Whether you want to believe it or not, tough times are bound to come in your life from time to time. It’s easy to go tumbling down the rabbit hole of despair, to blame yourself, to blame others, or to give up.
It’s easier for self-doubt to seep in and for negative thoughts to take the front seat.
“This always happens with me.”
“This is how I am going to be always.”
“I won’t ever succeed.”
These are just some of the thoughts that take over our mind when tough times strike. Even if the difficult phase passes, sooner or later it reappears in another form. The sooner you accept that tough times are a part of life, the sooner you will learn to not be fazed by them.
Positive thoughts don’t appear magically in your head during times like these, you have to actively work towards getting that mindset. One thing that is going to get you through difficult patches of your life is a positive and healthy mindset. To achieve that mindspace, there are some things you need to remind yourself and keep working towards.
1. It will pass
“This too shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone. But it will pass.”
I don’t know who said it but it makes real sense here. No matter what kind of time you are going through, it is going to pass. Even the most happening days don’t last so why will the tough time. When you make up your mind and convince yourself that this predicament you are in will be over in some time, it is easier to deal with.
A deadline, an end date have the power to drive us through life even when we don’t want to. So, putting a clock on your tough time is a good thing to begin with, you don’t have to know the exact date but just the thought of it being over soon is enough to get you into action.
2. This will make me stronger
“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”
Tough times, negative experiences, glitches in plans, every unfavorable thing teaches you something and that something helps you become stronger. What do you think people mean by being a better version of yourself? It simply means learning from your mistakes and using those lessons to grow yourself as a person. It might not seem like that at the time but once it passes you will realize how it made you a better person.
“Hard times are like a washing machine, they twist, turn and knock us around, but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before.”
3. Don’t stop – Small steps go a long way
“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
It is tempting to tuck yourself in your comfy blanket and never get out. When things got tough, this used to be my go-to solution. Just go to sleep and wake up when everything passes but things seldom work as we want them to. After I woke up, the problem that had me in a time like was still there, and albeit calm I was still at the same place as before. No solution, no steps taken to fight this thing.
Then I realized that while feeling safe and hiding inside a bubble might be my preference, it wasn’t going to sustain me in the long run. What I needed to do was find a way out. Once this sunk in, I started finding outrageous ways to get help or help myself out of a situation. Well, the ways, they weren’t exactly outrageous but you get my point. For example, there’s an exam tomorrow and you don’t even know the name of the textbook, and you decide that it is possible to learn a 1,000-page book in the just 8 hours.
While that might seem ideal, it is far from it. What it did to me was put me under a lot of stress. Finally, I understood it was about taking small steps, you didn’t have to win the world in a day, just a small something was enough and that is what helps you win the world one day. Just keep taking baby steps, don’t stop.
In the end, it all boils down to your determination to not stop and to not let whatever it is get the better of you. Your mind is the only thing that is going to drive you in situations you would rather not be, so the only thing you have to do, to build yourself up from the ground, is convince yourself that whatever it is, you can get through it without breaking, and it is going to benefit you, and you are going to win because as someone wise said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Why Chasing Your Dreams is a Scary Concept and Why You Need to Do it Anyway
A few years ago, a steady 9-to-5 job used to be the dream. We were all taught to aim for that, to have a goal to get a good job that can provide you with financial stability. You pursued education with the end goal of getting a job. Took loans, studied hard, worked while you studied to get by, got a job, kept working to pay the debt off, then continued working on getting yourself by – maybe get a car, a house – this was all we knew.
Starting your own business was risky, few people attempted it. It took a lot more commitment than just working for someone else. All of us heard this phrase – “Build your own dreams, or else someone else will hire you to build theirs” – it hit us at times, but we didn’t dare to chase our dreams because we had responsibilities and also debts to pay off.
So many people stayed in their jobs telling themselves that they will soon start out with their own venture, they just needed to pay their debt off and save some money as a financial cushion for themselves. But, the problem here is that once you get used to getting a stable paycheck, it becomes difficult to get on a road that is full of uncertainty and doesn’t even guarantee that you are going to get a paycheck in the initial few months.
Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world, was a college drop, who has about a million engineers working under him. Stories like his, people like him, are thrown around as examples a lot. What people often don’t see behind all the success is that success doesn’t come easy. You don’t achieve your goals just because you were lucky.
You either have a goal for yourself, or it is someone else’s plan you’ll be a part of. If you don’t work on building your dream, then it is evident that someone will hire you to build theirs, and that is the reality – that is how the world works. Many people who have dreams other than their jobs, try to convince themselves that this is not the case, but this is precisely what is happening. Inaction will get you nowhere even if you have a bucket full of luck showered over you.
You need to have a vision, and you need to have goals to turn your vision into reality. There is no point wearing yourself out in a 9-to-5 job, even if it pays you well enough if you are not happy. You need to find a job which inspires you, helps you grow. You need to focus on something that will add value to your life and vision. There is nothing wrong with helping other people to live their dream – there is a difference in willingly helping someone with their goals – but it should never be at the expense of your own vision.
