We’ve heard it before. The familiar phrases: struggling artist, struggling new business owner, unnoticed blogger, battling against the odds. Someone mentions following an unfamiliar path and immediately the peanut gallery is quick to submit an opinion on why it’s not a good idea. There are clearly much safer choices.

Society tends to deter the inspired from following the career path of an artist, actor, writer, creator or somebody who lives their life in an unfamiliar way; by alluding to a life without money, a continuous or never ending struggle, one in a million chances of success or by suggesting we face this apparent reality that we’re not special enough – those people are ‘lucky.’

“After all, we can’t all be artists can we? Who’s going to pick up the trash?”

Eventually you start to believe crazy things:

I couldn’t possibly work hard for something until it succeeds. Nobody ages, positions of power never shift and there isn’t a soul out there that might agree with me. The market is too saturated, there isn’t room for me in that industry, those guys are much better than I am. A range of discouraging notions cycle in your head until you’ve convinced yourself they were right. Everything you’ve thought, everything you’ve believed in up until this point, everything you’ve worked for to attain your dreams was a false reality you’ve created for yourself. All of this was for nothing.

Time to give up, throw in the towel, you can’t get it done. Can’t figure out how you want to spend every day of your life? Well you’d better figure it out. There’s always just enough money out there to convince you going for it isn’t worth a shot.

R E L A X. Turns out nobody has truly mastered this game, we’re all just playing; learning new things every day. Following the dream introduces a difficult obstacle course and sometimes your mind can throw you into a spiral. This is a list of 14 lessons I’ve been taught to remind and motivate (us) to keep struggling to do what we really want to do.

1. What you hear becomes what you believe

The more you tell something to other people, the more you hear yourself say it, the more you will believe it. Be truthful and honest to yourself and others, it will pay off in the long run. “Stop saying why it won’t work and focus on why it will.”

2. Don’t try to be perfect

Perfection is an illusion; people can appreciate you’re not perfect. Make your greatest effort at what’s important, deliver and move forward. Obsessing over details slows your progress, questioning yourself will leave all your projects 75% completed. Today’s headlines are tomorrow’s history. Learn from it and keep on moving.

3. Ideas are ideas

Until you’ve taken the first step, an idea floats around as a temporary projection of something desired. Though simple, writing things down is more substantial than saying “that’s a good idea, I should do that.”

4. You need to believe it

If you don’t believe in what you do, what you’re selling or what you’re talking about – then what are we talking about?

5. Work smart

Tackle what’s most important first, one step at a time. If you’re starting to panic, walk away. Go outside. Relax and come back later. This step is not negotiable. Panic causes quick, rash decisions and completely stops your creativity.

6. React appropriately

How you feel determines how you’ll feel. Don’t get caught up in the moment and make hasty decisions. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Unknown

7. There will always be haters

“When you feed people the truth, you don’t know how they’re going to react … Be patient, for now.” – Nas

8. Take Risks

9. Trust Yourself

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

10. Enjoy it

Take a deep breath and gaze from time to time. Somehow gain pleasure from what you do or it’s not worth doing.

11. There is a time for everything

Time to relax, time to hustle, time to work, time to laugh, time to cry. Focus on each while you’re in it, embrace it; but realize everything happens in waves and vibrations; nothing ever stops moving.

12. Never give up, keep trying

If you enjoy the time you spend, you’re not spending time at all.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs

Alright, lets pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
Lets pretend things would have been no different
Pretend he procrastinated, had no motivation
Pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin, they could blow away with the wind
Marshall you’re never gonna make it, makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win
Pretend he just stayed outside all day and played with his friends
Pretend he even had a friend to say was his friend
Eminem – Airplanes Pt. 2

13. Passion will drive you keep trying

If you’re in it for the wrong reasons, frustration will eventually drive you to give up. Otherwise, it will only motivate you to keep trying harder. To find the right way, you’ll first discover seemingly countless wrong ways. If you haven’t yet succeeded to where you believe is appropriate, you haven’t yet exhausted every possible option – there is always a better way of doing everything.

- Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
- I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.
- There is always a better way.
- We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.
Thomas Edison

14. Pursue Happiness

Really the goal in life is happiness. The answer to life is be happy with what you have. I asked my 88 year old Grandfather what is the most important thing in life. Without hesitation, “your health.” How you feel affects everything you do, understand yourself. Live, Love and Prosper!

This post originally appeared on http://www.bnapoli.com

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