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ATTRACT YOUR DREAMS
By Amber Dayva
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Amber Dayva
All rights reserved.
The Great Changes: The Beginning
"Whenever God wants to send you a gift, He wraps it up in a problem."
—Norman Vincent Peale
The major changes in my life began with a serious conflict at work, which occurred two months before my fortieth birthday. I realized then that I could no longer work in such a stressful environment. I resigned from the job I'd had for the last eighteen years, and none of the managers tried to persuade me to stay. Yes, there had been a disagreement, and yes, it was my choice to resign, but deep down, I did hope that someone would try to dissuade me. I had always seen myself as a valuable, indispensable employee. As it turned out, the saying "nobody is indispensable" was true. Today, I can laugh at my own arrogance, but back then, it felt very different. At the time, I was not ready to acknowledge that the greatest problem in my work situation was within me. I was not as good a person as I thought I was; a good person would not have been allowed to leave as easily as I was.
I had been the director for commerce at our family's jewelry business. It was a very interesting job, and I'd dedicated myself to it. During the last several years, however, the internal atmosphere at my workplace had grown tense—the economic crisis affected our business and our relationships. I had been experiencing a mounting sense of discontent, both within myself and within my workplace. My heart longed for radical change. The office became an arena for ongoing conflicts and arguments, and I was emotionally unable to cope with them. I could not stay calm or prevent myself from exploding when someone else was angry with me. I must admit that I was most reluctant to change anything about me; I only wanted to change others. This is what most of us usually think: "I am good enough as I am. Let others change."
Since then, I've been able to step aside and see myself from a more unbiased perspective, which has enabled me to understand where I was mistaken. Back then, however, I was arrogant, self-righteous, and full of ambition. I was quick to make judgments and eager to prove to everyone else that I was in the right. Thank God, I no longer am that person today.
A person's lifestyle reflects who he or she really is. Your lifestyle today is the product of yesterday's thoughts and actions; it is the result of your thought processes. For example, if someone shouts at you, you may think you have to respond by shouting in return. Or you may have convinced yourself that everyone is constantly yelling at you, regardless of whether or not this is true. If you are constantly criticized, you might be too harsh a critic yourself. If other people do not respect you, you likely do not respect others. If you feel unloved, maybe you are not loving enough; maybe you don't love yourself.
If you do not like something that is happening to you, ask yourself, "Why is this taking place? Which thoughts or beliefs of mine may have brought this about? What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with my behavior?" Most of us blame others and search for scapegoats, rather than look inside ourselves for an answer.
As soon as I reflected on my thoughts and actions, I was able to realize what my flaws and shortcomings were. I realized that I was in the habit of yelling at my children; I couldn't have treated a manager at my workplace in the same way. I also noticed that I was often overly critical toward others. I was disrespectful, irritable, envious, and held long-standing grudges. I had too little love for others and for myself. Yes, I discovered I had ample reasons for self-improvement, and a long journey was ahead of me.
The people who surround us are often a mirror that reflects our true self. Your manager at work, your spouse, your colleagues, your soul mate—all of them are there for a purpose. We should gaze into them as we would into a mirror to see our own reflection, and in doing so, our shortcomings, our vices, and the prejudiced opinions that make us narrow-minded and inflexible will be revealed. We can understand where we have been wrong. Seeing and understanding this is a significant step toward improving our life. The next step is to turn this negative image of ourselves into a positive one. If we succeed in doing so, we are bound to enjoy a wonderful life surrounded by wonderful people.
It is a shame that I did not know this when I resigned from my job. Only now can I reflect on the events of the past and the mind-set or actions that must have caused those events. Anything we project into the universe, anything we decide to give away—thoughts, actions, words, feelings, or objects—will return to us tenfold.
I had begun to feel increasingly unwell at work. The mounting anxiety had a detrimental effect on my health. I became seriously ill quite often. I understood that illness often stems from the nervous system, but I made no move to change my job. I sat and waited, like a lizard under a rock. What was I waiting for? I suppose I was waiting for the situation to resolve on its own, which, of course, it never did. As time went by, I gradually began to realize that my job was not helping me grow. I was merely "floating downstream," working for others and living out their lives for them. I wanted things to be different. I wanted to realize myself, my talents, and my innermost desires. I dreamed about the day when my life would change, though at the time, I was not aware of what this might mean.
