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Published on October 22, 2020

5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want

5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want

It’s never too late to start something you’ve always wanted to do. It doesn’t matter what you think is holding you back; let’s just call them what they are: excuses. It shouldn’t matter if other people are doing it already or if nobody is doing it at all. The only question that matters is whether or not doing it would make you happy—do you follow your heart and live the life you want?

Everyone has a different personality, and we’re all drawn to different things. And the more you allow yourself to pursue those things and follow your heart, the happier you will be in life.

However, you still have to be willing to work for them because dreams don’t come easily. If you want something, you have to earn it!

Here are 5 reasons why you need to follow your heart to live the life you want.

1. The World Needs Your Voice

We all see the world differently because we all came from different places, had different upbringings, overcame different challenges, etc. So, what you have to say and the way you say it is going to be different from the next person.

Your values, your core beliefs, and how you share that with the world are what set you apart. Those are the things about you that are going to make someone say, “yup. That’s them. They’re my person, and I really appreciate the work they’re bringing into the world.”

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Just imagine how many podcasts there are, not to mention they all have their own tribe of listeners. The same goes for YouTube, blogs, etc. That goes to show that we all consume content differently, too. So, if you’re a writer, write. If you’re a speaker, speak. If you’re a photographer, take photographs.

We need to stop becoming more like others and start being more of ourselves.

2. People Want Your Content

There will always be people who love to consume more than they want to create because creating something of your own is hard. Even when it’s something as simple as writing an Instagram caption or a blog post, people are hesitant to create their own content because they wonder if anyone is going to find it helpful, if they’re adding more value to the world or just more noise, or if they’re writing is any good.

It’s scary to put yourself out there for the world to judge. It’s more comfortable to judge others for putting themselves out there than it is to put yourself out there to potentially be judged.

But do it anyway. If you want to paint, then paint. If you want to start a DIY blog, start a DIY blog. Express yourself. Share your story with the world. Be vulnerable. The world needs more of it. So, be brave and follow your heart.

3. You Know You Want This

I’ve always wanted to have a blog, and I’ve always wanted to work at a magazine company and/or start my own magazine. While I have not worked at a magazine company yet, I choose to do the other two this year.

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I started creating content about 3 years ago, and the feeling was amazing. I’m so glad I did it because if I didn’t, I would still be playing the “what if” game.

But now, I get to play the “what’s next?” game, and it’s so much better. And trust me when I say this journey hasn’t been easy. There have been (and still are) so many times when I cringe and think, “I did that? Is that good enough?” and the good old’ “Who do I think I am to do this? What if someone reveals what a fraud I am one day?”

But how will you get better if you never try or if you don’t at least start? Sure, you might fail and fall flat on your face. But you can always, always get up again and keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be present and consistent.

You have to ride the rollercoaster and overcome the challenges in the way. No path to success is completely smooth. Just follow your heart, and you’ll be ready to face the challenges along the way.

4. It’s a Whole New World

If I never started to follow my heart, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet some of the most amazing people that I’ve met in my life.

If I didn’t follow my heart, I wouldn’t have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have met people who helped me push myself out of my comfort zone, and I would’ve never known how truly encouraging and supportive the people around me are—and I’m so grateful for every one of them.

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If it weren’t for me taking a leap of faith and starting, I wouldn’t have realized how hard other people have worked to make their dreams come true. I would’ve continued chalking it up to “luck.” I would’ve continued making excuses, and I wouldn’t be the type of person to take personal accountability for my actions. As harsh as it may sound, I would still be like the rest of the world.

But now, I have so many more ideas and projects I want to do to build on what I’ve already accomplished. I want to start a podcast and maybe a book.

There is so, so much out there for you—but you have to be willing to show up, take the first step, and keep going. It’s not enough to just start. You have to continue what you started, too. It’s not easy to take that first step, but it’s even tougher to keep stepping when things get tough.

But if you’re strong and follow your heart, you will open yourself up to an entirely new and exciting world.

5. You Will Inspire Others

When you share your story with others, it sends a message. It shows other people what’s possible when they apply the lessons to themselves. And if that doesn’t seem inspiring, then I don’t know what is.

Whenever I start to wonder if this journey is for me, I listen to podcasts, read books, and watch interviews. These things remind me that the people I admire the most did not get to where they are overnight or even in a matter of months. It took them years, and they’re still showing up to this day.

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They weren’t the person they are today when they first started, just like I’m not going to be the person I am today five years or five months from now.

