Life is hard. So why do we consistently make it harder than it has to be? Life is complex enough without adding a bunch of baggage specifically designed to make it more difficult, more frustrating, more prone to breaking down on the side of the road.
How do we lay all the dead weight down to rest?
Well, here are six ways you might be making life more difficult than it has to be. The first one in particular is like grabbing a 1990s box TV off the side of road, tying it around your ankle, and then trying to run at a full sprint.
1. You’re Hitched Up to the Gigantic Dead Weight Called Unforgiveness
Man, being bitter just feels so right sometimes, doesn’t it?
By all accounts and witnesses, you may have every right to be utterly furious with someone. Yet as you replay all the wrongs like a Spice Girls song stuck in your head, the more you obsess over it, and the worse you feel.
You may have every right not to forgive, but holding tight to that anger is like letting that person repeat the offense over and over—completely tearing you apart while doing nothing to them. Author Anne Lamott put it best:“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
Now hear me, I don’t know your situation. I don’t know the stuff you’ve been subjected to. Yet, forgiveness is often more for you than it is for the person you’re forgiving. It allows you to be free and move forward.
Forgiveness doesn’t always happen overnight. In my life, forgiveness has been a process that’s taken a lot of prayer and some counseling. And it’s not easy.
But it’s worth the work. Unhitch that box TV and never look back. Unforgiveness is a weight that is too heavy to carry.
2. You’re Trying to Solve Your Big Life Problems Late at Night
I’ve realized in my life that late at night isn’t the best time to try and solve problems. Instead of trying to solve life’s big problems late at night as an anxious exhaustion swallows me like a black fog, I should just try something more productive—like going to sleep.
Morning is magnificently redemptive.
3. You’re Secretly Searching for Perfect
The search for perfect is the perfect way to be perfectly miserable. There is no perfect job. No perfect partner. No perfect friend. No perfect time. No perfect answer.
You’ll never have all the answers. Or enough information. Or the perfectly uninhibited view.
For years, I think much of my angst came because I was subconsciously searching for that perfect path to my future that didn’t exist.
The only thing you’re going to find on your search for perfection is a bunch of imperfections to be depressed about.
4. You Don’t Utilize an Entrepreneurial Mindset Enough
No, I’m not saying becoming an entrepreneur is going to solve all your problems. Yet, I do think you would make life much easier if you became intentional about having an entrepreneurial mindset. What do I mean?
The entrepreneurial mindset is one of four different mindsets I believe would change our lives if we intentionally modeled them
At the core, I see the power of the entrepreneurial mindset as the ability to see challenges as opportunities. Entrepreneurs make a living getting excited about problems they see because they can work on creating the solution. Obstacles are opportunities, challenges are the trampoline to their purpose.
In his latest book, historian David McCullough tells the story of The Wright Brothers, who famously made the first successful manned flight with their own homemade airplane. This is a good example of an entrepreneurial mindset at work.
While the leading experts around the world—with well-funded, never-ending resources at hand—were trying (and dramatically failing) to become the first to fly, it was these two bicycle mechanics who didn’t have a college education, who saw each new problem standing in their way of flight as one amazing step closer to solving the problem.
The Wright brothers were brilliant, but also doggedly optimistic that each challenge they faced was another key insight into solving the mystery of flight.
Successful entrepreneurs never let their epic failures stop them from possibly failing again.
What if instead of dreading and avoiding the problems in your life, they became your new business ideas, nonprofit, invention, way to serve someone, etc?
5. You’re on Social Media Way Too Much
Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, then jumped off and thought, “Wow, that was a great use of my time! Oh, and I feel so much better about my life too.”
I think only Mark Zuckerberg and that weird guy who sits way too close to you at Starbucks do that.
People used to go to their 10-year reunion and have to make it appear for one night that their life was amazing beyond belief. Now, we’re trying to pull that appearance off every second of every day. It is an impossible, crazy-making, endeavor.
We consume social media like a 2-year-old downing birthday cake—we can’t get enough until we get more than we can handle.
There’s no better way to become depressed about everything you don’t have than by staring at the illusion of what everyone else apparently does.
6. You’re Trying to Figure All This Out on Your Own
We all need help. Or at least, I know I need a lot of help. From friends, mentors, family and most importantly, from my faith.
If I had to carry life’s problems all on my own, I’d have been crushed to death a long time ago. I know enough about me to know that on my own I’m definitely not enough.
An earlier version of this article appeared on AllGroanUp.com. Used here with permission.