It’s your choice… To be positive and free or to be imprisoned by your own negativity. To live in the past or to be hopeful about the present.
(Note: This post was expanded and updated here: 5 Lessons I Learned from Overcoming the Hardest Days of My Life)
1. Clear the unnecessary clutter and complications standing in your way.
As Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity; from discord, find harmony; in the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”
Sometimes we make life more complicated than it is. We attach our happiness to achievement and then look for it in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places. Of course, you don’t have to live like this. If you feel like you are, it’s time to simplify things. It’s time to clear the air and get back to the basics.
Simplifying is not seeing how little you can get by with – that’s poverty – but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a difference and mean the most to you. Less truly is more. Instead of adding, improve your life by subtracting. Get rid of unnecessary clutter, negative influences and toxic relationships. There’s a big difference between what you want and what you need, between what’s excessive and what’s essential. (Angel and I discuss this process in the Simplicity chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
2. Reach out and help people.
Our setbacks are often mostly about us, wallowing in our own self-pity. This doesn’t sound great, but we all do it almost every day to a small extent without noticing it. When you catch yourself doing this, know that the best antidote is to get outside yourself, stop being self-centered, and re-focus on the people around you. Try to find a way to help someone else. It will inevitably, infallibly, make you feel better.
When we realize that helping others is the key to realizing our own happiness, it saves us a lot of trouble.
Truth be told, the closest thing to being cared for is to care for others. We are all in this together and we should treat each other as such. Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, and your hands for charity, always. No exercise is better for your heart and mind than reaching down and helping others up. Happiness and success in life doesn’t come through selfishness, but through selflessness. The best way to feel alive on down days is to get up and do something positive for the folks around you.
And remember, you don’t need a reason to help someone. Just do it. The reason will come to you.
What helps you persevere and bounce back from life’s setbacks? How do you motivate yourself through difficult situations on a daily basis? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights?
Photo by: Daniel Smith