Few years back (ok, ok, nearly 11 years ago) when I turned 30, my brother-in-law gave me a book which first sentence said “Life is difficult”.
The book was “Road Less Travelled” and the first paragraph was all on the same note;
“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths (The first of the “Four Noble Truths” which Buddha taught was “Life is suffering”). It is a great truth because once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
This reading sure is something!
I´m sure many of you can relate to this – life is, or can be, quite difficult, at least at times. But it is how we face life that defines who we are.
When we meet obstacles or if we fail in any way we can either give up or we can keep on going. Which behavior will help you reach your goals, your vision and the life that you want to live?
When you are helping little children to take their first steps they quite often stumble and even fall – do you tell them just to sit on the floor or stand up and give it another try?
How do you talk to yourself when you stumble or fall? Do you give yourself the chance to give it another try?
Of course it is not fun to stumble or fall but who told you life would always be fun and easy?
We can make our lives more fun and easy by choosing our attitude and behavior towards what life brings us.
By holding on to being positive and optimistic, yet realistic, we increase our resilience, train our resilience-muscle so to speak.
But by being negative, pessimistic and give up to every obstacle our resilience gets no training and will not work when we need it.
When life gives you difficulties think about solutions instead of feeling sorry for yourself!
If you decide to agree with me on the fact that life is difficult, or can be at times, here are my suggestions for you:
1. Be clear on what you want in life and how you want to live your life.
- It is also very important to know what you don´t want in your life.
- Visualize how you want your life to be, right now, in one year´s time, in 3-5 years and when you retire. Making a vision board might also be a good idea, seeing your dreams increases the chance for you to reach it.
2. Be clear on you strengths and your opportunities
- Think about your strengths and how you can best utilize them to live your life in the way you want it to be.
- If you need more strength in some area, go get it! By learning from others, with training or other ways you feel best.
- Map your opportunities and evaluate them.
- If you want more or different opportunities, go find them or create them.
3. Be clear on obstacles you may be facing and issues that may be hindering you on your path
- Think about ways to work around or overcome these obstacles and issues – don´t just sit on the floor when you fall, find a way to stand up and keep walking. You may have to adjust or realign your path but you have to keep on going!
- Remember, we sometimes have to fly through some turbulence and bad weather to see the sun
4. Be clear on how much this means to you and if you are willing to be committed to yourself
- “Begin with the end in mind” Stephen Covey said. Think about how you will feel when you are living your life just as you want it to be, in abundance to your needs, wants and dreams.
- Think about this feeling when you feel life is too difficult or you feel like quitting and giving up on your dream
5. Be clear on your action plan
- This will not all come true just by watching TV or surfing the internet in your free-time.
- Map up your path, where you are headed and where you want to be at any given time.
- Don´t be afraid to adjust and align as long as you are not settling. Do your best to be the best you can be, however you define that for yourself. You can be, go and experience everything that you want to.
- Remember, more elderly people regret what they didn´t do than what they did
6. Remember to celebrate every small success you have on the way!
It might also be a good idea to have an ally on this path.
Someone you trust, someone you are willing to share your dreams and vision with, someone you believe will support you when times are difficult and celebrate with you when you reach your goals.
This ally can be a family member, a friend or a coach.