People make some really crazy choices. I know I have. And I’m not talking about buying those eye-watering two-tone pants that I thought were pretty funky when I was 14. Or the time I decided to ‘bleach’ streaks in my hair using actual toilet bleach.
I’m talking about how people make terrible decisions about the way they allow their lives to unfold.
Anyone who knows me will attest to me having been The Worst Decision-maker In History, especially when I was an alcoholic. Lindsay Lohan may (or may not) wish to fight me for the right to that title; but if you never knew me personally, think ‘Lindsay Lohan with worse teeth and less money’. That’s a fairly accurate description.
My life is no longer haunted by dubious fashion choices, cringeworthy incidents, or terrible “Did I really do that?” mornings after drinking my weight in alcohol. Although deciding to quit drinking was a wise move for me, that is not the fundamental reason why I now make better choices.
In fact, because I have swapped my decisions for better ones, my life is no longer marred by regret, bitterness, negativity and a whole host of other things far more serious than wearing silly trousers.
Here are 5 crazy choices that we make about our lives, and how to stop making these bad decisions.
1. Choosing to Struggle
I’m making a reference here to my own alcoholic, anxiety-ridden past. Instead of choosing to seek help for my mental health issues, I decided to struggle along on my own. Not only did that get me into a world of pain, but it also wasted a good chunk of my life.
Looking back on it now, I was crazy for not seeking medical and professional help. You may not have the same problems I did, but if you are struggling with anything at all, for goodness’ sake, please ask someone for help.
Most people are more than willing to help others out when they are asked. Don’t drain and distress yourself by muddling along on your own. Asking for help when you need it is one of the best decisions you can make to progress with your problems. Even just a little help can make your burdens feel a whole lot lighter.
2. Choosing to Settle
Too many people decide to settle for lives that don’t make them happy. They will put up with a job they hate, a partner they are not passionate about, and a life that doesn’t fulfill them.
At times, we all have to do jobs we dislike and make sacrifices, but if you’re doing that your entire life, then isn’t your whole life a waste? If you do have to make sacrifices, then prioritize what you are willing to settle for and what you’re not.
For example, I can’t afford property, and I don’t have money to spend on ‘nice’ things. But I am happy to give up those things in order to be with a man I adore, to do work that is meaningful and to be creative. I would never choose to settle for less in those areas. Please don’t choose for settle for less in the most important areas of your life.
3. Choosing Not to Step Up
It is both saddening and maddening to see people not living up to their potential because they believe they are not good/capable/strong enough to “step up” in life. We only have one life, so we may as well decide to try things out, win or lose, or we may miss out on real fulfillment.
Some people suffer from ‘Imposter Syndrome’, which means they feel as if they are secretly failures, despite usually being very successful individuals. If you think you may be suffering from the disorder, please seek counseling for it. It is not worth wasting your talent because of a faulty belief. Please choose to show the world all you have to give.
4. Choosing to Shrink
If you’re not growing, then you’re generally shrinking. It is all too easy, especially as we age, to stop making the effort to try new things. But once you stop broadening your horizons, your comfort zone begins to shrink until you end up with a very ‘small’ life indeed. And that’s just really sad.
The same is true of striving to become a better person. If you choose not to bother developing yourself any longer, you tend to regress, and your lesser qualities can start to override all the brilliant ones you cultivated before.
You should never choose to give up all the progress you’ve made or forgo all the precious learning experiences you still have ahead of you. As they say, life is a journey, not a destination. It would be crazy to let the beauty of self-growth go to waste if you’ve already made wonderful progress.
5. Choosing to Be Average
You are not an average person. No-one is really ‘average’, but many people decide it is easier to go along with the crowd. They choose to drift along like sheep in one big herd. Sadly, this means that they lose or hide all the things that make them special. And that’s crazy, because it is our individualities that make the world a better place.
Each and every one of you has unique qualities, talents, quirks, and gifts. Please never let them get lost in the crowd. Please make a commitment to always be you. Be the extraordinary person you are. And never be anyone else.
I promise you, if you can commit to making the right choices, your life will be happier and more meaningful. You’ll smile a lot more often, have better experiences, and you’ll leave a wonderful legacy behind as you live your life.
Originally published at www.wiseism.com on January 17, 2019.