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What happens when you sleep? If you ask someone in the scientific community they’ll probably give you some long winded explanation about the different types of brain waves that occur during each stage of sleep. And they’ll definitely tell you about REM sleep and how it’s the longest stage of the sleep cycle and that during REM sleep you are more likely to experience dreaming. They’ll tell you this, but for those of us who don’t want to be bogged down with all of that sleep trivia, we’ll probably just listen and wonder when we’ll be able to go home and experience sleep for ourselves. And that’s because, for most of us, sleep (at its simplest form) is a chance for us to unwind. We don’t have to think about our daily stresses while we sleep; we just get to rest and get refreshed for the next day. And for those of us who do dream, we may actually get excited about the prospect of sleep because sleep means that we get to enter into another world where the rules and regulations of our waking world no longer apply. In dreams, we can jump off of a skyscraper, open up our arms, and soar through the sky like a bird. We get to marry our celebrity crush at a wedding that is so far-fetched and elaborate that it could only occur in a dream. Or we can eat and eat and eat some more and not have to worry about all of those pesky health issues. Each night we enjoy the world that our dreams transport us to because we get to indulge in our deepest desires with zero repercussions. There’s freedom and power in dreaming and that’s why so many people like to do it.

But alas, when the buzzer on our alarm jolts awake in the morning or when the sun peaking through our blinds forces us to awake from our slumber we must get out of our beds, leave our dreams behind, and start on with our days. We can’t sleep forever. We cannot dream forever. We have to get up and live our lives. This is what we have to do, and as much fun as sleeping dreams are, we have to wake up so that we can engage in the dreams that we seek out to pursue while we are awake.

And sometimes are waking dreams are just as exciting and invigorating as the dreams that we have while we are sleeping. We dream of being doctors, lawyers, fashion designers, artists, mothers, fathers, writers, actors, teachers, scientists, mathematicians, CEO’s, motivational speakers, presidents, and senators. When we dream we dream big, but sometimes when we dream in real life we forget to enjoy the new world that our dreams transport us to.

When you decide that you want to be a lawyer instead of an actor, your world is going to be a lot different than somebody who decided that they wanted to be an actor. You’ll meet different people, you’ll work different hours, and you’ll have completely different journeys just because your dreams are different. And sometimes your journey is more difficult than you expected, and when this happens you might even think about giving up on your dream altogether. You want so desperately to have your end goal, but the journey that you’re on may not be what you expected so you make the decision to bail out.

But you shouldn’t bail out positive thinker because your dream is worth fighting for. When you try and achieve a dream you should give it all you got, but while you’re giving it all you got remember that enjoying the process of reaching your dream is just as important as obtaining the dream itself. Do you really want to achieve your dream one day and start to wonder about how you even got there in the first place? When you dream while you’re sleeping you just end up on the top of that skyscraper, but you can never remember how you got up there in the first place. When you marry Brad Pitt in your dream, you don’t remember dating him and you don’t remember how you first met. And the reason that you don’t remember these things is because when you’re dreaming while you’re sleeping you don’t get the privilege of experiencing the journey to your end goal. You don’t get the satisfaction that you feel from working hard by climbing up to the top of the skyscraper. You don’t get to experience the joys and pain that comes from dealing with a relationship everyday. You don’t get to experience that because you’re sleeping and because those dreams that you have while you slumber (no matter how amazing they may be) aren’t real. And it’s true that you may not get to experience a journey during your sleeping dreams, but in real life you do get the opportunity to experience one. It may be a hard and long journey at times, but that’s how you know that you’re living. And putting hard work and dedication into achieving your dream makes that dream even better when you actually do achieve it. Because on that fateful day, when your dream comes true, you’ll know that it wasn’t handed to you and that you gave everything you had to reach it.

Positive thinker, achieving your dream is great, but don’t forget to live in the moment while you’re experiencing the journey to your dream.

And never forget, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” –Dumbledore, The Sorcerer’s Stone

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How many times do you go on Facebook in a day? 5? 10? 15 times? And how often do you find yourself looking at your friend’s photos on Instagram everyday? Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter seem to take up a significant portion of many of our lives. With each and every passing day all the different forms of social media become more and more popular, and as a result of this, more and more people flock to these forms of online connectedness to share what’s going on in their lives and to look at what’s going on in the lives of others.

