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Last Updated on March 17, 2020

20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

Sometimes my life feels like it’s stuck in neutral – like I’m stuck in an endless loop of introduction with no progress. It’s during these times in my life that I stop, sit down, close my eyes, and reset my brain for 10 to 15 minutes. In doing this, I drop my so-called “problems” from my mind and awaken feeling fresh and energized.

I am a nerd with a penchant for numbers and tech, so I tracked my worries as I released their grip on me.

Here are some problems I found myself worrying about far too often before I discovered how to meditate and refocus. Life is too short to worry about any of these 20 things:

1. Bills

Death and taxes are far from the only guarantees in life. You’ll repeatedly have your heart broken; enjoy the sun, the moon, eat drink, and be merry – and you’ll have a hard time in life without paying bills.

Whether monthly, quarterly, or annually, bills are relentless. If you ignore them, they only get bigger, louder, and more destructive. The thing is: we all have bills…and letting them run your life isn’t going to improve its quality any time soon.

It’s easy to say not to worry about bills. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to worry about them, but when you’re drowning in debt and have minimal to no income, it’s a little harder to keep wipe those pesky bills off your mind. Being told life is too short to worry about bills is one thing; having the confidence to stand tall despite insurmountable debt is an entirely different beast. I can assure you that losing your house, car, cable, gas, etc. won’t kill you.

Stop fearing your bills – you’re letting them control your life.

Here’re some tips:

  • Create a budget for yourself and stick to it. Put your budget over anything else. This will help you get a better view of your bills and how they affect you.
  • Cut unimportant bills. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, cut some of your nonessential bills. Cable TV is one of the easiest bills to cut. There’s a plethora of entertainment options out there, and even if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’ll be spending less annually than a cable bill.
  • Pay back any debts to family and friends first. They’re the people who will be there for you at the bottom, not your bank and utility companies.
  • Keep your collateral loans (i.e auto loan and mortgage) current. The last thing you want to lose is your home and car. If you have to choose between the two, sacrifice your home over your car. In a worst case scenario, it’s better to be mobile.

2. Money

Money is the cause of and solution to life’s most unnecessary problems. We need bread – there’s no denying that – we just don’t need to allow cheddar to be the source of undue stress.

Always remember that currency is imaginary, and economies don’t exist in nature. Since moolah is imaginary, all of your worries about said funds are in your head. People do some strange things for paper, and I’ll never understand why. Material wealth doesn’t equate to happiness.

Instead of stressing about your supply of coinage, try focusing on the things that make you happy. If you pursue a job that satisfies your desire for greenbacks, you risk ending up in a career you hate. Dinero won’t solve that problem, nor will it help you find like-minded friends.

People who pursue their dreams and passions always have more fulfilling stages than those motivated by loot.

3. The Past

The beef-witted among us who don’t learn history are doomed to hear it repeated over and over by those who do. Most of humanity’s violent wars were waged because of conflicting beliefs over what happened in the past.

The past is important to learn from, but you shouldn’t let it get in your way and become a burden. Instead, face forward, and brush that dirt off your shoulders.

We all faced obstacles in our past. There’s no need to run from or be ashamed of who you are or where you came from, but don’t let what happened to you distract you from your personal goals.

Learn from your hardships, and fight harder next time. The only way you can continue being harmed by something that already happened is if you let it.

4. Gossips

Gossip is the worst. I don’t mind talking to my friends or partner about what’s going on in their lives, but I’m entirely uninterested in hearing about everyone’s personal lives.

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What are you gaining – a conversation starter? You’ll end up looking like the work gossip, who nobody likes nor trusts.

Instead of joining the grapes on the vine, worry about you.

While we’re on the subject, there’s really no need for everyone to know about your personal life either. It doesn’t need to be in your repertoire of icebreaking conversation fodder.

Life’s just too short to worry about what others are doing.

5. Haters

Think about all the celebrities you don’t like or don’t care about: Kim Kardashian has no business being famous, Justin Bieber is overrated, LeBron James is no Michael Jordan… Regardless of how you feel about any of these people, they have successful careers.

Although they get their share of hate mail, successful people continue doing what they’re doing. Now apply this concept to your own life.

People aren’t always going to like what you do; there’s Haterade in the water everywhere. Whether you’re a local celebrity or a virtual unknown, you’re going to step on some toes.

