When I was 18 and started playing poker seriously, I wanted money. To me, money symbolized freedom. With money I could do anything. I could travel, relax and have fun.
I thought a certain amount of money would make me happy. But when I finally reached that monetary goal, I realized happiness wasn’t found in money, or anything external for that matter.
I had read books that exclaimed happiness was found within, but it wasn’t until I realized it myself that it started making sense.
I’m all for listening to solid advice and having a good mentor, but you still have to make a lot of mistakes on your own. You won’t get through life by avoiding mistakes.
I’ve been making mistakes on my own ever since I was 18. It took me several years to realize that the fastest way to make progress is to take action and be okay with making mistakes, all the time.
At a Crossroads: Choosing a Path
After a while of playing poker, I started to realize that it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had come to a crossroad and I didn’t know where to go, because the possibilities where seemingly unlimited.
The reason for my overwhelm happened because I tried to use my logical mind to find my path. It wasn’t until I started listening to my heart and doing what I truly enjoy that everything started falling into place.
I stopped worrying about the right path and I started doing what I enjoyed in each moment. This wasn’t something that came easily. I still struggle with this and I think I will be struggling for the rest of my life. The trick is to be okay with struggling, because it will always be there.
What calmed me down was the fact that I stopped thinking of my path as an isolated road from where I could never go back or jump to another path. I started imagining my paths running parallel to each other. I could jump around and try other things whenever I wanted to.
The anxiety I had was entirely self-created. At that moment something clicked. I realized that what I really wanted to do was play around with websites, write and help people. I listened to my heart and started learning how.
I found a resource that filled me with curiosity and excitement. Following your heart is simple. It’s easy to increase the complexity in your life, but once you realize everything really is as simple as following your heart, a new world opens up to you.
Following this path hasn’t been a walk in the park. I run into obstacles all the time, but what has changed is how I view my obstacles. Instead of looking at them as something that is there to stop me from achieving what I want, I now look at my obstacles as challenges.
They help me grow and understand life better. I have gone from despising obstacles to looking forward to them. The more criticism I receive, the faster I’ll learn. If someone says something bad about my blog, my products or anything I’ve created, I can now look at it objectively and determine if it is true or if the person is just projecting.
There have been times when the going has gotten so tough that I have doubted my path. Should I really be doing this? Or are these obstacles here to tell me that I should be heading in another direction?
I use very simple methods to solve problems like this. I listen to my heart and look at if I am still excited about what I am doing. If the answer is yes, I keep going.
Ever since I have discovered the power of following my heart, everything has become much simpler. I still use my logical mind, but it no longer is in the driver’s seat as it used to. There’s no need for me to try and make sense of everything. My heart knows best.
How I Deal With the Really Rough Days
But what about the really tough times where you feel like you’re going nowhere?
For me, those times have been more in my mind than anywhere else. They aren’t really there. They are what I call “down days”, as they just seem to happen and go away. The best way to take advantage of them is to learn what they are trying to tell you.
There are days when I feel horrible. I’m afraid, frustrated and angry at the world. It feels like everyone is against me and nothing is going right. When this happens, I take a deep breath and acknowledge what is going on.
I often take a day off observing my thoughts. This may seem counter-intuitive as you’re probably accustomed topush your thoughts away when they aren’t pleasant, but if you want to get rid of them, you have to learn what’s going on.
I may do a bit of walking, meditating, talking to Ingela or my friends. These are activities that help me. You have to find what works for you.
When I’m feeling bad, I often find that my ego is not entirely happy. It’s not getting what it wants, being validated enough, making enough money, or getting enough traffic.
When I look at these thoughts, I realize that they are almost always unfounded. When I switch my focus from service-to-self to service-to-others, I experience a dramatic shift. Now, sometimes all of this doesn’t work, which is when I try to be okay with my thoughts and go about my day.
It’s easy for me to look at other people and compare myself to them. I’ve learned that the only way I’m going to be happy is if I follow my own path and guidance.
Once you step into your own space and are confident enough to follow your heart, you will feel an incredible sense of freedom. You will no longer be overwhelmed with all the options out there, because you know that the only thing you have to do is listen to your heart.
This is how I know I’m on the right path. Every day I wake up, I feel grateful to be doing what I’m doing. If you’re not at this place yet, that’s completely okay.
Stop trying to find ways to put yourself down. It’s cool to not be a superstar right away. Realize what is going on. These are just habits that aren’t serving you. If you’re doing your best and moving towards what you feel good about, you’re on the right path.