2024 May 14 Empower your future

May 14, 2024

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. If you'd like what you hear today, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about being honest with yourself so that you can empower your own future vision to become your current reality.  


Some things happened over the past couple of weeks. One of the computer programs I use a lot is the Affinity Suite by Serif software. I've used their products for decades, but with the Affinity version 2, they really had a huge hit. They made a really extraordinary program, and I recommend it to everyone. 


Another program that I use on and off is Canva designer.  I've used both personally and professionally for many years. Both these companies have some things in common. Both provide amazing value to their users.  They both support charities and educational institutions. They're very generous with their educational discounts. They have really large active user communities.


Recently, Canva bought Serif Software and is already merging the capabilities together while still leaving the Affinity Suite as a stand alone product. This is a win-win for everybody—for both companies and for both groups of users. There was a lot of communication from the owners of both the companies, and I really think they are trying to merge this as a real product merger of peers, as opposed to a lot of takeovers where a big company buys a smaller company and absorbs it and tosses it away.


I was thinking about this in terms of how many people will probably perceive it. They'll say, Oh, sure. Canva's huge. They can spend that money. It must be nice to write a little software and end up a millionaire, because I'm presuming that people at Serif did okay.  That completely and totally misses the how and the why, both behind the companies and why such a merger will likely work and why it even happened. People look at the obvious, and they're missing the difficult things that are also really obvious, but if you admit that those are the real things, then it leads to some very difficult self introspection. 


Now Canva has become a household name in many areas of creative development. You see their name everywhere. A lot of people use it and recommend it. But it wasn't because they had a drawing program. That was almost secondary, in a sense.  It's because they developed a community. They made sure that the program was accessible in a free version for people that needed it and just couldn't afford it.


They kept adding feature after feature that people requested. They kept the price reasonable. Yes, the drawing program was needed at the time, and it was a good market. But the reality is, they could have made almost anything and if they did those same things, they would have been successful. In other words, they provided extreme value and they were proactive about helping people starting out—plus educational institutions, charities, and their amazing community—all of which took years to develop. 


Similarly, Serif used to be a tiny little development house. They were a very small operation,  but they persisted. They kept adding value and they listened to their customers. With version two, which was released in November of 2022,  they came out with a product of stunning value and have already made huge enhancements to that since it came out. And again, they have an active user group. So a friend of mine said,  Now, after seven years of struggling, all my friends will roll their eyes and say how lucky I am to be an overnight success


It's the same situation. Both Canva and Serif have worked for years to get to where they are, but we tend to assume how easy it is for other people, because that justifies to ourselves why our current situation isn't our fault. And to be clear, our current situation doesn't have to be bad. But chances are, we'd like to change some things. That means we either have to try and make some changes in our lives, which is a bit scary, or come up with some real reasons why we didn't do it. We make up some external reasons for what we can't change. There's a different situation. I couldn't possibly do that.


One of my mentors has a very active user group. It amazes me how many people lurk around these groups, sometimes for years. It's up to us to create our own future. It took them a while to get going, but they persisted and they are making changes and they're succeeding. In that same way, people tend to make that same mistake when they look at other people's lives.


The mistake of saying, Oh, it was probably easy for them, or They probably had other reasons. They assume someone else is happy, or financially successful, or has a good relationship, because of something that seems obvious. Well, they have a good job, or Maybe they're just lucky or They have a really good spouse or something that makes it seem like the other person was fortunate through some external stroke of good fortune.


But far more likely is that the success really comes from those people and their willingness to do the hard things, to really put a lot of effort into that relationship, to go the extra mile when things aren't going well, to continue trying.


The reality is that it's a more difficult road, and a lot of people can't be bothered to do that, so they'll come up with reasons and excuses why. That's not necessarily a bad thing when you first do it. We've talked about how our mind keeps us safe by not taking chances. It's a very powerful thing, our mind, and it keeps us safe in a lot of situations. But our mind does the same thing when we analyze other people's success. If we try to be introspective on it, we sit down and see that they didn't have that good a job and now they bought a second house—and really try and start analyzing it.


