Avoid these five pitfalls, and you’re well on your way to the life of your dreams.
1. Don’t Worry. Worrying is an exercise in futility. It accomplishes nothing except to make us upset and ultimately fearful. Worry also clouds our judgment, giving anticipatory pain greater relevance than current reality. Replace worry with action to address your concerns.
2. Don’t Obsess. Obsessing goes beyond worrying. When we obsess, we get caught in an endless loop of tortuous thinking and unproductive activity. Successful people don’t obsess over details, they pay close attention to them. Learn the difference between the pointless perpetuation of useless tinkering and truly fruitful work, and get on with the business of the life you want to live.
3. Don’t Criticize. Criticism is never constructive for ourselves or anyone else, and we can’t silence our inner critic if we can’t stop criticizing others. Helpful dialogue, in which we approach deficiencies and weaknesses from a place of compassion and with a plan to improve, will move our desired life forward. Anything less will leave you stopped in your tracks.
4. Don’t Spiral. When negative thinking begins, we tend to spiral down rapidly to the worst case scenario. Don’t turn into Chicken Little and start clucking. Things may be bad, or even very, very bad. But your chance of righting a sinking ship is much, much greater if you maintain your resolve, your hope, your faith, and your composure.
5. Don’t Polarize. This is the most important of the five don’ts. Our primitive brains are wired for light or dark, fight or flight, black or white. But our emotional well-being—which is the key to our success in both love and work—depends on our ability to perceive, accept, embrace, and express subtlety, nuance, and ambiguity. As Facebook says, sometimes it’s complicated. And as therapists explain, sometimes it’s both/and. The coexistence of conflicting thoughts, emotions, principles, and narratives is a difficult concept to wrap our minds around, as we’re programmed to think in opposites, but once you master it, you’ll be able to resolve the most intractable problems and enjoy the most amazing experiences of your life.
Photo courtesy of author