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7 Ways To Stop Your Life From Becoming as Clichéd as a Hollywood Movie

7 Ways To Stop Your Life From Becoming as Clichéd as a Hollywood Movie

Each time I watch a Star Wars movie, I am taken back to my childhood. I can remember lying on the carpet, in front of the television watching it and getting lost in its “space world”.

Last weekend, as I sat down to watch the latest Star Wars movie for the first time, my thoughts were filled with the anticipation of years of build up, the wonder if it would live up to my expectations and that feeling “Am I in for another “Phantom Menace”?

I vividly remember walking out of the theater with a smile as large as a rainbow after the rain. It was all that I had hoped it would be. Thinking back on the experience, I now realize that during the movie, I found myself able to recite the lines before they were spoken, and easily able to predict the outcome before it happened.

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As I took in the drama, action, and the inevitable lightsabers, it felt like I had watched this same thing many times over, all before I had watched finished watching this latest version.

Did you know that Hollywood utilizes only a handful of themes to produce all of its movies? Neither did I. This led me to wonder about my own life. Is my life as predictable as a Hollywood movie that anybody watching could recite its lines as they happen and guess how it will end before it does?

The short answer? Maybe. You and I both know that we tend to live our day-to-day lives on autopilot. How then, can we prevent this from happening?

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1. Live Each Moment As If It Was Your Last.

I know that this sounds cliché, so bear with me. Imagine a world where you know you aren’t going to wake up the next day. If you knew that, what would you do with your time? Would you watch television? Play video games? Sleep? Spend time on Facebook? Or would you find a way to do all the things that you want to do, but haven’t accomplished yet.

2. Take Risks.

Risks are scary. I get that. As far as I am concerned, living a risk-free life is scarier. Risks will make you feel alive. You don’t need to scale a mountain or jump out of a plane if that isn’t your style, but make sure you do take some risks that are more to your style.

3. Don’t Procrastinate.

By procrastinating you are only cheating yourself out of what you are truly capable of doing. How will you ever know what you can accomplish in life if you continually say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”?

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4. Do The Opposite of What Is Expected

How many times have you heard that you are predictable? Me too. That all changed when I decided to make a conscious effort to change the way I react to situations or come up with solutions. Not only will you take others by surprise, but more importantly you will surprise yourself.

5. Let The Bad Guy Win

We all have a voice inside our heads that tells us what to do and what not to do. Usually, this voice keeps us out of trouble. However, tragically, it can prevent us from becoming great. Occasionally let the other voice win and see where it takes you.

6. Don’t Spend Your Life Chasing The Uncatchable

How many movies have you watched where one person spends their entire existence in pursuit of something, only to:

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  1. Finally catch it and live happily ever after
  2. Be unable to catch it and live happily ever after

Pay special attention to number 2. Your life is not dictated by anything, nor should it be. Spend your life, in pursuit of YOUR life.

7. If You Can Win The First Time, Then Win. Otherwise Don’t Be Afraid To Lose.

I can only speak for myself, but winning is amazing and losing, well, isn’t. When given the option of winning or losing, I will always choose to win. There are times when this isn’t always possible. Occasionally, we must lose. If you do, be sure to embrace it wholeheartedly. Use your failures as an opportunity to grow even better. Keep trying and you will eventually win. But, don’t be afraid to lose what wasn’t meant to be.

If, after all of this, you still feel the need to model your life after a movie, at least pick something that people would enjoy watching. Something like Star Wars (minus the prequels).

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Joel a Scott

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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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