Beliefnet
Because This Is Your Life

It seemed like just another day on a school bus filled to capacity.

The ride to the high school was 6 miles. Approximately 25 minutes each way.

While it may have looked like just a regular school bus on the inside, it’s what you didn’t see on the outside that was worth thousands of words…and stories.

Not only that but in many ways it set the stage for the future of those riding the bus.

I was one of those students who rode that school bus for 3 years…

Seems like no big deal…right?

It was to me because I always made it a point to sit as far in the back as possible because that’s where all the “cool” kids sat. And along with that some of my friends were sitting back there as well.

Still seems like no big deal…right?

Well here’s the thing…

Every single person  in the last 4-5 rows from the back of that bus made it a daily habit of smoking…both cigarettes and marijuana.

The only one who didn’t…me. Never did and never tried it either.

But what was really interesting is that I was “allowed” to stay back there…while the so called “nerds” and less popular kids took up the first 6-7 rows.

And even though at the time it didn’t seem like a big deal to the other kids, I knew that it was setting the stage for my future.

How?

It was preparing me for life. It was helping me to be able to stand up for who I really am.

So, my question to you is…

“Are you standing up for who you really are?”

…And what is it that gets you to realize that?

1. Where are you going

Many people will say what goes on in school is an important factor that determines your future. But how many will say the same thing about what takes place on a school bus…not too many.

And in my case this was an important factor…

Because after all, I would get the other kids blowing cigarette and pot smoke in my face. In fact, there were times when it was like living inside of one big cloud of smoke…the size of a bus.

Along with this they would also try and get me to do drugs. Then of course came the occasional, “you’re a wimp”, along with the other ways they would make fun of me.

But it didn’t work. I stuck to my guns and wouldn’t give in.

Now my question to you is, “how do you handle a situation when someone tries to get you to do something against your will?” And keep in mind that this can be in any area of your life.

Look back through your life and see how you dealt with these situations. Did you stand up for yourself? Did you cave in because “others were doing it?”

And most importantly…

Has this actually dictated the way your life is currently?

What I mean by this is that you want to know where you’re going in your life. And you especially want to know if all those situations throughout your life have actually conditioned you to just lay back and accept life as it comes.

Because you may actually be giving up what is truly most important to you…what you would love to do most in your life, and not even realize it.

In my case, I just knew by not giving in to what others “wanted me to do” each day on the school bus would condition me on how to stand up for myself throughout my life.

And it certainly determined where I was going in my life.

2. The truth of the truth

One thing that was pretty obvious to me back in those high school days was the fact that I really didn’t fall into any one group. Back then you had the jocks, the burn outs, the rich kids, the brains (smart kids), and the nerds.

Even though I was very much into sports and fitness, I never really hung out with any one particular group…

Instead I was friendly with a few people here and there from each group.

It didn’t make much sense what this meant back then…but now it does.

I can now see that this was a way of realizing that every person in some way was a mirror. In other words, I was seeing parts of myself in each of these people who were in each of those groups. This way of identifying with people from different groups continues for me to this very day.

What this has allowed me to do is to realize the truth of who I am while also standing up for myself…while at the same time respecting others for who they are.

For you, what type of people and groups do you identify with? Is there any one in particular or are you a “rover” as I like to call myself?

And along with this here’s something else to realize…

No matter what you do…no matter what group of people you identify with, you’re going to be liked and disliked, supported and challenged, praised and criticized equally.

Not only will you get this from friends and acquaintances, but from family as well.

Since this is the case, then you may as well be true to yourself…even if at times you feel like you’re alone and seen as an outcast.

Because the truth of the truth is that you’ll get both sides no matter what you do.

Whether you try and please others or defy them doesn’t make a difference. It’s standing up for who you are that counts.

And yes, you’ll anger people along the way. You’ll have people come in and go out of your life. But through it all you can be guaranteed of having one very important aspect of your life…

You.

3. You being you

Earlier I mentioned that what you didn’t see on the school bus was worth thousands of words and stories…along with how it set the stage for the future of those riding the bus.

As time went on and we left high school each person went their separate ways. I would occasionally come across some of those kids here and there. But for the most part I lost contact with them…until recently.

