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If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

In the last week I have had quite a few conversations with people who have told me their business ideas. The conversations between them all were consistent, they all admired that I had started my blog page and YouTube channel. They all admired the guts it took to start something that was in the public eye. It was also stated that they would not have the guts to do something so public in case they were to fail.

When they said this, I thought to myself, “There is that possibility that all my hard work may not go anywhere–and yes, everyone would know as I have posted, shared and publicly announced my page, blogs, website and YouTube channel.” That tiny voice of doubt attempted to creep into my head. Then, I realized I was being like everybody else. “Maz, stop doubting yourself, you know that gets you nowhere.”

The Process of Doubt

I experienced my first case of writers block when it came to writing for another Motivational Website that had approached me. I jumped onto their site, had a look at some articles and thought, “Yes, this is aligned with what I like to write about.” I then jumped onto their YouTube channel and the first video I saw had over 20.5 million views. I hadn’t even come close to experiencing this kind of exposure. I felt a lump in my throat as I tried to gulp.

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“What am I supposed to write to get this many people engaged? What if nobody likes what I put out there? I have only been blogging for a month, what if people think I don’t have enough credibility?” Various questions of doubt started to speak to me. I had no clue as to what to write about and I started to feel nervous.

Faces of people smirking at me reappeared in my head. There were people that smirked when they found out what I was doing. People that thought I was crazy starting my new venture and actually thinking I would get somewhere with it. “You really need proper camera gear if you are going to film on YouTube, You need to take tutorials on editing, You should work on your grammar. You need to stop twitching your face or making those expressions you do.” All the voices of everyone telling me what I was doing wrong floated around me.

I stayed home all weekend to work on The Fitness Freedom Flow, yet didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. Since I have started my blog page, writing came so easily. I would be inspired by an idea and an hour later, it was online and published. Things just seemed to flow. Now, here I am struggling to even think of the first sentence or even a topic to write about. Frustrated, I decided to give it a break and sleep on it.

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When I woke up this morning, I had my green tea as per usual. I then had some breakfast and was drilling my head as to what I should write. “Maybe I should just write for my own page for now”. I still had no clue as to what I should write about. I was at a dead end. I decided to meditate and calm my mind as it was racing at a million miles an hour.

This is why I have decided to write this blog. I realized that I finally came to a road block because for the first time since starting my blog page, I stopped and started thinking about what others thought of me. I started listening to the people that doubted me. I started to doubt my own ability and was questioning if what I was doing was even going to be worth my time.

Clearing the Flow

Sometimes our minds get so cluttered and are filled with too many thoughts. For me, it helps if I calm my mind and slow down. This is where meditation has helped me. I find when I do this, my intuition tells me things and helps to guide me in the right direction. I gain a sense of clarity and it helps bring me back down to earth. Meditation keeps me grounded. If you don’t practice it, I highly suggest you give it a go. It really does work wonders.

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I must say, since starting my blog page, I feel it has given my life great purpose. I jump out of bed and the first thing I do is start working on my page. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I thoroughly enjoy being able to speak of my experiences and talk about topics that I am passionate about. It is also an amazing feeling when I receive emails from people all of the world letting me know that the blog they just read has inspired them. I absolutely love hearing their own stories that I am lucky enough for them to share with me.

My goal is to be able to help motivate and inspire others through my own experiences. There are a lot more topics I want to discuss in the future that I feel can make a difference and maybe, just maybe help the right person at the right time. That possibility excites me. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am following my purpose and it is the very reason why I have experienced some of the things that I have in the past. If I can do something that gives back goodness to the world, why not?

If you are reading this and there is a business venture, a relationship decision or a creative idea that you have always had but have been too scared to take action towards, I encourage you to take the first step. If you are dwelling on a decision and the only thing holding you back is failure or what other people may think of you, take a second and really think to yourself. Does it make you happy? If you were doing whatever it is you are currently wishing you could do, can you see yourself happy? If the answer is yes, then my question to you is, why would you hold yourself back from happiness?

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What is the Role Happiness Plays?

We all deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be able to follow our passions. If it makes you smile, if it changes your life for the better, then go for it. You really don’t have anything to lose. What’s the worse that could happen? You end up back where you started which is right at this very moment now. If that does end up being the case, you really didn’t lose anything did you? You actually got the chance to open yourself up to new experiences and I bet you would’ve learnt a lot along the way. So in hindsight, you still gained something.

I am still learning along the way and there is a great deal more that I have to learn. I am absolutely blessed that in the month I have been doing this, I have gained so much traction with my blogs. It is an absolute privilege that I have been published on Lifehack.org and it makes my heart sing to know that already in such a short time, there are people out there that appreciate my work.

A month ago, I didn’t even know how to build a website, let alone make a video. I didn’t even know that I could write. So fail or not, I have still gained. I have learnt so much already and am excited for all the things I will learn in the future. This journey has been so much fun and I really do enjoy it.

I really do hope that if you’re not already, that you start your journey towards your passions. Life is short and we can’t take it for granted. Tomorrow is never promised. Do whatever it is that makes you smile. What’s life without those moments of happiness?

So the real question is, if it makes you happy, does it really matter what other people think?

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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