post written by: Marc Chernoff

8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong


8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

“The best way out is always through.”
―Robert Frost

“Today, I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting to have both my breasts removed.  But in a strange way I feel like the lucky one.  Up until now I have had no health problems.  I’m a 69-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the hall before the pediatric division of the hospital begins.  Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of cancer patients being wheeled by in wheelchairs and rolling beds.  None of these patients could be a day older than 17.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 9/16/1977.  I photocopied it and pinned it to my bulletin board about a decade ago.  It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.  And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.  Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles.  Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

Here are a few reminders to help motivate you when you need it most:

1.  Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward.  And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to.  When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose.  Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Good things take time.  Stay patient and stay positive.  Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.  When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2.  Everything in life is temporary.

Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt, you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever.  It won’t.  Nothing lasts forever.

So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.  (Read The Last Lecture.)

3.  Worrying and complaining changes nothing.

Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.  It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.  It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it.  If you believe in something, keep trying.  Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future.  Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter.  Take action instead.  Let what you’ve learned improve how you live.  Make a change and never look back.

And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

4.  Your scars are symbols of your strength.

Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed.  It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.  A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of.  Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage.  Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear.  You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them.  You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars.  See your scars as a sign of “YES!  I MADE IT!  I survived and I have my scars to prove it!  And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

5.  Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it.  So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way.  Otherwise, there’s no point in starting.  This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion.  It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end.  It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills.  It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar.  It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers.  It could mean lots of time alone in solitude.  Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible.  It gives you the space you need.  Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth it.  So if you’re going to try, go all the way.  There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Other people’s negativity is not your problem.

Be positive when negativity surrounds you.  Smile when others try to bring you down.  It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus.  When other people treat you poorly, keep being you.  Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are.  You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them.

Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.  People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it.  So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think.  If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it.  Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.

All jokes aside, your life only comes around once.  This is IT.  So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.

7.  What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.

True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.  There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them.  You can’t force things to happen.  You can only drive yourself crazy trying.  At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.

In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience.  It’s a long-term journey.  You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.  (Read A New Earth.)

8.  The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.  Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.  And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.  When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.  Find the strength to laugh every day.  Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful.  Find it in your heart to make others smile too.  Don’t stress over things you can’t change.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Work diligently.  And even if you fall short, keep going.  Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

  1. Think positively.
  2. Eat healthy.
  3. Exercise today.
  4. Worry less.
  5. Work hard.
  6. Laugh often.
  7. Sleep well.

Repeat…

The floor is yours…

What helps you stay motivated when you’re struggling?  What’s something positive you try to keep in mind when everything seems to be going wrong?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Photo by: Antonio Buccella

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151 Comments

  • One way of totally cutting out the noise when life gets tough - because mental noise is the plague of productive thinking - is to simply meditate and be present. To remember that this moment is all I can control. I used to think it was woo-woo and kind of lame, myself, but after going through insanely tough times, I can say that presence is the best medicine. Everything afterwards is like seeing in HD. Reality as it is, and not what your mind would like to see.

    As I’ve said before, your “1,000 Little Things” book has been instrumental in getting my mindset right. I’ve used it religiously for quick daily reminders (reading or re-reading a page or two). And “The Power of Now”, which you often recommend on this blog, is what helped me learn to practice presence. So thank you, again.

  • Thank you so much for this timely post. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed this more than you can imagine and I needed it now.

  • The thing that keeps me going is just what you said - there is always ’something’ to be thankful for. There are ‘always’ others worse off in this world. My mantra: Just keep muddling through. And that’s what I’m doing.

  • One of my favorite things to remember is that when one door of opportunity closes, another opens. So I focus on not trying to beat down that closed door, which gets me nowhere, but instead to look around and see where there’s another one opening…

    As J.J. said, this is based on keeping the right mindset You have to maintain a conscious level of thinking to see that door opening. Which is precisely why blogs posts like this and books like yours (and the ones you recommend) are so important for personal growth and wellness.

  • The best thing you can do is keep going. I often tell myself this. Do one thing at a time, focus, and just keep doing THINGS!

  • It’s really all about mastering the feeling of impermanence… your point #2. Nothing is permanent and this too shall pass. It’s not always easy to accept, but knowing this helps keep things in perspective. To consider the alternative - that everything is permanent, which includes every thought, feeling, and bodily sensation - is too awful to consider.

    When I’m struggling, I keep thinking, “One day at a time… just one day at a time.”

  • Numbers 3 and 8 have been the most important for me. My natural reaction to stress is to freeze and do nothing but complain. It helps to stop complaining and do something, anything, to make improvements. Even if that something is just making an effort to enjoy and be grateful for what I do have.

  • The best point for me is to remember: Someday it will be over! Everything comes to an end, as you said. And often, after you’ve survived, you find some good things about the bad times.

    Really incredible article! Some points I figured out before on my own, but as always I’ve started to forget them, so thanks for bringing me back on track.

  • Fantastic blog and articles! I just love to read one of your articles every morning … keep up the good work!

    Best regards from Hannover / Germany

    Jan

  • After one of the longest days of my life, I come and lay in silence and I read this post … You don’t know how much healing this article has brought to my heart. As a 22-year-old trying to find myself in this huge world, it’s words like these that keep me motivated and going forward. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.

  • It is unfortunate that this beautiful advice leaves out God… which is who I turn to in tough times.

