You may be considered successful, have many things to do, and friends, and a family, and a big house. But that doesn’t mean you like the person you’ve become, feel comfortable in your skin or have confidence.
I see so many people that look like they got it all, but when you notice the details, they don’t really feel good about themselves.
And that means they are not happy with their life.
Let’s not become them.
This is what you should do in order to have a great opinion of yourself (and thus change the way people look at you, how you perform at work, and boost your confidence):
You are who you are. You may change that soon, but at this very moment you’re that version of yourself. And before you accept it, you won’t be able to make any progress.
Accept your past, with all the mistakes and failures. They are a part of you but that doesn’t mean they will be repeated. Let what has already happened be. But it doesn’t have any place in your present.
Don’t let others let you down
People will try to discourage you, talk you out of something you’re up to, tell you you’re crazy to think in a certain way, etc.
It’s your choice whether you’ll listen to them or go chase your dreams.
Focus on your positive qualities
Everyone has good and bad sides. They are who you are, true. But the best you can do to feel better about yourself is to pay attention to the good ones – your skills, things you’re good at, things that others like about you and basically everything that’s optimistic and makes you feel good.
Give yourself compliments
Instead of waiting for others to do that, why don’t you start noticing your good attributes and what you like about your appearance, character or way of thinking, and have it in mind more often?
Remember that what you think about yourself is most important
Others don’t have a saying in this. It’s your life and your choices.
As soon as you realize that the only approval you need is yours, you’ll feel free as a bird, more confident, and will achieve much more.
Not only will you look better, but you’ll also be motivated, disciplined, live more healthy, and become confident and proud of yourself once you see results.
Find a sport you like and dedicate time to it. It’s absolutely worth it.
Constantly improve yourself
Be okay with who you are but never stop challenging yourself and looking for ways to grow.
Wear clothes that make you feel good
Appearance matters. And if you like what you see in the mirror, you’ll definitely have a better opinion of yourself.
Most people never realize that they’re wearing clothes that don’t show what they have, and make them look bad.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments
We’re taught not to brag, but these days people are afraid to even mention their successes because they may seem overconfident.
But what’s wrong with saying that you’ve worked hard on something, you’ve been promoted, lost weight, won a match?
Or even that you think you look better than you did a year ago, your muscles are bigger, you can run for miles without getting exhausted, have a lot of free time with your new job, have the perfect partner, etc.?
That’s an important one. It always feels good to be clean and neat all the time. Don’t underestimate it.
If you want to write short stories, work on your book, make poems, blog or create content that you’ll eventually share with others, leave it for later.
Because the routine I’m talking about here is specific – it includes getting up early, sitting down, eliminating distractions and writing down a few pages with personal notes.
It’s all about you. No one else. The others are probably still sleeping at that time.
So be brutally honest and write down the exact thoughts you have at this moment. Do that for a few minutes.
Share ideas that pop up in your mind, something you dreamt about, dreams or goals, opinion on something that bothers you, the tasks you have to do today, which ones are more important and why, what makes you happy and what doesn’t, etc.
You may feel some resistance in the beginning, if you don’t write regularly. It’s normal. That’s how the body and mind react to every new behavior we introduce to them.
But keep doing that for a week and you’ll find yourself being more open-minded, writing more freely, having more to say, and feeling much better after that.
After some time you’ll start feeling some changes:
the problems later in the day won’t affect you that much any more, nor will people and their drama;
you’ll be more creative;
you’ll begin to prioritize and know what’s essential;
you’ll leave the house energized;
your mind will be clearer;
keeping a journal will help you organize your thoughts;
it will make you see your life from another point of view;
you’ll come up with new ideas.
A good life consists of good days. If you start each one of them with energy, focus, positive attitude and successful rituals, you’ll surprise yourself by the progress you’ll make in a few weeks and that will affect so many other areas of your life.
And if you add to that the simple and yet brilliant habit of journaling your thoughts in the early hours, you’ll change your life in more ways than you can imagine.
The following post is a sneak peek into my new book “This Moment”. The official release is at the end of the month. Also, you set the price.
The present moment is never intolerable. What’s intolerable is what’s going to happen in the next four hours. To have your body here at 8 pm and your mind at 10:30 pm, that’s what causes us suffering. Anthony de Mello
You now know what your pain really looks like. You see it from another point of view.
But a deeper explanation is needed.
Obviously, our generation has a big problem – our attitude towards life, the way we see things, what we focus on and think is most important is not right.
So something needs to be done. We need to find a way to alleviate that inner pain.
But to do that, we must first get familiar with the origin of this suffering, with all the things that make us upset, disappointed, depressed, stressed, unproductive, discouraged and lose hope.
