All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).
Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.
You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!
The typical problems we face can be solved.
Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:
You didn’t reach your goal.
Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:
• Dream careers
• Girls I wanted to date
• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos
• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn
People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.
The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.
Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.
Your heroes miss their goals too. What makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.
Someone criticized you.
If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.
The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.
“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”
You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.
When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.
Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.
Your career got messed up.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.
The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.
- Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
- The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
- Your career skills could become outdated.
- You could get fired for making a mistake.
Your career is going to get messed up. Things you can never predict in your career are going to happen.
See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.
The solution is to see your career getting messed up as a chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.
Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.
You have financial troubles.
That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.
“I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”
Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.
Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.
Money won’t give you any of those human needs.
That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.
Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.
Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.
If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.
The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.
Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.
How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.
There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.
Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.
Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about it. Have some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.
Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.
Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.
A relationship ended.
There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.
Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.
For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.
We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.
We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.
We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’
These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.
Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.
Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.
You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.
“Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way”
You made a dick of yourself.
Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.
I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).
• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives
• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts
• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila
• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times
We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.
We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.
Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.
Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.
Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.
“The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody”
Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect
Someone messed your *shit* up.
Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.
You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.
The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.
You feel like your life has no meaning.
These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.
The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.
The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.
If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.
“Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering”
A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.
I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.
You feel like you can’t go on.
We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.
Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.
If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.
Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.
While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.
“There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help”
Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.
Every day feels the same.
You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.
Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.
Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.
You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.
• Travel to another country
• Talk to someone new
• Try learning a new skill
Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.
Your friends are screwing your life up.
Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.
Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.
Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.
If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.
‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.
You feel stressed.
77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.
This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.
This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.
“We don’t need more; we need less to destress”
• Declutter your home and office
• Say no to more meetings
• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”
• Buy less material things
• Have fewer people in your life
• Listen to one podcast instead of many
• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast
• Have less recurring subscriptions
• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills
• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)
A fear is standing in your way.
There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.
Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.
Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.
Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.
Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.
Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.
I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂
Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.
Dealing with the concept of death.
Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.
Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.
“The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it”
Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.
You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.
Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.
The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!
Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.
Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
3 Ways You Can Track Your Habits to Make Significant Improvements in Life
Do you feel sick and tired of all the generic advice on success out there? It’s always the same things. Read more, write more, believe in yourself, eat healthy, go to the gym, love your life and your wife. From time to time, all of the articles seemed like they were written by someone who has never experienced real life or any of the struggles they tend to write about.
It’s like getting advice from an alien. But nobody ever writes on the details of the struggle. Because they don’t know it. To be able to know and understand the struggle, you need to experience it. To live something day in and day out and experience it viscerally means to know something and have a grasp of it.
It is as Walt Whitman said it: “I do not ask the wounded person how he feels. . . . I myself become the wounded person.” I went through years of pain to learn how to build habits. I didn’t only read books about it (and yes, books are important), but I lived through it.
Because I know that theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. I had to live it through to be able to give any advice on it.
I did go through the pain and created my habit building system. What I noticed during the process of building my habits was that it can be challenging to track them. Nobody was telling us how to do it, because that’s something you learn when you go through the process.
Here are the three different ways you can track your habits:
1. Task done
The way you track this type of habit is by marking if you did your task. By that, I mean “I am going to vacuum the room” and you mark it done/not done or 1/0 in your habit tracker. This way of tracking works the best when you don’t know how much time a task will take and you just track if you did or didn’t do the task.
I have the same for my writing habit. My daily habit is “Write 500 words.” So when I do the task, I immediately open my habit tracker and mark it done. I do this by writing in the tracker the number of words I wrote that day (I don’t count social media or texting or things like this- only writing as in pure writing).
This is one of the easiest ways you can track your habit. But if you have a tight schedule, a different way of tracking might be better and this is what I mean.
“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” – Benjamin Franklin
2. Time Allocated
Let’s say that you have only 30 minutes for yourself in the morning before the kids wake up. What you do in those 30 minutes counts and that is the second way of tracking your habits.
A great question to ask yourself is “How much time did I spend today on a certain habit?”
For example, let’s take the habit I’m developing of the writing 500 words daily. I try to make “write for 20 minutes” a daily habit. This way of tracking your habit works the best if you have a tight schedule or you run your life on “manager time,” as Paul Graham would say it.
I use this way of tracking for my daily walking habit where I “walk for 30 minutes” a day, trying to get my 10,000 steps a day count. From July 2018 up to March 2019, my average number of steps per day was 9429 and I did 2,178,120 steps. One kilometer is around 1,250 steps which means I walked 1,742 kilometers in 8 months which is the equivalent of walking from Miami, Florida, to Washington D.C.
