Dananjaya Gettiarachichi gave an elegant speech about change. He described that mothers cry tears of joy, sorrow, and shame. After flunking out of high school and getting arrested at 17 years old his mom’s tears of shame created in him a reason to transform his ways and become a better human being. Through exploration and taking risks by doing, Dananjaya graduated from college and still didn’t know what to do with his life. He continued searching and found he had a gift toward inspiring others to make wise choices in life. Through training at toastmasters, Dananjaya’s discovery that he was a phenomenal speaker became known. He won the world championship of public speaking in 2014.¹⁷ He made his mess his message.
“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” (Andy Warhol). We all have the ability to change and become the best version of ourselves, but it must be a conscious choice backed by consistent desire, focus, action, determination, persistence, and self-discipline. Getting from where we are to where we want to be takes courage and hard work, which we are all capable of doing. It is through doing and pursuing our dreams that the beautiful metamorphosis of becoming takes place.
In the 1952 Olympics, Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister broke the seemingly impossible feat of running one mile in under four minutes. After Dr. Bannister set that new world record, heightened awareness about possibility, probability, and potential grew in others. Within 46 days, Bannister’s record was shattered.¹³ Don’t wait to do something that has never been achieved before, but be crazy enough to believe in the potential of your dreams.
“Success in life comes not from holding a good hand, but in playing a poor hand well” (Dennis Waitley). We can become, do, and accomplish anything desired once a radically transparent decision is made, backed with focused action and belief in ourselves. Work on you so you can live the extraordinary life you’re fully, utterly, and completely capable of living.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” (Henry David Thoreau). Don’t let that be you! People act out of desperation, pain, anger, fear, greed, desire, envy, necessity, inspiration and pleasure. Let’s raise our standards by taking initiative to dream big and do bigger, while tolerating nothing less than the best from ourselves. Be filled with hope, meaning, and purpose by embracing your vision, mission, why and how, in order to get your greatness out into the world, today.
“The gods help them that help themselves” (Aesop). Do not passively expect blessings to be dropped from the sky into your lap by praying without followed-up deliberate determined action. Let’s do our part and live life on purpose. Remember the law of reciprocation. Blessings may not come in the exact form given, but they come indeed.
Individuals may develop and succumb to myriads of bad habits to futilely, problematically, and temporarily escape or numb pain, resentment, and guilt from the past, present, or future. Harmful substances or poor rituals may mask regret, self-pity, and sorrow. People may just not understand the problematic effects caused by their actions until worry, distress, and suffering consumes them. The good news is that we have ultimate unlimited power to choose differently. Governing that responsibility toward generating massive sustainable energy and self-discipline to architect our lives takes guts, life-long daily endurance, determination, and unstoppable focus. Work on strengthening both self-awareness and other awareness or perceptions, regardless of your own beliefs. Be one hundred percent accountable for you. Control the controllable and forget about the rest.
Private triumph allows for public victory. Evangelist, Billy Graham, practiced preaching to stumps before speaking in front of multitudes of people.⁴ What we do in private shows up in public. Start practicing and developing or enhancing any skill you desire to acquire or improve upon in a daily focused, determined, diligent manner. The best time to begin was one month ago, the second best time is right now. Learn from mistakes and keep on practicing. Personal success, relative to you, not comparative to anyone else, can be yours. How bad do you want it and why? Do you—everyone else is taken.
“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” (Joseph Stalin). Grace and forgiveness are like oxygen to the mind, body, spirit, and soul. We cannot live fully without harmonious synergy between each realm of our being, while damage ensues when any of them are neglected. Oxygen is life. Remember that our hemoglobin molecule on the red blood cell carries oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine has an affinity for hemoglobin, which takes approximately 50% of the oxygen away from our cells when consuming nicotine. Results of any disease-killing process is the cessation of oxygen in the end. Pollutants from smoke cause hepatic injury, leading to elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL aka bad cholesterol), thus creating plaque and narrowing of arteries. Averting heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular and arterial disease, among myriads of other unwanted ailments is within our control. Nicotine weakens the esophageal sphincter, causing gastroesophageal reflux. Please stop smoking or using any nicotine-releasing substance if you do not want suffering and misery in later years, as well as becoming a statistic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million US adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.”³
Don’t leave your one and only beautiful unique life to chance or try fatally reasoning with fate. Create your own present and future well-being by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Struggling for each single breath of air that we may currently take for granted, or dying precipitously from cancer or another awful avoidable disease is within our control. Govern the controllable factors and forget about the rest. Remove I can’t from your vocabulary. Saying or believing, “I can’t,” only associates stronger connections uniting undesirable behaviors and self-limiting beliefs linked to your identity. Saying, “I can’t,” may be a character flaw, when indeed you can. Stop lying to your beautiful self, creating a deleterious mental movie. If someone threatened to harm your loved ones if you did not terminate smoking permanently, you could stop. Muster up enough faith, courage, and powerful reasons to end smoking forever and you will. You can do it!
Most of us want to be around to see our sons and daughters get married, spend time enjoying grandchildren, or relish in the splendors of true living. Living and aliveness have their own relative connotations. Each of us has to decide how we want to live, therefore let’s help each other, while casting no judgement upon anyone.
Once a definitive decision full of clarity has been made, combined with a resilient, determined, and persistent positive mental attitude, the sail is set in the direction you wish to travel. You are at the helm of the ship guiding it where to go. You’re in control of your destination and destiny. Along the journey you may see droves of people being tossed aimlessly around by the wind because they did not set their sail correctly or at all. Have a single-minded focus upon the path you wish to travel. Change course when necessary. Going in too many different trajectories creates busy stagnation leading nowhere. If we do not decide what we want for our lives someone else will. Without maps showing specific routes that direct us where to go we either end up where we are, someplace dreadful, or misguided by people that do not have our best interests in mind. Let transparent meaning and purpose light your heart’s way into the tranquil unknown.