1. So many of the best days of your life are still ahead of you.
When the stakes are down, it’s all too easy to convince ourselves that all the best days of our lives are behind us. But this is so unequivocally untrue. The truth is, there are days ahead of us so brilliant that we couldn’t possibly picture them from where we’re standing now. We just have to keep going to get to those. We have to keep going through every no good, very bad day.
2. People can change for the better, and they will.
At some point or another, we all feel like the last decent human being alive. But the truth is that we’ve all messed up in the past, and then had to redeem ourselves. And we have to allow others the space to go through this process as well. It’s not that everyone is completely ill intentioned – it’s just that we’re all moving toward the best versions of ourselves at different speeds. And how fast someone else is getting there is never a reflection on you.
3. For every person out there who sucks, there’s a good ten to twenty who completely rock.
It is a basic survival instinct to filter out positive input and hone in on the negative. And we are particularly prone to doing this with people. We forget that for every one person who screws us over, there are an infinite number who stick around to listen, support, encourage and befriend us. And those are the people who matter. Those are the people we ought to be focusing on, through the best and worst of days.
4. Emotions are only visitors.
How you’re feeling right now isn’t a life sentence or a permanent state. It’s a simple value judgment that you are not required to entertain. Who you are is not defined by how you’re feeling – it’s defined by your reaction to those feelings and your ability to continue on despite them.
5. What other people think doesn’t have to matter.
We are conditioned from a very young age to place a large emphasis on the judgments of others – but this is a ridiculous practice that we have no responsibility to entertain. It’s an incredibly liberating notion to realize that focusing on what others think of us is a choice, not a necessity. The only judgment that matters at the end of the day is our own.
6. Ultimately, you are still in control of your situation.
As long as you’re still breathing, you still have control over what happens next. In the words of Charles R. Swindoll, ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.’ At the end of the day, you’re always in the driver’s seat of your life, which means you get to decide whether the thing you’re encountering is a crippling defeat or just another challenge to rise up to.
7. Sometimes letting go doesn’t mean you’re actually losing anything.
It’s a natural human inclination to cling to what we have for dear life. But every now and then, we owe it to ourselves to take a long, hard look at what we’re holding and ask ourselves is this really worth hanging onto? A lot of the time, letting go just means dropping the deadweight. And liberating ourselves in the process.
8. You can handle much more than you think you can.
The number one factor that holds us back from success in most situations is a simple lack of confidence. Approaching a situation with the belief that you can tackle it competently and gracefully is infinitely different from approaching the same situation with indecision and fear. The latter leads us to inconclusive, disappointing results. The former leads us to places we couldn’t have imagined ourselves getting to.
9. You, just as much as anyone else around you, are allowed to take time to re-group and recharge.
We all want to be one step ahead of the game 100% of the time. But the truth is, no one is. We all hit points in time where we need time to step back, evaluate the situation we’re facing and collect ourselves before moving forward. Those situations are every bit as necessary for our long-term success as the situations in which we’re charging fearlessly forward. We have to be sure of where we’re going first, and it’s okay to take the time to figure that out.
10. You don’t get anywhere worth going without making a few mistakes along the way.
So you messed something up along the path to success. Welcome to the club – affiliates include every other member of the human race. We learn through trial and error and sometimes you’re going to see a lot more of the latter than the former. That’s okay. Screwing up means that you’re genuinely trying and that’s a lot more than most people can claim.
11. At least one person out there cannot imagine their life without you in it.
We are never the most objective judges of our own characters. On the days when we feel entirely replaceable and useless, it serves us to remember that our friends, family members and loved ones certainly do not think the same. To someone, you are absolutely indispensible. And that says something about you that it’s pretty much impossible to argue.
12. Even the most successful people out there have days where they low-key hate life.
I’d bet serious money that even Beyoncé feels inferior some days. None of us are exempt from the torture of measuring ourselves up to where we’d rather be and falling short of that ideal. Success is a constantly moving target and absolutely no one is aligned with it 100% of the time.
13. You don’t have to fix your entire life today.
So a couple of things are off-kilter. So you have some adjustments to make. And today they may be hitting hard – but today isn’t the day you have to magically fix it all. Today can just be a day to re-group, re-evaluate and come to an acceptance of the way things are. You don’t have to turn it all around before midnight.
14. In five years, you likely won’t even remember the struggles you’re facing today.
Ten, five, even two years from now, the problems that are plaguing you today will likely be nothing more than a distant memory. There is an end to the storm that you’re facing, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.
15. If things are bad right now, it’s probably because you took a chance on something, and that makes you a cool, fearless badass, even if it didn’t work out this time.
Being the kind of person who takes chances is, in the long run, infinitely more important than any one failure or letdown. Don’t discount the long-term consequences of your mindset in the face of a short-term setback – your determination will ultimately lead you past every obstacle and stumbling block in your way.
16. Nobody’s dwelling on your situation even a tenth as much as you are.
Here’s a fun fact: everyone is obsessed with their own trials and day-to-day blunders. While we assume that other people are obsessively judging us at all costs, the harsh truth is that we probably don’t cross other’s minds half as often as we think we do. We’re all relatively self-absorbed. And while this is frustrating at some points, it’s entirely relieving at others.
17. Somebody out there looks up to you immensely.
You may not feel as though you have everything under control, but somebody out there definitely thinks you do. Which means that no matter how inadequate you feel, you’re effectively fooling someone. And that says something about your ability to remain in control under pressure – a skill that not everybody has.
18. Your life could be unrecognizably different by this time next year.
It’s almost impossible to predict which chance encounters are going to come along and alter our lives. But once things begin to happen, it can take an unbelievably short period of time for everything to start turning around. Six months from now, your life could be almost unrecognizable to you – you just have to keep going to get there.
19. You can’t get to anywhere worth going without being halfway there at some point.
We all want the big changes we’re making to happen all at once. We want our dream jobs, perfect bodies and ideal relationships to fall effortlessly into place as quickly as we can dream them up. But the truth is, our greatest accomplishments take time – and if we’re never in the in-between phase of working for them, we never get to the reward-reaping phase either.
20. As long as you’re still alive, it’s not too late to change the path you’re on.
At the end of the day, the only person keeping you from starting all over is you. And as long as you’re still breathing, you’re not out of chances to turn it all around.
21. In general, you’re probably doing better than you think you are.
So you’re not outright excelling at every single facet of your life. Welcome to being a human being. Chances are, you’re knocking it out of the ballpark in at least one area – and you need to give yourself some credit for that. You can’t always have it all at once.
22. Life is an ongoing process of re-inventing yourself.
The particular thing about living is that none of us ever get it right all at once. We have to keep trying, failing, re-starting and re-creating ourselves, for pretty much as long as we’re alive. If you are not constantly in the process of re-inventing yourself in life, chances are you aren’t keeping up. We have to keep trying. Keep pushing. Keep falling short, and keep rising again. That’s what this whole living thing’s about. Even on the no good, very bad days.