There is one more way of tracking your habits, and this one is the best for tasks which are hard to accurately measure.
3. Did I do my best?
How do you measure your habit of being a great dad, husband, boyfriend, or friend? You can’t just say “Phone my girlfriend every day and talk to her for 15 minutes” and call it a day. It doesn’t work like that. You can talk to your girlfriend for 2 hours straight and it won’t make you a great boyfriend. Time isn’t the issue here. It’s how we use that time.
And that’s where the third way of tracking your habits comes into play. “Did I do my best to be an awesome boyfriend, husband, father, or friend today?” And you rank yourself from 1 to 10, 1 meaning that today, you were really lousy, and 10 meaning you were an amazing boyfriend, husband, father, or friend in the world.
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell
This makes a massive difference in the lives of not just you, but people around you. It’s what Brendon Burchard would call social habits. You can’t count love, but sure as hell can you count the effort for love.
You don’t have to pick just one way or another. You can combine these different ways of tracking your habits. And yes, even though some habits work better with a particular type of tracking, that doesn’t mean that you need to adapt to it.
Experiment and try and see which one works the best for you. Use all three tracking methods if you want to. Just remember to track your habits. Because the Walt Whitman quotes, which I modified a little bit, tells us “I don’t ask a successful person how he did it…. I myself become a successful person.”
How do you track your habits to make sure you’re on the path towards succeeding? Share your advice below!
Why Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone May Be a Bad Idea
Donald Trump famously said, “Avoid your comfort zone – it’s probably outdated anyway.” It is very good advice for people who are exceptional, but what if you are not exceptional? You probably learned in college that no matter how good you are at something, there are always other people who are better than you.
Are you humble enough to say you are not exceptional? And if so, isn’t it possible that your comfort zone is where you belong? Just because you are in your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean you don’t crave success. Champion boxers never leave their comfort zone to take part-time jobs as a typist. Consider the fact that your comfort zone is the place where you will enjoy the most success.
Why “Comfort Zone” Advice Seems So Correct
Once again, breaking out of your comfort zone may be the right thing to do if you are exceptional. It is especially true for exceptional people because breaking out of their comfort zone is often the only place where they can grow. Yet, that is not the only reason why breaking out of your comfort zone seems like good advice.
The truth is that most people confuse being in a rut with being in their comfort zone. For example, the middle-aged executive who stays in his dead-end job because it is safe, rather than starting a new business selling parachute lessons, is not staying in his comfort zone, he is sticking with his rut. If people tell the middle-aged executive to get out of his comfort zone, they actually mean he should get out of his rut.
However, take the same middle-aged executive who is well respected at work, whose job is not a dead-end one, whose social life thrives because of his job, who’s bringing up children, investing, and who is healthy because of his job. If this same person were to leave his job to start a parachute training company, he would be leaving his comfort zone and most probably be making a great mistake.
Isn’t the Grass Always Greener On The Other Side?
Taking the previous example, what if the middle-aged executive left his job and his parachute training company offered him all the same things his old job offered him except better? Isn’t it always a good idea to try and fail rather than to never try at all?
The question and sentiment is fine, but it is not real life. Ask a person who has tried everything and ask a person who tried a bunch of stuff and then found something he/she enjoyed, and ask which person is happiest. Just because you “Didn’t” try something doesn’t mean you are missing out.
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!” – Ricky Gervais
What About People Who Broke Out of Their Comfort Zone?
There is an old “Will & Grace” episode from 2002 called, “Went to a Garden Potty.” In it an old man says a line that goes, “I’m Stan’s old partner. We started the mattress store together, then he wanted to branch out into other businesses but I said, no I’ll just not take any chances, so now I’ve got the one little store and he’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The mattress store story sounds familiar doesn’t it? You have read about similar stories in motivational books, but what you rarely read about are people who didn’t take risks and still became successful millionaires. A book called, “The Millionaire Next Door” addresses this discrepancy by featuring people who became millionaires by selling caravans and by being dentists. It shows how people who work the same job their entire lives are not schmucks, and that their unexciting success stories are still success stories.
Do not confuse taking risks with being outside of your comfort zone. In the “Will & Grace” example, the character Stan felt outside of his comfort zone with just one store. Stan’s comfort zone was taking risks. Stan didn’t leave his comfort zone when he went off making millions of dollars, he entered his comfort zone in order to do it.
The people who risk it all on a penny-share company are not doing it to break out of their comfort zone, they are doing it because they feel uncomfortable if they are not taking risks.
