Do you have a problem or problems that, for one reason or another, you choose to live with? Do keep saying to yourself or others “I’m going to do something about this problem”, but never follow through on that statement? Maybe you think you truly intend to, but “life always gets in the way”. Does this sound familiar?
If it does sound familiar, you are not alone. Many millions of people suffer from this problem. While some choose to be verbal about it, some simply choose not to. As one of these people, you probably choose to delay addressing a problem until you “have what you need”. Do you have a plan in place to stop life from getting in the way or to get what you “need” in order to solve that problem or are you just expecting it to work itself out? If you need something, are you doing anything to get it, or are you waiting on it to fall out of the sky and into your lap?
If you aren’t happy with your situation now, and you don’t do something to correct what’s bothering you, you’re still going to be unhappy with your situation a year from now, 5 years from now, 10, 15, 20 years from now, and so on. It’s going to take a process of identifying the problem, addressing it, and taking action to solve the problem in order to improve your situation.
It seems that so many people say “I wish I had more money to __________” (fill in the blank), or “If only I had more time to __________.” You probably know at least 1 person who says 1 or both of these things year after year. Perhaps it isn’t money or time. It could be a need to eliminate credit card debt, a search for a meaningful relationship, a need to improve your diet, or many other things. We could substitute the above examples with “I wish I had more/less __________, so I could __________.” Why is that person still saying that after so many years? Do you think they could have done something a long time ago to at least put him or her on the path to either make more money or free up more time?
Many people are stuck in jobs that they hate. Either it’s a dead end job, it doesn’t pay enough, there’s no room for advancement, they dislike the work they’re doing, they dislike their coworkers or boss, or a combination of things. Yet so many people will work in these conditions, hating their jobs, hating the very idea of getting up and going to work, which in some cases results in people hating their lives, all because they can’t seem to bring themselves to do anything about it. Furthermore, millions of people are over their heads in debt, and are miserable from drowing in the stress of not knowing how to solve the problem.
I could sit here and tell the person who needs more money to get a second job, look for a better paying job, try freelancing, or find a creative way to make extra money, and I could tell the person who hates their job to have the courage to find a new job, change career paths, learn new skills in fields of work that interest them, etc. For the person who needs more free time, I could point out the many various ways in which that person, and many people, wastes time throughout the day, things that are not done time efficiently, and I could tell that person to learn better time management skills.
If I were to do that however, these people would shut down, and what would follow would be such a mind-numbing barrage of so many excuses for why those people “can’t” do any of those things mentioned above, that it would probably kill off a significant amount of brain cells in the person who chose to listen to those excuses.
Excuses are Barriers
When you give an excuse for why you can’t do something, you’re putting up a wall between you and your desire. You’re essentially creating a new problem for why you haven’t solved your problem. You must first tear down the wall you have built – destroy that excuse – before you’re going to get to the real problem and get on your way to achieving your desire. Excuses prevent you from enjoying life as much as you could if only you’d stop making excuses for why you can’t.
You have to begin work on creating a new frame of mind for yourself. That is, a frame of mind where excuses aren’t allowed – where you don’t allow yourself to build walls between you and your desires. When you begin eliminating not only excuses, but the very tolerance for excuses, you will quickly find yourself beginning to move in a direction that you find much more fulfilling.
Fulfillment is Happiness
Many people don’t realize this. Have you ever built/created/designed/written/done something that left you feeling fulfilled? Didn’t that fulfillment give you a much deeper sensation of happiness than eating junk food while watching the latest reality television show?
Stop trying in vein to achieve happiness through escapism. Escapism is the process of filling much of your time with shallow activies such as watching television or movies, aimlessly shopping for the next toy or article of clothing that will ultimately leave you completely unfulfilled, pointlessly surfing the internet the same way you channel surf the tv, finding other ways to fill your mind and your time with useless garbage, etc, or worse, abusing alcohol or drugs.
I’m not saying you should never watch television or shop aimlessly or mindlessly surf the web. I’m not one of those people who believe such activities will corrupt you and rot you from the inside out. What I am saying is that instead of spending 4-5 hours watching television after you get home from work, watch tv for an hour, then spend time doing something more fulfilling. Eventually, you’ll realize you can use that time to start addressing issues, solving your problems and getting more of what you want out of life.
The more you try to avoid your problems with escapism, the easier it becomes. Each time you encounter a new problem, it makes you stressed, and you try to relieve that stress through escapism. This only makes it easier to keep avoiding problems, making excuses, and searching for happiness through escapism.
Tools for Solving Problems
You must not approach a problem from a standpoint of trying to jump directly to the reward of having the problem solved. Take baby steps. Form a plan of attack for how you should best tackle a problem. Carry out that plan of attack one step at a time. Don’t focus on the problem itself, or the end goal, just focus on the particular step you’re currently on in your journey to solve that problem. You will often get at least as much satisfaction out of solving the problem and learning from the experience as you will from the end reward.
Just as you have to create a new frame of mind where excuses are not tolerated and escapism is minimalized, you have to create a new approach to looking at problems.
Stop seeing problems as elements of life that are preventing you from having what you want.
Start seeing them as a chance to learn and grow, a chance to find new ways to create fulfillment in your life, and a chance to achieve deeper and sustained happiness through that fulfillment.
After all, it’s not actually the money/better job/increased free time that you want directly. What you really want are the things that those will allow you to buy/enjoy/do in your continued search for fulfillment.
Once you begin minimalizing escapism and are replacing that time with more equitable activities, whether they involve learning a new skill, creating a plan to attack a problem, completing odd jobs that you’ve been putting off, or creating something of value, I’m willing to wager that you’ll begin reaping the rewards of increased fulfillment, and thus a more potent happiness virtually immediately.
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