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5 Strategies To Reach Success While Battling Depression




Depression is a challenge, it can affect everyone from your everyday person to celebrities. It’s not a choice to suffer from depression, but there is a choice in how you react to it.

Ernest Hemingway eventually chose suicide. He decided he didn’t want to confront the demons of his depression any longer. Sometimes even the strongest can fall.

Depression isn’t a joke and it’s certainly not a weakness. It can wrap its large hands around your neck and strangle you into submission. It’s not fun to suffer and you can’t “just get over it.

It’s a battle, a war. You may not be able to switch your moods with the snap of your fingers, but you can choose to drop your gloves against this crushing illness.

Depression can help create mystical stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s. It can help create awe inspiring paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s. It can help create beautiful music like Beethoven’s.

Many have suffered, in many professions. Actor Marlon Brando (of The Godfather) suffered from chronic depression his entire life. Billy Joel checked himself into a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Becoming the “President of The United States of America” while suffering from major depression is even a possibility, like Abraham Lincoln did.

Unfortunately, most people who suffer deeply enough turn to drugs and alcohol. I turned to alcohol. The reason drugs and alcohol are the dark alleys people linger down is because it’s a form of self-medication. It’s no different then the guy who comes home after a long day of work and drinks a six-pack of beer while watching mindless television. He’s self-medicating himself to avoid the issues — loneliness, job dissatisfaction, stress, etc. — that are being presented directly to him.

The list of famous people who suffer or have suffered can go on and on. What needs to be understood is that you can be very successful while getting punched and kicked by this bully that invades your mind.

As you can tell by Poe, Van Gogh, and Beethoven, depression can carry certain benefits if you are a creative artist such as a writer, a painter, or a musician. You just have to be careful you don’t get too deep like Hemingway and Billy Joel.

But what if you’re a CEO or everyday worker? Can you still live a successful life while dealing with the daily grind depression can bring?

In a society where power and hiding from your vulnerabilities rule all, hiding from depression is a common problem. Success can come with glorious benefits, but certain fears also tag along. It all depends what your goals are, what YOU are about. If you are about respect, compassion, kindness, and love, you are on the right track, and yes, you can become a wealthy person living by those traits. If you are solely about power and money, a laundry list of insecurities will clench onto you, potentially leading you down a disastrous path.

You can be anything while suffering, it’s been done. A powerful CEO or a single mom working two jobs to get by. The key is to fight back and never give up.

Here are some ways to fight depression while living a successful life:


1. Keep Up With Your Health

You don’t need crazy workouts to be healthy, that’s just a myth created by the fitness industry. All you really need is a sensible diet and some regular activity that gets you moving. Go for a long walk, do some simple bodyweight exercises, or enjoy an activity that gets you sweating. You don’t have to squat 400 pounds to be ‘fit’, that’s just macho, ego talk that persuades people to be scared of fitness.

Self-medication is a dangerous outlet when it comes to mental illness. Alcohol was my form of self-medication. For many celebrities, hard drugs is an addiction they fall into to escape the reality of their mental demons. When money and access are not a problem, it becomes far too easy to believe drugs are the best way to forget about your struggles.

Drugs and alcohol can kill. They can be used as a form of delayed suicide. Be conscious if you’re falling into that trap and seek help immediately if you are.


2. Read…A lot

I recommend a minimum of an hour a day. Read stories about people who have suffered, read strategies you could use in your life, read some good fiction. Keep your mind working.

Letting depression force you into a dark corner is far too easy. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you have no control, but you do. It may be a moment to fight, but reading good books can help teach you and inspire you to keep going.


3. Live Aggressively

Facing our fears feels harder than climbing Everest. It’s scary. Fight the urge to stay in your room and go out to dinner with a friend. Start building momentum, understand depression doesn’t have to hold you back.

Living passively is the worst way to handle depression, it keeps you tied down. When I first started talking openly about my depression I was scared. Just the thought of sharing my feelings caused my body to pour sweat. I aggressively worked through my sweat drenched clothes and talked. It helped. It actually speed up my recovery because, whether people understood or not, they knew how I felt.

I could be who I was. It was freeing. If I had a bad day it was easier to acknowledge it, and work through the day with it.

Living aggressively doesn’t mean taking an axe to everything in your path. It’s not a violent or vicious path. Living aggressively is living intently. Simply intend on moving past your depression and get to work.

We have one life. Don’t allow depression to keep you down.


4. Be Better Today Than You Were Yesterday

It’s okay to struggle, but it’s not okay to quit.

