Ready, Set, Go

I am soon to be 33. I’ve been involved in a series of failures from bankruptcy to eviction to dismissal from employment. I have worked for over 30 different companies. My relationships with women have all fizzled out, and I used to drink too much.

I’m plagued by doubts, insecurity and a horrible credit rating. I’m not focused on employment anymore, but on my life. That includes finding a loving relationship. How do I gain the footing I need to actively seek a meaningful partner now?

~ Matthew

Matthew, last week we printed your entire letter and offered general advice. Today let’s make it concrete.

You say you are not focusing now on jobs, but on your life. That sounds great, but it’s nearly impossible to change that way. Even if you had an epiphany or some great insight, when you came down from your mountaintop you would still act the same way you do now. Instant success is an illusion. Thinking someone else is the solution to your life is also an illusion.

Smoke cigarettes today and it won’t hurt you. Smoke cigarettes every day and it will. Call in sick when you’re not, and it won’t hurt you today. Make it a habit, and it will. The first important thing to realize is that a good life comes from making correct small decisions every day. Simple disciplines over time create great results.

A book that might drive that lesson home is “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson.

You come from a chaotic personal background. That means you have countless memories, impulses, emotions and embarrassments jumping out at you all the time. How can you change that? Try reading “Coherence” by Alan Watkins.

In one way, it’s an odd recommendation. The book is for leaders in global organizations and only 40 out of 300 pages are relevant to you. But like MasterCard, those 40 pages are priceless.

Alan Watkins is a cardiologist. He knows the heart, the most powerful organ in the body, is the center of positive emotion. In “Coherence” he describes a simple method of breathing which will take your awareness out of your mind, put it in the center of your chest, and link it to the regular beating of your heart.

This is a powerful way of calming down. Watkins then explains how to train yourself to shift from negative emotion to positive emotion. That’s life changing. It takes the bad memories and emotional garbage in your life and dumps them in the trash. It frees your mind.

Our final recommendation is to read something like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Despite the title, it’s about more than riches, and the book has been continuously in print over 80 years. It explains how to center your life around a goal, a goal which matches your deepest desires, and it suggests you will deserve to receive in proportion as you provide service to others.

Hill’s formula, repeated daily, can change your current thinking from “What a mess my life is” to “Maybe my life can be a success.” Do the small things right every day, regulate your emotions, remind yourself every day who you are and what you value. That’s it.

Your back-and-forth life indicates an absence of goals and a past without structure. Stop looking for the someone who will change your life. Be the someone. The rest will follow.

Rags to riches is a powerful story. You are young. You can become a man who succeeds. You can become the man who is admired, the man who someday leads younger versions of himself to success.

You won’t see much progress in the early steps. That’s the tough part. That’s why you need faith results will come. That’s why you need persistence, persistence. There is only one question to consider. Do I want my past to be my future?

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of March 24, 2014

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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