You may think, “If only I reach [this next phase of my life], then I won’t have to deal with these problems.” But the fact is, no matter where you are or how you live your life, you will always be challenged.
Just because you reach a certain level of success doesn’t mean all problems in your life disappear. They don’t. They simply evolve into whatever comes with that phase of your life and lifestyle.
How large or insurmountable the challenges in your life appear is in direct proportion to how well you learned to handle those that you previously encountered.
For example, dropping your ice-cream cone or spilling your milk seems like a serious problem as a child. Not so much to an adult. That’s because you’ve developed the skills necessary to handle such things without falling to pieces.
This can be said for all problems, not just childhood woes. It is through the problems that you overcome in life, that you develop the strength & skills necessary to handle whatever comes next. Contrast in your life is a good thing.
The trick to reducing how much challenges set you back in life is not in magically making them disappear. The trick is to develop the skills & discipline necessary to positively & productively handle whatever challenges come your way.
Complaining about problems — or actively resisting challenges — doesn’t diminish them. It is only through the action of facing them productively that does.
The faster you make that transition and adopt an “I can and will handle this” attitude the smaller your problems appear.
The act of saying “F*ck it, I don’t care!” is simply an acceptance that you are no longer going to try to change something that you couldn’t control anyway.
It’s not the caring that’s the problem, it’s a problem with misdirected focus and an emotional attachment to an outcome you had no power over.
It’s like worrying — the mental process of worrying about something accomplishes nothing.
“We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.” — Dalai Lama
It is the same with trying to have power over things you cannot control. If you have no power over something, there is no use trying to control it.
To encourage people to not care about things is a step in the wrong direction. The world doesn’t need more people who don’t give a f*ck — or people who sit by and do nothing when they have a chance to make a positive difference. We already have those in abundance.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
The fact is that a lack of caring, a lack of focus, a lack of priorities, and a lack of positive role models are reasons why the world is in the state that it’s in.
The world needs more people who do care — and care passionately about the things that matter. But by focusing only on the things that are within our power to change.
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” — Kahlil Gibran
To glorify an “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude is, in a way, a declaration that you will stand idly by and not give a damn when something happens in your life — or in the life of someone you care about — and when you have the power to make a positive difference, you will choose not to because, “Hey, [you] don’t give a f*ck!”, remember?
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein
“But I don’t mean it that way”, you say. And if you don’t, great.
But I am speaking specifically to these two self-contained statements (being glorified on the Internet) which seem to imply that giving a f*ck or a damn (about anything) is the problem:
“Stress is caused by giving a f*ck.”
“The less you give a damn, the happier you will be.”
We should not be encouraging ourselves or others not to care or give a damn.
We should resist becoming hard or bitter or creating the expectation in our children that the world is a cold and hostile one in which to live.
We should be encouraging people to care — and educating people on how to do so effectively — and teaching our children to be the change they wish to see in the world.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” — L.R. Knost
“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.” — Brian L. Weiss
Simply not giving a damn about anything is a very blah and mundane way to live life. You can’t live life to the fullest without passion — and passion is caring.
“Happiness comes from within and is found in the present moment by making peace with the past and looking forward to the future.” — Doe Zantamata
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” — Leonardo da Vinci
If you’re not using your free time to direct your life where you want it to go, don’t expect to arrive at your desired destination when the rest of your time is spent being told what to do by other people.
You can’t just wish for what you want to happen — you have to work for it. And that means taking action when you have the time.
Balance in life is important — and taking time to simply relax and enjoy life is vital to maintaining that balance — so this is not to glorify “work”. This is only a reminder that it is important to be mindful of where you want to go in life and to take consistent steps forward if you want to have the pleasure of getting there.
Working towards your goals on a daily basis can be as simple as just reaffirming those goals (both short and long-term).
Since what you do today influences what you do tomorrow anyway, you might as well use the opportunity to influence your tomorrow in as positive & productive way as possible.
G+ comment: What do you mean when you don’t have a choice?
Obviously we all have a choice to do or not do something at any time (although “results/consequences may vary”).
But I mean, we all have things we WANT to do. And we all have things we feel we HAVE to do.
If these two things are not one and the same, then what we do in our “free” time (when we feel we have a CHOICE) can have a drastic impact on those things that take on the “have to do” portions of our lives (those things we feel we don’t have a choice in).
“I have to make money to survive.”
Here’s a real world example:
Teenagers who spend all their free time smoking pot and playing video games will likely find themselves in a much different set of life circumstances (of things they “have to do”) than teenagers who spend their free time being proactive in various areas of their lives (educating themselves, learning new skills…).
If someone loves photography, and would love to have a career in photography, but spends all their free time watching TV, then that will have an impact those things in life that they feel they have to do.
If someone loves photography and spends their free time honing their photography skills, then that will lead to a much greater likelihood that what they end up “having” to do is also something they WANT to do.
