There are times in life when you feel zapped of vitality, motivation and that extra zip in your step to plow ahead. You might be overcoming a bitter failure and struggling to move on, or maybe you achieved a life long goal and now you’re searching for a new outlet for your passion.
Other times, you slip into a funk for no apparent reason. This is perfectly normal during the course of life; sometimes these valleys can even become the launching point for self-improvement.
You can’t always control the course of events in your life, but you can still be the captain of your own ship. You can steer a new course when the old path is leading nowhere and stumble upon new adventures.
Pulling Yourself Up By Your Own Bootstraps
I know you’re not one to roll over and call it quits. You’ve got swagger and a sense of personal pride that won’t let you wallow in self-pity. Those traits will come in handy as you gear up for a difficult battle.
Part of you will be itching to stay put, to remain in your funk until someone comes along and pulls you out. That side of you clings to the recognition and approval of others to define your own self-worth. It’s easy to coast by with this mentality, but don’t expect to make a dent in the world, that pleasure belongs to those who hustle.
In order to regain a sense of control, you need the ability to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. When the going gets tough, you’ll need discipline and focus to steer your life back on course and take the lead role. It won’t be easy. You have to challenge the lies we face in all directions: that life is about pleasure, that hard work is outdated.
The First Step Towards a Brighter Future
Self-motivation has become a lost art in this day and age. The average humanoid has no clue how to muster the energy and drive that it takes to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Instead, they wait and wait and wait and eventually settle into a somewhat more bearable level of mediocrity.
The most difficult action is almost always the first step. We get stuck in a state of powerlessness that grows out of the giant chasm between reality and our imagination. When you’re down in the dumps, struggling financially and not satisfied with your job, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a brighter future – never mind taking those first blind steps towards change.
The steps below are just the spark you need to refocus your priorities, build momentum and catapult yourself out of any funk:
Find your core principles. These principles have nothing to do with what you’ve achieved, or what you’re good at. These are the driving principles behind your life. Every great man and woman has a few, and overtime they become the guidelines through which you weigh every choice. They will anchor you during the good times and pull you through the valleys.
For example, here are my core principles:
- Become a strong, dependable, loving husband.
- Add value to the world around me.
- Learn to be content right where I am.
Destroy your Day Planner. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against the organized types. The point is that you need to cut down your commitments, appointments and responsibilities to a level that you can actually wrap your mind around.
Have you ever stopped to realize how peculiar it is that humans pack their days so full of tasks that we have to write it all down to remember? And that’s not all, the quality and satisfaction we derive from our work has suffered from the speed and efficiency of our days.
That funk you’re in might be caused by living in the rat race, a way of life that values cost-reduction and efficiency over well-built quality products made with love and care.
Tell a few buddies. No man is an island, and that especially applies to you as you face the greatest opponent of all: yourself. While I don’t advise waiting around for permission before you steer the course of your life, it’s always a good idea to consult a few trusted friends.
They’ll let you know if you’re being totally irrational or encourage you to get your life back in gear.
Amp up the excitement. Boredom is a silent killer; it gradually steals your mojo and leaves you wondering how life got so bland. The best defense is to arm yourself with gleeful excitement. OK, I know life isn’t always Saturday morning cartoons, but if you’re actively searching, you can find something to get stirred up about.
Forge a Habit of Steel. Climbing out of anything isn’t easy. That’s what makes it so hard to pull yourself out of the doldrums and set yourself back on course. One technique I’ve found is to put the easy stuff on autopilot. In other words, develop the habits you need to start making changes automatically so you can focus your real energy on creating.
For instance, back to the new job example. You can’t possibly wrap your mind around the idea of growing a successful business from scratch. But here are a few things you can do:
- develop an efficient system for processing and organizing paperwork
- wake up early and utilize those quiet early morning hours to study and master your art
- keep your office clear and distraction free to maximize focus
These are simple habits that help you gather momentum. Whether you’re starting a business or not, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that your habits are either working for you or against you – control them and the momentum will propel you straight out of your funk and on the path towards empowerment.
The editor of Ethical Living, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.