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Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

Warning: Believing These 10 Famous Myths Might Be Making You Dumb

You want to improve your life.

You wouldn’t be reading Lifehack if you didn’t.

But you might be shooting yourself in the foot if you believe any of these growth-stunting famous myths.

1. Life should be how you want it to be.

You have this idea in your head, a script, of how your life is supposed to be. But it’s not happening that way.

And you hate that.

That’s because you’ve bought into the myth that life should be how you want it to be rather than accepting life as it is.

There’s nothing wrong with goals and forward motion in your life.

But your life is happening now. Engage it, learn from it, experience it.

Not experiencing your life because it’s not how you want it is making you dumb.

2. Life is linear rather than a spiral.

This myth, which is rampant in our American society, says that we should always be progressing forward in an upward, straight line.

However, this doesn’t leave much room for the normal bad habits and problems that we struggle with from time to time.

You see, life is much more like a spiral than a straight line. We move forward but eventually return to the same spot where those struggles keep popping up.

Instead of getting down on yourself about them, remember that you have been moving forward, it’s just that it’s the time on your path when you need to work on those issues again.

You’re moving up and around at the same time.

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3. We should be happy all the time.

At least, that’s what the Self-Improvement sections of bookstores would have you believe.

The reality is that happiness is a fleeting emotion just as all emotions are. The emotions that tend to be more constant are feelings of contentment and ease.

Happiness is great, but it’s not something we are going to experience all the time.

I wish you much happiness, but I also wish you wouldn’t put yourself under the pressure of thinking that something is wrong with you if you’re not happy. You’re just human.

4. Resisting something is the best way to overcome a crisis.

Not so much.

Although the natural response to a crisis or even a fairly routine problem is to resist it, that behavior only drains your energy and reduces your ability to problem-solve effectively.

The best approach is to accept, rather than resist, what is happening.

This doesn’t mean that you are giving up. It just means that you are being realistic about what is in front of you.

It means that you are working within the crisis rather than against it. This is like walking downstream to cross a river rather than walking upstream against the current.

Resisting is a very natural, human response, but it’s dumb.

Learning to accept the bad with the good in our lives is smart.

5. Being hard on yourself is the only way to get motivated.

For some reason, many of us will listen to that Inner Critic, that nasty voice in our heads, because we think it’s the only way that we’re going to get anything accomplished.

After all, if we weren’t hard on ourselves, how would we get anything done?

Perhaps we could try being nice. Not just to others, but to ourselves as well.

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There are tons of motivational tips out there that focus on rewarding yourself rather than whipping yourself to accomplish goals.

Challenge the myth that your Inner Critic is right and try something new. And kinder.

You’ll be surprised at what a little kindness can do for you.

6. Self-compassion is for wimps.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

Man up!

None of this namby-pamby self-compassion stuff! Don’t be a wimp!

Actually, research has shown that self-compassion isn’t wimpy.

Being kind and empathic to yourself results in a healthier, more productive life than being self-critical. And research also shows that self-compassion increases a stable sense of security and self-worth.

So next time you are being harsh with yourself, ask yourself if you would treat a friend that way.

It’s okay to treat yourself as you would your best friend.

7. You can get back to your old self after a crisis happens.

“I just want life to get back to the way it was.”

I hear this a lot when people are in the middle of grief or another kind of crisis.

But the truth is, you won’t be the same person you were before the crisis happened.

And that’s okay.

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You may find that you are more sensitive to others who are in crisis and more thoughtful about your own habits and behaviors.

While you won’t be exactly the same as you were before life’s storm blew your way, you might actually find that you’re a little better.

8. Your thoughts are always true.

Our minds are constantly going.

Constantly.

It’s easy to listen to all of that chatter and, because it emanates from you and your mind, believe it.

However, your thoughts aren’t always true.

Your inner chatterbox may tell you that you’re a worthless piece of crap.

Just because you thought it doesn’t make it true. You’re not a worthless piece of crap.

Maybe you’re struggling right now, but we all struggle at times. It’s part of the human condition.

Don’t let your own irrational and unrealistic thoughts make you dumb. Cull out the productive, kind thoughts from those that are destructive and cruel.

You don’t have to believe everything you think.

9. My life will be better when ______ happens.

What are you waiting for?

What happens if fill-in-the-blank never happens?

“When I retire my life would be better.”

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Okay. Well, my friend Cathy retired and then she died several months later.

“My life would be better if I had more money.”

Maybe. But how much is enough? Will you let your life go by while you are vainly struggling and waiting for the mystical “more” to happen?

You get the idea.

Life is in front of you right now.

Don’t wait to live it.

10. If I work hard enough, things won’t change in my life.

Change is inevitable.

You know this but do you know it?

Have you taken it into your core and made change a regular part of your life, a routine?

You don’t have to like change, but you need to not resist it.

The myth that you can outrun change is making you dumb. Be smart and allow change to work its magic where it can.

 

Need to bounce back in life? Download my FREE ebookBounce Back! 5 keys to survive and thrive through life’s ups and downs.

Featured photo credit: the girl in the wood looks up via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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