You see a cave man trying to start a fire. He’s banging a rock in the palm of his hand, waiting for sparks. You don’t tell him to “try harder.” You tell him to try something else.
Pay attention, follow through, be reasonable, grow up. These are all just versions of TRY HARDER, the most common–and arguably the least helpful–advice you’ll ever get. If trying harder works for you, then great. But if you feel like you’re already trying your best, that you’ve been pounding that rock and pounding that rock, then let me offer you some alternate advice.
Wherever you’re “stuck” in life, consider one of these strategies:
Let it go. I know you don’t wan to be a “quitter,” but sometimes quitting is the wisest thing you can do. And if you’re waiting for justice, recognition or some kind of apology before you move on? This would be the exact opposite of moving on.
If you can’t fix something big, focus on something small.
I call this my 5% rule. Financial worries, relationship issues, health struggles, career burnout. If you’ve been wrestling with these “big ticket” items without much luck lately, point your focus elsewhere. Do something small today–something that may not fix your credit card debit, but will help you feel 5% better Here and Now. Change into more comfortable pants. Watch something funny. Take a vitamin. Call an old friend.
Accept things as they are.
Surrender to the situation. Not because you’re a coward or weak-willed, but because you recognize that changing “things” isn’t always as effective as changing the way you perceive things. If the world outside your window looks murky, you wash your window, not the world. If you accept something, you no longer complain about it, no longer hold anyone “responsible” for it. Complete surrender leaves no room for ego or resentment.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.