Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

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“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer

One of these days, if you haven’t already, you’re going to fail. You’re going to fall flat on your face. That’s a guarantee. But, what happens to us is only 10% of life. 90% of life is how we respond to what happens. 

Is the glass half-empty, or half-full? YOU have the power to choose.

Life is just an illusion we create based on our own perception, and how we choose to perceive struggles and difficult situations will determine if we remain in the valley, or if we recover and climb to the top of the mountain. Your perspective and mindset are managing the controls of your reality.

As a default pessimist, I know just how difficult it is to be optimistic and positive when bad things happen.

We all have certain tendencies that are deeply ingrained in our subconscious, and you can’t just flip a switch and change into a completely different person overnight.

When you’re at a low point, it’s seemingly impossible to see a way out of it. You eagerly look for that light at the end of the tunnel, but you can’t find it. One day you thought you saw it, but the light turned out to be a freight train that knocked you back down on your you know what. Trust me, I’ve been there. Oh have I been there. 

The difference in me now as opposed to me a few years ago is that present day me knows how to get back up. I’ve learned how to change, but it wasn’t easy. One life event knocked me down so hard that I thought I’d never recover. But I did, and I became a better person because of it.

You don’t have to stay under a black cloud. In fact, change and recovery can immediately begin with a simple shift in mindset.

If life has knocked you down, what follows may help you begin the climb back out of the ditch that we all fall into every now and then.

The Fall

Just a few years ago, I had a secure, well-paying job. Then, I lost it. Literally and figuratively. My job loss wasn’t really due to anything I did per se, the company was just trying to improve their bottom line. They needed to make their balance sheet look a little better, and I drew the short straw. 

I went from having a successful career to being unemployed in the blink of an eye. It came out of nowhere and it absolutely devastated me. 

If it had only affected me, I could have brushed it off. But, I had a family to support, and $60,000 a year was suddenly gone. That may not be much in your neck of the woods, but where I’m from, that’s a pretty decent salary. 

Naturally, pessimistic scenarios constantly infiltrated my mind. How were we going to pay the bills? Will we lose our home? Will my son have food to eat? What about health insurance? 

Up until then, my life that had been engulfed in a warm blanket of security. Now, it was suddenly shrouded in an uncertainty that I didn’t know how to process.

After the initial shock, I became angry and bitter. There had to be a reason why this happened. I looked for anything and anyone else to blame. I blamed my company, my former boss, my coworkers. I was adamant that my situation was not my fault. In my mind, I was a victim.

While it may have been true that my loss of employment was not actually my fault, by blaming others I was giving away control of my life. I was saying that I was a victim of unfortunate circumstances and my situation was out of my hands. 

I was drifting down the boulder-filled river of life in a raft held together by duct tape and Elmer’s glue. This mindset kept me stuck in the same place, spinning my wheels.

As the weeks passed, I lived in a revolving cycle of guilt, shame, worry, and anxiety created by my own mind. Every day was like the next. I was the victim. This self-limiting mindset perpetuated behaviors that created the very pain I was trying to avoid. I quickly spiraled and became depressed.

I’ll detail my experience with depression in a future article. It’s incredibly difficult to go back and revisit those thoughts and emotions, but if I can help just one person by writing about my experience, it will all be worth it.

For now, I’ll just say I remained in a very dark place for months.

The Lesson 

In my eyes, I was a failure. I hated myself and the person I had become. Throughout life, I tried to do everything by the book. I tried to do everything the right way. In my professional life, I had never really failed.

So, why did I portray this event and, more importantly, myself as failure? And why did I interpret failure as a bad thing? It can be traced back to what we learned as children.

When we were children, we were scolded for messing up. When we didn’t comply, we were reprimanded. Taking blame meant that you were in “trouble” and had to face the consequences. To avoid repercussions, we learned to deflect at all costs. We learned that avoiding accountability also meant avoiding punishment. In school, we were taught that failure is bad. We were molded to conformity and punished for failing.

According to my predispositions, job-loss meant that I had failed in life.  I immediately tried to take the weight off my shoulders by blaming everything and everyone else.

Undoubtedly, most of my suffering was orchestrated by my own subconscious mind. But, I am stronger for having been through it.

I now know what it’s like to suffer with depression. I know what it’s like to be standing on the edge of a metaphorical cliff, and I know what it’s like to pull myself back from the edge. I know how to find light in the darkness.

I know what it takes to overcome depression. 

What I learned is that without failure, we would never succeed. If we don’t fail, we don’t learn. If we don’t learn, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we don’t succeed.

Not only should you accept failure, you should embrace it.

The Recovery

It goes without saying that the personal crisis I endured was not fun, but I’m so grateful it happened. It made me more aware of who I am as a person. It made me resilient.

Consequently, so many opportunities were opened up for me. If not for my job loss, I would have never taken the time to develop this whole writing thing. 

Today, I’m proud to say I’m able to support my family once again. Not only financially, but also psychologically and emotionally. The road to recovery is certainly not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight.

In fact, my recovery is still ongoing. Yet, the process could not begin until I changed my perception and my mindset. I couldn’t begin to recover or rehabilitate until I took responsibility for my life.

When you place blame on circumstances or other people, you give away power and control. However, when you learn to be accountable, you empower yourself. You take back control. You become aware that you are 100% in charge of your life. You’re not a victim of circumstance.

Bad things are going to happen, life really sucks at times. That’s just the way it is.  Instead of placing blame, accept blame. Failure will happen. 

Alignment is often disguised as failure. Life has a weird way of removing us from where we don’t belong and placing us where we need to be.

Life happens for us, not to us. You either win or you learn, you never lose.

Change your perception. Change your mindset. Change your life.

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