I’ve met people who are the absolute kindest, compassionate, most thoughtful, and likable human beings, and they STILL have had haters say and do some of the most despicable things to them. If I stopped and stressed out every time someone didn’t like my decisions, I’d never have accomplished anything in life.

Don’t stress the haters.

6. Work

There will always be projects, chores, errands, and emergencies at work. Nobody has a career that’s without stressful situations. It helps to love what you do, but even if you don’t, work is a silly thing to get uptight about.

If you’re not at work, there’s nothing to worry about. If you are at work, then stop crying over spilt milk, roll up your sleeves, and be productive. The less you worry about work, the quicker it goes by.

Never be ashamed of who you are or what you do to earn a living. You’re not defined by your career; you define it.

7. Aging

Getting old is a difficult and scary task – there’s no denying that. We all go through the same stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt. It’s understandable to feel a little bit stressed about aging, but you have to keep in mind there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to age whether you like it or not.

There’s nothing you can do to stop the process, but you can embrace it and make the most of your time.

Aging is a part of life. Instead of worrying about your impending geriatric state, enjoy the present you exist in right now. You’ll only be this old once, so do all the fun things you always wanted to do at that age. Stop wishing you were younger.

Don’t waste your time worrying about not being old enough yet either. Being young has its advantages. You get small punishments for making mistakes at school or at home, admission prices are cheaper, and bills are usually free. You can’t speed or slow time. Enjoy your life the way it is right now.

8. Death

Sooner or later in your life, you’re going to have to face the inevitability of your own death. You can’t dodge the grim reaper, and hiding is only going to hinder you from living your life to the fullest. You won’t give your all when you’re holding back.

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After you face death, you’ll find it easier to face over and over throughout life. You’ll have more courage and tenacity.

Death isn’t easy to face; religions have spawned throughout the human history in an attempt to soothe people’s fears of oblivion. If you go to sleep, you may not wake up, and even if you do wake up, no matter how safe you are, we could be nuked by another country or a meteor could fall out the sky and kill us all.

Unless you’re reading this from a professional shelter, you have no chance of surviving an extinction-level event. Now face mortality, and go live your life.

9. What People Think

When I was younger, I always said I didn’t care what people thought of me, but the reality is very different. In my late 20s, I started to find my passion and what I’d love to do for my life. So I started being me, regardless of what my friends or family thought about it.

Fitting in is an advantage in certain situations, but it’s certainly not the end-all, be-all for every situation in life. There are times when you need to keep a low profile, but for the most part, unless you’re a secret agent or political leader, feel free to do what makes you happy, regardless of what people think of you.

10. Celebrities

Paparazzi follow celebrities everywhere they go, snapping pictures, videos, and sound bites to feed to the convoluted masses. They’d have no reason to take pictures if there weren’t hordes of people hungering to learn the latest celebrity gossip. Why does it matter, though?

There’s plenty more going on in the world outside the lives of celebrities. Stop worrying about their drama.

11. What Other People Are Doing

It’s not just celebrities – some people get into everyone’s business. What can you learn about life from other people’s business?

I’m reminded of times as a kid where I would say “but ___ is going to the movies” as a way of convincing my parents to grant me permission to go. Their answer was a useful lesson: don’t worry about what other people are doing. They’re not paying your bills or putting food on your table. Their problems aren’t yours, and there’s no reason to take them on.

If you’re constantly following the example of others, you will never get ahead in life. People who get ahead don’t emulate their peers. They walk their own path and inspire others to follow suit.

Don’t worry about where everyone else is going or what they’re doing – focus on you.

12. Safety and Comfort

It’s nice to have somewhere safe and comfortable to lay your head at night. Comfort foods and our comfort zone are important aspects of our life, and it’s difficult to feel comfortable if you’re not safe. This is why some aspect of safety and comfort is necessary.

You can’t get too comfortable in that shell though. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone and experience life.

Taking chances is important in life. If you never take chances, you’ll never stand up for yourself, and you’ll likely not have very much fun.

Instead of being meek and introverted, stop worrying about living to be 100, and start worrying about having a little bit of fun. After all, you only live once.

13. Mistakes

Don’t worry too much when you make a mistake – nobody’s perfect.

