Life is hard, and it throws all kinds of curve balls at us. It can seem that no matter how hard we try, we can’t get ahead in life.
Sometimes it is because of outside sources, but mostly, we feel that way because of something we are thinking. Our emotions can play tricks on us in such a way that it leaves us feeling like a victim instead of the strong, capable people we are.
It’s not our fault though, our brains are hardwired for survival mode, and we are prone to try to escape difficult situations in favor of easier things.
But when we take the time to stop and ask ourselves some tough questions we can get to the bottom of our emotions and learn why we think the things we do.
This information can help us become better people and more tolerant of things life brings, good or bad.
Once you ask yourself these five questions, you’ll be much stronger and more capable of handling what comes your way.
1) Is this Situation/Feeling/Emotion Useful to Me?
Whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by a situation, person, place, thing, feeling, or thought, ask yourself if the thing is useful to you? Is feeling sad useful? Is being angry at your coworker useful? Does skipping work to avoid stress serve you in a good way? Is lying to your girlfriend useful?
When you stop and ask yourself about the effectiveness or usefulness of a situation, you’ll find that the answer is almost always no.
No, lying to your girlfriend is not useful; no, skipping work because it stresses you out is not useful; no, feeling sad is not useful.
You know what is useful? Telling the truth, finding another job, and looking for the bright side of sad situations.
2) Do I Really Deserve This?
Our generation has a bizarre sense of entitlement that even the most expert scientists can’t explain fully.
Where has this sense of entitlement come from?
Our generation has been born to parents who worked harder than any other generation and saw more war, famine, death, crisis, and economic instability than those before it.
So why do the 20, 30 and 40 somethings of the world think that they would owe them a break?
When you find yourself wanting something in life, ask yourself if you deserve it? Does the world owe it to you?
The answer is almost always a resounding no.
But that’s not a bad thing.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have the things you want in life, but it does mean that you might have to work to get them.
When people who feel entitled to things don’t get them, they get angry, and that’s not a place anyone wants to be.
Asking yourself this question: do I deserve this? Will help to unearth your true feelings about what you need and don’t need in your life.
3) Do I Need This to be Happy?
What we think will make us happy today might not bring us the same level of happiness tomorrow.
[We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.]
There are a million examples we could give to illustrate this point: shopping, sex, money, power, desire.
These are all things that humans give into on a whim thinking it will make them happier in the long run, but are sorely disappointed when they discover that not only do these things often come with consequences that impact other areas of their lives, but they aren’t enjoying them as much as they thought they might when they originally opted in.
Cheating wives think that they will be happier with a man who treats them well, but find that the sparkle and shine of a new relationship wear off quickly and they are right back where they started.
Men who gamble find that the more they do it, the more they want to gamble, and they can never get that sense of happiness back again.
The same is true of drugs and alcohol. We squander our days drinking and getting high only to find that it doesn’t make us any happier.
4) Is This the Kind of Person I Want to Be?
When it comes down to it, the most important question you need to ask yourself before you make any decision in life is related to the kind of person you want to be.
Do you want to be the kind of person who cheats on his wife? Do you want to be the kind of person who gambles away all her money?
Do you want to be the kind of person that lets people walk all over them? It’s likely that you don’t want to be any of these people so let that be your guide when you are faced with a decision to make that could impact your life in the short-term and long-term.
5) Have I Felt This Way Before?
While the situation might be different, the feelings are likely to be the same. Try to spend some time thinking about when you have felt this way before and figure out how you can apply what you did last time to overcome those feelings to move on and be stronger.
For example, if you struggled with wanting to stop shopping and you know that shopping gives you a “high” that makes you happy, look for something else that could give you that high instead.
Maybe you don’t need to buy anything, but you get just as excited by visiting the shopping center as you do in buying something at the shopping center.
Consider how you felt in the past to guide your feelings and decisions in the future and you’ll be well on your way to become a stronger person in no time.