It’s easy to change your life when you’re hitting rock bottom.
Sure, it sucks to lose everything. I know. I’ve been there. In my early 20s I went through a severe bout of depression that lasted for years.
At first, it was just a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. But it slowly – so slowly I didn’t even realise it was happening – turned into severe anxiety that kept me locked into my bedroom for days at a time.
Little by little, I lost the will to do… anything.
My hobbies – reading, writing, playing with makeup – were the first thing to go. Then, I started finding excuses not to go out with my friends until they got the hint and stopped calling me. Even my boyfriend of 13 years dumped me.
I found myself without a job. Friends. Partner. I had hit rock bottom.
I felt a strange mixture of excruciating pain and… dare I say it? Relief. Now the worst had happened, the only way to go was up. I booked a one way ticket to London and started building up my life again.
The first year and a half, I hustled hard. I lived in a tiny room the size of a closet, made very little money, and struggled to make friends.
But after a while, things picked up. I met the man of my dreams and we moved in together. My business made enough money for me to live comfortably. I made friends, too.
Life was good. Except…
That nagging voice again. That whisper that let me know I was settling for way less than I dreamed of.
I knew it. But I ignored it. I was doing ok, why rock the boat?
That’s the danger of doing ok. Rock bottom is motivating. An ok life isn’t. You don’t have that fire under your belly pushing you to get out of your comfort zone because life couldn’t get any worse, so what have you got to lose?
And so you stay put. For years. Until you’re on your deathbed wishing you could go back and do it all again – and listen to that whisper this time.
Morbid, but true.
Are you at risk of having this happen to you?
Are You Living An Ok Life?
Let’s do a test. How many of these statements are true for you:
- My job is ok. I don’t hate it, but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life… or the next 5 years.
- I feel like I’m going through the motions, living life on autopilot.
- I don’t remember the last time I was excited about something.
- I’m tolerating a lot of things I don’t like or agree with (like a micromanaging boss, a broken lift at my apartment building, and a girlfriend calling me at all hours of the day and night to complain about her boyfriend for the umpteenth time.
- I have enough money to pay my bills, but wish I could afford a little treat every now and then.
- My friends are always shooting down my dreams and telling me why taking any risk is dangerous.
- I’m afraid that if I get outside of mycomfort zone and take a small risk, my life will get worse.
- I’m waking up in the morning thinking, “Is today going to be a repeat of yesterday?”
- I’m in a relationship that has lost its spark or going on dates with cute guys I don’t connect with.
- I keep thinking about starting a business or changing career, but I can’t be bothered to do anything about it.
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, you’re in the danger zone. Your life is ok, but you don’t feel enough pain to change it.
That’s the worst place to be in.
Why Tolerating An Ok Life Doesn’t Work
That first whisper comes out of the blue. You’re not chasing your dreams, but you’re not doing too bad either.
In fact, you’re probably doing what everyone else around you is doing: going to college, getting a job, looking for Mr Right and getting married…
Isn’t that what makes a happy life?
And yet, that inner voice won’t leave you alone. It keeps whispering there’s more you’re meant to do with your life. A lot more.
You ignore it. Shut it out. Refuse to listen to it.
At first, you just feel a mild sense of… discomfort? Unhappiness? Dissatisfaction? You can’t quite put your finger on it.
But it keeps gnawing in the back of your mind. You start to become irritable. Lash out for small things. Lose interest in your hobbies and spend your nights vegging out in front of the TV.
Your career is suffering, too. You keep getting passed on for promotions and doing the same boring work year after year.
You got married a couple of years back, but the stresses of everyday life are already taking a toll on your relationship. Maybe it’s time to go to couples therapy?
Then, on a fine day that started just like any other day, your world comes crashing down. You get laid off from work. Your husband leaves you. Or you’ve got diagnosed with cancer.
Now you’re crying, wondering why you didn’t see it coming.
Deep down you know it. The longer you tolerate something, the worse it gets.
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Why Do You Tolerate Things?
Did you notice that human beings can get used to even the worst of circumstances?
We have our lizard brain to “thank” for it. That’s the most ancient part of the brain, the one that thinks you’re still living in a cave.
Back then, if you did something your tribe didn’t like, you’d be left alone to fend for yourself against a saber-toothed tiger or the million other things that could kill you. You couldn’t survive alone.
These days, things are different. Even if your friends don’t agree with your decision to quit your job and start your business, you wouldn’t be left alone to die in the wild.
But your lizard brain doesn’t know that. It seriously believes that if you were to do anything out of the ordinary or rock the boat in any way, your life would be in danger.
And so you settle for a life that’s just ok.
You never grow. You never change. You never evolve. You never find out what you’re capable of. You never fulfill your life purpose.
You’re surviving, but you’ll never thrive.
How To Stop Tolerating An OK Life
How do you get the motivation to thrive when your brain is working against you?
You need to find something that scares you more than making a change does.
For me, that’s finding myself on my deathbed, regretting all the things I didn’t do.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
It’s the most common regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware’s book, “The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying.”
When you’re staring death in the face, suddenly all your excuses disappear. You realise that lack of money, lack of time, a bad economy, incapable politicians, or unsupportive friends were never the problem. You were just afraid.
I don’t want you to waste your life away like that.
Are You Ready For A Change?
If you’re ready for a change, here’s what you can do right now:
- Grab paper and pen and make a list of things you don’t like in your life. Think about what you’re tolerating at work, at home, with your friends, with your health… Write everything down.
- Pick the item that you think would be the easiest to change. Maybe it’s something like getting a shoe rack, so your shoes aren’t all over the place all the time, or telling your best friend not to call you after 9pm because you need a proper night’s sleep.
- Then schedule it in your calendar. If it’s not scheduled, it often doesn’t get done. And if you need the extra accountability, ask a friend to check up on you.
The important thing is to get started. Once you know that you can make a change in your life, you’ll want to keep going and address bigger issues.
One step at a time, that’s how you turn an ok life into an amazing adventure.
Over to you, now. What are you going to stop tolerating in your life from today? Let me know in the comments below.