Change Your Thinking – Change Your Life

Michael Costigan is a 17 – year-old from Orange County, CA. He is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, and truly enjoys helping other’s better understand teen related issues. You can follow him at

Change your thinking

Life has a masterful way of putting things into perspective for us. No matter how bad things can get, or how good things are right now — there’s an overriding factor that either carries us through, or drops us into free fall. That factor is different for all of us. For some of us, it’s external, an event going on in our lives or something that has happened. For others, it’s internal, something that has been around for a while, resurfacing at the worst of times. All of us have something in our lives that holds us back, makes us want to quit, prevents us from being who we could be.


You can’t always know whether you’re making the right decisions or not. Believe me, I wish you could. It would’ve come in handy more than once over the last year. If you’re like me, you might find yourself taking a step back and wondering how you got to where you are now. Whether it’s a good place or a bad place — where we are now, is a result of our life experiences and how we chose to react to them. It’s the happiness we feel or the shame we hold, it’s the sadness we run from or the affirmation keeping us bold.


I’m a ‘motivational speaker’, so sure, I’m supposed to tell you this kind of stuff. But don’t think for one second that I haven’t been where you’re at, or faced the same kind of uncertainty. You’re right, you’ve experienced things that I haven’t, and may never. But the same goes for you. And while it’s undoubtedly true that some of us go through worse things than others, that should never be something we use to keep others at a distance. Nobody’s life is perfect.


You’re more than the choices that you’ve made, you’re more than the sum of your past mistakes, you’re more than the problems you create.


In hindsight, everything is easier to look back upon and say ‘so what’ to. It’s getting to that point that’s harder than messing up in the first place. And that’s why it’s so easy to give up. But giving up means giving up on yourself, it also means giving up on everyone who cares about you and who wants to see you happy. If you’re alive, you have a purpose. If you think that no one cares, I will bet against you time after time. You have made a difference in someone’s life, you may not realize it, but you have, and its because of that difference that someone is in a better position today than they were before. Do not let others down just because you’re afraid of falling short. You’ll let them down and fall short.

Why are you doing this?

Whether you’re your own problem, or whether you’ve been going down the same path for too long and know it isn’t leading you in the direction you want to go, ask yourself, why are you doing it? Is there a greater purpose to your actions or are you on a road to nowhere?


Realistically, what can you do to make things better — right now. Who can you go to for advice? Determine the changes you can start with now and use them to build into something new.

Who are you doing it for?

Are you seeking to please those who care about you, or seeking to please people so that they care about you?


The people who deserve you are the people who care about you and have your best interest in their decision-making. Your family, your friends, and people who have gone out of their way to make a difference in your life are those people. When you surround yourself with those people, and build up those relationships, you have the strength to give yourself to others.

Does it really matter?

It’s easy to get lost in the details. Every once and awhile you have to come up for air, you have to look at things from the big picture. Where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Who you choose to bring with you and what you choose to do along the way should reflect your values and your moral purpose, not anyone else’s. Being grounded is a vitally important aspect of being authentic towards others and yourself.




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