It has been said many times that life is filled with pain, but suffering is optional.

When we look around the world it is hard to believe that suffering is optional, yet when we look at suffering in our own lives, we can see that it is based on our response, not on our pain.

We all feel pain at different times. It could be from an injury, from a broken relationship, or from some disease in our bodies, but how we decide to respond to that pain tells the whole story.

Many professional athletes continue to play regardless of the physical pain they feel. Many people who have experienced broken hearts still go out and make new relationships. How do they do it?

It’s all about our relationship to pain, and whether we make it right or wrong. When we make it wrong, that’s where the suffering comes in. When we stop judging the pain and just allow it to be present, we avoid suffering.

Indeed, many times if we just give space to the pain, be present to it, and allow it to teach us whatever lesson it has for us, the pain subsides much faster than when we resist it.

So how do you respond to pain? Is it a lesson or a punishment?

All of the major issues that we face in our lives seem huge to us. Many times they seem too big to solve.

In fact, what we really are dealing with is an issue of perspective. These issues seem so huge because we are so close to them that we do not have a good perspective with which to look at them.

The other aspect of it is that we are looking at the entirety of the issue, instead of breaking it down into the smaller components.

When we look at our finances, our careers, our environment, global political movements, wars, and other large scale issues, we often miss the opportunity to break them down in smaller, bite-sized pieces that we actually can do something about.

No individual may be able to solve the global climate change issue, but we can as individuals, use just a little less energy, throw out a little less garbage, recycle just a little more.

We may not be able to bring peace to entire world over night, but we can be more peaceful ourselves, support in some small ways, efforts to educate instead of fight, and spread our views to those few in our networks that will listen.

Ultimately, it’s not about changing everyone or everything in the world for the world to improve. We just have to change ourselves, in some small fashion, so we move in that direction.

Are you a farmer or a hunter? Do you have the patience to see your crops sprout up over time, or do you need to catch your dinner right away and get it on the table before the night it out?

Seems like a silly question to ask in these civilized times, but we’re not talking about vegetables and deer, but your style of sales and marketing.

Are you beating people over the head with your promotions, or are you providing great content that over time will make people want to work with you? Yes, farming takes longer, but while the rewards are not immediate, they are much longer lasting…

Leadership, as we all know, is something that is earned. We have a tendency to think that people are just natural born leaders, when in fact, leadership is a skill that we develop throughout our years.

In modern times, people become leaders by showing up, consistently and authentically, and providing insight and vision that appeals to a certain group of people.

The size of group doesn’t matter. Even if only one person follows your vision, your message, you have led.

As we do the challenging work of showing up, day after day, putting our art out there for all to see, blog post after blog post, video after video, radio show after radio show, not only do we gain momentum and courage, but the mental fortitude to continue our journey in spite of the lack of encouragement we might receive, or the limited success in making an impact.

That is, until the day comes when suddenly it feels like the dam burst, the phone starts ringing off the hook, your inbox is completely flooded, and life gives you a clear and power message that you do matter, you are making an impact, your voice is being heard.

Just don’t stop short of that moment. It is there, waiting for you to arrive.

Vision

Vision is not about how well we see the world, but how well we use our imagination to create a new future. Our vision is our guide, that forward-pulling force that brings us to new heights, new experiences, new realities. What is your vision for the future? What you foresee happening in your own life in the coming week? Month? Year? Can you create a new future for yourself by using your vision to see something different from what is in front of you?