I believe that you are what you do. Not what happens to you. Good or bad, one man’s dream life is another man’s disaster. I know people who think I am insane for what I do, and I look at other people’s lives sometimes and know that it is 100% not for me.
Similarly you may have had what you consider to be a rough upbringing, a rough day, a rough life in general. Your version of a rough life may be someone else worst nightmare, or they may consider it to be an outstanding improvement on their own lives.
We can all subjectively feel bad for a million reasons, sometimes we feel bad for things that we might call ‘first world problems’… Waiting too long for a coffee to be brought out, having you plane delayed by 10 minutes, a restaurant not having the steak option that you wanted to eat.
My point is, regardless of what happens to you, your only option to move forward is to be tougher than your life is. I don’t care if your problems are my worst nightmare or greatest dream, you are responsible for your happiness and while it can be a difficult journey, it is one that ultimately you have to take in order to be your best and overcome your own adversity.
One of the best things you can do is to turn your attention inwards and decide on who, not what, but who you want to be. By deciding your ‘who’, you allow yourself more time to get to what you want to be. If you decide that you want to be a person who is going to improve the lives of a million people, start by being a person that just improves people’s lives. If you tie your success/happiness/toughness to your ‘what’ you want to be, delays can make your life seem even tougher to you.
If you are that person, you can go on a journey and explore the avenues that work best for you on your way to achieving your ‘what’.
“But what if I don’t know what, why or how I want to do anything?”
Great question. The answer then is to practice being YOUR best.
At every single thing that you do. Full stop.
Trying your hardest and being your best at anything is one of the hardest skills to pick up when you are already overwhelmed by a goal or outcome. It is something that takes a lot of practice to become a habit. If you are putting out the bins, do the best job of it you can, put them on the street properly, if a bit blows off, grab it and put it in the bin. Do your work to the best of your ability every day. You might start off only being your best at work in 5 minute bursts, but try your best in that time, when you realise you are slipping/losing focus. Stop, breathe, and start again, making sure to do your very best work, every time.
I don’t do everything at my very best, at all times. What I do try to do, however, is recognise when I am not concentrating enough, working hard enough, being productive enough, training hard enough, looking after myself enough and to take a breath, and have a go at being MY best.
As you develop the skills of being your best, you might find that in some things that you do, you could be really, really good at them with time and application. You can focus on being that person, who is good at THAT thing.
When you are focused on that, focused on being good at THAT thing, focused on the little things you can do each day to be YOUR best in every moment, you build resilience. You get the myriad of little wins every week/day/hour that you need to stay mentally strong and happy. You begin the journey towards taking your happiness out of the hands of others, and start to weaken your jealous inclinations.
Some people will be better than you at everything, but no-one will ever actually be you. Just be the best version of what you can possibly be and you will be tougher than your life is. Despite how bad external circumstances get, they are always external. Sometimes auditing yourself can be difficult, but there is nothing wrong with asking a trusted colleague or friend if they think you are doing your best.
Life is not Instagram quotes, fleeting moments of motivation or inspiration, photos in front of expensive cars. It’s not dreamy moments on holiday, or likes on Facebook. Life is what you do everyday. Life is you and who you are in every moment of every day. Your life isn’t what everyone else thinks or says. Being your best in every moment helps to remove dissonance from what you’d like to be, what you say you are, and what you are, and by having a mission to be a kind of person, it doesn’t matter what you are, you will always be that person.
I haven’t mastered the art of being my best in every minute of every day, I get hangry, tired, distracted, vague, sleepy, annoyed, impatient and many other things, but I am hoping to master the art of always trying to be my best, and it helps to make me tougher than my life is.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports