Most of us are born winners, losing is a conditioned choice. As children, teens and then young adults we are bursting with exuberance, uncontrolled energy and an unstoppable zest for life. Just look at our youth’s sporting events or at a night club, you can feel their energy.
When we get to our 30’s, things start to change. The voices around us keep saying, “Life doesn’t work like that” or “Grow Up” or my favorite “Stop dreaming and start living”.
Have you ever taken time to sit down and think of how all these words are affecting you?
At the age of 30, 40 or 50 most of us are drowning in debt, suicide is not uncommon, many find solace in a bottle and for those lucky enough to live in the suburbs, Prozac is often the drug of choice.
Why does this happen at this stage of life?
. . . because the human species is the only species that easily and habitually gives up. Once fallen, we don’t attempt to rise back up again. We give up on ourselves too easily and too quickly.
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
– Oscar Wilde
If you are feeling like this, just remember that you are by no means alone. Here are some pointers to help you through such times:
1) Stop comparing yourself to others. In this age of social media, most of us keep on comparing our inner happiness with our peers’ outward appearance. Your friend’s happy picture on Facebook does not tell you how she is feeling inside. Her pictures on holiday with a slimmed, toned body should never make you hate yourself as once again it does not tell you how she is feeling.
2) We live in an era of more, bigger and faster everything. This leads to lack of depth in accomplishments, relationships and long term happiness. The media is filled with stories of executives and celebrities with warped values. This illusion can rob you of your confidence and happiness. Slow down, gain perspective and connect with what’s important to you, rather than what’s urgent.
3) Not being present in the moment. Technology is and was meant to make our lives easier and more convenient, but unfortunately the opposite has happened. Technology has taken over our lives. We can barely breathe as we wait in anticipate for our cellphone to light up. This has taken away our focus and attention. We are constantly waiting on “other people” in order for us to be able to take the next step. Take control and choose when and how you can be reached by the outside world.
4) Create a budget. With the economy being so volatile, it is more important than ever to be conscious of our finances. The most effective way of doing this is the old school faithful idea of a budget. Even though you may not spend like Jay Z or Beyonce, without a budget, you’re inevitably going to run into a situation where you don’t have a clue how much money you have in your account, your financial growth stagnates and your financial situation will never improve. This in turn leads to enormous stress.
5) Create goals. The brain is your friend. It’s a very powerful tool if used properly, but very dangerous if given the role of unanimous decision making. The average person has 8 million bits of information from various sources going through their brain at any given time. How will it know what to focus on? Realistically, your brain is a goal seeking centre. As a matter of fact, the mechanism in your brain called the Recticular Activating System actually filters out everything except those messages which you truly need in order to survive or to achieve the goals that you have set. So by setting specific goals, and retaining a picture of achieving those goals in your mind, your brain will work day and night to turn that picture into reality.
6) Giving Gratitude. “Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given” – Marelisa Fabrega. Or
7) Striving for Control. Most of the events and experiences that happen to you in life are random, unexpected or coincidental. They just happen, and are outside of your control. The only control you have is your response to them and the meaning you attach to every action and deed. Your outlook determines the emotional state of your response as well as your destiny. You owe it to yourself to control and be in charge of your emotional health, but it’s much harder in an environment that’s littered and scattered with negative media, stress, conflict and chaos. Cut down on how much television and print media you consume. The average South African consumes 4 hours of negative media per day.
8) Stop blaming and finger pointing. Take responsibility for your life and actions. By relinquishing responsibility, you place yourself in a position of weakness. You become powerless and unstable. Be the HERO of your life. Not the victim.