When you get in a new relationship, you run to Facebook so that you can make it “Facebook official.”

When you buy a new car, you take a picture in front of it and post it on Instagram for all of your friends to see.

When you get a new promotion at work you turn to Twitter and compose a 140 character perfectly crafted tweet that lets everyone know how excited you are about your new promotion.

#WorkFlow

#GetPaid

#AllAboutTheBenjamins

We want to be viewed as having our lives together, so when we achieve something that’s “worthy” of sharing we share it.

Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t have our lives where we want them to be at, this constant influx of people succeeding with what they want from life can become discouraging. Seeing people getting what they want can be upsetting especially when you seem to be working just as hard, but can’t seem to get ahead. We look at their lives and see how well they’re doing and we start to feel like there’s something wrong with us for not having what they have. And when you start to compare yourself to someone who seems to be doing better than you you often times tend to feel worse about yourself.

When you see someone is better off than you you may want to compare yourself to them, but don’t fall into that trap positive thinker. You’re not the same person as the person that you’re comparing yourself to, so you shouldn’t compare yourself to that person. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t compare apples and oranges,” and if you haven’t, this expression is basically saying that you can’t compare two things to each other that are completely different. Yes apples and oranges are both fruit, but that’s where their similarities start and end. And yes you and the person that you are comparing yourself to are both human, but that is where your sameness starts and ends. You are a completely unique individual who is on a completely unique journey, so it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to somebody else because that person that you’re comparing yourself to is a completely unique person who is on an entirely different journey than you are on. And just because they seem to be ahead right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t be ahead at some other part of your journey. You can’t be that person that you’re comparing yourself to because you aren’t that person that you’re comparing yourself to, so don’t spend all of your time fretting over the fact that someone else is doing better than you because when you spend too much time doing that you won’t have enough time to embrace your own journey. And enmbracing your journey is what’s really important.

Making the move to stop comparing yourself to other people is a difficult thing to do positive thinker, but it is possible. So, when you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else take a step back from whoever’s life you’re looking at that’s causing you strife and start to focus on the things in your life that you are achieving instead of on the things that you aren’t achieving. And guess what positive thinker? When you find yourself being appreciative of the victories that you do have, you will end up drawing more victories your way. Being happy about your successes in life will put you in a better mood and when you’re in a good mood you feel like you can conquer the world, and when you feel like you can conquer the world positive thinker then that means that the world is yours for the taking.

Nevertheless, if you do find it more difficult to stop comparing yourself to people then perhaps it’s time to remove yourself from the situation(s) that lead you to compare yourself to others. For instance, if you need to, maybe take a step away from social media for awhile. Like I said earlier, our social media accounts are a constant reminder of people doing well in life. Nobody wants to share the bad stuff, so all we see is the good stuff in other people’s lives, and when we only see good things happening to other people then we may find ourselves wanting to compare our good things to those people’s good things and when they don’t measure up to each other we can end up feeling terrible about ourselves. So if social media is the source of your problem, take a break from it until you can find a way to stop comparing yourself so much to other people.

Positive thinker you may not believe it but you’re exactly where you need to be. When you stop comparing yourself to others and start relishing in your own successes, you’ll be able to see that for yourself. That person you’re comparing yourself to is awesome, but positive thinker, so are you! So, don’t allow the success of others to make you think that your own successes aren’t good enough. Be proud of your successes and your own unique journey!

Never forget, “Live your own life without comparing it with that of another.”

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Picture this…

You’re eight years old again, and you’re back at the local pool taking swimming lessons. The hot summer’s sun is beating down on you as you wait for the arrival of your swimming teacher on the side of the pool with the rest of the beginners. You take your forearm and wipe away the beads of sweat dripping down your face as you watch the big kids starting to do their laps under the guidance of their swim instructor. As you look on with awe, you think to yourself, “One day that will be me out there. One day I’ll be able to swim just like that.” As you take one more glance at the seamless backstrokes of the advanced swimmers, you see your swimming teacher approaching from the left side.

“Good Afternoon class,” she says after she takes her place at the front of the line.

