Studies show that how you react to life events like job loss, divorce or death can lead to positive improvements in your mental health. In order for this process of psychological growth and change to happen, however, there is a period of mourning which requires patience and time.
Life experiences shape us for the better. They can be positive or negative, but they are always a part of our lives. We learn from them and grow from them. Read more in detail here: how do life experiences influence an individual.
Note from the editor: Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology contributed this guest article.
“Tyler, how long has it been since you’ve recognized yourself?” I wondered the other day.
When you think about it, that’s a really amusing question. But the fact is that the person I am now is just two years old. My life has changed radically in the past 20 months, initially by mistake when I was dismissed from my work, and then gradually but steadily on purpose as I discovered what really pushed me to make substantial changes.
It’s an understatement to say I’m happy now. I can’t help but feel sorry for the old me when I see images of myself from a few years ago—slightly overweight, vaguely melancholy, and usually bored. If only Old Tyler had known what New Tyler knows now sooner…
I just celebrated my 27th birthday. Birthdays have a strange way of making you question what you’re doing with your life. If you’re fortunate, you won’t be too depressed after you’re done. And, for the first time in a long time, I was looking forward to the next year.
What are your plans for the next year? After all, this is your life, and time seems to fly by with each passing day. What precisely are you waiting for if you want to make a positive difference in your life?
Me? I was hoping for a huge event, a message from the cosmos that it was time to make a shift. It was fortunate for me that I received it when I was sacked from my previous employment. But was it really necessary? No, I don’t believe so. I don’t believe I need it at this time. With or without a cosmic message, I’m capable of making whatever change I desire.
The reality is, if I’m ready to search for them, these types of signals are all around me every day.
What man hasn’t squandered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
Human nature drives us to want more: to possess more, accomplish more, and be more. This is both your blessing and your curse as a guy. And, although we’ve learned to embrace and temper our impulses to have and do more, what guy doesn’t yearn to be more on a daily basis?
Is it really such a horrible thing? Isn’t it expected of us, as guys, to strive to be better every day? To be more dependable and less erratic? More consistent and less unreliable? Are you feeling more alive and less burdened?
Who doesn’t want to be a better person tomorrow than he is today? And who is the guy who does not deserve tomorrow?
So we try, toil, and aspire to better, yet for many of us, progress is transitory. Change is what improvement entails. And change is difficult. Change is unsettling. Change is fraught with danger.
Despite our best efforts, our habits from yesterday tend to win the battle for the future—the greatest predictor of how a guy would act tomorrow is how he acted yesterday.
So, how can a man, imperfect as we all are and burdened with obligation and other responsibilities, improve his situation? How can he start reconciling the disparity between the guy he sees in the mirror and the one he imagines in his head?
Perhaps the solution isn’t too complicated:
In reaction to a life-changing experience, he changes.
The Life-Changing Event as a Revolutionary Force
Fear is almost likely the problem if motivation is the missing component for a guy to make a change in his life and pursue his passion. This dread derives from the possibility that if he tries, it will fail. They tell us that failure is something to be proud of, but science tells us — and a man instinctively understands — that despair is the outcome of trying and failing to alter something significant.
These are significant obstacles to overcome, but nothing makes them easier to overcome than a really life-changing event, which practically every guy has encountered.
The loss of a career, a tumultuous divorce, a family death, or the prediction of a terminal disease. These sorts of unwelcomed traumas consistently result in hugely good transformations in individuals who are lucky or unfortunate enough to be exposed to them.
Life-changing events work because the uninvited stress they generate is many orders of magnitude bigger than the changes that previously seemed impossible to overcome. They increase a man’s stress tolerance.
What was impossible previously becomes certain when you can objectively state, “Everything in my life has changed, and the world will never be the same again.”
Would you spend your day tomorrow the same way you intend to spend it today if you only had six months to live? What if you divorced your wife or girlfriend knowing that you’d never see each other again? Would you continue to act in the same manner as you did yesterday, or would you make a drastic change? Would you instantly hunt for another job you’d detest if you lost your job tomorrow, or would you apply a new set of criteria to the work you’re prepared to perform if you lost your job tomorrow?
Without a question, a genuinely life-changing event has the ability to transform a man’s aspirations into reality in a very short period of time. Of course, the issue is that you have no control over these things. You have no control over when an incident like this will occur, so you wait eagerly for it to happen while wishing that it never does.
But, as we wait for big life-altering occurrences, we’re wasting a lot of lesser ones every day.
Mini Life-Changing Events: How a Man Purposefully Changes His World
Perhaps we need such massive events to make a significant effect in our lives because the changes we desire to make are as massive. When our wants are overpowering, the circumstances that trigger them must be as well.
So, what if you lowered your desire level? It should be cut in half. After that, cut it in half once more. And once more.
What if you analyzed your desire for change until you came up with something so simple and ubiquitous that achieving it required practically no effort? What type of life-altering incident would be required to drive you to take action? One of the same size.
What if these changes were amplified over time? What would you be able to do in a week, a month, or a year if you made one little life change every day?
What type of amazing stuff might they come up with? Who do you think you’ll be then?
We go across the globe every day, changing it as we go. And the universe manipulates us back with each step we take, each breath we take, each word we speak.