It was interesting to see how those I’ve reconnected with turned out. The people I’ve spoken to live in the same area in New Jersey. Some of them are doing well and others still have their “stuff” going on…but for the most part things turned out well for them.

Each person who rode that bus with me has a life story that is important. They may not have realized it back then as much as they do now. And just speaking with some of my high school bus mates, it is pretty obvious that they appreciate life more now than ever before.

Let’s now talk more about you…especially about you being you.

And I’d like to start by asking, “What is it about who you are that brings value to the world?”

By answering this question everyday, not only do you get clear on the tremendous amount of value you contribute to the world through your uniqueness, but you are actually conditioning yourself to stand up for who you are.

Because when you fully realize how much value you give to the world, you become more confident. You become more certain. You get in the habit of living a life of “I love tos” rather than “I have tos.”

This, along with embracing both sides of life—the positives and negatives equally—puts you in a position to stand up for who you are.

Remember…

In order to care for those people that matter most to you, it’s important to take care of you first. And this begins by you being your magnificent self.

It begins by standing up for who you are.

And notice that I said, “it begins” and didn’t mention that “it ends”…

Because it doesn’t end.

Even after you pass on physically, the legacy of who you are lives on. Being remembered for you being you will always live on.

And this also includes how special of a person you really are…

And that you really do matter in this world.

It’s something you do every day from the minute you get up until the moment you lay down and go to sleep…

And everywhere else in between.

Not only that but this is something that makes the difference between living a life of what seems like never ending struggle, uncertainty, and doubt…

Versus

Having greater peace of mind, greater self confidence, and being able to enjoy your life more—now and a lot more in the future.

This is also something that you’ve heard about thousands of times…

But never spoken about in the true way of how it  can work to your advantage in any area of your life.

Do you know what this is?

Be aware that knowing what this is and how you can use it all starts by first asking yourself the question…

“What is the meaning of my life?”

1. Mission not passion

Knowing the meaning of your life starts by realizing if you’re following your passion versus living your mission. And the difference between the two is night and day. In fact, it’s also the difference as to whether you live the type of live you’d love to live or not.

How so?

Most people believe that following their passion is the key to achieving the type of life they’d love to live.

But guess what?

The actual meaning of passion is the opposite of what it was originally intended to be.

Therefore it is unwise to follow your passion.

So you’re probably thinking, “what in the world is Chaney talking about?”

Here’s the truth behind it all…

The original meaning or etymology of passion means to suffer…ungoverned out of control suffering.

Of course most people nowadays see passion as what we all have come to know it as. And this came about because somewhere along the line someone changed the definition of it.

But what hasn’t changed is this…

Following your passion is one sided.This involves seeking more pleasure than pain, more support than challenge, more success than failure, more positive than negative, etc.

This is what I like to call trying to live a “fantasy lifestyle.” This is unwise to do and is the source of most people’s suffering.

The wisest way to live your life is to be mission driven.

When you follow your mission you’ll embrace pleasure and pain, support and challenge, success and failure, positive and negative…equally.

You’ll know that no matter what situation you encounter that both sides exist equally. They exist for a purpose. And the more of one you have, the more of the other you’ll have as well.

This is what I like to call living a “fulfillment driven lifestyle.”

What this leads to is living a fulfilled life rather than trying to live a happy life.

So just know that part of the meaning of your life is to be mission driven rather than passion driven.

And that the purpose of your life is not to be happy or successful, but rather to be fulfilled…

Because living a fulfilled life embraces the happy and sad, success and failure, both of which are necessary to live your mission and to do so in a healthy manner.

2. Connecting the dots

Here’s something I used to do that you’re either doing now or have done at some point in your life…and that is thinking, “what if I had done this” or “what if I had done that” my life would be different, I’d be better off.

Well guess what?

What you have done or not done in your life up to this point has served you in your life. Are you aware of that? Are you also aware that if the things you “wished had happened” or “not happened” that you may even be worse off than you are right now?

But here’s a pearl of wisdom that adds more meaning to your life…

No matter what you’ve done or not done still has both the positive and negative attached to it. In either case those situations both served and dis-served you in some way. Therefore you’re no “better” or “worse” off.

Take a look at the different moments in your life and start “connecting the dots” as I like to say. If the very thing you wanted to go your way did go your way, the outcome may not have been what you expected.