“Good Afternoon,” you reply in unison with the rest of your swimming mates.

“Time to get in the water,” she answers back as she claps her hands together and turns to walk to the shallow end of the pool.

After your instructor is in the water, you all file in one at a time, while grabbing a blue kickboard as you descend into the cooling water.

Once you’re all in the pool, your instructor shouts, “Alright everyone we’re going to practice our flutter kicks first.”

Taking your board you fall into line behind the rest of the kids in your class and kick as hard as you can going up the right side of the lane, and then once you reach the other end of the pool, you turn around and repeat the same flutter kick until you get back to where you started.

As the last of your peers flutter to a stop, your instructor indicates that you will now practice the arm motions and breathing techniques used for the freestyle stroke. You know exactly what to do since you have practiced this at all of your other lessons, so once you’re lined up on the right side of the pool again, you take a deep breath and put your face in the water. As you open your eyes under the water you feel a sharp, but manageable sting run across your eyes as you scan the bottom of the pool and see your wiggling toes beneath you. After of a few seconds, your eyes adjust to the burning sensation, and you start to bring your right arm forward first, and then as your right arm goes back into its original place, your left arm comes forward, and then your right arm again and after you bring your right arm back once more, you turn your head to the right and take a deep breath. You repeat this over and over again until you hear your instructor telling you to stop a few more rotations later.

As you wipe the remaining drops of water away from your face, your teacher informs you that next everyone will be attempting to put the kicks, breathing, and arm motions together in order to swim the freestyle stroke.

The moment those words leave her mouth, you feel your heart start to slam against your chest. You’re nervous because you’re the only one of your friends who hasn’t managed to swim without the help of your instructor yet. Watching anxiously, you wait for your turn as you see each one of your swimming pals put all of three of the techniques together to do the freestyle. As each of your friends files back into line with Cheshire Cat-like grins plastered from ear to ear, you wonder if today’s going to finally be the day that you swim by yourself.

As you take another step forward you realize that there is only one more person in front of you before you’ll have to go. You take a few deep breaths in and out to calm yourself, and you glance once again to the part of the pool where the advanced swimmers swim. As you watch their graceful moves, you remember the promise that you made to yourself before the start of the lesson. “One day that will be me out there. One day I’ll be able to swim just like that.”  Remembering these two simple sentences gives you the courage that you need to get out there and swim. You want to be like them one day, but you realize that you have to take this first step before you can start to swim like the big kids. Determined, you take a step forward as you hear your instructor call your name.

Taking a deep breath once more, you lie on your stomach and prepare to put together everything that you’ve learned that will help you to swim freestyle. You can feel your teacher’s hands holding you up, but as you start to kick and move your arms, the touch from your instructor becomes lighter and lighter until you don’t feel her hands underneath you at all. You realize that you’re doing it! You’re actually swimming, and you keep on kicking and moving until you can’t kick and move anymore.

As you stand back up at the end of your turn you hear the excited congratulatory hooting and hollering from your friends and instructor. Pure joy and elation are pulsing through your veins right now, and you feel better than you’ve ever felt before. As you walk towards the end of the line with the chorus of cheers ringing in your ears you feel a smile that mirrored the smile of your swim mates spread across your face, and you realize that you’re just one step closer to your dream of swimming with the big kids.

Positive thinker, in life, you’re going to have many first steps. Anytime you want to do something new, you have to take your first step before you can reach the end of that new adventure. You can’t expect to get to the finish line by just taking one step. Reaching that end takes hundreds, thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of steps, and each step is just as important as the last. Without the first step, you couldn’t get to the second step, and without the second you couldn’t get to the third, so recognize the importance of the process, and realize that the journey it takes to get to the end can be just as exciting as finally reaching the finish line.

Tackling something new can be very intimidating, but you have to find the courage to take the first step. You don’t just wake up one morning knowing how to walk or swim, and you’re not going to wake up one morning having achieved your life long dream if you haven’t taken that first step first. Doing something new takes time and patience, but if it’s something that you really want then taking that first step can give you just what you need to start living the life that you’ve always wanted to live.

So close your eyes, breathe in and out, and relish in taking that first step.

Good Vibes

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