There will be moments in your life when you will have to make tough choices; when you will have to sacrifice something in order to get something else. While most such decisions do not usually create any long-term problems, this is not true in all situations. You might make certain decisions that can push you into depression years down the line. In this post, we look at five such typical decisions that have the power to fill your life with regret.
1. Neglecting your passion
Many people often choose to sacrifice their passion in favor of focusing on their careers when transitioning from their teenage years into adulthood. And this can eventually prove to be extremely devastating for some people.
A human being is essentially a creature of passion, filled with hundreds of ideas and a will to explore their interests to the full. When this passion is curbed, and the person is forced into doing something that they don’t like, they will ultimately find their life to be boring and stressful. A sense of purposelessness will start to rattle their minds, and many might even end up being depressed.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
So, when you are faced with a situation where you have to decide between your passion and your career, never reject your hobbies and interests outright. Continue practicing it in some way or the other, and eventually, you will come to realize how crucial that decision has been to your sense of self.
2. Preferring career over a loving relationship
This is another big mistake that can haunt your life forever – putting your professional life ahead of your relationships. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s cut-throat competitive world. The excessive focus on career has been identified as one of the single biggest causes of unhappiness and loneliness among adults.
“A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.”
You must understand that humans are, at the end of the day, emotional beings. A large part of a person’s life is dedicated to satisfying their emotional requirements – the need to be loved, the need to be appreciated, the need to be wanted, and so on, and as such, depriving yourself of such emotional stimulation is akin to damaging the circuitry of a PC and hoping for it to work perfectly.
As a result, you should always ensure that you never sacrifice your relationships in order to advance in your career. Instead, you should learn to manage both of them. Otherwise, you might end up feeling lonely and depressed in the middle age, blaming yourself for the times you brushed aside your relationship commitments in favor of work.
3. Holding grudges
It is said that hatred not only destroys the object but also the person who holds hatred within. And sadly, it is true. In some cases, the grudge you hold will only end up destroying you while the other party walks away unaffected.
This is why it is very important that you learn to never hold any grudge against anyone. But if you do hold a grudge, then it is possible that your hatred for the person will turn into an obsession. You will slowly start losing focus on enjoying and living your life to the fullest. Instead, you will start thinking of how to harm the other person. This is a disturbing mentality that will negatively affect all your relationships.
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”
Learn to let go of any hatred against anyone, no matter how much harm they have done to you. However, not hating does not mean that you forget what the other person did to you. It simply means that you have removed them as the focus of your life. That’s all. But, if you decide to dedicate most of your life in trying to bring down the other person, then you will essentially lead a miserable life.
4. Being stuck at a desk job
With the way the current job environment has shaped up, it is very likely that you might be engaged in work that will mostly require you to sit on a chair all day long. While this might feel extremely comfortable in the beginning, you will quickly realize how boring, monotonous, and harmful it can be.
The biggest negative effect of a desk job will be on your health. Just sitting for eight hours every day for many years will definitely cause some health issues. This is why it is important that you don’t get sucked into the appeal of a desk job.
“Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.”
-George Bernard Shaw
The best way to deal with this is to join a gym and start a workout regimen so that you keep yourself physically fit. But, if you choose to avoid exercising thinking that it is a waste of time, then you will have to face several health issues in the future. Even if you are busy, it is important to include self-care into your routine.
5. Adding on the debt to ‘enjoy’ life
It is normal for people to fall into debt under the pretext of enjoying their lives. Someone might pile up on his/her credit card debt due to their excessive affinity for expensive clothes; others might take longer-term debts to go for vacations around the world; some might even take a loan on their home to buy a BMW. Whatever may be the case, you have to understand that the extreme focus on enjoying life even at the risk of falling into debt is a very bad decision.
As you become older and enter your forties, all the debt you have piled up during the younger years will now be a burden. And you will be trapped, having to repay all those debts at a time you should be carefully planning your retirement. In the worst case scenario, you may even have to retire with little to no savings.
“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”
So, learn to control your desires and only indulge in them to the extent that you don’t end up taking debts to satisfy those desires. By doing so, you will never have to live a dissatisfied life or regret the poor financial decisions you took in your younger days.
