I don’t know about you, but a lot has taken place in the first half of this year, and it has left me at times uncomfortable, sometimes worried, and sometimes afraid. I have wondered if this is simply a result of being older, technology providing me with information overload, or the media doing what the media does.
My guess is all those things are true, but I know it is much more complicated than that. No matter what the reason(s) is or are, this is our world today. To be clear, with or without all the things I listed, inflation, crime, and COVID are real, and politics are a mess, and these are just a few of the things each of us is being asked to deal with.
My objective today is to share five ideas on how to deal with these negative issues and begin living your best life.
For full disclosure, I have no degrees in Psychology, Psychiatry, or any form of counseling. My insights have been earned through the College of Hard Knocks, friends and family who care about me, and thirty-six plus years helping people like you.
- Who's in charge here? The correct answer is “You Are.” Why are you allowing someone else to run your life? It's your choice on how you will allow events to impact you. Let’s consider the “Smart Phone” our best frenemy (friend/enemy) as an example. Mobile phones weren't around until the early 80s. If my research is correct, the iPhone is only 15 years old. We just might be happier if we embraced the concept that less is more. Decide what information and how much of it you should be consuming. I am not suggesting you stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is perfect; it’s not. Remember, you are an adult, you are in charge, and as Nancy Regan famously said, “Just Say No.”
- Surround yourself with people who will make you better. We all know people whose only goal in life is to drain every ounce of positivity from you. Surround yourself with the people who will lift you up, not drag you down. Those people who care about you and want you to succeed are out there; find them and keep them close.
- Focus on today and then the future. What took place in the past is done. There is nothing you can do about it. Focus on what will bring you joy today and enhance what you plan on doing and enjoying in the future. Here is an example - In my many years of being able to work with individuals, there was always that small group that had never wanted to live in the present. They were always planning for that great time they were going to have, the "When I Retire mentality”. I have found one of three things would take place with these individuals. Best case, everything worked as planned, and they have never been happier. Second, they retire, but their expectations are never met for any reason. Third, they have died before retiring, and never enjoy the life they were living or their dream retirement. "The past is behind; learn from it. The future is ahead; prepare for it. The present is here; live it."
- Be flexible. We know things will change. Today we have access to eight hundred television channels compared to the four channels many of us grew up with. We can purchase a vehicle that runs on electricity instead of gas. Heck, my grandfather had a broom factory. Things have changed, and they will continue to change. You will be happiest if you deal with it. I am not suggesting you blindly follow. Simply, for good or bad, this is now our normal. There are all kinds of examples. How you deal with change will either allow you to head down a path to happiness or it will block your way.
- Take action. I believe lack of happiness is directly related to the amount of control we have over our circumstances. Imagine you have little or no control in a situation – traffic, a line to pay for something, a bad relationship; we become frustrated, angry, maybe depressed. Don’t accept this is how it must be. If we are unhappy at work, create a plan on your own or with others to fix the problem. If we are concerned about our health, do some research, and schedule an appointment to see your doctor. Don’t be afraid because of the answers you might get; you need to know. You deserve to live your best life. You need to take charge.
I feel much better just writing these things down. I would not be surprised if after reading this, you are thinking to yourself, “I already knew that.” Of course, you did. The problem is that we know these things but ignore them because it is easier to keep the status quo. Change is hard.
Now that you have read this piece, this is my suggestion: get off your rear end and take charge. Let’s do something about the things that are not letting us live the life we want. My mentor Howard would tell me, “If it is to be, it's up to me.” We are here to help.
To the Good Life.