Let me start with some inspiration. We suck at a lot of things. (not inspiring enough?)
I don’t want this to be a piece which claims to solve all your woes in life.
So, let’s keep it real. From personal experience & reading more about stoicism, here are a few ways to suck less at life.
Focus on what you can control
I struggle with this one a lot. But in theory it’s pretty simple. There’s so much that bothers us & stays in our mind everyday. But if you pick each thought one by one, which ones are actually in your control? Because if they are not, then why worry about them anyway?
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .” — Epictetus
Do Good To Feel Good
Just don’t be a dick, okay? Be a kind person, help others & be of service. Nothing feels better than detaching yourself from your own problems for a while & helping others.
“A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness.” — Seneca
There’s so much noise out there. Not to mention the noise inside our own head. Writing about it regularly helps me clear my head. This is something that has helped me immensely. I feel it doesn’t really matter how you do it, call it journaling or whatever. But the idea is to sit with your thoughts quietly. It’s easy to sleepwalk through life and regularly reflecting & reviewing your own thought patterns, habits, feelings etc helps in resetting.
Just Take A Walk
So simple, yet so effective. Just take a walk. Whenever you can. Get out & just stroll around your neighbourhood. Take some fresh air, clear your head & get back at it.
Do Only What’s Essential
Do less and try and only do what’s essential. This is a little hard for me as I always end up taking more stuff on my plate. Although I’ve gotten better at it, I still have a long way to go. Again, this takes us back to choosing what you can do and what you cannot very wisely.
Simple, immensely effective & mostly overlooked. Sometimes it’s easy to forget everything we already have. Coming from someone who is always looking for the “next best thing” and always trying to leveI up, I think there’s a lot of power in appreciating what you already have while striving to gain more. It grounds you and also takes some weight off your shoulder
Have A Good Time w/ Others
As often as you can, kick back and relax. Connect with others. As much as being independent & self reliant is important. It’s also equally important to know when to switch that off, get out of your head & connect with other people. At the end of the day we’re social animals & you won’t regret meeting new people, understanding how they work, understanding different cultures and their quirks. That’s also one reason I like travelling a lot. It exposes you to a different culture, and since you’re away from your home & your natural self – you tend to be slightly more experimental.
You can google and find a gazillion articles about why exercise is important. But I like how adding the word “Strenuous” gives it that extra weight it deserves. I don’t care what it is; boxing, swimming, yoga, weight lifting, tennis. Just make it part of your regular life. Do something physical. And do it religiously. Get out of your head & into your body. An instant recipe for feeling good.
A good feeling for me is when you train, and then you put on fresh clothes. New clothes after a training session – you have this rush of endorphins from exercise that everybody gets, and then you get that nice feeling of fresh clothes. It’s a double whammy. – Conor McGregor
Allow Yourself To Be A Little Crazy
Don’t be so hard on yourself. And also, please act a bit crazy every now and then? Because let’s be honest what’s all this for anyway. We never know when we’d be off this planet.
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men”
Let Go Of Worry, Anxiety, and Regret
I know, I know. Easier said than done. But it’s all about understanding it and slowly getting better at it. If you pick up each one of these words individually, you’ll believe that letting go is the only wise choice.
Worrying : Has worrying ever helped any of us? Think about the times you were worried about something. The exam results? A job interview? Asking your crush out? Did worrying help, or rather do you even remember that feeling now.
Anxiety : Probably the one I struggle with most. Since I am constantly trying to optimise things that are out of my control.
When I see an anxious person, I ask myself, what do they want? For if a person wasn’t wanting something outside of their own control, why would they be stricken by anxiety? — Epictetus
Regret : For me, this has been the easiest one to let go off. What is done cannot be undone. There is no point in looking back and regretting things. In fact, having regret also influences your future decisions a lot. Since you’re always keeping that grudge in mind.
You Have Everything You Need
As they say, life is simple but not easy. In reality we don’t need much. And the stuff we do need is usually always present. So start where you are with what you have, there’s never going to be a right time.