Being mindful is really important when it comes to decisions that can impact your life for a longer term. Whenever making big decisions, try to take a pause and think about it with all the pros and cons and how it will affect your life. When you do that, instead of taking impulsive decisions, it will become easier to make decisions that won’t make you feel regret.
How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better
Critical analysis can be defined as the ability to judge an issue by taking into account all factors that affect the process and outcome of the issue. A person with the ability to think critically will be able to calmly analyze from more than one perspective without letting personal preferences interfere judgment.
So, how does thinking critically make life better? For starters, it can enable you to understand topics more deeply, make you a star performer in your job and allow you to be more open and tolerant of people who hold beliefs which are quite contradictory to your own.
Understand, Don’t Just Learn
One of the first things you notice after embracing critical thinking is that you are able to understand subjects much better. A normal learning process involves reading a subject and memorizing it. On occasions, you may also understand the subject logically.
“Critical thinking takes you beyond such basic processes and enables you to understand the subject in a way that you begin seeing its implications across multiple areas.”
For example, if you are learning economics, you may come across a concept which states that the scarcity of a product raises its value, while the easy availability of a product decreases it. Now, a person without any critical thinking ability can only see its applicability in the field of economics, and will probably only be employed in that field.
But someone who can think critically will see the applicability of the theory of demand in other areas, which might at first seem unrelated. For example, they might observe that people who have grown without love from parents may hold love to be very important in their lives.
In this case, love is the commodity, the scarcity of which, increased its value. And such insights are only possible because the person had critical thinking abilities which enabled him or her to apply knowledge gained from one subject to other areas.
This concept was explored in Richard Paul and Linda Elder’s Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory, in which they proposed that children who have higher critical thinking abilities are able to understand subjects at a deeper level and connect ideas across multiple disciplines.
If there is one thing that contributes to a lack of tolerance in the world, it is the absence of critical thinking. Intolerant ideas are the products of narrow viewpoints which are unable to accommodate other perspectives, especially those which run counter to them.
As an article on tolerance and critical thinking notes, when people surround themselves with those who only share their views, critical thinking can suffer and they can end up thinking that only their viewpoint is the absolute reality.
A person of a specific spiritual belief may be against another person’s belief, refusing to believe it as equally valid as their own. A person who identifies with a particular sexual identity may hate those who live with a completely opposite inclination. There are many such examples of intolerance.
Critical thinking expands your ability to observe and accept other people’s views and beliefs. For example, if you are a religiously intolerant person, then critical thinking will make you see that the other person’s way of worship is not so different from yours since both of you are essentially praying to a divine power for the good of people you love.
And when you start accommodating the other viewpoint, any intolerance you feel will begin dissolving and you become more forbearing.
Developing Critical Thinking
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Developing the ability to think critically is no easy task. It requires you to slowly give up your preconceived notions and start making value-based judgments on events based on merit. For people who have grown with a strong set of prejudices, this can look impossible.
And even if you think you have developed a strong ability to think critically, you will still have to deal with the paradox of critical thinking, where you may not be able to decide whether you have arrived at a conclusion because of careful analysis or whether you have fooled yourself into thinking that you had done a critical analysis.
But whatever paradoxes you may face, one thing is for certain – it is far more beneficial for you to be able to think critically than not being able to. And as such, putting in the effort to be a solid critical thinker is well worth it.
When you start thinking critically and from various perspectives, the range of thoughts increase. More thoughts aren’t necessarily a catalyst for decision making. Hence, have your starting points and intentions in the right place, and decisions will be easier to make and you won’t get into analysis paralysis.
5 Ways to Turn Around Your Mindset
I have some bad news. The only thing holding you back from achieving everything you want is YOUR mindset. Not society, not laws, not your family, or your circumstances, it’s YOU! The biggest achievers in the world weren’t born with a silver spoon or with supernatural powers; they were mortals, many from underprivileged backgrounds or having insurmountable circumstances. Yet, they reached heights and became role models.
Now, the good news- it’s never too late to change your mindset. And, you don’t need any psychological counseling or mentoring for this. The power lies within you. Here are five superpowers you possess that can help change your mindset and make you the person you want:
1. Power of Belief
What we believe is what we become. All brilliant innovations started as an idea. People who conceived them believed in their ideas even when others didn’t. So should you. Believe that you are unique and that you can achieve anything you set your mind on.