If you “have” to have a career, then it certainly makes sense to make it something you enjoy doing.
By being proactive and directing your life where you want it to go, you are presented with far more opportunities than if you simply go where life directs you.
Regardless of what society “says”, as independently thinking and acting individuals, we make choices every day that can either fall in line with what society suggests, or fall in line with what we truly want (if the two are not the same).
In yesterday’s post I talked about how changing “If only” statements into “How can I” questions creates a much more positive mindset that leaves one’s subconscious mind free to search for solutions (instead of creating a mental roadblock).
The manner is which one talks to one’s self is not only important in maintaining a positive attitude, when used correctly, it becomes a powerful tool. For example, how one forms questions they ask themselves can have a serious impact on the answers one gets in return. One of the reasons for this is because your subconscious minddoesn’t care what you ask. And it will automatically try to find that answer to your question. This is great. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.
Whatever you choose to ask yourself, your subconscious mind will diligently seek an answer to your question. But because your subconscious mind is a bit like a robot, it also doesn’t care if the answer it provides you is (or isn’t) in your own best interest.
So if you ask it a question in the form of a negative, the answer you get will also be in the form of a negative…
Here are some extremes…
Why can’t I attract the love of my life?
Why can’t I stay in a long-term relationship?
Why don’t people think I’m funny?
Why don’t more people like me?
— and your subconscious mind will answer, “You can’t [do these things] because….”
Because you asked in the form of a negative, the answer you get back is also in the form of a negative.
If you like to beat yourself up or feel drained or powerless in the world, this is a great way to do it. (I don’t suggest that.)
Don’t be fooled, your question doesn’t have to have a “can’t” or a “don’t” in it to be negative.
Why am I always getting things wrong? (You are always getting things wrong because…)
Why do I keep falling for girls/guys that are bad for me? (You keep falling for people who are bad for you because…)
Heck, I even did it in a blog post: “Why am I not a better person?” (You are not a better person because…)
So if you want to avoid beating yourself up, pay closer attention to your thought process and take charge of it whenever you have a tendency to form a thought in the negative form vs. the positive. (You may recall that this is 1 of 12 ways to find encouragement, “train or retrain your brain”).
So when you are talking to yourself, always remember to ask yourself empowering questions in the form of a positive:
How can I improve areas in my life and get more things right? (You can improve areas in your life by…)
What can I do more of (or less of) to attract the love of my life? (You can attract the love of your life by…)
How do I attract the right girl/guy for me?
How can I be wicked funny like that Zero Dean fellow?
How can I become more likable like that dear, dear, friend of mine, Zero Dean?
What is Zero Dean’s phone number, because I feel like… whoops! Sorry.
Do you see the difference? Or more importantly, do you feel the difference?
If you can’t control something, then focus on what you can control (which is how you think about it)
“IF ONLY” …
If only —I was stronger.
If only —I was more…
Adding the “*I*” is a step in the right direction because then you’re focusing on something you can control, but it’s still not a very effective way to approach a problem.
The issue still lies with “If only”. Ditch it.
You can ditch “If only” by asking yourself a question…
“How can I…?“
Now you are not only putting yourself back in control, asking this question implies there is an answer to it.
And the fact that you are now thinking about a problem as if there is an answer to it provides you with a huge benefit — and that is it allows your subconscious mind to begin looking for a solution for you rather than be stuck with the belief that there isn’t one.
Come on, even Captain Jack Sparrow knows this…
“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.” — Captain Jack Sparrow
When you approach a problem in a way that implies you are powerless to address it, you create a mental roadblock and leave very little room for problem solving. When you approach a problem in a way that implies there is a solution to it, you open up a world of possibilities.
“If only” is a roadblock on the highway of life. “How can I…” is a roadblock breaker.
Use as needed.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” — Bruce Lee
Tell yourself you may not have the best there is, but you’re going to make the best of what you DO have. We often need far less than we think we do to achieve what we want.
We think we need the best gadgets, top-of-the-line thingamabobs, etc. before we get started. We often hold ourselves back waiting for just the right time for something — the perfect moment when everything is right.
But the fact is, we’d often get further faster if we started today and made the most of what we had. There will always be things we don’t have — waiting until we get all of them is often at the expense of making real progress towards where we want to be.
When we make the best of what we have, it allows us to make progress towards our goals, instead of waiting for that perfect moment that often doesn’t arrive. Progress is good. And that’s encouraging.
Every day is a new beginning. You are not your failures. The past is gone. You can’t change it. Get over it. Today, right now, is the only thing that truly makes a difference in your life.
It’s always NOW. Now is the only time you can do anything that will have a bearing on your future. Like I said, remember to ask yourself “What can I do right now that is the most valuable use of my time?” and then DO THAT.
When you let go of what you can’t control and direct yourself to controlling the things you can, you become more of an architect of your life. And that’s encouraging.