One of the biggest struggles we contend with is feeling stuck (or not living up to our potential) because of life’s circumstances. We may feel trapped in a job we don’t like, or a home that’s not optimal. Compounding the feelings of helplessness, we may be dealing with challenging relationships, money issues, or health concerns.
Personally, I’d love to move to a more remote and quieter location. But this is not feasible at the moment. I’ve been longing for the ideal peaceful space. And there is nothing wrong with wanting something. It’s how we think about it that makes a difference. In my case, the longing brought with it a sense of lack, as if nothing else was enough. I was drowning in a sea of self-imposed limitation … until I stopped and asked myself a simple question:
What would I do in my new location that I can’t do here right now?
I went through a mental list of all the things I want to do. And I realized that I can do all of them anywhere. At that moment I felt liberated from my own mental prison. I finally grasped my own truth:
Longing for something I don’t have is not a valid excuse to stop doing all the things I care about.
We don’t need to be chained to one choice and put our lives on hold. If we’re dealing with something we don’t like, we still can do a lot, whether the situation changes or not.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re in a relatively good place and you have access to the internet. So you can take any of the actions listed below.
7 Things You Can Do Right Now
I’m listing the actions in no particular order. These are general ideas that you can tailor to your interests and values.
If you have access to a computer with an internet connection, or a public library, you can read and learn about anything. Some skills require specialized tools (for example, learning to play a musical instrument means you need to have access to one). You can start by reading and exploring the subject. Then you can research available options to get the tools needed (in our example, buying a used instrument, renting one, or finding a place where you can practice).
You can also learn more about yourself—assess your likes and dislikes, clarify your priorities, and improve your current skillset.
Doing something about your interests is better than longing and feeling helpless.
2. Take care of your body
No matter what situation you’re in, you can decide to eat more mindfully—even if you can’t afford high quality food. You can keep track of your calorie intake and snacking. You can also walk, do body weight exercises, and stretch.
We always have the choice to make the best of the options we have right now. And that is more than enough to keep us healthy and fit.
3. Change or form a habit
Regardless of where you’re at in your life, you can stop right this minute and change your habits and routines. Even in areas where we feel stuck, we still can change our thinking about the situation. It may not be easy, but it’s doable.
You can stop smoking, start a daily meditation practice, wake up early, work more effectively, write, or read. Nothing is stopping you—other than your thinking.
A powerful habit that we can form is working on what’s important, regardless of life’s situations. A few minutes a day doing something you value will spiral into a series of actions that can be life changing.
One of the biggest pitfalls of having choices is analysis paralysis. We can spend days on end looking for the best tool or site or book. Tools don’t really matter as much as action.
If you want to write, create music, or start a business online, you can do it right now with the tools you have. Or start with a free tool or something you can afford.
What you do with the tools is what will get you results. Having the latest most expensive software or gadget will not make you a better musician, writer, or illustrator. It’s the process of creating, learning, and again creating that will make you better at your chosen field.
With an internet connection, you can talk to your family and friends on Skype, or Facebook, or Twitter.
You can also collaborate with others and exchange ideas. The options are limitless.
6. Simplify your life
We can choose to have less stuff and create a calm personal space. We can also cut down on unhelpful behaviors—no one is forcing any of us to surf the net, check the phone every couple of minutes, or numb our brain with excessive entertainment.
Simplicity opens up your life on all levels. Even if nothing else changes, you’ll gain clarity and feel more at peace.
7. Heal the past
We carry the heavy burden of the past and allow it to drive our actions and shape our reality. At any given moment we can make a conscious choice to release the emotional weight of painful experiences and negative beliefs.
You don’t need to earn freedom and peace. They’re within you, if and when you choose to let go of the painful past.
Life’s challenges and setbacks can limit some—but not all—of our options. In most cases, the biggest limitations are a creation of the mind.
I’m hoping today you get a chance to look within and ask yourself: What can I do today that matters to me, regardless of my current circumstances?
The future is shaped by the small actions we take today, and the day after—regardless of where we are.
Credits: Abhishek Shah