I wished I had a dream job, one that would be inspiring, pleasant, interesting, creative, and joyful—a job I would genuinely love. For a long time, I thought my job was interesting, comfortable, creative, and well paid. It placed me in a comfort zone, but eventually, it began to deteriorate and then to crumble. Little by little, I started to realize that it was not my dream job at all. I had no great enthusiasm for what I was doing. I did not radiate love, joy, or the sheer passion for life itself. Yet I did not have any idea of what my dream job should be. I think I simply wanted my life to be better, more meaningful, more interesting, and more useful.
I longed for radical change but made no attempt to do anything; I reconciled myself to the status quo. This continued up until the day when, after another conflict at my workplace, I could no longer withstand the tension. I lost control of the situation and of my anger and other negative emotions. I blurted out that I was leaving, and I did just that. The only thing I regret about my outburst is that I was too blunt. Fortunately, when I quit my job, I was receiving ample support from my nearest and dearest, especially my husband. I am immensely grateful to them for supporting me throughout my internal "hurricanes" and allowing me to remain true to myself.
Describing this negative experience has been difficult, but it was part of my journey. Without walking this stretch of the road and meeting the people I got to know throughout this period, I would not have become who I am today. Without describing these events, I would be unable to write about my feelings at that time and the great changes that followed. Most of all, I want to do justice to my family and friends, whom I love, by describing these events as they occurred. This is my story, my perceptions, my feelings, and my experience. I want to stay true to who I am. I hope my loved ones will understand me and forgive me if I have wronged them in any way.
Even though I chose to resign, I felt a sense of tremendous shock. Having to step outside my comfort zone was extremely difficult. I lived in a building that housed our apartment as well as my family-owned restaurant and the office for the jewelry business. The restaurant was on the first floor, the office was on the second, and our apartment was on the third. The convenience was great—I never had to hurry in the mornings or worry about getting stuck in traffic. Sudden weather changes posed no difficulties. I also enjoyed various privileges at work; for instance, I was able to arrange my working hours, and it was a rare day when I was unable to have dinner at home or at my restaurant, surrounded by friends and family. I saw my children all the time and was always there to greet them when they returned from school. They often would often visit me in my office and would sit by my side, drawing. I was able to work while still being a full-time participant in our family's life.
Our restaurant was founded by my mother, my husband, and me. It featured Chinese cuisine, and there was a time when it prospered. The Chinese chefs were excellent; the food they prepared was high quality and delicious. Guests came from all over the city to have dinner there. The restaurant staff was warm and friendly. We all got along well with each other.
It was in this restaurant that our family celebrated numerous special occasions, and it was there that our family enjoyed many wonderful moments together. For five years, we were happy and content, but the economic crisis had a strong negative impact on our restaurant business. Financial difficulties began. The business no longer gave us any pleasure or financial gain. In fact, it had become a source of constant anxiety and worries, and the financial losses were significant too. After a while, we realized that it would be better to do nothing at all than to continue running the business at a loss, so we simply closed it down.
By then, I had already started to search for my dream job. I was trying to find a way to realize my potential. I wanted to try a new type of business, one that was altogether unfamiliar to me. By setting up my own restaurant, I think I wanted to prove to others—and to myself as well—that I could be independent. I had no such opportunity while working with my father-in-law's jewelry business, as he always made the final decisions.
I had spent six years rushing around, trying to stay caught up with two very different jobs. It was very difficult; I overworked myself and suffered from chronic fatigue. At the time, it never occurred to me to keep track of my working hours and limit myself to a certain amount per day. I had started the restaurant business without knowing anything about it. All I had was my vision, my persistence, and a great desire.
I was not the only one affected by the decision to open a restaurant. My husband is in the motorcycle business; he is a hardcore biker. It was not easy for him to open a restaurant. My father-in-law supported our endeavor and helped us a lot, both financially and with the decorating of the restaurant's interior—he even made the bamboo lamps himself. My mother, a former accountant, took care of the accounting, and she also made an invaluable contribution by helping to raise our children. All of us worked really hard.
I have no regrets about the difficulties we encountered. It was an engaging and genuinely useful experience—the challenges, the experience gained while dealing with them, the new knowledge. This experience will stay with me, and that is invaluable in itself. I am thankful for all the trials I had to face, the lessons I learned, and the experience I gained. I also learned something else that was very important: these jobs were stepping-stones toward my dream job.
The story of our little restaurant had a great beginning but unfortunately, it did not end well. We felt sorry about its closing for a while, and then we returned to our other duties. Now that I had one less job, as I no longer was the restaurant's managing director, I had more free time. I thought I would be able to dedicate myself to the one job I still had. I thought I would immerse myself in the jewelry business and would be more productive and efficient.
