I was clueless on what to do with my fucking life.
I was lying there in self-pity and agony and hated my life. Once more. So I did the only right thing… and distracted myself with endless hours of video games.
I tried to escape the toxic thoughts I had about my life situation. I tried to delude myself and hide the fact that I had no idea what to do next. How to get myself out of this toxic pit of uncertainty.
“Ah fuck this.”
And then – as a last resort – I come up with stupid plans.
Because I love plans. They seem to give me structure to the things that cannot be structured. I write down some things to do. And then I just blindly execute them.
It’s totally fucked up. But somehow it works…
- I wrote what to do when everything is a mess.
- When the easiest tasks suddenly become hard.
- When your momentum is working against you instead of for you.
- When life beats you down to the floor and you have no idea how to get yourself up again.
I wrote down a list of things I can do to get myself going again.
1) EXPRESS GRATITUDE
When my next depression hits me and I hate myself more than anything else in my life, gratitude is what helps me to get out of that toxic attitude once more.
- Yes, your life situation is super challenging right now.
- Yes, you might run out of money and have no idea how to put food on the table in the next month.
- Yes, your girlfriend might dump you for being a complete loser.
- Yes, you might feel like an utter failure and hate yourself for the same reason.
You have to remember that your life situation is not your life. Wherever you are right now is not where you are going to be for the rest of your life.
We just love to make it harder for ourselves than it has to be.
Gratitude is what gets you out of these toxic thought loops.
Gratitude is what helps you to resolve it.
Being grateful for what you DO have going on in your life is the first step in resolving any unwanted life situation.
But making the active decision to focus your thoughts on these things instead of the other ones is hard.
Still we have to do it at some point…
What’s your alternative?
2) MOVE YOUR BODY
It usually starts with me being in great shape.
Then taking on the idea that I am the “in shape” guy now. My ego kicks in.
“LOOK AT ME AND MY FUCKING ABS!”
And then I eat bullshit junk food once more. Because I am fit now right? What can I do wrong? I KNOW what I am doing… and I DESERVE to take it easy for a while…
And suddenly you slip and slide. Slowly. But surely. Until you are no longer the “in shape” guy. But more like the “sad and confused about what happened” guy.
And with your health dwindling, your mental health also goes down the sink. And you invite toxic thoughts into your mind once more.
It always repeats itself. I am stupid and I never seem to learn…
Because your mind and your body are interconnected. One can’t be healthy and fit without the other.
But then I go back to working out again. I go back to the gym and feel terrified at first. I am weak and can’t even lift half of my body weight. I feel dissatisfied about my progress and want to give up right now and there.
Why even keep going?
The only thing that eventually makes you keep going is your internal fear of staying stuck at this place you find yourself right now in your life… for just one more day.
You’ve hit rock bottom. And now you are sick and tired of yourself.
So now you go a different route…
And you do your god damn workout.
You keep going. And you realize that it takes some time.
But still, time is all it takes.
You see improvements in your appearance. Your body goes back into good shape. You feel healthier and stronger than ever before. Your face looks more relaxed. You look at yourself in the mirror more often. You love what you see.
Good thoughts are back again…
3) READ GOOD BOOKS
I don’t know what it is, but there is a strong correlation between how many books I read and how fucked up my life is.
- It might be because reading inspiring stories of people overcoming great obstacles might lift you up to do the same.
- It might be because you are focusing your thoughts on only ONE thing (reading) for a while that gives you the mental strength and focus to tackle your life the same way. “One step at a time…”
- It might also just be because of some other scientific shit I don’t understand. Who knows. I do know though that reading more books helps me to make great shifts in my own life as well.
You can’t put your hand in the honey pot everyday and not get your hands dirty. Something will stick.
Some good thoughts and ideas maybe…?
4) MEET FRIENDS
Don’t stay stuck.
You can’t solve your problems by doing the same things over and over again. You can’t just blindly keep going until your head hurts. Or your heart.
Get a new perspective on your problems.
Let your friends help you and listen to their advice. A good friend who is trying to make you suffer LESS will do anything to make life a tiny bit better for you. All his advice is coming from a place of good intentions.
Some people cannot give good advice because their life is messed up as well. Others can’t give good advice because they suck at NOT projecting their own issues onto your life situations.
But that’s OK either way.
When you seek advice and meet other people, you see your issues in a different light. Even if it is only for a short period of time.
And this might help you to overcome it later on.
In your own unique way.
All by yourself.
5) WRITE DOWN IDEAS
Ideas are worthless.
At least when they are not applied to practical problems. And because not every idea can be applied to your current life situation you need quite a variety of them.
Writing down 10 ideas a day helps. Most of them will suck. Some of them are delusional. Others are just plain stupid.
But eventually you’ll come up with some little gems. And they will turn your life around. Because suddenly something clicks. And you’ll automatically turn them into action. No motivation required. It’s just the RIGHT thing to do.
