Cesare Pavese says, “If you want to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.”
We all travel through life with memories, experiences, and stories that serve as the backdrop of our lives. We approach each new encounter carrying an invisible backpack filled with everything we believe we need to successfully navigate through life. If we took a careful look in our backpacks, we would find joyful memories, satisfying aha moments, financial successes, hopes, and dreams. These are packed side by side with sadness, unforgiveness, losses, and fears. Even though our lives are filled with a cornucopia of experiences, often we discount the good and amplify the bad.
Psychologists have discovered that in spite of the good things we have accomplished, negative emotions are processed in a different hemisphere in the brain than positive emotions. Because of this, negative emotions require more thinking and more information to resolve. In addition, Professor Roy Baumeister, co-author of Bad is Stronger than Good, discovered that bad experiences have more impact on us than good ones. This makes it easy for us to forget the things for which we are grateful.
To lighten our bags and empty our invisible backpacks so we can travel fast, we must unpack the negative beliefs, unforgiving attitudes we have justified hanging onto and the “they did me wrong” stories. We must eliminate as many of the things that weigh us down as we can.
Start transforming your life and unpacking your backpack by doing the following:
Remember the Good that happens to you. Five (5) good things will change one (1) negative experience. This is an excellent time to start a Gratitude Journal or a “Daily Miracle Journal.” List five or more things for which you are grateful. In gratitude, there are no limits; there are no big or small miracles. There is only gratitude. In a year, you will have from 365 – 1,825 “daily” miracles.
Brag Lists. Create a list of things you have accomplished that you can brag about. Try to list seven things. Keep this list readily available and review it weekly at a minimum. Your brag list will remind you that in the midst of every new storm that you are pretty amazing and have already conquered many storms. When life whispers “You cannot withstand the storm.” You reply, “I AM the storm.”
Identify the Miracle. Each experience brings with it a litany of lessons and blessings. List the lessons learned, the insights gained. If you cannot change the situation, use the lessons learned and the ideas gained so you can change how you think about it. Asking yourself how you can grow from this experience will help you find the golden nugget in the midst of what you perceived to be darkness.
Now your bags are lighter. What is your next stop?
Get on-board. Your dream is waiting.
Dream Big! Live the life you have imagined.
Remember, life is too short to drink cheap champagne.