“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
I saw a study somewhere, I can’t remember and my internet’s off right now as I write, that showed how our brain acts when it’s tired. It becomes completely irrational. Hence, the worries and fears that crop up at night as we’re lying in bed that keep us awake and prevent us from performing at our best the following day.
Fears, for the most part, whether they’re conjured at night in bed, or during the day or when we start our day, are illogical.
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality, and even our very real sufferings can be a matter of perspective.
1. Be real.
The two best books I’ve come across on suffering don’t prescribe an unrealistic view of what’s occurring. Accept where you are. Accept everything about it, both good and bad. Don’t be ignorant of your reality.
You are where you are for a reason. It is your job to make the best of the situation. You see the glass as both half full and half empty. You accept tragedy for what it is, but you also see the futility in brooding over it. Do the best with what you have and where you are, it’s stupid to wish you were someone else, living someone else’s life.
2. Don’t be an optimist.
Both authors were unjustly imprisoned. Both authors noticed that the optimists were most likely to go crazy because they had illogical expectations of what was going to happen. They had expectations that were out of their control. That is, they expected to be freed at a certain date. This is how they coped with their imprisonment. When that date arrived and they weren’t free, they lost it.
We build worry, fear, and depression by dreaming and wishing about things that are completely out of our control. We get down on ourselves when we don’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish by the date we aimed to accomplish it at. It’s a product of a society that praises youth over experience and wisdom, that can have all of its needs met in an instant, that can buy something without actually having the money necessary to pay for it in full.
Don’t expect what isn’t under your control. Your job is to be very good every day of your life. What you want will likely come as a result of who you are. Don’t quit because it hasn’t arrived when you wanted it to arrive. You’re better than that.
3. Write down your illogical fears.
Our brains can be assholes. It’s important to shine a light on the prick and the idiocy of what it’s conjuring.
It’s a simple thing, but writing down your fear can be powerful. Seeing it in print exposes it for how illogical it is. Often times the fear can be prevented by us with discipline and persistence.
Next time you’re worried about something, write it down, then write down the logical conclusion and the things you can do to create and even better results.
4. Work your ass off.
If you’re busy, if you’re engaged in your own self-improvement, if you’re trying to become better at something, if you’re consistently practicing, you cannot spare the mental space that worry takes up.
Listen, I’ve been a lazy arse at times in my life. I’ve had self-pity. I’ve been a pussy. There’s absolutely no point to it. There’s no point to laziness. There’s no benefit to waiting around, waiting for something good to happen.
Life is so fucking short, to spend it being lazy does nothing for you. It’s better to live 30 years as a warrior, as a guy who hunts down what he wants than it is to live 100 years as a lazy ass coward. It makes absolutely no sense not to work your ass off.
Find something you want to do, and become great at it.
Or, take whatever you’re doing right now, whether it’s being a student, a plumber, a construction worker, a teacher, a writer, a father, and become great at that. The thing rarely matters. We make it matter.
Too many people spend their lives trying to find themselves. It’s stupid. So stupid. Create yourself. Take pride in whatever you do, whenever you’re doing it. The object of that pride is of little consequence. (Read This: Forget Finding Your Passion. Just Work.)
If you’re trying to do your best at whatever you’re engaged in, you’re not going to have the mental capacity to worry, it just won’t fit in your brain.
5. See life as a warrior does.
Life is a series of challenges; it is not a series of curses.
As a damn man you cannot pity yourself, within you is too much potential to have pity. It’s up to you to realize that potential, to conquer the challenges you face in life. These challenges, however, are not curses, they are not things happening to you, but things that you can react to however you want. React to them like a warrior, not like a coward.
7. Stop being a pussy.
Stop being afraid. It’s a choice to be afraid. It’s a choice to be small and timid. Be a man.
It really is that simple. Make the choice to be a warrior. Make the choice to face your fears like a man. Accept both the best outcome and the worst as a part of your learning. Stop worrying. Stop fearing. Stop being timid.
8. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Worry can come from comparing our situation to others. The thing is, we never truly know the situation that others have, nor do we see the place we’re in objectively.
A simple thing you can do is to write down 3 things that happened in the past 24 hours that you’re grateful for.
Do that every day and you cannot help but appreciate where you are and what you have.
9. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
Don’t spend money like an idiot. Don’t spend money like a consumer, trying to impress people you don’t really need to be impressing.
So much of what we worry about today is financial. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to make a lot of money to become wealthy, you just need to budget, invest, and have patience and discipline. (Read This: How to Spend Your Money Like a Winner)
Spending money on things that depreciate will bring you more worry. It’s self-inflicted nonsense. Don’t be that guy. Save, invest, work hard, and know what really matters in life.
It isn’t the things you own, but the experiences you’ve had, the people that you influence and have in your life, and what you do.
10. Focus on the task, not the outcome.
By focusing on the process, on practicing, on doing what you’re doing as best you can, you don’t have room to worry about its outcome.
When you focus on the outcome you brings yourself out of the present, and into a state where worry can thrive.
Focus on where you are right now, on what you’re doing, and nothing else, ever. As soon as you think about the outcome, you’ve lost.
On a bigger scale, with your life, focus on where you are and being the best you can be where you are. Don’t dwell on where you want to be. That constant pulling yourself out of the present leads to worry and fear.
Listen, if you work hard, work smart, and are consistently good, you’re going to be alright. You don’t have to worry about what life throws at you.
11. Accept that bad things will happen.
Bad things are not bad, they are merely things.
They are not evil. They happen. Your friends and family will die. Someone you know will get cancer. Something horrible will happen at some point. Don’t worry about it happening. It’s going to happen, and you’re going to deal with it. (Read This: Life Is Hard. Deal With It)
Enjoy the people you have while they’re here and while you’re here.
To make the best of your time here you cannot give a second of it to worry. Don’t let that bastard take up your time or energy. It’s under your control. Don’t allow it to win.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.