We’re always growing and learning along the way, so share your story with others because regardless of where you are in your journey, someone out there needs to hear it. Someone out there wants to hear it, so share it with them. Inspire others, and you’ll also end up inspiring yourself.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be perfect or feel ready to start, you just have to follow your heart and be willing to put yourself out there.—and continue putting yourself out there.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect, flawed, messy, and beautiful. Give yourself space to learn, fall, make mistakes, and do better. Give yourself credit where credit is due and celebrate your wins along the way.

Find and surround yourself with people who support you and who understand your journey—ideally with people who are on the same journey as you, so you can encourage each other to keep going. Friends who grow together stay together.

So, get out there and follow your heart. Find out where it’s going to take you!

More Reasons to Follow Your Heart

Featured photo credit: Aziz Acharki via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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Last Updated on November 6, 2020

Feeling Defeated in Life? 9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

Feeling Defeated in Life? 9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

The human feeling of wanting to achieve more is a shared one and, consequently, so does the sense of feeling defeated. Things don’t always work out as planned, and we then feel beat down and sometimes downright downtrodden.

This feeling is something that every achiever human-being feels once in a while. The good news is that there are proven science-based ways to help take back the power. It’s not possible to continually win without experiencing a loss, and the way we react to failure is what defines us.

There are (sadly) many practical examples—from battling a bad habit (did anyone say Netflix binge on a Tuesday night?) or even an addiction to dealing with a boss you don’t like who makes every day seem like it will never end. It might be other issues that make you feel like Sisyphus, the Greek god who was forced to push a massive rock up a hill for eternity as a punishment, doing the hard work and not being rewarded for it.

You Are Not Alone

You are not alone; Churchill and Lincoln were also defeated.

Fortunately, we’ve found some fantastic examples of ‘defeated’ people who made a remarkable comeback—showing that character is at least as important as talent. One of those people is none other than Winston Churchill. Most of us know that he saved his country and potentially the rest of the world during World War II, but we tend to forget that he famously stated, “I am finished” almost 20 years before that—when he was 40.

He had lost the Gallipoli battle, and everything seemed to indicate that he would go down in history like the rest of us: unknown. However, his plan to come back to the forefront of politics succeeded (only to lose the election after the war, and then win again). He was feeling defeated but he managed to bounce back.

There are other examples of leaders who experienced loss and then made a remarkable comeback. Abraham Lincoln is known as a former US president, but no one remembers that he was defeated in elections for the U.S. House of Representatives just a few years before that. Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of Europe, only to be exiled (and then come back and then go into exile again).

Most of us are not ruling Europe or the US, but you get the point—you win some, you lose some—and you should never give up on your goals and dreams. This isn’t relevant only to famous historical characters. The human spirit is measured when it’s at its weakest and in need of finding strength.

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Personally speaking, I experienced a tragedy, having to watch my father die in front of me when I was 25. Less than an hour later, as I was in the hospital, I told myself that nothing would break me, and I embarked on a journey to save other people’s lives with Safe Lane, a non-profit I started to prevent car accidents. It is what we do that defines us, and not what happens to us. It’s how we deal with feeling defeated that defines who we are.

Feeling Defeated Is Not Your Fault

Research shows that feeling defeated is not your fault. The deep-rooted feeling of defeat is validated in research. For example, studies of animal species with dominance hierarchies showed that after losing in non-lethal fighting, the animals that lost showed signs of depression.[1] Other studies suggest that defeat and feelings of entrapment are associated with depression and anxiety. Sadly, it happens to humans as well.

Research also suggests that it hurts the poor more than others. In a study conducted in economically deprived areas in England, over half of the people felt defeated. They experienced feelings of entrapment.[2]

The research also proved a connection to anxiety and depression, showing that this feeling impairs the mental health of those living in more impoverished areas. The clear connection between where you live and how you feel is disheartening, as it makes clear that some populations are inherently more prone to suffering than others.

9 Ways to Take Back Your Power

The good news is that there are pretty good solutions one can use to fight this horrible feeling. Some of them can provide immediate improvement, while others help within a matter of weeks.

Here are 9 ways to take back your power when you’re feeling defeated in life.

1. Write a Gratitude Journal

Once a day, take three minutes to write down two things you’re grateful for. It might seem like a childish thing to do, but investing time in a gratitude journal has been scientifically proven to be helpful. Taking a note for yourself of the good things in your life makes you appreciate them more, and this kind of positive thinking also helps your brain change patterns.

According to a study conducted in Berkeley, students who wrote a gratitude letter to their peers had “significantly better mental health 4 weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended. This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns.”[3]

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Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, proved that participants who took the time to write about the good things in their lives had a huge increase in happiness scores.

