Balance Is The Key To A Life That Feels Good

Throughout your life, you've probably picked up on bits and pieces of contradictory advice on how to live a better life, because let's be honest, all of our lives are messed up in various ways because we're all inconsistent and imperfect, and sometimes life throws things at us that we can't handle, even to the best of our abilities. So it's no wonder why we're constantly seeking more, trying more things to better ourselves, and changing our environment so that we have more control over things external to us.

However, we often go to unhealthy extremes when we're making the effort to change our lives for the better. We either excuse ourselves too much when we procrastinate and escape from our lives, under the guise of "self-care" and "slowing down" or we work ourselves until we're so burnt out and exhausted that we can't have good relationships with others or take care of our health. We lie to ourselves and say that we can do more than what we're physically and mentally capable of, but in the end, all that rushing leads to a dead end full of emptiness and purposelessness.

Why do we want to live a good life? What exactly does a good life mean? Is there a specific vision for the future that we are obliged to work for? Is it even possible do everything we want without worrying about how it's going to be received by others? Do we even need to aim for something more, even when we're already exhausted from our current lifestyle?

What we all need is balance. We need to balance our goals. We need to balance our expectations and keep a healthy perspective that's evened out by both skepticism and idealism. We need to have a solid purpose for what we're going to do, but we also need to give ourselves room to evolve because we rarely ever turn out the way we thought we would, and old dreams and plans will fall by the wayside while newer and more purposeful ones take their place.

We often hear contradictory pieces of advice when it comes to improving our own lives:

1. You should accept yourself the way you are, but you should also never settle for less than what you are capable of.

If you're starting out in the pursuit of a new way of living, particularly after a life-changing event that shakes you awake from complacency (death in the family, broken relationship, job loss, failure in education, unexpected emergencies), you've probably alternated between periods of hyper-productivity in which you pump out work like there's no tomorrow and periods of lethargy in which you get absolutely nothing done because you're so sluggish and full of negative emotions that seem to control you and render you helpless. That's because a new life takes time to establish and you can't expect yourself to change overnight, right after a traumatic life event. 

Self-acceptance is necessary because you can't build a foundation on self-loathing and inadequacy - that will only intensify the tension within you and make you believe that you're unworthy of anything good in life unless you chase after external validations to prove yourself. It’ll cause you to procrastinate and be so held up by performance anxiety that you never start working on your goals. However, you also need to realize that you can’t just accept your deficiencies and do absolutely nothing about them - to move forward in life, you need to confront the bad coping mechanisms that are holding you back from creating a life you love and do so with a sense of urgency. It’s always better to start today than to wait “until you’re ready” because you’ll never be ready if you keep postponing your plans to better yourself for a day that might never come.

2. You shouldn't pursue endeavors just for the sake of success because that's a selfish and ego-driven motivator, but you should set goals to improve yourself so you can get the life you want.

Whenever people are driven to do something they want to do, others around them say that they shouldn't do it for the money. Although this can apply to all fields, here's an example that pertains to writing:

If you say that you want to make writing your job, people are quick to judge you for being greedy, money-minded, and naïve because the reality is, so many writers never get to see a dime from their writing throughout their lives. People will also judge you for doing it for the wrong reasons and think you’re just doing it for the money, the followers, the "luxurious life” of the wealthiest writers, and for getting back at people who thought you would never amount to anything.

However, if you say that you love writing and claim that you're only doing it as a passion and don't expect anything external rewards from it at all as a way to show how you’re above it all (thus, subconsciously putting yourself into “starving artist” mode), you're not going to push yourself to treat it the way a professional does - you'll end up doing it sporadically or whenever you "feel like it" or most commonly, "when inspiration strikes." So as a writer, especially when you're starting out, you experience great internal conflict and war against yourself and question everything you've been taught to believe about writing. You’re expected to push yourself to stand out from the crowd of wannabes and create works that people can relate to, yet you’re also shamed for wanting more out of your art, especially when you’re at odds with what you currently do for a living and what you’d like to do if your current life circumstances weren’t so constraining.

If you know you want to make some level of income from writing, write on a more consistent basis, tell stories and anecdotes that resonate with others, and connect with people who find value in your work, you need to bridge the gap between loving what you do and being able to do it consistently so that you meet job requirements, which involves producing a measurable output. But you also know that you want to find genuine enjoyment in what you do because that’s what will keep you going longer than those who just do it for the end result (fame, fortune, success) and quit so soon because they’re impatient with how much work it takes to reach that level.