In fact there have been many movies, even though fictional, that show this. Back to the Future, Sliding Doors, and Running Against Time are a few that come to mind.

The point here is this…

Even though you can’t go back in time physically, you can perceptually. In other words you can always have those thoughts of “my life would have been different or better if “this” had gone my way.”

But once you connect the dots and see that everything in your life up to this point has served you and your mission…

You’ll have even more evidence as to the meaning of your life.

3. Knowing me knowing you

During the course of our lives we have relationships with thousands of different people. Along with that comes the many different memories we have. And what also comes with it are the so called “good” and “bad” days.

I use “so called” because in actuality each day is “good” and “bad.”

Think about a time when you had a “good” day. Then all of a sudden you had someone you know on that day say that their day was “horrible.”

Now look at it from the other end. Think of a time when you said you had a “bad” day. Then all of a sudden you had someone say they were having a “great” day.
In both cases each person is experiencing the “good” and “bad” of that day.

Well the same is true of memories of all the people and situations you’ve come across in your life.

Here’s something else to keep in mind…

The more you know other people, the more you get to know yourself. And the more you get to know yourself, the more you get to know other people.

This adds a tremendous amount of meaning to your life.

It gets you to see parts of yourself that you may not have been aware of. This is also why whenever you see someone as being mean and dishonest—that the only way you could see them that way is if you’ve seen yourself or others have seen you as also being mean and dishonest.

And it works the other way too.

If you believe that someone is beautiful and a genius–that the only way you could see them as being beautiful and a genius is if you’ve seen yourself or others have seen you as being beautiful and a genius in some way.

So…

“What is the meaning of your life?”

Let’s now come back to what I mentioned earlier about something you do every day from the minute you get up until the moment you lay down and go to sleep.

And how this makes the difference between living a life of what seems like never ending struggle, uncertainty, and doubt…

Versus

Having greater peace of mind, greater self confidence, and being able to enjoy your life more—now and a lot more in the future.

In fact what this is, is contained in the word life.

You see LIFE stands for…

Love
Is
Forever
Eternal

…and the word I’m referring to is Love.

But it’s not in the same way as you’ve heard mentioned thousands of times throughout your life…the romantic love.

Instead, love means that you’re surrounded by both sides of life 24 hours a day during your entire life.

This is why it’s with you from the minute you get up until the moment you lay down to go to sleep.

And when you become fully aware of this the meaning of your life suddenly changes and takes on a whole new meaning…

A meaning that gets you to see how spectacular and amazing of a person you are.

A meaning that gets you to realize the tremendous amount of value that you contribute to the world with your uniqueness.

And along with that being able to pass that meaning on to others so they can do the same in their lives as well.

What happens when you watch a movie on TV?

You see a story that has a script to it.

It has a beginning, an end, and the events that take place in between.

But sometimes it doesn’t go the way as planned…even though it may seem like it’s supposed to at first.

In many ways this sounds like your life…right?

Now there’s something else you quite often don’t see in the movie that also happens to be in your life as well.

And it has to do with how your life turns out…even though it’s something most people do anything in their power to avoid like cancer.

Not only is this something that can strike the fear of death into you, but it’s also the very thing needed to turn your life around when it seems like all hope is lost.

What I’m talking about is “The unknown”

And more specifically…the Great Unknown.

Let’s face it…

It’s only natural as a human being to want to know how things will work out…the script of how things are to go in your life and having it be predictable.

But as you already know it quite often doesn’t go that way. And with it comes the eventual fear along with the unknown of what today, tomorrow, and the future brings.

What happens as a result…

Feeling paralyzed of what to do which quite often leads to giving up.

Interestingly…

This is the best time to “dive in” and discover this great unknown because it’s where the solutions to the biggest problems in your life are.

So the question is…

“What (and where) exactly is this great unknown in your life”

…and how do you discover it?

1. Navigating the unknown

There are two things that you, I, and every human being will always face in life no matter what and these are right at the backbone of dealing with the unknown…making choices and taking risks.

With that said here’s a quote of mine…

“Life is full of choices. One of these choices is taking risks. And unless you’re willing to sometimes take risks your life will never change.”