We may be interested in a lot of things, and we may even do it according to our convenience. But commitment is what is required to pull ourselves out of the comfort zone. The struggle of getting out of the comfort zone is what tangles many people, and you have to detangle yourself, learn to fight the feeling, and do things anyway.
Now is the best time to start; it is as good as any. Leaving behind your unfulfilling life might seem like a distant dream, but it is on you to make it happen. To live the life of abundance, you need to start from the beginning – start from a dream. Before any idea can come true, it must first be imagined – the seed needs to be planted.
Take time to dream. Think about your goals. Consider how your skills can help you and what you are talented in, explore your thoughts. The thinking should go on till you get obsessed with it because liking what you do isn’t enough. Obsession is the main driving force that will make you get up and run toward your goal – that is the fuel that drives people who dare start a venture.
People who have achieved laurels in different fields – regardless of all the obstacles – irrespective of their injuries, disabilities, low-income conditions, marriage bonds, or conservative families issues – become examples to people who dare to walk a path different from others. This is your life. You and only you get to decide what you want to do with it; you can’t rely on someone else for your happiness – this is something that more people are starting to realize.
When you learn that you can’t blame someone else for your failures; you can’t hide behind people as a reason for your inaction – change starts to happen. Society will tell you all kinds of things, force you into decisions, but it’s YOU in the end who makes the decision.
If you have a dream – a dream that excites you, scares you, makes you feel giddy, makes you feel alive – then you have a mission in life. Your mission is to make that dream come true. But if you are letting a bunch of excuses come in your way, you are sabotaging your dream. The only thing standing between you and your dream is ironically YOU.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
– Paulo Coelho
With the start of every new endeavour, there are many obstacles that you have to cross on the way. People are going to shun you, mock you, criticize you for many of your decisions because there is a cultural norm of following the same societal rules and it baffles people when you think outside the box.
Society has always tried to make everyone fit into this one homogeneous frame. Those who manage to be like everyone else are appreciated – which is why we pretend. But sometimes, most times, people don’t fit in, they just can’t fit in no matter how much they try.
People are scared, they don’t know any different, so they will scoff at your ideas, they will tell you it is not worth it, but you have to trust yourself and not be fooled by these judgemental people who try to make you doubt yourself. They might not always be coming from a wrong place, it might be out of concern, but taking risks is not something everyone can wrap their heads around.
People who decide to do something different from others are looked down upon. People, who feel the need to judge and criticize others, have one thing in common: in order to feel better about themselves, they need to knock others that aren’t like them down. They see you doing what they wish they dared to do – something to get out of a life they don’t want to be living. So they will attack you in every possible way until you feel miserable about the path you are walking on, about the need to do something for yourself.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman
You have to stand firm. Don’t let anyone convince you that you aren’t capable enough to achieve success, to make your dreams come true. Believe that everything is possible, however impossible it may seem initially. The magic ingredient here is you believing in yourself when everyone refuses to believe you. The universe is continuously testing you to see if you are really serious about pursuing your dreams. Being stubborn, not quitting, and moving forward is what is needed to go after what you want.
“Don’t let small brains convince you that your dreams are too big.”
Five Quotes That Teach Us About Fighting Our Battles
A few days ago, I talked about why learning to choose the battles you fight is important, and while researching for that article, I came upon some quotes that spoke to me on another level. There’s so much to learn from these sentences, and they are valuable pieces of advice that we often tweet about and then forget.
“Not all battles are worth fighting, this is something all of us know in theory, but seldom know how to practice it. There’s a thin line between not taking action because you are scared and not taking action because it is not worth it.”
This was my opening to the article, and honestly, this is something that most of us struggle with. It is so easy to get caught up in the wind and let the situations get the better of us.
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
Let’s begin with this. When we talk about how people or things affect us, we don’t take into account that, it is us who give the power to things or people to make us feel with the intensity we do. You will have realized it at some point in your life, how something that got the better of your options doesn’t even make you bat an eye now.
This is one of the tricks to reduce the impact bad situations have on us. Rationalize with yourself and tell yourself why it isn’t worth losing sleep over.
“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.”
-George Bernard Shaw
“Some people love baiting other people to get a reaction out of them. These people are usually attention seekers; they like the attention being on them. For that, they will rope in anyone,” is what I said when I used this quote, and this is basically the essence of it.
Some people are just toxic; we need to accept the fact and move on. There’s no point in talking about why they are the way they are or trying to change them because the only thing that is going to happen is you getting slathered with mud in this figurative sense, and also by them running their mouths.
“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
“Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.”
-Norman Vincent Peale
Taking the earlier point further, trying to avoid fights doesn’t make you a coward, it makes you smart. There’s no point in getting your hands dirty if you can get the work done without having to. Trying to find alternatives that work for everyone is a smart tactic that avoids a lot of animosity in personal as well as professional life.
Most of the time, staying calm and folding under the weight of your anger, disappointment, broken expectations, and trust, etc. can help you more in your situation and help you diffuse it more efficiently. In the heat of the moment, it takes seconds to lose your calm and say something that can’t be repaired in years.
“To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.”