The best way to approach this is to ask why you want to write. First, you should start writing what you need to hear because chances are, there are people out there who will resonate with your experiences and you do have a way of sharing your ideas in a way that other people haven’t done yet. But you cannot expect a large number of followers overnight or to be able to quit your day job, nor should you write for those reasons alone.

3. If you don't push yourself, you'll fall behind and be unprepared for the future, but you should slow down, fall in love with life, and appreciate the small miracles of today. 

From a circumstantial perspective, the existing socioeconomic system is made to catapult the majority of people into abysmal failure, and it's evident that billions of people do not have opportunities because of political corruption, inequality, and scarcity. This is why people who started out with less are more fearful of falling behind and have to break their necks and work themselves to death just to be a little better off than the previous generations. 

The life that most people want involves having more control over your circumstances, which equates to having better way to earn more money, which means having more time to do what you want instead of slaving away at what you don't want to do, which leads to more choices in life without being bound by things out of your control, which ultimately gives you more chances to succeed and live in prosperity.

But we tend to approach the future in a way that debilitates us mentally and physically: everything is rooted in the fear of falling behind. This brings about short-sighted beliefs of success and it's why workaholic culture exists in the first place. It's why people get panic attacks whenever they miss a day of work. It’s why people beat themselves up for not doing enough, even when it’s to the detriment of their health. It's why people pull all-nighters in hopes that it will get them ahead of the competition. Because we live in a society that views the bottom 25% as burdensome and the top 1% as sources of inspiration, a lot of us have done things in order to avoid being in the bottom of the pile and hustle hard to reach the top 1% or at least get closer to there than we were before. 

This is a backward approach to life. If we're so caught up in the struggle and race to the top and if we're in such a hurry to reach the next level in hopes that we "don't have to worry about anything anymore," then we've missed the whole point of life - we need to evaluate ourselves honestly and be ruthless in weeding out ideas of success that are ingrained within us because they might not even be what’s best for us.

The truth is, struggles, anxieties, and insecurities will always be with us until we've made a conscious effort to create a lifestyle that's effortless to us, even when it might not look as polished as someone else's. There will always be things to worry about and fears that control us, no matter where we end up in life.

You can’t expect goals to fulfill you if you don’t feel fulfilled as you are now because fulfillment is something you create within yourself, not something you seek or chase after outside of yourself. It’s important to carve out some time in a day to reflect on where you’re going and how you’re feeling so that you can adjust accordingly and make any changes that would help you ensure that your next steps are purposeful and relevant to who you are as a distinct individual.

Here are some key takeaways for a balanced way of living:

  1. Have a life purpose that isn’t so abstract or vague. Make it concrete, relevant, and specific to you.

  2. Instead of meticulously adding over-the-top details to your 5-year-plan or a 10-year-plan, have a vision board. It’s good to have an idea of where you’d like to be, or else you’d be wandering ahead aimlessly, but it’s not good to be bogged down by so many details or overly attached to your plans because the future is ultimately a mystery with lessons and experiences that you can’t identify ahead of time. Expecting the future to go exactly as planned down to the littlest details only exacerbates inner conflict and holds you back from discovering new things that could help you grow in ways you haven’t been able to think of yet.

  3. Create a life that feels wholeheartedly good and balanced to you, as opposed to a life that makes you keep up in a race that makes you feel like you’re heading nowhere.

  4. Understand that you aren’t guaranteed years and years to postpone a life that you have been denying yourself, but at the same time, you can’t expect everything to change overnight.

  5. Love who you are, but to evolve, you must demand yourself to do better and never stagnate.

  6. Everything is transitory and everyone is mortal. But in spite of that, it is better for your mental and physical wellbeing to focus on becoming a victor and not remain a victim.

  7. Make sure that each day you do something that fulfills you. End the day feeling at peace with the fact that you’ve completed all that you could have possibly done today, and even if the world were to end tomorrow, you’d still be content with the life you’ve created for yourself.

What To Do If You're Fatigued All The Time

Being fatigued all the time isn’t fun. When you feel sluggish and exhausted during the day and even after a three hour nap, people are quick to assume that it’s either a medical condition or you’re very depressed.

