Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming.
Every single wildly successful transformational/motivational/spiritual speaker/author/minister has a story to tell about that awful time in their lives when they were homeless, sleeping in an alley/bus-stop/car/empty field, washing their clothes in a Denny’s bathroom or their hair with the 7-Eleven soda machine. They were either cracked out, drunk, disorderly, abused and rejected, or sober, but fat, sick and utterly despondent. I can relate to this as I am working my way back from one of these, and no, I have never washed my hair at 7-Eleven.
They describe this moment as a time when their lives were so broken, there appeared no farther to fall; they, we, I, had bottomed out. The next stop on this journey into the dark abyss was surely death … in fact, in these stories, something always does seem to die in the car, on the doorsteps of the homes they’ve just been evicted from, in that Denny’s bathroom at 4:00 A.M., or on that fifth trip thru the buffet line: our former selves who’ve embraced extremely low standards — or no standards — for our lives. That low-standard self has to die in the fire of transformation so a new self can be born, one with the fierce determination to say, “No more! My life is bullshit! I now insist on entirely new standards for myself!”
Skip ahead a few years and they’re living in the home of their wildest dreams, married to their soul mate, acting as principal spiritual adviser to Oprah and serving as general champion for humanity across the globe. It’s a beautiful story, one I’m sure is often mostly true.
Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.
Fortunately, none of us have to be homeless to experience authentic transformation. You don’t have to lose your family and sleep in the bus station to get that the life you’ve been living isn’t working and begin creating real change. You might have to experience being destitute in spirit; however, in the sense that you’ve finally and completely lost all hope that your current life strategies will ever work to make you authentically happy. To put it simply, you know you’re ready for change when you just can’t fucking take it anymore.
Yes my friends, the choice is ours.
If something in your life genuinely isn’t working for you, and hasn’t been for a long time, and you tolerate it, then you clearly haven’t had your AHA moment. You’re trying to make your low-standards comfortable. Every minute you let it persist, you’re deciding you can take more, hurt more, fail more, fall farther, suffer deeper – ultimately, you’re OK with bottoming out.
I quoted Tony Robbins earlier; he says his AHA moment did not come when he slept in a car, which he did, but a few years later when he held an eviction notice in his sober but big, fat, junk-food grubbing hands in a tiny apartment.
You’ll know when you finally hit your ultimate AHA moment because your whole body will come alive and say, “No More!!” … but with much more colorful language and absolutely with a conviction that ensures life will never again look the same for you.
You have to remember one life, one death–this one! To enter fully the day, the hour, the moment whether it appears as life or death, whether we catch it on the in-breath or out-breath, requires only a moment, this moment. And along with it all the mindfulness we can muster, and each stage of our ongoing birth, and the confident joy of our inherent luminosity.
I believe too many of us have settled for low standards in life therefore we don’t achieve all we can. Many people don’t dream big because they think it’s unrealistic. So they only expect to have an average life and average life they get. Also we’re spoon early on that being poor is noble, good — Godly even. Look at The Waltons, Titanic & Little House on the Prairie – the well to do people are presented as unhappy, mean and godless so if you want to be happy be poor and have dreams, but just don’t dream too big.
Settling for second best should never be anyone’s goal. Everyone can and is entitled to get only the best, yet because most people don’t raise their standards, they keep experiencing average in their lives.
Raising standards means refusing to accept something that is not what you want. That should by no means be interpreted as pushing against that which you don’t want, because that will keep you stuck forever. It only means that you no longer agree to tolerate something that you’re not satisfied with and you focus on and demand better conditions. It means burning bridges to distance yourself from the average life and reaching for the better life.
- Raising standards means distancing yourself from the people you no longer resonate with and being open to more enriching relationships.
- Raising standards means quitting your job and focusing on that start-up you’ve always dreamed of.
- Raising standards means moving out of the environment you never liked and having courage to move into much more pleasant surroundings.
- Raising standards means refusing to live an average life.
Ask yourself where in your life you allow yourself to be limited by your standards:
- Are you fearful when the next bill arrives?
- Do you give up when some difficulty presents itself?
- Are you letting other people decide how you live your life?
- Are you accepting your situation and doing nothing to change it even if it’s not what you really want?
- Are you in a relationship with a person who does not support and accept you?
- Are you settling for less for fear of the unknown?
I’m changing slowly day-by-day; I take new actions and raising the bar for myself daily. There are some great things happening in my life and it all started from making a new decision, setting a new standard and living that standard every day.
So – tell me, how can you set a new standard today?
Bhole Babaji ki Jai!