Photo by Angelika Platen (Walter De Maria)
All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).
Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.
You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!
The typical problems we face can be solved.
Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:
You didn’t reach your goal.
Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:
• Dream careers
• Girls I wanted to date
• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos
• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn
People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.
The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.
Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.
Your heroes miss their goals too. What makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.
Someone criticized you.
If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.
The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.
“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”
You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.
When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.
Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.
Your career got messed up.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.
The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.
- Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
- The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
- Your career skills could become outdated.
- You could get fired for making a mistake.
Your career is going to get messed up. Things you can never predict in your career are going to happen.
See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.
The solution is to see your career getting messed up as a chance to grow. Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.
Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.
You have financial troubles.
That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.
“I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”
Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.
Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.
Money won’t give you any of those human needs.
That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.
Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.
Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.
If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.
The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.
Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.
How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.
There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.
Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.
Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about it. Have some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.
Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.
Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.
A relationship ended.
There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.
Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.
For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.
We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.
We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.
We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’
These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.
Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.
Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.
You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.
“Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way”
You made an idiot of yourself.
Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.
I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).
• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives
• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts
• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila
• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times
We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.
We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.
Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.
Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.
Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.
“The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody”
Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect.
Someone messed your *shit* up.
Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.
You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.
The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.
You feel like your life has no meaning.
These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.
The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.
The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.
If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment. Standing still is not how you find the answer.
“Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering”
A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.
I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.
You feel like you can’t go on.
We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.
Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.
If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.
Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.
While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.
“There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help”
Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.
Every day feels the same.
You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.
Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.
Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.
You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.
• Travel to another country
• Talk to someone new
• Try learning a new skill
Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.
Your friends are screwing your life up.
Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.
Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.
Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.
Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.
If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.
‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.
You feel stressed.
77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.
This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.
This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.
“We don’t need more; we need less to destress”
• Declutter your home and office
• Say no to more meetings
• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”
• Buy less material things
• Have fewer people in your life
• Listen to one podcast instead of many
• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast
• Have less recurring subscriptions
• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills
• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)
A fear is standing in your way.
There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.
Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.
Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.
Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.
Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.
Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.
I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one :)
Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.
Dealing with the concept of death.
Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.
Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.
“The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it”
Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.
You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.
Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.
The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!
Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.
Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.