10th May, 2016
Exuding a calm, deliberate confidence is the secret sauce to thriving in life, don’t you agree?
But in order to achieve that, we need to solve a problem. Your inner critic. The sower of doubt, fueled by faulty conditioning. Like an annoying pop-up, it keeps harassing you with messages that distract you. That nagging little voice. “I can’t do it because of [fill in irrelevant fact]”.
It convinces you to falter…to stop…
You avoid taking action to achieve your goals, your dreams or just to get stuff done in general. Your inner critic convinces you that your cozy comfort zone is way too comfy to leave.
Why is it so difficult to act without doubt and anxiety? Your brain is running some faulty mental models. Over our lifetimes, we all adopt limiting beliefs that are acquired through media, upbringing or unrepresentativemental models keep us grounded instead of free and confident.
In order to thrive, we need to replace faulty scripts with the right ones. Because whatever you might tell yourself, you are not too old/nerdy/fat/dumb or whatever to improve your life. You are awesomely you and you can have a thriving life!
Here are eight examples of mental models you need to adopt in order to thrive in this life.
1. Accept the world as it is
First off, you must develop utter acceptance of the world you live in.
There are a lot of uncomfortable facts in life that we try to hide from. Uncomfortable facts, harsh realities. The world may seem unfair, but it’s not. The world just is. There is no inherent goodness or badness about it. It is just a collection of things in being.
So stop putting your head in the sand–take a breath and see it for what it is.Confront yourself with reality. Don’t sugar coat it, but also don’t get pulled into exaggerated thoughts of doom.
As you accept how things are, you can take steps to effectively improve them.
2. Take responsibility for your life
You are the primary stakeholder in your life and, ultimately, the only one that will always care. You are also the one with the most direct influence on your life. That means you are responsible for where you end up.
You might have been dealt a bad hand, but there is no reshuffling the deck. You can only play the cards you have. It’s up to you to do well.
If you don’t like something in your life, change your attitude towards it or change the situation. Develop active coping strategies. Don’t blame other people, God or the universe. You have free will; you are in charge. Take the constructive view to look towards yourself for progress.
3. No self pity
Self pity is a devastating emotion. It’s so unproductive to feel sorry for yourself. No matter how justifiable, it is toxic.
Nothing is gained by engaging in this rotting state of mind. You are dirt poor? You are plain ugly? You are 30 and still living in your mom’s basement? Your life may truly suck, but you can’t live in self pity because then things will never change!
Suck it up. Accept your situation and plan to improve on it. Feeling sorry for yourself only makes the situation worse. Lose the victim mentality. Learn you can change yourself and the situation.
4. Redefine failure in a learning experience
Failure has a big stigma in western culture. Once you fail, you are a loser. Too many people believe that somehow you should be able to win instantly. Well, that is not going to happen. So why not give yourself permission to suck and fail in life.
Learn from your mistakes. You are not a loser because you have failed! The real losers are those that don’t even try, or who give up too quickly. The one who fails and gets back up is ultimately the winner.
Try not to see a specific goal as the definition of your success. Instead, view making progress as success. It is not going to be a straight line to perfection, but making the effort to move forward, through failure and learning is truly success!
5. Fear is your guide
As you move through life you will sometimes halt, paralyzed by fear. Feel the fear and take action anyway. Unless you are about to win a Darwin award, you were probably on the right track.
Fear shows you where you want to go, but you have to take a leap. Let fear indicate something you need to do. Push through. Let fear be your ominous guide to prosperity.
6. Think about your death
Good news everyone! We are all going to die.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t such great news, but it’s true. Use this as a reminder that your time is finite. One day you will be gone. It might be tomorrow; it might be in 80 years. All of your small pettiness, fears and jealousies should pale in comparison to the large unknown nothingness that awaits you. So why not make the most of this wonderful life of yours?
Take the time to confront yourself with this impending doom, and rejoice that you are still alive!
Time to enjoy life even more by taking risks and making progress toward even the simplest of goals.
7. Don’t take life too serious
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of your life?
If you go down that rabbit hole, you will end up with this answer: The meaning of life is to live.
It’s not very grave, but it’s very significant.
Culture and upbringing might argue otherwise, but the importance of arbitrary events, parameters and people is mostly exaggerated. There is no significant higher goal to attain, no higher purpose except the one you give yourself through living.
So take it easy.
There is not a checkpoint you have to pass to achieve a fulfilling life.
It’s just not that serious! It is to be enjoyed whenever possible. You choose how you want to live, so why not take it easy–despite what people try to tell you.
8. Live in the now
Last but not least, to truly thrive, you must live in the now. Learn to let go of your mind. Stop chasing lost moments and anticipating potential futures.
Your predictions are mostly off, and your memories are remixes of unalterable events. Instead, learn to truly experience what is right in front of you, no denying but embracing the now. Whether it’s through sports, nature, or meditation, embrace the present.
Adapting these mental models won’t be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight. But if you remind yourself of them and make small steps towards your goals, you will see over time that your programming will be changed and it will have an amazing impact on your life.
Good luck on thriving!