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We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be

We Know What We Are, But Know Not What We May Be

This is a world filled with expectations. Every person on the planet expects something from you, and it seems like there’s no pleasing anyone, even ourselves. The fact of the matter is that we are surrounded with this mentality that we SHOULD be doing something other than reading this article. Mentalities like that can be so controlling, so dangerous. Living in a world of expectations is useful in the fact that we can become whatever it is that we want. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the fear of what others want, or what we think they want, that we lose sight of that.

Living in this world, and knowing who we are now can be cathartic. Every once in a while, it’s good to stare into the mirror and take stock of who you are. But if you live in the mentality of living up to expectations, it puts a heavy limitation on yourself. It doesn’t give you the full creative freedom you need to step out of the world’s shadow, and into your own sunshine. You can’t achieve your dream if you’re taking everyone else into consideration.

Sometimes The Generic Life Can Destroy You

The simple life of working 8 hours a day for life, having kids and a house sounds wonderful. It sounds simplistic enough to work in theory. But while some people are okay with just going through the steps, many people have been destroyed by it. You know that life. You go to school, get a degree in a job you can do, get said job, get married, have kids, buy a house, and eventually retire to enjoy your twilight years.

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That sounds amazing, but unfortunately, that’s still a life guide by expectations, by limitations. There’s no room in that process to live your dream life. That’s a generic life that you just follow, not something you aspire. More than that, there’s overwhelming evidence that shows that when you finally escape from that, then you begin to succeed!

Life Isn’t Given To You, You Go Out And Build It

There was a woman once, she followed the exact steps you hope for. While she had a love for writing novels, she was afraid of failure and bought into everyone’s expectations. She went to school, got a job, got married and had a daughter. Unfortunately, she’d been released from her job, and gotten divorced before moving to Edinburgh and was living on government assistance. But she back tracked, wrote a series of novels, and became one of the most well-known authors of her time. Her name is J.K. Rowling!

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.” – J.K. Rowling

This man focused his life on living within the norm. He went out and got a job at a fortune 500 company…then absolutely hated it. Within 11 months, he had left his job to find something that he could mess up! From that, he built the group called Live Your Legend. Scott Dinsmore passed away living the life he wanted, and the community built on his dream lives on in his honor!

“It’s about doing something that matters to you, and makes an impact only you can make.” – Scott Dinsmore

This man started out living his life entirely based on his parents’ approval. He was taken out of school to take over the family farm. When it was seen that he was failing at that, he was sent back to school to finish. He then moved onwards to attend Cambridge University and became one of the most prominent scientists in our history! Sir Issac Newton lived that life that only he could, the one that he wanted to! He wasn’t going to let anyone else ruin that for him.

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“We build too many walls, and not enough bridges” – Sir Issac Newton

Only You Can Live Your Life

This world can be vicious, life is tough at the beginning. After that, it gets even more difficult. But you only get this one life, only one shot to do exactly what you want. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do. Think about those limits that you’ve allowed yourself to live by. If you want to go live your life on your own terms, have success in the way that you want, you need to get to work right now.

Barring the moral limits such as theft and violence, you need to take every limitation in your life and completely disregard it. So far, the limitations you’ve set have only gotten you to this point, and you have so much more to do! If you have a dream, why does anyone else have a say in what you should do? You know what you want to do, and you owe it not only to yourself but the world to see it through. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears.

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But one day, you’ll look back.You’ll see all those people who put those expectations on you, and the limitations that you set on yourself. You see just how far past all of that you’ve gotten. The world is a dull place at times. It takes your dream, the color you can bring to this world to make that impact that only you can make.

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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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