How To Move Forward When You Feel You Can’t
Over the last six years, I have failed repeatedly, and mostly, I have failed BIG.
Nothing I did, even when I thought it was what I wanted to do, brought me satisfaction or success, at least the kind that lasts more than a week. I tried my hand at a handful of different careers—some mildly beneficial, some utter disasters.
All I got in return for my hard work was a debilitating sense of failure and a self confidence that lay in tatters at my feet. By 2011, the cumulative effect of those negative events had led to persistent depression and restlessness that dominated every aspect of my life and being.
During this time, I stumbled upon the blogs of Leo Babauta and Nina Yau. I began to see the answer to my problems in their inspirational writing. I eagerly absorbed all their advice and went about simplifying every area of my life.
On the surface, it worked. My life seemed to be slowly on the mend.
One crushing blow was all it took
So fragile was my returning confidence that it took just one unfair, bluntly delivered statement—a statement that I knew was based on an outright misjudgement—to bring it crashing down. Unfortunately, acting like the human being I am, instead of trusting the positive voice of my heart, I was more willing to trust a negative one that had come from someone else.
That day I felt utterly lonely and cried like I had never cried before. Even for a person who has always had a deeply brooding side to her, this darkness was beyond intolerable. After I had no more tears to shed, I faced one irrefutable truth: there was only one direction I could go in, and that was forward.
Since that day, I have been going about my life slowly and quietly. I do have bad days, but they are nowhere as bad or as frequent as they were before. I am simply doing what needs to be done. Surprisingly, a potent feeling of calm has settled over me.
My encouraging progress got me questioning what had changed this time. How am I now able to work steadily, keep my spirits up, and get a handle on my emotions? How am I able to do it consistently now when I could never do it for long in the last six years?
As I analyzed the events of the days preceding this mammoth inner change, I got my answer. This time, I had focused on simplifying my thoughts first. Once I got to the heart of the matter, everything else became exceedingly simple. It was then only a matter of putting my simple thoughts into simple action.
After as many as five to six failed attempts, I’m now blogging regularly. I have started contributing to a tech blog and I must say I’m enjoying this new gig a great deal. I’m also working slowly on a longstanding dream of creating a comic strip. Things are changing for the better with each passing day, but more importantly, I am too.
One Truth That Can’t Be Ignored
No matter where you’re in life right now, no matter how hopeless your situation seems, you must remember one thing. Forward is the only direction available to you. And the best way to move forward is by simplifying your actions. As I have been learning everyday, that is truly effective when it is preceded by deliberate simplicity of thought.
I hope that my better-late-than-never epiphany becomes the catalyst that starts transforming your life right here, right now.
- December 13th, 2013