Because many of the most important choices you’ll make in life comes with an increasing amount of risk…whether they have to do with your family, your career, the people you choose to associate with, your finances, and even who you are as a person.

And by knowing how to be courageous and brave enough to make these choices is what leads to discovering the greatest reward of all. It’s life’s most treasured payoff you’ll get as a human which is only attainable by navigating through the unknown.

I’ll come back to what this is in a few minutes.

But first the question here is…

How do you effectively navigate through the unknown?

Well, it’s the same way for all human beings…

By embracing life from a two-sided perspective.

Every situation you come across, whether you take risks or not, will have two sides to it.

Meaning…

No matter what you do you’ll have people liking and disliking you, supporting and challenging you, praising and criticizing you, putting you up and putting you down, being nice and mean to you…EQUALLY.

And the same is true of yourself. You’ll have moments of feeling happy and sad…equally. Moments of building yourself up and putting yourself down…equally.

There’s no escaping this.

And the interesting part of this…

Whether you step in to the unknown or go through life “playing it safe” and trying to avoid the unknown…you’ll get it anyway.

This brings up another quote that comes to mind…

“The real risk in life is doing nothing.”

Therefore…

It’s wise to make it a point to take risks because this is what gives you the courage to navigate through and “step in to”, take on, and go through the great unknown in your life.

And since you’ll get the both sides of life that I just mentioned, then you may as well “dive in” anyway…right?

Now of course when I say to take risks I don’t mean reckless, out of control, and highly emotional risks…

What I do mean are “healthy risks” that see the different situations involved from a two-sided perspective, along with seeing the equal amount of benefits and drawbacks of each.

When you approach it like this, you dance your way through the unknown and out the other side…which is the greatest reward I spoke about earlier.

In fact, there’s two greatest rewards.

Let’s look at the first one now.

2. Destination…Truth

Naturally there are as many different life journeys as there are people in the world. The nice part of this is the fact that your journey is unique and special. What is the same for everyone however is that all life’s journeys have a destination…

The truth

…And it’s here where the core of the great unknown in your life exists.

In fact…

This is where the first greatest reward of your life lives.

Because it’s here where you discover the truth…the truth of who you are, why you’re here, what you’re made of, and what you’re willing to go through.

It’s also where you discover the other different truths…the truths of the many different events you go through in your life.

If there’s such a thing in life as an ultimate destination in life…this is it.

However…

As much as a life reward this is, far too many people avoid what it takes to get there…stepping in to the great unknown.

Strangely…

Even though all human beings want the truth, most are afraid of it. They avoid it like cancer. And ironically, more often than not it has to do with stepping in to and discover the great unknown in their lives.

This again goes back to what I said earlier about taking risks…along with making the choices to take those risks.

And one of the main reasons for this is because most people are striving for a one-sided fantasy life…seeking more happiness than sadness, more pleasure than pain, more kindness than cruelness.

The world is not…was never…and will never work that way. It was never designed to in the first place.

It’s designed to work in a two-sided manner…and this is where you discover all truths in life…along with the great unknown in your life.

Remember…

No matter how you go about life, there is no getting around making the choices that involve taking risks…which will always include having an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks to whatever is included in that “risky” situation.

And this is something I’ve certainly experienced in my life as well…especially when starting my own business. But it didn’t end there as I still to this day deal with many different types of situations that involve stepping in to the great unknown.

Not only have I dealt with it in my business, but in my personal life as well.

During my life I’ve moved several times, and with each move comes a new unknown in my life to deal with.

There are the unknowns of what the new place I move to will be like…who will I end up meeting and becoming friends with…how will I adjust to a new surrounding.

After many of these moves I ended up moving back to New Jersey. And even with those moves back to a place I’m familiar with came many unknowns as well.

The people who know me wonder why I move so much and see it as a disadvantage…but there are an equal amount of advantages to it as well…such as being conditioned to deal with and navigate through the great unknown in my life.

And the same is true for you as it relates to your life.

In fact…

Once you make it a habit of seeing all events and moments in your life as having an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks (two-sided) you’ll condition yourself in how to anticipate dealing with “future events” before they come up.

Because whether you’re looking at the past, present, or future events in your life you still go about how you see them the same way…from the two-sided perspective I’ve been speaking about.