How you improve at anything is through constant tiny steps that eventually turn into one, gigantic success.

It’s the same with battling depression. You have to work at it. It doesn’t just disappear. You have to work through your issues and make small improvements as you go.

“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.” – Christopher Hitchens

Depression will knock you back down along your journey, that’s guaranteed. The key: to get your ass back up. I used to let depression knock me out for weeks, sometimes months. It was horrible. Once I started working on myself, I was able to start making a little progress and feeling a little better.

Then, I was better. It didn’t happen on a scheduled date, it just happened. I just believed I was better, and I was. I don’t really have an explanation for it, that’s just the way it happened for me. After years of tiny improvements, I finally felt like I had just defeated my enemy.

But it starts small. Sometimes just getting out of bed is that small step. Do it. Throwing off the covers and sliding out can be a successful day while you’re fighting. Create a positive mindset around that success and begin building momentum.


5. The Search For Personal Greatness

Being in a deep depression allows you to laser focus on the present. Every thought about your life is on display and available for analysis. A major factor in overcoming depression is coming to grips with who you are.

This can be life’s greatest struggle. Most highly successful people lose their way in the search for more money or more power; however, we must remember, deep seeded happiness comes from within, not from materials. Yes, materials and ego boosting delusions that associate with money and power help, but that happiness is only as strong as the current feeling towards your material items or ego. If they crash or lose intensity, so does your happiness.

Being successful doesn’t mean being a millionaire, it means being happy. Battling with mental illness will be the hardest fight of your life, but it’s a fight worth putting your full effort into. As you claw out of your personal dark dark valley you’ll find new aspects of yourself and accept that person.

The law of impermanence reminds us we will one day pass, be gone from this life. Focusing on material and ego based power is dangerous and could lead to disaster. Experiencing life and learning about your true self  will lead to a successful life filled with happiness.


Mental illness can ravage a life, but you don’t have to let it. The stigma surrounding mental illness is an incredibly dangerous one, keeping many quiet about their struggles. That’s why I write openly about mine. We must let people know that it’s okay to struggle, but it’s never okay to quit.

Daniel is a writer who struggled with both depression and anxiety for many years. His mission is to crush the stigma related to depression and build awareness that it's okay to struggle, but it's not okay to quit.



  1. Paul

    Aug 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Success doesn’t care if you’re happy.


    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

  3. Martha

    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Ryan

      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

  4. Sean

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

  5. Blurblurlimu

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy

    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.

  7. kritika

    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Blurblurlimu

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am


      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • lavesh

      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  8. kin

    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

  9. ryan

    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

  10. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  11. hasibrahman1

    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  12. Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  13. Npmac

    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  14. meikedoliver40

    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  16. Wally

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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How to Harness the Power of Your Personal Narrative



personal narrative
Image Credit: Pixabay

Are you “living up” or “living down” to your personal narrative? When you set out to achieve an important goal, you’ll come face-to-face with many obstacles, such as starting a new business and not having your prospects reply to your prospecting emails. Perhaps you’ve had an interview for a new job and learned you didn’t make the final round of applicants. 

In those difficult moments, you have to have an internal conversation with yourself, known as self-talk. What do you say? How do you feel? You may find yourself succumbing to negativity or failing to believe in your own self-worth. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all easily overwhelmed by our doubts and fears, because it’s what makes us human.

However, these feelings can not only shape a sense of identity, but also allow our doubt and fear to determine the outcome. When this happens, it’s vital to understand how to have the courage and conviction to move forward despite the obstacles. This includes moving forward in the midst of struggling, even when success seems lightyears away. This may seem daunting, but the answer is right in front of us. It lies in our personal narrative.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

What is a personal narrative?

A personal narrative is a life-script that is often followed without question or protest. The conversations you have internally, known as self-talk, make up the core component to our personal narrative. Your self talk represents a powerful belief system that’s baked into our day-to-day existence.

Each of us possess a personal narrative that encompasses a belief system that shapes us and what we see as possible in our lives. As a result, we either ​live up or ​live down to that personal narrative.

While a personal narrative is the starting place, it’s a powerful one. On one hand, when a negative narrative becomes suffocating, it can be hard to escape. This will lead you to foster the belief that you’re incapable of accomplishing something, ensuring that you’ll be less likely to continue to take the necessary steps in the direction of a dream

Your narrative may be so powerful that you may just assume the worst, ending any possibility for you to put in the necessary time, effort and perseverance required to achieve a different outcome.

