There was a time when I was full of pessimistic energy. That was until I read a book that changed my life, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, by Steve Chandler. I wasn’t into self-help books. For whatever reason I attached a stigma to them. Part of that pessimistic energy, I suppose. Or maybe thinking that being in that section meant something was wrong with me that needed to be fixed. Well, something was wrong with me. I was in a steady state of unhappiness. I didn’t expect much out of life. Go to work and pay bills—on time. Have fun on occasion, but not too much. Almost as though I didn’t deserve fun. That was for other people.
I could try to trace back why I felt that way. Why I’d chosen to limit myself and my potential. I have gone into the corners of my mind to figure it out. The majority of it was perspective. I grew up in the South Bronx, and though my household was happy, the world outside was full of struggle, anger, and sadness. Not completely any one of those things, but they were in the air. So wherever there was happiness, there was one of those other elements not far behind.
It wasn’t the entire book [100 Ways to Motivate Yourself] that changed my life. It was just one short story about two people who needed to clean their garages. One person was a pessimist, who looked at the full garage and since he couldn’t clean it all at one time, decided he wouldn’t be able to clean it at all. The optimist looked at his full garage and thought it was too much to do at one time too. However, instead of giving up, he decided to do a little at a time.
By the end of the month, the pessimist still had a dirty garage, and the optimist had a clean garage.
It’s a simple story, but it made the light bulb go off in my head and I understood how I’d been hurting myself by giving up at the first try. Or not even trying at all because I didn’t think I would do something perfectly the first time.
That story turned me into an optimist, and my life changed. It’s not all gravy, but it’s so much better than it was before. It’s like an adventure now. If only I’d read that passage ten years prior. But, I may not have been ready to receive that message then. It feels much better thinking about the best, than dwelling on the worst, and I find that I get better results that way.
I’m going to dedicate a few blogs to self-motivation. I’ve been prompted to do this, in order to counter-act a blog entry that I read, specifically telling black women that trying to live their dreams is dangerous. I’ll get more into that in another blog.
Living dreams is dangerous. But having them and not living them is a nightmare. Let’s aim to motivate each other. This is not about romanticizing, or misleading or pretending that the road isn’t hard. It is. But you can’t live your life being afraid. The strength that we’ve gained in order to survive in this country can be used toward any goal we want! Use that strength to conquer your dreams. Humans can do whatever we put our minds to. Black women are not exempt from that fact.
Thanks for reading!