by Sinem Gunel
If we had to choose between an uncomfortable truth and a pleasant lie, most of us would happily take the lie. We often say we want to know the truth but make comfortable decisions that sugarcoat reality.
In reality, we seek comfort instead of truth because we’re afraid of dealing with challenges. Yet, we all know that this is just a race to nowhere.
In the end, we need to face those difficulties anyway, and accepting them early on just makes our lives a whole lot easier.
You can walk away (and so can anyone else)
So many people stay stuck in toxic relationships or places because they think they need to. Yet you can always walk away and start from scratch.
Leaving people and places behind might be painful, but we sometimes need to make those hard decisions so we can experience an easier life in the future.
The harsh truth is that people, expectations, and goals can change. And when things change, you’re allowed to make changes too. That’s the beauty of being a human.
Hard work doesn’t always lead to “success”
Today’s toxic culture makes so many people believe they’ll be rich and successful if they only work hard enough.
Yet, the truth is, hard work is not a guarantee of success. It’s just one of many components.
Sure, fighting for your dreams requires *doing the work*, but if you want to move quickly, you also need to make smart decisions, get support, and have a pinch of luck.
And most importantly, you’ll likely need to get rid of everything that might slow you down.
Hard work is crucial for success, but believing that it’ll be enough is a little naive.
You are not your work
If you ever judge someone solely based on their career, you’re completely missing the point in life.
Our jobs play a significant role in our lives, but they’re not nearly as important as who we are deep inside.
Life has so many different facets, and your career is only one of them. Sure, it’s an important part, but it shouldn’t shape your entire life.
You can have a boring job and still thrive in life.
And similarly, you can have an exciting, well-paying job and feel miserable deep inside.
“Overnight successes” don’t exist (and you need a pinch of luck)
Our ridiculous social media usage has screwed up our expectations of what we “deserve” and what our lives should look like.
We’re seeing successful entrepreneurs in their twenties who’ve built multi-million dollar companies and are tempted to believe they did it without struggles and pain.
Yet the truth is, we only see their highlights, which makes it impossible to judge how much time and effort they’re investing in creating those extraordinary results. Similarly, we have no idea which sacrifices they’ve made and which failures they’ve overcome.
I’m an online writer and my stories are read by millions of people each year. I literally make money by sharing my knowledge and thoughts online and by teaching others how they can do the same. And it’s funny how most people think building an audience should be easy.
They start writing, share a few articles, and expect thousands of people to see and love their work. They compare their results to mine and expect a significant income within just a few weeks.
The truth is, it’s very unlikely that anyone will care about your first few pieces of content.
Every single person you see succeeding online has done a lot of work before you discovered them.
As outsiders, we only see vanity metrics like followers and likes, but it’s impossible to judge how much effort it took to get there.
Overnight successes are rare, and that’s good. Great results should be based on great work.
Yet, a pinch of luck can’t hurt either.
It’s no secret that our daily decisions and actions ultimately shape our entire lives. Yet, we often ignore the fact that being a little lucky can’t hurt if we have big plans. As Nassim Taleb wrote:
“Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.”
All successful people did the work, yet, they also showed up in the right place, at the right time.
And most of the time, our biggest opportunities show up in the most unexpected situations.
So even if you’re working hard, keep your eyes wide open, so you don’t miss those extraordinary opportunities that might catapult you forward.
Your thoughts = You
There are very few things in life we can truly control — two of them are our thoughts and actions.
Even though we can’t change how someone else behaves or what happens to us, we can always decide how we respond to it.
A 2020 study proves that we have 6,000 thoughts per day, so it’s no surprise that those thoughts shape our lives significantly.
If we want to change how we feel and which results we create, it makes sense to first start by changing how we think.
And how do you do that? By taking control over what we see, hear, do, and feel throughout the day.
It’s no wonder you’re feeling miserable if you’re surrounded by negative news and toxic people.
Imagine how you’d feel if you were surrounded by people who want to see you win and would do anything to support you.
Imagine how you’d feel if you’d only see positive, uplifting content whenever you check your phone.
Or imagine how you’d feel if you could spend most of your days doing things you love.
Changing our thoughts isn’t easy, but it’s an inevitable step to creating a good life.
Most things are better when they’re simple
So many people are chasing shiny objects because they think they need to. Yet, a simple life is often better than a fancy one.
A few deep connections are more powerful than hundreds of shallow friendships.
Owning fewer items is easier than constantly being surrounded by things you don’t need or like.
And most of the time, fewer options lead to a better life.
Complexity and options often create problems and confusion, while simplicity leads to clarity.
Nothing you want will happen by itself
We often think things will fall into place on their own if we just wait.
We get annoyed by other people’s behavior yet shut up because we expect them to magically change.
We hate our jobs, yet instead of leaving, we wait for a new opportunity to rise.
We want to be respected and loved, yet, we’re afraid of sharing our desires.
But the harsh truth is, nothing will change if you don’t make the first step.
You can’t change anything without accepting it
Most people are stuck in relationships and jobs they hate because they don’t want to admit how much it sucks.
They’re afraid of accepting their mistakes and admitting they’ve made the wrong choice, so they prefer to stay stuck for years or even decades.
But the truth is, your past doesn’t have to define your future.
We can make mistakes yet get back up and try again.
Just because you’ve wasted a few years on the wrong job or relationship doesn’t mean you need to be stuck with it forever. You can move on. But you first need to accept that you’ve messed up.
You don’t always need to move up. You can just sit still and enjoy life.
When I first discovered the world of personal growth, I was constantly reading things like:
“If you’re not going up, you’re going down”
Or worse: “You’re either growing or dying”
Over time, I luckily learned that you don’t need to constantly chase growth to live a meaningful and good life.
You can choose growth, but you can also choose stillness and peace of mind.
It’s hard to feel “accomplished” when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others and trying to do and be “more.” This is your journey. You get to decide how much you want to grow and how much you want to chill.
Both decisions will come with their own sacrifices. You just need to decide which of those challenges you prefer. Don’t let the self-help world make you believe you’re not worthy or enough because you’re not moving “up.”
You’re good enough just the way you are, and you always have more options than you might think.
Most of the time, our lives are hard because we don’t allow ourselves to make it simple. We punish ourselves for mistakes we’ve made in the past and have ridiculous expectations of others and ourselves.
We want change, yet, we’re afraid to change.
We want more, yet we’re afraid of going the extra mile.
Luckily, changing our lives isn’t always as hard as we pretend. Yet, it takes courage and determination. But once you’re ready to take the leap, things might fall into place sooner than you expected.
Relax and trust your gut.
Do the things that feel right.
Make changes when you feel uncomfortable in your current reality.
Life can be so simple and rich if we just step up for our own desires instead of living up to the expectations of others.
Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels