There’s no doubt about it: life is hard. It’s a given.
Life is so hard we don’t even realize how often we walk around complaining about how hard life is anymore.
It’s kind of trending, in fact.
But there’s no doubt that life is also amazing and wondering, and with the bad stuff always comes some form of goodness, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time.
If you’ve ever found yourself crying into your hands wondering why life is so hard, you are definitely not alone.
But humanity is slowly, albeit painfully slowly, starting to realize that a lot of the bad things that happen to us do not actually happen to us, they are just things that happen.
It’s our negative attitude or disposition that turns neutral circumstances into something full of despair and anger, confusion and frustration.
You got it: emotions, thoughts, and feelings. They are what make life so damn hard.
But there are other things too. Here are 5 reasons why life continues to be so hard for you.
Before I get started, I want to let you know about a new personal responsibility workshop I’ve contributed to. 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 are Selfish.
Yikes, way to hit the ground running, right? If you are an overly selfish person, you might find that life is a lot harder than people who tend to give of themselves to others.
We don’t mean you have to save a small country from famine or give someone the shirt off your back, but it is nice to consider others from time to time to take the focus off you.
When you take the focus off you, say to those poor, hungry people in the small country mentioned above, it makes you realize how good your own life is and it helps you to be grateful for what you have in life.
When we practice gratitude we are not only saying thank you to the universe for all that we have, but we are thankful for life in general. That makes life suck a whole lot less, trust us.
2) You are a Hypocrite.
If you are someone who tends to think she lives and dies by her word but then goes back on her word, either to yourself or someone you know, then you’ll find that life is not as fun as it could be.
The major reason people go back on their word is because of discomfort. We say we’ll lose 10 pounds in the new year, but it’s really hard.
In fact, it’s not hard at all.
What’s hard are the thoughts we have about losing 10 pounds. Losing 10 pounds is neutral. You say you’ll do something and then you don’t.
That’s what makes life harder than it needs to be.
If you do the things you said you would do, you’d live a much easier life, even if it means being uncomfortable from time to time.
(The only way to overcome adversity and conquer any challenge is through mental toughness. Check out my no-nonsense guide to developing mental toughness here).
3) We are Not as Free as We Think.
While humans like to hang on to the idea of free will, the truth is that many factors play into our decision making and choices in life.
Many of which we are not even aware of.
Take, for instance, stories your parents tell about your hometown: do you also believe that there is nothing for a teenager to do in that small town on a Friday night besides break into cars?
Is that the story you believe or is that the story you grew up hearing and never bothered to question?
We carry with us a tremendous amount of information that is not of our own minds, yet we’ve adopted it as truth in our lives.
These thoughts often dictate how we make decisions and how we live our lives. “I can’t find another job.” Well, not with that attitude.
When you examine how you think and feel, you might find that your free will has been compromised by a lifetime of information coming from all directions.
Perhaps it’s time to consider another viewpoint?
4) You Don’t Take Responsibility.
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 that happens in your life, including for your happiness and unhappiness, successes and failures, and for the quality of your relationships.
However, a brutal life lesson is that few people take responsibility for their lives. They prefer to blame other people and be a victim. And this is why life continues to be so hard for them.
I’ll 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. Check it out here. We give you a unique framework for finding your best self and achieving powerful things.
This has quickly become Ideapod’s most popular workshop.
If you want to seize control of your life, like I did 6 years ago, then this is the online resource you need.
5) People Suck.
At the end of the day, no matter how hard you work on yourself, there will be another person waiting in the wings to burst your bubble.
The great burden of being alive is that we cannot control other people. We can only control how we feel and how we react to the neutral circumstances that come our way.
Circumstance remains neutral until we assign a value to them and blow them way out of proportion.
Consider that the next time you find yourself face to face with someone you don’t like: is it the person you don’t like, or the things they are doing?
It might help you see them in a different way and tolerate them for the time being.
Remember though, that your frustration with other people, which only causes you discomfort, is about you and not them.
Dig a little deeper to find out why someone is driving you bonkers before you write them off completely.
Once we accept that life is hard, we uncover some brutal lessons that will help us live better lives.
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Here are 40 brutal lessons that I’ve encountered from living a tough life:
40 Brutal Lessons About Life
One of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had to live through was the passing of a close friend. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer just two years before her death, and had dedicated her life towards serving others with purpose and passion in the time she had left.
On the day of her passing she had told me her greatest regret: that she didn’t start sooner. That she had spent so much of her life caring about distractions and drama.
Since that day, I’ve tried to live my life to the fullest, never wasting a day in the way she had regretted. I’ve let her words guide me, living by them as my constant reminder. Here are 40 hard truths that are captured from her advice, some which we may not want to hear, but have to.
1) Change is uncomfortable. Change will always be strange, weird, and discomforting, but that’s just the way it is. Be patient, and wait for change to become the norm.
2) How you respond to a situation is more important than the situation itself. You are kidding yourself if you believe life should be simple and uncomplicated. There will always be difficult choices and tough situations, and playing your cards right is the best way to move forward in life.
3) You are your own worst critic. You never give yourself the credit that you deserve, and you need to acknowledge that. You can be too hard on yourself, and you need to feel good about your own strength.
4) You neglect yourself too much. This is something we all do. Take care of yourself, your needs and your wants, and your life will be much better in every aspect.
