It takes a lot of introspection and time spent looking inwards to write out the words “I hate my life” in the search engine and then press “enter”.
What makes this such a meaning filled action is that those words only come to you after you realize that many parts of your life don’t come together at all, are imbalanced and out of harmony with your true self.
And sometimes, you don’t even know for sure why you feel the way you do. If you were to take a step back and watch your life as an outside would, you would think that your life is well put together, content, happy even.
But you know something isn’t right. There’s something you need, but don’t know what.
Karen Horney once described frustrations and neuroses as our body’s way of telling our mind and brain that something in our life is making us unhappy. So frustrations and neuroses are emotional triggers for us to go and do something to make our lives better.
So you didn’t write those words as a way of surrendering. You wrote them in the search box as the first step in your journey to turn your life around, to make it truly yours and whole again.
Why you hate your life
Happy people are all the same; every unhappy person is unhappy in their own way.
There is no easy categorization of the reasons that have brought you to this point. For some, the causes for unhappiness are very specific, unique to an individual.
However, below you can find just a few of the most common reasons that might hold back your life from where it could be:
- You don’t have a sense of control over your life.
- Stagnation, boredom, envy and lack of meaning.
- You don’t know who you are, what you want and don’t want.
- You haven’t had a major success.
- Emotional trauma.
- A warped view of the world.
This short list is far from complete, but regardless of the root of your pain, there is only one cure for it: growth.
Why growth is the answer to all your problems, and how to achieve it
The reason you hate your life is because there are one or more of these obstacles that stand between you and contentment, happiness and inner harmony.
The unfortunate thing is that you cannot avoid these obstacles if you want to be happy. You have to meet them head on, fight them and win. There is no other way.
To do this, you need to achieve growth, because this can provide you all the tools you need to overcome any challenge you may encounter:
- Professionally, growth gives you options. You learn new skills and new abilities which you can then leverage into real advancement.
- Romantically, growth strengthens your relationships. You become a better person who knows their worth. And guess what, people love people who respect themselves.
- You gain a true sense of purpose. Most people would say that “becoming a doctor” is a noble purpose. But it isn’t. Compare it to “I want to save lives”. Which one do you find more uplifting and motivating? Growth teaches you that the process is the purpose. A mountain climber’s purpose isn’t to reach the summit of Everest, but to go up mountains, big and small.
- Growth teaches you who you are. If you engage in a constant, sustained effort of self-improvement, you will gradually discover what you enjoy doing, dislike doing, discover new unexpected passions. Growth can push you to do things you would never expect, but necessary to reach your true self.
- Growth will provide a sense of self-worth. The cool thing about becoming a better person is that you know what was your starting point and how much progress you made. It’s impossible not to look back and say “man, I’ve become so much cooler since then.”
And the best part about growth? It’s not nearly as hard as you’d think.
No More Zero Days
This is the most crucial step. No More Zero days means that you will never ever allow a day to pass without you doing something to reach your goals and achievements. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you do, what matters is that you do something.
You want to learn how to code? Then don’t end the day until you write just one line of code.
You want to learn to be tidy? Then don’t end the day until you’ve at least taken your socks off the floor.
You want to be better at your job? Then don’t end your day until you’ve learned the smallest and tiniest amount of information you can.
You want to be more calm? Control your emotions on just one occasion on that day.
Once more, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you do. In fact, trying to do too much all at once might even harm you. Why?
Remember what Newton said: an object at rest stays at rest. Overcommitting to bettering yourself will only exhaust you, especially when you will see that results aren’t coming as fast as you’d expect.
So instead of trying to do everything you haven’t done all in one go, you should first start and then accelerate.
Don’t worry about the results, not in the beginning. Focus on the process and the consistency.
In case you’re worried that you are doing too little, please stop. At some point in your journey, you will discover that doing certain things is really, really good for you. When that moment comes, you’ll know and will ramp up the effort all by yourself.
Imagine that you try to improve yourself just 0.10% per day. If you have No Zero Days for a full year, 365 days, you’ll grow from 100% (baseline you) to 140%. That’s a 40% improvement in who you are, in just a single year!
If you do that for two straight years, you’ll be 200% better. Way to go exponential growth!
