Well, today’s title suggests a tall order. In fact, I really don’t know how to succeed in life despite my Bipolar because I haven’t sat down and written out what I think I need to do to succeed in life. Maybe that could be a good topic to consider-goals. I really like to quote a study that was once undertaken where a graduating group was asked if they had clear, concise, written goals for themselves and when the same people were checked years later, the three percent or so that had written goals had made more money than the entire rest of the graduating class. What this tells me is that writing has power.
When I was younger, one of my goals was to write books and I had written down these goals. I had other goals I didn’t write down like learn 3 or four languages, get my pilot’s license and become a military officer. None of these came true, but my goal of writing-that really went a long way. One of the reasons I think this is was because I worked at it a tiny bit each day for a very long time. I regret to say that for a period of time I did nothing but chat in various chat rooms and pursue relationships with people I would never meet, but I kept returning to my writing goal knowing that if I failed at it I would be losing something very important in my life and it came true. One of the reasons for that could be the power of keeping a journal. One day soon I want to head down to the basement and read some of the journals I wrote when I was just starting out as a writer and see how my thinking has progressed. I do know that now as it has been a long time since I drank alcohol, a long time since I gambled, and a very long time since I was without proper medications that my thoughts have cleared up a great deal. Years ago I had some thoughts in my head that I had a very hard time letting go of, everything from resentments to imagined relationships with females, and I think for these reasons they have gotten a lot better. I also would like to thank the power of meditation for clearing up my thinking. I haven’t done it in a while, but meditation is a powerful tool for freeing the mind from negative thinking. You can actually train yourself to push away negative thoughts and embrace positive ones through meditation.
One of my favorite forms of meditation is simply snorkeling at the swimming pool. I start out my workout by sitting in the hot tub to get my joints moving and then strap on flippers and mask and snorkel and propel myself through the water, enjoying the silence and freedom from the outside world. It is so relaxing and renewing.
Another huge part of being a success, aside from sitting down and getting a clear idea of what you want to accomplish to succeed, is to become a part of a community. I have lived in the neighborhood I now live in for 14 years and it is simply wonderful. It took some time, but now when I walk down the street I know my neighbors and am always glad to stop to talk with them. It started out with me volunteering at the local community newspaper, something that looks great on a resume and it grew so that now I have many friends living near me and many opportunities as a result of knowing these people. The editor of the paper, Paula, edits my short stories and other writing for free and gave me a great deal on this website. My neighbor Gary down the street is an accomplished writer himself and is a great guy to go to poetry readings and other events with. There is also a community in the people that live in the group home I’m in which is perhaps the most important one in my life right now. There are around 20 people who I can call at any time, who I can talk to each day, borrow from or lend to. There is also staff, but there is something very important about having other people around who have mental illnesses because I need to feel comfortable as a person with a mental illness and when people around you are going through the same thing, you can feel so much more free to be yourself.
I often wonder about some of the people from the US who read this, especially the ones that suffer from Bipolar Disorder or other mental illnesses, not to mention some of the people from far off countries. I had a person read my blog from a place called Qutar the other day and I wonder about what it must be like to live in a more judgemental type of atmosphere and have a child who suffers or be someone who suffers. As usual, I am always more than ready to talk to anyone who wants help in understanding what they may be going through, firstname.lastname@example.org
So when you boil it all down, what does it take? First, you need a plan, you need to brainstorm what success is to you. It can be owning a motorbike or a car, it can be having a job or having a better job. Details count. Then you need to find people who will be your friend and support you in your quest to accomplish these things. Many people out there don’t want to see you succeed but quite often if you talk with them and perhaps even impart some of these principles to them they will not only support you, they will learn how to succeed themselves. Then, once you have got your list, you need to make realistic and achievable steps to get to these goals. If you want to know more languages, start with a free course from the library. If you want to make more more money, read the book I talked about “The Richest Man in Babylon” and take the advice of carefully putting away 10-30% of your income after all of your expenses and learn how to make more money. If you want to simply have more friends and a better social life, seek out organizations in your community where you can meet people your age. It can be a political party, it can be a writer’s group, it can be a mental health organization. If you want to write, commit to filling a page each day with your journal entries and writing about each movie you see, each book you read. I am a firm believer in the library, I think a lot of things can be found there like book clubs, books on making more money in your chosen profession, books you can read to help you write better. A lot of larger libraries will also have a writer in residence you can talk to about your writing goals totally free. So you have to know when you will consider yourself a success, you need to take small steps, take advantage of resources out there, and make friends that will support your efforts. I have taken these steps and life has gotten incredibly good for me over time. Bipolar? Take your medications, see your Doctor, work on your life issues with counselors and psychologists and in group therapy and then just baby step yourself back up. If you are interested in seeing the choices I made and the things I went through, order a copy of “Through The Withering Storm” or “Inching Back to Sane” from the ‘books’ section of this website and let me know how things go. All the best to all my readers!