Episode 20: Embrace the Challenges

Good morning! Another Monday morning of inspiration here. To motivate you to have the wonderful week that I know each of you listening will have after today’s episode. One of the most powerful things today that we’re going to discuss is how you will overcome the challenges of life. Many of us face these challenges everyday. I know you get weary so I’m going to give you three simple strategies I use to successfully navigate these challenges of life.

Thanks for joining me today, this is Jimmy Williams on Live a Life By Design. Your Monday morning moments of motivation to help you become a bigger, better, and bolder you. You know one of the greatest things I get to do each week is come to you, in your car, your iPhone, your iPad, whatever you may listen to us on. And I have been noticing that we are getting quite a bit of an audience throughout the world. It’s an honor to spend just a few minutes spreading some good positive powerful message to the audience that I know takes it and puts it into place. And each day is helping someone else in their own community.

You know one of the greatest things I enjoy is when I hear from you through your emails, your comments on our website, or our facebook page. Please continue doing so. That really inspires me and gives me cause to want to go out and create the most powerful impacting statements and commentary for this podcast that can be performed. So have you had an opportunity to visit our website? It’s www.livealifeby.design. You’ll find my recommended reading list there for books that will improve your life and inspire you to achieve greatness. And these are books that can be easily found. You click on “Jimmy’s Top Reads”, you’ll find it under Resources at the top of this website. Click on that, pick out a book, and a couple of clicks later the book is on it’s way to your home.

You know today we’re gonna visit about ‘Embracing the Challenges of Life’. You’re gonna laugh too when I say embrace the challenges. Most of us try to avoid challenges in life. I’ve got some serious news to tell you today. There is no way, no person on this planet can avoid the challenges of life. It’s just not set up to work that way. Now, from the wealthiest of us, to the poorest of us, has challenges. You would think that the most powerful person on the planet, “the President of the United States” for example, would not have any challenges that he couldn’t resolve. I have noticed many years of watching our presidents, from the time they’re first inaugurated to the end of those 8 years of office when they’ve been in there for two terms and notice that their hair looks a little bit lighter. Their face a little more wrinkled. Their stance maybe not as tall and straight as when they first were inaugurated. That is a tremendous position of pressure.

The challenges that you face and I face on a daily basis obviously pale in comparison to those challenges of the presidency. However to us, those challenges are simply that. They are powerful reminders that we have something that we must overcome to continue going forward. So today I’m going to give you some very very useful information and three strategies that I personally use to make certain I embrace life to the fullest and overcome these challenges.

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote a poem describing some of the unfortunate characteristics of the modern world. Now modern, let’s describe when Yeats was born. He was born in 1865 and lived until 1939. His poem titled “The Second Coming” paints the story of hardship, discouragement and doubt experienced by what he deemed the modern times. Perseverance is the learned skill that helps us overcome the challenges of life. Yeats noticed that malevolent people seemed to have the most energy while good people become discouraged and doubtful of their own abilities. A quote from his poem reads, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity.”

I think Mr. Yeats captured it very well. So today I’m going to share my top three strategies for dealing with challenges in life. First, take control of your emotions. Many of us can become overwhelmed by the activities of our day. Particularly if our days are filled with so many activities we can’t seem to find a minute to breathe. Yea I know you’re shaking your head now, going, “Hey Jimmy, those are seven days a week for me”. Well, I hope that they’re not, but if they are I’m going to give you some really good helpful hints here.

You know maturity is needed when dealing with our emotions. When we were children we simply cried out and our desired result was delivered to us, as adults we don’t have this option. Now I know what you’re thinking again, some people still use this method. One of the methods I use to gain control of my emotions when bad news, or a negative act has been directed toward me is to simply stop. That’s right, stop what I’m doing. Stop what I’m thinking. Stop what I’m saying and just have a moment of quiet. Simply stopping and counting to 20 helps me gather my emotion. I don’t know what the most powerful reasoning for the number 20 is, but I do know it is sufficient time for me to recollect myself, calm down, understand what the facts are that are causing these problems in my life and it helps my brain to understand through this calming time what may be a solution.

