Up until four years ago, I lived my life in a constant struggle. I still do, except now I see the beauty and gift that comes from the art of the struggle. We’re all struggling in some way because we’re all part of the same flawed human species.
The most common email I get from fans is “How do I overcome X struggle?” In one short blog post, I’m going to talk in detail about the subject. I’m going to give you the advice I would give my own children if I had any.
In a way, this blog post is not just a message to those of you who are struggling, but it’s also a message to my former self. It’s the advice I wish I had when I went through so many dark times. It’s the advice I wish I had when my whole world collapsed, and the point of life seemed meaningless.
We all feel like this at one point in our life. Going through struggle is not about suffering, it’s about overcoming adversity. The aim is not to avoid but embrace. Come on a journey with me to your deepest, darkest place and let’s see if we can find the light again in your life.
Here are my top 5 tips to those who are struggling:
1. Become more
When my life took a nasty turn for the worse, one thing saved me: the realization that I had to become more. Once you acknowledge where you are at, and decide to become more, little changes start to occur inside of you.
For me, I was struggling because I hadn’t become a person worth knowing. I let every vice, bad habit and temptation take over my life.
“The devil was knocking at my door, and I kept letting him in rather than tell him to F%$# off” – Tim Denning
Late nights were common at this stage of my life, and I made fun of everyone I came into contact with to cover up my own insecurities. Most of all, I made fun of people in love. This was the very thing at the time that I was incapable of getting anywhere near.
What I lacked, I chose to highlight and shame in others. My potty mouth was out of control, I honked my horn at anyone not doing 100 miles an hour, and I was rude to anyone who made less money than my overpaid salary. These are things I’m not proud of, but today I stand here ready to say I was wrong.
For those of you struggling, what you need to do is become more. You need to be able to pick up on your flaws like I just did and then work on them. You need to be committed to become more in society and hold yourself to a higher standard.
You are capable of so much, and you can bring about phenomenal change in this world if you just let go. Let go of your fear, how you’re perceived by others, your fake ass social media lifestyle, your too cool for school image, and anything else that is not serving you.
Let go of the past and choose to become more.
2. Do more
We’re all pretty lazy when it comes down to it. If you’re struggling, it’s because you need to do more than you’re currently doing. But doing more of the wrong kind of activity will only see you suffer more. You need to do more of the good stuff like:
– Making people smile for no good reason
– Helping people who are in need or stuck in life
– Giving that extra 10% that nobody is willing to give
– Starting that business that you’ve been putting off
– Doing more of what you love so you can live life at its best
– Loving someone other than yourself
– Allowing yourself to fall in love if you haven’t already
3. Travel more
Last year was a bloody tough year for me. Everything that could go wrong in my personal life did. How did I overcome this major struggle? I got on as many planes as I could. For a guy that used to be scared of flying, this was an achievement I was proud of.
When I arrived in places like the USA, I saw people who were struggling even more than I was. I saw people In San Francisco who were not only poor, but who had also lost their minds and just wanted to die. I saw the other side of humanity that Instagram selfies almost always miss.
Travelling made me more compassionate, and opened my eyes to the world beyond my perfect home country Australia. Initially, I had a ridiculous, unlikely plan to possibly escape Australia and move to San Francisco. I thought I could be Mark Zuckerberg and become one of those cool tech entrepreneurs that drove a Toyota Prius.
By the time I got home, I was even more in love with Australia than I had ever been before. I stopped taking for granted all those beautiful rivers, mountains, rainforests and parks that I’d become accustomed to. My mind expanded, and I was never going to be the same again.
Do you care about my stupid travel adventures? Definitely not. I told you all of this because if you’re struggling, you need to travel more. Get out of the mother’s womb that is your hometown, pack your suitcase, and escape. Don’t escape life, escape temporarily while you find yourself again.
You’re not lost forever because of your struggles: you’re lost during a brief moment in time. You need to find yourself again, and travel is part of that process.
4. Be happy with now
There’s a lot of pressure on us from society to live according to some prehistoric timeline. You’re born, then you finish school, then you get a college degree, then you get married, then you have kids, then you retire, and then you die.
“The trouble with living to society’s plan is that you keep fast-tracking to the future”
The problem is that your future is not guaranteed. All that you’re guaranteed of is this current breath. Accumulating milestones is a pointless quest if you don’t love right now.
As bad as things may be, you could be dead or in hospital. You could have sight but no vision. You could be living in a third world country and getting tortured or raped every day. Life’s not that bad, and you can be happy again, no matter what your circumstances are.
I’m not saying to forget about the milestones like marriage and kids, but what I am asking you to do is have faith that they will happen when the time’s right. I’m asking you to be mindful and appreciate the things you already have.
Stacking possessions will not make you happy. Stacking experiences, combined with finding who you are, will. Changing the world, giving to others and loving everybody will make you fulfilled (the ultimate form of happiness).
These things will allow you to win the quest you’ve been sent to Planet Earth to win. We can all conquer and triumph at this quest, as long as we believe we have the capacity to do so.
5. Struggle together
Alone we are small. Together we are united and capable of doing anything. Who are you surrounded by? Who’s has your back? If you’re struggling, then the answer is probably no one or very few people. To come back from adversity, you have to bring others in to assist you.
No one’s going to do this for free, though. You have to give before you can attract the right people. If we look at a company like Amazon, there’s no way it could have ever existed without lots of people working together for a common cause. There’s no billion-dollar company with one employee.
You’re struggling, in part, because you haven’t got a foundation of people underneath you to hold up the structure that is you.
“With all the I’s and selfies in the world, we’ve forgotten about the us’s and we’s. We have forgotten about why we need a tribe around us”
To rise up from your struggles you require a magnet-like attraction to phenomenal human beings who can change the way you think. You need people in your life who are going to hold you accountable and be there when the inevitable fires of your life begin to rage.
No fire lasts forever, and that’s the same with your struggle. The goal is not to avoid struggle, but to bring others into the fight and win a united battle. You’re capable of so much more than the current standards you are living too. If all I manage to do is get you to acknowledge the struggle, and agree not to dismiss it, then I’ve won.
Repeat after me:
“I can change the world”
“Struggle equals growth”
“Pain is temporary”
“We’re in this together”
“I must form the habit of giving”
“I’ll have faith from now on”
Where to from here?
Throw away your pity pants and decide that tomorrow’s going to be different because you’re in control. Accept the struggle and reframe it in your mind as the best thing that could have ever happened to you.
When I went through this process four years ago, I committed to changing my entire environment. I read books I had never read (I’d never really read a book since primary school), I sought out the top performers in their field, I went to seminars, I changed my diet, and most of all I decided not to be mediocre. I told myself that “I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD AND HERE I AM.”
The process was hard, and I did seek professional help initially. Struggle is hard, but so is life. What’s freaking awesome, though, is when you overcome it. When you get to the top of the mountain and realize there’s another one that’s just as hard to climb and it’s even higher.
It’s that never-ending pursuit of success that keeps us alive and makes us human. That’s enough for today my young student. Now it’s time to take action, go out into the world and try this stuff out. Believe in yourself!