When you make a mistake (especially a string of them), it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like everything is falling apart. Stress can compound as you race toward deadlines, and the inkling to throw in the towel starts to build up inside.

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It’s okay. You may need to pay some sort of retribution for your mistake, but that which doesn’t kill you only gives you an opportunity to prove who you really are.

Figure out what caused the mistake and what you can do next time to avoid it or improve the outcome in at least some minor way. Remember what Thomas Edison said about mistakes being the key to innovation; we stumbled upon some of our greatest inventions by mistake. It’s not the end of the world.

Learn more about the 40 Things You Learn From Making Mistakes

14. Your Luck

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally throwing a couple dollars down on the lottery wanting to win one. Someone has to win, and it very well may be you. But you’re not waiting for this pivotal moment to occur in your life before finally taking action. Why would you wait for some imaginary (and highly unlikely) windfall before giving life your all?

While it’s okay to play the lottery, don’t put all your chips into that. Don’t depend on the lottery, or some other unlikely external factor to come swoop you away from your life – work with what you have.

By pursuing your dreams and goals, you won’t have to worry about the lottery; you’ll feel like you already won.

This article may help you understand more about this: Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

15. What Can Go Wrong

I’m not going to drive to the store today. I may run out of gas, traffic will be busy, the store’s probably closed or crowded, they won’t have the item I’m looking for or it’ll be too expensive, I’ll forget my wallet, my car will get hit in the parking lot, someone may shoot up the store while I’m there, my car will break down, I’ll lose my key, and my house will get robbed while I’m gone…

Because of these possibilities, I’m going to sit home all day and do nothing instead.

If you don’t start something because you’re scared of all the things that may go wrong, you’re probably better off; because you can’t be successful if you don’t know how to react when faced with adversity.

No matter how well you make your plans, something is going to go wrong.

Stop letting what might go wrong stop you from doing what might go right. Start taking actions and stop procrastinating.

I know that fear is hard to conquer, so you must face it, and this guide can help you: 7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life

16. Worrying

After a while, your worries start to pile up to the point that you begin to even worry about worrying. Once you’re stuck in this cycle, it’s very difficult to get out.

Although you’re better off not doing it, there’s nothing wrong with worrying – worrying about worrying is a good sign you need to stop and take a minute.

If you ever find yourself in this position, the first thing you need to remember is to breathe.

Now stop getting frustrated with yourself.

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If life is too short to worry about death, it’s certainly too short to beat yourself up over being human and having a natural reaction.

17. The Price Tag

Price isn’t everything. Worry about the quality and value of the product you’re getting. McDonald’s dollar menu won’t cut it when you’re in the mood for a good steak.

I hate to sound bourgeois, but quality is an important aspect in life.

If you want a really nice jacket, work hard, sell a few things, and save up the money to buy the one you really want instead of settling for a product you’re not happy with simply because it’s cheaper.

18. The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Little things go wrong every day in our lives.

You woke up late, a dollar short for your lunch, got splashed by a car walking through the parking lot, tripped going up the stairs, and your zipper was down for a really important meeting…

If you consider that a bad day, you’re archiving your life the wrong way.

Instead of getting frustrated by the little things, focus on all the positives. The sunset, cloud formations, the smell of the trees and flowers around you, food, drinks, love, passion – there are entirely too many great things happening on a day to day basis to worry about the little annoyances in life.

19. Anything Else Outside Your Control

A friend of mine’s mantra when life gets too stressful is, “this too shall pass.” I mix it up between “this is only temporary.” The general idea is to stop yourself from getting annoyed about that which is outside your control.

I can’t control the weather, the gas prices, the traffic or natural disasters. But I can control my own attitude and perception on these things.

The easiest way to reduce stress is to stop thinking about all the stuff you can’t control so you can focus on whatever task is at hand – whether it’s good or bad, focusing on your present is the easiest way to either resolve or enjoy what’s happening to you.

20. Being Perfect

At the end of the day, you need to accept yourself for your own faults. Life’s too short to dwell on anything for too long unless it makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s part of the fun.

Stop wasting your time trying to be faultless. Test your own boundaries, and you’ll begin to enjoy life so much more.

If you think you’re prone to having a perfectionist mindset, this article may help you: How Perfectionism Secretly Screws You Up (And How to Change Your Perfectionist Mindset)

Featured photo credit: Jake Thacker via unsplash.com

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Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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