You see by counting to 20, while focusing on my breathing, I shallow down my breathing, I calmly breath in through my nose and out through my mouth and no I’m not a zen master and all of that. I just know it simply helps. But by counting to 20, focusing on my breathing, I allow my mind to segregate itself from the actions or words that just occurred. You see your mind is a powerful too that can help you calm your nerves and place the current environment you find yourself in perspective. One of the worst actions we can take when we’re feeling emotional is to immediately return the negativity to the person that caused your pain. This is simply going to cause greater anguish and escalate the matter. You know we use a phrase “cooler heads prevail” as a statement that you hear so often in challenging situations. In our current society, road rage, senseless violence and other stressful activities occur without notice. Simply drive through one of the major metropolitan cities at 5 pm in the afternoon. I assure you, you’re going to experience some type of negativity in that drive.

You must control the variables within your own abilities. There are certain things you cannot control, but you have the power to control your mind and how you think and allow these outside external influences to impact your internal feelings and thoughts. The primary variable within your control is simply you! The first strategy to embrace your challenges in life is to take control of your emotions.

The second strategy for dealing with life’s challenges is to embrace your life as it is, rather than as you wish it to be. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t improve your situation. Just the opposite, but you can improve spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. Once you acknowledge your current status in life, to know how to chart the course for that improvement. You know, it’s simply like this, you can not get in your car and simply drive down the road without having a destination in mind. And you also must have an origin. You must know from where you start to know in which direction to go to get to the position you wish to be. It would seem asinine for us to get in the car and simply drive a direction and not know from which we came and where we’re going.

Now, I hear what you ladies are thinking. Hey, that’s how you men drive all the time and anytime we try to help you give us a little bit of a hard time. My wife may be listening, she’ll probably tell me about this a little later. But you know many of us get stuck in the present state of life, rather than simply acknowledging the status. I’m not saying that you’re placed in cement. You can move and improve and I want you to improve your life, on a daily basis. I want you to have lofty goals, and I want you to have dreams that are so big that once they’re achieved that you can even see now further and you can go on and build bigger, better dreams.

You can improve your life, but you should know your history and current states so that you’ll appreciate the growth experience. It is hard to determine if you have grown in life if you do not know from whence you came. In my own life, I came to realize rather quickly, during my first semester of college that I had a different situation than some of my friends. For example, many of them would simply say, and spontaneously shout out, “hey, let’s go get a pizza”. Now that sounds like a very simple comment. I looked around at them, and man my mouth would already be watering just thinking about that hot pizza with cheese and sausage and pepperoni, just dripping off the sides. That crisp crust tasting so good when I bite into the first piece. And then I looked at my wallet. I realized that I would not be enjoying pizza this evening, however I found these moments to inspirational for me. I didn’t find them as a depressing moment or one of negativity. I was inspired to know that I wanted to do better in life. I did not focus on staying in my current stage of life, but used these moments of a means of inspiring me to reach greater heights of success. This strategy can be applied to any area of life. Embrace your life as it is, rather than as you wish it to be. This is your launching pad, if you will, to go to greater heights.

You know one of the most prevalent area of applying this strategy is in our physical life. How many of us have looked in the mirror at some time and not been proud of who we saw? Yeah me too! By acknowledging the bad habits and the current state of my body, I was inspired to become more healthy. I watched my diet and exercised often, surrounded myself with people that exercised and ate well too. I have always loved and participated in sports. How did I become out of shape? It certainly wasn’t overnight. By the way, I do have the timeframe if you’re wondering. I got out of shape in four simple years. Matter of fact, I have a real problem with the company that created Double Stuffed Oreos. In the courses where I had to do tremendous research in undergrad college and I had to write a lot of papers, those Double Stuffed Oreos were beckoning my name at all hours of the night. Man, I could take a package of those with a half-gallon of milk and before you know it, both the carton and the package of cookies were gone.

