The sharpest weapon we have against anxiety, negativity and stress is our ability to choose one present thought over another.
Recently, so much has been postponed, closed or canceled. But not everything.
Love has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Hope has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Self-care has not been postponed, closed or canceled.
Right now is an opportunity to invest… in the little things that matter most.
The human experience is filled with love, passion, creativity, joy, connection, compassion, laughter…and the taste of chocolate cake. But because we as human beings learn, evolve and grow through life’s ups and downs, our experience also includes plenty of difficult situations and seasons that round us out.
The key right now is to not let life’s difficulties get the best of you.
Think about the most gut-wrenching situations you’ve endured in your past. Doing so likely brings up some very uncomfortable feelings. And the associated attachments you have may stir anxiety, anger or sadness. This is a predicament many of us face.
Now imagine how you would feel if you were able to get over these feelings. By “get over” I mean no longer suffering over something that can’t be controlled. I know this is possible because Marc and I have both personally come to peace with extremely difficult, heartbreaking, uncontrollable situations in our past, and we’ve witnessed hundreds of our students and Think Better, Live Better seminar attendees do the same.
So what’s the secret? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but all of the possible answers start with…
Releasing Your Judgments
The truth is, it’s impossible to get over a difficult situation—to let it go—if you’re still obsessively judging it and comparing it to something else. Let’s revisit one specific gut-wrenching situation from your past again—choose one that still stirs negative emotions. And then ask yourself:
- Do you believe it should not have happened at all?
- Do you believe the outcome should have been different?
- Do you take what happened personally?
- Do you blame someone else for what happened?
- Do you blame yourself?
- Do you believe the situation is impossible to get over?
If you caught yourself thinking “yes” to one or more of those questions, then what’s prolonging your suffering and preventing you from getting over it is judgment. Your judgments about what “should have happened” continues to postpone the love, hope, and self-care you know you are capable of practicing.
Now you may be thinking, “What happened was unbelievably horrible! I can’t conceive of ever getting over it!” But releasing your judgment does not mean you’re pleased with what happened, or that you support it, but rather that you are eliminating the negative burden you are carrying by perpetually judging it.
When you let go of your negative judgments, you automatically replace the victim mentality with acceptance and presence. And acceptance and presence together will free your mind and move you forward.
This very same principle applies to our present challenges with COVID-19, especially for those of us who are not ill.
When we think better about our circumstances, we live better in spite of them.
And there is no reason to postpone. Now is the time to practice being more mindful of your judgments and how you respond to life. Of course, that’s much easier said that done. Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge. It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity, without judgment.
At its core, mindfulness is…
- Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
- Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
- Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)
Let Each Moment Entice You
Above all, what you need to remember is that where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment is absolutely essential.
Because it is the only moment guaranteed to you.
You are not on your way somewhere else.
You are not progressing to a more important time or place.
The present is not just a stepping-stone—it is the ultimate destination.
This moment is where your greatest opportunity lies.
This moment is your life!
It might seem obvious, but we forget more often than we’d like to admit.
All day, every day, many of us feel like the present isn’t enough—like our life right now simply isn’t worthy of our full presence. And because of this, we judge it harshly and miss out on most of life’s present beauty.
But what if we did the opposite?
What if we accepted this moment—no matter how imperfect—as exactly enough?
What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the letdowns with the lessons, the heart-wrenching with the interesting, the anxiety with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment alone is offering us?
What if we paused right now, and saw everything with perfect clarity?
Keep thinking about it…
Would we live more meaningful and memorable lives in the days and weeks ahead?
Would we have more beautiful stories to cherish and share?
I think we would.
And thus, I think now is the best time to practice.
Are you ready for a challenge?
It takes roughly 60 days to form a new habit. So for the next eight weeks, wake up every morning and practice being less judgmental and more mindful—practice looking at the bright side of your life—and you will rewire your brain.
Will you accept this challenge?
Did this post resonate with you today?
We would love to hear from YOU.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, our podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event) can be used as a tool to keep your mindset grounded while you’re socially distancing, etc. You can listen to the whole first season—30 episodes—on your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts).
MaryAnn Seaver says
Excellent read – thank you.
As hard as it is to not pass judgement (on myself or others), it is worth the investment.
It’s akin to another thing I’m trying to get better at – responding vs reacting. When trying to respond, I’m giving myself more time to process as well as thinking twice before something comes out of my mouth that I might regret!
