Written by Paul Angone Life is hard.
So why do we consistently make it harder than it has to be? Life is complex enough without adding a bunch of baggage specifically designed to make it more difficult, more frustrating, and break down more frequently on the side of the road.
Why do we do this? On a daily basis.
How do we lay all the dead weight down to rest?
Well, here are six ways you might be making life more difficult than it has to be. The first one in particular is like grabbing a 1990’s box TV off the side of road, tying it around your ankle, and then trying to run at a full sprint.
6 Ways You're Making Life Much Harder Than it Has to Be
1. You’re hitched up to the gigantic dead-weight called unforgiveness.
Man, being bitter just feels so right sometimes, doesn’t it?
When by all accounts and witnesses you have every right to be utterly furious with someone, yet as you replay all the wrongs like a Spice Girls song stuck in your head, the more you obsess over it, the worse and worse you feel.
You have every right not to forgive, yet holding tight to that anger is like letting that person repeat the offenses over and over—completely tearing you apart while doing nothing to them. As author Anne Lamott described best:
“In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott
Now hear me, I don’t know your situation. I don’t know the stuff you’ve been subjected too. Yet, forgiveness is more for you than it is for the person you’re forgiving. It allows you to be free and move forward.
Like getting over someone you loved and thought was the “The One”, forgiveness doesn’t always happen overnight. In my life, forgiveness has been a process that’s taken a lot of prayer and some counseling. And it’s not easy.
Unhitch that box TV and never look back. Unforgiveness is a weight that is too heavy to carry.
2. You’re trying to solve your big life problems late at night
I’ve realized in my life that late at night isn’t the best time to try and solve problems. Instead of trying to solve life’s big problems late at night as an anxious exhaustion swallows me like a black fog, I should just try something more productive–like going to sleep.
Morning is magnificently redemptive.
3. You’re secretly searching for perfect
The search for perfect is the perfect way to be perfectly miserable.
You’ll never have all the answers. Or enough information. Or the perfectly uninhibited view.
For years, I think much of my angst came because I was subconsciously searching for that perfect path to my future that didn’t exist.
As I write in my new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!, “after college I expected a dove to fly down and deliver the detailed plans for my life, tipping his hat like a friendly 1950’s milkman, but someone must’ve shot that dove because I haven’t seen him.”
The only thing you’re going to find on your search for perfection is a bunch of imperfections to be depressed about.
4. You don’t utilize an Entrepreneurial Mindset enough
No, I’m not saying becoming an entrepreneur is going to solve all your problems because whether working in a cubicle or for yourself, it’s not going to be perfect (see what I did there).
Yet, I do think you would make life much easier if you became intentional about having an Entrepreneurial Mindset. What do I mean?
In my Finding Your Signature Sauce course, I discuss four different mindsets that I believe would change our lives if we intentionally modeled them–the Entrepreneurial mindset being one of the four.
At the core, I see the power of the Entrepreneurial mindset as the ability to see challenges as opportunities. Entrepreneurs make a living getting excited about problems they see because they can work on creating the solution. Obstacles are opportunities, challenges the trampoline to their purpose.
I just finished reading a great book by my favorite historian David McCullough on The Wright Brothers, who famously made the first successful manned flight with their own homemade airplane, and it was amazing to see their entrepreneurial mindset at work.
While the leading experts around the world with well-funded, never-ending resources at hand were trying (and dramatically failing) to become the first to fly, it was these two brothers, two bicycle mechanics who didn’t have a college education, who saw each new problem standing in their way of flight as one amazing step closer to solving the problem.
The Wright brothers were brilliant, but also doggedly optimistic that each challenge they faced was another key insight into solving the mystery of flight.
Successful entrepreneurs never let their epic failures stop them from possibly failing again.
What if instead of dreading and avoiding the problems in your life, they became your new business ideas, non-profit, invention, way to serve someone, etc. How much easier would life then be?
5. You’re on social media way too much
Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, then jumped off and thought, “Wow, that was a great use of my time! Oh, and I feel so much better about my life too.”
I think only Mark Zuckerberg, and that weird guy who sits way too close to you at Starbucks, does that.
People used to go to their 10-year reunion and have to make it appear for one night that their life was amazing beyond belief. Now, we’re trying to pull that appearance off every second of every day. It is an impossible, crazy-making, endeavor.
We consume social media like a two-year-old downing birthday cake–we can’t get enough until we get more than we can handle.
There’s no better way to become depressed about everything you don’t have than by staring at the illusion of what everyone else apparently does.
Like I wrote in 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, don’t check Facebook when…
Now I’m beginning to think there should be even more stipulations than I originally thought.
6. You're trying to figure all this out on your own
We all need help. Or at least, I know I need a lot of help. From friends, mentors, family, and most importantly from my faith.
If I had to carry life's problems all on my own, I'd have been crushed to death a long time ago. I know enough about me to know that on my own I'm definitely not enough.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments on this article: How do you resonate with the ways we make life more difficult discussed above?
About Paul Angone
Paul Angone is the author of All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job!, 101 Secrets for your Twenties and the creator ofAllGroanUp.com, a place for those asking “what now?” Snag his free ebook on the 10 Key Ingredients to Finding Your Signature Sauce and follow him at @PaulAngone.