But by allowing myself to make poor choices over a period of time, I became someone I did not really appreciate. The second strategy for dealing with challenges in life is to embrace your life as it, rather than as you wish it to be. Know your starting point and build the changes you desire from that point. So first, take control of your emotions. The second strategy: embrace your life as it is, rather than as you wish it to be.

One of the best methods of embracing challenges in life is to run toward the area of potential pain. Yes, you heard me correctly. So, consider yourself a running-back in football. And you see this humongous linebacker in your path. If you generate sufficient momentum, thereby increasing your inertia and mass, you may run right over the linebacker, who in many cases may just simply be standing still to tackle you. You see another life lesson is learned in the following story. A young boy was desiring to participate in battle. He wished to go and help his family and his country defeat an opponent that was far superior in size, number of soldiers, weaponry, and technique. His size, age, and experience were not that of the typical soldier. The opponents in the battle were technically trained in fighting skills and mastered their weapons.

Before the battle began, a powerful opponent started taunting the small band of soldiers and had convinced them that a battle would not ensue if they would send their greatest warrior to battle the best warrior of this dominating army. Now the smaller army was terrified and no man volunteered to fight this towering giant possessing the most powerful weapons of their era. Finally, this young boy volunteered to challenge the hulk of a man taunting them across the battlefield. He gathered his weapon of choice. Three smooth stones from a stream of water and his slingshot. This looked like a horrific mismatch. So much so that the giant across the way started laughing, until the boy started running not walking toward him. While running full speed toward his obvious demise, the young boy reached into his pouch and pulled out one of the stones, loaded it into his slingshot, and began to build a mighty centrifugal force. Within a few yards of this giant, the young boy released his slingshot, and the stone hit the giant in the middle of his forehead, dropping him dead immediately.

The mighty army, just a few minutes before had taunted the smaller army, was now the group of fearful worried soldiers. To prove his point of victory and to fulfill his promise to his countries leader, the young boy pried the giant’s sword from his decaying hand and used it quickly to remove the head from the giant in one swift blow. Holding up the giants head in his hand and declaring victory for his country. The small boy could hear his cheers of his fellow countryman while watching the vast army retreat rather quickly to their own country. By now, you may have heard enough facts to know the story is actually that of David and Goliath. A story we have heard since childhood, many of us. But what is impactful in adulthood from this story is David’s approach to embracing the challenge before him. He didn’t wait and walk out with a meekness, he ran with boldness toward the challenge. You see, David, having faith in his God and confidence in his ability to deliver for his county, eventually became king.

My third strategy for dealing challenges in life is to alleviate toxic people from your life. Now, this is a very difficult area for me to discuss, but one that I know each of you, if I ask, could probably name one or two people that you consider toxic in your life. To become what you wish to surround yourself with, you must first become that type of person. What I’m saying is that is if you want to attract others to you that are of the highest quality, greatest ethics of people, you must become one. You can not simply pursue people that you desire to spend your time with. You see they have a guide as well. Of the type of people they wish to have in their life.

But you must become someone that they are attracted to, so that you will then have the type of people in your life that you desire. So, some people, as my grandfather would say, “would complain if you hung them with a new rope”. Now that’s a little bit of a country saying, but in other words, they would complain no matter what had happened in their life. Another saying I’ve always loved is “if they had been delivered a pot of gold, they would complain of how heavy it was loading it in the car”. I just don’t understand the reasons for people who desire to spread their own disgust and disheartened attitude about life with others. We don’t know the reasons for their negativity. Perhaps they’re experiencing a difficulty in life that exhausted their abilities to cope. Many times you may simply need to move on and shed their baggage of despair and life your life in your own way.