And along with these new quality actions, new quality events will also enter your life.
6) WRITE DOWN YOUR THOUGHTS
I forget everything. I forgot so many good moments in my life, that I am not even sure they happened.
That’s why I write down everything I do. Like in a little log.
And whenever I am down and sad or depressed, I read about little past me. The stupid idiot boy from yesterday who doesn’t know how to handle his life. It’s like a fairy tale. At least it reads like one.
And that again gives some distance to “your story”.
Because you need to get rid of your old story to write a new one. And by writing down (and letting go of) your “current story”, you eventually move on to the next one.
A better one.
7) PICTURE YOUR FUTURE
A couple of years ago I started sending emails to the future.
I said “Hi!” to my future self.
Some of these emails brightened up my day once I received them.
(Because I completely forgot about them.)
But not only that: Everything I wrote down actually happened.
I don’t know if I somehow guided my way there. Or they just eventually turned out that way and I got “lucky”.
Either way, by picturing your future – how YOU want it to be – you somehow create it too.
Because all your actions are now aligned with this “compass”. The direction you are heading. And when you align them and you have a clear vision of where you are aiming, there is LESS chance of missing it.
That’s a start at least.
You can still fuck things up – because that’s life. But aiming for East and going West is WAY MORE fucked up than “taking steps towards the one direction you are actually aiming for”.
About some dumb shit. It could be anything. Shit you did in your past. Stupid embarrassing things you said to a girl you tried to impress.
Just don’t take it too seriously. By laughing it off.
It releases some pressure. And takes some weight off your chest. Weight we have put there all by ourselves in the first place.
We tend to be so harsh on ourselves.
- To always be right.
- To always please the idea of what others think of us.
- To not fuck things up.
- To look cool.
So many “ideas” of what we’re supposed to be like / do / think.
That’s all a big mess.
Let go of all that bullshit.
And laugh it off.
9) DO DUMB SHIT
People hate it when others are “stepping up”.
Because it tells them that they could do it as well. And that won’t feel very good to them. Because why don’t they do it then?
Doing dumb shit helps you to step up. It’s more like we judge actions we are not used to as “dumb” because of whatever reason. We might be afraid of the consequences or what others think of us when we do it.
“Why is that loser talking to that girl?! She’s way out of his league…”
So it’s not like these new actions are bad or dumb. They are just “unusual” because you haven’t done them. You lack experience in executing these new type of actions.
Self-doubt might be holding you back.
Or fear of embarrassment. Or failure.
But eventually doing these “brave and dumb” things are, in the end, the ones you will remember the most. The ones that changed your life and turned it into a whole new direction.
You can either make fear decisions or growth decisions.
10) YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Your problems are not unique. Sorry sweetheart!
In general – there have been millions of people going through the same stuff that you are going through in your life at this moment. And even if it is not EXACTLY the same, the underlying principles are always the same.
- You are challenged because of limited resources. Now you have to become resourceful and create new more efficient ways of doing stuff.
- You are handicapped because of physical conditions. Now you find new alternative ways to follow your passion. Or even find a new one.
- You are haunted by the idea of “why me?”. You question why whatever happened to you had to have happened to you and resist your life. Now you are challenged to find acceptance and bliss in your new life situations.
It goes on.
Different manifestations of the same underlying problems and challenges.
I am just trying to tell you that there are people out there who have gone through similar (or even the same) challenges. And they are ready to help you out. To make YOUR life a little less stressful. By sharing their knowledge and wisdom.
You still have to reach out to them though…
That’s on you.
11) JUST ONE THING
Fix only one thing.
Don’t try to fix your whole life in just one afternoon. You will be overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck at the same place the very next day.
Realize that wherever you are right now is the consequence of the sum of your past actions. And then be OK with it.
Every little decision you took in the past led you to be right here at this stage of your life.
If you are unhappy where these actions led you, it might be a good idea to start taking different choices and see where they might lead you.
Then tweak your way all the way to your “dream life”.
One step at a time…
The problem today is that everyone is in a hurry. Everyone wants everything right NOW. Instant gratification is the new drug. And all of us are addicted to it.
Instead of taking care of your body EVERY DAY. Why not just do whatever the fuck you want NOW and then take a pill later when your head is killing you?
It’s a fucked up mentality I love to fall into myself.
Why would you prefer to work out every day when you can also NOT and still be “semi-OK”?
Instant gratification is the devil. And we don’t see it coming until it is too late. Instead, we try to delude ourselves in the now. Although we also could just steadily work towards what we truly want out of life.
(Our dreams of the life we really want to live…?)
With tiny and manageable steps. But this is more challenging. And that’s why so little people do it.
Because real process takes time.
But time is all that it takes.
(Previously appeared at Thomas Mondel)