4 Things To Remember When You Feel Discouraged And Defeated

~ Marc and Angel

This morning I didn’t feel like doing anything.  It’s a combination of exhaustion from a few days of hard work and preparation for our upcoming Think Better, Live Better 2018 conference, and a lack of sleep with a sick 3-year-old in the house.

I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything important, which is a rare occurrence for me.  I just felt completely discouraged and defeated.  I started overthinking things and doubting myself, and wondering whether anything I do is worthwhile.

I sat there in this funk for nearly an hour and wondered how to get out of it.  Should I just forget about today?  Should I just give up on this project, because I’m not as good at it as I thought I was?

That’s what I was considering, at least for a little while.  But the better part of me knew this mild state of depression was temporary, and so I dug into my own intellectual toolbox for solutions – little tricks of the mind that can have a real effect on reality.

Here’s what works for me – four things to keep in mind (and do) when you feel discouraged and defeated:

1.  You are not the center of the universe (stop making it all about YOU). – I think we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us.  But this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect.  So this morning, instead of worrying so much about myself, I thought about other people I might help.  Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need.  I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question.  The central question now is about what others need.  Thus, thinking about others instead of myself helps me move forward.  (as discussed in the “Inspiration” chapter of our book)

2.  You are more than one thing (loosen up and stretch your identity). – We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are.  When this idea gets threatened, we react defensively.  People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism.  Someone falsely accuses us of something and this threatens our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and argumentative.  My identity of myself as someone who’s motivated and productive and has great ideas… this was getting in the way this morning.  When I wasn’t productive, it made me feel defeated because I began subconsciously worrying that I wasn’t who I thought I was.  My solution was to realize that I’m not just one thing.  I’m not always productive – sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m unproductive too.  I’m not always motivated — sometimes I am, but other times I’m feeling lazy.  And obviously I don’t always have great ideas either – because that’s impossible.  The truth is, I can be many things, and remembering this helps me stretch my identity so it isn’t so fragile.  Then it doesn’t matter if someone thinks I didn’t do a good job – because I don’t always do a good job.  I make mistakes.  I am less than perfect.  And that’s perfectly OK.  (as discussed in the “Self-Love” chapter of our book)

3. Today is still a priceless gift (make the best of it). – I only have so many days left on Earth.  I don’t know how many that is, but I do know it’s a very limited number.  I know that each one of those limited days is a gift, a blessing… a miracle.  And that squandering this miracle is a crime – a horrible lack of appreciation for what I’ve been given.  And so, I reminded myself this morning that this day counts and that I still need to make the best of it.  That doesn’t mean I need to be hyper-productive or work myself into the ground, but that I should do something worthwhile.  Sometimes taking a break to nourish yourself is a worthwhile activity, because doing so allows you to regroup and do other worthwhile things.  But just sitting around in self-pity isn’t helpful.  So I got up and took my son for a long walk that we both enjoyed, and I came back feeling better.

4.  Even the tiniest possible step is progress. (take that tiny step). – It can be hard to get moving when you are seriously stuck.  This is how I felt a decade ago when I was stuck in a rut after simultaneously losing my breadwinning job and two loved ones to illness.  It was really hard to motivate myself when I didn’t think I had the strength to push forward – when I felt insanely horrible and sorry for myself.  But I took one tiny step every day, and it felt good, and I got stronger.  That’s what I did this morning too – I took the tiniest possible step.  Just turning on my computer, opening up a document, and writing a single sentence.  Such an action is so small as to seem insignificant, and yet so easy as to be possible when I was feeling defeated.  And it showed me the next step was possible, and the next.  And the end result is this email you’re reading now.  (as taught in the “Healing Your Depressed Mood” lesson of our course)

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7 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back

~ Marc and Angel

A change in bad habits leads to a good change in life…

Here are seven bad habits many of us repeatedly struggle with:

1.  Mulling over past hardships. – You’ll never see the great things ahead of you if you keep looking at the bad things behind you.  You are exactly where you need to be to reach your goals.  Everything you’ve been through was preparation for where you are right now and where you can be tomorrow.

2.  Holding on to things you need to let go of. – Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things in life that should not be.  Sometimes letting go is what makes us stronger, happier and more successful in the long run. (from the “Happiness” chapter of our book)

3.  Letting one dark cloud cover the entire sky. – Take a deep breath.  It’s just a bad moment, or a bad day, not a bad life.  Everyone has troubles.  Everyone makes mistakes.  The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.

4.  Spending time with people who make you unhappy. – People can be cruel, and sometimes they will be.  People can hurt you and break your heart, and sometimes they will.  But only YOU can allow them to continuously hurt you.  Value yourself enough to choose to spend time with people who treat you the way you treat them.  Know your worth.  Know when you have had enough.  And move on from the people who keep chipping away at your happiness. (from the “Relationships” chapter of our book)

5.  Not making time for those who matter most. – Too often we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.  Appreciate what you have, who loves you and who cares for you.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you.