That being said, it is also easy to disguise your inability to take action as you being a bigger person and not trying to overreact when, in fact, you are actually scared. Whenever you try to get out of your comfort zone or are in a pickle, it is easy for our brain to come up with reasons to help us not feel that way and that can have a negative impact on you in the long run.
Always question why should you hold back and why should you jump in. Put yourself through a proper decision analysis if it is a big thing, especially if it is a big thing.
Life is filled with small daily fights sprinkled with the big ones we fight. It can get overwhelming, and our motto for life can get all muddled up in that. So, it is essential to take a breather and think about what you are putting your energy into and is it worth it.
How to Break Free From Your Boring Life to Live Your Passion
You feel like your life needs a deeper meaning and you have no idea what you really want to do with it. What are you doing in your life – is a constant question that rules your mind.
This is a question people ask themselves when they want to do more, but don’t know which path to take. Maybe, you’ve spent years to get a degree and now you hate your work. Maybe, your job is emotionally draining and it causes anxiety or depression. Maybe, you feel exhausted all the time and you can’t find happiness anywhere.
Do you feel confused, stuck, or embarrassed by your lack of passion? Are you waiting for a sign that will help you find the next step? If your life is passing by, here are some important steps to take to have control over your life and find your passion.
1. Don’t Rush
When you take time to analyze the situation, you can tap into the best version of yourself and it becomes easier to find an answer that you have been searching for. You can do what you like the most – going for walks, doing yoga, meditation, etc. If you have many voices in your head that tell you what to do, slowing down will help you listen to yourself. So, slowing down is always the first step when you feel clueless or overwhelmed.
2. Start Doing Things
Having many little hobbies can feel overwhelming at first but it’s one of the best ways to find what you love most and do what you really want to do. Start doing lots of things. New hobbies, new interests, etc. It’s always better to try something new than to have no options at all.
You can start by making a list of things you’re interested in, pick several of them to focus on and then start being active. Find some classes to see whether you like them and want to pursue further. If they aren’t for you, scratch them off and pick something else. If you end up having a new interest and wanting to do more of it, you’re on the right track.
3. Be Honest With Yourself
Just because you’ve spent years on your degree and are now qualified for a certain job, it doesn’t mean you will love it. You can change your mind any time you want and you should always pursue the career that you love. Where does your path lead?
Most likely, you want to enjoy what you’re doing. Most of us place limits on ourselves after we’ve spent too much time, effort, and money in school and move into adult life; limits such as sticking with jobs for low pay, with terrible bosses, and in cities that we don’t want to live in.
The secret to getting yourself out of this situation is to stop doing what you don’t like and start taking little steps towards what you love. You shouldn’t be defined by one thing if you don’t want it. For example, you might love traveling and writing and being passionate about yoga and healthy living. Try to get involved in different activities and allow yourself to have many interests.
Even if you don’t have enough time to combine all of them into your routine, you can set priorities and do what you feel like doing.
4. Focus on the Fun
Too often we set high expectations for ourselves and it makes us anxious and depressed. We create lengthy to-do lists and work on little details instead of what’s more important. What makes you smile? If you could have all the money in the world, what would you do? These questions can help you find the right path.
5. Let Your Fears Go
It can be very tempting to tell yourself that you will follow your passion when you have more money, more experience, etc., but the truth is, that time will never come. These are just excuses that prevent you from following your dreams. It’s only when you recognize your fears and stop letting them hold you back that you will start moving forward.
6. Be Still
It can sound counterintuitive, but many of us get confused with many thoughts, emotions, and feelings that make us so frustrated we just can’t figure it out. It gets especially obvious if you have a ‘checklist’ that tells you what you’re supposed to be and by when.
The truth us, some of us need more time to find our true passion. Sometimes, all you need to do is to be still and do nothing. Use this time to realize what you’re passionate about and maybe you’ll see it’s right in front of you.
7. Not Everyone May Support You
Of course, it’s always nice to get advice from someone who loves you but most people aren’t qualified to offer their counsel. Besides, there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with your decisions and plans.
Some people will never understand you and that’s fine. You don’t need them to understand anyway. Don’t waste time trying to rationalize your dreams. Instead, surround yourself with people who help you move forward while you’re busy discovering your passion.
8. Contribute to Your Goals
The last thing we’re going to talk about is contribution. It will make you feel fulfilled, accomplished, and happy. You can contribute just a little bit or spend hours working towards your goals, just do it. If you have lots of spare time, you can volunteer. If you have extra money, you can donate. If you don’t have extra time and money, you can just be helpful.
For example, you can just help a person whose hands are full to open a door or hold the elevator door open. You can smile at people you don’t know. If you try to make someone’s life better, your life will get better too because when you do little acts of kindness, you feel good as well.
Contribution will make you feel like your life has a meaning and you’re living with passion. People who don’t have a passion don’t act this way.
You don’t have to change your life completely to find your passion and purpose. Follow these suggestions and take baby steps and it will come naturally to you. The most difficult part is taking the first couple of steps, after that, it becomes easier. You don’t need to do this for anyone else, you need to do this for YOU. When you make changes to make your life better, you will also add more to the lives of people in your life.
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