Tag Archives: Depression

Living in the Present and Staying in the Game

It’s so often easy to let ourselves get caught up in the things that happen in our lives. We always seem to end up in one of two places, either thinking about the past or thinking about the future. And the thing about both of these places is that they cause us to end up frozen in the present.

When we’re thinking about the past we’re typically dwelling on a situation that we either wish we could live again OR that we wish we had done differently. When we’re thinking about the future it’s typically some form of anxiety or worry. Hoping for something to workout a certain way or uncertain of how things will happen.

What we don’t realize is that when we go to either of these places we actually drive our own mental cars into the ditch. We put ourselves in a situation where we have now become stuck. If you’ve ever actually had your car get stuck somewhere in a snowy or muddy ditch you know it takes a lot of effort to get it back out. Typically it takes some outside help, like a tow truck, to pull you back on to the road.

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In life, a lot of times we do this same thing. We get ourselves stuck in a ditch and we sit there waiting for the next tow truck to come along and pull us out. Waiting for the next thing to happen in life that will brighten our mood and get us out of that ditch so we can get back on the road.

But while we’re sitting in that ditch dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, everyone else’s car is driving right past us. The rest of the world keeps moving forward and what we fail to realize is all of the people that also get stuck in a ditch every now and then.

And that those that are happiest in life are the ones who know the tricks to getting themselves out of that ditch as quickly as possible so they can get back on the road.

That’s the key right there. Everybody falls into a ditch but the happiest people know how to get themselves out while the rest sit and wait for a tow truck.

So how do you get yourself out of that ditch on your own? The effort typically needed to get out of that ditch is so great. How can you ever match the strength and power of the tow truck to actually pull yourself out of that ditch?

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The secret is in realizing that you can only ever actually do anything in the present. Once you start to realize that you can only ever make a strategic move while in the present you understand that trying to do anything with the past or future is useless. You physically cannot make any changes to the past or future, understand that.

It’s sort of like the present is the basketball court or soccer field. The areas inside the field represent the present. All of the areas outside of the field, the fans on the sideline, the bench, the parking lot, everything outside of those lines is the area where you can’t actually play the game. They represent the past and future. You just simply can’t go to those areas outside of the field and actually make anything happen. It just doesn’t work that way.

photo cred: Victor Garcia

The way we take advantage of this is to get back onto the field or court and to just start doing things. Literally doing anything is still better than not being in the game at all. You have a better chance of winning if you are in the game than you ever will if you are on the sideline. If you’re on the sideline (stuck dwelling on the past or worrying about the future) you cannot make your situation better. You cannot get yourself out of the ditch.

BUT, if you put yourself into the game, you put yourself into the present and start doing things, you’ll find that suddenly you’re not stuck in the past or worrying about the future. You’ll find that suddenly, almost magically, you’ve pulled yourself out of that ditch and put yourself back onto the road without even realizing it.

So the next time you catch yourself feeling down about the past or worrying about the future go find something to do! Go for a walk, go read a book, go take a shower, go make a snack, go do something positive for yourself, or better yet someone else, and take action.

Take action in the present and get yourself back in the game.

Before you know it you’ll be out of that ditch and right back on the road.

Quitting America

I so often see posts across social media platforms that go something like this, “If they’re toxic, leave ’em” or “If you’re not happy, that’s okay, it’s not meant to be.

I also see the divorce rate in America is at about 50%…

photo cred: Siora Photography

I’ve watched this culture grow and become romanticized over the last decade that says, if things aren’t making you happy you should just walk away from them. And I simply cannot believe that so many people think this is the way to success and happiness.

I can’t accept that so many people believe that happiness, true happiness comes from walking away. That happiness means that if things are tough, you’re better off quitting. That happiness means if you don’t like this moment, you should give it all up. I can’t believe…

This is one of the greatest mistakes we make, as people. We feel that when things get difficult or tough that the correct answer is quitting. And then we wonder why we have a nation where the divorce rate is 50%… we wonder why we have a nation that can’t overcome obesity… we wonder why we have a nation that has arguably the most mass shootings in the world…

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It is incredible how many people are popularizing being a quitter in the face of adversity. That our new motto has become, “when things get hard, quit.” It is so mind-blowing that we can live this way, work this way, survive this way… and not realize that it simply is not working for us.

And the problem is, we’ve tried to create a society of “sigh… all I want to do is kick my feet up on a yacht sipping mai tai’s.” A society where we want to try and go viral on a single social media post, going so far as to perform extreme acts, so we can cash in and go, “sigh… time to kick back for the rest of my life” without ever really thinking what that life would be like.

You don’t need a million dollars to sit back and relax. In fact, a majority of us are already sitting back and relaxing every night. Binging on hours of Netflix… binging on hours of social media… binging on hours of leisure time… and then wondering why we feel so unhappy and depressed.

photo cred: Fernando Cferdo

But this just does not work. This is not the way to find happiness.

How many millions of people are taking this same approach, and finding zero happiness and success?

And you might say, “well this guy did this one post and it went viral and.. and.. and..” and that’s great! Wow! That guy won the lottery. Is that really what your strategy is in life? To hope to win the lottery?

No. The answer to the question of how to find happiness and success is completely the exact opposite.

WORK HARDER.

And that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of people. It is… because it says you are responsible for your own failures and that you are responsible for fixing them. But it’s the damn truth. You have to abandon this idea that life is all about relaxing. That life is all about avoiding difficult and uncomfortable times.

We have become obsessed with this idea that life is really at it’s best when you’re doing nothing. That life is best when you’ve made a million dollars and then you retire. But if you go out and look at people who retire at 55, 60, 65 with a million dollar pension… they go back to work. They get bored and depressed, so they go back to work.

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That’s because life is NOT about sitting around doing nothing. It’s not about relaxing on a beach with a drink. That will get old quick. Take a look at other millionaires and wildly successful people. Are they just done working? Or do they keep going? Do they release 1 album, 1 movie, 1 book and then go to the beach?

You are far more powerful and capable than you give yourself credit for and buying into this popularized idea by social media about walking away is poison. Give yourself more credit, you are worth more and you can do more. Put down your phone, log off from social media, and go work. Go to work. Put in work.

Put in work at your job. Put in work to your relationships. Put in work to your health.

Go to work.

Everyday.

And then come back here and tell me if you don’t feel better. Try it, go bust your ass for a full day in all areas of your life, give it everything you’ve got. Empty your bucket, completely. And then lay your head down at night and ask yourself how you feel about your day.

I promise you. You’ll be happy with yourself.

And then wake up and do it again.