  • Marc, thank you so much for the great post. It’s so true and comes exactly in the right time for me. I try to keep things in perspective and in a way Brian mentions “One day at a time”. I am thankful for all that I have and try not to worry excessively for the things I don’t have and struggle every single day to achieve. At moments that’s really hard as difficulties and problems are so overwhelming that I feel I can literally lose my mind.

    An important point is to get back on track: Even after an emotional breakdown, crying, being mad and angry about everything around me, I get on track as fast as I can and continue to work in the right direction - taking another step. Persistence, patience and perseverance are the three most helpful actions in tough situations.

  • It’s been years and I am still struggling to let go…thanks for the ever inspiring blog…makes me think about how to take a few steps ahead to reach my goal.

  • I just try to remember that things could be so much worse than whatever I’m going through. I remind myself that I have the important things in life and that I need to keep it all in perspective. And this too shall pass!

  • Hidden in every ‘wrong’ is a gem-stone of ‘rights’. The limitations of our own ‘human’ experience causes us to define that things go wrong or right, but in the end, all things happen for a reason, often we are just not ready to see it.

    Embracing the wrongs as well the rights with as much joy and gratitude helps us to realise that things are always happening for a reason, and always happening for the better.

  • Really needed to read this, this morning… it’s funny how when you are going through things in life certain tools and resources make themselves available. I have been following your blog for sometime now but haven’t been able to read it often enough, which makes me sad. But I’m in the process of re-prioritizing my life, my passion(s), my profession, my pursuit of happiness this year and I’m happy to say I will be reading more often.

    That being said, this post today hits home. One of my girl friend’s sisters and mother are currently going through identifying possible cancers in their bodies and treatment options. Without saying too much, for those of you that know, its very hard to support the one that you love the most in these situations… I am trying to have as much compassion and strength as I possibly can for this situation, although I fear I don’t know what to do or say. I just reinforce the truth… that I am here to support her and her family… that our home is a place of refuge from the world where we can laugh, cry, breakdown and have any tantrum that we wish with one another… because our love is strong enough. Anyhow, thanks for this post… and thanks for letting me share my thoughts. ~Cap

  • I read your blog often, and think this may be in the top 2 or 3 posts I’ve ever read here.

    Exceptional thoughts, and needed by many these days. May God bless you for this self-enrichment and healing ministry.

  • Thank you! I too believe you make you life only in the present moment, and it’s the best place to turn when times are tough. Be here. Just focus on one tiny moment/movement at a time.

  • The timing of this post, as always, is PERFECT.

    Thank you.
    Julie

  • Trust and faith. I have trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it is planned and faith that I am always taken care of at the universal level. Looking for the growth in every setback or challenge and reveling in the happy moments when they come. It’s all there for my journey.

  • Hi! Thank you so much for this post… It couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m currently turning my life around, once again, and it is never easy. But it always works out just fine. It’s so good to be reminded of the positive principles….love&peace -Nath from thissavvylife

  • This came at the perfect time for me too… Namaste’ <3 :)

  • What an absolutely awesome post! So full of great ideas, thoughts, and excellent points. Certainly a very timely and much appreciated article. Thank you :-)

    There is a quote I particularly like — “There are 7 days in a week. Some day is NOT one of them.” We have 7 days every week to work on positive things, focus, stay determined, and give it our all. Waiting for SOME DAY means we’re not willing to try to change things today.

  • Inspiring! I read your blog often, and in my opinion this may very well be number 1 post I’ve ever read here.

  • I’m so grateful for the motivation that you provide. Thanks Marc and Angel.

  • I love this post - thank you so much!

  • Be thankful always. Keeping in mind that God is already in the tomorrow we worry about, and is always working behind the scenes… for our best… similar to a program running in the background while we are on other things.

  • This post came like food for my soul and healing today. I’m reading it at work and couldn’t hold back tears because it feels like Marc looked into my soul and saw the beauty and inspiration inside that I couldn’t see myself. His words gave me the strength to keep moving forward today. They were a healing remedy for my heart. Thank you so much for expressing your inner wisdom.

  • Wonderful words of wisdom Marc; thanks for sharing and to the other readers for their insights. When things “seem” to be going wrong, I move my perspective up and out to remember I don’t know the big picture and I’m not qualified to judge what’s happening. This helps me to accept and let go of resistance, and then I can look for the good.

    After that, I take action. One day at a time, in the present moment I focus on doing what I can to make change. A little bit each day, building momentum with an attitude of gratitude for the new opportunities before me.

  • Thank you for posting such great advice. If you’re reading this - you’re not alone. It’s a good time to re-evaluate our kindness to each other and other living creatures. We are energy. Marc’s points here are great ways to positively focus that energy.

  • OK, I am printing this one out, to read daily. I have organized and led a musical group for my church for 10 years without a lot of resources. I did the fund raising, the purchasing out of pocket, teaching and directing, recording all as a volunteer. As a new administration came into being, I was suddenly “relieved” of my responsibilities and leadership. The hurt ran deep, because this was my joy and literally, my “song.” I have a huge hole in my life and haven’t been able to fill it, partially due to the anger and hurt. I know I have to let go, but it is so very hard and the pain and resentment runs very deep.

    Thank you for reminding me to “move on” in a way that is productive and fulfilling. I will find a new “song” to sing, but I know that won’t happen until I let go and move into the present.

  • Excellent post to start a new year. I’d like to add a couple of things.

    1. You own very little. You can’t own the wind, the earth, the water or the sky. Even if you own a home, a car or bicycle…these are all things that can be taken from you. But you do own your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and your health. Focus on owning these things, they have a non-transferable lifetime warranty.

