I’ve got 99 problems and 98 of them are self-induced with zero rationale or logic behind them.
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.
Or, we have all been on the other end of a conversation when someone is listing off all of the things wrong with his or her job, life or relationship.
The other day, I was catching up with a friend. When I got home, I received a message from him explaining to me how upset he was that we hadn't hung out in a while.
He told me he felt horrible and apologized for being busy with his work and getting caught up with family matters.
I was shocked.
I loved the dude for his heart, but it wasn't on my mind at all.
I didn't even notice we hadn't hung out in a couple months, and I was just trying to be as supportive as I could. I knew he had a lot on his plate, and I told him that.
And he was shocked.
He thought I upset because he couldn't attend an event a few months back since he had a doctor appointment with his wife.
Apparently, this was on his mind for quite a while, and he was completely relieved to know it wasn't bugging me.
And that's when it hit me: The person who often stresses us out the most is the person we see when we look in the mirror.
We allow our own brains to trick us into thinking about problems that don't even exist.
Here are four ways we allow our brains to trick us into making life more difficult:
1. Resisting Confrontation By Being Silent.
In the example above, my friend could have found out very quickly that I wasn't upset by simply asking.
A quick text message or call could have provided him with the insight and information he needed to realize I was actually happy for him.
It's human nature to take the path of least resistance. Teaching yourself to take the road of resistance is one of the fastest routes to growth and learning.
2. Comparing Your Life To Someone's Instagram Account.
We live in a world where it’s easier than ever to control the world’s perception of us. Our status updates and Instagram posts can make our lives seem extravagant and others feel mediocre.
We all know this. You know this.
But for some reason, we often compare our lives to those we see on social media.
We compare everyone else’s highlight reel on Instagram and Facebook to our own personal outtakes and bloopers. Stop doing this!
This is the thinking that can send you into a cycle of negativity and can hold you back from living life to the fullest.
It can stop you from living your life on your own terms.
3. Creating Goals You Don't Actually Control.
Every December, people around the world start coming up with ideas for New Year's resolutions.
A few months later, those goals and ideas that were once top of mind are now distant memories.
The reason most New Year's resolutions go unfulfilled is because the majority of people don't know how to set good goals.
A lot of people set goals for themselves like, "I want to make $10,000 on the side this year," or "I want to have a boyfriend by the summer."
These are great ideas, but there are too many variables that could quickly make these goals impossible to achieve.
Instead of setting goals like this and obsessing over them, think about and focus on the little steps that will help you get close to achieving said goal.
Focus on the little wins.
Want to quit your job and escape the nine-to-five? Take the time to think about what little tasks you need to take to accomplish that.
Start by identifying the various little things you could do to get there and keep building on them:
1. Come up with a few ideas for a side business.
2. Reach out to 20 people who would want this product.
3. Sell the service or product before spending a dime.
4. Set up a website about your business.
These are the types of goals you need to make, have 100 percent control over and can quickly achieve.
You simply have to establish a habit around doing the little things.
4. Using Vanity Metrics To Measure Your Self-Worth.
It's so easy to get caught up wondering whether you'll get more birthday wishes on your birthday than your best friend did. It's also easy to get caught up in wondering why someone unfriended you on Facebook or unfollowed you on Twitter.
It's easy, but it's wrong. It's a direct way to create more stress in your life that isn't actually of importance.
Realize you are not your likes on Facebook, you are not your followers on Instagram and you are not your views on Snapchat. (Tweet this.)
Life is messy.
We all will encounter struggles no matter who we are or where we're from.
If you're constantly feeling safe and secure in the world around you, it's likely you're not challenging yourself.
It's okay to feel uncomfortable. In fact, I think embracing the idea of being uncomfortable is how we grow.
The key is to ensure you're not making up problems in your head and you're thinking about the things you control and can influence.
Don't make the mistake of allowing other people to control your happiness.
This is your life. This is your legacy. This is your story.
You have the pen. Now go write a chapter worth reading.
Ross Simmonds is the cofounder of Hustle & Grind and writes at RossSimmonds.com, where he shares a research-backed studies and his personal perspective on entrepreneurship, life, communications and technology.
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