5) Don’t waste time and energy on things you don’t care about. It can be easy to exhaust ourselves on pointless endeavors. But life is too short doing things that have no intrinsic value to us.
6) Distractions can take over your life if you don’t pay attention. Take a look at yourself: is your life filled with distractions? Could you do without them? Master your focus to master your life.
7) Anxiety is a part of life. You will never feel truly confident, so stop waiting for that elusive imaginary level of confidence, because you are using it as an excuse.
8) Waiting for the right circumstances is wasting your life. We often don’t want to move forward until all the stars have aligned. But guess what? The stars will never align unless you move them yourself.
9) Daydreaming is dangerous. Reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can make you miss out on the only part of your life that matters—the present.
10) You don’t listen to things you don’t want to hear. Many of us surround ourselves in a bubble of opinions and truths that make us feel comfortable. We fail to grow because we never take in what we don’t want to hear.
11) The toughest walls will help you grow the most. Every tense and hard situation will help you grow a little bit higher and a little bit stronger. Embrace challenges for what they are.
12) Even the best chess grandmasters know when to move back. Like chess, life is a game where you have to know when to step forward and step back. It’s all about stepping into the winning position, regardless of where it might be.
13) Pay attention—everyone has something to teach. Don’t take the world for granted. Every obstacle and every interaction can become your teacher.
14) You don’t always get what you want. Deal with it, accept it. Learn to play with what you’ve got, instead of refusing to play at all.
15) Acting like the victim will have you treated like one. Stop complaining; life isn’t fair. Move on from your tragedies, and let you define your life, not the other way around.
16) Sometimes you don’t need closure. There are times where we have to move on from certain people or parts of our lives. We don’t always need to know “what could have been”; just know what could be.
17) Habits are the hardest things in the world to break. Be conscious of your daily habits, especially the negative ones. Don’t constantly fall back into toxic patterns, which will always try to come back into your life.
18) Don’t underestimate your mental strength. Your mind can do whatever you focus on. Use your mental strength to its greatest potential.
19) You can’t create positive habits overnight. Change takes a while. If you find yourself struggling to better yourself, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
20) Patience and waiting are different things. Don’t wait for things to happen; patience is about taking yourself forward one step at a time and staying positive about it.
21) People won’t always be honest about their feelings towards you. Their actions are more important than their words, so pay attention.
22) Don’t let shallow factors define the way you judge others. Don’t value titles, money, and accomplishments; instead, value humility, kindness, and integrity.
23) Popularity doesn’t matter. Live your life without giving a damn about popularity. Do what you want to do, not for the applause, but for the purpose.
24) Evaluate your sources of validation. Don’t live your life searching desperately for the validation of others. True validation can only come from within.
25) Listen to yourself. Don’t forget what you really feel and what you really want; it can be easy to lose track of your true values in all the noise.
26) “I’m busy” is the worst excuse. We are always “too busy”. But finding the time to do something is showing that you value it.
27) You cling onto things that are keeping you down. Evaluate the people and things you have in your life: if they aren’t helping you move forward, then they are keeping you down.
28) Your greatest superpower is staying calm. Don’t overreact, and don’t take things personally. Learn to be bigger than that; learn to stay calm.
29) Negative thoughts are a part of life. Letting your momentum go to waste simply because you had a bad day will forever keep you from reaching your dreams. Don’t let negativity define who you become.
30) Stress comes from within. No matter how tough or difficult a situation may be, the way you respond to it comes from within. Stop yourself from stressing out over everything.
31) Life will give and take, always. When life takes away something important from you, remember that it also gives you new things to appreciate and love. Life is in a constant state of flux.
32) Find peace through forgiveness. Holding grudges over others doesn’t hurt them as much as it hurts you. Solve your inner turmoil by forgiving those that have wronged you.
33) No one stays bad forever. We are always changing. Judging someone by their history no matter how much they have changed is unfair. Give others the chance to grow.
34) Don’t let disagreements turn into hatred. We have a tendency to dehumanize people that we don’t share opinions with. Be cautious, and watch yourself when you argue.
35) Learn to be more human. The modern world has taken some of our humanity from us; learn to embrace what it means to be human again. Smile, look people in the eye, and don’t stare at your screens all day. Talk and listen.
36) We don’t have the time to fight. There are only so many years before we say goodbye to everything, so why waste your time arguing and fighting?
37) Placing expectations on others will only leave you brokenhearted. Don’t expect; just appreciate.
38) Not everyone will respond and act the way you do. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment if you think that people will treat you the way you treat them.
39) Positive people find positive people. The way you think and act determines the type of people who stick to you. If you want good people around you, then you must be good, too.
40) Nothing lasts forever. Look around you and say thanks. Appreciate what you have—love, life, and happiness.
Which of the points above make the most sense to you? How can you change yourself for the better?
How a (ridiculously) average guy became his OWN life coach
I’m an average guy.
I’ve never been one to try and find meaning in religion or spirituality. When I feel directionless, I want practical solutions.
And one thing everyone seems to be raving about these days is life coaching.
Bill Gates, Anthony Robbins, Andre Agassi, Oprah and countless other celebrities go on and on about how much life coaches have helped them achieve great things.
Good on them, you may be thinking. They can certainly afford one!
Well 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 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.
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