Shut the F*ck Up: Your Problems Aren't Real

by Paul Hudson

You may think you have problems — but let’s be honest, your life is pretty freaking awesome. You have a place to sleep, you have food to eat, you have friends, you probably have some sort of income or another, and even if you don’t have any of that, you still don’t have real problems.

This is a conclusion that I came to last night between my third and fourth glasses of white wine; I’m usually a red wine drinker, but I thought to myself: hey, why not shake things up a bit? It’s amazing what realizations some fermented grape juice can bring you.

There I was, sitting at this bar, drinking wine and trying to figure out how I can possibly manage to squeeze in all the work that I need to get done this week before I fly out of the country this weekend, when it hit me: there is nothing in my life that I should complain about, at all.

Our minds are filled with a lot of junk. We run through things that we need to do, things that we did, but aren’t happy with, things we failed to do entirely. We think about all the negative or awkward human interactions we had, we think about our shitty relationship or past relationships, we think about our future, our wants our needs -- and so on.

Most of the thoughts that float around in our heads are negative thoughts taking the form of worry. Worry creates stress. Stress causes more worry. Worry turns our mild negative thoughts into obsessive, end-of-the-world problems that make us miserable.

And that is the point that I found myself, while sitting on a comfortable stool in an upscale bar, sipping on imported wine, typing on a $1,500 laptop. The chaos having a party in my mind did not at all reflect my actual situation — not one bit. But nevertheless, the stress, the worry, the obsessiveness were all present. Hence the bottle of wine.

We are our own worst enemies. We take an issue and turn it into a problem. We worry about whatever it is throughout the day and then put it on the backburner while we begin to worry about something else that we aren’t pleased with.

This process continues, piling more and more problems atop of each other, up to the point where we find so much junk and negative crap rumbling around in our skulls that it literally hurts. How great would it be if all of those ‘problems’ would disappear, simply wash away?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just forget about those things that are weighing us down and preventing us from getting things done and living life to its fullest? Unfortunately, forgetting is near impossible — but we can come to understand how unimportant our problems are and choose not to give attention to them when they jump back into the forefront of our focus.

Here’s something that I want you to try — this is something that I managed to do last night and it felt great; but keep in mind, I was well liquored up, so you may need to down a few to get the same results. I kid. Make a quick mental list of all of your ‘problems’ starting with the smallest to the grandest.

Take that first problem and hold onto it with your mind, focusing on it and considering the worst-case scenario. For example, my smallest problem was not being able to get all of my work done in time. What would happen if your fear of that problem would come to fruition? In my case, I could possibly get fired — but even that is doubtful. But let’s say that I did get fired from my job, would it really be a problem? Would I suffer?

Would I feel pain or intense sadness? Misery? Would I die? This is the way that you must look at each of your problems. Consider how failing to fix the problem would actually affect your life. And consider how difficult it would be to deal with the results.

You are having relationship problems; worst case scenario: you break up. You are having trouble at work; worst case scenario: you get fired and collect unemployment until you find another job. Your car keeps breaking down; worst case scenario: you sell it at the junkyard for scrap metal.

Go through each problem one after the other and consider how significantly the problem could affect your life. You will notice that 99% of you problems are not even worth labeling as problems. People change jobs, change friends, change lovers, change their favorite gadgets, cars, clothes… you name it, you are almost guaranteed to give it up — by choice — at some point down the line.

The only real problems worth having are those that are life threatening to you or those that you care about. Otherwise, you are only worrying about things that you will one day conclude were not worth stressing over. So why wait until later to stop worrying? Why not just stop now and save yourself the stress and hassle.

The biggest problem that the majority of people have is the worry that they inflict on themselves from labeling things as problems that aren’t actually problems. We pile on issues that, because we failed to consider the weight of their outcome, weigh us down more than they should.

Then, on top of all of these issues, we have the main issue: focusing on the fact that we piled on so much that we don't know where to even begin finding a solution. We begin to feel helpless. We find ourselves so overwhelmed that we become incapable of addressing a single one of the issues — so we procrastinate.

We wait and pile on more shit that we mislabel as problems and one day find ourselves having to get to the bottom of a bottle only to realize that we have been wasting our health stressing over the dumbest shit. If you have your health and your family, then you don’t have any problems. Remember that before you begin to waste your life worrying and stressing over something that you will not even think about in ten years.

Paul Hudson | Elite.