Then, out of the blue, there came that major conflict and the decision I made in its wake. I quit what had been my main and most important job. In general, I am calm and levelheaded, and I always think about any decision before I make it. But at the time, I did act randomly and irrationally. The decision to resign was impulsive, and in an instant, I had stepped into total uncertainty.
I thought, What am I going to do now? How am I going to earn a living? What will happen next? Where am I going to search for a new job? What can I possibly do? There were so many questions, but none of them had any specific answer. There was nothing but fear, anxiety, misery, doubt, and self-doubt.
I did not fully understand what I had done and wasn't sure I had made the correct decision, even though I knew that in order for one door to open, another had to shut.
If you ask the universe for a radical change in your life, you have to accept that change when it comes. You have to be prepared for anything. This is how the world works.
I realized that I had been trying to stay on a path of least resistance. I had chosen the most convenient life and the most convenient situations, even though that comfort came with many hidden "thorns." Finally, I realized that comfort can never lead to the goal—the true purpose of my life.
I've heard it said that people who do not like their job ought to change their perspective, not the job itself. If you apply for a different job with the same negative attitude and mind-set as you've always had, nothing is going to change. After a while, your old negative pattern of thinking will take hold once again, and you will become just as miserable in the new job as you were in the old one.
I do not fully agree with this philosophy. In the last several years I spent in the jewelry business job, I tried hard to change my attitude, both with regard to my employer and the work itself. I tried to analyze the situation and to change my thoughts and behavior accordingly. I attempted to apply a variety of techniques to the situations at work. This did work for a while, but one day, I realized that whatever we do in certain situations and however hard we try to change, we really don't initiate any serious changes until life gives us a painful kick in the backside and forces us to do so. We are too afraid of the future and afraid of altering the status quo. I, too, had to get that kick in the backside before I could summon enough courage to change my situation.
Now, however, I believe that in some cases, it's best to change jobs before getting that kick. This has to be done calmly and without burning all your bridges; it's best to carefully consider the decision beforehand.
Nowadays, my job is my joy; it is my entire life. And I am not the only one who has benefited from this; everyone else around me has benefited as well. In retrospect, I wonder why I had to torture myself for so many years by staying in a job that was not right for me. I suppose I was one of those who did need that kick in the backside.
Many of us are afraid of change and afraid to take risks. We are afraid that we will no longer feel as comfortable in a new situation. We must learn to leave our comfort zones and take a headlong plunge into situations that may seem far from comfortable. We must learn to face the challenges that lie ahead with joy and courage and to develop the boldness we need to change our lives. I know this is difficult to achieve, but it is still possible, and my story proves it.
We may not be able to choose the events in our lives, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
"If one looks closely enough, one will discover that each failure carries the seeds of success."—Robin Sharma
I decided that I would rather see the glass as half-full than half-empty. I resolved to travel farther and climb higher and radically change both my lifestyle and my inner world. I really like some of the ideas I found in Robin Sharma's book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable about Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny:
"Your life ceases to be simple the moment you decide to change your inner world."
"If you control your thoughts and your reaction to events that occur to you on a daily basis, you also control your destiny."
"There are no mistakes, only lessons. There is no such thing as negative experience, but there is a possibility to grow, to learn, and to follow the path of self-education. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher."
When I first read those words, they seemed to have been personally addressed to me. Regardless of anything that happened—any dark undercurrents at my previous workplace—there was a time when I genuinely loved that job. I felt part of my family, and I will always be immensely thankful to my father-in-law (my former employer) and my former colleagues, because I learned and gained a lot during that time. It was there that I grew, matured, and became stronger.
Excerpted from ATTRACT YOUR DREAMS by Amber Dayva. Copyright © 2013 Amber Dayva. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First of all I would like to thank the author of the “Dreamer’s Primer” for certain vibrations between the lines I felt when exploring the book. She is so enthusiastic and inspiring, and altogether professional, clear and simple but never primitive that I would recommend this book to everyone who is ready and conscious to ‘taste’ the conscious dreaming. I like this book for a variety of techniques on how one can make his own journey to his dreams, and I love this book for some ‘tricks’ I learnt and I practice them in my personal journey. Moreover, this guide is free of synthetic pathos and an abundance of exclamation marks, as well as it does not offer euphoria in advance nor promises a quick result, which in fact means the reader has to be the one who prefers ‘slow food’. Also, I would advise a must-do exercise: take your best pen, a fresh new notebook, and start writing down your dreams. This is magic in itself, but the primer will instruct you how to ‘charge’ it with your own most positive energy for luck and success. Take it as a game, if you want. And yet be conscious. Me, I look forward for a second book.