Most of us wouldn’t mind being happier, and because of this, we do what we can to achieve this. We work harder, earn more money, and buy fancier possessions. We buy into the belief that this rat race will get us to the state we want. What happens if it doesn’t?
One flaw to this idea is the idea of status. I’ve met people who will do whatever it takes to look “cool” to others, even if it means sacrificing their passion, happiness, or potential. I’ve caught myself doing the same thing. It’s a common problem, yet we need to fix it.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s better to choose yourself over being cool:
1. You Sacrifice Long-Term Enjoyment for Short-Term Pleasure
Would you rather have a lifestyle that everyone thinks is cool but you hate or a lifestyle you love but everyone else thinks is just okay? Screw what other people think. You have the power to live the life of your dreams, and if this life isn’t what other people want, it doesn’t matter.
Unfortunately, many people die settling for the first choice. They would rather take a job that looks glamorous from the outside but is hell on the inside. While others admire how much money some of these professions make, they’re dying every day on the inside because they’re working 90 hours a week and don’t even have time to spend their money.
2. You Live Up To What Sets You On Fire
I was listening to a podcast who featured, Charlie Hoehn, a well-known author in the career development industry. He mentioned how he has a friend who is rich but works as a Walmart greeter for fun because he enjoys talking to people.
Most of the world would look down on that job title because it’s low status, yet this guy doesn’t care. Because he doesn’t care, he’s doing what he enjoys doing most — he’s not letting his fear of judgment hold him back from living the life he’s most excited about.
“Follow your own passion, not your parents’, not your teachers…yours.” – Robert Ballard
3. You Only Attract People That Are Good For you
Imagine what would happen if you pretended to be some rock star or high-status personality you are not. Even if you actually had that lifestyle and appearance, you’d attract people who have the wrong values and interests. Your relationships would be shallow, and they wouldn’t last because you wouldn’t relate.
People fall into this trap because they have a scarcity mentality. They don’t think the world is abundant enough to give people what they want. They don’t think they are good enough. Therefore, they try to change themselves and their interests to what they think will attract who they want.
Ultimately, no healthy person wants that in the long run. If you’re into books, hiking, and anime, why would you want to spend your time with someone who likes drugs and partying all the time?
4. You Become Cool By Doing It Your Way
I get it, if you live in a small town, it’s going to be close to impossible to convince anyone that you’re weird yo-yo hobby is cool. But when you grow up and move to bigger and better places, there are a lot more people and chances to meet someone with similar interests.
Rather than hide what you think is embarrassing or what you think your weaknesses are, embrace them. Stop believing you always have to be someone you are not in order to be loved or appreciated.
I recently went to an old-fashioned Swing dance class. The music they played and the dance moves they taught were old school American. It’s something your grandparents might play on the record. Yet there were over fifty young people my age there who loved it.
I thought the whole thing was a bit lame, and they would’ve been laughed out of my old high school but I couldn’t convince anyone there otherwise. That’s because, in their group, everyone else thought it was super cool and that’s all that mattered. I was in the minority.
On the same theme, by setting boundaries and not over compromising, you don’t become a chameleon by pretending that you’re interested in other people’s interests just to get them to like you.
5. You Live A Healthier, More Pleasurable Life
There are billions of people out there. The more you meet, the more you realize how different each person’s interests can be, thus it’s important to embrace what you like doing and who you are.
Yes, you’ll be whacky. Yes, you’ll find people who make fun of you. No, that doesn’t mean you never change anything about you. However, it does mean being okay with what your unique goals and visions are — not someone else’s.
Too many of us waste our lives living up to our parent’s, friend’s, or society’s expectations, only to hate our lives and feel like we’re dying a little every day. Wouldn’t you rather live a life you love even if it wasn’t “cool” by society’s standards? If you’re living your dream life and making six figures a year shining shoes, who cares if others think it’s low status? You’re making more than them and you live for it.
“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley
Life is sometimes a balancing act. In this case, you don’t want to be so rigid in your interests that you never try something new or are unable to keep a conversation going. You also don’t want to lie too much by pretending you’re interested in things that bore you.
Similarly, you want to find a healthy balance between something that pays the bills and excites you. Life doesn’t always have to be a compromise. Eventually, you may even find something that is also cool to the people who matter to you.
Let us know in the comments what you think is cool that others may not.
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed
Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)
How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost
A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.
Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
Why Problems Overwhelm Us
As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?
Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.
How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.
Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.
Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie
How to Take Action in the Face of Problems
Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”
In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”
To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:
1. First, I acknowledged the feeling
Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”
Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.
2. Next, I prepared for the worst
We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.
In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.
The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Lastly, I examined the situation
Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.
I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.
Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.
The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.
Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.
Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.
How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!
8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing
You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.
Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.
With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.
Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.
2. Stay Physically Active
As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.
You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.
“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.
Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.
4. Develop a New Hobby
Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.
Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.
5. Eat Healthy
Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.
Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.
6. Laugh Your Heart Out
Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.
And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?
7. Try Relaxation Techniques
‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.
Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.
“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy
8. Count Your Blessings
We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.
You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.
There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.
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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)
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