6.  Discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t. – STOP discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t.  START giving yourself credit for everything that you are.

7.  Giving up who YOU are. – Remove yourself from any situation that requires you to give up any one of these three things:  1) Who you are.  2)  What you stand for.  3)  The goals you aspire to achieve. (from the “Goals and Success” chapter of our book)

5 Things Most Unhappy People Refuse To Admit

~ Marc Hack

Everyone experiences an unhappy mood on occasion, but there is a big difference between experiencing a temporary bout of unhappiness and living a habitually unhappy life. That’s what chronically unhappy people do. And although many of these people are afraid to admit it, a vast majority of their unhappiness stems from their own beliefs and behaviors.

Over the past decade, Marc and I have helped hundreds of unhappy people rediscover their smiles and, in the process, we’ve learned a lot about the negative beliefs and behaviors that typically hold them back. Even if you are generally a happy person, take a look at the short list below. Many of the unhappy people we’ve worked with via our course and coaching initially refused to admit that they carried these beliefs and behaviors, even when the evidence stacked against them was undeniable. See if any of these points are keeping you from experiencing greater amounts of joy.

1.  They struggle with self-respect. – Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself. Be a friend to yoruself. Trust your inner spirit and follow your instincts. Accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit—not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU. Be the person you will be happy to live with for the duration of your life. Don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth. Know that our first and last love is always self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either.  (covered in the “Self-Love” chapter of our NEW book)

2.  They are holding on to old grudges. – You will never find peace until you learn to finally let go of the hatred and hurt that lives in your heart. Life is far too short to be spent in nursing bitterness and registering wrongs. Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, on the other hand, is for those who are confident enough to stand on their own two legs and move on. In order to move on, you must know why you felt the way you did, and why you no longer need to feel that way. It’s about accepting the past, letting it be, and pushing your spirit forward with good intentions. Nothing empowers your ability to heal and grow as much as your love and forgiveness.  (covered in the “Happiness” chapter of our NEW book)

3.  The routines they follow imprison them. – Remember that the way you’ve always done it isn’t the only way. It’s unlikely that one of the things you’ll regret when you’re 75 is not having consumed enough beer in your 20s, 30s and 40s, or not having bought enough $8 lattes from Starbucks, or not having frequented the same exact restaurants, or strip malls, or office buildings for years. But the regret of missing out on great opportunities is a real, toxic feeling. The bottom line is that you’ve figured out the things in your comfort zone many times over. You’ve had enough of the same old, same old. It’s time to figure something new out. Every corner you turn or street you walk down has a new experience waiting for you. You just have to see the opportunity and be adventurous enough to run with it for a little while. (covered in the “Daily Rituals” chapter of our NEW book)

4.  They let their fears numb them from life’s goodness. – “Numbing” is any activity that you use to desensitize your feelings so that you don’t experience vulnerability or hurt. But by numbing yourself to vulnerability, you also numb yourself to love, belonging, empathy, creativity, adventure and all of life’s goodness. Remember, every worthwhile venture in life—intimate love, friendship, a new business, etc.—is scary. These things are inherently risky. They are unsafe. These things aren’t for the faint of heart. They take courage. And most importantly, they can’t coexist with fear. When you open up to life’s greatest opportunities and joys it means you’re also giving life the opportunity to break your heart, but trusting that it won’t … that the risk is well worth the reward.  (covered in the “Getting Unstuck” chapter of our NEW book)

5.  They are addicted to avoiding themselves in the present. – One of the hardest challenges we face to simply live in our own skin—to just be right here, right now, regardless of where we are. Too often we needlessly distract ourselves with anything and everything: food, booze, shopping, TV, tabloid news, online social networks, video games, smart phones, etc.—basically anything to keep us from being fully present. We use compulsive work, compulsive exercise, compulsive love affairs, etc., to escape from ourselves and the realities of living. In fact, many of us will go to great lengths to avoid the feeling of being alone in an undistracted environment. So we succumb to hanging-out with just about anybody to avoid the feeling of solitude. For being alone means dealing with our true feelings: fear, anxiety, confusion, uncertainty, resentment, disappointment, excitement, anticipation, and so on and so forth. And it doesn’t really matter if our feelings are positive or negative—they are overwhelming and exhausting, and so we prefer to numb ourselves to them. The bottom line is that we are all addicted to avoiding ourselves to an extent. Acknowledging this addiction is the first step to healing it. So begin today by just noticing, with curiosity and without judgment, all of the ways in which you avoid being in your own skin, right here, right now, in this present moment we call life.  (covered in the “Mindfulness” chapter of our NEW book)

10 Fantasies to Let Go of Before the New Year

http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/12/03/10-fantasies-to-let-go-of-before-the-new-year/

10 Things to Remember When the Going Gets Tough

http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/11/19/10-things-to-remember-when-the-going-gets-tough/

5 Things You Should Be Able To Say About Your Life

I just received an email from a young reader named Diane that brought me to tears.  The opening lines of her email read: “I am dying of Leukemia at age 18.  I was sent home from the hospital for my final few weeks 156 days ago.  But now I am back at the hospital being treated again, because my doctors now believe there is hope.”

