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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

The best part about life is how unpredictable it can be. Unfortunately, that can also be what many consider to be the worst part of life too. The unpredictable roller-coaster of life offers many people the hope for a better tomorrow. It also creates the worry that others have that causes them to wait for “the other shoe to drop”.

This brings the question of how should you handle sad things. If sad things are a part of life, why does it seem some handle life a little better than others?

The key lies within the perspective you give the events in your life.

When sad things happen to you or someone you know, what do you tell yourself? If you speak negatively to yourself and internalize the event, then you are only going to make things worse. When you tell yourself “you always mess up“ or “you deserve this bad thing to happen in your life“, you turn yourself into the victim.

Do not allow sad things in your life become your life. Instead, assign the blame outside of yourself.[1]

Tell yourself things like, “this could have happened to anyone“ or “things could have been much worse.“ This subtle shift in mindset enables you to bounce back much quicker. This is because you are no longer assigning your self-value based on the events in your life.

It is never fun to blame yourself for things you could not control. That is why it is better to focus what you can control; things like your attitude, reaction, and mindset when you are sad.

Instead of focusing on what went wrong, try to focus on what went right. It is rare that everything goes wrong. Even though you may feel that way in the moment, if you take a moment to assess the situation, you will realize there is always something to be grateful about.

Here’s how to give these sad things meaning and learn to be grateful about them:

1. Death of a Parent

The death of a loved one is always difficult, especially your parent. They have mentored, cared and given you the best years of their life. They believed in you when others doubted you and they were always your biggest fan. It feels like there is a void that will never be filled.

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Keep in mind that the beauty of life is the fact that it ends. That is what make how we live each day so important. One of the cool things about a funeral is all the stories you get to hear about the person. It is a reminder that they were human just like you. They had dreams, aspirations, and fears. Funerals should be focused on celebrating the life more than mourning the death.

2. Being Diagnosed with a Disease

You are sitting in the doctor’s office. You have not been feeling well over the past couple weeks and assume it is nothing big. You probably went to the doctor just to be on the safe side. The doctor sends you home and says they will call in the week with the results. A few days later, you get the call from the doctor’s office and find out you have a serious disease.

This can feel like a punch to the gut. You went from feeling invincible to feeling like your life will never be the same. Whenever you have the ability to know what is going on inside of you, think of it as a blessing. Your body is designed to signal to you when things are not working at optimum levels.

Another way of thinking about this is if you could not feel the burning oven, you would not know to move your hand and could end up losing it. The same goes for when you are diagnosed with a disease. You now have the knowledge to make changes in your life.

3. Ending a Marriage

Change is one of the few guarantees you have in life. Overtime, partners can grow closer together or they can grow further apart. While divorce is not something to be taken lightly, neither is staying together. Marriage is where two people with different backgrounds, beliefs and feelings come together to create a new person. This person should be balanced, compassionate, and considerate of their spouse.

It is hard to end a relationship that was supposed to last forever. However, staying in an abusive or toxic relationship is not good for your health. In some situations, it would be better to live alone than it would be to stay with your spouse.

It is never a failure to make the best decision with the best information you have available. If the information that resulted in your marriage were to drastically change over time, then there is nothing wrong with admitting that divorce is a reasonable conclusion.

4. Losing Your Job

Losing your job is a tough one because of the amount of time you spend at work. Outside of sleeping, most people spend the majority of their life at work.

This causes the loss of job to feel like failure and a loss of identify. Not to mention a lack of income to cover your lifestyle.

While this may be the case for many, losing your job may be the opportunity you need to chase your dream life. Each of us have settled at some point in our life and we look for a sign that we should strive for something more.

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If you find yourself performing well at your work and you were fired for a reason you were not aware of, then it might be a sign you were not meant to be there.

5. Children Moving Away

As you age, the sad things in your life will transform as well. You have spent the better part of twenty years raising your kids to be upstanding adults. It never seemed as if they would ever grow up, but somehow they have. They not only want to move out of the house, but they want to move out of the state or country.

In this moment, you realize your relationship with your children is never going to be the same again. Much like losing your job, you have devoted so much time over the last few decades into raising your children. The idea that they “don’t need you” is a sad thing many parents have to endure.

While it may not feel this way all the time, it is actually a time to celebrate. For your children to have the option to move away from home, it means you have set them up for success. You have taught them how to be independent and courageous individuals.

The truth is, you do not really want them to live with you forever. You are nervous about the uncertainty and change in your life, but you are excited to see what your children make of their own.

