How To Get Out of a Slump

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Self loathing accomplishes nothing, and will only prolong your slump.

Accept responsibility.   Recognize that you’re the one that dug yourself into a hole and you’re going to have to be the one to dig yourself out.

Realign your priorities.   Often when I feel like life’s getting away from me it’s because I’m spending my time on things that aren’t important to me.  I’ve found that spending some time thinking about my goals always seems to provide me with clarity on changes I need to make.

Take action.    If nothing moves, nothing changes.  If you’re feeling down it’s because your actions aren’t in congruence with your highest vision of yourself.  You’re not doing the things that your ideal self would do. Planning’s great, but without action nothing changes.

Identify and eliminate triggers.   Recognize what got you into a slump in the first place and aim to remove it from your life, or at least minimize its impact.  If you skip this step, you’ll quickly find yourself back at square one.

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Think Before You Speak

When I was little I was told to always think before I spoke.  That may be good advice for young children, or business relationships, but it doesn’t work well for socializing.

When you’re constantly censoring yourself and thinking about what you’re going to say, you tend to have conversations in a very conservative manner.

The benefit of this is you’re much less likely to say something offensive than a more spontaneous speaker.  Despite this, there’s many more reasons you should speak spontaneously in social situations.

For one you’ll be less in your head.  You’ll be more present to the moment and won’t try to work your way through conversations in such a logical, linear fashion.

Other people can sense when you’re truly being yourself.  When you say what you want to say, instead of what you think you should say, others find that intensely attractive.

However, I think the greatest benefit of speaking spontaneously is that it just makes socializing a lot more fun.  Talking to others becomes something you enjoy doing instead of a chore.

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Anti Role Models

When I first became interested in personal development one of the reoccuring themes I noticed was the importance of finding a role model.

I heard that the quickest path to success was to find someone who had already done what you wanted to accomplish.  That’s good advice.

However, I’ve found that in my life there have been many occasions where I haven’t been able to find a suitable role model or I’ve simply wanted to view my goals from a different perspective.

In those cases I’ve used what I call anti role models.  Instead of finding someone who has accomplished my goals and done all the right things, I’ve found someone who is worse off than me and done all the wrong things.

I’ve found that often when looking at my role models I feel intimidated because they seem flawless.

I know my role models have struggles too, but looking at my anti role models helps me identify bad habits I still have and often provides more motivation to change.

Success is just as much about the things you don’t do as the things you do do and the thought of being like one of my anti role models disgusts me too much to allow stagnation to be an option.

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Experts Learning From Beginners

My best friend and I are at my house making smoothies.  I feel confident telling her I’m the smoothie master as I’ve made hundreds since becoming vegan.

So we’re adding the bananas, the orange juice, the berries, the spinach, all the good stuff.  Then we’re waiting for them to finish blending.

They finish and she has a sip.  I see her eyes light up and she says it’s the best smoothie she’s ever had.  So you know I’m feeling good.  I’m feeling like I lived up to my reputation as the smoothie master.

Then she tells me it’s the best smoothie she’s ever had, but I forgot something.  I’m like wait, what?  I’m tripping, like I’m the master, you’re the student young grasshopper.  How are you gonna tell me I forgot something?

She’s laughing, because she knows I’m always open to improving, but I just can’t see how someone who’s only made a handful of smoothies in their life can provide me with any useful criticism.

She’s a smart girl though and she proves me wrong.  She calmly walks up to my pantry and grabs two straws. At this point I’m just completely mind blown.

It’s just like how did I never think of that?  How had I made hundreds of smoothies and never thought to use a straw?

It’s such a simple change, but because of my ego, it’s one that I almost never discovered.

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Everybody Wants Something For Nothing

Everybody wants to look good, but nobody wants to hit the gym.

Everybody wants to be a millionaire, but nobody wants to hustle.

Everybody wants to be a professional athlete, but nobody wants to go to practice.

Everybody wants be brave, but nobody wants to face their fears.

Everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to put in the work.

Everybody wants something for nothing, but life doesn’t work like that.  You get exactly what you put in.  

You’ll never be successful until you get so tired of being a nobody that putting in the work to become a somebody is your only option.

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Dreamer vs Doer

The dreamer imagines one day changing the world, but struggles taking action in the present moment.  He sees not the negative aspects of society, but the great potential it has.  The dreamer focuses not on what is, but what could be.

The doer on the other hand thinks less of how the world could be changed, and more of how to make the most of what they’ve got.  He tends to work longer hours and thinks less creatively.  The doer takes action, but works inefficiently and doesn’t get much bang for his buck.

Most people fall into the category of dreamer or doer.  In rare circumstances, however, dreamer meets doer and that’s the precise moment truly great work is produced.