It’s also a killer to productivity.

However, after trying different things to combat fatigue, I know that there are definitely things you can do that are within your control.

Drink More Water

Yes, I know this is an obvious one, but besides bad quality sleep, dehydration is probably the main reason why you feel tired throughout the day. One thing that can help is to make drinking water seem enjoyable, effortless, and convenient. Have a nice leak-proof bottle right beside your desk and bring it with you wherever you go.

Don’t skip daily vitamins

I’ve gone without vitamins for a week and vitamin deficiencies really do affect my energy levels.

Take additional supplements like Vitamin B12

When I got my blood test done a few years ago, I was pretty normal with everything except that my “blood cells were too big.” As someone who rarely eats meat, I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, which is the reason why I have Macrocytic anemia.

You can read more about the benefits of Vitamin B12 here.

Exercise

You don’t have to run a mile or lift weights or get a gym membership. Just 15 minutes of walking per day will help because that is better than nothing.

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Water

Apple Cider Vinegar has many health benefits including controlling blood sugar levels (and having unstable blood sugar levels is a major cause of fatigue). However, because of its acidity, it must be diluted with water (ideally 1 tbsp for every 8 fluid ounces of water). I personally don’t drink it with water because I like adding it to soup and using it as a flavor enhancer in meals.

Eat nourishing foods

Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, lean meats, fish, eggs, and anything that isn’t processed. Chemicals, artificial flavorings, and preservatives can make you more sluggish because your body can’t process them properly or turn them into energy.

Have a regular sleeping routine and avoid naps

Go to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time every morning. Avoid naps because they can throw off your sleep cycle. But if you don’t have a regular sleeping routine, it will come as shock to your system if you sleep at 3 AM one night and then suddenly go to bed at 10 PM the next night. I would suggest going back half an hour per night and then sticking to the ideal time for you to go to bed.

If none of the above things work, then there may be an underlying condition that cannot be treated by yourself. In that case, seek a medical professional.

What If You Don't Have A "Why?"

“Find your why.”

The word “why” has now become an increasingly popular buzzword, especially for millennials who spend more time scrolling through other people’s lives than living their own, denying that it’s no different from their parents’ “Keeping up with the Joneses” mode of living.

Nobody wants to live a life without a purpose. Nobody wants to be unmotivated or stuck in a dead-end position. Nobody wants to suffer a life of hardship or wander around without a destination to look forward to.

But the problem is, most of us are motivated by two things: survival and ego. We want to avoid danger and discomfort. And after that’s over, we set our sights on being better than our competitors and enemies so that we can prolong our existence.

However, the end goal of beating down anyone who’s vying for the same reward is a narcissistic and selfish goal. So anyone who wants to attain anything they lack must have a why that sounds pleasing and noble in order to be more likable because being more likable means that they’re better able to sneak their way to the top without anyone doubting their motives. They’re able to get support from people who find some escapist short-term reliefs in their why.

But if you’re consistently feeling stuck and unmotivated even when you have many big dreams, there’s a reason for that. You’re just not meant for an extraordinary life. You’re not meant “to change how people live,” or solve a complicated problem on the national or global level. You’re not meant to rise from obscurity and live in the spotlight. You’re not meant to have a successful six-figure side hustle by the age of 23, nor are you guaranteed overnight success after you’ve suffered from not getting what you want because going through hardships and failures still doesn’t entitle you to a good life afterward.

Maybe you’ll be like the majority of the population and will never be heard or recognized for achieving something great because you’re not as great as you think you are. Maybe you’re not destined for legendary success, no matter how much you bully yourself into toughening up, in hopes of fighting back against social, environmental, and economic constraints that keep you in place.

Not everyone is entitled to be at the top 1% of the world. So why do we try? Why do internet marketers still tell people that if you apply enough willpower and think positive enough, you can make it and become super successful and prove all your haters wrong?

It’s all a lie.

This isn’t to say that settling is good, but it’s far more harmful to expect a grand and extraordinary dream life after a following a cookie-cutter success formula because doing so won’t give you that. Perhaps your expectations and obsession with the outcome of success are what’s causing you the most pain, not the mundane moments of everyday life.

You don’t have to go viral to get back at those who thought you were weird, unsuccessful, and stupid.

You don’t have to get back at anyone at all.

You don’t have to try so hard to prove that you’re worth something in a field you don’t even want to pursue.