Hi Mary Ann,
Just a few nights ago my neighbour was telling me the same thing!!! Respond vs React.
Your post is just confirmation.
John Els says
This post was painful to read, especially the part about recalling a recent upsetting experience that I still haven’t let go. But then I stopped for a second and thought, “stop thinking about that old thing, you’re reading a post at the moment, focus on that.” As I continued reading, I again realized that my quest to learn to be more mindful more of the time, is a worthy one, and that reading this article and the emotions it stirred up, was an opportunity to practice.
scott ossington says
thanks this arrived at a most fortuitous time. the universe is a magical place.
You guys are doing an excellent job, to keep people’s minds on the right track. Thank you so much for the motivation!
This comment was so right on!! I have been working on Trust and what you state about judgement and victim mentatility and how to dig deeper, go deeper, search within your heart and emotions to try to figure out this pain and trauma is incredibly hard and you summarized a big chunk of it.with what you wrote. What you wrote put into words helped link everything together and create a way through this for those of use who need to process and analyze (well everyone should do this) but have to understand and make sense of it to move forward, to let go, to take steps into forgiveness, and create a new and better life.
Thank YOU BOTH for these post and email!
Thank you so much for the motivation. I believe I am going to learn a lot and find my way out of the regrets i have in my life. The things i blame myself for. For being single mother of a 13 years old, having broken p with the father during pregnancy. Having lost friends and being put to shame for for having a child out of wedlock by family. Having suffered financial breakdown since 13 years ago. Living from hand to mouth having exhausted all savings in order to be able to afford a roof over our head and medical bills(My son is asthmatic, suffers allergies etc) which I do not know how I will come out of . Today for the first time I managed to accept the situation as it is as mostly I have ignored it or just never admitted that I am suffering. thank you.
Ru – I am sorry life has been so rough. Being a single mother is really a hard trial that I can relate to. I love how you have come to accept the situation as it is. I also came to that same realization a couple years ago and knew I had to make changes and take care of myself. Looking forward, what are the next steps for you in your journey?
This has helped me immensely. Put all of my tribulations into focus and put into perspective what I’ve been trying to do for months, suffering with a bad work situation and harassment. This has been as helpful as all the therapy I have had! Thank you very much
Gail Speis says
Thank you for this post, it exactly what I needed this morning. I realize now that letting go of the judgement and wishing things were different was what was bringing me down. I have so much on my life to be thankful for, and I will join you on the 8 weeks to rewire my brain to be less judgemental and more mindful. I pray this is the way I can enjoy life’s moments more fully in the weeks to come.
“There is nothing good nor bad; but thinking makes it so”
Thank you for this timely reminder…
Yes- willing to take the challenge. I find the daily reminder helpful in maintaining traction with my intentions.
Thanks marc and angel you sent me an important email at the right moment. please keep sending such uplifting and motivating messages.
Mike Ryan says
Although I am usually able to maintain the “happy face” and even help guide others through some tough times, this article was excellent timing for me. I just learned my position is being eliminated – in a company that I envisioned I was going to be a part of until retirement. Having been a long-term follower of you both, and enjoying sharing YOUR lessons, this one…is especially poignant, mindful, and helpful for me. And, I expect there are others that it will undeniably help. Thank you.
Yeah I definitely would accept the challenge… So far things haven’t been going has planned but I need to stop thinking and stop the negative thoughts.. Thanks for the post guys
Teo P says
Thank you very much for your writing. I usually read your articles to calm my mind.
JLynn Bloggess says
I have always loved your blog. I have started one and it is funny, but I am challenging myself to a 66 day walking habit. 21 days or 30 days just doesn’t stick with me! So, YES, I will take on your 60 day challenge of being more mindful and less judgmental. Thank you for these words of wisdom.
Kim W says
Positive brings positive: negative brings negative. I need to be positive in the now.
It’s been hard for me recently, i have had insomnia for more that three months after the loss of my Sister and then my Dad followed suit two weeks ago.. It is hard…
I pray i learn mindfulness and stop judging and being so depressed…
Thank you everyone!!
