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Why It’s Definitely Fine That You Fall Behind In Life Sometimes

Why It’s Definitely Fine That You Fall Behind In Life Sometimes

We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced those times in life when you are utterly confused about your life purpose, you get a sense that you aren’t where you thought you’d be by now, and you secretly compare your life to those around you, using them as a benchmark to your own. Life is full of “should” and “shouldn’ts” that lead us to feeling pressure and unhappiness.

You lack motivation and that inspired action just isn’t coming to you. You start to panic that it’ll never come and you’ll stay in this space of dissatisfaction forever. If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. We often end up at a stage in life that isn’t anywhere where we thought we were going to be, but I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Here is why falling behind in life isn’t as bad as we perceive it to be.

Give Yourself A Break

The problem comes when we believe we are falling behind in life, but by who’s standards or ideals exactly? Society has a lot to answer for when it comes to pressuring us into being at certain stages of life at certain times, but everyone is unique. Different circumstances happen to different people. We all have different personalities, different dreams, and different beliefs, so we can’t all be the same. So it’s really important to give yourself a break.

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So what if you aren’t as far along in your career as you thought you’d be? So what if you’re at the age when you “should” be married and having children but you’re not even close? You aren’t alone in feeling this way and it’s better to be in a relaxed state than creating stress and anxiety in your life.

Surrender To Timing And Trust It

You’re probably thinking it’s too hard to relax when you feel like a failure and you can’t quite see how it’s all going to change. It’s very easy to think like this — we’re human after all. But remember that life is all about timing — think back to all your past situations, relationships, friendships, or jobs that came into your life at the right moment.

Accept that you can’t conjure up motivation if it’s just not there and there’s no point in forcing it. Relaxing is the best way to let any of that good inspiration in but also honour the fact that life can get in the way sometimes. Sometimes we’re just going through things we can’t control, things that influence how we feel and can take our focus away from what we want.

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Surrender to the fact that it’s all about timing and trust that things will work out for you when they’re meant to. Feeling lost doesn’t mean you’re doomed or that your life is hopeless. It simply means that something better is waiting for you.

Everyone Is On Their Own Path

Making comparisons is the worst thing we can do, yet we all do this! Sometimes you can feel perfectly content with life until suddenly you wake up one day and all your friends are married with kids and you’re not even close to all that. Maybe everyone around you is buying a house and you’re still renting because you can’t quite afford it yet. Then the feeling of failure creeps in that breaks down that happiness vibe — you feel you’re never going to have what someone else has, or that there’s something wrong with you.

But we absolutely cannot compare ourselves to others — others who are on a completely different personal journey to ours. Just because they’re in our life doesn’t mean our life has to mirror theirs. You don’t truly know their life journey or what lessons they are learning — what seems like perfection on the outside is rarely the case.

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Listening to others’ opinions about your life situation when they are in completely different life stages or circumstances to you is extremely detrimental to your overall outlook. When we feel sensitive or vulnerable about our own life dissatisfaction, we tend to value other people’s opinions over our own inner feelings and guidance, so choose to ignore any negative beliefs from others and concentrate on trusting the process and the right outcomes happening at the right time.

Remember It’s All A Learning Curve

Don’t think that this is a time in your life where you’re not moving forward or learning anything. All situations in our life — positive and negative — are there to teach us something, even if it’s really really not obvious to us.

Again, it all comes down to timing. Perhaps you need another year of life experience or there’s something you need to realise about yourself that you can only find by taking time out to be by yourself before you let in that great relationship. Maybe a series of events is waiting to happen before you get that great job, events that will show you something or guide you in the right direction. Perhaps your current feelings of sadness are what will eventually propel you to building your life. Sometimes we’re not yet the people we need to be in order to get to our perceived destination, and that’s perfectly okay.

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This is why it’s so important to relax and realise not everything is in your control. Knowing we can’t control every outcome is crucial, as life is uncertain and unpredictable and often outside of what we can understand. What we can do is establish healthy habits and grow from our experiences.

Stop Beating Yourself Up

At the end of the day, we need to be positive and kind to ourselves. We need to stop pressuring ourselves and beating ourselves up because we haven’t lined up with what we want just yet.

Lessen the shame that surrounds your idea that you’re somehow not doing your best. Life is full of ebbs and flows but you are always travelling down the path, so trust that you are heading in the right direction even if you can’t fully see the path itself. Try and ignore the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” that seem to dominate our lives so much. At the end of the day, they are only other people’s beliefs and ideas. Relax — you are not actually falling behind in life, you are exactly where you’re meant to be.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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