Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw via Unspalsh
Life is tough. Period.
Even people with vast amounts of privilege still have their battles.
Buddhism has the rule of Dukkha, often translated to suffering.
When you accept that suffering is a part of life, you can move forward. If you think everything is supposed to be “easy” and all forms of pain are “bad” then you’re going to constantly meet mental roadblocks and fall into the “Why me?” pity party.
Struggles and problems force you to grow.
For a lot of us, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
Life has ups and downs and it can be hard to stay hungry for your goals when life is kicking you in the teeth.
However, if you look at almost any successful person throughout history, they all had times that were incredibly hard on their journey.
Even Theodore Roosevelt suffered through his wife and mother dying on the same day.
A great related post: How to Deal With Sorrow Like Theodore Roosevelt.
What matters is the pushing through, but that’s easier said than done.
Not every person is the same in how they deal with struggle.
In past posts, I’ve mentioned coming to a career crossroads recently.
After escaping into the woods for a week to think about my next steps, I came to one conclusion: It was time to put my head down and get to work on all of the ideas I had.
Thinking about my problem wasn’t going to bring me any closer to a solution. Clarity can only be found through action.
Even in tough times, it’s important to not dwell. The dwelling on issues is what makes mental holes hard to climb out of.
What I learned on my vacation is that sometimes rest isn’t the answer. Sometimes you already know what you need to do, if you’ll just actually put some trust in yourself to make it happen.
It’s hard to listen to your own inner voice when the whole world is telling you how you “should” feel all the time.
When life is kicking you around and beating you up, listen to your own gut for once, because it knows more than you think.
The Wrong Path
Sometimes, your gut is screaming at you that you’re on the wrong path.
You’re in the wrong relationship/job/city/career/etc. and you’re just too stubborn to acknowledge it.
The Wrong Work
Sometimes, you’re doing the wrong work.
I don’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong career, but you’re like a hamster running in a wheel: You’re not making the moves that matter.
For example, when I first started out in the writing field, I thought I wanted to be a journalist, then a copywriter, and now I’ve realized that all I truly wanted to do was write blogs like this that help other people.
Of course, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not just about writing well, it’s about marketing, too. I could spend all day writing, but if no one finds it, it doesn’t matter.
Make bigger moves in life.
Take Bigger Risks
Sometimes when life is kicking us around, the struggle comes from soaking in mediocrity.
My life is always shit when I’m not pushing hard enough.
I feel like everyone else around me is succeeding and I’m rolling around in an endless merry-go-round.
When I stop whining, I realize it’s because I’m not putting more on the line.
Taking risks is the only thing that truly pays off.
Some people think they’re a little “woo woo”, but a vision board can help a lot.
It’s important to soak into your subconscious your new vision for your life as often as possible.
If vision boards aren’t your thing, write out your goals every single morning.
Never, ever forget what is important to you.
A Deeper “Why”
Sometimes what you think you want, isn’t what you really want.
Maybe you think you want a mansion, but upon further thought, you realize you just want to be able to provide for your family and never worry about money again.
One great exercise for this is to ask yourself what you want and follow the answer up with “Why?”
“I want a mansion.”
“So I have enough room for my friends and family.”
“Because I want to be able to provide for them.”
You get the point.
Get with a friend and challenge each other to go deeper.
You’ll know you found your true purpose and motivation when it chokes you up a little bit.
Maybe your struggles come from stopping and starting on the goals you want.
Get accountable. Find someone who will hold you to what you promise, even if you’re only friends online.
There are few things more motivating than having to report to another person your progress for the week/day/month.
If you really feel down in the dumps, remember that there is someone out there who would kill for the life you have.
Go help someone.
Spend time with someone who isn’t as lucky as you are.
Get out of your own head and into the world around you.
There were too many times when life was kicking me around and I backed down instead of just putting my head down and staying focused on what mattered.
It’s cheesy, but it’s absolutely true: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.