“Unexceptional” People Can Be “Exceptionally” Successful in Their Comfort Zone
“I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about a half an inch wide.” That line is a quote from Larry David, the guy who wrote “Curb your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” and he is worth $400 million.
Stephen King was 27 when he sold his first book, and he was writing long before that. King hasn’t left his comfort zone since he was out of college, and he is worth $400 million. One could even say that Stephen King rarely leaves his comfort zone creatively since his stories almost always feature a middle aged man, and many times the middle-aged man has a creative career such as being a writer, painter, etc.
Danica Patrick, when asked how she became the best female racer in the world responded with, “I never do anything out of my comfort zone.” Does that mean this woman, who is worth $60 million, never takes risks? You would know the answer if you had ever watched her race.
Do not forget the psychological damage that repeated failure can do to a person. People who say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” have clearly never gone through a terrible time because terrible times often make you weaker.
Repeatedly trying to break out of your comfort zone, only to be kicked back and stomped into the ground (metaphorically speaking) takes its toll and will often sap your enthusiasm to keep going forwards.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
Conclusion – He Will Be Back
Have you considered that exceptional people do not have a comfort zone? Take Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose last name has found its way into every spell checker program on the planet. He was a world-class bodybuilder, a record breaking actor, married a Kennedy, and became a US governor.
Some people say he was so successful because he never became comfortable being the best at just one thing. Maybe that is the reason for his success, maybe he wasn’t trying to break from his comfort zone…maybe he was trying to find it.
What are your thoughts on being able to succeed while staying your comfort zone? Share your opinions and stories below!
Do These 3 Things Today to Live in the Moment and Have a Better Tomorrow
People always say that life is short, but they fail to remember that while life is short compared to eternity, living is the longest task that we as humans will ever perform.
Some of us take each day as it comes and some of us carefully plan out what we desire each day to bring us. No matter how you go about it, if you’re not careful, having an unbalanced point of view as it pertains to life and how to make it better for yourself can bring more pain than it will joy.
Life is filled with decisions and the decisions you make today have the power to shift the course of your tomorrow. Life can sometimes move so quickly that it’s hard to think and act while simultaneously balancing all the roles you possess and completing all the tasks you need to complete. Nonetheless, there are ways to navigate the trenches of life so that you’re able to enjoy each day as it comes, embrace the possibilities of tomorrow and be present to experience all the moments that make you smile.
If you have a hard time slowing your mind down long enough to pause and breathe, try these three tips:
1. Before you make a decision, ask yourself “why.”
According to Psychology experts, one of the easiest steps you can take right now on your journey of de-stressing is to ask yourself hard questions. Sometimes you think, act and speak before you have time to process what is happening inside of you and around you. Knowing this. It could be your lack of intention that’s the problem.
As a part of your self-awareness journey, start asking yourself why you are the way you are, why you think the things you think and why you do the things you do before you take action. While an adrenaline rush helps kick you into gear to take action, you want to make sure any action you take aligns with your personal goals.
Self-awareness allows people to recognize what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses. – Gary Vaynerchuk
2. Instead of planning for the long game, just plan for tomorrow
Worry is the thief of time and joy. If you look at your track record of life events, you may notice that many of the things that caused you the most stress and worry never came to pass. When you think about the direction you want your life to go in, don’t stress yourself out wondering what the next five years will look like. Take a moment to breathe, look around you and relax.
When you focus on taking life one day at a time, you’ll have more energy to think logically and make the decisions that lead to both short and long-term gains. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you live a happy life? One moment at a time.
3. Fight the urge to prove yourself
We live in a society that forces us to try to convince others of our happiness. According to studies, phones are necessary evils. It seems like you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. And for most of us, our phones play such a large role in our day to day that we start and end the day looking at the small screen.
The last time you enjoyed a moment of peace and tranquility, it’s likely that you snapped a picture of your surroundings so you could show the world just how much you enjoyed that moment.
Here is the good news, you don’t have to prove to anyone that you are happy or that you enjoy your life. Keep some moments to yourself. Protect your peace and your space. Don’t let the urge of sharing your journey cause you to be distracted from living in the moment. Don’t miss a moment in an attempt to capture the moment. Just be.
“It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness.” – Richard Branson
Life is what you make of it. You have more control than you know. Life gets so much better when you acknowledge the opportunities instead of the obstacles that come your way. Before you feel an ounce of anxiety as a result of a stressor coming your way, ask yourself “why” you feel the way you do, think for the moment and not for your life and remember that you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.
How do you relax with so many distractions in the world? Share your ideas with everyone below!
