It’s inevitable, you know.
One day you realize that everything you’ve been trying hasn’t worked. You’ve read the books, gone to the seminars and retreats. Maybe you’ve tried to work through your issues with friends and family members. You’ve journaled and even done all the exercises in all the programs you’ve bought (which only about 2% of people who buy programs actually do).
Maybe things have changed a little (or maybe not). But you still feel stuck in the same issue, swimming in circles and getting very tired.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?
You might be tempted to keep doing more of what you’ve been doing, hoping that this time it will be different. But don’t. That’s what I used to do, and I created more problems than I got rid of. Several times, my “improvements” produced even worse results than I was getting before.
It took a while, but eventually I learned that just because you’re doing something different doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. If you want to turn your life around, you can’t just change what you think is wrong. You have to base your improvements on objective evidence, timeless wisdom, and advice from experts.
Study What’s Working (and What’s Not)
All too often, we decide our approach is wrong because of how our life looks to us. We don’t feel as happy as we think other people are. We’re not as successful financially, emotionally and in relationships as others. We feel that our lives are lacking because of what we think our lives should look like.
Because it looks that way to us, we believe that it must be that way, and therefore, we have to change it.
The truth: no matter how successful you are, something in your life will always look wrong to you. If you allow it to distract you, you can spend your entire life chasing little, nit picky problems, and you’ll never get to the big, hairy monstrosities that really deserve your attention.
How do you know what those monstrosities are? Easy: you look at the results in your life. Before making any changes, you should consider:
■ Past results – What have you done in the past that worked? Why? What hasn’t worked? Why?
■ Reactions – What have you done that others notice?
■ Relationships – How has what you’ve done affected your relationships? How do others describe you?
■ Feelings – Where do you feel the most stress and resistance in your body and in your life?
Study these long enough, and you’ll probably begin to see patterns of what works and what doesn’t. If you’re like me, you’ll also be surprised by how much time you’re wasting on stuff that doesn’t work and how precious little time you’re spending on stuff that does.
Easy fix though, right? Start doing what works, and stop doing what doesn’t work. It’ll turn your life around faster than anything else.
Base Your Changes on Timeless Wisdom
Of course, you can’t learn everything you need to know from looking at these results. That’s merely the low hanging fruit. At some point, you’ll want to find out what has worked for others and then try a similar approach for yourself.
Reading all the personal development advice is a good start, but you should also look outside that arena. Some of the most useful insights you’ll discover will come from books and articles that have absolutely nothing to do with personal development.
Sometimes reading fiction, fables and poetry can open your mind to new ways of seeing things. Many fiction writers are geniuses at assessing the human condition and creating ways to transform lives. You’re not the only one in your situation. Over the millennia, humans have repeated the same life issues and authors have written about them and how to overcome those issues.
Do yourself a favor and learn from them.
Stop Trying to Figure It Out On Your Own
It has taken me most of my life to figure out how to be happy. I tried and failed, tried again and failed again, looking for so many people, things and experiences to make me happy. My relationships never lasted. Everything in my life seemed temporary.
And then, finally, I got it. I felt like someone handed me the key to the magic door. Funny thing was, the key was sitting right in front of me all the time. It was like I didn’t want to see it until someone pointed it out to me.
What happened this time around?
I stopped trying to figure it out on my own. I worked with someone who had achieved much of what I wanted in life. Most importantly, I was open to their advice and mentoring.
He looked at my past, pointed out some of my mistakes, and helped me refine my ideas for a new life. It totally changed the way I thought about my life and happiness. Without my mentor’s help, I don’t think I’d be the Shiny, Happy Puppy I am now, or happy at all for that matter.
The truth is that sometimes we don’t see what we’re doing wrong, and we need someone else to point it out to us. It’s usually embarrassingly obvious when we see it, but we never would have noticed, if not for an expert offering us another perspective.
Of course, not everyone can afford to hire a mentor for long periods of time. So what should you do then?
Read many of the comments below. See that you’re not alone in your struggles. The same handful of issues repeat themselves in so many lives. While the specifics may vary, the answers are often very similar.
If you feel yourself struggling with the same issues as other readers, see if you can think of ways to help them. Comment on their comments. Offer your support. Then see how you can implement your advice to them to your own life.
It always amazes me that we hold the answers we seek in our own hearts. In helping others, we help ourselves.
On the 50th anniversary of my time here on earth, I've released my first book: The Joy of Now Journal: Mindfulness In Five Minutes a Day. It's a beautiful, full-color guided journal that you can use to better appreciate the beauty of the present moment and “live in the now.”
With insightful questions, inspiring quotations, and thoughtful meditations, this journal is a guide to mindfulness for anyone who spends too much time thinking about the past and/or worrying about the future.
It's time to put our phones away and reconnect in a more mindful way!
Bagby is a revolutionary idea that solves a technology addiction problem by encouraging a simple behavior change. Less Technology is MORE.
Bagby is a sleeping bag for your phone with a built-in slit so you can charge your phone while it’s tucked away. It includes a removable hook and a classic non-digital alarm clock.
Enter your name and email below to receive your FREE copy of The Mindful Living Guide to learn the simple steps for using mindfulness to add more happiness to your life.