Hands up if you want a ‘hard’ life?
I am guessing we had about 0% of hands showing.
I reckon the numbers would swing back to approximately 100% if I asked who wants more PEACE in their lives!
So let’s imagine at one end of the spectrum there is HARD and the other end is PEACE.
This article is about what we mostly ‘unconsciously’ (or accidentally) do, which sends us closer to the HARD end of the spectrum, and what we can do to move closer to the PEACE end of town.
So let’s dive straight in with the first way we make life harder.
How we make life harder #1: We bought into the wrong story
The story I am talking about is this one:
“You are weak if you need to ask for help”.
That story is totally doofus!
It is guaranteed to make life harder.
A more accurate and better story is: “Many hands make light work“.
I also think it is a sign of WISDOM if we quickly and easily identify where and when we need help, and then immediately seek it out.
The older I get (and hopefully wiser) the more quickly I ask for help.
And please DO NOT assume the person you want to ask help from is too busy, or your request is not worthy of their time and skills, or you can’t afford it.
Ask for help WHENEVER you need it.
Life is much HARDER trying to do it all by yourself.
How we make life harder #2: We don’t practice the 7 P’s (or know about them)
In the military we would often hear the 7 P’s being touted: “Prior preparation and planning prevents piss poor performance“
Or a close second: “Time spent in planning is rarely wasted”.
I often see people charging off to do something without a clear idea of what they want the end result to be; and with a half baked plan on how to achieve this thing they have not clarified.
I liked Steven Covey’s pillar from his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘.
He said: “Begin with the end in mind“.
When you are clear about exactly what you want as a final outcome, it is much easier, and more effective, to come up with a workable plan.
So get really clear about the END RESULT you want, and then TAKE THE TIME to figure out the best plan (and maybe consider doing the getting-help thing).
SLOW DOWN so you get things right the first time, and end up with what you actually want.
Life is much HARDER if you are inefficient, and have to keep fixing things because you rushed off without a decent plan.
The 7 P’s are likely to add more PEACE to your life as well.
How we make life harder #3: We decide it is a good idea to compress the timeline
I have written often about this.
This rushing thing.
I often have clients come to me, who are stressed out (doing life hard) in their pursuit of a particular meaningful goal.
So I recognize it is a great goal for them, BUT their plan is a little bit off.
They are trying to achieve their goal in either an unrealistic period of time, or an unnecessarily short space of time.
Often when you compress your timeline (to achieve an outcome), there is a direct correlation to an INCREASE in your stress levels.
Who cares if it took you 6-months longer to achieve your Meaningful Goal if you imagine yourself looking backwards in 10 years time.
An extra 6-months might be irrelevant.
But it probably does mean a whole heap less stress in your life.
Plus with more time, and space, you might be able to experience a little more JOY on the journey as well.
How we make life harder #4: We create unnecessary drama’s
I could write a whole article (or book) on how we create unnecessary drama in our lives, but I will keep it short.
A common reason people create drama’s in their lives is they have subconsciously associated getting seen and heard (through creating drama) with ‘connection’ (and at a deeper psychological level – ‘safety’).
So first we need to intellectually realise even though drama can make us seen and heard, it brings with it greater stress for our minds and bodies.
That is; it is a very poor strategy, and ultimately makes life harder and more joyless.
The most common way people create drama’s is they OVER-EXAGGERATE a situation or experience, through EMOTIVE language, ASSUMPTIONS and what is called in cognitive behavioural therapy “CATASTROPHIZING”.
I am constantly correcting my clients choice of words, and the meaning they give to events or situations.
If you have not read my blog post on lowering emotions (through language), then check it out.
Drama’s may equal getting noticed, but overall they are a really poor way to move away from hard, and towards more peace.
If you have lot’s of drama’s in your life the chances are very high that it is not an external issue, but an internal issue.
Get help to work through this and your life will change a massive amount.
Remember the ‘help’ thing?
How we make life harder #5: We make the easy choice in the short-term
I am not here to tell you that you can create a life where there are no hard parts.
We will often have challenges in life which don’t feel so good.
My target is to have 80% plus of my life, joyful, fulfilling, meaningful and less than 20% un-fun and too hard.
We all know sometimes we need to experience short-term discomfort for long-term gain.
For example: working out, eating healthy, tough conversations in relationships, new job floundering, learning something new or saving money.
If we make the easy or comfortable choices in the short-term, it often does not serve us in the long-term.
It may seem easier at the time, but overall, it may make life harder and less fulfilling, in the future.
Choosing long-term gain over short-term gain requires more consciousness, grit and foresight, but it is more likely to lead to a life, and life-time, of joy, fulfillment, meaning and accomplishment.
It is the idea of a little hard now, but much less hard (collectively) in the future.
Another good way to work through the discomfort in the short-term is to find ways to enjoy your way through the discomfort. Find playful ways to work through it. Maybe share it with friends (e.g. exercising buddies). Get creative and playful with how you can make the good quality hard stuff more joyful, fun and interesting.
My Parting words
Life can be a challenge.
But let’s not make it any harder than it needs to be.
Let’s make better choices, to counter things like the 5 above I have mentioned.
And if life is hard for you, or too hard, definitely re-read number 1.
In my experience, people’s bad habits, blind-spots and learned behaviours, make life much harder than it needs to be.
But there are ways to deal with this (like when the unconscious is made conscious).
If you need a hand with this, do drop me a line, as I would love to help.
Making a decision to move from hard to PEACE is a great first choice.
Have a super joyful day and an even more peaceful week.
See you next week.