We all struggle. We all suffer on the inside. Every day…
We feel overwhelmed.
We feel angry.
We feel lonely.
We don’t feel good enough.
We wish we were more fit.
We wish we had more money.
We wish our jobs were different.
We wish our relationships were different.
We think post-COVID life should be ‘back to normal’ again.
And yet, every one of these struggles is self-created. They are real, but they are only real because we have created them in our minds. We have attached ourselves to certain ideals and fantasies about how life has to be right now in order to be good enough for us.
We worry because things might not turn out how we expect. We procrastinate because we fear discomfort and failure. We feel overwhelmed because we think we should be further along than we are. We feel angry because life should not be this way. And so it goes.
But again, it’s in our heads.
And it doesn’t have to be this way. At least not for YOU.
You can think better… you can live better. This is a choice you can make.
Take a deep breath right now, and let all that thinking and ruminating go. Just bring your attention to the present moment. Focus on what’s here with you now – the light, the sounds, your body, the ground under your feet, the objects or people moving and resting around you. Don’t judge these things against what they should be – just accept what they actually are. Because once you accept reality, you can improve it.
See life as it is, without all the ideals and fantasies you’ve been preoccupied with. Let go of all of those stressful distractions, and just experience this moment.
This moment is good enough as it is. Be here.
You can go back to fretting about everything else in a minute.
But before you do, now would also be an opportune time to remind yourself of some key truths we tend to deny when we’re stuck too deep in our own heads…
- There’s a lot about our lives we absolutely can’t control. – You cannot control everything that happens in life, but you can control how you respond. In your response is your greatest power.
- Our expectations often make us utterly unhappy. – Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is.
- We will always be incredibly imperfect. – If you wait until you’re “perfect” before you share your stories, ideas, talents, and gifts with the world, no one will ever hear from you.
- A moment spent worrying is a moment wasted. – Worrying will never change the outcome. Do more, worry less. Train your mind to see the lesson in every situation, and then make the best of it.
- The best lessons often come from the hardest days. – Stand strong. Sometimes you have to experience a low point in life to learn a good lesson you couldn’t have learned any other way. (Read On Fire.)
- Success easily gets to our heads, and failure easily gets to our hearts. – Our character is often revealed at our highs and lows. Be humble at the mountaintops. Be steadfast in the valleys. Be faithful in between.
- We confuse being busy with being productive. – What you pay attention to grows. So focus on what truly matters and let go of what does not.
- More money left unmanaged just creates more problems. – Yes, we need money to live. Earn it. Save it. Invest it. But avoid spending money you haven’t earned, to buy things you don’t need, to impress folks you don’t even know. Manage your money so it doesn’t end up managing you.
- Most of us don’t need more to be happy – we need less. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting. Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter (mental and physical) that makes it complicated. (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Simplicity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Our fancy gadgets often get in our way and dehumanize us. – We all need to learn to be more human again. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people’s stories. Listen.
- As a society, we are utterly infatuated with outer beauty. – If the whole world suddenly went blind, how many folks would still be able to see your beauty? Focus within. Be beautiful on the inside too. And always do your best to see beauty in others.
- Most of the arguments we have with one another are pointless. – Be selective in your battles. Oftentimes peace is better than being right. You simply don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to.
- We default to judging others by their actions and ourselves by our ideals. – Be the type of person you want to meet and be around. Be the type of person whose actions, words, and values always agree with one another.
- We don’t always get what we give. – You will end up sadly disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.
- None of us know anyone worth continually blaming. – Steal your power back. Free yourself to step forward on your own two legs. The best part of your life will start on the day you decide your life is your own, with no one to endlessly lean on, rely on, or blame.
- It’s easier to hold on to the way things are than it is to let go and grow. – Letting go and moving forward means coming to the realization that some things are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.
- If we want the benefits of something in life, we have to also want the costs. – Most people dream of the rewards without the risks. The triumph without the trials. Don’t be one of them. Life doesn’t work that way. When you find something you want, start by asking yourself: What am I willing to give up to get it?
- Even with all our advancements, progress still requires old-fashioned work. – In a culture that seeks quick and easy results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance. Be strong, be present, and build positive daily rituals that get you there. (Angel and I build positive, life-changing rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of the Getting Back to Happy Course.)
- We never feel 100% ready when good opportunities arise. – Most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first. And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready.
- Many of us will have our lives cut short. – One way or another, none of us live forever. And it’s much harder to change the length of your life than it is to change the depth of it. So, how deep will you go today? That’s something you should reflect on. Because how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
Again, life is tough sometimes. There’s so much you simply can’t control, but you have to let your resistance to this GO. Do not let what is out of your control interfere with everything you can control. Be mindful. Be present. Focus on the small steps you CAN take today, and take them! No regrets. No looking back.
We have no way of knowing exactly what lies over the horizon, but that’s what makes every day’s journey interesting and exciting – that’s what makes today so powerful. Anything is possible!
Which of the points mentioned above do you sometimes struggle with? How have you coped? What other truths have you learned and accepted that have helped you live well in recent times?
Leave a reply below and share your thoughts and insights.
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