    2. Progress does not mean constant forward motion. It does not mean taking the path of least resistence. It is not measured by time, goals, metrics, length, depth or width. Its only measured by self-defined quality. Demand better quality from yourself this year. You will be amazed at how quickly you progress, and how much more you enjoy it.

    3. In order to do more, you have to do less. Place your efforts on fewer, high quality, purpose driven, enjoyable targets. Make a plan to minimize the other noise, busywork, distractions, and partially completed projects in your work, home and social life. Complete the minor, lingering, short-term projects by putting them on your schedule with a drop-dead due date. And do one completely selfish, for your eyes only, dream chasing, pie in the sky thing every day…for exactly 30 minutes. Put it on the daily calendar, seven days a week.

    This is my plan for 2014….what is yours??

  • What we all need to remember: Stop comparing yourself to other people’s troubles - we all go through hard stuff. That’s the thing, Hard is Hard - no matter what! When we keep going, getting things done and moving forward we naturally find another approach to the hard stuff! It may be a different door to open but as Pamela says we keep “muddling through.” I have learned there are often surprises beyond my new doors, and I love that happy anticipation!

  • I like to remind myself that the universe is my friend and not my enemy. This helps me stop resisting and accept whatever is happening, even if I don’t like it. I also like to remind myself that I can’t see the big picture and that things have a way of working out for the best in the long run.

  • This was soooo timely for me! In fact, yesterday I was scanning through all of your posts looking for the perfect one for me to connect with for how I was feeling and for what I needed to hear. Then today, this shows up! Divine timing for sure. Thank you so much for all of your posts and for sharing your life experiences with us. You truly know how to connect with your audience! I treasure and appreciate you, Marc and Angel!

  • I am one who worries about everything, very sad because I lost my true love, and feel I will never have that special bond again. So this would be #3, #7, #8.

    #3. I am learning that worrying does not change anything except get me more upset. Not good. Stop worrying.
    #7. What is meant to be, will be. Trying to remember this every day. Positive.
    #8. One day at a time - I am doing this. Some days good, some days not, but by taking one day at a time helps with the worrying and the being.

    Thanks so much.

  • @david rapp, LOVE this! And am putting the last thing in action even as we speak. Today’s my birthday, so I’m not letting myself feel guilty about it, or scared for that matter. Great list!

  • I too have lost the love of my life. I don’t know how to function in a world without him. I feel empty and lost. But #7 was a good reminder for me that what will be will BE. I cannot change the course of my destiny. I can only try to enjoy the ride while I’m on it. It still doesn’t mean my heart won’t ache with longing and sadness. It just means I have to constantly remind myself that things happen for a reason. I’m searching for that reason now, but after reading your post, I just have to try and let go and allow things to happen how they are intended to.

  • Thank you. I read here almost every day, and so often it’s just what I need to hear. I’ve been dealing with my son’s heroin addiction for about 6 years and its taken a long time to learn to apply some of the things you mentioned here. I don’t see an end to his darkness, but I have to find an end to mine and reading this has gotten me back on track.

  • So many beautiful gems in here!

  • It is indeed touch to see every struggle as a step forward, but I think if I look at every challenge and battle in my life, they have helped move me forward in a positive way. Even jobs that haven’t served me or people who haven’t been the best for me have helped me learn something, become better, and ultimately become wiser. So even in the worst circumstances or situations, I know there is are gifts that await… strength, knowledge and resilience.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Thank you so much for your continuous inspiration and tapping down on all of life’s important issues. It’s ironic how each blog post I get from you always relates to what I am going througg. This was an amazing read … I read and re-read it several times! Words are so empowering!

  • The image is like a ray of hope, showing the gleaming light of sun evading the darkness.

    And now the article, anyone who has lost hope, feels dead inside… If they read this article I’m certain they will find the strength to get up again and fight the odds. Amazing … Keep up the good work. :)

  • As a boxing fan, I love the way this brutal sport can mirror life.For example a boxer may get knocked down but just when you think he’s had enough,he gets back up on his feet and carries on. Or a fighter is taking so much punishment you think to yourself go down or throw in the towel, your out on your feet. But to your amazement he ignores his pain and cuts and bruises and somehow through guts and determination not only boxes on but wins the fight. And what about the underdog who is written off before the fight has even started? He is mocked and ridiculed by the “experts” but ends up not only winning the bout, but even the champion’s belt! So even though boxing is one of the most brutal and toughest sports, it can show the human spirit in all its glory where you can be down and not out, and show us how to never quit or give up on ourselves.

  • My hubby just called me in to read this. So Appropriate. I know so many people who will benefit from these wise words. My son, hubby and self first and foremost. I have lived for the day for many years due to a lot of stress and I wouldn’t survive without it. I can handle today. When the proverbial s..t hits the fan I know tomorrow is a fresh start and just possibly a great healing day. One lady mentioned GOD. He provides endless beauty and awesome diversions if we just open our eyes and heart to it. Nature, babies, the elderly, animals and unconditional love are just a few examples of an opportunity to feel blessed. I grab onto anything that makes me smile even for a second. It gives me hope and so did your article. Hubby reads everyday and I am going to also now. Thank you so much.

  • Love this post!! Just over a year has passed since I started applying much of what you write about. Thank you for all the rewards I am reaping.

  • When tough times wrap us, the only way to move forward is to stay positive. Thank you for your motivation.

