In the darkness, even the dimmest of lights can be blinding.
After sharing Steve’s insights in yesterday’s Accepting Your Praise, I did one of these…
My brain was a bit fried from a week that was magnificent, yet draining. There are different kinds (physical, emotional, cognitive, etc.) and varying degrees of what would be described as draining. I’d say this was emotionally charging and cognitively draining.
There were a lot of processes (albeit good ones) running through my head that had prompted a few nights of insomnia and challenging meditations. My mental CPU was overheating.
I felt the need to escape the screen and serendipity was there to help. Matt Grey, CEO of The Stoner’s Cookbook, pinged me to let me know he was in Los Angeles and, in sharing my needs for some cognitive escape, I discovered he didn’t have dinner plans. Bro date!
Based in Toronto and constantly traveling, Matt and I hadn’t seen each other in person for several months so it was fun to bring each other up to speed on new developments and otherwise shoot the shit. Matt is a tall, dapper guy with a humble disposition and genuine character. While many offer support with a logical core (e.g. “this is well developed”), I’ve always seen Matt express a deep, emotional investment in those around him.
Waking up this morning, I broke my ‘no technology in bed’ rule and happened to come across an interesting interview with Iggy Azalea talking about the darker times in her past.
While I doubt internet trolls will force you to face deportation, Iggy’s story highlighted an unfortunate truth —the quietest of haters still carry the loudest of voices.
What truly stood out to me was this exact quote:
(speaking to how she overcame suicidal thoughts) “If I can just make it down to my horses and just go ride my horses and see how I feel after that and I always felt better after I did that and… just take it day by day.”
Cruz responded to Iggy stating, “the horses saved your life,” which is hardly true. When overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges, she focused the entirety of her energy on the next step. Not the next goal, the next step. On my darkest of days, I’ve said (often aloud) “if I can just put my shoes on… if I can just leave the house.”
When facing the greatest of challenges, look at your feet. Take a breath, realize where you are and take a step forward. Even (and especially) when clarity and conclusion prove elusive, reminding yourself you’re moving will often be the only thing to keep you alive.
Thinking on this in the shower this morning, I recognized an interesting tie into Steve’s message within yesterday’s email. Most people are unwilling or unable to accept their own greatness, as there’s a perpetual abundance of reasons to downplay incremental success.
It’s easy to slip into categorizing appreciation as jealousy… and bury it.
The expression of gratitude often requires a degree of vulnerability. When asked, people tell me they don’t want to “come off too strong” or “be seen as strange” and escape to a higher, more superficial level to use words like “awesome” or “epic” as adequate.
We talked about this in Priceless Real Estate, but these events—Iggy’s story in particular—refreshed the notion of appreciation in a new (and dramatically more powerful) light.
Simple (authentic) appreciation can change, or save, someone’s life… and the world.
The most powerful appreciation will be the most uncomfortable to express, but two quotes—having stuck with me over the years—are brought to mind.
“Comparisons are odious, because they presume all other things are equal — which is never the case.” ~ The Universe
“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” ~ John Acuff
Do not allow yourself to think—not even for one moment—that any notion of appreciation is undeserving of expression. Whether it’s your Uber driver’s ability to make a baller u-turn or your waiter’s ability to make you laugh — your words can brighten someone’s life.
Josh M. responded to Steve’s story saying,
“There are a lot of hard working talented people out there doing a great many things, and it’s sometimes easy to let a lack of desired personal success amidst the success of others temper one’s own humble brag voice.”
Everyone in this world is struggling with something and it’s rarely on their sleeve. Support people in their wins and you’ll be surprised how quickly crowds gather to support yours.
A silent cheerleader isn’t a cheerleader.
Tell me a story, even if just a few sentences, how you’ve brightened someone’s day.