“The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.” – Ralph Charell

Cultivating positive narratives

On the other hand, what if we possessed personal narratives that were more positive? This  is not just positive thinking, because it is the practice of consciously cultivating a narrative that you could live up to instead​. Imagine how a more positive narrative could support more preferable outcomes.

In life, this may sound like, “I plan to do well in this interview, so I am going to take every action to support that expectation – like working with a career coach.” Or it may sound like, “Because I am someone who tries hard even when I am overwhelmed or uncomfortable, I am going to ask for help if I feel stuck.” That way, when a challenge arises – as they always do, you will grow to trust in your ability to navigate it.

The more you practice this, the more you will come to realize that your personal narrative really represents the essence of who you are. Your self-talk will evolve into someone who plans to do well during an interview, a business meeting, or a workout class because you become someone who invests in their personal well-being as an extension of your self-concept.

Cultivating positive narratives is not a what-if situation. It is an intentional practice that everyone can benefit from. It provides the framework for who you can become. Most importantly, it’s the key to help us transform into the best version of ourselves, while defending our dreams against a spiral of fear or self-doubt.

So, what does your personal narrative sound like? And how can you live up to it? Share with us below!

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5 Reasons It’s Important to Understand What You Want to Do With Your Life



understanding your purpose
Image Credit: Unsplash

No matter your age or your place in life, it is perfectly normal to not know exactly what your next steps should be. There are many factors that can contribute to this situation but it is always important to remember that everything happens for a reason and that this will help you build a much happier you.

There are many ways for you to understand what you should be doing with your life and there are just as many reasons why you should work towards getting a better understanding of those reasons.

If you wish to turn any situation around and start working towards finding your purpose, here are some of the most important reasons why:

1. You will be able to set long term goals for the future

Setting long term goals is one of the things that will help you feel more secure and certain about your future. Instead of relying on living day by day and trying to figure out what your next steps will be without having a future ultimate goal, you will now be able to plan accordingly so that your every step will bring you a step closer to making that dream come true.

One of the things many people forget though is that every plan, no matter how well-organized and planned out it is, will need to be adapted to every situation the person is experiencing. Knowing what your ultimate goal is will help you handle every change of plans with more confidence and will allow you to manoeuvre every situation and turn your problems into positive outcomes.

2. You will get rid of a lot of anxiety

One of the best things about finally getting a better understanding of what you wish to do with your life is that you will finally start feeling less anxious and unsure about the future. Having a certain plan you can follow and looking forward to making a big goal come true will help rid yourself of negative thoughts and allow you to be able to focus on achieving your dreams.

Anxiety is a very common problem in the time we live in and it can make a lot of people feel less productive and scared to take risks, especially in a professional manner. As a result, they tend to hold themselves back and do fewer things than they are capable of, simply because they are too scared to dare.

Realizing what you wish to do in your life and working towards achieving your goals will help you feel less stressed and even if you do, this type of anxiety could actually help you be much more productive and eager to do your best in order to make your dreams manifest into reality.

3. You will be much happier

Understanding what you wish to do in your life will truly help you finally figure out what you are meant to do in your life. For some people, it can help them find their purpose and give them a new perspective on everything they do in their everyday life.

This will help you feel a lot happier and will put your mind at ease, as you won’t have to continue wondering if the path you have chosen to follow is the right one for you or not. Feeling more certain of your decisions will help you feel a lot more confident and happier since you will feel strong enough to overcome anything that might come your way from now and on.

4. You won’t lose time or energy on smaller goals

Setting shorter goals without knowing what you are meant to do in the long run will cost you a lot of energy and time. This will happen as you will spend a lot of time planning out your every move and it will cause you to feel stressed and worried about every little thing going wrong.

Smaller goals will still be important but you won’t spend much time planning them as you would if you didn’t know what your end goal would be. Saving energy and preparing both mentally and physically for reaching your goal will help you achieve a much healthier outlook on dealing with everyday situations and it will make you more excited to complete your ambitions.

5. You will become an expert in one field

Last but not least, another important reason why you should try and understand exactly what you are meant to do in your life is that you will be able to focus all of your time and energy on learning as much as possible and growing only in one certain field.

The uncertainty of having a set goal for your future can make you feel like you need to know many different things in different fields in order to be able to succeed in life and make a living. While having knowledge in various fields is something that will prove to be useful, you will never fully be able to become an expert in one field and make a name for yourself in that sector.

