I was once a very negative person.
I didn’t grow up this way. In fact, growing up I was always the kid with great hope for the future. Something happened shortly after law school. I started to see the world zero sum. I didn’t like what I was doing. I didn’t like the amount of time that I had to spend away from my family. I didn’t like having to meet billable time quotas. I felt like my life was out of my control, but I was frustrated because I had spent so much time, and money, gaining an education, only to arrive at a place of discomfort, frustration and pain.
Because things weren’t how I thought they should be, I started to complain. I would complain to anyone who would hear me and lend me an ear. I would complain about the legal profession. I would complain about my firm. I would complain about my clients. I would complain about other people who didn’t have the same education that I had, that were still somehow able to find happiness and success. I was critical of others constantly.
This pattern occurred steadily from 2007 – 2011. During this time I found myself growing more and more discontent, anxious, unhappy and depressed. The more I complained, the more I criticized, the unhappier I became. There were also two very real events I noticed. I was attracting people who complained into my life. Misery does love company, I know this well. Also I was turning off people who thought differently, people who were more emotionally empowered. These people didn’t want to be around me much.
It was during this time that I made a discovery that has absolutely changed my life in every way:
I was the architect of my feelings. I had created my own depression by focusing continually on negative things.
Once I fully grasped this powerful truth I was able to make changes. Scary changes like leaving a stable profession (law) to pursue a entrepreneurial venture with my wife, and also to become a coach. I was able to stop complaining, and instead look for solutions. I was able to feel gratitude for little things. Most importantly I was able to be happy in the journey. This emotional shift gave me energy, courage, and excitement to tackle the hard challenges required in any business venture.
Resist the easy path of complaining. So many people fall into this trap. Instead live by the words of author James Allen,
A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself