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“Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” 

Spending time sharing about misfortunes professionally, mishaps financially, missteps of our government and mistakes of our neighbors is easy. It’s accepted by our society and encouraged through media.

But when we focus on what’s wrong in our lives we rob ourselves of fully enjoying the gift of all that is right.

Last week, I received four separate calls from individuals focused solely on the negativity they faced. It was my goal to help them shift the way they perceived their adversity, so that they could transform their situation, elevate their lives and change their world.

My week started with a discouraged client sharing that sales have dropped for the third straight year. She felt her team wasn’t doing enough to reverse the trend. She was considering leaving the firm.

Immediately afterwards, I had a call with a friend from New York. He was angered by the ruling in the Trayvon Martin case. He felt it was proof of the schism between races and the inequities that he faces.

My third call came in the middle of the week. A friend from Boston was irate about the Rolling Stone cover that highlighted the life and actions of the man who bombed the Boston Marathon. It broke her heart that the magazine seemed to be glorifying evil.

The week ended with a colleague from Toronto sharing the hopelessness of his marriage. He felt the woman he married is not the one he comes home to today. He kept telling me that she had changed and he was through.

This list was part of my week, but I bet you talked about many of these topics during your week too.

We can speak at nauseum about centuries of racial tension and divisive government policies. We could add to the conversation our own bad experiences professionally regarding weakness of fellow employees, soft markets or languishing industries. Still we would be able to continue discussing the shallow motivation by magazine editors trying to crassly grab readers; hurtful words others speak; mistakes others make; how difficult times can make us feel alone in the most important of our relationships.

But, my friend, before we spend our time, energy and precious days doing this, remember that life is absolutely what we make of it. It always has been and always will be.

We must stop chattering about and berating all that is wrong in our lives. And instead, use our challenges as fuel to change our world.

As hard as it seems, by embracing the times we’ve been mistreated we can grow with compassion and conviction to respect others.

As unfair as it may be, by letting go of the disappointment of being treated unfairly, challenged physically or demeaned publicly, we can instead devote ourselves to recognizing the strong character, courage, and faithfulness we have developed in exchange.

Through difficult trials we may choose to quit or to uncover new-found strength and use it to realize the dream, the goal, the movement, the change or the solution that we had been waiting for. My friend, it does not lie within someone else; the change you seek lies within you. [Tweet that.]

The solution you seek starts with your understanding that you can change your world. Every small action, thought and activity you offer today will effect massive changes in your life – and in the lives of others – tomorrow.

I am not diminishing the enormity of the challenges you face. Instead, I encourage you to embrace those challenges head on. What can you do today to build the cohesive society you long for, to thrive over obstacles at work, to mend and strengthen the relationships in your life, to turn off negative media, to turn on positive sources and to share the beautiful stories you find with others [invite your friends to receive this newsletter] or to personally improve your life?

The time to complain about your challenges is over. The moment to take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world is here. Start today.

Please share in the comments below: What is one area of your life you would like to see improved? Could be as broad as ending poverty or as specific as mending a broken relationship. Start. Take action. Do one thing: make the call, write the letter, go to the meeting, speak from your heart, begin the movement. The world hungers for your leadership to guide us forward. Start today.

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13 replies on “Start Today”

I just reread your post a year later … it still resonates. I have found if I allow my thoughts to mull over an issue or a problem answers will present themselves. Often the solution will change as I consider one position or another … that is part of the process. Reflective thought is good for the soul.f

Yes it is, Ejane! Thanks for sharing…and for coming back to re-read and share with us. Today is YOUR day, my friend. Live Inspired. J

I can definitely relate to that in my life. Too often I’m focused on what I could’ve been or done. We all have regrets in life but I can be particularly fixated.

Such a timely message! This morning has been filled with challenges that began at home and continued at work. It’s been a struggle to persevere despite these challenges. I like the wake up call you wrote: “The time to complain about your challenges is over. The moment to take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world is here. Start today.” It’s so easy to keep our minds focused on the challenges and not on the big picture. I don’t want to waste any more time complaining, because it takes away time for excelling! Thanks again.

Thank you for these great words of encouragement and the push to move towards my goals with purpose…again. Thank you!

I’m trying hard to let your comments seep in. Usually, I completely share your view. These days though, I’ve felt the need to share my frustrations and severe misgivings in order to gain counsel from those I admire and respect. But perhaps after months of sharing, it’s time to decide to be the positive force that I want to be in spite of the negatives I face.

I so enjoy reading your blog!!! What you have to say always seems to fit what is going on in my life. This totally hits home today for me!I’m once again struggling with my own identity, what I want out of life, who I want to surround myself with and many other aspects. I’ve lost me and I don’t like being there. I started my Monday off with a negative attitude and I don’t like that. I don’t need that. Thank you for your inspiring words…….I’m starting today!

so true John…i had a wonderful birthday yesterday, over 100 facebook/linked in posts of well wishes. I also had one not so happy phone call about someone using my credit card in France…i choose to not let the CC mishap stop my day or my happiness…this too, i can learn from. I recently used my card for a business purchase on the web; in the future i will use AMEX business card, this immediately stops the charges; where my other card tied to a checking, does not. It is all good and will end well. Hugs to you and yours, and Happy Monday Anna

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.