I want to keep reading books and stories about how folks pick themselves up.
It helps me deal with the storms in my life better.
It assures me I am not alone.
And people often have it worse.
Neil Pasricha shares his story in You are Awesome.
Most of which are relates with everything we face in our lives.
And I was meh.
But he also shares his parents stories.
And those are really, really inspiring.
I stumbled on the book, after I stumbled across his 3 Books project.
And I stumbled upon that after Shane [retweeeted] about his episode on said project.
A week of binging and I now have so many books to read.
You don’t have to go listen to all the episodes if you just want the book list. They are readily available here.
So where was I? Oh Neil’s book.
I heard about it on the podcast and went and got it.
He is a gifted storyteller with an awesome voice.
So listening to the podcast or reading the book, never feels boring.
He takes us from beginning to the end in a lovely, engaging, flowing manner.
The book is not about the stories though.
It’s about how you can pick yourself up, dust your self and get back on the horse after life’s kicked you in the gut.
Some quotes, alongside the nine steps to become more resilient.
Add a Dot-Dot-Dot
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is simply making the decision to keep going.
I use my mom’s story to show how easy it would have been for her to just stop and give up, to shut off the taps. It’s much harder to keep the taps on. It’s harder to add a “yet” to the end of a self-judgment.
How does the magic word look in practice?
“I can’t meet new people… yet.”
“I don’t have any better options… yet.”
“I’m not good at anything else… yet.”
“I don’t waltz… yet.”
Shift the Spotlight
When we fail …
We have to be aware and remember that we are quick to internalize. To self-flagellate. To point the dagger straight at our stomachs. To let the spotlight shine brightly into our own set of eyes. But a big part of resilience, of remembering we really are awesome, is performing this crucial mental separation.
“Oh, wait. I’m thinking this failure is all about me. I’m pointing the spotlight at myself. I’m taking all the blame here.” Stop. Separate. Remember:
It’s actually egotistical to think it’s all about you.
So what do you do?
Dance with it. Work with it.
Set it beside you, not inside you.
It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s not about you.
You have to shift that spotlight.
Because there’s a lot more work to do.
And you can’t start till after you shift that light.
See It as a Step
See the failure you’re going through as a step up an invisible staircase toward a Future You in a Future Life you can’t even imagine yet.
We all think that the way things are now is the way things will continue to be.
But inevitably, everything we go through in life really is a step to help us get to a better place.
We confuse the challenge of picturing change with the improbability of change itself.
But there are more steps.
And change will come.
It always does.
Tell Yourself a Different Story
Your problem is not the outside world. Your problem is the story you’re telling yourself about the outside world. And that story is a choice. If you’re not happy with the story, tell yourself another story. Period. That simple. And most people will hear what I just said and not change anything.
Do you hate your stretch marks? Can you try to see them differently? Can they be timeless tattoos commemorating how you brought your beautiful children into the world?
Are you ashamed of your dozens of one-night stands? What if they helped you understand your own sexual chemistry enough that you knew what you needed in a partner?
Do you curse yourself over the extra ten pounds on your gut? Can you instead love the fact that you have a weekly pizza and wings night with your friends?
We have to remember that we retain the choice, we hold on to the choice, we get to make the choice to tell ourselves a different story.
We can rewrite our shame stories, we can be gentler on ourselves, we can take the kindness we preach… and treat ourselves more kindly first.
Tell yourself a different story.
Three big questions to help achieve this secret
- Will this matter on my deathbed?
- Can I do something about this?
- Is this a story I’m telling myself?
The truth is that most of what we think is a story we’re telling ourselves.
Only you can decide what story you tell yourself. So tell yourself a better one.
Lose More to Win More
We don’t want to hear that some things just take time.
They just take time.
They take lots of failure, lots of loss, lots of experience.
So ask yourself:
Am I gaining experience?
Will these experiences help?
Can I stay on this path for a while?
Sometimes the answer will be no. Sometimes the answer will be yes. But the answers will help point out the fact that you are learning, you are doing, you may be failing, but you’re moving…
Moving through failures is the real success.
Do you love it so much you can take the pain and punishment, too?
- Go to parties (where you don’t know anyone) (aka, put yourself in a position to fail. where the downsides are low. – mjb)
- Have a failure budget
- Count your losses
The truth is when we look at our flops we’re really giving ourselves credit for all the learning and stamina and resilience baked into those moments when we made ourselves a little stronger.
We don’t trust people who haven’t failed and we really don’t trust people who don’t even know they haven’t failed or like to pretend they haven’t failed.
We need to talk about failures. Flops. The more we have, the more we grow. So put them out there. The jobs you sucked at, failed at, got fired from. The relationships you failed at. The goals you didn’t accomplish. We know they moved you forward. Share that. Share how. Not only will owning your failures humanize you, but being honest about your trip-ups and slip-ups means honoring how you got to where you are today. Acknowledging that growth helps you recognize and appreciate it.
Do it for free for ten years.
Take more losses.
Take more pictures.
And talk about it.
Lose more to win more.
Reveal to Heal
We all need contemporary confession.
Research also shows that holding on to regrets causes us to take more aggressive and risky actions in the future. So the healthiest and happiest people are aware of regrets they harbor and then choose to let them go.
Every morning I grab an index card or a journal and write these three prompts:
I wil let go of …
I am grateful for …
I will focus on …
It takes only two minutes to do, and the difference in my life has been both immediate and incredible. Completing three simple sentences helps me “win the morning,” which helps me start to “win the day.”
Find Small Ponds
There are far more problems and opportunities in the world than there are talented and hard-working people to solve them.
Different is better than better.
Find the small ponds so you can be the big fish.
Regardless of age, socioeconomic background, nationality, or cultural upbringing, when you’re in a smaller pond, your opinion of yourself—what’s called “academic self-concept”—goes up. And importantly, *it stays up even after you leave the pond.
There’s no shame putting yourself in situations where you feel really good about yourself. Should you downgrade yourself? No! Definitely no. But there’s nothing wrong with entering the marathon in the slowest category. Playing in the house league instead of the rep league. Teeing off from the tee closest to the pin.
You know what you’re doing?
Setting yourself up for success.
You’ll move up because you believe in yourself.
Before you jump, ask yourself:
The Regret Question: What will I regret not doing more when I look at it from the future?
The Plan B Question: What will I do if it fails?
As our world gets busier and our phones get beepier, the scarcest resource of all is quickly becoming attention. How are we supposed to focus?
I finally found a solution that I feel has saved my career, my time, and my sanity.
I bet you need this solution, too.
I call it “Untouchable Days.”
These are days when I am literally 100% unreachable in any way… by anyone.
(read Cal Newport’s Deep Work or check his blog for a really deep dive into this point – mjb)
Never, Never Stop
There is magic in doing things simply.
It’s the final step to remember on the path to awesome.
The fact is we can only ever really go forward.
So the point is to just start going that way.
And never, never stop.