You don’t have to be passionate about your endeavors all the time.

You don’t have to force yourself to come up with a bombastic why and write it all over your wall.

You don’t have to share your why publicly.

You don’t have to force yourself to make your life more epic, meaningful, or noble than it actually is because chances are, you just want to enjoy yourself and be happy without worrying about how people are judging how ordinary your life story might be.

And if you don’t have a why, it’s okay to take your time to find one that’s truly yours.

Your Fears Are Better At Predicting The Future Than Your Hopes

Fear has such a negative connotation.

Self-help and productivity gurus tell you that you need to get rid of your fear and eliminate it from your thinking in order to achieve “the life of your dreams.” They claim that because of your fears, you’re not growing, you’re stifled, and you’re faced with insurmountable obstacles.  

“Overcome your fear,” they like to say.

What sounds self-empowering is actually quite harmful to your psyche because you can’t simply “overcome” all of your fears with a list of soothing words or positive affirmations that aren’t even true.

Fear will always exist within you, whether you like it or not. It’s part of being alive and living in a world full of uncertainties. With uncertainty, comes fear.

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t listen to your fears, especially your fears of the future.  

Newsflash: Your fears are good at predicting the future. Far more than you think.

If you think you’re going to be laid off and fired at some point, you’re probably right. If you think you’re going to run out of money, you’re probably right. If you think you’re unable to find a stable footing in life, you’re probably right. If you think your big dream will go up in flames, you’re probably right.

That’s because fear is realistic. It’s pragmatic. Fear of the worst likely outcome is there to protect you from inevitable disappointment. It’s there to shatter your illusions of easily attainable prosperity and delusions of grandeur. Fear is good at predicting what you will happen if you do not do anything to change yourself today or make any effort to step out of your comfort zone. You’re going to experience the worst possible outcome if you do not keep up with the shifting uncertainties of the world. That’s what fear is trying to tell you.

Fear is the most accurate in predicting the future. People who suppress their fears or worse, pretend that they don’t even exist, are most likely to be disappointed down the road. And end up failing because they haven’t mentally prepared themselves to deal with unpredictable circumstances.

When you’re afraid, it means you really care about your next steps. It means you’re interested in the outcome and you want things to go well, in spite of how much fear is making you believe that all things will end up in abysmal failure. While you are more likely to fail than succeed in this hyper-competitive world, ignoring your fears will do more harm than good.

Ignoring your fears is not the same as conquering them.

What you really need to do is acknowledge that your fears are right, but you have the power to change and adapt based on what you predict is most likely to happen. If your fear is telling you that you’re going to get laid off, you’ll feel so much discomfort that you’re compelled to change and find new opportunities elsewhere. If your fear is telling you that your passion project is going to fail, you’ll be compelled to change your direction and pursue something else that you’re more likely to succeed in.

Even when you’re afraid, it’s not good to ignore your fears. Acknowledge that they exist and do something about them. They are trying to warn you about an inevitably doomed future if you do not start acting now. If you’re experiencing constant fear in your life, it’s because there’s something in your life that you haven’t resolved yet and you’re not doing enough to improve your situation. 

Although fears can predict the future, albeit a bleak one, being fully aware of their presence is better than brushing them aside with platitudes that don’t mean anything. The best way to create a future you love in spite of your fears is to embrace the uncertainty ahead, know what you have to offer, be more observant of the world around you, and adapt accordingly.  

Your fears may be best at predicting the future, but only if you do nothing about their existence.

8 Things People Of The Present Do Differently

It is no secret that humans are chronic worriers, though some more than others. People who have a hard time letting go of the past definitely worry a lot and overthink all the things they’ve done, which they believe people are judging them for, much to the detriment of their mental health.

But the truth is that it all doesn’t matter. Even when the past has its firm grip on you, there’s nothing beneficial about putting yourself in fear of your future based on what you did wrong in the past, and there is always a chance to change in the present. To start over. To be able to see things for what they are instead of through a lens of dark and unresolved emotions. There’s nothing more freeing than having the ability to pursue anything without any guilt of the past holding you back.

And here are some things people of the present do differently:

  1. They jump right into the things they intend to do on any given day without thinking of all the things that could go wrong, based on something that happened before.

  2. They don’t worry about instantaneous perfection or how others might perceive them because they recognize that in the moment, all that matters is keeping the momentum going.