6. Failed Business Venture

You had a vision and took a leap of faith. You invested half of your retirement into starting a business. You feel the business will work as long as you do not give up. As a result, you continue to pour additional resources into your failing business.

When you are out of money and the bills are mounting, you are left with no other option than to close up the shop. This feeling can be one of the toughest times in your life. Not only do you find yourself with a failed company, but no money for your retirement.

It is unfortunate that so many people look at failure as a bad thing. Failure is actually a very good thing. Failure means you have taken a risk and learned something you can only learn by taking action.

This information could be the missing piece to your next successful business venture. If it is not, you at least get to live with the peace of mind that you went for it. Too often, people find themselves playing it safe and end up with a life filled with regret. By taking risks and allowing yourself to fail, it is less likely you will have a feeling of regret later in life.[2].

7. Not Performing Your Best on the Big Stage

People tend to believe they only have one opportunity on the big stage and when it is gone, it is gone forever. While the circumstances may not be the exact same, you will always have another opportunity. Life provides you with the amazing ability to learn and grow from your experiences.

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If you feel you were not well prepared for the event, this experience will ensure you that there will be the next time. This is often the case when people talk about sporting events. The team that has been the Super Bowl or the World Series before usually is given the edge when the talent of the two teams is similar. By having experienced the big game already, they know what the moment feels like and can prepare accordingly.

8. Investment Didn’t Work

You thought you found the next big thing and poured your entire fortune into this project only to find out the CEO was a crook and ran off with the money. Sounds crazy? Of course it does. However, things like this happen more often than we like to realize.

Whether you are talking about a Ponzi or pyramid scheme, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You need to do your research and make sure you are not looking for a get-rich quick scheme.

The good news is, money is something you can always replenish. Money is not as precious as time. Time is something you cannot get back.

9. Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

It is a sad thing when you love someone and they don’t love you back. The best thing you can do it is to admit your feelings and see how they feel. You may discover they feel the same way, but you may also discover they do not see you that way.

The best thing that can happen is for you to have the chance to know how they feel, so you can determine if you want to continue to pursue them. The worst thing that can happen is you never tell someone how you feel and they never tell you how they feel. Then you are living a life of stagnation. You do not have the closure needed to move on and you may find yourself alone and full of regret.

By telling someone you love them and finding out they are not interested in you, you are free (in-time) to move and find someone who completes you.

10. Ruined a Relationship

Similar to a marriage, if your relationship with a close friend or family member grows apart, you should take a moment to understand the cause. If you were in high school together and one of you moved away to attend college and the other stayed in town, then geography and interest have driven you apart.

If you are married with children and your friend is single and ready to mingle, then it stands to reason that your relationship may strain.

The best thing you can do in any situation is be as authentic and honest as possible. You never want to maintain a relationship by forcing yourself to be something that you are not. By being your authentic self, you will always draw people with similar passions to you and repel those who have a lack of interest.

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11. Abandoned as a Child

The feeling of rejection is one of the most difficult feelings to grapple. It is why people fear public speaking more than they fear death. The fear of rejection is also why people hate cold calling and dislike sales in general.

Everyone likes to feel wanted and accepted for who they are. When your parents abandoned you early in your life, it is something that many people cannot overcome.

While the result may not have been what you would have done, consider the possibility that you were raised in a better environment than your parents would have provided. If that was not the case, your children will benefit by your promise to never abandon them.

Sometimes sad things happened in our life and there is nothing we could have done about it. Yet, the experience enables you to understand the importance of shielding your children from the feeling of abandonment.

12. No Luck Having Kids

You grew up in a big family and your dream is to have a big family of your own. As you have noticed with the sad things we have discussed so far, life does not always go as we plan. Having difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full-term is tough on everyone.

The good news is there are a lot of kids in the world who need your love. Whether you travel down the road of adoption, or you choose to volunteer your time as a mentor. You still have the ability to significantly impact the life of a child and they will love you for it.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing anyone can do to avoid sad things occurring in their life. Sad things are going to happen whether you are chasing your dreams or playing it safe. The best thing you can do is to give yourself the opportunity to live your dream life by taking risks. These risks may not always work out as you intended, but they will always place you exactly where you need to be.

As I always say, be content in results, not complacent in effort. As long as you did your best, you can be grateful for the experiences, no matter where they take you.

More to Be Grateful For

Featured photo credit: Maria Oswalt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Shame and the Pendulum of Blame
[2] Pennsylvania State University: Regret in Decision Making

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Undre Griggs

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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