Self-belief is a powerful defense in the face of adversity. It keeps you motivated and even bullish in pursuit of your goals. There is no dearth of challenges or critics. But let them not pull you down. Believe in yourself and in a higher power that is working towards making your dreams come true.
2. Power of Clarity
Our thoughts become actions and things. Do you have objective clarity about your goals? Not what your family wants or what society expects, but what you REALLY want. You’ll be surprised to know that you’ve been programmed- conditioned to act according to others’ expectations.
What use are time and effort spent in pursuing what doesn’t matter to you and what won’t make you happy? Rather, invest energy in attaining your goals. You can’t pursue a target that doesn’t exist. So define your objectives and their anticipated timeline, and then persevere to get them, no matter what!
3. Power of Positivity
Things happen for a reason. If you believe good things will happen, the whole universe conspires to make it possible. And this isn’t a cliché or an idealistic thought. Consider a situation where you’re going for an interview and despite feeling that you’re underqualified for the job, you bolster yourself with positive thoughts.
You think about your accomplishments and your strengths. You look back at your journey and fill yourself with pride on how far you’ve come. Things start falling into place. You reflect confidence and feel equipped to handle all challenges. You may not know everything but you’re willing to learn and grow. And that’s always a positive- an asset for any organization.
For cultivating a positive mindset, surround yourself with positive people- those who believe in you or have overcome difficulties. Their mindset is contagious. Stay away from negativity, criticism, fear, and overthinking.
4. Power to Forgive
This is not easy. It takes years of practice. We are often very hard on ourselves when things go awry. A failed marriage, a setback in business, dysfunctional relationships, or other tumultuous situations lead us to blame ourselves. Or we end up shifting the blame to another person or circumstance. In either case, we harbor a lot of negative energy that consumes our positive mindset.
Stop beating yourself and blaming others for things going wrong. Take responsibility for your actions, their outcomes, and ultimate consequences. In a perilous situation, accept that things could have been different had your attitude or response been different.
But this should not become a reason to loathe yourself. Learn your lessons and move on. If others are responsible for the debacle, they might be battling with their own demons. There’s really no need to dwell on negative situations.
5. Power to Love Yourself
We don’t mean to preach narcissism but invaluable self-love. Do you love your company? Are you sparing some ME time in busy routine? Most successful people have mastered the work-life balance equation. They have sacred morning rituals that revolve around mental, spiritual, and physical cleansing. Why is it so?
This is because you are your best friend, your ally, and your own army. If you don’t invest time in nurturing your mind, body and soul, it’s incomprehensible how you’ll handle your work, life, business, and the world. It’s quite easy to get lost in the rigmarole of daily pressures and routines and neglect ourselves. That’s why self-love has to be imbibed in the very fabric of your life; it’s non-negotiable and even sacred. Do things that you enjoy, lose yourself in the moment, quit worrying about everything, and don’t ever feel guilty about it. I promise you’ll feel sheer delight.
Changing your mindset will take deliberate efforts. It won’t happen overnight. Have patience but keep practicing. The very fact that you’re reading this post is a positive sign that you feel a need to transform. That’s a great beginning. Now, take it step by step and you’ll reach the finish line, slowly but certainly. And don’t forget to pat your back when you do!
7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis
A few days ago, I talked about analysis paralysis and if it is the reason for inaction. I think a lot of people relate to it because it hits home with many. Most of us get tangled in trying to find the perfect solution to our problems. Understanding what stops us from taking action and the reason behind it is the first step in finding ways to overcome the hurdle we create for ourselves.
So, what exactly is analysis paralysis?
“Analysis Paralysis is when we have too many options, and we get so overwhelmed that we fail to choose an option at all. It is a state of over-analyzing a situation or problem, and as a result, a decision or action is never taken; as a result, paralyzing the outcome.”
I am sure you have been in this state some time in your life for one or the other decision. How do you overcome this? How do you not fall prey to analysis paralysis? Here are some logical ways that work because we target the problem area that pulls us into this state.
