“Less is more.”

“Less is more.”

Sometimes that’s true. And sometimes the answer isn’t less, it’s more.

Always remember that clever sayings may contain wisdom, but they are not rules that were never meant to be broken.

Sometimes the answers in life are counterintuitive. Ancient wisdom or conventional thinking don’t apply to every conceivable situation.

Sometimes less is less.

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Don’t fill in the blanks for things you don’t know the true answers to…

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Excerpt from: Filling in the blanks

Don’t fill in the blanks for things you don’t know the true answers to with negative things that you convince yourself are the truth.

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Someone should do something

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If you’ve ever thought:

“Someone should do something!”

Remember: You’re someone.

You may not be able to do everything, but you can always do something.

Don’t let what you can’t do stand in the way of what you can do.

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Complaining

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” — Dennis Wholey

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Complaining about how life isn’t treating you fairly doesn’t make life treat you any more fairly.

Complaining about how something isn’t going your way, doesn’t make it suddenly go your way.

Complaining about how difficult something is doesn’t make it any easier.

While venting can be a way to release frustration, it rarely yields the sort of results that one is potentially hoping for — especially in regard to whatever it is one is expressing frustration about.

If what you’re looking for is a listening ear and a solution to your problems, then there are more effective ways to communicate.

It can be as simple as saying, “I have a problem and I want to fix it.”

And you might even find that those listening, will actively want to help you.

Because you’re not complaining. You’re looking for solutions.

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From the comments:

Scott: Sometimes though, venting just makes you feel better.

Zero: Sure. Venting can release frustration. But so can simply talking to someone about how you want to solve a problem.

And research indicates the same:

“Angry? You could call a friend and vent. You could punch a pillow or break a plate. Or you could even record a rant on a website like RantRampage.com. Unfortunately, you may be doing more harm than good; research has found that venting actually makes your anger worse.” — Fast Company (Article)

Most people don’t like to listen to people vent or complain. But they are much more open to listening when it’s clear someone is working on solving a problem.

As I say, “there are more effective ways to communicate.”

I think it’s often not the actual act of complaining/venting that makes one feel better — it’s the thought that there will be a resolution because one has moved beyond complaining to the point of working on a solution.

Either with a decision that one is either going to accept the state of things or actually take action and change them.

There’s definitely a difference between sharing and talking about one’s problems without any intention of doing anything about them — and sharing and talking about one’s problems in a way that yields a solution — whether that comes from one’s self or the helpful suggestions of others.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to one deciding to finally accept something or take action to change it.

Although I think the manner in which to take action is the hard part (although I suppose acceptance can be difficult, too).

How to reduce the size of your problems.

You may think, “If only I reach [this next phase of my life], then I won’t have to deal with these problems.” But the fact is, no matter where you are or how you live your life, you will always be challenged.

Just because you reach a certain level of success doesn’t mean all problems in your life disappear. They don’t. They simply evolve into whatever comes with that phase of your life and lifestyle.

How large or insurmountable the challenges in your life appear is in direct proportion to how well you learned to handle those that you previously encountered.

For example, dropping your ice-cream cone or spilling your milk seems like a serious problem as a child. Not so much to an adult. That’s because you’ve developed the skills necessary to handle such things without falling to pieces.

This can be said for all problems, not just childhood woes. It is through the problems that you overcome in life, that you develop the strength & skills necessary to handle whatever comes next. Contrast in your life is a good thing.

The trick to reducing how much challenges set you back in life is not in magically making them disappear. The trick is to develop the skills & discipline necessary to positively & productively handle whatever challenges come your way.

Complaining about problems — or actively resisting challenges — doesn’t diminish them. It is only through the action of facing them productively that does.

The faster you make that transition and adopt an “I can and will handle this” attitude the smaller your problems appear.

Don’t let what you can’t do stand in the way of what you can do.

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Help stamp out rampant complaining.

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The fact that you’ve probably never enjoyed listening to anyone else complain is a pretty solid sign that no one enjoys listening to you do it either.

Help stamp out rampant complaining.

Always focus on solutions and what is within your power to change.

Even just changing your message from, “This is a problem!” to “This is a problem and I want to fix it.” changes your tone, implies there is a real purpose for your message, and invites a discussion for solutions.

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Don’t let what you can’t do stand in the way of what you can do.

Always remember that you may not be able to do everything, but you can always do something.

Whenever you catch yourself focusing on a problem or obstacle (which is discouraging), remember to turn your attention to possible solutions (which is encouraging).

While immediate solutions may not come to mind, you can aid yourself in the process by using the awesome power of asking yourself good questions and letting your subconscious guide you.

Don’t let what you can’t do stand in the way of what you can do.

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Goal setting and breaking the "I can’t" excuse addiction

We, as a society, are addicted to the word “can’t.”

“I can’t [change something I want to change about myself] for the better.”
“I can’t quit [this habit].”
“I tried, I just can’t.”
“I can’t. It’s just not in my nature.”
“I can’t — I’m just not good enough.”

But there is a big difference between “I can’t” and “It just isn’t a high priority”.

When a person says, “I can’t”, it means they are incapable of doing something.

It does not mean, “I don’t want to.”
It does not mean, “I just don’t have time.”
It does not mean, “I don’t want to work to accomplish something.”

