On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being incredibly easy and 10 being extremely challenging, if I were to ask you to rate your daily life’s current level of difficulty, what score would you give it?
I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of you would score your life as at least a six. But even if your score did fall below this bold prediction of mine, I’m confident none of you have ever stated, “Man, I wish my life were harder.”
But what if I told you that despite never stating this desire, most of us expertly, if unintentionally, fulfill it all the time?
In hopes of giving you the keys to a simpler life, here are eight common ways you could be making your life harder than necessary, in both video and written form:
1. You Bottle Things Up Inside
When it comes to things that are largely insignificant, you’ll open up to pretty well anyone and everyone. But when it comes to addressing substantial and deep-seated issues, you keep them to yourself and adapt the “you against the world” mentality.
While all change does ultimately need to come from within, we can’t forget about the incredible power that can also be found in opening up to and seeking advice from others. Even if the person you confide in offers little of value in return, the simple act of releasing your feelings can in itself work wonders in helping you sort them out — and strengthen your friendship in the process.
2. You Open Up to the Wrong People
An extension upon number one that could be further complicating your life may be that, when you do decide to express yourself, you’re choosing the wrong people to open up to. Rather than seeking out the council of someone you can trust and know will give you honest feedback, you instead find yourself turning to the people you either clash views with or, even worse, those who are likely to only further feed the drama you are looking to move beyond.
Most of us have at least one person in our life that we know we can safely turn to for help with different issues, but if no one comes to mind, don’t feel any shame in seeking the support of a professional.
3. You Hold Onto, Rather Than Learn From, the Past
We’ve all dealt with our fair share of hardship, and one surefire way to make your life even more difficult is to hold onto that hardship to such an extent that it pollutes the present moment. Rather than basking in victimhood, resentment, regret, or any other feelings that your previous challenges may have engendered within you, choose to focus instead on what you learned from each experience.
We may not be able to control whether or not we are struck with hardship in the future, but we can better equip ourselves for it by applying what past experiences have taught us to new ones, making it less likely we’ll repeat the same mistakes and patterns over and over again.
Recommended book to help with this: The Power of Now.
4. Your Desires Are Dominated by Immediate Gratification
You have the long-term goal of getting in shape and have been hitting the gym somewhat regularly to help get you there. But when that delicious tasting sweet — the one you know is only going to set you back further from meeting your goals — is offered, you simply can’t refuse.
Whether it be our taste buds, our laziness, or our sexual desires, we all know what it’s like to have our decision-making ruled by whatever will provide immediate gratification. It’s not to say that these things need to be completely avoided, as such pleasures are a part of life, but rather, to point out how indulging in them too frequently could be preventing you from reaching your goals, or reaching them as quickly as you’d like.
Recommended book to help with goal setting: Awaken the Giant Within.
5. You’re Allowing Your Attention Span to Shrink
This is without a doubt a byproduct of social media. Whether it’s the consistent scrolling through news feeds or the 7-10 second videos, we are all allowing our attention span to shrink in favour of consuming as much as possible as quickly as possible.
While this may seem beneficial to our productivity, a short attention span can also make it difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish anything that requires persistence or (God forbid) patience.
6. You Blame First, Reflect Second
Something unfortunate happens and, before you can even fully process it, you’re already looking for something, somewhere, or someone to blame for it. While this may come with the immediate benefit of potentially getting you off the hook, it can, over the long term, wreak havoc on your ability to take responsibility for your actions.
Challenge yourself to regularly take the time to reflect on things that happen and don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes, flaws, or anything else. Doing so demonstrates a maturity and wisdom that everyone in your life will notice and appreciate.
7. You Neglect Gratitude
Nothing has had a more profoundly positive impact on my life than daily gratitude (find out more). And a great way to make your life a lot more difficult than necessary is to completely neglect everything for which you can actively be grateful.
Practicing gratitude may not solve all your problems or make your issues disappear, but it can work wonders in changing the mentality that you apply to them. Feel stuck? Challenge yourself to list off at least 10 things you are thankful for in life and then re-approach what’s stopping you. You may be surprised by what a grateful mind is capable of thinking of and solving.
Recommended book to help with this: The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day.
8. You Believe Your Excuses
Our minds are incredibly powerful tools capable of concocting some of the most elaborate stories, ideas, and belief systems, sometimes out of thin air. When applied to creative tasks, this is a remarkable superpower that each of us can tap into, but when it comes to personal issues, our mind often makes things unnecessarily complicated.
Before you can even begin to piece together what you’ll need in order to do something that comes to you, your mind will likely already have a dozen reasons why you shouldn’t even bother. This seeming “gift” is not the issue; the challenge lies in your willingness to buy into what your mind tells you.
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