Today I Begin a New Life

"Wherever we have been, whatever we have done, or what has been done to us, it is never too late to begin a new life!"

- Today I Begin a New Life, page 11

What a great concept: to start right where we are and to begin anew. That’s what every morning, every new week, each new month, and certainly every new year can be – a new start. Today I Begin a New Life was designed to assist the reader in intentionally creating their dreams in spite of their circumstances. It contains a powerful combination of Og Mandino’s time tested principles of success and the personal experiences of personal and business coach, Dave Blanchard.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Turning Not-So-Good into Good

"When you choose to use your life experiences in the service of others, you will finally find purpose in your past suffering, joy in your journey, and much-needed healing in your soul."
- Today I Begin a New Life, page 68

You may have been in the pit of life, done terrible things, or had horrific things done to you. The past will not allow you to change that. What is yours to control, however, is present choice. Yours is the freedom to choose to focus on others instead of on you; to make them feel valued and understood. You can use your not-so-good experiences for the benefit of others. Human history is sprinkled with examples of individuals who have modeled for us that a proven way to get out of a rut in life is to get involved in helping our fellow man.

Two questions can help you see where that way lies for you. Ask yourself, “What is one of my worst life experiences?” Think about it and tease out the lessons that are waiting to be discovered in it. “Is anyone else suffering from a similar wound?” is another powerful question that may shed some light on how to move forward positively in spite of the difficulties you have endured or are still experiencing. Use your experience to connect with others in a very meaningful way. By identifying the pain and the healing process and then sharing that with others you make the world – theirs and yours – a better place.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Steps to Action

"A dream without a clear vision of how to create it is nothing more than fantasy. Action is required to turn our dreams into tangible reality."
- Today I Begin a New Life, page 168

This book clearly outlines the following five processes that can ignite our passions and motivate us to act upon our dreams and ultimately help others.

  1. Mentally rehearse your dreams and desires. Have you ever visualized something important you wanted to do well like give a presentation, propose to your significant other, or perform an athletic feat? Use the same mental creation process of visualization for each of your desired dreams.
  2. Start each day by asking yourself if there is anyone you could serve today and follow through if someone comes to mind. Whether it is your spouse, a co-worker, or a stranger you meet during the day, serve them as well as you can. Be aware and act upon your instincts and observations.
  3. Explore thoroughly with your mind exactly what you would like to create, how you might create it, and how it will serve others. Feel free to create, modify, re-create, and adjust each idea in your mind. Ask probing questions about your idea to make it more real and practical.
  4. Allow your subconscious mind to problem solve. Have you had the experience of taking a relaxing shower or waking up from a nap and realizing a solution to a problem you’ve been facing? Practice finding a place to relax and letting your subconscious mind do its work.
  5. Define your “why” for each dream you hold. Whether your dream is participating in a healthy relationship, being a valued employee, or building a profitable business you need to understand your “why” for each desire. By understanding the “why” each dream or desire becomes much more obtainable.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Are You Busy or Productive?

"There's a big difference between motion and action, being busy and being productive"
- Today I Begin a New Life, page 218

This principle has become one of my favorites. I see people around me all the time being busy with their lives when they could be so much more productive by doing less. Start with the end in mind. What does the end result you desire look like? Next, pin down some concrete steps you’ll need to take to get there. Then, just do the work required to achieve those results. What if everyone showed up for work with a vision of what could be and the passion to see it done? What if we focused on specific results instead of just being busy and filling the hours? When we focus on the results and then willingly do the work of creation without tracking time, it is no longer about the work but about being our best. Isn’t that a better way to live?

This book ends with a quote from Victor Frankl whose book Man’s Search for Meaning I have previously read and summarized. The quote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I have been challenged to choose my best attitude, to create my dreams, and to begin a new life using the guidelines above. Now I challenge you to the same. Are you up for it?

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Barak Strickland

ABOUT Barak Strickland

Barak Strickland is a project manager who holds certifications in program management and lifecycle logistics from the USAF. He has been planning, organizing, and completing projects professionally since 1981, when he joined the USAF...
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