A friend of mine sent me a text message the other day that stopped me in my tracks: “At least you got to escape the daily grind that I’m facing.”
The daily grind is the code that office workers and nine-to-fivers use to describe the feeling of being endlessly disappointed. Does waking up every day seem tiresome and does being a human feel like it’s nothing but a shopping list of problems that leads to even more problems?
Do you have to be endlessly disappointed? Does life have to be so tough for you? Of course not. Life is not endlessly disappointing for everybody.
The shift required to escape endless disappointed is the relationship you have with yourself. When the relationship you have with yourself is thriving, it attracts the other beneficial relationships in your life that help you live an alternative existence.
To exist in a poor relationship with yourself is to exist in a relationship headed for divorce that takes the form of mental illness and suicide in extreme cases.
Having had an endlessly disappointing life for a few decades and then having that lead to mental illness without me being consciously aware, forced me to opt-out and find another way.
The idea of living an endlessly disappointing life hit me the other day when I read about a 27-year-old girl that wrote her final letter to her friends and family before dying from cancer. She decided not to live her life in disappointment, because she was forced to find another way due to her impending deadline with life on Earth.
It shouldn’t take a date with death to cause you to stop living an endlessly disappointing life that brings you no joy and makes you take for granted the human existence you have been gifted by your parents.
Reading this young woman’s letter brought me to tears and I thought to myself “There’s no way I want to be in her position one day and have nothing but disappointing thoughts about the life I have lived which was 100% my choice.”
Here are a few ways you are making your life endlessly disappointing:
You want to be always “up”
If you always seek to be up and on top of your game, you are guaranteeing a life of disappointment for yourself because you are signing up for a goal that can never be achieved.
You are a human being and you are supposed to have bad days, followed by even shittier days. Accepting that there will be good days and bad days is an excellent strategy for removing your expectations for happiness.
Here’s what is really crazy:
The best work comes from the days when you are down because the frustration you experience breaks through barriers you normally let hold you back.
That has been my exact experience. Now I crave the bad days for this simple reason. You can’t always be ‘up.’
You seek results that don’t match your work history
This one is all too common. I’ve spent a good chunk of the last 12 months interacting with readers and finding out their struggles, so I have more ways to be helpful.
A problem that comes up a lot is the need to compare our results with someone whose work history is different from ours.
If I were to compare my social media experience with Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, I would be setting myself up for disappointment. My work history in social media is five years, whereas Gary’s starts right at the beginning of platforms such as Facebook and Youtube.
The way to avoid disappointment is not to get caught up in results from people who have been doing the same thing as you for far longer.
An excellent way to interrupt this default habit is to ask yourself the following:
“How long have they been doing X and how long have I been doing it?”
This question gives you the truth and stops the lie that you are living in your head. Work history and time in the game changes your results. Worry about your results and the work you are putting in rather than being pissed off at someone who has been doing it longer than you and earned their success.
You predict the decisions of other people
Sitting in your chair, trying to work out what decision someone is going to make is pointless. You can’t teleport into someone’s mind, listen to their thoughts and work out what decision they will make.
Humans make decisions that are not always rationale. Emotions and gut feelings can cause us to make decisions that would even shock our closest family members who think they know us well.
If you walk around trying to predict the decisions people will make, your imagination will get the best of you. You’ll be imagining visions that are never going to become a reality and that will make you endlessly disappointed.
What you can control are your decisions, but you can never control the decisions of others.
You overthink the small stuff
Did you wake up today and spend stupid amounts of time deciding what to have for dinner?
Well, unless you are Jamie Oliver and your career depends on picking the right meal to make a living, you gotta stop overthinking dumb stuff. The energy you waste on small decisions that bring you no real fulfillment is energy that could be used towards activities that bring you fulfillment.
It’s hard to be endlessly disappointed with life when you feel the joy that comes from being fulfilled.
What has worked for me is to automate a lot of the smaller decisions so that the temptation to overthink them is not a menu option for my brain.
Here are a few decisions that I have automated:
- I do my life’s work (writing) on Thursdays and Saturdays
- My girlfriend decides what we eat
- I go to bed at the same time every day
- House chores are done on Saturday afternoon without exception
- I take a minimum of two holidays a year
When you introduce automation into decisions that you are required to make, you buy back energy that can be put towards those harder goals and dreams you have.
Sweating the small stuff is contributing to your disappointment in life.
You look at the finished product, not the work in progress
We all love seeing a great finished product. For those few moments when we first see a work of art, it’s amazing.
If you spend your entire life being wowed by finished products, you’ll never learn to respect the process itself.
It’s taken me a long time to change my perspective in this area. What gets me excited now is someone that has come up with a process that they stick to. Sticking to the process and making subtle changes is the real glory and that’s what produces the work of art you see at the end.
You can spend your entire life admiring works of art or you can fall in love with people’s process and create your own, so that your outputs, too, turn into works of art.
You subconsciously think your body needs changing
This one is partly thanks to social media and applies to dudes as well. We want to lose weight or get nice muscles by working out because we haven’t realized that this goal, for the most part, is not achievable.
Your body is just fine the way it is.
There is no ideal body or way you need to look.
I am tall, skinny, have ears like dumbo and have pale skin.
For years, without me knowing, I was unhappy with my own body image. I went to the gym, ate different food, attempted to build muscles, tried tanning and was embarrassed when someone made a comment about my ears.
As I transitioned from being in my 20’s to swiftly entering my 30’s, I realized that no one has the perfect body. Thankfully, lately, there have been quite a few Instagram Models that have come out and showed their not-so-perfect side. Photos of their cellulite, no make-up faces, and Sunday couch only outfits have been posted to show reality.
When I was obsessed with the gym for a while in my 20’s, I’d look at all the muscley dudes and dream, until one day I discovered a secret: all of them without exception were taking steroids.
One way to look at your body image is through the eyes of the young lady mentioned above who was twenty-seven and knew that she was about to die. She ticked all the boxes of beauty and had youth on her side, yet none of it mattered.
She couldn’t take her beauty with her and her last article ever written tells us the reality: you will get old and your beauty will fade so attempting to have a perfect Instagram body that causes strangers to leave comments on your posts telling you how hot you look is doing nothing more than leading you down a path of disappointment.
Guy/girls, your body is fine the way it is.
The way to overcome having a life that is disappointing is to first and foremost work on the relationship you have with yourself.
Learn to be kinder to yourself. Know that if the relationship you have with yourself is in dire straits, it’s going to impact every area of your life.
Disappointment in life is an unnecessary evil you can work on and turn into an advantage. You actually have more potential to live your version of success than you think. It’s this list of issues above that stops you from having a life that feels good to wake up to.
You don’t have to be disappointed with your life anymore. I hope from the bottom of my heart that you can see that now.