Decisions are hard, and we make a lot of them every day, most of them unconsciously.
When we think about our decisions, it’s easy to get lost in negative thoughts and get the complete opposite of our desired outcome. In reality, we get to choose every action in our lives, the good and the bad.
In many situations we choose to lose control and ownership of our decisions, we are the one driving the car; wherever we focus or intention that’s the direction we’ll end up. But what about external influences? they must certainly play a role in our approach to life. Circumstances can affect us, but only as much as we allow them to. One thing is to be afflicted by your circumstances, but losing ownership of your life because of them is unjustifiable.
It’s amazing how we so easily forget, how we slowly lose ourselves in dought; We could be having the best year of your lives at one moment and another find ourselves in a bottomless hole with no signs of getting out.
Raise your hand if you make excuses
Yep! That’s right. If there’s one thing that humans are really good at and don’t get credit for, is making excuses.
We all suffer from this, so don’t feel shame about it. We are always making excuses to avoid taking that next step that will get us closer to what we want. If we learn to be aware of them and take precautions for when the inevitably appear we can boost our quality of life super fast. If we dig deep into the essence of our excuses; we can see that they are all based out of fear. This fear will not ease away, only once we act on top of that fear; then we can move on to another and bigger one. And the game goes on and on. I like to look at fear as a mean teacher, the teacher can be scary and a total pain in the butt, but that doesn’t mean I won’t fail the grade if I complain about the injustice or daydream about, how there’s a special corner in hell waiting for him. Life is full with teachings disguised as fear that we need to take on voluntarily; if not confronted and tested, we never push our limits, we never raise the bar, never grow our abilities and stay trapped on our comfy shells. Fear might appear as the enemy, but fear is just an indicator of what we need to confront to reach that next level we want.
When we make excuses we are delaying our intention to be who we could be, at the same time we are making a decision; the decision not to act, instead of acting on that which will bring us closer to our goal we tend to drift on to a more secure and comfortable activity. At this point the enemy has taken control of the higher ground; We gave it power, We forfeited the battle without fighting, We decided to lose control. But… Who is the enemy anyway? The enemy here is ‘Resistance’.
In his book ‘The War of Art’, Stephen Pressfield explains this tricky force that he calls Resistance; Resistance is the part of our thinking that is afraid, insecure and craves comfort. Somehow Pressfield managed to find a way to illustrate how insidious is this manipulative part of us; so much so that I became afraid of my own decision making and gain a level of respect towards this resistance. I like to picture it this way: Every day when we wake up and open our eyes the battle begins; the battle between the afraid and doubtful part of ourselves (Resistance) and the hopeful and decisive part (the conscience). They duke it out every day to see how ends on top, and let me tell you that sometimes, resistance wins by knockout and not by points!
We make them all the time, thank you brain!
The truth is that you can do it and you’ve always had the power to do so, the only thing getting in your way is your feelings. You might say you can’t do it, but really you just don’t feel like doing it. It will never ever be the perfect time to act on it, the only time we can act on it is by accepting the following:
1. It will never be the right time
2. We will never feel like doing it
3. We will always feel anxious about it
4. There will be many good excuses not to do it
That’s harsh right!
But that’s reality for ya! The hard decisions made throughout life are the most stressful and demanding; also the most influential and meaningful.
We can’t help ourselves from making this excuses, it seems so natural and easy, they also feel like the right choice at times. Until you realize later on; they were not even close to being right.
Take back control
We now know we are in total control of our decisions. No matter what adversity confront us we know that we are at fault for not following through our true desires; The main perpetrator being fear, comfort and good old anxiety.
Even though we already know all of this, we still find a way to fall prey into fear and give in. Sometimes the fear is too great and the expectations even greater. It’s alright, nobody is claiming to be perfect, it’s normal to avoid pain or being uncomfortable we can all understand that, but we also understand that we can make more of an effort, we have a duty and that duty is to express our pure intentions. If you have a vision of what you want you must know that you are the one focusing the lens, you chose between doing what you set out to do or fall prey to resistance.
