There was a time when I was so broke that I dug a trashbag of old donuts out of a dumpster behind donut shop while walking back to the squat (homeless camp) at the beach. Not joking. Though this may sound gross, it was actually glorious! A score like this was a festive occasion for everyone who called the squat home.
Although my dumpster-diving squatting days were situationally the lowest I’ve ever been, they weren’t the most difficult times to overcome. The reason is that I was in a positive mental state at that time. I believed that anything was possible and therefore, it was quite easy to move on once I decided I was ready. It was the times that I was mentally and emotionally buried and beaten that were pure hell… a pit I thought I might never escape from.
I get a lot of email from people who say that they are feeling this way. I know what it feels like to be so afraid to lose what little you have, yet so dissatisfied with your life at the same time. It’s a hellish existence.
I don’t know how it is for others, but there is something about being truly down and depressed that made me even less receptive to want to take action to change. Any advice just seemed hollow, and to somehow mock my personal hell. Struggling out of a truly dark pit in life feels like I imagine it feels to try and escape from quicksand. The more you try to get out, the more you’re pulled down.
It’s just easier to sit there and do nothing and stagnate in it.
My goal with this post is to share some of the ways that I overcame the challenges of feeling so down and out that I was nearly demobilized. I still use many of these tactics today to keep myself in a forward-moving mindset.
Take Aggressive Action To Remove All Negativity From Your Life
When we ourselves are in a negative state of being, it seems we surround ourselves with negative people and negative things. I made an aggressive stand to remove all of these things from my life.
- Strict information diet — I turned OFF cable – no more news shows with hours of coverage of horrible things, no more Forensic Files. These are the things I was drawn to when feeling down. I spent the time I once spent doing those things plowing through my goals, reading things with a positive focus, or doing brain puzzles to keep my mind occupied.
- Removing all negative people from my life — I isolated myself not only from negative people, but also from those who weren’t filled with a positive outlook on life by moving and changing my phone number.
- Getting rid of clutter — “Stuff” can carry a lot of memories. I got rid of everything that I didn’t absolutely love and didn’t serve a purpose. If it had negative memories attached to it, I got rid of it even if it did serve a purpose.
Examine Your Life in “Slices”
A lot of what makes us afraid is what we think “might” happen. Worrying about things that might happen can bring about terrible anxiety. I would ask myself, “What is so bad about TODAY?” Sometimes, when there were daily struggles, I would ask myself “Is anything wrong in this exact MOMENT?” When I examined a small sliver of time in this way, I often found that nothing was really all that terrible. At any given moment I was alive, not in pain, in a safe environment, etc.
Get Your Brain Chemistry, Health, And Inner Demons Under Control
Getting your health and your demons under control might be one of the most difficult things to motivate yourself to do… until the ball gets rolling. By health and demons, I mean chemical imbalances, physical deficiencies and ailments, addictions, and past traumas.
Brain chemistry is a powerful thing. Having any type of chemical imbalance, no matter how small, can make life much more difficult than it needs to be. I used to believe that I could use “mind over matter” to overcome anything. I thought that anti-depressants and other types of medication were for people who were too lazy or too unmotivated to change. But now I think differently. At some point, I realized that we are so fortunate to live in a time and place where there are ways to balance your brain chemistry and affordable ways to access these things. I thought… if I CAN regulate my brain chemistry… why won’t I? Why am I choosing to make things more difficult for myself?
Even not having the proper levels of vitamins in our bodies can drag us down. If you’re eating poorly, isn’t it worth it to eat better and take vitamin supplements if it will make you perform better? Eating crappy food is an addictive habit – I know because I can easily become that way! Eating food that is good for you sucks – until you get used to it – then it feels great.
Many people suffer from addictions that they know damn well are hindering their life and their progress. Some people are hung up on things from the past that, until they are confronted, will not allow them the freedom to move forward. Hoping to get ahead without addressing either of these things is like swimming upstream in a downstream current.
Tackling these things might mean seeing a doctor, seeing a nutritionist, or joining a support group, depending on your views and your situation. If you’re like me, and probably like most people, you will fight yourself to take action against these deep-rooted things. But refusing to take action is essentially making a conscious decision NOT to get where you want to be in life.
Vigilantly Forge Ahead With Goals – Even If It Seems Like You’re Not Getting Anywhere
One thing that I’ve learned over the years of owning my own business is that many things you try won’t work and that results come from an accumulation of efforts. You may not see the effect of something small you do today, but doing a few small things today adds up tremendously over time. If you only took 2 meaningful actions per day toward your big goal, in a year’s time, you would have accomplished 730 steps toward progress. Not all 730 will have worked. In fact, maybe only 1% of those things (7) had a major impact that moved you closer to your goal. But if you had only taken 50 actions in that same year…well, 1% of 50 doesn’t even amount to 1.
It can make you feel like a huge loser to continue to chip away at goals and try things with no results – if you let it. Or, you can think that the more things you try that DON’T work, the higher the odds are that at least a small percentage of them will. Sometimes, it only takes one big break.
That may mean trying lots of different business models (for example several different revenue generation streams) or mean trying to promote your own business trying lots of strategies. It depends on what your goals are.
I’ve spent plenty of time doing things that didn’t really amount to anything. But a small fraction of those things really took off and that’s what made all the difference.
Thank You’s And New Stuff
We just launched our first WordPress Widget! It’s called “Online Now” and if you’ve read to this point, you’re probably looking at it in the sidebar. It gives a count of how many visitors are on your site now, how many have been online collectively throughout the day, and the countries where the last 5 visitors were viewing from. Get the Online Now WordPress Widget here, free (2016 update: this widget is no longer supported!)
I’d also like to extend a big thank you to Elizabeth Ashe of Internet Marketing Strategy Diva for taking the time to do an interview with me for her podcast listeners about SEO copywriting. Thanks Elizabeth!
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