What many people actually mean when they use the word “can’t” is “it just isn’t a high priority.”

Before you say, “I can’t” or resolve to tell yourself, “I tried, I just couldn’t” — consider the following…

  • How educated did you become regarding the aspect of the goal you wanted to achieve?

Sometimes all we need to achieve our goals is a bit more information about whatever it is we want to achieve.

Consider this: If someone tasked you with climbing a cliff — and you knew nothing about rock climbing — how could you possibly expect to smoothly accomplish your goal by learning from as-you-go experience alone?

  • Did you acquire the resources necessary to help you achieve your goal?

Sometimes we have all the information we need to achieve our goal, but we fail to take the steps necessary to acquire the resources necessary to do so.

Consider this: This is like having the information necessary to climb a cliff, but failing to acquire the equipment (climbing gear) necessary to make your task easier.

  • How motivated were you to meet your goal? How was this reflected in your life?
  • Was your goal a high priority?
  • If your goal was a high priority, how was this reflected in your life?
  • Did you list the upsides of meeting your goal and the downsides if you didn’t?

Without proper motivation, even the simplest tasks can feel like a burden. We tend to lower the priority of those things which we feel less motivated to do — and raise the priority of those things we want to do.

When seeking to accomplish a goal, it is important to have the motivation necessary to see you through to the end of that goal. Always be aware of the benefits of achieving your goal and the downsides if you don’t.

Consider this: If your life — or the life of a loved one — depended on you climbing a cliff, your motivation to climb the cliff would be much stronger knowing a life was in the balance than if you saw no reward or benefit for climbing a cliff. Motivation matters!

  • Did you write down your goal?

It is a fact that writing down your goals enhances goal achievement. The question is, if it’s so easy to do and has been shown to have a dramatic positive effect on goal achievement, why would you not write down your goal?

  • Was your goal measurable?
  • Did you track your progress to achieving your goal?
  • Did you focus on how much progress you made vs. how far you had to go?

If your goal isn’t measurable, then it is too abstract to be called a goal. Anything you expect to accomplish must be able to be broken down into measurable tasks.

It is a fact that those who break down their goals into achievable tasks — and then track their progress towards reaching their goals are more likely to accomplish those goals than those who don’t. So the question again is, why wouldn’t you?

  • How many attempts did you make to achieve your goal? Did you simply try once and decide you couldn’t do it?
  • How many different things did you try before you gave up?
  • How many days, months, years did you work at it?

This is self-explanatory. Making a single attempt at accomplishing a goal and then giving up, would be like telling your friends that your child will never walk because they tried once and failed.

  • Did you have a support system in place or sources of encouragement?
  • Did anyone know you were trying to make the change?

Depending on the nature of your goal, there are times that having a support system in place can greatly enhance the likelihood of you achieving your goal. Not only does this help provide motivation, but it can also make you accountable for the things you say you are going to do.

In summary:

If you didn’t put much effort into these things before you declared, “I can’t”, it’s NOT that you can’t — it’s that you didn’t want to.

Your life is a reflection of your priorities. There is a big difference, “I can’t” and “It just isn’t a high priority.”

Did you really make an effort to achieve your goal? Can you answer yes to most of the following statements?

The breaking the “I can’t” excuse addiction checklist:

  • I educated myself to the best of my ability regarding my goal.
  • I acquired the resources necessary to help me achieve my goal.
  • I was highly motivated and this was reflected in my life in a number of ways.
  • My goal was a high priority and this reflected in your life in a number of ways.
  • I wrote down my goal.
  • My goal was measurable in some way.
  • I tracked my progress towards achieving my goal.
  • I focused on the progress I made rather than on how much further I had to go.
  • I listed the upsides of achieving my goal and the downsides of not.
  • I made a number of attempts towards achieving my goal.
  • I tried everything I could think of to achieve my goal.
  • I worked at my goal for as long as it was necessary to accomplish.
  • I had a healthy support system in place and sources of encouragment.
  • People were aware of my desire to achieve this goal.

If you can’t say “yes” — with confidence and brutal honesty — to the majority of the items on this list, then you are likely using “I can’t” as an excuse.

If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.

See also: What I’ve learned about achieving personal goals

Related:

How to find your inner voice in difficult times

Excerpt from: my book series

How to find your inner voice in difficult times

When facing a challenge, ask yourself:

“What would a stronger, more confident, and even better version of myself do in this situation?”

When you truly give it thought and get an answer, that’s your inner voice talking — and it’s generally a good idea to listen to it.

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How to overcome boredom.

This post is a follow-up to: “If you’re bored, you’re boring.

The cause of boredom is often a result of not having a clear idea of what to do or having the motivation to do it.

The key to overcoming boredom is taking action.

Children will often sit in a room with a computer, games, and books, and say, “I’m bored.”

This is not a result of lack of things to do, it’s a result of not having any motivation to take advantage of any of the immediately obvious options. And this is often because it feels as if everything that can be done with the available options has already been done.

  • I’ve already played that game.
  • I’ve already read that book.
  • I’ve already used the computer and visited my favorite web sites.

Anything that you do over and over without reward (such as learning something new) feels repetitive and is no longer challenging. Or if it is challenging — such as in the case of a difficult video game — it is no longer challenging in a “fun” way. It becomes more of a source of frustration — so it is not an option.

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