The analogy about boiling a frog is true, have you heard it? In a nut shell, if you place a frog in a pot of boiling water he will immediately jump out. But, If you place him in a pot of cold water and slowly increase the heat he will not notice the small incremental changes and within a few minutes the water will boil and he will become dinner.
My Life as a frog
I’m sure my slow boil started as a kid, however the increase in temperature over the last 15+ years has slowly changed me. My world view and outlook on life definitely took a hit and I found I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be.
A few of the big spikes in temperature that were slowly changing and killing me are pretty easy to pinpoint. Divorce, a failed attempt at having a relationship with my dad and of course my wife Megan getting cancer were three of the big ones.
My faith in God, people and humanity dipped to an all time low. The kind of low where I stopped believing there could possibly be a God and that people were dishonest and deceitful. My solution was to move to an island with Megan, make surf boards on the beach and avoid having to interact with others.
Climbing out of the pot
From inside the pot my thoughts about people and life left me empty. Giving up and not believing in others sends you down a path towards bitterness and contempt. If you look close you can see others that have taken up residence in this place and it really made me think twice about the path I was on and more importantly what I was going to do about it.
Ironically it was the input from a stranger, you know, one of those awful humans that helped me climb out of the pot of water before I boiled myself in anger and judgement. I hired a life and business coach named Aaron Walker. As Aaron and I began working through the task at hand, my business and income goals, it was apparent right away that he was part of a bigger purpose for my life. To help me believe in God, people and myself once again.
Choosing between two paths
I remember laying in bed in the middle of the night. It was dark, quiet and I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about two choices in front of me and where they would both lead. If we pay attention we will see many examples of people in our lives that have made these very same decisions and the destination from their choices is easy to distinguish.
One choice was to give up and to believe that people were inherently bad. Continuing to choose this path would take me where it inevitably takes anyone that decides to follow it. To a dark, lonely and empty place. I don’t know about you, but I decided I didn’t want to hang out in a place like that.
The other choice was to believe. To believe that people are good, that love is good and that God is good. If I look for all of the reasons that make this hard to accept, I will find them. But if I choose to look for all of the reasons that it’s true, I will find many more. Belief feeds optimism and disbelief feeds pessimism. I decided that belief creates a much happier life, a much better world and that’s where I want to hang out.
Heading in the right direction begins with a simple decision to do so. First, I intentionally place people in my life that speak the language of hope and encouragement. Positive input is part of my diet, make it a priority.
One of the most impactful things I have done is to stop labeling people and putting them into groups. The Republicans, Democrats, Muslims, Christians, the freeloaders, the rich and yes, even the hipsters are individual people like you and me. I found when I stopped labeling people I connected with them. Making the decision to focus on our similarities and not our differences is a good place to start.
Decide to believe
This isn’t perfect and neither am I. I still want to strangle the guy holding up traffic by going slow in the fast lane (note, if there are two lanes and you have cars that want to pass, move right. It’s not your job to enforce the speed limit..:) That was PSA, free of charge.
The key to all of this is to decide. Decide who you want to be and how you want to feel. I hope to see you on the path of believing, believing in good.
This Week’s Podcast
If you have 3 minutes, yep only 3 minutes, and I know you do. Listen to this great little story on believing in others and starting to have faith in humanity.
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