As a result…

You’ll uncover the different truths in life I mentioned earlier along with the second greatest reward life gives you.

3. The hidden blessings abyss

Now of course there’s the other side of what happens as a result of taking the different risks in your life…the rewards. And what’s fascinating about this is the fact that even if the risks you take don’t go the way you want you still get an equal reward.

This brings us back to the second of those great rewards that you get…

Finding the hidden blessings in your life.

And it’s here where you find the true meaning of your life.

It’s here where the things you may see at first as making no sense start to make sense.

It’s here where you realize why things happen the way they do.

And it’s also here where you discover not only the hidden order in the chaos of life, but what the great unknown is in your life.

This brings up another quote of mine:

“Instead of fearing and avoiding the unknown, look forward to the hidden blessings that the unknown reveals.”

This is what I call the hidden blessings abyss because within the great unknown of your life is an endless supply of hidden blessings that are there waiting for you to find them.

One such example in my life took place back in 2006. That’s when I had the failed business partnership that ended up costing me over $50,000. This resulted in my transitioning out of the fitness industry and into what I do today as a human potential specialist.

As a result…

I discovered who I am, why I’m here, and it conditioned me to effectively deal with the many different unknowns that have occurred in my life since.

Your life is full of hidden blessings…all designed to help you discover what your life is all about.

As scary and risky things may seem at times the rewards that come out of it for you make it all worth it…especially the hidden blessings you discover along the way.

Life is meant to be lived and in a way that is unique to who you are.

You’re here to find out what makes you the unique and special person you are.

Now when I say special I don’t mean feeling “entitled”…

What I do mean is… what it is about you that brings value to the world…and in a way that helps others do the same in their lives.

And doing it in a way that allows you to shine…to be the person you were put in this world to be.

You do matter…

You do make a difference…

And you do deserve to be loved and appreciated for who you are and all you do.

It was the most unusual way to spend Thanksgiving and certainly one that most people would avoid like a plague.

And it’s one that I experienced several years ago.

On the surface it seemed like a time to give thanks for all that I had…and it truly was.

Beneath the surface and unseen to everyone, something else was taking place.

And so there I sat in front of my computer with a decision to make…

“Do I write the email or not?”

Because I knew that one way or another this was going to determine, in a very large way, what path my life was going down from this point onward.

What led up to this are the events that took place just two months earlier…

I drove across the United States—from New Jersey to California—to become a business partner with a person named Brian. I gave this person $30,000 and within 2 weeks had a very uneasy feeling about the entire situation. As a result I backed out of the deal and wanted my money back.

I then drove back across the country (to New Jersey), and just knew that most likely I wasn’t getting the $30,000 back. Including travel, moving expenses, legal fees, and all the other expenses it totaled over $50,000.

And so there I sat on Thanksgiving night, just 3 weeks after getting back from California, in front of the computer and deciding whether to write an email to Brian…the same person who got an easy $30,000 off me.

Actually there were two decisions…

“Do I write the email” and if so, “What do I write?”

“Do I write the email in a rage of anger just to get it all off my chest” or “Do I write a more peaceful email and just let Brian know what he did and that it wasn’t right?”

I decided to write it after all.

And what it came down to was this…

“Should I forgive him” or “Not forgive him?”

As I sat there, I remember how so many people would say that the best thing you could and “should” do is to just forgive someone…because that will help you to “let go” and make peace with the situation.

But for some reason I gave this more thought and was left with a choice of two very interesting questions…

Does forgiveness help you to let go?
Or

Does forgiveness stop you from letting go?

…And at that moment I started to write the email.

1. Here comes the judge

As I began writing the email to Brian, I realized in order to forgive him that I first had to judge him as doing something wrong…as doing something I saw as being negative. I also realized that as long as I had this mindset that I’d be judging him and what happened in a negative way…

And trust me there were many drawbacks and negatives.

I felt that my life had taken 10 steps and 10 years backwards. I felt disrespected. I felt cheated. I also felt as though I couldn’t trust myself or my decision making moving forward. And this certainly affected making decisions in the other areas of my life as well.

Leading up to that moment I perceived Brian as being a thief, ripping me off, taking advantage of my inexperience as it related to business, being pushy, betraying me, being two faced, and being manipulative.

