What Motivates You to Live Your Life?

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While helping a friend today a thought came through my mind and inspired this post about what motivates you to live your life.  You see I was already working on another post this morning when this conversation started and between the two, the words I was sharing with them took on a whole new meaning when I looked at the bigger picture.  So without any further ado, let me share my perspective…

Those Pesky Emotions!

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Are you ready to take the wheel to life back into your hands?

First off it is very normal that our emotional state is a major driving force in our daily behaviors, it is kind of how we work.  The problem though is when we become out of balance and our emotions can grab the steering wheel and take us down roads that we don’t really want to go down!

Many years ago at a work conference, they had brought in LL Cool J to talk to us.  One of the things he said that really impacted itself on me was to not let your past hold you hostage.  I am not a note taker while I am listening to people talk, but I did write that down.  I would go onto ponder that particular line a lot over the next couple days.

In the story he told along with those words was about not letting something that he had feared from the past to control what he was doing in the present.  As I delved deeper and deeper into this thought process I began to realize how many fears in my life were holding me back.

Growing up I was an insanely picky eater and must have driven my parents crazy with that.  However, it was always fear of the unknown with foods that held me back from tasting them, or perhaps I had tasted it in the past and wasn’t about to touch it again.  After thinking about what I just learned though, I realized how my emotions were keeping me from a whole new world of flavor.

For Example…

Let’s take a look at a couple different scenarios to see how emotions can affect the way that we live in our now moment:

Are you letting a previous bad experience with a dog hold you back from all the love they have to give?
Are you letting a previous bad experience with a dog hold you back from all the love they have to give?

Sara and the Dog Incident – When Sara was younger she had a bad incident with a dog in which she was really frightened by.  Her parents were visiting friends and their dog barked a lot and really just scared Sara a lot.  From that point on Sara avoided dogs at all costs and there was no way she would ever have one as a pet.

In this case Sara’s fear from that one moment in time, is now in full control of a part of her life.  Anytime dogs come into play in the picture, her response is already programmed by this fear that she is holding onto.  From crossing the street to avoid a dog walking down one side to the nerves that she feels the closer she gets to them, it is always an impact.

Think about all of the positives that a dog can bring into someone’s life, yet Sara is denying herself that opportunity due to this past situation.  You can also easily replace dogs here with many other things.  What is something that happened in your past that is holding you back from enjoying your now?

Nutmeg was a rescue by my family. He only spent a year with us before passing, but taught us all a lot about love.

Gary and his love for cats – Gary has always had a soft spot in his heart for cats, there is just something about them that he loves.  This feeling has changed many of the behaviors he has had in his life.  He always has at least one cat as a family pet if not more.

When Gary started working for a dairy farm, he was happy to see that the farmer had a lot of barn cats around.  However, this would also cause Gary to rescue many cats and kittens over the years.  Whether it was rescuing one that was sick and needed a Vet’s attention or to bring a late season kitten into his home before winter set in.

Now Gary has a bunch of pet cats and this certainly has an effect on his life.  Financially there is food, litter, and vet bills.  There is the companionship that he gets from being with them.  There are also chores such as cleaning the litter box.  All of these things and more, factor into his life now as he allows his love for cats to continually bring them into his life.

In both examples here you can see how our emotions play a role in what we experience life on a daily basis.  From moments that we avoid to daily interactions that we bring into our lives, they always play a role in how we act.

So What am I to Do?

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Fear is natural.  Sense it, acknowledge it, but don’t let it control you.

First off, don’t worry!  This is a natural part of our lives and how we live and evolve as humans.  For example, fear can be one of the strongest motivating emotions and rightfully so.  You see our brains have evolved over time and the fear response has played an integral role in allowing our species to grow and populate the world.  Without fear we would more than likely have become extinct by now as we would have never feared the dangers in the world around.

That being said however, the best thing that you can do is to start being mindful in your life and pay attention to just how your emotions are affecting you in particular.  Are you letting negative emotions hold you back?  Are you taking positive emotions too far and causing other problems in your life?  You need to find the right balance for yourself and that will allow for optimum growth for yourself.

One of the best ways I have found to learn how to be mindful is through meditation.  This practice helps you to first calm your mind and that in itself is a huge factor.  Secondly, meditation allows you to structure your thoughts in a way that is more aligned with the path in life that you want to walk.

Udemy Course: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation. Learn what mindfulness meditation is, how to do mindfulness meditation, and experience four guided meditations. Click the image to learn more!

Another great resource that I have come across is a book called The Confidence Gap:  A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self Doubt by Russ Harris.  There are a lot of great techniques discussed in the book that help you to learn how to acknowledge our thoughts and emotions and yet to not allow them to control us.

Share Your Story with Us

I would like to invite you to share with us a story from your journey through life where your emotions took control and how you were able to take the wheel back into your own hands.  Or maybe you are struggling to get the wheel back and sharing here might help you to find the wisdom you need to do so.

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I don’t hold back with foods anymore.  I try new and old things alike!

I will get the ball rolling with my story first.  As I mentioned above I was a picky eater and after I had heard LL Cool J’s comment I realized that I was being controlled by my fear of trying new foods.  Since that point in time I have made an effort to try all kinds of new foods and many that I had even tasted before.

I no longer allowed my fear to control me, but I still acknowledged that it was there.  To this day I am eager to try new things and more often than not I will still try things I have had before.  I know that it’s not going to kill me and the worst case scenario is that I spit something back out and I can live with that.

I am truly thankful that I came to this realization as now there is much more of the menu available to me and my taste buds in this life.  Eating had been getting rather boring up to that point in my life as my selection was so narrow, but now that was no longer the case.

