It’s not the other way around.
It’s easy to think that it is though.
That if only you had a bit more good in your life, then you would be happy.
It seems like a straightforward way to think about feeling better. First, improve your life, then you will feel better, but it doesn’t work like that.
I need to get these tasks done so that I can feel good about myself again!!!!
I put myself into fight or flight mode thinking about how all these things need to get done. I tell myself to stay up later, to wake up earlier, I wish for more time, I feel guilty, and…. they don’t get done.
Even though I am slowly knocking a few items off the to-do list, I stay focused on all the things that aren’t done, and having these uncompleted items on my to-do list makes me feel awfully like a failure.
And that is the problem.
When you feel like a failure you act like a failure. It doesn’t matter how good you want to be in life, or how high your ambitions and expectations are for yourself, if at some level you think you suck, then you are going to suck.
“Self-concept is destiny”?—?Nathaniel Branden
When you have things you want to accomplish, and you’re not getting them done, pushing harder is almost never going to work. You have to get rid of the negative thoughts in your head first. You have to convince yourself that you are capable. When you feel good about yourself you get good results, when you feel bad about yourself you get bad results.
So when I realize I’m stuck, I try to convince myself that I am awesome.
I start by making a list of all the wins that I’m getting in my life. All of the positive actions that I am taking in my life that make me slightly better.
Woke up without snoozing. WIN.
Meditated this morning. WIN.
Wrote a blog post. WIN.
Decided not to eat a doughnut. WIN.
Went for a twenty-minute walk. WIN.
Each thing makes me feel a little bit better about myself. Every win makes me feel more confident, and before I know it I’m going all kool-aid man on any walls that block my progress. Feeling like I have the competence to tackle those projects that had been getting me down before.
Then, to keep the momentum going, I make a list of all the things that I am getting done. Making a done list instead of a to-do list. Every time I write something down on that list I feel better about my ability to get things done.
So, the lesson is this,
The causality of productivity and a good life is actually the opposite of how we think of it is.
You’re not getting things done because you’re feeling stressed. It’s not the other way around.
You’re not improving because you don’t think you’re already good. It’s not the other way around.
Your life sucks because you’re not happy. It’s not the other way around.

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