A long term goal will allow you to either study or work full time on one subject you truly enjoy and are good at. This will help you build your reputation, make connections and allow yourself to enjoy and love the path you have chosen even more. As a result, you will be much happier and content with the end goal you have chosen and you will be able to work even harder to achieve all of your dreams.

Working towards a happier you

You might be at a point in your life where you feel like not a lot of things are truly worth your time but the truth is that every little thing you do will help you find what you are meant to do. This will help you feel happy and content and allow you to tackle every issue you come across with much less anxiety and fear.

You will find a lot of stability and comfort in setting a big and important goal for your future and this will allow you to start being more productive and happy to tackle every problem that might come your way. Your life will always be full of surprises and unplanned events but hard work and dedication on your goals will allow you to become the best version of you and enjoy every step of the way.

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3 Ways to Stay Strong and Push Through When Hardships Arise



how to stay strong when hardships arise
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all have trials and tribulations, and most times they are out of our control. I believe that’s why it can be so frustrating when trouble arises, because we feel powerless. But this isn’t true! How we perceive these times gives us power, and will ultimately dictate the quality of our lives.

Each event can have many interpretations. You can ask two people about a situation they both went through, and sometimes you’ll get two completely different answers! Most times this isn’t because one was being truthful and the other wasn’t, but because of how they perceived the events that took place.

That’s how powerful perceptions are, so why not use this power to our benefit? Instead of thinking on what was lost, think of what there is to gain. When you think positively, it helps you from not feeling stuck, and helps you look towards the future. 

Below are three things to consider whenever a hardship comes your way:

1. This is an opportunity for me to grow

Viewing troubling times as an opportunity to improve and grow will give you a sense of freedom and happiness because you’ve decided to lead your life, as opposed to just accepting your life. Some people just accept the things that happen to them/around them. When you have this mindset, you are telling yourself there is nothing you can do in that situation, and you are giving away your power.

This will affect not only your mood, but also the people around you, especially if you’re a leader. They feed off your energy and body language. When you focus on growth, you can think more clearly on solutions, which is what you want. It’s ok to feel sad, frustrated, or confused. If you want to be successful, you will feel all of these, and quite often. When you do, recognize what your feeling, but don’t feed it. If you do, it will grow.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

2. Don’t focus on the problem, find the solution

This sounds pretty simple but how many of us focus more energy on the problem and why it happened or who did it, instead of trying to focus immediately on the solution? I learned this in the military. If something goes wrong, my superiors were less concerned with who did it and more concerned with finding a solution to the problem, and as quickly as possible.

But I was once guilty of this thinking, and sometimes I slip back into that mode of thinking when my emotions are strong. Changing your mindset to focus on solutions will give you a sense of power, which will calm you, because you feel in control. This in turn, will help you think clearly and rationally, as opposed to emotionally. Furthermore, being in a more relaxed state of mind will allow you to absorb information more clearly so you can learn from the incident and become a better you.

3. Determine how the hardship improves your character

What was being tested during your hardship? Patience? Empathy? Communication? Understanding? Endurance? I remember working for a boss I did not like. He seemed to pick on me, and I couldn’t understand it. I went above and beyond what was asked of me, but people were still being promoted quicker than I was.

To give a little depth on my perception at the time, I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. Not poor, but close to it. So respect is something that is valued greatly in neighborhoods I come from, because we don’t have much else. Respect was your money, and could get you things money couldn’t buy.

Now everyone wants respect, but me, I need it that much more. So when I felt he wasn’t giving me respect, I almost convinced myself to handle these matters. Imagine the people you train, passing you by and you know their work ethic doesn’t match yours. It sucked.

I talked to my dad, who always gives great council, and he told me it wouldn’t be wise. He told me to look for ways to grow, and I did. And let me tell you, during that time I learned things that cannot be taught in classrooms because you can only be learned through experience. My endurance was really challenged, but made me wiser and stronger, which made me better equipped to deal with future troubles I’d have. Because of those lessons, I was able to teach others about my experience and give wise counsel.

“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms. Not one that others or the environment have scripted for you.” – Tony Robbins

When those times come, ask yourself where you’re weak and what you can you do to improve on that weakness. Finding something you’re not good at should make you happy, because it gives you a chance to improve! If you suck at something, do something about it! Don’t wallow in self-pity. It’s not a fruitful exercise.

When hardships come your way, your perception is a powerful weapon that you must manipulate, don’t let it manipulate you. Ask yourself how can this help you grow, what positive opportunity is hidden in the hardship and focus on the solution, not the problem. Doing these things will put the power back in your court. Give it a shot, it changed my life!