I am not the kind of person who enjoys hanging around with people with sour dispositions. I just never have. I don’t enjoy Negative Nancys and Terrible Teds they are just not in my daily walk. On the contrary, I work tirelessly to attract those people that are Happy Harriets and Fantastic Freds, for example. So that I feel a sense of positive energy that strengthens me throughout the day. You know, I’m smiling 99% of the time. I even understand during my sleep, as my wife has told me, I’m smiling. Probably because I’m dreaming of her and we’re sitting on some beach admiring a great sunset or somewhere we’ve been fortunate to travel. These are the kinds of memories I write about in my journal and we’re going to have an episode on journaling and why it’s important for you to know this secret weapon and how I use a journal and that keeps my mind focused on these positive attributes in life.

You know if you have someone in your life that is just simply no fun to be around, follow these three steps to alleviate this issue. Number one: Seek out opportunities to create your day in the manner you wish for it to occur including the types of people you wish to spend your time. Number two: Inform the toxic person that your time is precious and you do not wish to spend your days in a foul mood or hearing negative stories. Don’t fill your mind with all the junk, I say. And number three: remember the quote “birds of a feather flock together”. Be the example to others that will attract the right type of people to you. Pursuing people will not build long term relationships. You must become what others desire in a person in order to truly attract positive, powerful people. I’ve heard on many occasions that we are the result of the average of the five people we spend the most time.

Make a list today of the five people that you spend most of your day with, and look at the attributes they possess. The traits, their vocabulary. The types of books they’re reading or the lack of reading. Maybe they’re the type of person that doesn’t have a decent vocabulary, that uses language that you don’t desire for example. But be honest with yourself. List those five people on a piece of paper, I’m not asking you to share them with anyone. But when you list them out and the characteristics of each person. To the very right, list why you chose to spend your time with that person. If you can not honestly justify in your own mind that you desire and truly enjoy the growth you’re receiving from that person, you may need to make some changes.

You know, the challenge for this week, take control of your emotions. If you’ve been losing your temper too quickly, or you have been returning evil for evil. Take control this week. Simply stop, clear your mind of everything. Turn off that radio, noisemakers of any kind. Silence your phone. Count to 20 calmly, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. And listen only to your breath. And calm your mind so that you can gain control of your emotions. And also if you encounter toxic people, remove yourself from the environment. You do not have to sit there and listen to them spew this negativity the entire lunch hour. Simply excuse yourself with good manners and kindness. Move to another table, go to your own vehicle where you can control your environment, go to your office and shut the door. Whatever it takes for you to get a calming approach to this time of the day.

It won’t shock you that it doesn’t take but approximately 60 seconds of negativity to impact your day and ruin it. I don’t simply want to deal with that. I don’t want you to deal with that. And then lastly embrace your life as it is, currently so that you may be inspired to become what you wish. To become who you wish. You see you have to have a starting point. I’ve often told people when we’d be in scouting and we’d been on hikes through a new forest for example. I never jumped over anything that I couldn’t see where I’d be landing. You know we do this in life often. We jump into a relationship not really knowing that person, not really understanding their background. Perhaps not even fully knowing what they expect in their future. Well, I’ve got news for you, if you don’t plan your future others will take charge of it for you. And I assure you that what they have planned for you is the same for themselves, not much.

Do me a favor, if you would take just a few minutes and look below the show notes here and there is some space where I’d like for you to comment to me of how you have encountered some challenges in life and what was your response to those challenges. Did you also maybe, without listing any names, did you ever find yourself in relationships that you’d wished that you’d never pursued. You see I want you to take this moment to seek that inside you that guides you into making the better decision. Take these three simple steps, control your emotions. Embrace who you are, today, not who you wish to be. Turn off the TV and don’t sit there and watch all of these housewives shows and all this reality TV that I tell you is truly not reality. And then lastly, alleviate toxic people from your life. You will grow so much quicker and better, you will actually be smarter, you will be happier because you are now living life by your design. Join us next week, here on Live a Life by Design when I reveal the secret to predicting your future. You heard me right. Until then, keep living life by your design.

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