If you enjoyed this article or are looking to delve deeper into the subject, here are several other articles that I have written that tie in nicely with the subject at hand:

Thank you for stopping by today and don’t forget to share this article with your friends on your favorite social media network!

James W D
james@spiralrevolutions.com

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17 Replies to “What Motivates You to Live Your Life?”

  1. It’s funny i totally relate to the dog example. Since a early age i had such a fear of dogs i would always run when i saw one. I started to hate going to family member’s house who had a dog because it was so embarrassing i was so scared and everyone would do the best to convince it was all fine but i wasn’t hearing it. In my teens the fear when away more and more and now realized having a dog is awesome. I haven’t got a dog yet but i know its going to come some time soon.

    • Jorge, thank you so much for sharing your story and at the same time validating my example! I hope that you and your future best friend enjoy many great adventures together!

  2. Hi, James. What a powerful post! I find it frustrating how lead by my emotions I really am. The bigger issue with that is, they’re all over the place! I know being upset usually never helps any situation, but on top of that I suffer from anxiety. Lucky me, eh? lol I am a work-in-progress! 🙂

    • Audra, I can certainly understand where you are coming from as I was under control of my emotions for quit e a long time. Suffering from anxiety is also a ghost of my past, and I can honestly say that even though I am not done with the book a recommended in this article, it is certainly one that would be a huge boon for anyone suffering from it. As a matter of fact I was all but brought to tears while reading it today at lunch, as my wife suffers from anxiety and what I read today I know will be a big help for her. As soon as I am done with it I will be handing it to her!

        • I have another few chapters completed and it is only growing in value as it goes. By the time you would get and read the book I should have my review of it done by then. I hope that you would stop back by at that time and share some of your thoughts about it.

  3. So true we do allow our fears from our past control us. I am too just learning this and trying to get past it. It does take work but keep working on your self and be the driver of your own bus and things will slowly start changing.
    Thank you for sharing your article
    Laura

    • Laura, It certainly does take work doesn’t it? However, anything in life worth having often requires a lot of work. Once you get your mind under control and stop letting it control you, you will see how much easier a lot of things in life becomes. I would highly recommend to keep putting in the effort as you will reap the rewards.

  4. Hey, James…geez, where do I begin? So many fears to overcome! Probably my biggest fear is trusting in someone enough to let them into my life. I attribute this mostly from coming from a broken home. After my parents divorced, my dad moved on with a new family and sort of forgot my brother and me for a spell.
    Though, I have forgiven him, I find it hard to really get too close to anyone for fear they’ll abandon me as well.
    …didn’t realize all that until just now. Thanks for the therapy!
    I’d like to add, who knew LL Cool J was so deep? I love that quote and I’m probably going to borrow it.

    • Barb, I wouldn’t call it therapy per say but I am glad that my knowledge that I shared here today helped you to get to that epiphany. I too grew up in a fractured home and it certainly had an impact on me for quite a long time as well and to some extent probably still does. Matter of fact I know it does as I work my butt off to make sure that my kids experience a more positive family experience than I did as a kid.

      LL Cool J gave a ton of great advise that day as he spoke. I rarely ever take notes, but that line was just so powerful how could I not write it down. It has influenced my life ever since I heard it and has helped to shape the man that I am today.

  5. James this was a fantastic article ! I shared it on Google+ and Pinterest! Very motivating and I think that it’s awesome your work had LL Cool J come in to talk! I think there is a lot people can take away from this article, thanks for sharing man!
    I Also agree meditation is key for becoming more mindful and aware!
    ~Mike

    • Mike I am glad to hear that my article here resonated within you so powerfully and thank you so much for sharing! Yeah that was a great conference and I learned a lot from it on many different levels. This little gem was the highlight of all of it though.

      Meditation is certainly a key to helping yourself become more mindful, I know it has helped me to calm down my mind a good bit. I am not as quick to rush to an emotional reaction anymore and tend to collect my thoughts better before speaking.

  6. James, thanks for the article! I felt very out of balance lately. I’ve been letting negative emotions and past hurts to control myself just like your steering wheel analogy. It’s really encouraging when you mentioned that emotion is a natural part of us and all we have to do is be more mindful of it. Thanks again for reminding me!
    When you talked about LL Cool J, I started to wonder what is underneath my consciousness. I know that what I am aware of is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many things like fear and past that I am not aware of, but take a big part of my behaviors. Your article got me thinking that I don’t really know about myself and want to search deeper about myself. You helped me realize that a lot of emotions I have might be illusion of my past of false believes. I want to take some time to evaluate that.

    • Young I am very happy to see that I got the wheels in your head turning, that is always a good thing!

      The book I am reading now and mentioned in the article has been very eye opening for me. For a long time I was striving to think more positively and to use affirmations to further that along. However I am now realizing that we cannot change or hide from emotions such as fear and self doubt. Regardless of what we do in life they are going to pop up in our minds from time to time. The trick is to acknowledge and label the thoughts and emotions for what they are and to let them go. When you hold onto them you only stifle yourself and your ability to grow. Instead of trying to improve your self-esteem, work on improving your self-acceptance instead.

  7. I was always afraid of opening up to people. I’m naturally guarded and introverted, because I remember my own siblings using information I’d share or my feelings against me in some ways. So I play things close to the vest and hide my true feelings and intentions until a person earns my trust. I wouldn’t change any of this though, I think its healthy in the predatory world we live in, but I could be wrong.

    • Brandon, I certainly understand that as there are many out there that do use things against us when they can. However I would not let that hold you back from being trustful of people. In a world where we are conditioned to trust no one because of a few bad apples, learning to trust can be very difficult. This is why I do my best to live a very honest life, so that way I have nothing to hide from those that would try to hold my actions against me. I tell people almost daily that I live my life according to the Golden Rule for a reason, and what you stated is certainly one of them.

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