Think of the past you, present you, and future you
Next up, imagine yourself as three people. Past You, Present You, and Future you.
Present You is who s/he is because of the actions of Past You. For whatever reason, Past You wasn’t able to give Present You all the tools needed to make a good, happy and fulfilled life.
There’s no point in regretting that now, or being bitter about it. Past You is dead. It’s gone and will never come back.
But you’re alive now. Present You is alive, kicking but trapped in a huge pile of crap. Things aren’t looking good, and Present You doesn’t know whether to give up or not.
Present you might already be resigned that life is terrible and will remain so. But are you willing to give Future You the same life you have now?
If you answer is “Yes” then you should immediately change it to “No”. Future You deserves a different life than the one you have now. Even if you cannot yet remove all of the bad stuff in it, the least you can do is to give Future You all the tools it requires to do it himself.
So whenever you’re dithering and procrastinating about doing something, ask yourself “if I do this, will it help Future me?” if yes, go kick ass.
Eat healthy and exercise
Most people consider going to the gym or doing any sort of exercise as a way of controlling their weight or physical appearance.
But the ones that start doing exercise almost never give up, even after they reach their desired body goal. This is because they discover the biggest benefits of exercise aren’t physical, but psychological.
In a now famous study about depression, scientists discovered that exercise alone had an almost 90% recovery rate for people who suffered from depression, compared to 50%-60% for control groups on medication and a combination of medication + exercise.
But exercise also improves your energy levels. People who don’t exercise have a heart and circulatory system that is designed to just sit on a couch, a chair, maybe walk a few minutes a day and that’s about it. Anything more than that and they quickly get winded, lose breath and just can’t handle prolonged periods of effort.
However, by exercising, your body is forced to adapt and become stronger in order to cope with all the effort you’re pushing on it. Instead of having a body adapted to eating cookies and sitting on the couch, you now have a fine tuned machine that can run 15 kilometres a week and/or lift some heavy weights. Anything easier than that will feel effortless.
Avoid this one food as much as possible
Finding the right diet and proper foods for you can be a complicated process of elimination and experimentation. But there is one food type that you can eliminate overnight, suffer no negative consequences and instead collect a huge amount of positives.
Weight gain. Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, an accelerated rate of skin aging. There are a lot of ways the sweet powder can mess up your health, but the one that is most insidious is how it messes up your brain.
Processed sugar interacts with your brain in many ways, but some of its most harmful effects strike at the brain’s ability to produce dopamine (the pleasure chemical) and serotonin (the self-confidence chemical).
Sugar overstimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, which in turn makes our brains less sensitive to stimuli that produce them.
The overstimulation that sugar causes leads to cascading damage in your brain. This damage then results in impaired memory, acute mood swings, reduced learning capacity, headaches, withdrawal symptoms, depressive moods and anxiety.
Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to avoid sugar, especially when you have a sweet tooth. But cutting it back by a lot will bring a serious and noticeable boost to your mental health.
This is just about all you will need to get your life back on track. The process itself is simple enough, it’s the consistency that you have to watch out for.
A collection of human wisdom you might find useful in your journey
One of the many wonderful advantages of living in our day and age, is that you can always tap into the vast amount of knowledge and wisdom about life that past generations have accumulated.
The value of the words below comes from the fact that they have been tested time and again, and by and large the truth in them has withstood the test of time.
They may not work all the time, but even so, they are more than useful in helping you make the best decision in a tough situation.
Never assume malice if an action can be explained by stupidity. – Hanlon’s Razor
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.” –John Fowles
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson
“There are three sides to every story: your side, my side and the truth.” – Robert Evans
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs” – Henry Ford
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is right now.”
“Go ask. The worst they can do is tell you no.'”
“It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it everyday, that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.” – BoJack Horseman
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – Carl Sagan
“What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” – Hitchen’s Razor
“Simpler explanations are more likely to be correct; avoid unnecessary or improbable assumptions.” – Occam’s razor
“The wayside of business is full of brilliant men [or women] who started out with a spurt, and lacked the stamina to finish. Their places were taken by patient and unshowy plodders who never knew when to quit.” – R. Todd
“Eighty percent of success is showing up” – Woody Allen
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” – Stephen McCranie