  • I love this post! It really helped me today. Thanks Marc and Angel. Please keep it up.

  • What a wonderful way to begin a day! There are, of course, several things that bring us down each day. Failures, uncertainty, disappointment. But once you realize that these are just situations and that you can rise above them, you can achieve great things even in the midst of problems!

  • I heard a phrase some time ago: “The universe sends you what you need, at just the right time.” It sent me your blog which I literally stumbled on a few days ago & in particular this post. In the last month my emotions have swung from anger & denial to despair. With your wonderful guidance I am now approaching acceptance. The calm this has brought in to my life is vital for me to continue to be the rock my lovely husband needs as he faces some tough times ahead.

  • When it seems like everything is crumbling around me, I remind my self that my world is just rearranging itself to better suit my needs. Everything works out in the end, every time.

  • What you’re ready to take in is determined by what you’re willing to let go of.

    <3 <3 <3

  • We all know this. But then why do we have to be constantly reminded about it? Because we forget.

    Great post! It made my day. Although nothing is brand new here, we all watch our favorite movies more than once, or frequently eat our favorite dish for a good reason. Repetition is the secret a lot of great things, including learning.

  • It is so funny how things appear when we need them. Was forwarded this by a friend of mine and have found each post both fitting and inspiring.

    Keep it up - you’re helping me to get through something tough.

  • It seems the greatest agony is the feeling of helplessness. That you can’t do anything about the situation. But you can. Even if it is just the smallest thing. To do is better than not to.
    Thanks! //AL

  • @kevin halls OMG. That is the best analogy I’ve ever read. It’s so inspiring and exactly on target. Thanks for that.

  • <3 this blog. Marc & Angel-YOU are doing great things!

  • I wish I could tattoo this post on my hand; right now my family is going through so much pain and turmoil. I’ve been trying to tell myself some of these things, but seeing them here in black & white is very re-affirming.

    Thank you.

  • When I face difficulty, I try to think to the accomplishments I’m about to achieve. It keeps me motivated.

  • I loved this!

    It reinforces the book that I started reading in the new year - an oldie but goodie by Dale Carnegie “How to stop worrying and start living”

    Thank you,
    Jeannette
    @optioneerJM

  • Namaste beautiful people :)
    This is very touching and motivating. Honestly, what really keeps me going everyday, with all my inner struggles, is faith. I have faith in God. I believe everything happens for a reason, even the tiny little things we usually overlook. It is beyond our human comprehension and abilities to understand God’s and the universe’s wisdom and decisions. We might not be able to comprehend fully what God has planned. However I always remind myself that God has something beautiful planned for each and everyone. This ‘beauty’ comes in different forms and timings. Just remember, if it’s not good, then it’s not the end. Just keep going forward no matter what, don’t let society take you down. Everyone deserves happiness, but be patient, and maintain your positive attitude.

  • I feel fulfilled after reading this.

  • Great inspiration, thank you!

    I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I want to stay this way by learning to see my scars as strength. To be confident the future can and will remain happy. And to always remember my family is my source and symbol that all is good in my world. There is no reason to worry.

    All you need is love!

  • I try to live each day as if it were my last day on Earth - to accept, experience, and enjoy each day fully. Since implementing this daily habit back in 1996, I have been much happier and have achieved inner peace.

  • I would be careful that “muddling on” is not simply pressing through life aimlessly. Just “doing things” is the disease of “being busy”. We fill our lives with the crap of “doing”. Some people wear their exhaustion and busyness like a badge of honor. I see people forgetting about being still and knowing. I have learned to say no to people. I have cut people out of my life that use me. I do not have the diarrhea disease of always giving. As I am half way through my life, my time is valuable, and I use it wisely. When the extraneous persons and crap is cut out, pared down, there is a lot less to go wrong, including ones health.

    If my life feels out of control I stop and rest and look around to see what the influence is that is distracting me from my goal and holding me back. Then master it and eliminate it. Focus. Flailing around in water is not swimming, it increases the possibility of drowning.

  • I’m only 22 so I don’t think I’ve experienced as much problems as others, but I keep myself going by thinking that my problem will last only for today, and that tomorrow everything is new. :) In a way, I wake up everyday with a clean slate, both mentally and emotionally…

  • I could not agree more. I live by these words each and every single day and they are what motivated me through a terribly rough divorce and the continued battles that occur with single parenthood and really, the rest of life…I try to spread the same message on my blog as well. I wish more people could understand and apply these beliefs to their own every day life!

  • This is a wonderful list. I’ve definitely employed most, if not all, on this list. #2 reminded me of what my father told me awhile ago. He said that when you’re in a valley, get ready, because your about to climb to the mountaintop. I’ve since learned that there is value when you’re low in the valley AND when struggling to get to your blessing on the mountaintop. I cherish the good and bad. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending much love, light, joy and health to you!

  • @Cap: Our thoughts and prayers are with your friend and her mom. Just support them with your presence and loving, listening ears. It sounds like you already are.

    @Elizabeth Tickle: Yes, you will find a new song to sing. Life has a way of guiding us to what’s right. Best of luck with this new chapter of your life.

    @David Rapp: Excellent advice, as always. Our plan for 2014 involves all three.

    @Betsy and Michelle: My love and condolences to you both. Angel and I have lost both a sibling and a best friend to illness in the past few years. Death of a loved one is a horrendous experience. Take one day at a time and focus on the simple things present in your lives. That’s what works for me. It already sounds like you both have the right mindset in place.

