To live life in the fast lane is a common way for humans to exist. People that live life in the fast lane live a lie every day and become trapped. I was one of these trapped souls for many years until the car that was my life, spun out of control and hit a light pole – literally.
When you live life in the fast lane, you only exist to stimulate your senses with excitement and short bursts of pleasure. You become reactive to everything and only focus on yourself. This selfish way of living eventually starts to transcend you and you can begin to resent everyone who lives in the opposite way to you.
In the fast lane, all the things that don’t matter start to matter to you. All the shallow activities that one can participate in become the centre of your own universe. Even if you don’t live your entire life in the fast lane, there is probably a part of you that does.
The five triggers that showed me I was living in the fast lane, and that you should avoid, are:
1. Owning a fast car
When I was living this selfish way of life, I went and bought myself a fast BMW. I thought that somehow my life was incomplete and that a fast car would change this. The first few weeks of driving the car were amazing.
I sped around corners, had all the windows down, played loud music and drove like a moron. Soon, the thrill I got from the car wore off and I was already thinking about an even faster car – a Porsche.
Living in the fast lane made me believe that what others thought of me mattered. Some of the coolest people I have met drive the most ordinary cars. Your car doesn’t define you or make you better than everyone else.
An excellent example of this is Tim Ferriss. He drives a ten-year-old Volkswagen Golf even though he could probably afford a Ferrari. He is one of the most well-respected people globally yet the car he drives has made no difference to his success or the way he is perceived.
In fact, I believe that because he doesn’t live life in the fast lane, this is one of the reasons why he has had such a broad appeal on social media.
You define you, not the possessions you buy.
2. Addiction to spending
A clear way to know you are living life in the fast lane is by your spending habits. When I was living life in the fast lane, I would always spend any money I got on a new toy and never pay myself first. It was only until a friend told me to read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” that I began putting money into savings or investments first, before spending a single dollar on anything else.
Most people’s spending habits are pretty wild and they are based on what the marketing or people they hang out with tell them to buy. You don’t need a new outfit for every special occasion. One of the richest men in the world Mark Zuckerberg has a very plain closet and that never held him back.
Focus the money you have on following your dream and improving yourself through books, seminars, travelling, taking people out for lunch, healthy food, and purchases that encourage exercise or movement. Lose the mindset of scarcity and avoid stocking up on household items – even if they are cheap.
Your tastes will change over time and so it’s never worth pre-purchasing too much of the same item. Try and go an entire weekend without spending any money. Notice how good it feels and how you don’t have to be addicted to your wallet (including your digital wallet PayPal).
3. The need for flashy clothes
It’s obvious you are living life in the fast lane if you spend more than a few hours a month buying flashy clothes. Those who live in the fast lane are constantly changing their wardrobe to meet someone else’s requirements.
In order to hang out with the wrong people, in the wrong places like nightclubs, I found myself always buying clothes that were very expensive and unnecessary. Add alcohol to the mix, and these new flashing clothes were often ruined after one night anyway.
I’m not saying dress like a bum, but what I am saying is don’t waste your life buying flashy clothes because of what other people think or because you are trying to portray some false image that is not you.
Forget the wannabe players and be you.
4. Too much alcohol
When you wake up every day or even every weekend smelling like booze, urine and vomit, you know you are living in the fast lane. Look at what alcohol makes you do and how it makes you behave. Is that behaviour you? No, it’s not, it’s the booze talking.
In my lowest moments of living in the fast lane, I would drink stupid amounts of alcohol even when I was at home. If I went out with friends, I would then triple my consumption to keep up with everyone else and be the drunkest.
Since when does the amount of alcohol you drink ever determine your success? It doesn’t, it makes you a total deadbeat loser of the highest calibre. Occasionally (thank god it wasn’t all the time), while under the influence of booze, I would drive my fast car home and think I was a cool cat.
This was all fun and games until one afternoon while suffering from a massive hangover; I literally spun my car out of control while trying to go fast round a corner. My car spun in circles and then eventually hit a light pole. That’s what I get for being a loser and living in the fast lane. Nice work Tim!
5. Constant nightclub appearances
The final trait of someone living in the fast lane is the regular appearance at nightclubs. This is a category I topped for a long time. Usually, it would involve multiple nightclubs in the same night because you had to be seen in all the cool places right? Wrong.
I always wondered why I managed to find so many trashy girlfriends and why all the good girls were almost never in these places. I still go now and then, but I just ensure it’s not for twelve hours and it’s because I want too, not because I am trying to be someone I’m not.
The fast lane can be a dangerous one if you spend too much time in nightclubs. While it starts out with alcohol, it can quickly turn into cigarettes, marijuana, and then eventually much harder drugs. In my life, I was very lucky that I never tried any drugs and never seemed to have an interest in them.
In western society drugs is a big problem although it’s not publicised as much as it should be. Nightclubs have become like candy shops where you can literally buy almost any drug you want without knowing anyone in the drug dealing business.
I’ve seen some horrific things happen to people that got addicted to drugs and it’s the one part of living in the fast lane that will not only see you spin out of control, but it will probably see you waste away your life and fail in every sense of the word.
***Cool equals different (i.e. you)***
The reason I stopped living in the fast lane is that I realised through hours of personal development that being cool equals being different. Being different means being uniquely you. Without sounding lie a wanker, I now (for the first time) see myself as cool because I am being me.
Every day people come up to me and want to chat or hang out because I am living in an extremely different way to the majority. I am not afraid to say what I think or to do what I love. I express myself in whatever way I can and live with passion and energy.
See, it turns out that when I was living in the fast lane, it didn’t feel right. I was stressed anxious and depressed all at the same time. I may have had all the money in the world but life really sucked. Just because you can buy anything you want, doesn’t mean that you will live with any sort of passion.
When you start to live with passion and exist for a purpose, living in the fast lane feels like a dumb way to live. It feels like you are trying to escape life rather than embrace life. If you’re stuck in the fast lane, it’s possible to get back in control again but it starts with one idea. It starts with one decision. Maybe this article will be the catalyst for the new you – I hope so.
How have you escaped the fast lane? What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
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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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