Follow These 5 Steps to Radically Transform Your Negative Mindset
Struggling with a negative mindset is a very real and common problem, one that often hinders a person’s ability to grow and achieve the things in life they want. Oftentimes, it is someone’s mindset that determines their level of happiness.
What is a mindset? A mindset is the beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, talents, and personality, these are the basic traits of oneselves. A mindset determines how we deal with challenges and obstacles. Which frame the running accounts in our heads and guide us on our life journey.
Experts agree there are two basic types – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, people believe that their natural traits – intelligence, abilities, and talents are fixed from birth. In a growth mindset, people believe that they can develop their inner traits through learning and determination.
“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” – Carol Dweck
Research has shown that 80% of the nearly 60,000 thoughts we have on a daily basis are negative. It also estimated that 98% of those thoughts are a repetition of yesterday. On a subconscious level, people are expecting the worst – almost all of the time. Constant repeated thought patterns turn into beliefs.
These beliefs then combine into a fixed and negative mindset. One where our inner voice is a harsh critic, a worrisome voice, and an anxious being. Luckily – we can employ parts of our brains to change other parts. We can move a fixed mindset into a growth mindset. How?
Here are five steps to radically transform your negative mindset:
Step One – Untangling your thoughts
A very powerful, proven technique for stepping back from the constant flow of thoughts is to look at them with the impartial rational mind. Generally, it is easy to spot these negative thought patterns because they are accompanied by an emotion. Recognizing the emotion tied to anxiety then gives you the power to label it for what it is. The same can be done for many other feeling patterns. These thoughts and feelings start to lose their intensity when repeatedly scrutinized by the rational mind.
Step Two – Examine your beliefs
Using the perspective gained in step one, you can begin to check your belief systems. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser,” “I am a better person than they are,” “I am not a good wife and mother,” “My partner is selfish.” Etc.
The key is adopting a growth mindset. A growth mindset is one where it is possible to learn and begin to cultivate positive beliefs. For example – when you find yourself being hard on yourself, consciously change it to something more positive – like when you have failed at something and the negative inner voice is yelling “see – you suck. I knew you’d fail” (a fixed view). Changing this tone to one that is more forgiving to yourself – “its ok – you’re only human. Learn from this mistake and you’ll do much better next time” (a growth view).
Step Three – Balance Your Risk-Averse fears
Being overly risk-averse in life leads to focusing on catastrophic possibilities. In a fixed mindset, these fears are set in place and the belief is that they cannot be changed. Which results in a human being that is unable to experience life because of fearfulness. Fears can be overcome by setting goals and making detailed plans to accomplish them. Write the specific goals and plans down on paper. If you have your plan written down on paper than you know what you have to do and will not negotiate with your fears when making decisions.
Step Four – Adopt the Habit of Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice
The practice of mindfulness meditation has been around for 2500+ years. It is what Buddha practiced and is at the heart of many religions. Meditation can be used to see the bigger picture and not focus on the implications of now. More so, mindfulness meditation can delve into each piece of it – old fears, habitual self-loathing, shying away from challenges and eliminate these pains.
What is meditation anyway? At the core, it is the mind’s ability to look inward. As discussed above – it can look at the thoughts, emotions, beliefs, fears, hopes, attraction, and avoidance of oneself. It can gradually quiet the negative internal monologue. Research shows that meditation increases a sense of happiness and contentment. Mediation makes space for growth by eliminating underlying stress, depression, and anxiety.
“Your mind is a powerful thing. When you filter it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.” – Buddha
Step Five – Shape Your Mindset With Visions and Goals
Every person has hopes and dreams that they want to accomplish. However, often we feel powerless to do so. By setting specific goals and detailed plans to accomplish them, you can start to break free from negativity. Break down the goals into smaller achievable steps. Allow every achievement along your plan to bring a sense of accomplishment and self worth.
The best way to begin to put it all together is to have faith that you can break out of a negative mindset. Gain an understanding of how your current mindset is fixed and negative through mindful meditation. From this insight and understanding, you can then set achievable goals of positive growth and use the same mindfulness to measure your success.
Adopt these five steps and through determination and consistent practice, you will find your mindset transformed in ways you never thought possible. Remember, there is always space for failure. Without failure there is no growth.
Do not fall back into the trap of negative thinking if you do not achieve what you want in one day. Humans are imperfect beings, and it is not possible to reprogram your brain within a day or a week. Some negativity will linger for awhile and that is totally normal. What matters most is your continued effort to reprogram. Over time your mind will change, just give it time.
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