Let me tell you the flip side of my last post. You have the power to make your life great! If you make good choices and remember that you are in control of what happens you you 90% of the time you can intentionally create a life that is full of happiness, love, creativity and fulfillment.
In fact that is a big part of why I am writing these letters: I want to create a lasting guide for you on how to create a happy life for yourself.
Over these letters, I will write a lot about what it takes to make a good life for yourself. About important choices that you will need to make, and good habits to create. But none is more important than this simple tool:
When you are in a rough spot and the work ahead of you seems overwhelming, look for the things that are in your control first. Ask yourself:
- What can I do right this moment to get a good start?
- What can I learn that will make this make more sense?
- Who can I talk to to get some perspective?
- What would be easy to do that I can complete right now?
- What is one thing I can do to make this situation less tense?
Even if you can only think of one thing and it doesn’t seem like much, do that.
It will help you feel in control and help you get a rhythm going. Once you are immersed in a task, you usually get a better idea of what else you can do. As you start taking actions, things often change in response to you, and new opportunities arise suddenly as you work on a problem. You will learn how to read the vibe of changing circumstances as you go as well, and quickly develop a knack for taking opportunities the moment they pick up. The ancient Chinese book The Art of War call this being aware of the Shir of a situation. All it takes is practice, instinct, and a will to act.
Once you start, the only other thing you need to do is keep going. No matter how rough it is, every thing you do to try to influence a bad situation will make it a little better, and eventually it will go your way. You just have to keep making those little changes until the opportunity arises to make a big one.
When I am doing this, I think of it like picking up steam as I fight a long battle, and remind myself that every step is a step closer to winning. I keep reminding myself this with the words “Forward unto Victory!” You’ll probably hear them a lot as you grow up. Hopefully I will teach you just how powerful they are.