stop standing in your own way

How to Stop Standing in Your Own Way

Most of us take our time on this planet for granted. We keep postponing our happiness until we have more money or more time. But the truth is, the clock is ticking and the next minute that passes, you will never get it back. So stop making excuses to justify living an unfulfilling life because all these excuses are fears in disguise. And with every excuse you make, you empower those fears to continue to lead you on in life.

There’s a famous quote that says: ‘Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.’ But what if that day comes too late? Can you imagine dwelling in misery for the rest of your life? You should not. It’s time to stop hiding behind fear.

Here are 3 ways to conquer fear and stop standing in your own way in life.

1. Rewrite your story

We are told stories about ourselves our entire lives. Every person we meet adds a line to our story and we simply go along with it. We never question what made us the people we are. So we remain stuck inside the person who created the situation we are in, unable to escape.

This is the realization I came to last year. I had just turned thirty and for some reason I began to feel like I was running out of time to live a life I loved. My life left like a waiting game. I was waiting for fulfillment to walk through the door, or for something to happen, that would get me to where I needed to be. But the problem was, I didn’t know where I needed to be. I didn’t know what my purpose or potential was because I had never explored either, nor tried to achieve more than what I was told I was capable of. So I decided to re-write my story and challenge the stereotypes. I stopped telling myself what I couldn’t do and focused instead on figuring out how to do it.

And that’s exactly what you need to do. Rewrite the story that seems to hold you back in life. Whether it’s living with a mental disorder, a disability, or being at a stage in your life in which “you are not supposed to do that thing”. I encourage you to take that first step and see where it leads you. The rewards can be so much greater than the losses.

2. Remember why you’re doing it

I know they say getting started is the hardest, but sometimes the middle of the journey can be even harder. It’s that time of uncertainty when you are not sure if you should stop and go back or continue. That’s when you have already put in so much work, often without visible or tangible results. It’s the most frustrating, daunting and disheartening time, but it’s also the most crucial time. Getting through this stage is the difference between success and failure.

This is when a lot of people give up. So to protect yourself against quitting you must constantly remind yourself why you’re doing it and envision the end result.

3. Persist

Whether it’s physical, emotional, or monetary success you’re after, be stubbornly persistent in your pursuit of achieving it. Look for role models who’ve been where you are and who didn’t give up. Use their stories to motivate yourself to keep going but remind yourself that their success is the result of years of hard work and persistence. Look back at the progress you’ve made, celebrate every milestone and don’t get too caught up in all the hard work that lies ahead.

Instead, be prepared to readjust your strategies, and most importantly, never stop believing in your goal. The more you believe in what you do, the more likely you are to do it well and succeed.

Read next: How to Stay Positive and Happy in Life: True Happiness

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how to stay positive and happy

How to Stay Positive and Happy in Life: True Happiness

Happiness is often portrayed as laughter, presents, purchases, true love and being surrounded by people who never upset us. But the reality is, true happiness does not look like this. This is the idealized version of what it means to be happy and believing this version prevents us from achieving true happiness.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in this fantasy world, which we assume others have access to and we are missing out on. But life will throw you curveballs and people will disappoint you. How happy you are depends on the way you respond to it all and how in touch you are with yourself.

Based on research and my personal experience, happiness is the result of the following ten key components.

1. Tolerance

Happiness is correlated both with self-tolerance and social tolerance. So we should strive to treat ourselves and others with respect and accept that we are all imperfect human beings. What works for you may not work for another person and vice versa. Agree to disagree and move on.

2. Patience

We all want things and experiences and we tend to want them right now in order to satisfy our happiness cravings. And when we don’t get them quickly enough we make sure to remind ourselves how we are failing and how unlucky we are. But with a good dose of patience (and hard work) you can achieve almost any goal. So if you want to be happier, learn to be ok with delayed gratification.

3. Self-acceptance

For this one, allow me to take you back to the unhappiest time of my life- my early 20’s when I had such high expectations of myself and consumed way too much celebrity media. My life was a contrast between reality and fantasy and I lived with a constant need for more and better. I thought I needed more stuff, more praise, more attention and better looks. Nothing was ever enough because I didn’t see myself as good enough. Nowadays, I accept myself warts and all and I cannot state enough how detrimental self-acceptance is to your happiness.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to connect with others by feeling with them, caring about their well-being and acting with compassion. It is understanding a situation from the other person’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual perspective and responding accordingly. Empathy will make you a better communicator, it will strengthen your relationships and help you let go of grudges. Which, if you didn’t know, are actually a great source of unhappiness.

