When someone finally sits you down and tells it like it is, it can be a hard pill to swallow.
But if you want to really enjoy life, you need to get to the nitty gritty fast and cut the crap out of your life so you can spend time on the things that matter to you.
In this article, I’ve come up with what I believe are 21 brutal truths that most of us are too scared to admit.
However, as brutal as they might be, I also think that they can help us get our shit together and make the most of our lives for as long as we have it.
Check them out:
Before I get started, I want to let you know about a new personal responsibility workshop I’ve helped to create. I know that life isn’t always kind or fair. But courage, perseverance, honesty — and above all else taking responsibility — are the only ways to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. Check out the workshop here. If you want to seize control of your life, then this is the online resource you need.
1) You’ll stop living some day.
We all want to think we are invincible, but we aren’t. Stop wishing away your days and start enjoying what is going on right now.
This quote from Andy Dufresne aptly describes the two choices you have when it comes to life:
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
In other words, you can sit around and play the “the what-if game,” or you can start taking action.
As cliche as it sounds, you only get a life once, so make the most of it.
2) Everyone around you is going to die.
Hug your mom and dad and tell your sister you love her. They won’t be there someday when you finally look up from that smartphone.
No one lives forever, right? Tell people that matter to you that they matter.
Make an effort with your closest relationships. Be caring, empathetic and kind. Have fun together!
When life draws to a close, all you have left are love and relationships.
3) Money doesn’t make you happy.
No matter how hard you try, money will not buy you happiness.
Life is about living, not accumulating.
Yes, you need some money to survive, but beyond that, what’s the point?
With a lot of money, you can buy a lot of “things,” but those “things” will only give short-term satisfaction.
What happens when that short-term joy is gone? You start chasing it again and again in a never-ending loop of desiring.
True happiness comes from inner peace.
In fact, research from San Francisco State University found that people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent.
4) Searching for happiness prevents you from finding it.
The past can’t be changed. The future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing that exists is the present moment.
Chasing happiness means you’re not living in the moment. You believe that happiness exists outside yourself.
But the brutal truth is this:
Happiness can only come from inside you.
And the only way you can create a better future for yourself and others is to embrace taking action in the present moment.
Stop chasing tomorrow and start enjoying today.
5) Spending money is less effective than spending time.
If you want to make a real difference in the world, donate your time and save your money for a rainy day.
Spending time with people impacts them in ways you cannot even imagine. There is always more money, but there is never enough time.
It’s commendable to work for others and provide for your family, but you also need to spend time with them as well.
Love and relationships will always be worth more than money.
6) Making everyone happy is for the birds.
Don’t worry about trying to make people happy. People will never be happy. You do you before your time runs out.
If you stand for something, it’s impossible not to step on someone else’s toes. Trying to please everyone will mean that you won’t get anything done.
If you want to achieve, then forget about the need to please others.
7) You are responsible for everything that happens in your life.
Bad things happen in life and they’re not always your fault.
But the simple truth is that you’re ultimately responsible for everything that happens in your life. While you can’t always prevent bad things from happening, you are in complete control as to how you respond to them.
I think taking responsibility is the most powerful attribute we can possess in life.
Because the reality is that YOU are ultimately responsible for everything, including for your happiness and unhappiness, successes and failures, and for how you respond to your challenges.
I want to briefly share with you how taking responsibility has transformed my own life.
Did you know that 6 years ago I was anxious, miserable and working every day in a warehouse?
I was stuck in a hopeless cycle and had no idea how to get out of it.
My solution was to stamp out my victim mentality and take personal responsibility for everything in my life. I wrote about my journey here.
Fast forward to today and my website Hack Spirit is helping millions of people make radical shifts in their own lives. We’ve become one of the world’s biggest websites on mindfulness and practical psychology.
This isn’t about bragging, but to show how powerful taking responsibility can be…
… Because you too can transform your own life by taking complete ownership of it.
To help you do this, I’ve collaborated with my brother Justin Brown to create an online personal responsibility workshop. We give you a unique framework for finding your best self and achieving powerful things.
It’s quickly become Ideapod’s most popular workshop. Check it out here.
If you want to seize control of your life, like I did 6 years ago, then this is the online resource you need.
8) Trying to be perfect will kill you.
Standing in front of the mirror pointing out your flaws will make you old before your time.
Don’t waste another second trying to be anything except what you are right now.