I pray a miracle continues to work on Diane’s behalf, and I am also selfishly grateful for the reminder she has given me today.  Our lives are fleeting, and the best day to fight for the right to live a full life is today.  For those of us lucky enough to have our health, this means doing something amazing today.  And by “amazing,” I mean taking small, positive steps forward on a purposeful path.

Because everything you want to do takes daily practice.  Whether that means learning to dance by practicing dancing, or learning to live by practicing living, the principle is the same.  In every case, it’s the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, mental and physical, that drives a sense of achievement, clarity of one’s meaning, and a satisfaction of the inner spirit.  One becomes, in a way, an athlete of Life itself—a person willing to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, faith, or desire.

As Mae West so profoundly said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

And you know you’re on the right track when you can repeat each of the following headlines to yourself, honestly.  (And if you can’t, this short list gives you something positive to work on.)

1.  I am following my heart and intuition. – Don’t be pushed by your problems.  Be led by your dreams.  Live the life you want to live.  Be the person you want to remember years from now.  Make decisions and act on them.  Make mistakes, fall and try again.  Even if you fall a thousand times, at least you won’t have to wonder what could have been.  At least you will know in your heart that you gave your dreams your best shot.  Each of us has a fire in our hearts burning for something.  It’s our responsibility in life to find it and keep it lit.  (from the “Passion & Growth” chapter of our book)

2.  I am being honest with myself. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you will become an instrument of their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  (from the “Self-Love” chapter of our book)

3.  I am making a difference. – Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.  Is it true that we all live to serve?  That by helping others we fulfill our own destiny?  The answer is a simple ‘yes.’  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.  You are only one, but you are one.  You cannot do everything, but you can do something.  (from the “Inspiration” chapter of our book)

4.  I have forgiven those who once hurt me. – We’ve all been hurt by another person at some point or another – we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.  And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over, letting them live rent-free in our head and we have a hard time letting go.  Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness, it causes us to miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.  To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.  (from the “Relationships” chapter of our book)

5.  I have no regrets. – This one is simply a culmination of the previous four…  Follow your heart.  Be true to yourself.  Do what makes you happy.  Be with who makes you smile.  Laugh as much as you breathe.  Love as long as you live.  Say what you need to say.  Offer a helping hand when you’re able.  Appreciate all the things you do have.  Smile.  Celebrate your small victories.  Learn from your mistakes.  Realize that everything is a lesson in disguise.  Forgive.  And let go of the things you can’t control.  (from the “Happiness” chapter of our book)

Comment to: angelc@marcandangel.com

10 Regrets Too Many People Will Have in 10 Years

10 Regrets Too Many People Will Have in 10 Years

In the final decade of his life, my grandfather woke up every single day at 7AM, picked a fresh wild flower on his morning walk, and took it to my grandmother.  One morning, I decided to go with him to see her.  And as he placed the flower on her gravestone, he looked up at me and said, “I just wish I had picked her a fresh flower every morning when she was alive.  She really would have loved that.”  As you can imagine, my grandfather’s words touched a nerve in me.  And over the years I’ve often reflected on what he said that morning, and how his sentiment relates to everyone and everything I care about.

God willing, when I’m on the cusp of my 80’s, I don’t want to sit with regrets.  I don’t want to wish I had done things differently—especially something as simple, yet meaningful, as picking wild flowers for the love of my life.

Don’t you agree?

To an extent, I know you do.

In the end, more than anything else, we regret the small chances we didn’t take, the priceless relationships we were too busy to nurture, and the good decisions we waited too long to make.  I learned this through extensive experience.  Angel and I have spent the past decade coaching hundreds of students and clientsfrom all over the world, and the same exact regrets relentlessly pop up in the personal stories people share with us.  Below, we’re going to take a look at ten of these common regrets, and then cover some principles and strategies for avoiding and overcoming them.

  1. Not spending enough quality time with the right people. — At some point, you’ll just want to be around the few people who make you smile for all the right reasons.  So today, spend more time with those who help you love yourself more—spend more time with those who make you feel good, and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress.  Never be too busy to make room in your day for the ones who matter most.  And remember that nothing you can give will ever be more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention—your full presence.  Truly being with someone, and listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event, is the ultimate compliment

Read more at: http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/09/17/10-regrets-too-many-people-will-have-in-10-years/