So here is a list of what makes us unhappy and what form it takes in our daily life:
Most of the pain we experience, whether we realize it or not, comes from the fantasies we live in.
We create our own worlds, where there are certain rules, things to be done and said and events to happen. And every time that doesn’t go according to the plan (which, basically, means anything because we have no control over what might happen and can’t predict it), we panic.
Not wanting to be where you are
We create a prison, we build its solid walls slowly through the years, and can remain there for the rest of our life if we don’t do anything about that.
No matter where we go, we want to be somewhere else right away. Either because we’re not contented with the current place and situation and think the problem is in them, or because someone else tells us about something better.
And that makes our present destination a nightmare, even if we’re swimming in the ocean of a tropical island or skiing in a top winter resort.
We’ll talk more about that prison later.
When we feel bad, we try so hard to destroy that emotion and feel better. We put effort into finding something to make us smile.
And when we eventually do (or should I say ‘if’ we do), we struggle to make it last.
But we ourselves invented this fight. It’s fake. It lives only in our head and by trying too hard to succeed, find happiness, or else, we make it worse.
Here is what Leo says about that in his book “The Effortless Life”:
“We invent this struggle for many reasons: to give our lives meaning, to give ourselves a feeling of accomplishment, to dramatize our story (even if only in our own heads), or simply because this is the mode of thinking we’ve become used to.
Giving up the struggle isn’t always easy, but it is liberating. When you realize you don’t have to struggle with everything, life becomes so much more effortless.
Take the example of struggling with your young child when she won’t eat her vegetables. This struggle is unnecessary — forcing her to eat the vegetables accomplishes nothing. The child won’t like vegetables more because she’s forced to eat them. Instead, set the example of eating vegetables yourself, and find ways to make eating healthy foods fun for her. By making it fun, and letting go of the need to force her to eat veggies, you’ve let go of the unnecessary struggle.”
Seeking happiness in external sources
There’s a void inside most people.
It’s been created by not being contented with who we are, not being happy with what we have, not being present and looking for something more, better, more exciting out there.
And we’ve always been trying to fill this void with something external.
Here are some of the fake sources of happiness people turn to:
– shopping – buying stuff we don’t really need because it brings us momentous comfort and takes our mind away from our current problems;
– food – a way to feel momentous pleasure, but then we immediately feel bad about ourselves;
– a person – thinking someone else can make us feel good, obsessing over him, wanting to spend as much time with him as we can;
But it only makes the void bigger as we are okay for a while, but then feel even worse.
Holding onto the past
Not letting what has already happened and can’t be changed go is something so bad, and yet so common.
Almost everyone does it to some extent.
Some people even live entirely in their past, not letting anything new happen to them, just spending their days going through stuff that happened a long time ago and has no importance in the present.
Refusing to accept
One of the reasons for not being contented is our inability to accept things as they are, together with ourselves, other people, events and every little detail of our days.
And we try to change the unchangeable and control the uncontrollable.
Which only continues the struggle and increases our suffering.
Instead of seeing your positives, you focus on how much better other people look. You see that their house is more spacious, children smarter, bank account bigger, social life better, etc.
Which makes you unhappy with your life, even if you’re considered successful.
Not knowing what’s important
Often we suffer because we don’t realize what’s essential.
We may want to be rich, but the rich are lonely.
We see all those people on TV that have won the lottery and want to be at their place, but studies show that they are even more miserable after having won the big check. They don’t really know what to do with all that money, take poor decisions on how to spend them, change themselves and their friends don’t see them in the same way.
Being a victim
If you’re constantly asking the universe “Why me?”, then you probably think life is unfair, others are so happy and you’ll never be, or just take things too personally and make a big drama out of small things.
Worrying about what might happen
Living in the future is another reason we live so unhappily. That’s why there’s a whole chapter for it later in the book.
Living without goals may seem a bit too much for some of you, but what I mean with that item of the list is that goals are another version of living in the future, focusing on a result that’s not current, wanting something else and expecting it to become a reality.
Here’s how Leo summarizes it:
“These days, however, I live without goals, for the most part. It’s liberating, and contrary to what you might have been taught, it doesn’t mean that you stop achieving things.
It means that you stop letting yourself be limited by goals.
Sometimes you achieve a goal and then you feel amazing. But most of the time you don’t achieve them and you blame it on yourself.
Here’s the secret: the problem isn’t you, it’s the system! The goals system is a set up for failure.
Even when you do things exactly right, it’s not ideal because goals limit your possibilities. When you don’t feel like doing something you have to force yourself to do it. Your path is chosen, so you don’t have room to explore new territory. You have to follow the plan, even when you’re passionate about something else.”