    @Barbara: You got it. The best you can do is set the right example, and love him openly. In the end, there are some choices only he can make. My heart goes out to you as well.

    @Kevin Halls: Love the boxing analogy. Thanks for sharing it.

    @BRC: So happy you are seeing positive changes in your life. Excellent work!

    @Judy: Such a beautiful, mindful habit to follow daily. Congrats on sticking with it.

    @Theresa: I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective on focus, but I also believe Pamela Bates and Susan B simply meant that they have learned to let go of the tragic past and move productively forward. When times get tough, we often get discouraged and stuck. So perhaps “muddling through” could mean: to keep going and not give up on yourself.

    @All: We say it every time, but it’s honestly never enough: THANK YOU! The thoughts and stories you share with us inspire us. Every day, your words fuel our inspiration write the next post. We appreciate you immensely. :)

  • I agree with all of the 8 points. It is hard however, to let go and move on when you so deparately want to know why someone hurt you. Some people say that I will never know why but there has to be a reason why people hurt other people. It would be so nice to know why because then and only then, I believe, I can have closure and truly move on.

  • A late comment for a wonderful article. On life’s journey we always need to remember that learning to accept our failures is a needed part of growing. When we are small it is a struggle to even tie our shoes. It seemed like a task that could never be master. It might as well have been magic to us then. As Arthur C. Clarke said “Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.” As people we have the ability to move through life’s struggles with ease. It only takes the will to learn how.

  • I believe that from every struggle, every triumph, every person that enters our lives, we have a lesson to learn from. Remember there is always someone worse off. It is all about choices. We need to embrace all our daily blessings and be grateful for everything we have. What we should really focus on is not what we own…but the valuable relationships we have had the pleasure to encounter in our lives. No one comes into your life by accident, everyone is there for you to learn a lesson from. Remember that. God Bless all of you!

  • I needed to be reminded of these today. I’ve known and implemented these for years, since my first combat tour in 1991, and the point about solitude is important. Also, I’ve found that when it seems the world has turned against me, helping others, even with the littlest thing, reaffirms my necessity to keep moving forward and it creates a window for me to look through to see the world of others rather than just my own.

  • bramwel lusweti Jr.
    January 15th, 2014 at 8:36 am

    This is everything I needed to read today…it touches every aspect of me. You are my inspiration…bless you.

  • My mantra actually comes from Dorry, on Finding Nemo… “Just keep swimming… just keep swimming….” Basically, just keep going, don’t stop and don’t give up, you will get to where you need to be eventually. I actually take a lot of my life lessons from that silly fish.

  • Very nice and inspirational.

    Thank you very much.

  • When life is unfair, but there’s simply nothing you can do about it: “It’s not okay, but I’m okay” - a simple but powerful affirmation… humble yourself, get your ego in check, find your line of integrity and stick to it. Stand up for what you believe in and let go of what no longer serves you. And above all else, choose love, not fear.

  • I am at my lowest point I have ever been in my life, I have taken all I have ever had for granted and now looks like I might have lost it all. Reading this has now given me a starting point for trying to get some of my life back. Thank you so very much. I had lost focus on the important things in life, I just hope I am not to late… once again thank you.

  • So needed this and showed up on my feed at that perfect time like you always seem to read my mind. My attachments to memories are what keeps me down. I need to be stronger. Thank you.

  • I love this website so much. Thanks to Marc and Angel. Both of you always make me of think of being ME, instead of being someone others want me to be.

    Keep on writing. I am always anticipating your future posts.

  • The thing that I’ve learned in my short/long time alive is this: ‘There isn’t anything so good that it can’t get better, or anything so bad it can’t get worse.’ That has always gotten me through most things.

  • Your comments reflect the true rhythm of my soul and heartbeat. I awaken each morning simply happy to have another day to reach out and experience the adventure which is life. I embrace the good with the bad, the yin with the yang. It is the essence of the current which we all bathe in daily. The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. There is no true success without failure. No true gain without pain. Yet, I also believe imagination manifests reality. I believe if you think in a positive and upbeat manner, you will inevitably draw positive and upbeat energy towards yourself. After all, you and you alone are the true captain of your ship. No one else has the ultimate power to make you feel anything other than what you wish to feel.

    Happiness is a choice, just as most everything in life appears to be. You choose to be happy or unhappy, to smile or frown. It’s all up to you. Simply take the time to ask people how their day is going? Stop and take a moment to listen to someone, perhaps alleviate some of their stress and leave them feeling hopeful. It doesn’t take much to shine some light on someone and help them upward and onward. In return, you’ll have boosted your own immune system and regenerated your own personal happiness. We all share this thing we call life, we should truly invest in it once in a while.

    Enjoy the day, every single moment. Be silly and have fun. Ride a shopping cart, try on a whimsical hat, feed a duck your sandwich crust while enjoying the sunshine in the park. After all, what’s the use in being grown up if you can’t be childish once in a while?

  • Forgive, Forgive and Forgive some more… Is it easy? Absolutely not. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Every time we are hurt we think to ourselves “but I would never do/say that to another person”. That is irrelevant. You are NOT the other person and that other person has had their own struggles in life that has made them who they are even if you do not agree with who that person is and the choices they make. You can only control your own actions and reactions. ‘So take the high road, my friends. It’s a lonely road, but the view sure is nice.’

