“It is the great north wind that made the vikings.” – Scandinavian Proverb
Have you noticed that your life doesn’t always turn out the way you want?
In fact, more often than not, you don’t get what you want.
Or.. You don’t get what you think you want.
This is a good thing.
It’s life nudging you in the right direction.
It’s life showing you where you need to grow, and what you need to release, to become the person you are meant to be.
The problem then isn’t that life is hard, but something entirely different.
But before we get to that, let’s ask ourselves an important question.
Why is Life So Hard?
It’s hard because:
- You think it’s hard.
- Your expectations are out of alignment with reality.
- You’re not following what makes your heart sing.
There are times when I feel like I want to give up. I feel like the universe is against me.
I just want to leave everything. I dream about the freedom I would have if I didn’t have to do anything.
But then I remember something.
I remember that I’m doing what I’m doing because I’ve chosen this. I’m living my passion. I’ve chosen to follow the magnetic pull of life. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
And if I look deeper, have I really chosen this, or is this simply how life is expressing itself through me?
I am made up of my personality, programming, and other factors that I never had any control over. All of it has culminated in what I am today.
Seeing this allows me to relax into the present moment.
In the past, I would try to change everything, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve softened. I’ve begun to see that perhaps I do not have as much control as I think I do.
This allows “me” to sit back, and enjoy the ride, even when life seems to be falling apart.
The Art of Living Life – 4 Tips
The below four tips are not something you have to do. They are things that I’ve stumbled across, and that I somehow found myself doing.
So, read them, and let your body and mind determine if you do them or not.
Do you notice how you begin to relax as you let go of the control you never had?
Life goes up and down. We all experience joy and pain. This is life. This is okay.
You don’t need to hold on so tight. You don’t have to make life do what you think you want.
Sometimes you change your life, and sometimes you don’t.
In short, let go of wanting to control everything.
Here are four effective tips for when you feel like life is against you:
- Realize that life is full of challenges. It will constantly throw new problems at you, new fears to overcome. This is good. It’s exciting. If it didn’t happen, you’d stop growing and life would become bland. Just look at the people who’ve given up on life and settled for comfort. They may be comfortable, but they are not fulfilled.
- Examine your expectations. Do you expect amazing results even when you’re a complete beginner at something? If you’re just starting to uncover your passion and build your business, expect trouble, and go at your own pace. Trust your inner authority. Follow what resonates.
- Remember that happiness comes from the inside. It’s not up to life or anyone outside of you to make you happy. You make yourself happy or unhappy through the thoughts you believe. Why do you think people experience the same event in different ways? It’s an inside job. I’m not saying control your thoughts. I’m saying relax, and let the dance do its thing.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Sometimes you outgrow your friends. This often happens when you begin to change. It’s okay. Surround yourself with positive, friendly people as much as you can. It doesn’t matter whether it’s online or offline.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you want, but that’s okay.
It doesn’t matter. Every time something “goes wrong” is a reminder that you need to take a break and look inside.
Why are you suffering? Why do you believe the stories your mind weaves?
Embrace the Unplanned Life
As Joseph Campbell once said:
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
When I let go of how I think life should be, and listen to my heart, I open myself up to what’s right here, right now.
Here’s a short video on the power of living an unplanned life:
The Bottom Line
When life doesn’t go your way, look at what it’s trying to tell you.
Are you going after what you truly want, or are you living life on someone else’s terms? When you start following your heart, your life will change.
This doesn’t mean things will be easy. If anything, life sometimes gets harder, because you have to face your inner demons.
You have to go against the status quo.
But you don’t have to try and get somewhere, or become someone to feel good. Everything is fine and dandy in its messiness.
You’re on a journey. You will always keep growing, evolving, falling flat on your face, and learning.
The key then is not to try and fix life, but to learn to relate to life in a new way.
You are not meant to understand life. You are meant to live it.
And remember, you are not in control of how you use the information in this article.
Let your body and brain decide what resonates and what doesn’t, because that’s what they’ve always done.
Let go of the steering wheel, and notice that you were never in the driver’s seat to begin with.
P.S. Would you like to learn more about following the magnetic pull of life? Check out my popular book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.
Patrik Edblad says
Henri, I absolutely love how you handle problems and overwhelm. It got me thinking about this Buddhist anecdote that is a great reminder of the nature of problems and how to deal with them:
A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems. After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied: “I cannot help you get rid of that problem.”
The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem; he thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him “I cannot help you with that problem either.”
The man started to get impatient. He said: “How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?” The Buddha answered: “You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that.”
The baffled man asked the Buddha: “But, what can you help me with, then?” The Buddha replied: “I can help you get rid of your 84th problem.” The man asked: “But what is my 84th problem?” The Buddha replied: “That you want to get rid of your 83 problems.”
Haha, such an excellent anecdote. Thanks for sharing that, Patrik. I love it. And how true it is.
Shlomo Skinner says
Love that story. There are similar stories in Jewish tradition about people seeking solutions outside of themselves to internal problems.
Of course, part of wisdom is knowing which problems can be solved and which problems cannot be solved and must be accepted.
I like the Russian proverb that if its not solved by sundown it aint going to get solved. So true.
Stuart Young says
Great advice Henri – great story Patrik, I love Zen – huge fan of Alan Watts. Anyway, I totally resonate with these feelings, especially recently. When I stopped to consider the cause it became obvious – progress. I feel like I’m not making progress at the moment, and when we feel that way – we feel ‘stuck’.
As you said Henri – I then try and fix something, in order to get ‘unstuck’. BUT, persistence, determination, resilience, resourcefulness and just taking one small step each day are the road to eventual success.