Our mind will supply us with all the reasons that we aren't capable of making the same sort of changes they did. Their kids were older. They both happened to be working in an industry that took off. Even though they didn't have good jobs, the industry took off, so that probably helped them somehow


We've focused on reprogramming our future, on envisionment techniques and reprogramming our mind.  We really do have to work to get our mind to understand that. Sometimes change can be very beneficial. We've talked about ways to do that with envisionment and priming our minds with thoughts of the future.


But  at some point, we really need to admit that we're the result of the decisions that we ourselves have made. I know circumstances can have an effect, and oftentimes a very large effect. But we still have many tools to change how we respond to the challenges.  We have to be honest with ourselves. Sometimes, honesty is really difficult.


We've talked about reframing how we see a situation, and just by reframing it, we can change how we respond to it. That can make a huge difference in how we can move forward in our lives. The corollary to that is not just reframing the past, but by being absolutely honest with ourselves and saying, I may not own everything in the past, but I probably do own a piece of it.


Once you get to that, you can learn from it, and you can learn new techniques to move forward with. There's a book, Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink. A lot of what is said in there is really common knowledge, but it's presented in such a way that it really doesn't leave much room for the reader to say, Well, I couldn't do that, or, Well, that doesn't apply to me.  It's pretty tight writing. When you read it, you realize he has some pretty valid points.


The crux of it is that we are responsible for determining our own future. It's based upon urban warfare, which is about the worst form of fighting for everybody involved.  It seems like almost nothing is under your control. You're just in this horrible situation.  But Janko explains how, even in that very challenging situation, you still have control over how you respond. Hence you have a good deal of control over the outcome of the situation. It may not be ideal, but you can still exert a degree of control over it, even in the worst of situations. 


And so, in your daily life, you do have time to think a little bit. You do have control over how things go. Not completely, not totally. External events make a difference, but you do have some degree of control. One of my good friends and I have friendly arguments fairly regularly about this in terms of my own life. We all have challenges in our lives, and he's always trying to rationalize why something is not my fault. How could you have seen that coming? If somebody else did that, that's not your fault. But I remind him all those times that those circumstances didn't arise in a vacuum. They were the result of my own decisions and actions even if they were done by somebody else. So ultimately I am responsible.  I either took a particular risk or did not take a risk that would have been useful. I made a particular investment in time or money or did not, or I hired somebody or did not hire somebody.


All those decisions are my decisions. In other words, I totally own my own past, and I'm also responsible for creating my own future. Honestly, I find a lot of comfort and energy in that approach because instead of giving myself a free pass, it motivates me to be more proactive in my own life and to realize that there are almost limitless opportunities available to all of us if we're willing to put in the effort. 


Think about that.  This isn't to say you can just will your own future. That's a whole different topic. That's manifestation. But you do have, even in daily life, even without any of the woo woo stuff at all, you have a tremendous amount of control over what you can do. You have the ability to influence the likely outcomes that will come your way in the future.


So that's it for the evening. Remember that other people's success is probably the result of hard work and not just good luck, but more importantly, that our own success is, to a large degree, a result of our own efforts and living towards our vision.  The short term comfort of making an excuse pales in comparison to the long term wonderfulness and success that we can achieve when we take ownership of our decisions and work towards our own vision of success and vision of happiness.


Your homework (always optional) is to think about some excuses you've made for yourself over time, big or small, and now be totally honest and take ownership of the decisions leading up to that situation. Imagine a different outcome.  Extra points if you revisit it again and think of wildly different decisions that you could have made. Now with that reference of totally different decisions, think about what you could use now to create a different vision for the future for yourself. 


As always, please remember the war in Ukraine and Israel/Palestine. There's a lot of unrest in the world. UKR7.com has links where you can make donations to help people in Ukraine. World Central Kitchen is at WCK.org.  They provide food and food related services in many parts of the world, including both these places.


If you'd rather, you can donate to a local charity and make a big difference there. If you choose not to donate, you still have the ability to make a change in somebody else's life. Say good morning when you see someone on the street. It can be as simple as that. People appreciate it and it can make a huge difference. Living outside of yourself, thinking outside of your own self to the rest of the world truly changes your perspective on the world.


Remember one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. If you can and you're able, check out a donation site. Donate locally. Just make somebody's day a little bit better. As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button, and if not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear.


Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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