Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.

Zero Dean

Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker

Who are you going to be this year?

Who are you going to be this year?

Who are you going to be this year?
I’ve seen a lot of posts on social networks this morning basically saying “Good riddance to the last year!” and how it was a “crappy” year.

A crappy year?

While the past 365 days may have been challenging in many ways [I originally wrote this in 2012 and this statement has remained true for every year since — coincidence?], I think it’s important to remember that it is our attitude that helps dictate how we feel about what’s going on in our lives. And if we’re alive, with a roof over our heads, a meal to eat, and still able to make decisions in our lives, then we actually have it pretty good. A large number of people in the world don’t even have their basic needs taken care of — and our lives, no matter how difficult they may get at times, often beat the alternatives.

Life isn’t always easy — but it helps if you remember that obstacles in your path are there to test you and to help you grow. It is by overcoming obstacles that you develop new skills and new ways of handling what the rest of your life has in store for you. If you’d never had a problem in your life, you wouldn’t be very able to deal with — well LIFE, would you?

“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” — African Proverb

I don’t know (many) adults who still cry when they drop their ice-cream cones.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar

Every year from the year we were born, our challenges change to reflect what’s going on in our lives (and the world). And they often increase in difficulty as we continue to evolve from one year to the next. Some things are within our control to change — other things are not — but what we always have control over is our attitude.

Many of the challenges we face in our teens are often not the same as when we are in our 20’s, 30’s and beyond. And while much of this can certainly be attributed to changes in our environment, careers & social status, at least some of it can be attributed to the life skills we’ve (hopefully) picked up along the way: Confidence, communication, organization, responsibility, and the ability to weather storms. We learn how to cope.

I think the movie Stepbrothers, which involves two 39-year-old “children” still living at home, highlights an issue with not having learned the skills necessary to push forward into the next phases of life…

Warning: Profanity

If you want to be the very best you can be, then realize that challenges and contrast are a good thing and an opportunity for growth. And it is how you choose to react to those challenges that allows you to build your character and become a stronger person. Challenges are always an opportunity to reveal who you really are.

You don’t have to let the little things get you down — you don’t even have to let the big things get you down. Others may still complain about how awful or unfair or difficult life is, but you don’t have to be like that. Rather than focus on your problems, you can focus on how you’re going to overcome those problems — and have confidence that you’ll be able to do so.

Yes, it can certainly help to have a friend to confide in, vent to, or discuss your burden(s) — but it also helps to focus on what you’re going to do to overcome those burdens.

Which would you rather listen to:

  • 1) a friend complain about how awful something in their life is or
  • 2) the same friend explain something they’re dealing with and how they’re going to overcome it.

In the case of 2, they may even admit that they don’t know what they’re going to do, but if they explain their issues and express the fact they know that they will somehow find a way through them, it changes the entire tone of the conversation.

It’s the difference between “This is hard and life sucks!” and “This is hard, but I will get through this.” is a big one.

See also: The problem with problems

Would you rather the attention you receive be from people expressing how they “feel sorry” for you or would you rather the attention you receive from people be how they respect your attitude and ability to cope with what you’re dealing with.

You can decide right now that no matter what the next year has in store for you, that you are up to the challenge of handling everything to the best of your ability — and in the most positive way possible.

“I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” — Johnny Depp

Yes, mistakes will be made — as they almost always are anytime we encounter something new — but every mistake is also a learning experience. It is by developing the skills needed to overcome challenges that help us show who we really are.

So who are you going to be?

Originally Published on: Jan 1, 2012

Zero plus one – this is how it’s done

Zero plus one – this is how it's done

You start at zero and you add one.
And then you add another.
This is how it’s done.

Zero steps of a journey you want to take.
Zero miles you want to run.
Zero things you want to make.
Zero things you want to do for fun.

You start at zero and you add one.
And then you add another.
This is how it’s done.

Zero plus one – this is how it's done

Originally Published on: Oct 1, 2019

There’s no one way

There's no one way

There’s no one way to reach people that is both effective and makes everyone happy. There’s no one way to teach a lesson. There’s no one way to try to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

What one person finds annoying, preachy, or heavy-handed, another is thankful for. What one person considers common sense, another is contemplating for the first time.

