by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Far too many people are guilty of this, of settling for their current place in life and then just complaining about it.  Lots of people are guilty of sedating themselves with things like video games, porn, drugs and/or alcohol or just partying in general.  Look, we all (should) go through that phase in high school and college to a reasonable degree. But if you are not taking control of your life and reeling yourself in on the tactics that sedate your mind in the unhappy/unsatisfying place that you are in, then you are doomed to stay there.

Do you live for the weekend?  Get blasted every Friday night after work or at the end of the school week?  Then sleep in on Saturday, wasting much of the day trying to recover from whatever it was you did the night before?  And then by the time the evening rolls around you’ve recovered enough to go out and do it all again.  Please allow me to illustrate what you did:

–you sedated yourself temporarily to ease the pain and discomfort of your current status in life.  For many people, the source of their anxiety is the difference between where they thought they would be in life and where they actually are.  Think about that…

–you spend money to do so, maybe money that you really didn’t have.  This adds to your debt problem, or if you do have the means, allows even more indulgence than you need.

–you wasted the majority of the 48 hours of true free time you have each week.  This is time that you should be using to change your life into one that doesn’t need escape from.

I have been there too.  I wasn’t unhappy as a teenager, but I wouldn’t say that I had figured things out just yet.  Not that I felt like I should have, but I did have a hard time finding my place in the world of high school.  It wasn’t until I started pursuing an athletic career that I started to change and move away from things that were distractions and mind-numbing activities.  I learned to focus and apply my energy into productive things that had a purpose, a purpose other than helping me forget about the week I just had.  I prioritized getting things done that moved me towards the goal I had set, not things that ate up time and kept me exactly were I was.

Whether you take advantage of the push for a New Year’s Resolution or just make the decision to be better, you can rewrite your story at any time.  Let me say that again, with emphasis this time:

You can rewrite your story at any time.

Don’t think you are stuck, because if you do, then you are.  As the famous quote by Henry Ford goes: Whether you think you can, or think that you can’t do something, either way you will be correct.  No one is coming to rescue you, and buying lottery tickets isn’t the answer.  You need to start by picking a goal of the person you want to become, and then starting working towards that end.  You shouldn’t make radical, sweeping changes and think they will stick.  Rather, set yourself up for success by easing your way into new habits and changes that you want to make.  Pick one or two things at the most per week to work on, and then add a new one next week as well. You didn’t get here overnight, therefore you can’t necessarily remove yourself from your situation overnight either.  It takes a plan, and a systemic approach to undo and redo the path you are on.

If you are stuck in a job that you hate, and it sucks the life out of you, stop whining about it and start taking some action.  Watch a few YouTube videos on resume writing and interview preparation and start the process.  No one is going to do it for you, and you have to take personal responsibility and do it for yourself.  This is adulting 101, taking responsibility for every facet of your life, not just the good stuff.  Don’t think that you can take credit for the good things you do have and point blame for the rest.  You own both, all of it, like it or not.  If your life is not what you want it to be, start working on getting it there.  Stop wasting time and numbing your mind or pickling your brain in alcohol.  You don’t need to see the entire staircase to start a new direction, you just need to see the next step to take.  Before long, another step in the process will reveal itself to you, and you will move closer to the end goal.  This is how life works…

One of the reasons I have so few friends from my high school and college days is that those people by and large were not evolving at the same rate I was.  You HAVE TO surround yourself with people who are also on their own quest to improve themselves and their lives.  If you don’t, you are even more likely to stay put, right where you are.  You have to take control and start making changes, and this includes cutting negative people out of your life.  Whether it is a bad attitude, a functional alcohol friend who wants to continue to be the life of the party, or your gamer buddy that sits all weekend and plays video games.  Yes, all weekend; never left the house, barely slept, and did nothing but play Fortnite or HALO for two straight days.

Realize that you, just like everyone else, has a certain number of hours per week that are yours to do with what you choose.  If you take advantage of these hours, you can plan your escape, whatever form that may take.  If it is finding a new job that you need to do, your weekends should be spent FOCUSED on achieving that.  You need to be “caffeinated and motivated” as Joe Rogan put it, to rescue yourself.  You need to realize that you put yourself in this position and you are the only one who can get yourself out.  If you need to pay off debt, you should be working a second job on the weekends for a while to get yourself out from under the weight of the monthly financial burden that debt can be.  You need to work hard and pay it off, and then you need to educate yourself on how to never end up there again.

Stop wasting time, stop wasting energy, and stop wasting your money sedating yourself.  Whatever form this takes in your life, cut back to start and work towards eliminating it as much as possible.  Go to happy hour on Friday with friends, enjoy the time with them and be as present as possible.  But when 9:00PM rolls around, it is time to get home and get some sleep.  Before you order a pizza and settle in for yet another marathon session of online gaming, understand what is at stake.  Your future is at stake; if you keep doing what you always have, you will get the same thing you have always gotten.  Or put another way, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”  Hat tip to Albert Einstein on that one.

You need to be rested for tomorrow to take on the things you need to battle against.  In some ways, this is a fight for your life, a fight to make a better life for yourself, or to lose this battle and stay where you are.  Maybe forever.  Whether you are focusing on updating your resume or driving for Uber to make extra cash, you need to rest, recover and be ready for the task at hand.  If you are currently stuck, you need to use every possible minute you have working to get unstuck.  Much of your week is accounted for, through work and/or school, so when you do have time, you have to capitalize on it.  You don’t need more time, you need less distractions.  Write yourself a To Do List, Organize the list and then DO THE LIST.  It can be a simple as that.  It is not easy, but the organization process to get going is just that simple.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

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