  • I learned all of this years ago in Al-Anon . a 12 step program for families of alcoholics. And yes we do mention God… When things were complete chaos I prayed a lot for strength. I always managed to get thru. I find when a have a negative attitude I must write a grateful list and maintain an attitude of gratitude.

  • “In the end, it’ll be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

  • I have really enjoyed your post and reading the comments from people. At particularly difficult moments in my life, I have had the following words come to me “Into your hands, I commend my spirit, O God”. I try to move beyond my thoughts, because I know that I am more that just my thoughts. I can refer to it as pure light, bliss, divine nature, consciousness, or soul, but no words are sufficient to fully describe this ‘element’. Having gratitude and living in the moment are truly life changing attributes. Seeking to love, rather than being loved, seeking to forgive rather than being forgiven, seeking to give rather than receive.

    Once again, thank you for your post, and God Bless.

  • Awesome post, saving, tweeting … and passing it on to others.

  • I love this article. It speaks to my very core and it is a way of life I try to follow. I will share it with my ex who is in a bad place in his life right now. I pray he will take it to heart and try to live a happier life.

  • Today I bombed my job interview. I felt sooo bad that I cried while I was sitting on the train to go home (no one noticing it because it was little tears rolling out). I feel like a failure and it’s so hard to keep going and not to give up. After reading this article it gives me some strength, thank you.

  • This post came to me via a dear friend. It is exactly what I needed to read! I have been through some challenges recently and my focus has been stuck on illness. I will now focus on moving on and through this and being thankful for all that I have, including my scars, which make me stronger! I will copy this post and pay it forward! Thank you for these eloquent words of hope and healing!

  • I discovered your website a couple of days ago. I like reading your insights because you do not sugar coat it. I hate when I read things that seems to be all is good and everything will fine.

    I have lost a lot of hope, faith, love etc., everything, kind of given up on my life in a sense. My sister passed away recently, after dealing with the crap that is Cancer and recovering, it came back with a vengeance and she was gone in 56 days. And it sucked and still sucks. I know people are doing horrible all over but, it doesn’t console me. My sister was my soul mate, my best friend, and I don’t have that person anymore to speak to or laugh with. So, I have had to accept it and move on. I recently promised myself that I would give it another try, instead of killing myself, slowly, Id let myself be positive, at least for my son. And my sister also, would not agree with how I have died inside too.

    So, I am glad I found your website. I will read your inspirations and thoughts and see what happens. And I will try to take it one day at a time, if not for me, at least for my son. Thank you.

  • I really needed to hear this today. The one I did figure out on my own was #8 - to keep going.

    When I was in the hospital 5 years ago very sick with cancer, I told myself to put one foot in front of the other, and that as long as I was moving I was living and this would not catch me, at least not as long as I was moving forward (pacing through the hospital as I was).

    I will also add my 2 cents on religion. I did not find God, but he found me, and I’m very glad that happened.

  • After being laid off yesterday, I needed this. Thank you.

  • Remember God.

  • Marc & Angel.

    Thank you so very much for your site. It has reset my thinking and challenges me to be brave, rational and keep moving forward. I put my computer on speech and let it read to me one every morning.

    Still an unexpected event has “broke” my heart, tramatized & paralyzed me. Have you done any post on the “broken heart” pain…what exactly is it and how to recover? Is distance and time the only healer? Thank you!

  • Of course I could not read this with a dry eye. This is the truth and it’s raw. It is not without pain that that our journey is travelled but it is through our pain that we become the people we are meant to be and get to the other side. This article moved me.

  • Always remember to be who YOU want you to be, not what the world wants you to be. Some people spend thier lives chasing what everyone else wants to be and they forget who they are to start with. Be yourself always and if people dont like it, well thats thier problem.

    Smile a lot, Giggle a little and always do your best.

  • Thanks for your lovely words. It really gives me a confidence, and a little bit of tears, too. :)

  • I had a bad day today and reading this made me feel a lot better. Thank you, it was beautiful!

  • Marc & Angel, I came across your blog by typing in Google “how to find peace”. I have spent two hours reading your blog which is very inspirational and calming.

  • I’m so grateful for the motivation that you provide. Thanks for sharing wonder full information.

  • Hi Marc and Angel,

    Always thankful especially after chancing upon this blog 3 to 4 years ago. Thank you, because the posts have helped me get through many tough times.

    This post especially came at such an opportune moment; I can’t say how thankful I am for this. Gonna make some positive changes. Starting now.

  • This was really lovely reading! Reached my heart! But I remind myself that I am unique as is all who read this and these. What makes sense and pertains to the goose, is not necessarily what describes, affects or has anything to do with the Gander (apparent evidence not withstanding)

  • I have written other comments here. This whole list is just so true. I have changed a few things in my life, working on a few others, and still just taking baby steps. It does take time, but anything really worth it, does.

    I feel so privilaged to be a part of this community, feel welcomed and not alone with my thoughts. Thank you Marc, and all of you.

    I thank God every day to be here, whether a good day or a bad day. It’s just a day, another to follow, hopefully.

  • Hi Marc and Angel. Thanks for the wonderful “8 things to remember” it was so encouraging that I shared it with my friends…I think it’s the message of the decade cos it addresses practically everything one encounters, feel and think. I really appreciate you both and acknowledge the impact of the message.

  • I really love this post!

  • Breathe.

  • Thank you.

