6 Surprising Misconceptions That Keep You Stuck Lifelong (And How To Destroy Them)
The following is a guest post from Ankit Yadav
Your friends and colleagues are making good progress with their businesses and promotions. But you continually break down in cold sweat at midnight, wondering what will become of your life.
You have dreams but don’t know how you’ll realize them. Life sure is no cake walk. You’ve tried so many things in the past but it hasn’t worked out. Life is not easy.
As you wipe sweat off your forehead, another thought sends chills down your spine.
“Will my life mean anything?”
In a world that is plagued with problems of global recession, how can you expect to thrive at work? Maybe things would be better if you were born in a different time.
How can you stand up and fight a battle for survival against the world?
Is this all there is to life?
Maybe God has an exclusive list of lucky people and you didn’t make it.
Our Biggest Mental Trap
A young circus elephant was chained to a pole. No matter how much he tried to break free, the chains won’t break.
Over the years as he grew into a powerful adult, he was still held captive with the same chains. Compared to his massive strength, the chains had no chance.
But he had stopped trying.
His mind assumed that the chain is always stronger. All it would take is one powerful kick to break free. But unless he is ready to challenge his assumption, he is going nowhere.
Our mind makes assumptions to fill gaps in information. It predicts the unknown information to make conclusions.
But predictions can go wrong, and so can our assumptions. And when assumptions concern your life, it gets 1000% critical to ensure you’re not holding wrong assumptions.
“Assumptions are our lenses through which we see the world.”
Here is a list of faulty assumption based elephant logic.
1) Life is Always Unfair to Me
Three year old John is arguing with his father. His neighbourhood friend Tim just got a video game. John feels this is unfair and demands his father to buy him a similar toy.
John’s father is smart. He knows that John is better off playing in the park than stare at video game screen for hours.
We often behave like John. We feel that others have been blessed with the good stuff while we struggle. But underneath this common thinking lies a misconception.
The reason John did not get a video game was because his father had better ideas. Now John would not understand this unless he changes the way he thinks. If he thinks from his limited I-want-it-too perspective, he will continue feeling “not fair.”
When you feel life is unfair, you’re limiting yourself. All you care about is having what somebody else has.
But if you can just step back and realize that life is a bigger picture and your perspective is a small part of that picture, you’ll open up to other possibilities.
It is not necessary to have the same things and experiences as others.
Another way to think about this is to realize your own gifts that others are not fortunate enough to have.
If the world had 100 people, only 22 would have computers.
You’re one of them.
“When you feel life is unfair, know that you’re being selfish because life is unfair to everybody.”
2) Life is Unreasonably Hard on Me
In the movie BEDAZZLED, the hero falls in love with an out-of-his-league girl.
A devil appears and promises to help him by offering seven wishes in exchange for his soul. The hero is happy. Using the wishes, he can now have a future with his love.
However, each wish turns into a disaster.
When he wishes to be rich, powerful and married to Allison (the girl), he becomes “a drug lord whose wife cheats on him.
In the end, our hero strikes upon a strong realization.
Wishing does not work. We feel that magically having everything right now will make us happy forever.
But it isn’t the success that counts, but the person you become in the process. Hence challenges are important in life.
Life feels hard in two ways.
Our struggles are designed to help us become a better version of ourselves. They inspire us to move beyond our comfort zone and reach our goals.
Playing Mario would no longer be fun, if he didn’t have to jump and squish Koopa Troopa (turtle), Spiny (horned turtle), Bullet Bill (cannon bullets), Cheep-Cheep(killer fish) and Bowser (horned flying turtle boss) in the pursuit of saving Princess Peach.
Without challenges, Mario would simply run from left to right on screen and the princess is saved.
“My job has left me with no time for my family. Most days I overtime and I can’t take a break when I really need it. Life is so hard.”
Well guess who agreed to ignore the value of freedom and turn themselves into a slave by signing a bond to sell away most of their time?
You gave up your time, your freedom of choice in exchange of petty allowances at the end of month. Is it really a surprise that you’re not satisfied with what you get?
Poor you. Didn’t even get seven wishes in exchange of your soul.
This isn’t the only example of a stupid choice but it describes the situation fairly well.
Stupid choices make life unnecessarily harder.
“Having it all right now isn’t the goal. Becoming a better person is the real thing.”
3) I Cannot Trust What The Future Holds For Me
Not knowing how life will turn out can be a fearful thought. There is no way to know what is coming. Tragedies such as sudden deaths, career failures etc may often make you think that nothing in life can be trusted.
However, it’s not entirely accurate.
Yes, you cannot predict everything in life. Yes, you don’t have absolute control over each event occurring in life.
But it does not imply that life cannot be trusted. There are ways to build a firm foundation in life.
The natural laws of physics are consistent. They never change.
Kindness to others can be a direct source of inner joy. This never changes.
The dark side’s planet destroying weapon Death Star fires at most once, before Han Solo and the Jedi deactivate the energy shield and bomb the shit out of it. This never changes.
Life is surprisingly consistent underneath the random possibilities.
So the question is what are the things you can trust? What should be your life foundation?
Values are universally desired, timeless principles that can act as foundation to everything we do in life.
Do you want to be rich, have free time and do what you love? Your desired values are abundance, freedom and creative self expression.
Not everything in life will go the way you want it to. But if you consciously direct actions around your values you will reach your prize in the long run.
Life is full of random events leading to what I choose to create.
