Now, to the business of sh*t going wrong;
The subject of most of my - or really, I believe, anyone’s sadness is brought upon not by external circumstances, but instead, by wishing we could change those external circumstances to mold our desired outcome.
Why do we get so upset about things that we can’t change? I think part of it is because we, as humans, tend to set our expectations higher than reality - and almost always, we find that our expectations do not meet that desired reality. When you pair this innate human characteristic to see and believe in more, with popular culture’s Hollywood-influenced way of viewing life, through a perfected, cinematic lens, it’s not hard to determine that many of us will be stuck wondering why things didn’t go OUR way, when they absolutely should have.
A lot of time when I do this, I just end up feeling like a spoiled brat. I come to and realize that, well, the world is really big and a lot of things happen every day - how can I actually expect that everything will always go my way?
"How can I expect that everything will always go my way?"
Recently, I had ice cream with my wife and a friend of ours who owns a local donut shop in Portland. We must have talked for 3 or 4 hours about so many things - but the biggest takeaway from that conversation was the idea of just “rolling with it.” In other words, not trying to find balance in fighting against the things that happen in your life - good or bad, but instead, learning to adopt a spirit of “no matter what’s happening, I’m going to be good with it.”
This idea has caused a massive paradigm shift in my mind that has allowed me to be infinitely happier with my journey to build my media company, Talley Media - recognizing that it’s okay to not have five gazillion clients all at once. It’s allowed me to feel stable when my wife and I get in an argument, knowing that it will be okay because we have chosen to love each other through the hard times. It’s helped me when I make a mistake that costs me in some way or another - knowing that I, David, am going to be be fine and roll with it wherever I am in life, because I don’t live in the shadows, struggling my way out. The shadows can find me, but I won’t let them engulf me.
There’s this really great video by Prince EA that talks about this idea in a similar way. In the video, he talks about the idea of being “depressed” (not depression as a mental illness), and relates the idea of feeling sad to the idea that the blue sky can sometimes be blocked out by the clouds, but it doesn’t mean the blue sky isn’t there. It’s just that we can’t necessarily see it at that time.
It’s this attitude - the “roll with it” attitude - that has helped me get through some of the roughest times I’ve had in the last few months - being able to remind my self that there is still a blue sky out there and that, when I just roll with the stuff happening and don’t let it affect ME, I can be much happier. It’s almost like I’m observing my life from a distance, and choosing how to feel about every situation, because I know that my ultimate goal would be deterred by wanting to satisfy the part of my soul that brokenly craves sadness and victimization.
In this way, it’s about recognizing where I’m at, and remembering where I’m going - something I think is massively helpful and can push us through much of life’s troubles. Rolling with it, and remembering and realizing that not every day needs to be *perfect,* because I’m on a mission, and whatever is happening to me at that time isn’t as important as where I’m headed.
Because this mindset is sometimes really hard for me to get in to, I wrote out 4 tips that help me when I need to remember to roll with it:
4 tips that help me when I need to remember to roll with it:
1. Ask yourself, “how bad is it in reality? Is this the end of the world?”
The answer, almost always, is a resounding “no.” Simply put, we are not often in a position where the things that take up space in our mind and cause us to feel so down, scared, or worried, actually pose a real threat to our safety and security.
For me, I think about things like “Oh shit, what if Talley Media completely flops?” It was so hard for me to get out of this stage, and realize that if my business did flop, all I would have to do is get a “normal” job for a while until I built something new.
Case in point: Most things don’t constitute the end of the world - so why are we going to act like they are?
2. Stop trying to make every day perfect
It’s just not gonna happen. Honestly. I’ve had maybe 5 or 10 *perfect* days in my life - especially the day I married my wife, or the first day I met my wife, some memories from my teenage years and a few events I’ve been too. There’s only been a handful of memories that fit this mold.
Yet, because we all desire more out of life, we expect that each day is going to be perfect. I try not to aim for perfect, but rather to aim for “great no matter what.” Having a positive attitude in reaction to bad things happening - and choosing to be proactive in the way respond to them - wil ultimately allow us to roll with whatever is happening and continue on our path.
3. Pump it out
Okay, this is actually probably the most practical tip I have for anyone who wants to learn to “roll with it.” If you watched my Instagram story yesterday, you probably saw the five-or-so mile run I took from my house to downtown Portland during the rain shower.
Truth is that I wasn’t having the best or most productive morning, because I was hung up on some stuff that I was getting past for Talley Media. It's easy to feel super down on a mistake you made or the place you're in when90% of your time is sat in front of a computer, looking out at the beautiful world and wishing you could be out there, instead.
My solution? I've always found a lot help, happiness, and general well-being comes from moving my body really fast against force. I've been running weekly since I was 17 (I'm 24 now), and at one point, I was using it to deal with so much junk in my life that I actually lost 12 pounds in 3 months. I don't recommend daily, like that, for people with an ectomorph body - BUT, I do recommend cardio at least 2x a week, and also any time you're feeling overtly stressed. The process releases feel-good chemicals in your brain and helps you overcome whatever you're dealing with.
4. Laugh... at yourself
I used to take myself so seriously. I can honestly remember as far back as elementary school, where everything I did had to be perfect and everything any of my peers said to me that was just a *bit* out of line was meant the maul of my character.|
In fact, I remember a time in high school when this blew up in my face. A group of my friends would hang out every day out after class at one friends house, just a mile or two from our school. We spent a lot of time just being adolescent boys, but I remember I was usually the odd-one out. I spent on particular evening huddled in my car for nearly 3 hours while my friends hung out with a bunch of pretty girls, just because I felt like they had ganged up on me.
It turns out that it was actually a complete joke but I took it way too seriously. Once they told me, I just laughed at myself and moved on. It's one of the most important things to do - realize that you ARE NOT the most important person in the world. I think it's a mix of humility and a general awareness to want to grow through life.
Something I have to consistently remind myself is that LIFE IS A JOURNEY ON A VERY LONG ROAD. There’s hills and bumps and road blocks and dirt roads and cliffs and valleys all sorts of things... but there's also sunrises and sunsets and nature and beauty and love.
When shi*t gets rough, remember where you’re headed, and if you can’t drive the car - then just roll with it.
I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.