I have decided to continue to post on my birthday, after starting last year. Birthdays are an interesting time for me. They are a time for celebration, but also a time for introspection. Where was I? Where have I come? What have I achieved?
I think my biggest issue is that I constantly want to be achieving more. There are always new challenges to take on and new ways to push myself. The hard part is continuing to strive and grow, while not burning out.
I think a lot of people that know me think of me as a laid-back guy who doesn’t worry or have issues. That’s pretty inaccurate, though. Like anyone, I am constantly afraid of failing, doing the wrong thing, messing up, saying the wrong thing, or figuring my life out. I thought this year would be a good time to talk, not about the daily stresses we all have, but certain ways I deal with them. In no way am I suggesting I know everything or that I always put these into practice as well as I’d like. They are just simple ideas and concepts I have adopted into my own mindset. I thought if they work for me, they might help someone else too.
1. You are not the only one dealing with your problem
It’s very easy to think you are on an island. That no one could possible understand what you are going through. With 7 Billion people on this planet it is pretty unrealistic to think you are alone. If you need help, seek it. For me, the simple fact that I am not alone is enough.
2. – Ask yourself: “What is the worst case scenario?”
Seneca developed the art of premeditations of evil almost 2000 years ago. The concept is about negative visualization. Many people get turned off by this term and often don’t give it a chance. Although it is a very useful practice that even astronaut Chris Hadfield describes using in his book. The concept is about thinking about all of the outcomes that could happen. This can often save you time, money, and embarrassment by simply thinking through the problem.
Another good term I’ve heard used was when Jamie Foxx, in the Tim Ferriss interview, explains that he asks his kids, “What is on the other side of fear?”
Try to think through the problem, good and bad, to take away the fear and mystery of choices.
3. – Get a morning ritual
Morning Routines, for good reason, are super popular right now. Morning routines have the ability to get yourself in the right mindset to tackle the day. It can be anything from writing in your journal, meditating, exercising, or even just sitting with a coffee and reflecting. Whatever it is, make sure to tackle it every morning and I promise you that after a week you will feel more in control of your life and ready to take on the day.
4. – Seek out Happiness
Happiness is out there everywhere. There are small moments throughout a day that can bring a smile to your face. It is up to you to make a mental decision to look for happiness. This means look up from your cell phone and engage in your day. Don’t let the world pass you by. Actively engage and put happiness into the world and you will get it back tenfold.
5. – No one is out to get you.
I think it is an old primal instinct for people to think that the world is against them. It is true that no one is going to just give you anything without you doing the work, but no one is actively trying to take you down unless you are a drug cartel. If so, you have bigger issues.
Realize that people are generally good. If you receive an email, don’t automatically switch the tone of it in your head to negative. If someone gives you a hard time, don’t take it personally. Remember that people are generally good. This goes back to just trying to be nice to everyone. You don’t know if that angry barista’s dog just died. Be nice.
This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes.
“If one person you meet is an asshole, they are probably an asshole. If everyone you meet is an asshole, you are probably the asshole.”
As I said early, in no way do I feel like I have anything figured out. These are things that have helped me take control of my life and emotions and focus them on positive outcomes. What works for me may not be the answer for other people, but I think if you don’t at least try you are letting fear beat you in just one other area of your life.
When I was 18 years old I went hiking in Nepal, during the rainy season. This was one of the hardest experiences of my life as I had to deal with the physical aspects of steepness, altitude, and leeches. It was also the mental side of having to deal with the constant idea of hiking for hours everyday. The amount that this trip shaped who I am as a person is immeasurable. The biggest thing I always think about though is arriving at a man’s house in the middle of nowhere as floods ripped his gardens and livelihood apart. There was nothing he could do as his land was being washed away from him. He invited us in for tea and instead of complaining he said he was okay and that there was nothing to be but happy as he was alive and in good health. “Everyday is a good day,” he told us.
From that point on I knew that if this guy could have a positive outlook as he watched his whole world being washed away, that I never had a reason to complain about circumstance.
So as I turn 24, I can look back, and honestly say. “Everyday is a good day.”