Accomplishing anything worthwhile in life is difficult. You’re a human being, though, and no task is impossible to us. Quitting alcohol takes twelve steps, but most of them are proprietary to AA. If you want to accomplish a truly difficult task, you need only half the steps. Here’s how to handle the hard tasks.

1. Brainstorm

Thinking is critical to our survival as a species, and creativity is much more useful than brute force in the wild. That single trait of invention is what separated early man from the animal kingdom, and led to our eventual dominance of this planet.

When you start any project, sit down and brainstorm every idea possible. Let your thoughts and ideas flow freely; it’s during this brainstorming period that your most critical ideas are created.

2. Plan

Once you have a pile of raw ideas, it’s time to formulate a concrete plan. This plan is a step-by-step guide to each phase of your impossible task. Visualizing the realistic and practical completion of your project will lead you in the direction of actually completing it. Pretend you’re a Goonie, but you can draw your own map to One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.

3. Commit

A plan is just a plan until you execute it. Your commitment to the plans you make is what separates success from failure. You know your plan is solid, so commit to it. It’s only by following your plan that you see the forks in the road and other obstacles you’ll encounter. Get out there and do it!

4. Relax

Sure, everything is riding on this one project. If you complete it, you’ll get a promotion, a raise, move up, buy a home, settle down and live happily ever after. If you fail, you’ll go broke, lose everything and fall from grace. It’s ok – everything in life is life or death. That’s just how life works, and we’re all going through it.

Close your eyes. Sit up straight or lay down for a moment. Relax your body and focus on slowly breathing in…and out…and in…and out…and relax.

5. Overcome

Every path has obstacles, but when you keep pushing, you eventually overcome. The U.S. was originally settled on the East coast, but pioneers blazed a trail out west. Think about how terrifying it must’ve been to have discovered California or trekked out west during the Gold Rush.

No matter what they hit you with, you shall overcome. Continue to get up and fight every time you’re knocked down. When people laugh at you, laugh back. If you keep your nose to the grindstone long enough, you shall overcome.

6. Enjoy

Winning or losing in life isn’t about the scoreboard. When you’re in the game, it’s easy to focus on the time, penalties, and score, but at the end of the day, you won’t look back on your life and focus on those things – they just won’t matter.

What matters at the end is that you enjoyed your time. You have very precious few moments in life, and those difficult times are the ones that define who you are. At 33, I’ve lived through some very hard times, and each one taught me a valuable lesson, introduced me to a memorable person, and made me a better person for having been through it.

Whenever you hit a really difficult time, don’t let yourself be overcome with stress. Instead think about the successful you in the future, laying on your deathbed. Think about the small toddler you once were. Both of those people would love to be in the position you’re currently in, no matter how bad it is. Keep your head up…for them.

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