Rise and Shine: The Motivational Speech Everyone Needs Right Now

         What is the first thing that you think of in the morning? When your alarm screams at you, and your joints creak awake, how do you feel? If you’re dreading wasting another day at your dead end 9-5…if you’re instantly stressed about the assignments you didn’t do because you didn’t have the time…if there is anger in your heart aimed at someone you blame for the position you are in…if you regret waking up because you think you’d find peace in death, you are living your life the wrong way. Life is all about perspective. A wise man once said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” I, too, feel that life is more my reaction than my situation. I will be the first to admit that sometimes the situation can suck, but there is always a positive way to handle it. There is always a bright side, if you let there be. Life is too short to be unhappy. Our time on this earth is not promised. As cliché as it all may be, the hard truth is that death lurks around every corner. There is no reason to live a life you are not satisfied with because what’s the point? 

         When you’re lying on your deathbed, if you are lucky enough to go in old age, you are not going to be thinking about the GPA you got in college. You are not going to be thinking about all the mornings you made it to work five minutes before 9 a.m. You won’t be thinking about the mundane things that society pushes on us as the “right way” to live life. The right way to live life is unique to the individual because every person is different. When you are breathing your last gasps of air, I hope they do not taste like regret. I hope that you are thinking of your friends and your family. I hope the highlight reel that flickers through your mind in those last seconds features foreign places that you traveled to, spontaneous road trips that you dropped everything to go on, indulgent food you cheated your diet for, and reckless nights your face hurt from laughing. There is no excuse or reason to die with the taste of regret in your lungs. The purpose of life is to live. It is not to please society. In the end, you only have yourself. If you’re not happy when that time comes, what was the point of living at all? 

         If there is something you want to do, the time to do it is now. The only person stopping you is you. If you want to create, do it. Pick up a paint brush without having the slightest idea how to use it and just try. Practice. Believe in yourself. If something brings you joy, it doesn’t matter if you’re not good at it. The purpose of doing it is to make yourself happy not to master perfection. If you want to change your career path, do it. Fear is the only thing stopping you. Everyone lives with preconceived notions of how they should be living because society has forced that upon us, but the truth is it doesn’t have to be that way. Society defines how life should be lived at certain ages, but nature does not. If you are elderly and your body permits it, do whatever the hell you want. You’re never too old to try something new. Sometimes, you have to do things you don’t want to do in order to be able to do the things you want, but too often, people get so bogged down in doing the work that they never allow themselves to enjoy the pay off. Take that trip. Go to the concert. Get that tattoo. You can always make more money. You’ll never be able to make more time. 

         Too often, I hear people refer to happiness as a destination. “I’ll be happy when I find true love.” “I’ll be happy when I get my bills paid off.” “I’ll be happy when I graduate and start my career.” Those are lies. People who say those things are lying to themselves. Happiness is not a destination. Happiness is a conscious choice. It is about being happy with yourself not with what you have. If you choose to be happy, you can make the most of any situation. If you choose to be happy, you can stop wasting time dwelling on things you cannot change. If you choose to be happy, you are able to enjoy each and every day you are granted on this planet opposed to just enjoying the milestones. If you’re not happy now, chances are you won’t be happy just because you find love or graduate college. Happiness found situationally is only momentary. Temporary. 

         I am challenging you to choose happiness. Not for the day, but for life. I am challenging you to stop living how you think you’re supposed to and live how you want to even if it makes people mad. Pursue your dreams even if you are scared. Use people’s doubt as motivation. Go skydiving. Skip class to go on a road trip with your friends. If opportunity knocks on your door, stop making excuses not to answer it. Open the door with a warm welcome and embrace what life offers you because one day your chances to do so will run out. One day, you will take your last breath, and in that moment what do you want to be left thinking about?