This post help me very much coz I pass through hard time and I always blame myself for what happened I broke up with my boyfriend we were together for 3years and half and I left him coz I realized he don’t trust me, we share love secretly, he don’t want me to work and much conditions of his church and always tell me one day he will left and I will regret all my life and poisoning him coz I will be jealousy of his success… After rethinking I take courage and decision to left him… It 6 months now but he prepare himself to marry another lady and ask me to be there…
Since that I feel very bad and blame myself why am the one who cause all this to myself… It really hard to forget that but I will try
When my mom passed away due to cancer of the blood, i had so many questions then. Why it had to be my mother, why not the robbers and criminals who do bad to other people? I don’t know what happened, but one day, i just decided that her passing was for me to grow independently, and learn cooking, cleaning the house, paying the bills, and looking after myself. From then on, i never looked back but i am always grateful to the Lord for giving my mom to me. She was a perfect gift in a lifetime.
Naveen Bommakanti says
Thank you so much for inspiring Marc & Angel 🙂 You guys possess so much of positivity, full of passion and love towards people.
All these little yet profound words truly help everyone to go through these difficult passages and live a healthy life in every aspect. Loved your every single message that truly uplifted my soul. Really looking forward to connecting with your kindred souls and inspire the world 🙂
Stay safe and keep sharing your noble thoughts. I pray to everyone in this world. I know this is one of these major tests but we all surpass this and many more and become stronger, tougher, kinder more than ever. It is time to take care of each other. We are with everyone and everyone has to take time to take care of their individual selves 🙂 Be strong, be safe and Take care.
Great article. I think that the hardest part is convincing oneself that it’s ok for things to be imperfect, also practicing self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Excellent advise. It’s hard to be non-judgmental…but if practiced mindfully…. it’s worth the effort.
Joanne Reed says
Powerful and insightful! I agree. “Uncertainty is the condition that impels man to unfold his power ” – Erick Fromm. This quote was the inspiration for me to write an article recently on my website titled: “The Art of Living in Uncertain Times” authorjoannereed.net/living-in-uncertain-times/. I hope that you could find some time to check it out!
While I have been working at being more present, I don’t last very long (a few minutes maybe..). Today I was definitely being too judgmental and not enjoying the moments. So now after reading this I am going to take on the 6 week challenge to rewire my brain. Here’s to the next six weeks and hopefully a happier me!
Hi Marc & Angel, I am so blessed as always to read your inspiring blog.
The pandemic definitely has disrupted people’s lives for months now .. but in my case, it has started 3 weeks after my supposed year end vacation and 5 days after my mother’s funeral in early February
Honestly, I have decided to come back 5 days after my mom’s funeral (from my country- not China-My daughter & I brought her remains home )instead of staying with my entire family for emotional support —-hoping to be back at work and deal with my bereavement period slowly and start earning , unfortunately, my employer for 12 years put me into self quarantine and after 2 weeks will start me on an hourly rate instead of a regular schedule.
I just can’t believed everything that horrible has been happening to me , and such a situation was really so hard to get over with that I have the worst case of depression & even became suicidal ..I gathered whatever remaining strength and sanity I have and resigned from my job.
But as you mentioned.. I need to let go of negative judgment and the victim mentality will be replaced
with acceptance and presence
That is very true… as I did that ..
the opportunity of working part time by traveling to a lake house in Ontario Canada via private plane came ..as if I have been uprooted from Queens, NY before the worst of the pandemic hit the area.
I just have to remind myself to be mindful of the present …
that THE PRESENT IS MY ULTIMATE DESTINATION…
I am so blessed to be by the lake especially in the midst of uncertainty brought by the situation…
I’ve already been doing this challenge. 😉 I have been challenging myself to be more present over the last month and it’s definitely working. It’s a matter of celebrating the little things and enjoying what you are doing. Every time I start to worry or think about the future, I pull myself back to what I’m doing and focus on that instead.
Interestingly, everyone I’ve learned from has different times for how long it takes to form a habit. Robin Sharma says 66 days, and in The Habit of Ferocity, Steven Kotler says it takes longer than that. But, I think it just boils down to you as an individual because some things that feel good tend to stick quicker for me than others.
Yes. As others have said, thank you.
Makarios Yossie says
Hi Angel, it’s a blessing to know “Marc and Angel.” 🙂 From you guys I have read so much inspiration and life hacks that I know my life has been impacted for the better.
Yossie Makarios Wanyama
This was quite inspiring. I believe we can survive these hard times. Thanks a million for this great piece.
Joanne Reed says
Great perspective! Totally agree. “The obstacle is the way”.