    This is some real good advice. What usually keeps me going is the thought that there is always someone worse off than you. Yes I have been unemployed for 26 weeks, lost my car, my job and my girlfriend, my friends - resorting to eating noodles and baked beans - but hey I’m still eating. There are people in other parts of the world that are starving and don’t even have water to to drink. What also keeps me going is my faith in god and knowing once you have gotten ground zero - the only way is up and things can only get better. God bless all……….

  • It sounds silly, but I sorta stumbled upon this post when I needed it most. I’m laying here in bed thinking about all the bad stuff in my life. And there seems to be a lot of it. But this post has made me feel so much better. Its made me realise that I’m only 18 with an entire life ahead of me. And that everything is temporary, meaning I have the power to change it.
    Thank you so much. Xxx Bless you. X

  • The thing that always gets me is remembering that we have the ability to choose and control our thoughts and everything really starts there.

    It can be difficult when we are overwhelmed by emotions. Sometimes there seems to be nothing I can do to move on. That is were physical techniques like changing your physiology tend to help, getting up, walking around, speaking loudly in an excited tone etc.

    EFT has been an incredibly helpful tool for me in recent years as it just deals with the wiring of the emotions and does a lot to lift the weight of the situation.

  • Your site and wisdom has been an absolute life saver for me for the past few weeks and I wanted to say from the whole of my heart, Thank You. I’ve felt just about every emotion in such a short period of time and been trying to deal with the biggest ache in my heart I’ve ever had to deal with and without this site which I read almost everyday for the past few weeks, I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now. You’ve brought me closer to my kids and put a lot of things into perspective and for that I’m forever grateful. Thank you again.

  • This was so inspirational for me … I needed it…thanks a lot for posting this.

  • Thank you for this.

  • Hi, this is a very motivating post. It is so true when you said ” It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed”. It is through failing that we learn the lessons life, it is a matter of how we deal with this failure and moving forward to achieve success. Thanks for sharing a great post.

  • Love this. The quality of my problems today is so much better than the quality of my problems of a few years ago. I have been very blessed. I have been tested and I have failed. I’m up and I’m trying again. One day - I hope soon - I will succeed.

  • I will not give up.

  • I have to add to all the kudos for this post. It’s amazing perspective and right on point. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. The ego loves to make you feel bad when millions upon millions have it worse. Yes, I face challenges - as we all do in life. Yet, the reminder of gratitude is so important and there is much for me to be grateful for. I do sense times can lead to great things and it is so true that when you can remain grateful and enthusiastic for life at times like this - it paves the way for something fresh and new… and you get to keep the lessons learned. Again, thank you for this post and your site.

  • This is a really amazing post. I don’t think I have ever heard happiness defined as being “not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.” Excellent!

  • Go help someone else. Plenty of others have problems too– some much worse than yours, in the big picture of life. You always feel better when you help others.

    And remember– “This too shall pass…”

    Cheers, your Grand Poobah of Smiles

    Ps Always read your Marc and Angel, and your daily Smile-Therapy :)

  • Greetings from Singapore
    What keeps me going ?
    The thought that ” my time is limited ” so I have to be unlimited , believe and become .

    We are as limited as we think we are ,
    Because the greatest hurdle in our lives ,
    Is probably our minds,
    Freeminds !

  • teddy sutrisna
    May 2nd, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Dear Marc,

    Thank you for your motivational words which I read with interest.

    Regards, Teddy

  • Thanks a lot for this much needed motivation.

  • This is exactly what I needed to read today. I will try hard to keep going and appreciate things which I have now. Thank you.

  • I read where a lady here wondered why “God was not mentioned in this wonderful advice,” but I think He was. Repeatedly.

    The kinds of things written were meant to be comforting to people, and many admit that they were. To me, that is a caring God at work in the lives of all His people.

    Dave

  • When everything goes wrong, it doesn’t end of life. Consider that just a learning phase of life and learn lesson from mistakes and keep doing hard work.

    There is always a sunshine after every night. Be positive and trust yourself.

  • Emmanuel Olorunyomi
    May 15th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Great article. I been through a lot academically and currently right now without a job. This article reminded me that my story will be great…in God’s name!

  • I guess for me - when things are at their very worst -the thing that got me through the day was to do everything I had to do that day to the best of my ability. When my business was failing and we were losing our home and car and had no idea where the next bit of money would come from or when… I lived by this mantra ‘ just do what life gives you to do today’ so if all I could do for my family that day was make something to fill their tummies and wash the dishes or sweep the floor… I did it wholeheartedly with presence and enthusiasm, I spent a lot of time outside in my garden and just absorbed nature - the sunlight, the blue sky, I was grateful for those simple simple things when things were at their bleakest.

    Although our worst fears were confirmed but somehow we made it to the other side… sometimes as someone mentioned in the comments - the only things you have that are truly yours are your attitudes, your beliefs and blind faith that everything will be okay again one day. Your story is never finished, sometimes it takes a chapter or two until things change - but it’s doesn’t have to end there!

  • Hi, I’m totally with you. And I’ve never been a negative person. But at the moment I don’t have a lot of good stuff happening in my life. My job, relationship, health, money and future children are all being compromised. It’s funny how when you put a lot of good into the word you don’t get much back in return. Now I never expect people to return the good but it would be nice to receive it when I need it. And right now i need it. Especially at work. Work stress is ruining my life. The stress is due to my bad performance which is due to my bad health. I like helping others and have even helped to raise money for charities. Yet as bad as it sounds I feel a bit forgotten.

