Have you ever felt anxiety, stress or straight out depression because life isn't going the way you wish it was? Maybe you're working towards a dream and you feel like you're not getting there fast enough?
This was exactly how I was feeling a few months ago. I was at a stage in life where I was so stressed almost every day that it was even affecting my relationship with my wife (then fiancé).
Running an online business is close to a breeze when you've got the hang of it but a decision I made to start a traditional business at the beginning of the year made things a little tough.
After being sick of feeling the way I did, I knew the only solution (as it always is) is to work harder on myself than I was on my business (or businesses).
I clearly remember at the end of that day my mind and body felt in the lowest state I'd ever felt. Straight away, I knew the first step to increasing my state was to get my body moving so I went for a long run.
During that run I started to listen to Tony Robbins Ultimate Edge program and learnt one of the most valuable tools ever.
You see: anxiety, stress and depression is often cause by the perception that you have a problem you can't change. At least in the moment it feels like you can't change it, but there certainly is a way.
When we're feeling this way, we are 1. usually holding a picture, idea or story in our mind of how we believe our life (or a situation) should be and 2. our current life (or situation) does not match that picture/idea/story of how life should be.
This picture/idea/story is called your ‘blueprint'. Think of it like when you're building a house. Before you build, an architect will create a blueprint for how you want your house to be. When your house looks amazing on paper and you're happy with it, the building process starts.
Imagine if halfway through the house being built, you noticed that the wrong bricks were used, the wrong colour paint was used, it didn't have a front door, or the whole house was built the wrong way around. Immediately you would feel very unhappy with the house because it doesn't match the blueprint.
This is exactly what happens in our minds. When your current life conditions don't match your blueprint, you start to feel anxious, stressed and even depressed. On the other hand, when your current life conditions match your blueprint perfectly, you're a very happy person.
So how do you change your blueprint?
1. Write down what you're not happy about your life right now.
2. Write down what you believe life should be like for you to be happy (this is your blueprint)
If your blueprint and your current situation does not match, there are three ways to bring them into alignment:
Option 1. Change your blueprint.
If you believe you need to be living in a magnificent castle for you to be happy but you're sharing a tiny apartment with 4 other people, then change your blueprint.
To be happy in this situation change your blueprint to the belief that “I'm happy with my current living arrangement… it could be worse anyways.”
Option 2. Change your life conditions so they match your blueprint.
Instead of accepting your current living arrangement start a business and work hard (and smart) so you can buy the castle of your dreams.
Option 3. Adjust your blueprint and change your life conditions.
Instead of either extreme, you can find a balance. Change your blueprint so your ideal living arrangement is: buying your own 2 bedroom house with no house mates. And start a business where you can work until you can afford buying that house.
In short, buying a 2 bedroom house may be more attainable in the short term than aiming for a castle straight away; and you won't suffer the not-so-great feelings of not having your castle right away.
Is there areas in your life where you can change your blueprint, take action to change your life conditions, or both?
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You’ve hit the nail on the head here. All too often in life we’re feeling down and out because our lives don’t match a perception in our minds and it feels like there’s nothing we can do about it. So often that perception is merely a matter of “keeping up with the Joneses,” as the saying goes. We compare, we attack ourselves mentally, we give up hope. Bah! Silly humans!
So often that change we need to make is mental. I have a friend who used to live in a very nice, but somewhat small house. She complained regularly about the size, so her husband bought her a much larger house–he changed her life to match her blueprint. Now she complains that it’s too big to clean, they have too much stuff because they filled it after buying it, and now they have less money–mortgage and buying stuff. The change needed in that situation is mental–change your blueprint and be content with your amazing circumstances!
I knew of another lady who died. Her relatives fit all her worldly possessions in the trunk of a small car. That lady had almost nothing, but she was generous and content–contentment is a powerful state of mine.
We live in 240 square feet–there are nine of us. We could get depressed about that, but instead we are ecstatic, because those 240 feet are on wheels and we travel all over our native USA. It’s wonderful–some people tell me it would drive them nuts. Sitting still drove us nuts, so we changed. Not everyone can change their life situation extremely, but everyone can do something, and absolutely everyone can change their perception of it–their blueprint.
Wow, what a story about your friend. It’s amazing how some people are never happy with what they’ve got and are always chasing the next thing to make them happy. Sometimes we just need to be present and be super grateful for what we have – that is the key to happiness… and the key to success too!
And that other lady who died, I’m sure she died super happy and fulfilled with her life. What a great example to learn from!
Can’t believe there’s 9 of you living in 240 square-feet. That’s an accomplishment in itself! I love that you’re experiencing great things in ways that other people can’t.
I take option three. That is the only one that truly addresses both area’s of happiness. Present and future. Don’t mortgage your future to be happy now. That future will get here and you will be miserable. At the same time you don’t want to be unhappy now hoping to one day be happy.
You need to have the balance. You need to work towards your dreams but don’t put off all joy and happiness for later. I am reminded of a story (i’ll paraphrase) A guy works hard his entire life never taking a day off so that he can run with the bulls in Spain. Well by the time he has the money, and the kids are grown, and every thing is ready, he leaves. But now after years of work his back is bad, his legs hurt and running is out of the question. He waited too long to be happy and lost his dream.
The moral? Don’t put off what makes you happy.
Wow, that is an amazing story! And this is what happens to SO many people: “I’ll do it when the kids grow up”, “I’ll do it when I have more money”, “I’ll do it when I’m retired”. They’re always putting off their enjoyment of life and they never get it.
It is much more fulfilling to live in the present and enjoy life now!
I heard somewhere, “Be the master of you, don’t play the victim.” I believe in this thought. Do not take stress and worries because they are not permanent. Nice article I must say.
Wow, love that saying Philip! We all have the choice of being the master of our own lives. Thanks for sharing… I’m going to remember that one for sure!