Courage to stand alone. Yes, it’s an admirable character trait, and sometimes life requires it. But don’t slip into a mistaken belief that you have to stand alone through every trial and tribulation. You don’t have to take on life’s challenges all by yourself. Build a support network of positive people, and celebrate staying connected. Mentors, colleagues, friends, loved ones, even pets can help you maintain a positive outlook and upbeat attitude. If you’re struggling, or shouldering a responsibility that is too big to share with friends and family, consult professionals: doctors, therapists, clergy, personal trainers, consultants, coaches and other experts.
Every happy, well-adjusted person stays connected to a positive support network, and functions within that network by both giving to and receiving from others. When you are connected, and taking action to reach your goals and dreams, you experience a sense of fulfillment. Be bold and take action to create change. Our thoughts, words, and emotions are often more powerful than we realize. If you find yourself feeling down or discouraged, you can often trace it back to some kind of negative thought you’ve mistakenly accepted as truth, or some negative statement you’re making to yourself, about yourself. It’s easy to criticize yourself much more harshly than you do others. Resist the urge to beat yourself up. When you’re hard on yourself, you tend to be hard on the people around you, and your behavior drives people away at a time when you need to stay connected to others. Gandhi said, “A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
Take action against isolating yourself. When you’re isolated, you become brittle and rigid in your thinking. Staying connected to a variety of positive influences will keep you flexible and open-minded, ready to recognize opportunities to grow and develop new ideas. Never hesitate to reach out to your contacts in personal life or in business, asking them for support, input, advice or referrals. Always be alert to opportunities to contribute, support, mentor, donate, encourage and recommend others. Another quote from Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” We’re all traveling the road of life together. Great leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela surrounded themselves with like-minded peers: positive thinkers and brave people who took bold action and consistently got back up when they got knocked down. They built a support network, and they interacted with their network, every day. I’m sure that King, Gandhi and Mandela did take time for themselves each day, to meditate, contemplate, and reaffirm their awareness of their authentic selves. They cultivated positive thinking and positive self talk, and they stayed connected. And they changed the world.
We all need quality time to know ourselves and our purpose in life. Solitude sharpens focus. But it’s in the connectedness that we discover ourselves and our purpose.