  3. They are incredibly grateful for where they are now, even when it’s not what they expected in the past. Even when they haven’t fulfilled every wish or whimsy of their past selves.

  4. They’ve come to accept the past for what it is, not because they’ve repressed their memories, but because they’ve allowed themselves to feel what they feel and spend conscious effort in reflecting on certain events to see where they can make room for continuous growth.

  5. They don’t accuse or blame others for their past misfortunes. They recognize that an argument is ineffective when it brings up past events over and over again, especially when it’s used to attack someone’s character and deficiencies.

  6. They get more done. Because they aren’t burdened by who they were before and the expectations that came with it, they are able to go about their days with less time spent on overthinking their decisions and wondering if anything will go wrong.

  7. They plan for the future in a healthy way. They know the importance of having a few major goals that would help them thrive, but they aren’t obsessed with having every little detail planned out or getting upset with how much more work they still need to do to attain that future. Instead, they realize that while having an idea is helpful for being prepared, they ultimately cannot have the final say in how the future will turn out and they’ve embraced uncertainties.

  8. They love who they are and practice self-care by giving themselves enough to enjoy on any given day.

Why Your Dreams Are Making You Discontent

If you’re a perpetual daydreamer, you know what it feels like to spend hours and hours creating a life you’d love in your head (maybe while looking images from Pinterest or blogs). And you probably know how painful it is to stare bleakly into space and being either bored or anxious with your present reality after being swept away from a daydream in which your current struggles are either smaller or nonexistent.

You might think the world outside of you, your current life, or external factors are making you unhappy, bored, or anxious. And you might be thinking that daydreaming about the somedays is going to help you manifest that daydream into real life if those dreams should propel you to work harder to get there.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but your dreams are making you discontent. They’re making you depressed, ungrateful, and downright lazy.

Daydreaming is a coping mechanism which hides your underlying fear of never being good enough, never doing enough, and never proving yourself enough.

Daydreaming diverts your attention from pressing problems that you’re too afraid to face. And these problems often relate to careers, money, and generally having lack of control over these things.

People are motivated by pleasure and comfort - they want to reduce the time spent operating in fight-or-flight mode (which often occurs when they face harsh circumstances, toxic work environments, condescending people, and emergency situations).

But some people aren’t merely satisfied with just pleasure and comfort. These kind of people are motivated by purpose. They want to do something useful so that they feel like their lives have meaning. They want to do it in their own way and not be told how to go about it.

And the best way to do both is to do something you’re good at that challenges you (without being too perplexing), work with supportive and like-minded people, and make a good enough of a livable income to avoid living just in survival mode. Just so you have more control over your life.

However, the truth is, this is a reality for only a few people. Most people are barely hanging by a thread and have no hope of recovery if an emergency should occur. Some people can live comfortably, but they are miserable in their jobs in toxic work environments. And only the few at the very top control the world and keep getting richer for it.

Daydreaming might seem like a reasonable thing to do. To avoid this reality. To avoid the bleakness of the future and all of the horrible things that will happen to the majority of people who are helpless against problems that are too big for them. It feels good for a time, but then it slowly seeps out of you and leaves you empty.

But like it or not, we all have to deal with Social Darwinism in our everyday lives. The strongest and fittest will survive, conquer, and thrive. Those who have no talents, no persistence, no access to opportunities, and no emotional support will end up living in destitution and without any hope of overpassing the strong ones. That’s how life works. That’s how it works in the animal kingdom. And that’s how it works with humanity. Toil, struggle, and more toil and struggle. An endlessly raging battle.

Your daydreams are making you discontent because you have no way of making them real since there are financial, time, and physical constraints. You have no control over situations because much of success depends on being accepted by the right people who can give you opportunities to prove yourself and keep building upon what you already have. You have to prove that you’re good enough, regardless of what your dreams might be. Your dreams don’t matter to people because they want to know how you can help them, not how you can use your dreams to comfort yourself.

You need to shift your awareness from a distant future to right now. And ask yourself honestly how you can improve yourself every day so that you act accordingly whenever difficult situations arise and whenever you have to prove your worth to people in order to ascend higher than you ever would be if you just remain stagnant.

No matter what’s going on in your life, this is a reality that most people have to face. Following your dreams is not the answer. Believing that you’re special and deserving of opportunities is not the answer.