1. Prioritize your options
When you have a lot of ways to go about something, you will be overwhelmed, and you will be sucked into the decision of which option is the most beneficial. Our goal is to come out of that. Treating all the options as if they are going to have the same impact puts them in the same priority block, and that is what results in analysis paralysis.
What you need to do is detach yourself from the decision. Look at it as if it doesn’t concern you at all. Then categorize each option in different priority levels based on what can help you take immediate action, what is more accessible or needs fewer steps, or even what makes the most sense if you isolate it from other options and if it was your only one.
Although I am telling you to give it some thought while teaching you how to not overthink it – this thinking follows a purpose and once that purpose is fulfilled, you won’t be paying it any more attention. So purposeful thinking is better than just fretting over it as a whole. You will then know what option to go with, and it will still be an informed decision.
2. Write down a mission statement
Sometimes the vision or the goal gets lost when you are trying to figure out what a great way of doing something is. When you do not have a clear view of your goal, then making decisions can be even more difficult. Defining your goals on a piece of paper and then checking every option you come up with against it is a great way to stay on track and not get tangled in too many thoughts.
Eliminate anything that does not make sense with your end goal. Yes, it can be a better fit to get you to the halfway point of whatever you are aiming to achieve in the short term, but if there is an option that can see you the whole way through, then you need to strike out the enticing halfway option.
3. Eliminate the bad options
What are the bad options? The ones that need you to invest more than the other options, may it be money, tools, time, manpower, anything. The ones that might not hold in the long run. Anything that increases stress. Anything that causes a strain on your resources.
Some options, though attractive, might not be the right fit considering your current situation. You can use the priority list and your mission statement to prune out the bad options so that you are left with 3-4 workable options, and the decision becomes easier.
4. Set a deadline to make a decision
When you have an open deadline, chances are you are just going to keep overthinking and overanalyzing everything and watch as the opportunity sails past you because you are stuck in analysis paralysis. This is why you need to set a deadline so that you are forced to make a decision. You need to assign yourself just enough time to go over the options but not enough for you to overanalyze everything.
You can set a day or two for small decisions, a week for moderate ones and as long as you think is workable for something really big. Try to keep it concise enough for you to feel the pressure of the deadline but not so short that it stresses you out and you feel rushed.
5. Break big decisions into small parts
Usually, analysis paralysis is common when the decision has a huge impact. We are wired to choose familiarity and safety over anything challenging that can frighten us, which is also one of the common reasons for hesitation to act. So, instead of choosing one option directly, what you can do is break down the option into all the steps it is going to require.
Once you have all the steps in the options laid out bare next to each other, it becomes easier to eliminate the ones that are going to take a lot of small steps to make them happen. If the small steps are easier but more in number, it can still make more sense. And deciding on the basis of micromanaging can be the key to you finally coming to a decision.
6. Don’t wait for perfection
One of the common factors for inaction is people waiting for that perfect option. You have to realize that perfect decisions don’t always happen. There is a compromise involved, if not in all, then in most of the decisions.
While you wait for your perfect break, someone else will make it with their mediocre decision. A mediocre decision is better than no decision. Sometimes “good enough” is exactly what it needed. It will at least get you started.
7. Trust your guts
If an option feels better in your gut than the others then maybe it is the best you can choose. If you have a plethora of options and you somehow keep coming back to the same one, then you need to actively consider it.
Sometimes, our subconscious mind knows exactly what is going to work, but we ignore under the pretense of being well researched and well informed with over-analyzing every aspect of every option.
Most of the times, the need to be 100 percent sure about the solution you are choosing is nothing but fear of acting disguised as wanting to be perfect. Your mind is just giving you reasons to keep putting the decision making off instead of actually making a decision. In a moment like this, it is better to trust your gut and go with it.
Analysis paralysis is unavoidable when you think about it. You are constantly going to be stuck in it when you are in the stage of building your business or making changes in your life. The main thing is knowing what to do when you feel like you don’t know what to choose. These steps will help you realize when you are entering analysis paralysis and how to treat it.
All it boils down to is differentiating the solutions or options based on priority by breaking them into smaller steps and eliminating bad ones or the least feasible ones, and also setting a deadline on your decision-making process so that it does not go on forever.
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