Life is a grind. Then you die. The end.
Does it ever feel like that to you? Yeah, me too. If we’re not careful we can allow our lives to become mind numbingly monotonous as we simply grind out one day after the next. Wake up. Work. Go to bed. Rinse and repeat.
In the fast paced society we live in, it becomes very easy to get caught up on life’s treadmill with tigers and lions nipping relentlessly at our heels! One day fades obliviously into the next until we look up and it’s Sunday night and time to start all over again.
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 NIV
So how do we ensure we are experiencing joy filled and meaningful “Days” instead of living out a zombie horror movie and stumbling around in a “Daze”?
Here are a few ideas you might want to experiment with:
- Have a “Big Why”: Finding your “Big Why” is the first step to climbing out of the haze of the daily grind and into your purpose. Your “Big Why” or your purpose should absolutely rip you out of bed in the morning. It will fuel your tank with energy all day long and when the going gets tough it will keep you from putting it on auto-pilot. It’s your reason for being and why you were created.
- Number Your Days: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 NIV. Life is brief and it’s a wise person that takes into account this brevity and works to make each and every day count. The life expectancy for men is 27,740 days and 29,565 days for women. I am 52 which according to the charts, means I have about 8760 days left. I intend to make every one of them count!
- Be Fully Present: This is the micro version of “Number Your Days”. Quick quiz. How much of each 24 hour day are you fully alive and present? Are you just going through motions or are you 100% engaged and focused during your waking hours? Are you eyeball to eyeball with your young children providing them your full attention when they ask you the same question for the zillionth time? How about your spouse or co-workers? No “phoning it in” allowed.
- Get Some Peeps: Everyone needs a community or a tribe to belong to. My wife and I have 3 other couples that we “do life” with. Every Sunday night we get together at one of our homes, share a meal together, and spend time enjoying each other’s company. When I’m hurting, this is the group I turn to. When I’m coasting through life, they are the ones that encourage me to get back on track – or even provide a swift kick in the butt if that’s what is needed. When I have a victory to celebrate, they are there to congratulate me and celebrate with me. No man (or woman) is an island. We were created for relationships. If you don’t have peeps, get some.
You were not placed on this earth by chance and you certainly weren’t placed here to stumble through life in a daze. Find your people, learn your purpose and commit to being present and alive throughout the rest of your life.
Can Do or Can’t Do?
When you are faced with a huge challenge, what is your initial reaction? Do you immediately shrink back and look at all of the reasons “it can’t be done”? Or do you take a long cleansing breath, dig deep within your resolve, and look for all the ways “it CAN be done”?
Obviously the two examples above are polar opposites and most of us probably fall somewhere between the two extremes. Recently, my wife presented me with a fairly big challenge in the area of our finances. More specifically, she rolled out the dreaded “B” word. That’s right…Budget.
I don’t like budgets and I immediately began to object and list all of the reasons her budget simply would not work. After a hearty back and forth exchange, we tabled the subject and I was satisfied that perhaps the budget would die a quiet death. Two or three days passed and no mention of the budget. Life is good. Needless to say I was thrilled.
And then I got the email. It was from my wife and simply contained two words in the subject line…”IT’s DOABLE”. Hmm, I didn’t need to be a brain surgeon to quickly surmise the contents of the email. Begrudgingly I opened it and began to read. She very gently spelled out all of the ways that the budget was indeed doable. And here’s the kicker, she was right. (And don’t you just hate it when your spouse is right!)
Putting In the Work
The bottom line is that I didn’t want to put in the time, effort, discipline and sacrifice to make the budget work. As I slowly began to “undig my heels” and get on board with the budget, I began looking for ways to make the budget work. In a weird sort of way, it’s actually become fun to find new and different ways to come in under budget. And the long term benefits will certainly outweigh the initial discomfort we have experienced.
The whole exercise really got me to thinking. “What else is DOABLE that I have quickly and resolutely said NO to in the past?” And more importantly, what benefits have I been missing out on by not tackling these situations head on? As I rolled these thoughts around in my head, I began to consider how I can get better at leaning into tough situations and challenges. After doing a bit of research as well as reflecting on my own life, here are a few thoughts that I hope will help you with your next challenge.
Be An Overcomer
- Let go of the Fallacy that “Life Should be Easy”. Often times we dismiss a challenge because we know it will be difficult…and we’re simply not willing to put forth the effort. Somewhere along the line many of us bought into the myth that we deserve a life of ease and pleasure Nothing could be further from the truth. There will be trouble. Count on it.
- Embrace the Challenge. Change your mindset and lean in to the problem. Embrace it. Confront it head on and realize that this situation is not permanent. This challenge will pass…and the quicker you embrace it, the quicker it will be over.
- Ask for Help. Let go of your stubborn pride and ask for help when you need it. Seek wise counsel. Let go of the need to be right. Consider the fact that there are probably solutions you haven’t thought of. Be open to change.
- Put in the Work. All of the other steps are pointless if you aren’t willing to do the work. As the late Jim Rohn once said, “You can’t hire someone else to do your pushups for you.”
Count Your Blessings. Regardless of how difficult your challenge is, stop and count your blessings. Realize that the adversity you are currently traveling though will bless you and make you a better person…if you let it.