The same goes for them:
“Living without plans might seem foolish or unrealistic to most people. That’s fine. But if you want to be realistic, you should understand that the plans you make are pure illusions of control.
Many days, other things come up and the illusion of control is easily shattered. But some days we get lucky and our plans actually happen as we had hoped.
The more we embrace this chaos, the more we embrace the brilliant possibilities that might emerge. The more we try to control our day and actions with plans, the more we limit ourselves.”
It’s when you’re not happy with the person you’ve become and the things you do, because you have too big expectations of who you can be.
Or want your partner or someone else to do something for you, love you, be nice, ask you out, etc. You expect so many things from them, often unrealistic. And wait for them to do exactly what you imagine them doing. But people have their own vision of the same situation and it never meets yours.
You even ask life for more than it can give you. And become unhappy when you understand it has its limits, too.
Wanting to change
Kids want to be grown ups, adults want to be young and careless again.
Single people desperately want a relationship, but those who are in one still complain almost all the time and wish for freedom.
The poor want money, the rich want more of it.
This means that changing your situation doesn’t prevent you from suffering, doesn’t make your desires go away.
One of the main reasons we suffer so much is complexity. Our constant effort to make everything complex, although it’s quite simple, is what makes us want to give up, to just escape and leave everything behind.
Here are some simple changes to make in order to live more simply and thus stop suffering and living with effort:
1. Choose the truth.
Speak directly. Truth is so much simpler than lying to yourself, living in an illusion, not being honest with others.
Denial is complex. We often deny who we are, the choices we’ve made, the things we want, the reality as it is.
But imagine a world where everyone accepts everything that’s done, said and thought. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Start by accepting yourself for who you are, with all your good and bad sides, past mistakes, dreams and plans, habits and desires.
Then, once you are okay with that, you can easily change.
3. Speak less.
We speak too much, and don’t really say anything meaningful. At the same time we don’t listen to others, so others don’t listen to us. That’s why communication is so complex these days.
So from now on why not speak less and listen more?
4. Ditch excuses.
We make so many excuses every day. We’re good at finding reasons not to do something even if we want to, not to give new things a try, not to meet new people, not to change.
Living like that is hard. Instead, we should embrace simplicity and just do the things we want to do. Simple as that!
5. Dress simply.
Eliminating accessories can make life easier. Also, we have so many clothes we haven’t worn in years, and others we’re probably not going to wear any more. So get rid of them.
6. Create silence.
Take some quiet time for yourself every now and then. There’s so much noise everywhere around us that we can’t hear our own thoughts.
Our brain does a phenomenal job when it’s looking for reasons not to do something we’re afraid of.
Or when there’s even the slightest need of going out of our comfort zone, taking a risk, speaking up, doing something different or facing hardships in order to achieve it.
Most of them are excuses, negative thoughts, our own limitations like fears and worries.
And I’m sure you’re perfectly aware of the fact that they aren’t true. And the best thing you can do at this moment is to act upon your desire, opportunity or goal, and not listen to your brain.
I’m not talking about ridiculous things or ones that put you in danger. I mean those that will take us to the life we deserve, the unique chances we need to take but which also requite hard work, time, the possibility of failing, breaking free from the comfort zone, making sacrifices and not listening to others.
It’s not easy and that’s why we’re looking for reasons not to do it at all.
Here’s an example.
I’ve always wanted to write and publish a book. And if I think about the reasons why I shouldn’t, I will eventually give up and my dream will never come true.
It will take a long, long time.
I can’t find that much inspiration and at some point I won’t have anything else to say.
People may not like it.
It may be a failure.
No one would probably even read it.
You should have built a name already and have a big audience to sell it. And I’m no one.
It may not look professional.
Writing it is not enough. There are many other things that need to be done – editing, formatting, promoting, etc.
But what if I focus on why I should write it:
People may actually like it.
I may inspire someone.
It will make me believe I’m a real author and give me the confidence to write better things.
I will feel more independent.
I may start making an income.
I will have a decent product on my blog.
I will start and finish a big personal project.
I will be proud of myself.
Other bloggers will take me more seriously.
It’s something I’ll eventually do, so it’s better to start now.
The feeling of publishing it will be amazing.
It will be a great experience. From then on, I’ll know my weak and strong sides, mistakes and unexpected problems throughout the writing process.
I can go on like that for the next hour. And I can also think of many more reasons not to do it.
It’s actually a matter of choice. When you have to take a decision, you’ll make a list in your head. And it’s crucial whether it will contain items in favor of or against doing the thing you want to do. Both lists can be quite convincing and will sound like the right thing to do.