Acceptance is the key factor in successfully getting control. First, we need to accept that we tend to lean on the easy way, we all do. Why? Well, it’s easy to do, that’s why we do it. Second, Accept that life is a learning process, you learned to walk, you learned to speak and now you can learn to manage yourself, simple as that. It takes time and effort, the same as learning a language does. If your true desire is to achieve something, whatever it is. You need to actually spend the time to figure things out! you know get all the pieces together and actually solving the puzzle. Go Read a book, watch some youtube videos, Ask someone you that knows, get out there and gather some knowledge on it; go test it out, track your progress and see what is working and what’s not. Rationalize honestly what it would take to achieve the outcome, be honest and figure out if you have the time and drive to pull it off; no shortcuts, no magic pills, no hacks, no cutting corners. How much time and effort would it take? Am I willing to put this much time and effort? If you put in the work, you usually get what you want.
If you want it, but don’t have the time or the commitment; Maybe in another life, maybe next year. we can’t have everything all at once, but we can focus intently on one thing one year and another the next.
Once we have accepted the situation. Now we can be conscious and properly intervene, we can properly manage ourselves; now we can start to make an effort. We can’t avoid feeling anxious or having negative thoughts, but we can choose how to act upon these feelings. We allow our feelings to take over our decisionmaking from the expectation of Pain and discomfort, Sadly we already know the truth: that pain will never go away, the only way to dispose of it is to go through it. Your brain will do all it can to stop you from doing it. Sometimes you have to take a stand and be like “Shut up brain we are doing this”.
It’s unfortunate how some people find themselves re-living the same problems over and over again. Unfortunately, they’re not really solving the problem rather more like routinely keeping it in check. No wonder they feel like they have no control! We all possess the ability to problem solve, but to solve the problem we need to first sit down; think, test and fail until we find the solution.
One problem at a time
This might sound a bit cliche, and it is! We’re always looking for a freaking shortcut, a hack or a way to put less effort and get more rewards. As simple as the concept may be; we tend to get lost in the details or simply just procrastinating by always looking for “A faster way”.
It’s very overwhelming to have too many things going on at the same time, ideally, you want 2 or 3 major activities or problems you do on the day that make the day worthwhile. Every other small action can be delegated of replaced. The best approach to sorting your life this way is to have time for your major activities; to tackle the small problems one at a time until you clear the way for what you really what to put your time on. Getting rid of the not so important so the only thing left is the essential things that bring you joy. Each time shaking off a bit of pressure from your shoulders, soon enough your problems won’t seem like problems.
What pain you’ll rather have?
This part is rather simple, you can choose between two kinds of pain:
.Having the pain of pushing through that uncomfortable action you must take or live with the backlash pain that will roam around with you until you finally get the deed done. (Damm… that’s deep)
.Get all the deeds done by Friday so you can enjoy your weekend or be bugged by it all day on Saturday and Sunday.
It all depends on what kind of pain are you willing to tolerate, the pain of working or the pain of being broke. The pain of sorting yourself out or staying a hot mess. Either one, you get to choose! Now, the worse thing you can do is not choosing. You either choose to make an effort and change or at least take responsibility and accept that you chose to be this way and focus on a bigger problem.
You are the one in charge, It’s hard to change and have everything in order, but let me tell you this: is way more fun to have control over your life and not the other way around. If you think about it you’ve always had the power, you can start to make some decisions right now you don’t need someone or something to tell you. Before you go bananas and take life by the horns; remember, it’s all a learning process and to learn you first need to stop and listen.
If you have no idea where to start. Write down on a piece 2-3 things that you could do every day that will make you enjoy each day. What must go and what stays. And start making a plan on how to get there, wherever the plan is not working change the plan. It might take a while but that is the fun of it, climbing the mountain is the challenging fun part not reaching the summit.
Like always I don’t claim to have all the answers, it’s not my intentions to preach or tell anybody how they should live their lives, that’s their decision. I’m just throwing words in the air, hopefully, something clicks in your mind and you figure something that was already there. I’m trying to understand it myself as I write this.
If I could summarize my own experience on the journey of getting control of my life. I would talk about Patience: How we slowly learn to surrender to hope a bit more each day, every time getting the image more clear. I would talk about Humility: How we each day realize we don’t know as much as we would like to think. Finally consistency: How control is an everyday battle, a day to day mindset and a moment to moment decision.
Go live your life on your own terms!
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