    I can keep writing about the bad things but that would be even more negative. Tomorrow’s a new day and I will smile and probably make others smile too, it’s just what I do. The day after that I may not, but then I might the day after that. It’s not an everyday thing these days. I wish people could understand my illnesses and let me work more flexible hours. I want to work and I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy being put on performance plans for being unwell.

    I’m stopping now. Thank you for reading if you did.
    Smiley face.

  • I woke up this morning and the first thing on my facebook page was this article - WOW!! Just the inspiration I needed to put this week behind me and finally move on. Thank you so very much.

    I especially related to point 6 with regards to other people’s negativity. The narrow mindedness of people who are only concerned with their reputation as opposed to doing the right thing. I have been let down badly - but I’ve decided that these people are just not worth it and don’t deserve the time of day. The only way is up!!

    Thank you Marc and Angel xx

  • Kirt Natividad
    May 19th, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Thank you! You know this article could be very helpful to every individual…. This should be promoted and shared by everyone. One day, when I am successful I will mention this article as part of my success. :) Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sharing this post with us. The best thing we can do is to pray, ask God to be with us to direct our plans, and keep going No Matter What. This is my testimony.

  • This was a great read! Thank you! On my own road to self discovery posts like this are incredibly insightful. One of my favorite quotes, which is relevant to this post, and is what I look to when feeling as though I am stuck in a rut is by Martin Luther King Jr. and it reads;

    “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” :)

  • Thank you so much for such sensible information this evening - been feeling like life is to difficult in older age… I’m 70 today now!!

  • I have this bookmarked on my computer - and it’s the perfect pick-me-up after a rotten day or week. Thanks for keeping things in perspective.

  • I try and think of all the good things in life. The joy of seeing my children laugh. The soothing touch and warmth from my wife

  • Thank you so much!

  • my family is my source of motivation…

  • Thank you so much. I will bookmark this blog

  • I google “when everything in your life is not working” This site came up along with other search results..

    Am going through a lot right in my life, not knowing how the story is going to end. But your article really encouraged me, thank you.

  • My son is in the Air Force, he is having a really bad week and I was searching for something inspirational for me to share with him. In light of the world events , this is very appropriate and shared with him. He has been so quiet for weeks now and finally wrote back :Thanks mom” Thanks Marc and Angel. The wisdom continues…

  • Wonderful blog… I am going through a bitter and painful break up with love of my life. I would really like to implement all these points in my life and use these whenever I go thru the lows in life even in the future. Thanks to the authors and all others who have posted their experience.

  • This made me cry. I am going through a lot right now. I’m 31 and life is just a mess from every aspect: love life, family, work and a bestie going through double mastectomy. The past year has been the hardest ever everything has been going wrong and it wont stop. I am always the happiest and funniest between my friends. If they only knew…

    Thank you for this post.
    Xoxo

  • Just been thrown out by my wife of 18 years and three kids after she found a new lover. This has really lifted me up. Thank you so much and God bless.

  • Definitely agree with this list:

    Think positively.
    Eat healthy.
    Exercise today.
    Worry less.
    Work hard.
    Laugh often.
    Sleep well.

  • Thank you, Marc.

    This post help me a lot today. I was kind of thinking that all my life, all I ever did was put up with everything.. while others get away with everything.

  • This made me cry so hard, I really needed this. Everything seems to be going wrong and I needed a little bit of perspective.

  • Thank you for this posting Marc.

    After the loss of my 15 year old daughter on Feb 16, 2013 our family has been given another blow. Our beloved 3 year old english bulldog, who helped our family with healing and moving forward, through our loss of Lauryn, Lenny was taken from us.

    After a successful surgery and 4 hours of being up and walking around, we received the call that he stopped breathing. Words will never express the crushing of hearts, again. If the loss of my 15 year old daughter was not enough, now the loss of my bulldog has me back at zero.

    This article is something that I will use as a tool to find a way through all the darkness that I have been given.

  • I really love this blog. This is the perfect point in my life when I really need something like this to read. Thank you very much. Although I was crying while reading your blog, I really learned a lot. I was very motivated.

  • Regina D Eiland
    July 25th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I stumbled across this site while looking for an inspiring quote. What a wonderful blessing! Praising God in the midst of the storm!

  • Your blogs and articles have changed my life… no I am not exaggerating. Whenever I feel low, I just read one of your articles and I feel so much better. Thanks a ton!

  • I am so thankful to Marc and and Angel for this post. I was on the verge of ending my life as everything around me started going terribly wrong. I’ve been struggling with the same since 8 years. My Dad drinks a lot and has never guided me and my brother towards a better future. My mom doesn’t keep well, she’s always worried for our future and sometimes she cries too. I’ve spent all my life sitting at home looking after my mom and taking care of my violent Dad. He would never stop shouting and abusing people. This has made me mentally sick and afraid of going out. I couldn’t do jobs due to some kind of phobia that don’t let me participate in interviews..I am getting old and getting more scared each passing day. My family’s in debt too which sometimes gives me suicidal thoughts. I don’t have friends no relatives to ask for help. But one thing that the great lord has gifted me is my younger brother who always gives me strength to go through every day. I keep praying to God for my life to change. Sometimes it gets too hard to sit at home and going out somewhere to relax is impossible for me as I have no one to hang out with. All my friends have moved abroad and this makes me think of my life as a horrible punishment. We all do mistakes I may have done too. But I never hurt anyone on purpose and never think bad of anyone.

    This post has given me some hope that one day I’ll also have a joyful life to live and everything will be alright.till then I can only try to keep myself alive for my family.

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