How do you keep your head up high when hardships arise? Share your thoughts and advice down below!

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7 Essential Mindset Shifts From Gary Vaynerchuk That’ll Help You Have an Amazing Life



gary vaynerchuk advice
Image Credit: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is full of little gems to success if you listen with an open mind. His unfiltered way of sharing old school values mixed with modern day approaches is remarkably simple and highly contagious. In this world of instant gratification, everyone is focused on doing things faster in order to produce exponential results.

When our visions don’t become an instant reality, we play the comparison game and judge ourselves. This ultimately leads to a decline in our health and crushes our visions. Many of us want to be an overnight success but need a better psychological framework to endure the ride.

Here are 7 perspectives that Gary Vaynerchuk is currently popularising that can help your mindset game be stronger:

1. Aim for happiness 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s definition of happiness is “being able to do what you want at all times.” This does not mean quit because your work doesn’t make you happy right now, especially if it is the stepping stone for your ideal lifestyle. 

For a period of time you will need to grind and do tasks that are unenjoyable. If happiness is not within your metrics of success, you will eventually suffer from an irregularity in your mental or physical health, which in turn has a downward ripple effect on your valued relationships. 

2. Enjoy paying your dues

Every industry has its own set of rules to work up the chain of command. You need to learn to love each role and responsibility that comes with that. Going in with a curious and enthusiastic energy is bound to shine through and show those around you how serious you are. 

Be present and learn from every experience you encounter. This is a journey for bigger and better things but you need to put in the time, work and sacrifice to be rewarded. Life is all about what you put into it. You don’t know how these earlier stages will serve you in years to come, so take pride in the journey and appreciation for the lessons and people you meet along the way.

3. Obsessively love what you do

You should always be doing what you want, especially if you have a clearly defined purpose. Purpose is such an energizing force, regardless of whether you are earning $40,000 or $4,000,000. If you really love what you’re doing and it’s where you want to be then you’re already winning. 

Always start with what you love because the only way you’re going to hustle hard enough is if you love it. It’s hard to get going around something you’re not passionate about. When you learn to love the game more than the trophy, the game gives you, and you’re on your way up.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”- Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Don’t be driven by the money

To do extremely well in the game of business without disrupting other pillars in your life, you must wake up each morning pondering what solutions need to be found today. You need to be wildly curious and driven by the game of business on a micro level while seeing the macro outcomes. 

When you’re excited to play the game, you become absorbed in mastery over playing with your phone, gossiping with friends and watching mindless content. You relentlessly invest in yourself and your growth, which in turn is remunerated with wealth.

5. Have gratitude

Have you ever thought about the fact that the odds of being a human being are 400 trillion to one? You must create an unbelievably clear perspective of how lucky we are to be human. This in turn makes it a struggle to dwell on things that don’t matter. 

Focus your attention on the things that you value and appreciate. Appreciate your good health and family, because you’ll value it more. Appreciate your gifts, friends, work and life. By doing this, your perception begins to shift. You see the blessings of your life, versus the broken parts.

6. Adversity is your superpower

Adversity and humble beginnings is an incredible framework to happiness, especially when you layer positivity and optimism around your difficulty. We all have hardships and various scenarios that throw us off balance along the way. 

Our super power is when we use that as fuel to drive us to be less audacious and experience more, instead of being held back. What you think and focus on grows. Shift the perspective in your mind so your adversity doesn’t define you, but instead drives you.

“It’s insane to me to ask anybody to be what they’re not. Know what you know the best, love the most. That’s always going to be the answer to the thing that you have the best shot at winning at.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

7. Be excited everyday because you get to play

Learn how to start your morning well and continue that energy throughout the day. That vigour builds momentum that will allow you to actually make your mark. Be fired up that you have given yourself a clear vision and your making moves to play a strong game. This type of mindset gives you an intrinsic pull to do and be better daily rather than external motivation, which over time dies out.

Mindset is everything and it all falls down to your perspective of things. Don’t judge yourself by what you accomplish daily, instead, judge it yearly. It takes years of great creative work to be recognized. Be patient. In the meantime, look at your daily habits and ask yourself if they are causing you to evolve or revolve. Are you moving forward, or just moving in circles? Take constant action to move forward and be grateful you have the opportunity to play in the game of life. 

What’s your favorite Gary Vaynerchuk mindset from the article? Share your thoughts below!

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