4) Life is Overwhelmingly Complex
Life seems complex due its random nature. When you find so many different outcomes, you assume that life is complex. But here again, our assumption hides the underlying truth.
Life is not complex. It is a bag of unknown possibilities.
The two are different.
A beginner player may find chess to be a complex game. There are so many rules to remember that playing a strategy seems hard. When something is complex, it is hard to work with.
A professional poker player accepts that it is unknown which cards will be dealt to him. When something is unknown, we learn to expect from wide range of possible outcomes.
God or some higher power built this universe and perhaps our human brain is not smart enough to know why. But simply because we don’t know everything about life and the universe does not imply that life is complex.
It means that we must prepare to expect from a wide range of possible outcomes. Just like the professional poker player who tries to do his best with whatever cards he is dealt.
But why does it matter if we think of life as complex or unknown?
Believing life to be complex is a self limiting idea. You are telling yourself to expect troubles and hardships wherever you go.
Believing life to be a bag of unknown possibilities opens you up to many choices that lead to things you want. It’s not a limiting thought.
When I first realized that full time bloggers help people, earn good money and have full control of their time, I was fascinated by their values of abundance, freedom and service. Now I wanted to become one too.
The funny thing is I didn’t know how blogging worked. At one point, I believed that when an audience reads a post, it somehow converts into revenue (I know this sounds so stupid now).
Blogging was unknown to me. But it brought me the possibilities of finding what I wanted. Thankfully, I’ve got better at understanding how bloggers actually make money through coaching, books, membership fee etc.
Be open to the uncertainty of life.
In order to work with uncertainty, you should define values important to you. They help you choose from different options.
It’s not complicated. It’s unknown right now.
5) This is The Worst Time To Be Alive
What if I told you that we live in the most peaceful and civilized times of human history?
Take a moment and let that sink in.
I can almost hear you revolt with strong counter arguments. What about the nuclear weapons, the cruelty to animals, racial and gender discrimination, and countless other issues? Surely I must be mistaken.
Well, I’m not. And here’s why.
Did you know that our history books are filled with incidents of mass slavery, public execution, killing for honor, meaningless battles, trading of human slaves etc.
If a good guy lost a battle against the bad guy, what will the bad guy write in the history books?
“Hey, he was a great man but I killed him for his wife. I’m not a nice person.”
Quite the contrary, I think. Winners write history to reflect well on themselves not the people they have slain or subjugated.
This also brings us to realize that you cannot rely too much on historical data, since it depends largely on who wrote the facts.
Kings of the past have fought years of battle for meaningless ego driven causes of conquests and wealth, killing countless souls all along.
Watch a classic battle movie and you’ll see how killing and war seemed the natural course of actions in the past.
Because we witness only our current world problems, we think these are the most troubled times there ever was.
But we now live in a time where our social issues are settled mostly with debates in the senate and not with armies on the battlefield.
We cross deserts by flying in planes and not on foot. I am writing this article and you could be reading it from the other side of the world.
Still feel these times are the worst?
Yes, we still have problems to solve. There never was a perfect time. But the present times are the best so far.
For every reason to feel unlucky, there are hundreds to feel the luckiest.
6) I Am A Lonely Disconnected Being in this World
Have you ever thought of life as a battle where you are up against the world?
But think again. Because what I’m about to tell you will blow your mind.
Everything in this world is connected to you.
If you’ve studied science in school, you must already have a basic idea of how all things are made up of the same molecules.
For the people who have not studied science, here’s a simplified breakdown.
All matter (everything you see around) is made up of same basic building blocks. If you were to break down stone, water, your skin or any other material into smaller and smaller parts, eventually they are all made up of the same basic elements.
Matter can be of different types (water, oxygen, gold etc) and states (solid, liquid and gases) but essentially all things are same things. You are no different than the stars in the sky.
In fact, the whole universe is a bi directional dance of matter and energy. Energy condensing into matter and matter converting back to energy.
This sounds scientific and geeky but it is also a doorway to a reality not obvious in our daily lives. It implies that since everything is made of the same basic elements, we are all connected together.
Like a drop in the ocean. Same in kind like the infinite drops around it.
So what does this mean?
This means you can stop thinking of yourself as an individual with few blood relatives fighting to survive in alien world. You no longer have to struggle your way through life.
All things are a part of you. Accepting this oneness brings deep respect for life.
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
You may now understand why helping other people feels so good. Because by helping others, you’re helping you.
The Whole You.
I am the Universe. The Universe is me.
Hold Your Head High And Chin Up
Yes. Being stuck in life sucks.
These misconceptions have held you back till now. But not anymore. Now you know better.
So commit right now.
Commit to let go of these limiting ideas.
Commit to consciously acknowledge your dreams and embrace challenges with a new unshakable faith.
Commit to break the chains that hold you captive since long.
Now you’re free.
Life is no longer a hostile death camp. It’s a jungle of hidden treasures. It promises immeasurable wealth to the bravest that are willing to put their fears behind and step into the unknown.
Imagine feeling great to be on God’s list of lucky people. Everybody is.
Like a confident sailor, guide your ship away from the harbour. You know the sea will throw itself at you. You probably will have to fight the worst storms ever imaginable. But you’re ready. And all the hardships will be worth the adventure and glory you seek.
In the end it’ll be all worth it.
“Your life is yours to make.”
Ankit Yadav is a personal growth freak who helps people to grow in life. If you wish to improve life and go beyond your immediate self interest to make a positive impact on the world, click here to sign up for his upcoming blog GrowConscious.com