“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
That quote has been defining the way I approach my quarter life crisis lately.
It’s all too common for people (especially young people, from what I can tell) to expect something from the world. Like an incentive to become a productive member of society. A down payment on adulthood. I think people watch reality TV and super rich celebrities and think that if they just wait long enough, or lead a ridiculous enough life, that the fame and fortune they are due will come to them.
Seriously? You want to be in the same category as Honey Boo Boo?
The most successful and influential people in my life are the ones that have used their natural talents and worked for every single thing they have. I strive every day to join that crowd. To bring something nice to the world in a way that only I can.
Some days are undoubtedly more difficult than others. There are days when I could keep every shudder in my house closed, shut my eyes, and ignore all of the pressure, the disappointment, and the fear that exists in my own mind. And it takes every shred of positive thinking that I can muster to pull myself up and create something. Anything. Write a blog post, make a new recipe, plant a tree. Something. And it becomes a tangible reflection of my contribution, my abilities, my potential.
“A man said to the universe,
‘Sir, I exist!’
‘However,’ replied the universe,
‘the fact has not created in me
a sense of obligation.'”
– Stephen Crane
That poem scared the bejesus out of me when I first read it during my angsty high school years. But as I’ve become more familiar with myself and with the world around me, I realize that it’s not the universe’s obligation. It’s not anyone’s obligation but my own. I exist. And what I do with that fact will not only define my own life but will, in some small way, shape the world.
My counselor once told me that it takes 10 positive thoughts to outweigh and overrule the neurological pathway that 1 negative thought creates. Whether it’s true or not, I choose to believe it. Because that would mean that it’s ten times easier to keep your eyes and shudders closed all day. So every morning that I wake up, smile at people I see that day, and work towards creating the best life possible, I’m defeating the odds. And that is great motivation to keep going. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have hundreds of positive thoughts streaming through your mind that dozens of negative ones?
I’ll leave you with a link to one of my newfound favorite things in the whole world. This kid really knows how to motivate!
What’s your favorite motivational quote or activity?