Each of these moments has the potential to spark the world’s smallest revolution if you can only clear your filter enough to perceive them. However, without landmarks to guide the path, they will slip unrecognized, wasted by a desire for too much, too fast.
You must seek for opportunities at every minute of the day, just as a clever card player looks for an opportunity in every hand rather than waiting to be given a royal flush. To win the event, the card player may require $1 million, but he must get there $1,000 at a time. You may need to pivot 180 degrees in your life, but you must do it in agonizing 1-degree increments.
Of course, the beauty is that these modest acts don’t act on their own. They don’t only add up; they multiply as well. Each stride, each rotation, propels you forward in a thrilling new direction.
The card player may begin by winning $1,000 hands, but after a few of them, $10,000 hands become the norm. Soon, he’ll be winning $100,000 hands, and his ultimate objective will be within his fingertips.
To begin this process, a man must first wake up—not in the bodily sense, but in the sense of perception.
A Man’s Awakening to the Fulfillment of His Dream
When a guy recognizes that the work ahead of him entails making numerous little adjustments over time, his first objective must be to wake up in such a manner that he can estimate the modifications that must be done.
To achieve so, he needs make three major changes in his life:
- His perceptual filter has been fine-tuned.
- The slowing down of his life’s pace
- Reframing his day-to-day experiences
He may prepare himself to take advantage of the numerous life-changing events that occur every day if he focuses his attention here.
Your perception filter’s fine-tuning
To create little changes, you must first prepare yourself to perceive the small things that cause them. Instead of waiting for life to strike you with a devastating blow, you must now crank up the volume on the microscope and become hyper-aware of the myriad minor events that occur every day and influence your behavior.
You may prepare yourself to take in the numerous otherwise unseen occurrences in your life by fine-tuning your perception filter to a sharper lens. Instead of viewing a poor day, you’ll notice the specific things that went wrong leading up to it. And you’ll notice the things that went well but weren’t enough to make you feel better.
More importantly, you’ll be able to observe how you behaved to each occurrence so you can start to change your behavior when something similar happens again.
Rather of perceiving your employer as a jerk, you’ll notice the little details that make you feel this way. You’ll figure out what’s wrong, and then you’ll observe how you respond to him in order to change your own behavior.
You’ll notice the many little aspects of the task—the ones that are simple to do and the ones that will prevent you from completing it—rather than perceiving it as too difficult. This will help you realize where you need to concentrate your attention in order to progress and finish the assignment.
With each fine-tuning of your perception filter and each change in your behavior, you’ll start to accumulate minor victories that add up to a total much greater than the sum of its parts.
The slowing down of life’s pace.
In today’s world, you have the freedom to live your life at your own pace. And since “rapid” is the most common option for most guys, you’re likely to default to it without even realizing it.
However, after you’ve altered your perception filter to take in more of life, your new settings quickly become incompatible. Fast results in information overload, making it practically hard to choose and evaluate the most significant micro life events that will enable you to achieve your goals.
How much detail do you see while driving through a city? What would you see if you rode your bike back through the area? And what sort of connection would you create with that site if you spent the whole day walking across it, something that would be difficult to do in a car?
The aim now is to prioritize “effective” above “efficient” in your activities. You must allow yourself to notice the correct elements of life that need to be worked on. This is simple to do while moving slowly. However, if you go too rapidly, it gets more difficult since the urge to “just get things done” is stronger.
In practice, this may include distancing oneself from frequent social activities and substituting isolation with which to think on your day. It might also mean declining an additional assignment at work so you can focus entirely on the project that is critical to your success.
When life slows down, progress accelerates.
Reframing your day-to-day experiences
Perhaps the most significant obstacle that a guy seeking to alter his life must overcome is his frame of reference. When life starts to deviate from the course you want it to go, it’s easy to feel disheartened and see each day as something to get through in the hopes that the next one will be better. Unfortunately, it will not be with this point of view.
If this describes you, it’s vital that you modify your mindset before you can make progress. Instead of seeing each day as a series of events to get through, reframe it as a series of events to get through.
The specifics don’t matter when you’re trying to go over something. When you’re attempting to go through anything, though, you start to focus more on the approach you’re using to get through it.
This may seem insignificant—both of these approaches to life are less than ideal—but the distinction is significant. Allowing oneself to concentrate on details allows you to influence them. And by allowing yourself to manage them, you are enabling yourself to modify them in ways that are consistent with who you truly want to be; you are allowing yourself to change.
A Man Who Is On The Right Track
What guy hasn’t wasted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Probably not a single individual.
However, with the appropriate attitude and viewpoint, any man can take control of what seems to be a chaotic and unpredictable environment and avoid wasting any more time.
He may start by fine-tuning his perception filter, slowing down his life, and rephrasing his everyday encounters. And hopefully he will, for, although these life-altering moments occur every day, their number is limited, and one day every man will find himself without any more ahead of him.
Let no one forget that being who he wants to be is not only feasible, but also necessary.
Go out and expand your horizons.
Go out and expand your horizons.
At Advanced Riskology, Tyler Tervooren writes for guys who are undergoing significant life transitions. Google+ is where you can find him.
For example, if you were bullied in school, it can make you feel insecure about yourself. If you felt bad about yourself and had a hard time making friends, that experience may have shaped who you are today. Life events like these shape us for the better. Reference: past experiences examples.
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