As Master Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh says below, if you’re always trying to change yourself, you’ll never be happy. True happiness and power come from being who you truly are:
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power
[To dive deep into Buddhist and eastern philosophy and it can help you live a better life, check out my most popular eBook: The No-Nonsense Guide to Using Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy for a Better Life]
9) Feelings are important, but not everything.
If you think thoughts and feelings have all the power in your life, think again.
Feelings cause us to do some pretty amazing things, and some not so amazing things.
Pay attention to how you feel instead of trying to trick yourself into hiding from your feelings.
Anger, frustration, anxiety, grief—we have all experienced the most extreme emotions available to us, and when we do, it takes over completely.
Our strongest emotions define the way we act, feel, and think, and can change our personalities for the worst.
But here’s what you need to remember:
Emotions are just feelings, nothing more.
It is the action and meaning you associate with them that defines your relationship with your feelings.
10) You are responsible for yourself.
No one is going to live this life for you. We all know a talented 40-year-old living in their mom’s basement. Get out and do something with your life.
Now it’s no secret that life is unfair. Some people have it worse than others.
But as unfortunate as that is, you’ve got no other option but to take responsibility for your own life and what you’re able to do.
Blaming other people only results in bitterness, resentment, and powerlessness.
“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.” – Steve Goodier
11) Nothing matters when you are gone.
Someday, you’ll realize that all the stuff you spent your life worrying about doesn’t matter anymore.
Hopefully, you’ll realize that while you still have time to do the things you wanted to do.
Winston Churchill says it best:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill
12) Talent goes to waste if you let it.
If you have a God-given gift, or you want to learn a new talent, don’t wait. Nurture it and be proud of it.
“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” – Roy T. Bennett
13) Now is all that matters.
The present moment is the only thing that exists. Don’t live for the future or resent the past. It will do you no good.
You might not exist tomorrow so don’t put off what you can do today until tomorrow. You might not get the chance.
14) Stop complaining: no one cares how hard your life is.
For some people, complaining seems to be a way of life. Being around chronic complainers can be frustrating and draining.
But guess what? Life is hard for everyone. It’s not supposed to be easy. If you want a different life, go out and get it. No one is going to change it for you.
Complaining won’t help you or anyone change their life for the better.
15) Share your wisdom with people.
If you know something and it could help others, share it with the world. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
Stand up for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to speak. How will change ever happen unless people have the courage to say the truth?
Say your peace before you can’t.
16) Invest in yourself or lose out on life.
Stop living on the sidelines of your own life. If there is something you want to do with your life, decide to do it.
The best way to invest in yourself is through professional life coaching.
And I’ve recently discovered a way to receive all the benefits of professional life coaching without the expensive price tag.
Professional life coach Jeanette Devine has created a 10-step process to help people become their OWN life coach.
Jeanette really helped me to identify why I was feeling so directionless.
She also helped me discover my true values, figure out my own strengths, and set me on a guided path to achieving my goals.
If you want the benefits of a life coach, but like me balk at the price of one-on-one sessions, check out Jeanette Devine’s book here.
The best bit is that she’s agreed to make it available exclusively to Hack Spirit readers at a heavily discounted price.
17) Reactions are all that matters when things go bad.
No matter how bad things get, it’s how you react that’s important. Giving up is a bad idea; pushing forward is always a good idea.
As Charles R. Swindoll said, the most important thing we have control over is our attitude:
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles R. Swindoll
18) Have better relationships.
The most important thing in your life is your loved ones. They make life worth living.
Don’t forget to give people your time. Work to show people you care. Don’t assume they know.
And it’s crucial for your happiness, too. According to a 75-year Harvard study on happiness, our closest relationships could be a critical factor in being happy.
“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
19) Look for the deeper meaning.
Life is about exploration and discovery. Don’t take it at face value. Ask questions and be curious.
The meaning of life isn’t discovering ancient secrets and hidden truths unavailable to the greater public, nor is it about giving up all the material desires and needs in your life.
It’s about waking up to yourself, and realizing that the meaning you are searching for is probably already inside of you, just waiting for recognition.
20) Ambition is useless, do the work.
You can have all the great ideas in the world, but if you don’t act on them, they are just useless ideas.
Take action and try your best. It’s the only way you’ll get to where you want to go.
21) Time is the most precious thing in your life.
You will never have enough time. Do the best you can with what you have.
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