In order to succeed, you need to be able to solve problems in the best way possible with your given constraints. You need to adapt to your environment for a time until you become good enough to make it adapt to you.

In the end, all we have is what’s within us and the more we’re able to evolve into more ideal versions of ourselves, then perhaps we can all have more control over our lives so that we’re not just drifting off into dreamland without facing problems head-on.

And this is what we all have to learn.

Why I Deleted My Twitter

*Update: I reactivated my Twitter, but much of my thoughts and criticisms on it are still true

So I did something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time and got rid of Twitter!

This June, I made a Twitter account that ended up gaining only 10 followers. Back in the day (circa 2012), it was easy for me to gain a high number of followers (I think I had about 100 when I first made a Twitter).

Nowadays, it’s so incredibly common for bloggers, social media specialists, and digital marketers to say that you need to be active on all social media in order to get more sales, be seen as competent enough to be employed, and show how relevant you are in your industry. They all advocate having the big three social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but if you can add more (Tumblr, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.) then that would show that you’re social media-savvy and even better than someone who has only three accounts.

I have a problem with this idea. I find it incredibly exhausting when I have to update three social media accounts with the same information. I also find that Twitter is a complete waste of time because I gain nothing but spam from being on there.

As a new blogger and someone who’s just starting out in the most competitive year yet for bloggers and content creators who also wear many hats (editor, digital marketer, social media manager, graphic designer, SEO analyst, web designer, CEO, etc.), it is incredibly discouraging to keep up with something that I don’t gain any value from, and I don’t want to promote my Twitter account because nobody wants to be sold to and there are already too many people trying to promote their own social media that it comes across as spammy and attention-seeking. Too many people want to be a celebrity on the Internet and everyone wants to gain a follow from everyone. I also don’t think it’s effective to spread myself too thin across three social media accounts because I’d rather focus on setting myself apart from the crowd of bloggers, have more quiet time unplugged, and enjoy my life without the pressure to be active on a social media account that serves no purpose for my long-term goals.

Here are 15 reasons why I deleted my Twitter for good:

  1. Spam and incredibly meaningless comments/conversations

  2. Disingenuous and one-sided relationships (I’m following you only because I think you want to follow me, but if you don’t follow me within the next two weeks, I’ll unfollow you)

  3. I use relevant hashtags, but they aren’t as effective as they were in 2012. I have probably tweeted 100 times and only gained 10 followers.

  4. The same information can easily be posted on Instagram (which I do prefer using)

  5. I prefer to read long blog posts, thoughtful essays, and articles. I also prefer to read short quotes when they’re presented in a visually-appealing manner (hello, Instagram).

  6. So much pressure to be everywhere and be everything to everyone

  7. I have no interest in seeing redundant information that I can get somewhere else

  8. Hate-fueled debates and mass hysteria

  9. Annoying GIFs and trashy, poorly-edited images that aren’t relevant

  10. There’s the pressure to follow the same people three times (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) just to show that I’m a loyal fan, but I don’t even read their tweets or go to their Facebook page

  11. Relying on Twitter for updates is a lazy practice, and I think that using Instagram Stories is a more engaging and efficient way to keep followers updated

  12. I need to go to bit url every time I want to post a link (for me, this is a small annoyance)

  13. According to Derek Thompson in “The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting,” only 1% click on links to articles. Just 1% and spending an hour on Twitter trying to look smart and relevant does not justify itself because who really cares about the underdogs when the superstars get all the attention?

  14. I’m the type of person that prefers visiting a writer’s website directly for updates, not Twitter, and I personally believe that you’re a more loyal follower if you visit a few of your favorite writers’ websites instead of mindlessly following a bunch of people you don’t really care about

  15. I am not against companies using Twitter, I just don’t personally find any use for it myself because I have more essential things to do

26 Toxic Ideas That Hold You Back

1. You are only worth something if you can give a quantitative measure of the result.

2. Coping mechanisms will make you feel better.

3. Everybody is constantly evaluating you and waiting for you to fall.

4. How you look and present yourself is everything.

5. Sucking up to the "right" people is the only way to keep your position.

6. It makes you look selfish and entitled if you ask for anything that will contribute to your holistic wellbeing.

7. You can't follow your dreams because dreamers are out of touch with reality. But you also won't do well in a corporate job because you're not competitive enough. You're destined to fail, period.