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Cut From Another Cookie

Humans have approximately 99.9% identical DNA, yet for some reason everyone seems to think they’re “cut from another cookie.”

It’s a universal excuse, but it’s not a valid one.  Logically most people would agree that for practical purposes, we all share the same genetic potential in almost every field except perhaps professional sports.

From a bird’s eye perspective that’s fairly easy to accept, but in the moment it’s easy to disregard it.

Because of the way we evolved our brains would rather justify false statements and rationalize limiting beliefs than deal with uncertainty.

It’s easier to think you’re cut from another cookie and simply lack the ability to be happy, than work to improve your lifestyle.  It’s easier to think that you don’t possess the genetics to be muscular than head to the gym every week.

At times I still use the cut from another cookie excuse, but I’m getting better.  As I’ve gathered reference experiences to disprove this theory I’ve found myself referring to it less and less.

I never thought I’d be vegan, happy, or a blogger.  But seeing myself transition to this lifestyle from being a lonely, depressed, meat eater has shown me that it’s not about your genetics or where you come from.

We all have greatness within us.  The problem is that so few ever muster up the courage to manifest their inner perfection into reality.

Fortunately, we’re given a choice.  If you decide to show the world your inner greatness, nobody has the power to stop you.  Except you.

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Spiral Staircases

I’m sitting in my basement trying to write.  My mind is blank.  It’s interesting how we can make something as simple as writing difficult.  Often we know the first logical action to take when working towards a goal, but for some reason don’t take it.

When I first sat down to write I had one goal.  Complete an article before getting up from my chair. I had a clear objective goal, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there.

What I did know, however, was the first logical action towards completing my goal.  The first step in writing a page is writing a sentence.  And from that first sentence I would be able to write a paragraph, which would eventually lead to me being able to write a whole page.

Here’s the way I see it.  Goals with clearly identifiable first actions, but unclear proceeding actions are a lot like spiral staircases.

It’s impossible to see the top until you start walking, but each step you take reveals another stair.  A similar process occurs in many goals.

It’s often impossible to fully understand the actions required to achieve your goals before you start taking action, but with each action you take you’ll gain more clarity on the steps required to achieve them.

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Compared To Who?

As human beings, it’s natural for us to compare ourselves to others.  The way we look, the way we walk, the way we talk, whatever.  I’m not sure you can consciously choose to stop comparing yourself to others nor am I sure it would even be beneficial to do so.

What I do know, however, is that you can decide who to compare yourself to.  Most people make this decision unconsciously and compare themselves to the average person.

But like most unconscious decisions, it’s not the best choice if you want to be successful.  If you compare yourself to the average person you’re setting yourself up for failure.

By comparing yourself to someone that’s 30 pounds overweight, just carrying an extra 10 pounds doesn’t seem so bad.  By comparing yourself to someone that’s depressed, being emotionally numb doesn’t seem so bad.  At least in comparison.

And that’s the problem.  By comparing yourself to average, the average person becomes your standard.  Mediocrity becomes acceptable.

Fortunately, there’s a much better approach to optimizing our natural inclination to compare ourselves to others.  And that’s comparing ourselves to the people we want to become.

At the NFL combine they don’t compare incoming rookies to the average person.  That wouldn’t make any sense.  Under that standard a wide receiver running a 5 second 40 yard dash would actually seem fast.

In reality, scouts compare draft prospects to successful NFL players because that’s the standard they expect their draft picks to meet.

Consequently, if you want to be a successful person you can’t compare yourself to the average person.  You have to compare yourself to the Albert Einstein’s, Steve Job’s, and Michael Jordan’s of the world.

Your work ethic may be light years ahead of the average employee, but comparing yourself to the greats allows you to puts thing and perspective and realize just how much better you could be doing.

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Never Miss Two Consecutive Days

Most habits are relatively easy to maintain if they’re done everyday.  However, because of the chaotic nature of life you’re going to occasionally miss a day.

Something I’ve noticed in my life is only getting off track for a single day isn’t a big deal.  It’s the second day that’s killer.

A couple years ago, when I first made the commitment to stop playing video games, I remember feeling upset with myself because I spent a whole day playing them.  It was especially painful because I had managed to avoid them for a couple weeks which was a HUGE accomplishment for me at the time.

But what followed was even more painful than breaking my initial promise.  I justified to myself that because I was only on day one it was ok to spend another day playing video games because I had no streak to protect.

And then it was alright to spend another day consumed by them.  And then just one more.  And before I knew it I was once again a full-fledged video game addict and had wasted another six months of my life.

It hurt to have lost so much time, but I eventually eliminated video games from my life and learned a valuable lesson.  NEVER miss two days in a row.

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