These were the thoughts going through my mind as I started to type out each word at a time in that email.

Think about a situation that you’ve been in where you were about to (and ultimately did) forgive someone. Did you judge them as doing something wrong or negative to you? What were the thoughts going through your mind at that moment? What were your feelings towards the person?

Something else happened while typing that email. And this was the first revelation I had that night which change the path of my life.

I realized that as long as I had those negative feelings and saw those drawbacks, that it would continue to run my life. And if I continued to see what Brian “did” to me in this way that I’d never be able to let go of it…

Because leading up to that moment I only saw one side of the situation…the negatives, the drawbacks.

But what about the other side of it?

What about the positives and benefits to what happened? As this crazy idea crossed my mind, of course I tried to dismiss it, but something told me that there was a life lesson to be learned here.

And it was at this moment that I started to consider the idea of “not forgiving” Brian.

2. There are no mistakes

I’m sure you’ve heard many times that it’s important to forgive others. And that by doing so you’ll be able to let go. Now even though this is what you’ve been taught throughout your life, is it really true?

If this is the case and forgiving others is “supposed” to help you let go, then why was I sitting there on that Thanksgiving night getting thoughts of “not forgiving” someone who I felt at the time ripped me off?

And then the reason became clear…

Because I sensed that there were positives and benefits to what I perceived Brian as doing. I also realized that this wasn’t a crazy idea that crossed my mind.

Not only that, but I started to see that there were just as many benefits as drawbacks. And some of those benefits included:

“It helped me to get out of my comfort zone and “stretch” myself more than before.”
“It helped me to become more aware of if I am valuing myself and my abilities.”

“It has helped me to become aware of how to deal with “high level” situations involving large sums of money.”

“It gave me the freedom to go and start my own business”

“It helped me to become more business savvy.”

“It sent me down the path of doing what I love and be able to help others as a result.”

And while I started to see more and more of the benefits, I also came to the realization that there were no such things as mistakes.

Now, if you find yourself about to forgive someone ask, “what am I forgiving them for?” Then ask, “what are the benefits of that?”

For example…

Let’s say you’re about to forgive someone because you felt they betrayed you. As a result you feel that they were dishonest. So, you would ask, “how did their dishonesty benefit me in the different areas of my life?” And then come up with the same amount of benefits as drawbacks.

If you can’t see just as many benefits as drawbacks of their dishonesty, then no matter how much you say that you forgave them…you’re still holding on to it and therefore haven’t let go.

Because after all, is it really necessary to “forgive” someone for something that has also benefitted your life just as equally?

As soon as I had this revelation it was very obvious that I wasn’t going to forgive Brian.

3. The hidden order

Now you may be thinking that since I decided not to forgive Brain that I wasn’t able to “let go” and move on with my life. Actually the opposite happened…I was able to let go and it changed the course of my entire life.

In the email I wrote to Brain on that Thanksgiving night, I thanked him for the experience. And with that being the case there was no need to forgive him. Because after all, what was there to forgive him for…for helping and waking me up to several blind spots I wasn’t aware of?

And just so you know, I wasn’t letting him “off the hook.” He didn’t “get away” with anything. There wasn’t any of the so called “good” and “bad” karma involved in any of this.

Simply put, it was another human being (Brian) in a long list of other human beings that I came across on my life’s journey that was there to help me realize my own brilliance and magnificence…

So was it necessary to forgive him for that? Of course not. That’s why I said, “thank you” in the email…to which he never replied.

And through the apparent chaos of this experience there was a hidden order…one that would never have been uncovered if I had chosen to forgive Brian.

That hidden order is what I was able to uncover as a result of seeing both sides equally. It allowed me to “let go” and go down a completely different life path…one that I know now is my true calling in life.

The same is true for you.

It’s just a question of, “what is that for you?”

“What is it that you’re here to be, do, and have in your life?”

“What is it about who you are that brings value to the world?”

And along with that…

“How can you use your uniqueness in a way that helps you bring all of this into your current reality?”

These are the questions that gets you to come up with the answers.

And in those answers is where you discover the magnificence and brilliance of who you are…

So rather than forgiving yourself and others, thank yourself and the people who have contributed to you being the special person that you really are.