8. You need to do things you hate in order for you to deserve things that you love.

9. By keeping up with everyone else, your survival is guaranteed.

10. Your passions don't matter. 

11. If you aren't working, you're wasting time.

12. If you work hard enough, you will succeed. 

13. You need to prove that you are worthy of success.

14. What other people think of you is far more important than what you think of yourself.

15. What you do in the past will determine where you'll be in the future.

16. You are only worth something if you are better than most people.

17. All mistakes are unforgivable. People will remember them regardless of whether or not you improve.

18. You need to spend time with people you don't like just to get somewhere in life.

19. One criticism of you is worth more than 100 praises. It defines you.

20. Nobody is going to give you a chance, so you need to be either very charismatic and manipulative or very callous and competitive to get people's attention.

21. You can't be genuine or real with others because they'll use that against you.

22. You can't be fulfilled unless you can quantify your achievements and other people can validate your success.

23. If you'd rather spend most of your time alone, then you must be abnormal and sad.

24. You must look happy 100% of the time and show it.

25. Being remembered for what you do is everything in life.

26. Shoving your true feelings under the rug is the only way to avoid letting them affect you.

10 Reasons Why You Are Stuck, Lost, and Helpless (and How You Can Change That)

1. You were indoctrinated to believe that failure and scarcity are guaranteed to happen to you, if you don't follow this path: get good grades, study something that's in demand, be anyone but yourself, work hard, and get any job just for the salary, without considering whether you like it or not.

As humans, we operate to avoid pain, seek pleasure and comfort, and fit into the groups we identify with. Because of the way the modern world is structured, we are conditioned to follow a certain path to prove how useful we are to society, which causes the majority of people to panic when they see someone they know trying to forge their own path, exit the rat race, and actually take the time to stop and reflect on the value they can bring.

2. Throughout childhood, youth, and now in adulthood, you never quite fit in, and no matter how hard you tried, it felt unnatural and forced, so you believe that it's wrong even to introduce yourself because you think you need to be "worthy" (be 10x better than everyone) for people to consider even talking to you.

You know that success is 10% being good at something and finding ways to improve, 10% persistence, and 80% networking. You have tried to master the first two, but you are afraid to introduce yourself to people who could potentially open the doors to opportunities because you think that you have to be as perfect as you possibly can be or else they'd not want to help you out. This fear of insufficiency stems from insecurity and the obsession with comparing your beginning to someone else's middle. As a result, you self-sabotage and rob yourself of the chance to better your circumstances because of your overwhelming need to prove that you can be better than the people who have what you want (which causes you believe that you need to do someone else's 5-years' worth of work in a month just to get your foot in the door).

3. You wake up too late and don't get a restful sleep. You either sleep too little or too much.

You have irregular sleeping times and often feel groggy throughout the day, which makes you less capable of doing the work that you could potentially be doing. You know you should wake up early, but you are unable to because fatigue has more power over you. This causes you to be helpless and uninspired.

4. You waste time and money on entertainment. 

Entertainment never fills you. It only provides a temporary state of "happiness," which really isn't happiness at all because it is escape from reality. If you don't find your way back to reality, reality will come back to you. And reality pains you, so the cycle repeats, until you realize that you are stuck but are too afraid to do anything about it.

5. You are too busy trying to be two (or more) different types of people - what you already are, what your ideal future self would be, what society expects you to be, what your parents expect you to be, etc.

You may have an idea of what you'd want in life (aside from stability, you want to establish an emergency-proof way of living, so that you can enjoy life and afford to slow down and not be in such a hurry to fight for survival), but your current circumstances, family situation, and personal struggles cause you to put off your dream for tomorrow day after day, until you are crippled by complacency and fear, so you start to believe that you cannot change your life at all unless someone approves of your life choices. 

6. You allow the past to hold you down, ruminate over your failures, and blame yourself for not making progress. 

You ruminate over every little detail of your past, no matter how insignificant or trivial they may be today. You think more about the "should have's" rather than the "to do's," and allow the past to paralyze you and control how you live today. You operate in fight-or-flight mode and are too scared to make a small change to improve your life because you believe that your mistakes are too difficult to overcome.