2. Take Regular Breaks

When you’re working too hard, it can sometimes feel good because you’re pushing your limits. Nonetheless, you can’t work without taking breaks. Your energy is limited, and there have been a few studies proving this.

According to numerous researches, “taking a break can be very beneficial for you and your work. Micro-breaks, lunchtime breaks, and longer breaks have all been shown to affect well-being and productivity positively. By taking regular breaks, you can boost your performance.”[4]

3. Find Yourself a Mentor

I’ve personally found this to be very helpful. Every issue that you’re going through has been experienced by someone before you, so learn from that. Having a mentor reduces stress and helps you both practically understand how to handle the situation and emotionally put things in perspective. It also helps remind you that you’re not alone.

According to UNL, “mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate graduate school success and beyond. Quality mentoring greatly enhances students’ chances for success. Research shows that students who experience good mentoring also have a greater chance of securing academic tenure-track positions or greater career advancement potential in administration or sectors outside the university.”[5]

4. Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are powerful tools that are widely available today through the use of apps such as Calm and Headspace. There have also been countless books written about them. One of them is “Wherever You Go, There You Are:  Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s. By being present, you can control where your energy goes.

I used to be a skeptic, but I have learned that it’s helpful to meditate when you need a moment. Countless studies have proven that breathing helps build resilience. Just by breathing slowly and deeply, our body knows when to enter into a relaxation mode.

We’re living at a time that makes us feel overwhelmed. We have too much on our plate and sometimes, we’re in a position that doesn’t immediately allow us to solve the problem at hand.

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Don’t worry—by meditating, breathing, or just trying to relax, you can understand what to do by letting your mind some time to think and improve. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading this article!

5. Your Self-Talk Is More Crucial Than Ever

Our thoughts and beliefs can sometimes be discouraging. Many people tend towards a negativity bias, which means that we’re prone to notice negative thoughts and emotions more than positive and neutral ones. This is where self-talk comes in.

Using self-talk to analyze whether your perceptions are helping you or not and whether they’re an accurate representation of reality can help you understand that things may not be as bad as you think. Research shows that this is, in fact, often the case.

It’s a good habit to also remember to be kind to yourself. Some of us sometimes forget the crucial ingredient of self-compassion. It also might be a good idea to motivate yourself by watching others—Youtube might be a good place for that.

Here’s an excellent example:

6. Educate Yourself

For whatever of life’s hurdles you’re currently facing, there’s an answer that someone else has already thought of. Google Scholar or even just plain old Google can help you find proven methods to deal with what’s bothering you. Educate yourself about your situation and learn what can and cannot work for you. Knowledge is power, indeed.

7. Don’t Obsess About What Happened

One of the proven ways to help sports teams stay on track is not overthinking the future and not getting stuck in the past. It’s useless to obsess about what already happened, and at worst, it can only harm your mental and emotional well-being.

One psychological way to think about that is the radical acceptance approach, which is pretty self-explanatory. It means that you should accept what happened and instead, think about what you should do moving forward.

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According to the NYU School of Medicine, “past experiences shape what we see more than what we are looking at now.”[6] So, it’s not easy to fight that. But it is also possible to change it by radical acceptance and growth mindset methods.

8. Create a Vision for Your Life

Another method for dealing with daily hardships is to think like an organization and create your life vision. When you understand your goals and purpose, it’s easier to not sweat as much as some of the difficulties on the way.

According to “Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice” by Francis J. Greene,

“Effective strategic management begins with the organization clearly articulating its vision for the future. The organization’s vision refers to the broad category of long-term intentions that the organization wishes to pursue. It is broad, all-inclusive, and futuristic (Ireland et al., 2009)”.

It is imperative to understand your vision and implement it in your daily life to keep your balance.

9. Stay Healthy: Exercise and Eat Well

You don’t have to run a marathon. Simply walking or doing any other type of physical activity you enjoy can help pump things up and make you feel better physically and emotionally. Exercise can help you overcome depression and improve your mental health. It also enables you to feel in control in some cases, and that’s a powerful tool for someone who’s feeling defeated.

Healthy eating and keeping yourself hydrated goes a long way. Sleeping more than 7 hours each night is also super helpful for improving your physical and mental well-being.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal to feel defeated in life sometimes. After all, we all have our unique struggles and challenges along our journey in life. The important thing is that you learn how to face these roadblocks in your life. Whenever you’re feeling defeated in life, you can start with these 9 ways to gain back power and control in your life.

More Tips When You’re Feeling Defeated in Life

Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

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