In conclusion, I’ll say that whatever the situation is, you’ll do the right thing if you:
focus on the reasons why you should take action/start something new/ take a chance/ etc;
think of as many positive reasons as you can and remind yourself of them throughout the whole thing;
make the best of it.
So if you have an opportunity – take it, if you are secretly dreaming about something huge that takes courage – do it, if you have goals – start working on them right away. You won’t regret it.
This is what winners do, the way successful people think, how great ideas turn into reality and what you will wish you had done years from now.
P.S. I wrote this post almost a year ago. It was when I was trying to stay focused on finishing my first book “The Tao of Happiness”. It helped me stay motivated.
And now my second book is available for pre-order. It’s about living mindfully in the present moment and how to let go of past and future so that we can be right where we are and enjoy the now.
You can find it here – “This Moment”.
Smiling at one person each day can make you friendlier and more positive about life. It can also make others like you and want to spend more time with you.
Saying something nice like thank you every now and then, or making a little compliment to someone you love, can fix a relationship and make it last a lifetime.
If every week you get up 15 minutes earlier than the previous one, in 2 months you’ll be a morning person, getting up 2 hours earlier than you do now without realizing it or making any effort, and will have more time for yourself that will help you plan your days and get stuff done in the early hours.
If you stop visiting second-hand shops (like I did because it was an awful habit of mine to buy more clothes than I actually needed just because they are so cheap) and buy fewer clothes through the year – but better ones that actually belong to a proper brand – you’ll become stylish, look more professional and fashionable, be more confident and feel good about yourself.
My point with all these examples is that tiny changes like these have a huge impact on our life after some time.
Why small changes matter the most?
Most people underestimate things like flossing just one tooth, meditating for just one minute or running for five. But that’s how habits are created and it’s the only way to make a permanent change in our lifestyle without using up our willpower and trying hard day after day.
Stuff like that matters the most simply because our behavior (and who we are and what our life looks like) consists of repeated actions – good or bad, often done unconsciously – which is what brings success and happiness. Or the lack of it.
The good news is that we can start our transformation at every moment.
Honestly, the only time it’s too late is when we’re dead. Any other time you consider not right, too early, too late or else, is an awful excuse you make and a lie you keep telling to yourself.
So stop that and see the possibility of change that’s everywhere around you.
So far, so good.
But change scares us. And that makes us dread making even small steps that take 30 seconds of our day.
What causes that is our attitude – we’ve always connected change with effort, sweat and doing stuff we don’t like and want.
Why change scares us and what to do about it?
We think about it all the time, we worry, think we may fail and feel hopeless, insecure and lose point in doing anything at all.
You try to plan how your transformation will look like, you constantly remind yourself of the thing you’re trying to give up or do more or less of.
All that makes even the smallest action like not eating the whole packet of biscuits but only 2/3 of it, or smoking one cigarette less a day, feel like something big, which is the main event of your day and prevents you from enjoying any other thing you do.
Then it’s time to change that attitude.
Ditch your expectations, don’t complain, don’t speak about the little daily change, don’t compare it to the way other people make changes, don’t prepare for it.
Basically, don’t think about it at all. Just do it.
Something that will be of great help is to put it right after something you do each day (that will be the trigger and your reminder) and have a small reward after that.
For instance, after you get up and brush your teeth, do your daily dose of flossing/meditation/exercise/etc.. In the beginning it must be the tiniest action possible that takes no time.
And then have tea/coffee or breakfast, or something else that you usually do after that and enjoy. This will be like a reward for the new thing you just did.
That’s the best way to start developing a new habit without any pressure and trying too hard.
But what if you want to make another type of change like to stop doing something?
Small steps are also the solution here.
If you want to stop buying stuff online, start by reducing it to once a week (assuming you do it twice).
If you find yourself checking email every 20 minutes, start by not doing it before 9 a.m. Then choose a bigger interval.
You get the idea.
The two most important things to keep in mind about change and habits
Whatever it is that you want to change, do it in small steps, for a short time.
The second thing to remember is consistency. It doesn’t matter whether you want to develop, replace or give up a habit. What you need to do is repeat the action (or the lack of it) every single day/week/month/etc.
Without consistency, there won’t be any progress.
Being the most positive person for a day will bring you joy, maybe even a new admirer. But then you’ll go back to being negative.
But if you notice only one of your many negative thoughts for the day and replace it with a positive one, after some time you’ll become happier, will be surrounded by other optimists, will have new friends and will always grab the attention with your new personality.
Happy New Year, lovely people! I spent another great year blogging here. With more readers, new visitors, followers, shares and views, I can move on to 2015 and keep trying to inspire, encourage and inform with my posts. Thank you all for being a part of that. Here is a review of the best content of each month: