthwhile in the end.

Do not be afraid to get dirty in life. You are supposed to get dirty and roughed up; it builds character. Having a good or bad time, is just a stretch that is fleeting. Be in charge of your destiny. Weigh whether it is better to be stuck or uncertain. You can prepare along the way. Keep the number of people you tell about your plan to change on one hand; do not feel too committed to proving yourself to other people. You can do it.

The ghosts of the past are always ready to haunt. Think of the freedom you can achieve when you travel down the rabbit hole of your mind. Be your leader. If you dig deep enough, no one will be able to hurt you again and if your outside world changes then it will not cause your head to explode. Stay strong change is ahead.

Read this book at your own pace. Decided how quickly you want to change and always be honest with yourself. Grab a highlight and start marking the passages that move you. Make notes in any way possible. Compose a note if you are moved to do so and put it in a visible place to remind the old you that the new you is moving in. Mark the pages that you are not ready to grasp just yet. Always go back to what has given you an emotional jolt. Nothing needs to make sense the moment you read it. It is a long process getting to your new place of understanding. At times, it might feel too long or too short, but it will happen. Another thing to keep in mind is no one needs to know what you are reading or that you are in the process of change. People only truly know anything about you just based on the information you give. Some people will not understand why you want to be different and it can be very threatening to their own stability. While some people may be naturally supportive, other may be hostile to change. If you are fine with either criticism or praise then talk away. Be your own person and relish in your newfound stillness. Read on and forge a path that is comfortable to you to allow freedom and enjoyable success into your life. Life is what you make of it. If this book helps you in great or small ways, then please pass it on to someone in need. We should focus on making the world still through compassion. We are all connected in some way and all that separates us is knowledge of this unity. Best of luck in all your endeavors. This book will help you in innumerous ways if you allow yourself to take risks and consider options. Fortune favors the bold and may reading this book be your first step to greatness. Proceed…

Chapter One

IMPROVEMENT

COMMIT TO LEARNING

Back when we were in school, learning was boring and teachers were the ultimate losers. They knew nothing and we were the masters of the universe waiting to be unleashed. Upon graduation from either high school or college, we jumped out into the world ready for action. Yet, things were tougher than we imagined. There was not a welcoming committee greeting us into adulthood. The world had not waited for us to get older; in fact, it had not waited for anyone. People were annoyed instead of patient when we did not understand. Adults, unless they were paid to do so, were not interested in helping up reach our full potential.

Many of us began to understand during our first job interview that we were unqualified barring making coffee or doing grunt work. It may have been beneath our sensibilities to do task that clearly did not display our smarts. The greatest irony is that some returned to the classroom to keep themselves safe and employed. In many ways, the first six months after college were almost as informative as the whole four years.

Unfortunately, there was a learning curve that actually exists and we all found out the hard way. Being an adult was harder than we imagined. Some had parents who helped out financially and others had to learn completely on their own. The danger in having overly indulgent parents is the kids are never set free. They do not learn how to struggle, fail, and then try anew. Everyone should learn to fail when they are younger and pick himself or herself back up again. The time old idea of falling seven times and picking yourself up eight to be successful is true. If you did not set yourself free from your parents at this time, you will most likely never be free of them. Being on your own is the best experience in adulthood, but no matter how terrifying. If you have already gone through that phase, look back gently at all the common sense you acquired. We did not know how to balance our checkbook or follow a budget at one point. Managing a household was foreign to us and budgeting became sacrifice. One of the biggest disappointments in life is seeing how little your paycheck actually goes. Some are better than others in learning how to be completely responsible for their well-beings and education. Still, there is a lot to be learned after graduation and the wise recognize that.

 

Here is a brief list on how to be an adult if you have already not gone through the process and if you have, try to figure out at which age and how you reached these milestones.

1.   Your parents do not owe it to you to bail you out of trouble. They should not be the first people you call for bail money, you need to make alternate arrangements if you want to get out of jail, literally and figuratively. Find odd jobs, clean house, or get a second job. If ever there were a time to have two jobs, it would be in your twenties.

2.   Being an adult means coming to terms with your limitations. If you cannot carry a tune, do not think local karaoke contests are going to result in you being discovered. Do not be the last one to realize you are not talented enough. If you want to pursue these dreams, do it on the weekends. Join a community theater and perform at karaoke. Just don’t give up your day job.

3.   Do not cry at work. Ladies this seems like a tall order, but nuclear meltdowns and the bathroom stalls are not the places to be emotional. Learn to control your emotions. If something bad happened at work or a coworker hurt your feelings, then do not blast it on social media. Gentlemen-Do not punch a co-worker. Yes. They deserve it and you would show everyone how strong you are. Nowadays you can be arrested for assault. One crazy outburst can follow you for the rest of your professional life and afterwards. Do not embarrass your future self. Also, do not quit a blaze of glory. Telling people off makes you look like a fool.

4.   Learn to properly apologize. Gushing through a stream of excuses is not good enough. No one cares how it happened; you did or said something that you should not have. I am sorry are three powerful words. They can come out of your mouth easily and should. Be responsible for your actions. Flowers, chocolates, a new Chanel bag, a card or simply saying the words will show you are a mature person capable of being answerable to society as a whole.

5.   Your needs do not come before the good of the group. Do you remember, if you are lucky, your parents waking up very early on Christmas morning to celebrate? No adult willingly wakes up early on a major holiday. They took a hit for the team. Now as an adult, you have to take some hits. Maybe you need to pull an all-nighter to save a co-worker at a presentation. The good news is someone might help you as well, but companies want you to be a team player. So suck it up and act appropriately.

