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I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything, and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.
~ Richard Feynman ~
1. Someone constantly expects you to be someone you’re not.
A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. So be cordial, but don’t completely change who you are for someone else simply because it’s what THEY want, or because it’s what THEY think is best for you.
If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back. It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by pretending to be someone else. It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity. It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where somebody else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.
2. A person’s actions don’t match their words.
Be wary of people who only tell you what you want to hear. It’s so easy to believe someone when they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear, but you have to watch what they do too. Actions speak louder than words – actions speak the whole truth.
Honestly, everybody deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow. If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent, and their actions never match up with their words, it might be time to let them go. It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company. In the end, true friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time. So don’t just listen to what your “friends” say; watch what they do over the long-term. Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves.
3. You have a habit of moping and feeling sorry for yourself.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Being hurt is something you can’t stop from happening, but being miserable is always your choice. No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse. Negative thinking creates negative results. Positive thinking creates positive results. Period. The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the “buts” you use today. Things always turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
Eventually you will realize that happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them. Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles. Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost. Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
4. You’re clutching tight to an easy-street mentality.
Great accomplishments aren’t easy; they’re worth it! So forget how you feel and remember what you deserve. Right NOW is always the best time to break out of your shell. Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.
Someday you will look back on your life and realize that everything worthwhile you’ve ever accomplished initially challenged you. And that is as it should be, because big challenges often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary success. Every struggle arises for a reason – either for experience or as a lesson. A great journey is never easy, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.
Remember, an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards, and such is life. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction. So keep focusing, and keep aiming!
5. You truly dislike your current situation.
In life, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb, rather than the top of the one you don’t. So don’t let people who gave up on their goals talk you out of going after yours. The best thing you can do in most situations is to follow your intuition. Take risks. Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen. If you do, nothing good will ever happen.
In addition, realize that it’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken either. Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something brand new. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly. Sometimes growing stronger means growing apart from old habits, relationships, and circumstances, and finding something different that truly moves you – something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. That’s what LIVING is all about. Don’t just settle for the default settings in life, when you can customize absolutely everything. (Read The 4-Hour Workweek.)
6. You catch yourself obsessing over, and living in, the past.
Holding on to what’s no longer there holds too many of us back. Some of us spend the vast majority of our lives recounting the past and letting it steer the course of the present. Don’t waste your time trying to live in another time and place. Let it GO! You must accept the end of something in order to build something new. So close some old doors today. Not because of pride, inability or egotism, but simply because you’ve entered each one of them in the past and realize that they lead to nowhere.
Even after the toughest times, eventually you will overcome the heartache, and forget the reasons you cried, and who caused the pain. You will realize that the secret to happiness and freedom is not about control or revenge, but in letting things unfold naturally, and learning from your experiences over the course of time. After all, what matters most is not the first, but the final chapter of your life, which unveils the details of how well you wrote your story. So let go of the past, set yourself free, and open your mind to the possibility of a new beginning.