Just because some people don’t appreciate your efforts doesn’t diminish the fact that others do.

Just because your attempts at making a positive difference in the world are not appreciated by everyone doesn’t mean that you should stop trying.

As one year ends and another begins…

Happy New Year.

As one year ends and another begins, let us move forward with an open mind, an open heart, and enduring hope for the wondrous possibilities that lie before us.

But let us do so wisely and without blinders on.

Because although the year ahead may be great, it will not be without its challenges. We will be tested in ways we cannot foresee. But with every challenge comes an opportunity for us to demonstrate our strength, patience, tolerance, and resolve.

Every surprise that the coming year has in store for us is an opportunity to show that we’ve grown. That we’re stronger. And that we are ever bridging the gap between the person we are and the person we wish to be.

Let us remember that it is through the process of overcoming challenges that we develop strength. And that every time we face temptation, heartache, friction, or failure it is an opportunity for us to act in ways that we can be proud of.

No matter what life has in store for us, let this be a year of love, encouragement, and forgiveness — of others and ourselves.

Let it see us act bravely, boldly, and taking consistent action towards our goals. Let it see us correct our bad habits and add to our good ones — making us healthier, happier, and more capable of living the kind of life we desire. Let is see us push forward into the new year knowing that we are not only capable of handling every adversity that lies ahead, we can do so in a way that makes us better.

And because we know that life isn’t always easy, let us remember to not just be there for those that we know, but also for those that we don’t.

Happy New Year.

Sincerely, ~ Zero Dean

Originally published: Dec 29, 2016

May your coming days be filled with memorable moments…

May your coming days be filled with memorable moments...

May your coming days be filled with memorable moments and positive life experiences. May you find the strength and determination to overcome challenges and persevere through tough times. May you find pleasure in simple things and encounter love & joy in unexpected places. May you leave the world a better place for having been a part of it.

And may you not only have a great day, may you help make it great for those you encounter.

Originally published July 7, 2014

Related:

Wishes for the New Year

May the new year bring you an abundance of amazing opportunities, beautiful moments, and joyful experiences. May your positive actions & attitude inspire others.

May the new year bring you an abundance of amazing opportunities, beautiful moments, and joyful experiences. May your positive actions & attitude inspire others.

May you be brave enough to take on and overcome rewarding challenges. May you find yourself in high spirits & excellent health. May you love with all your heart and find peace in even the most turbulent of times.

May the love you give find its way back to you. And may you forever be filled with the hope & strength necessary to make your dreams a reality.

Sincerely,
Zero Dean

Originally published on: Dec 30, 2013

Related:

Superficial vs substance

Superficial vs substance

There will always be people who see the value in your contributions to the world and who genuinely appreciate you for what you’ve done and the kind of person you are.

But by that same token, there will always be those who ignore substance and, instead, judge you based on something superficial, like what you own or how you transport yourself from one location to another.

Always keep in mind that it is not your job to convince people to see substance when all they want to look at is the superficial.

Be the best you that you can be and you will naturally attract those who see value in who you are and what you offer. Don’t waste time trying to get people who overly value superficial things to see your worth. If they ever do, it wont be because you convinced them to.

A reminder for tough times

A reminder for tough times

If you’re currently going through a difficult time, I want to remind you of something:

You are stronger than you feel.
You are capable of getting through this.
And you will.

Stop beating yourself up and focus on the positive actions you can take and push forward.

You’ve got this.

 

Related:

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self, I am working on being a better person

Dear Self,

I am working on being a better person.

Please let me be the type of person who I would respect & admire if I saw them in action. Let me greet each new day as another opportunity to get things right. Let me be open to thinking about things in ways I haven’t thought about them before. Let me find ways to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small, and act upon them when I am able.

Let me be open to the challenge of change. Let me not shy away from things just because they are difficult. Let me face my fears and do things I would like to do even when they make me nervous. Let me be generous with what I have to give away. Let me remember to be grateful for every second that I get to make choices in my life and act upon them.

Let me make at least one person’s day brighter by having been a part of it. Let me accept my mistakes as learning experiences. Let me learn to love myself, flaws and all. Let me not care so much what others think. And let me be confident in my ability to succeed.

Thank you. — Me

Originally Published on: Jan 27, 2012

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