Stop Playing the Victim – On Hardship, Effort and Perseverance
As a species, we are powerful. Short of time-travel or teleportation, everything that we have fantasized or conceptualized has come or will come to fruition. It can be debated that we are where we are today as a result of creativity, ingenuity, and intelligence. I certainly wouldn’t argue against this – it’s definitely true. However, I do believe that there is another resounding quality of man that has catapulted us to where we are in history: perseverance and mental toughness.
Without launching into any sort of history lesson, I can tell you that man has constantly and repeatedly faced trial and tribulation and we have never succumbed or faltered. Whether it’s a global tragedy or a single man’s shortcomings, we have and will continue to face hardships and setbacks. Time and time again we have stared adversity in the face, brushed them off as temporary setbacks, and came back stronger than before. This quality of man makes us ultimately and unlimitedly powerful. We always bounce back. We don’t make excuses. We always stand up if we fall.
Unfortunately, this quality of our species doesn’t necessarily define all of its individuals.
Your Thoughts vs. Your Reality – You Are Your Biggest Enemy
I believe that (each individual) man is unlimitedly powerful. Rather, I believe that we all have the potential to be powerful. I believe that the foundation of our abilities rests not within our bodies but within our minds. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage: “if you can see it, you can be it”. If this is true, then the opposite must be true as well: “if you can’t see it then you certainly can’t be it”.
Warning: I’m Going to Rant
This rant applies to those who have fallen victim to the latter. Our minds, the source of our strength, can also be the pit of our demise. That is, if we allow it to be.
Some people are weak. No, I’m not referring to physical strength. I’m referring to mental strength. Some people are victims of their own minds. Some people are victims of their circumstances. Some people are victims. Period. It’s never their fault – their misery is always the result of someone else’s actions or wrong-doings. This mindset is very inhibiting and very toxic. However, it’s very easy – it’s the path of least resistance. If it’s not your fault then there’s nothing you can do about it and… you won’t.
People of this mindset wake up every single morning trapped in a metaphoric jail that is their mind. How many times have you heard someone exclaim “I can’t” or “it’s too hard” before they even try? A very wise man named Confucius once said: “he who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” So why is it that some people limit themselves? Personally, I’ll never understand.
Here’s a short list of “I can’ts” and “it’s too hards” that I’ve recently heard:
- I can’t resist [insert junk food].
- I can’t make time to read.
- It’s too hard to meal prep.
- It’s too hard to eat healthy.
- I can’t wake up in the morning.
- I can’t make time for exercise.
You’re right. With that mentality, you can’t and you won’t – it’s too damned hard.
And the Excuses…
Append any of the above with the words ‘because [insert reason]’ and you’ve got yourself an excuse. Making excuses is just that easy. Too many of us make excuses as to why we can’t do things. If you have fallen victim to this mindset, you need to find reasons why you should be doing these things.
- I can’t find the time to read – I should find the time to read because it will help in my personal growth and development.
- I can’t make time for exercise because work has been too busy – I should make time to go to the gym because I always feel great after going and it helps me relieve stress
It’s all in your mind. It begins and ends with that internal dialogue.
Keep it to Yourself
If you insist on crippling yourself and living an unmotivated life, please keep it to yourself. Don’t drag others down in an attempt to boost yourself up. Don’t crush their efforts or their dreams because they believe in themselves. Don’t sap their energy because you can’t match their spirit. It’s ignorant and it’s childish. Your negativity needs to be locked and kept away from others. It should bring you no satisfaction to deflate others. If it does, you’ve got a serious problem.
If you happen to be on the receiving end of this negativity and you have people in your life who are constantly dragging you down, remind yourself that what they say or think doesn’t matter – pay it no mind. If their negativity begins to weigh you down too much, there comes a time when you have to make a very tough decision – sink or cut the dead weight.
Take Ownership – Be Accountable
Stop blaming others because, if you continue to do so, your circumstances will never get better. Sure, it may give you temporary relief or pleasure to convince yourself that someone else is to blame for your unhappiness and misery. Believe me, it’ll come full circle. That relief or pleasure will eventually fade when you realize days, weeks, months, or years down the road that your circumstances are still the same, the people you once blamed are long gone, and you have no one to blame. No one but you!
I digress. I know that I’ve made this sound overwhelmingly negative. But, it doesn’t have to be – the opposite holds true as well! Personally, I blame myself for all of my shortcomings but also credit myself for all of my achievements. Why wouldn’t I? I have the tools and the resources necessary to dictate whether I succeed or fail. It’s simply a matter of developing the mental strength to wield these tools into the battlefield of life.
Down for the Count?
Throughout your life, you will stumble and you will fall – it’s inevitable. No, I’m not talking about clumsily tripping over your shoelaces. I’m talking about hitting one of life’s inevitable roadblocks. Hitting these roadblocks does not define you – how you react to them does. You can choose to perceive them as failures, give up, and never try again or you can perceive them as temporary setbacks, find your bearings, and try again. I implore you to choose the latter.
Don’t let your past dictate who you are – let your present dictate who you will become. My favorite speaker, Les Brown, said: “When life knocks you down, try and land on your back. Because, if you can look up, you can get up”. There really aren’t many setbacks in life that are truly dire enough to keep you down for the 10-count. Persevere, get up, and fight.
Ask someone you deem to be “successful” and they’re sure to tell you that they’ve faced their fair share of setbacks. They’ve simply learned how to pick themselves up when they stumble and fall.
Stop whining. Stop complaining. No one wants to hear it. You are a victim of yourself and no one else. Stop making excuses and rid yourself of the “I can’t” mentality. Perhaps you should tattoo a map on your body because you and you alone are responsible for your mental prison break.