5. Close friendships

Did I mention that I had no friends in my early 20’s? That’s right. I had no friends at all and let me tell you, having just one close friendship can drastically change your outlook in life. The simple thought of having someone you can count on when life gets hard, soothes you. There is no replacement for human connection. So do cherish your friends if you want to be happy.

6. Living authentically

As a former people pleaser, I can attest to the fact that living an inauthentic life makes us very unhappy. Now, I know not everyone has the luxury to live authentically for a multitude of reasons. But I’d encourage everyone to make authentic living a goal and work towards achieving it because it is liberating to live a life you’re excited to wake up to everyday.

7. Letting go of perfectionism

Perfectionism is a major cause of unhappiness. It prevents us from doing things, going places, learning and growing as people. The need to be perfect actually makes us more imperfect because we avoid getting better at our craft or acquiring new skills. Challenge yourself to living free of perfectionism for one month and I guarantee you will do everything in your power not to go back to being a perfectionist.

8. Getting outside more

All the happiness research connects more time spent in nature with greater happiness. This is something I need to work on too. I don’t spend as much time outdoors as I’d like to, even though I know how good it feels to be outside  and how energized I feel afterwards. Spending time outdoors should be on everyone’s daily to do list for a happier life.

9. Listening to music

Music got me through so many difficult times in my life. There is something so powerful and soothing about listening to music. It gives us hope, takes us on self-discovery journeys, it allows us to reflect and just be in the moment. It’s no wonder research found that listening to music makes us happier.

10. Feeling all the feelings without judgement

Now this is what happiness looks like… it’s feeling all the feelings while remaining hopeful and patient that life will get better. Sadness, disappointment and difficult times won’t last forever.

As adults, we have the power to decide our path in life. So the catch is, how do you stay happy and hopeful when everything seems to go wrong? Well, you accept what is and remind yourself of what is possible ahead. Wait out the storm… this too shall pass.

Read next: How to Believe in Yourself When No One Believes in You

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believe in yourself

How to Believe in Yourself When No One Believes in You

So many of our dreams get crushed every single day by believing those who don’t believe in us. In a perfect world, we are surrounded by supportive people who encourage us to be different, think differently and take the less travelled path in life. But we don’t live in a perfect world so we shouldn’t wait for approval to proceed with our dreams. So here is how to believe in yourself.

Tuning out the disbelievers

Most of the people you admire today have experienced doubt, skepticism and critique along their way to greatness. What makes them different is they continued in spite of it all. They navigated their way through messy, treacherous terrains to get to where they are now. Yet most of us give up before we are even half-way through because we lack the admiration or approval of others.

But the truth is, those who tell you to stay ordinary are, themselves, afraid of change and failure. They take comfort in the safety of predictability and want you to do the same. So they project all of their fears on you and make you doubt your abilities, ideas and potential. Sadly, most of the time we believe them and we lose the drive to continue.

Navigating the messy beginnings

I get how difficult it is to keep going when no one seems to believe in what you do. I wish I could tell you to disregard the disbelievers and keep going, but it’s not that easy. We need positive feedback to know our time is spent wisely and productively on things that can ultimately sustain a dream life.

Now, a dream life looks different for everyone. For one person, it may be accumulating great wealth and achieving status recognition. For another, it may be living a simple life in touch with nature. Two very different lifestyles that require taking a similar path to be achieved – building competence through education and a great amount of dedication.

Competence builds confidence

Sometimes, we think we don’t have the resources to achieve our goals, but according to Earl Nightingale: “if you’ll spend one extra hour each day in the study of your chosen field, you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.” Yes, all you need is one hour a day to dedicate it to the goal you wish others believed in as strongly as you do. That is how you build competence, which gives you confidence in what you do and in your ability to do it well. And when you feel competent you are less likely to believe those who don’t believe in you.

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life, pay attention to how you feel each morning you get the privilege to wake up. Do you feel energized and motivated to start your day? Do you look forward to working on your projects? If your answer is yes, then you have already found your purpose, which is a gift you should not take for granted.

So many people sleepwalk through life, unable to find their purpose or too afraid to pursue it. And before they know it, time has run out. Don’t wait too long to believe in yourself because there is no perfect time, nor situation, to live a life that makes you feel alive. Inaction is a disease. Just start, keep going and you’ll get there somehow.

Read next: When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong

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