7. You are either too stingy with the money you already have and possess a scarcity mindset, which stresses you out and causes you to operate in fight-or-flight mode and miss out on many opportunities that could increase your earning potential OR you spend like there's no tomorrow on things that do not help you get closer to your goals.

You may be afraid to spend money on nice clothing, so you hide in your house and don't make an effort to go out and meet professionals that work in a field you want to work in. You may be afraid to drive because you're worried that you'll get into an accident or pay more for maintenance. You believe that you won't ever make money in the future, so you scrimp and save like a mad person, and but these actions do nothing to ease your worries of having enough because savings are finite and will be depleted at some point in time. Saving alone won't help you, it will only hold you back and rob you of your sanity and energy. You need to focus more on what will increase your income like improving your skills, maximize your earning potential, and not be afraid to invest in yourself (whether it's buying a book, signing up for workshops, attending conferences, buying a nice suit, or buying software packages). It is unrealistic to expect that being a cheapskate without income will get you ahead.

On the flip side, people who feel like they lack control often spend like there's no tomorrow because they think that the future won't arrive and all they have to do is enjoy today, since today's all they have control over. This also causes them to remain stagnant and stuck in life.

8. You know what you should be doing to better yourself, but your fear of failure keeps you stuck.

You know what steps you need to take (after reading tons of self-help books and articles), but you are afraid of change because change means being uncomfortable and possibly failing in whatever you're trying to accomplish. 

9. You seek comfort more than intrinsic fulfillment. 

You allow fear to be your dictator, and this causes you to remain helpless in a situation where you can barely afford to pay bills, you are always rushing to one place to the next, you cannot even take five minutes to rest and evaluate your life, and you feel like other people's care for you is contingent on whether or not you do as they say. And remaining in this toxic environment causes you to believe that you'll always be helpless and you'll never have time to build a stable foundation for yourself because you always fear that someone's always evaluating you and has the power to cut you off. Thus, you lie to yourself and say that you are content with just living in comfort and getting by. 

10. You haven't been honest with yourself or going after what you want.

You allowed your parents to pick your major for you, which caused you to be so anxious and caught up with avoiding failure that you actually are less successful than those who know their strengths and are able to market themselves, regardless of what statistics say. You picked a job that you are barely able to handle because it isn't a good fit and you can't seem to find the time or energy to learn new skills that would help you find a better one, since you are afraid that you won't be able to pay the bills. You haven't been putting yourself out there because you think you are unworthy to show what you are capable of, since you don't believe that you are capable of anything, which stems from the feeling that others are ahead of you and you can never catch up. 

You need to be honest with yourself by identifying three key things: what you're good at, what kind of place you can excel in, and what energizes you. There's absolutely no room for fearing what other people think, fear of never being able to succeed, and fear of running out of resources for basic survival. These fears keep you stuck where you are, and you need to recognize that you need to start being honest with yourself, adapting your vision to current market demands, and sharing your story with the right people.

How You Can Change

A lot of these problems are rooted in fear. Fear causes us to stagnate and remain in less-than-favorable circumstances both through our own perceptions of reality (one common belief is that failure is guaranteed for the masses, while success is only reserved for the elite) and through the way we've been conditioned to live. And the scarcity mindset causes people to believe that they'll never succeed or ever make money in the future, so they remain in places where they cannot excel or build genuine relationships. But you need to recognize that even though the "system" feeds upon people's fears, blaming those above you will only make you even more helpless, resentful, and bitter. This will only you further away from finding opportunities, since that kind of attitude is repulsive and people will not want to help you out, if they think that you have nothing to contribute. 

If you believe that change can happen in one day, you will remain stuck because change is overwhelming, especially if you are so used to feeling helpless for much of your life and can't find time to make choices that would help you prosper. Change must happen to small increments in order for you to make progress. 

  1. Know your limits. Eliminate what you are wasting time on and understand that you cannot be impossibly perfect to everyone.

  2. Know the top three fields that you can excel in. And don't just pick any random job or scramble around in a fight-or-flight mode.

  3. Identify what you can improve on and focus on being better than yesterday.

  4. Communicate with people and tell them what you have to offer.

  5. Establish a daily routine that facilitates the attainment of your long-term goals.

Feelings of being stuck, lost, and helpless may never seem to go away. But if you have a job you enjoy, have pursuits along the side that you're passionate about, and connect with people who truly understand you, you are better equipped to handle difficult life circumstances.