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If You Always Play It Safe, Are You Really Living?

If You Always Play It Safe, Are You Really Living?

In life, we have to make many decisions. From what we are going to eat, what we are going to wear, what we are going to do today and sometimes we have to make a decision that can impact our lives drastically. We may need to make a crucial business decision, choose whether we stay or leave a certain relationship or even have to make a decision that could impact someone else’s life. We reach a crossroad and whichever decision we choose will put us onto an entirely different path.

Today, I found myself at a crossroad. I wasn’t really given much time to think about it and had to come up with an answer on the spot. I had a choice between keeping my 9-5 or jumping on a plane to Cambodia. I didn’t even give it a second thought, I quit my 9-5 job. Now some people may think that quitting my full time job was reckless. I am not telling everyone to go ahead and just quit their job, but before you judge, hear me out.

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Learning from your past

One thing I learnt while I worked in Recruitment, was that if you are great at what you do, make sure to make yourself known. Even if you aren’t looking for another role, you never know what could happen around the corner. If other recruiters/headhunters know about you, when a role pops up they feel you would be a great candidate for, you will be the first to know about it. If your company’s competitors know who you are, when they are looking for quality staff, guess who they’re going to contact first?

In saying this, I wasn’t particularly looking to jump ship. I had actually turned down multiple job opportunities this year alone. I was however always open to hearing about what was out there. This worked out in my favor big time. I am a firm believer of the law of attraction. You attract what you think. If you have good thoughts, good things and good people are drawn to you.

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Funnily enough as the words ” I am resigning” came out of my mouth. My phone had buzzed with a job offer. I was just thinking to myself, I really shouldn’t resign if I haven’t got anything secure lined up. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Synchronicity is the universe showing signs, guiding you in the right direction.

Making a decision

I could’ve played it safe, kept at my secure job and helped make someone else’s dreams come true. I won’t get into the logistics of it all, but bottom line is that I used to love it. I used to be motivated and passionate. Lately, it literally sucked the life out of me. It ate at my soul.

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I think I would much prefer to jump on a plane, go and meet the Buddhist monks, awe at the beauty of the temples, wander through the rainforest and soothe my soul by doing yoga and meditation everyday. Get away from the rat race we find ourselves in and be centered.  Ground myself, feed my soul and nourish my happiness, so I can come back and kick goals again. This trip is much needed. I believe it is important to take time out to do things that soothe your soul.

I think back to past relationships, when I was indecisive about whether I should stay or go. I was comfortable, it was what I knew. Leaving was so scary and unknown. I couldn’t imagine life without them. You know the drill. Do I regret leaving any of my exes? Hell no. To think of the opportunities, the growth, the experiences I have had that I would not have otherwise experienced, if I had stayed with any of them. It definitely rings true, when they say that life begins outside of your comfort zone.

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Look at anyone successful in business, do you think they got to where they were without taking risks? They took a risk to start a new venture, they took a risk to follow their dream. Do you think they played it safe? Now there is a difference between being reckless and taking risks, but I truly believe that if it gives you a chance at happiness, you should take the risk and just go for it.

Don’t have regrets

Life is short and happiness is priceless. If you fail, well you actually didn’t because you learnt something along the way and maybe next time you know better. And if you succeed? Oh, imagine that. So if you stay in the job that you hate just so you have security, if you stay in the relationship that doesn’t bring value to your life because you are scared to be alone, if you continue to do what is easy instead of starting that awesome business idea you have because you might fail. Is that bringing you happiness?

So the real question is, if you play it safe, are you really living?

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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