6.   Do not party all night and then go to work. You think you can inhale a gallon of espresso and perform like usual. Nope, not even close. People notice and they talk. Your hair will smell of smoke and hedonism. If it happens more than once, you will be labeled a Lohan. Use your weekends to rage, but on weeknights go home early.

7.   Plan for the future. There is this whole YOLO thing happening (you only live once) and people throw caution to the wind. Do not buy into this nonsense. Take some risks, but do not be stupid. A quickie wedding or a leg tattoo will taint your future. Save money and plan for a rainy day. The easiest way to do this is to automatically deduct from your checking into a savings account.

8.   Give yourself permission to change. If you have always been a jock or a drama kid, consider new avenues. You can make your own decisions now. Explore who you are and do not be afraid to change. No one controls you anymore. If you are not comfortable in your own skin, then you are going to be pulled in a million directions. Growth is a process and you must, must be willing to explore options for your true identity. If you lose a few friends, you will find new ones.

 

Beware of the lure of being a professional student. School is safe for all of us. After the 2008 crash, many took out student loans to earn MBAs and other graduate degrees. School is great, but realize that if you pursue higher education it must be practical. The new term for students who have avoided careers to stay in school are now labelled professional students. They do not learn how the real world works and believe in idealism. Those that leave school after undergrad know there are nuances in every adult situation. The following is a tale of two students: one from the school of hard knocks and the other from the ivory tower of academia.

 

Mavis started college as a party girl. If her parents’ bothered to look at her too closely, they would have seen addiction issues. They had raised her to be pampered, though neglected. In rebellion, she dated an older man who drove an ice cream truck and played pool badly in local bars.

Jolene was the complete opposite. She grew up in a strict household rocked by divorce. At the start of college, she was still nervous about boys and trying to get over her high school ex. Drugs were unimaginable to her; she did not want to disappoint her mother.

Mavis and Jolene both started college with monthly allowances. Mavis spent her on drugs and booze. Jolene bought a few dresses. However, Jolene’s father remarried and the new wife did not want her new husband paying for a college education. Without good reason, Jolene was cutoff. In her devastation, she pulled herself into a shell. Mavis, on the other hand, moved in with a mimbo.

The two became friends though Mavis was not always sober enough to be a good listener. If Jolene had better circumstances, she probably would have stayed away. Jolene graduated on time and Mavis stayed a year longer to be a five-year senior. Jolene’s mother died of cancer a year after her graduation. Her only caring parent was gone and Mavis did not even travel to attend the funeral.

Jolene became a teacher because she had to secure her survival. She hated it and began to lose faith in the goodness of life. Mavis, meanwhile, was having a great time in college still. They both began dating men named Charles. Mavis new boyfriend was very calming and she changed her raging ways. Jolene’s boyfriend was emotionally abusive towards her. The grief over her mother’s death made her lonely enough to endure her Charles’ vicious diatribes against her though she was the only one with a job.

Five years on Mavis was in graduate school. She had decided to pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. The real world made her nervous and instead of self-medicating with party favors, she was taking anti-depressants. Life for her was a series of studies and experiments. When she complained, people would roll their eyes at her self-pity. While she was accruing debt, she was safe. She would continue with school because it was all she knew.

Jolene, meanwhile, was teaching in a public high school that was supposedly in a good neighborhood. One day one of her students ingested a bag of crack before school to elude being captured by police. Unbeknownst to her, she asked him to go up to the board and instead he walked over to her desk. She handed him the marker and he began hurting her. It took a school officer to pull him off her.

Mavis took visits to see other friends from college, but did not take the time out to visit Jolene, who was recuperating in bed with a sprained spine. She was barely able to pay her bills with her meager savings and workman’s comp. Jolene got better and walked again very slowly. Mavis was glad that she was better so she could have someone to listen to her. Jolene toughed it out, but the irreparable damage was amassing.

Mavis had great news a few months later. Her boyfriend proposed and the wedding planning began. Mavis wanted Jolene to be as involved in the wedding. Mavis was still in school and able to go obsess over details such as color schemes. Jolene started a new teaching job at an elitist day school, which was incredibly stressful. Mavis wanted all of her attention and called as soon as school ended to discuss napkins, invitations, etc. Jolene was amused at first; it provided an escape from grading essays. People told her most wedding planning last six months. Mavis’s mother, who was paying for the wedding, wants a specific venue and the first available date was 18 months away.

Jolene was patient until sixteen months before the actual wedding. She had endured countless conversations about family drama and menus. It was enough. After listening to all the details for months on end, Jolene was downgraded from the maid of honor to just a bridesmaid. It was insulting and hurtful. Mavis felt Jolene had emotionally abandoned her when she had to attend to some disgruntled parents at work.

Mavis was furious that her friend had taken focus off of her upcoming event. At this point, Mavis had not left the hallowed halls of academia. She did not know how to have a full-time job. Their paths had reached the point of no return. Jolene had outgrown the tedium of the narcissism involved in wedding planning. Mavis wanted someone to help her through the tremendous anxiety of her life changing. Neither was right and yet neither was wrong.

Weeks later, the two were not speaking. Jolene had discovered meditation and Mavis was threatened by this. In one heated exchange, Mavis told Jolene that she was boring after finding inner peace. She needed Jolene to stay the same to make it through her days. Jolene grew tired of her professional student friend. Jolene lived in the real world while Mavis was able to luxuriate in her Peter Pan syndrome.

Fast forward ten years later, Jolene is still a teacher, but has saved enough money not to fear starvation. Mavis is thousands of dollars in debt and unable to find a job. They still miss each other, but their worlds had been too far apart.

There comes a point in every adult’s life when they need to get a job and feel the burden of adulthood. Otherwise, they exist in a state of professional student hood and miss all the crucial milestones to maturity. Jolene learned too much and Mavis learned too little in the classroom of life.

 

 

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