I tend to relax and think ‘What is my next tiny step?’ and that usually makes me calm right down. 🙂
Thanks for sharing that, Stuart. I think most people run into this. They want to move forward, but feel like nothing is happening. That’s when they start forcing progress, and that’s when Mr. Frustration comes for a visit 😉
Stuart Young says
Yes, Mr Frustration has been to my house many times. I’m always glad when he leaves! 😉
Thank you for using the word “frustration” instead of “stuck”.
Thank you for this inspiring article. It is true shen we are out of our heart song life is too hard.
thanks for sharing this. I am struggling with my next steps after being laid off. was in my position for thirteen years and am at the crossroads of life… to continue on my existing path or go in a new direction. life is hard and I am scared. it’s very helpful to see things from a different perspective and allowing the path to reveal itself. right now, I am getting a glimmer of what the future might hold. thanks again, very encouraging.
Glad you liked it, Carol!
Stuart Young says
Hang in there Carol, might I suggest creating an opportunities list. List everything you can do, enjoy doing, have skills at, hobbies etc. Keep writing as ideas come to mind – for about a week. When the list is exhausted choose the top 10 things. Which ones would excite you – even if at the moment you don’t think there’s any career prospects in them. Then prioritise that list into order. #1 should end up being something that gives you ideas.
Miry Kornhauser says
“Opportunities list” sounds like a good idea. I have a client now who quit her job and wants to change her professional life entirely, but don´t know what to choose.
I told her to just walk about, with her heart open, and write down anything which draws her attention: shops, restaurents, books, movies: whenever there´s somehting which attracts her, make her feel good. Maybe it could be a link to her future occupation.
pranay jha says
Thanks Henri for this article. After reading your articles every time I’m improving and it helps me find meaning in life.
Steve Hayes says
I have read an article about the power of having the right people surrounding you. That is common sense, if you are considering doing something that can really matters, one of the best ways to achieve that is by choosing good people able to make your goal possible. In additional this can make you happier because I think that happiness and success are two really similar things. I am pretty sure of that.
Nice article by the way.
Shawn Ryan says
This make me think about how we should live with the flow of life instead of working against it. If we are constantly assuming the work or working harder and harder to achieve a goal that isn’t really in the divine plan for our lives, life will always be hard and not what we want or expect. But if we follow or intuition and our hearts, it won’t always make life perfect and easy, but it will allow true happiness and opportunity that you WANT to take action on will arise more effortlessly.
Thanks for this insightful post!
I love your article, this is reality in life that sometimes our negative thoughts will hold us back. Consequently, we keep making excuse to justify our actions, that lead us to be more unproductive to certain extent..
Mike Martel says
Nice post. I always tell people to accept the facts for what they are – it is what it is. Don’t try to put meaning to them. Take responsibility for where you are at and move on from it. Look for things to be happy and grateful for in your life. With this frame of mind, it is much easier to move forward.
David Goettsch says
I think what it always comes back to is perspective. When we lose sight of what really matters and get ourselves all wound up, the world starts to fall apart. Like you mentioned about having your expectations in line, it’s a matter of being honest with yourself and keeping an honest perspective. It’s sort of ironic that the tighter we hold something the less control we have, but it’s so true. I really liked this article, I write on a lot of the same types of topics in my blog, thanks for the insight and keep up the good work!
This is an excellent post Henri, thanks!
I love your 4 tips on how to live a happy life, and the one that has helped me the most is definitely to surround myself with like-minded people both online and offline in person. This is so important, and in the different mastermind groups and communities I participate in, we all want each other to succeed.
After all “you are the average of your five closest friends”, so we should for sure choose who we spend our valuable time with wisely. I’m not saying that we should ditch all our old friends and habits, but if it won’t get you closer to where you want to be, maybe that’s the best thing to do for longterm success and happiness in life.
Thanks a lot for this amazing article. Helped me very much.
This is a great repost henri, definitely worth a reminder.
When things aren’t goin the way i think it should or when life seems to throw a curve, i tend to say to myself, ‘oh ok, this is meant to happen instead’, and ‘i must have asked for this’, and for one point, it makes it seem less out of ur control, or on the other hand, it gives the feeling of acceptance to things that seem out of ur control.
Many thanks for this Henri.
Miry Kornhauser says
Thanks for a lovely post.
I love the pace of your posts, they´re dynamic and easy to follow. When I write a post, sometimes I get tanglled and I´m afraid so will my readers…
I like to think of “trusting the universe” (although i´m not a mystical person): putting myself in the arms of what needs to happen, instead of what SHOULD happen.
And when life seems really hard (by the way, I think life is suppose to be hard. It´s just not supposed to be as COMPLICATED as we make it), I tell myself that it means I´m becoming so smart in this life-time that I won´t have to be reencarnated anymore…
Have a lovely day, Miry
Definitely. I wrote a piece on this not too long ago. It’s about Adversity: https://www.wakeupcloud.com/cope-with-adversity/
Thank you so much for all your writing, Henri. I haven’t etched out time in a while to read your posts or to participate in the forums, but I have kept on subscribing because I know that you have something really good going on and you are sharing it all up front. I respect that so much in a world where there is a lot of b.s.
This post was very timely for me despite being notified of it a month ago! This is what I needed to read and I will be reading it over and over this week.
You’re awesome and so is this community.
Hey Regina! Thanks for the kind words + ongoing support. I do appreciate it. Hope you’re well 🙂
Donavan Eugene says
Great Stuff, There is a passage in the Holy Bible that sums up your idea really good. Its taken from James 4:13-15
13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Cornelia Wylldestar says
Thank you so much for your sharing your insights. They are more than helpful. As usual, I am in a ‘swamp’ and the snakes, the alligators,the mosquitos, and just the plain old, spirit-sucking mud have fogged my perspective. I want you to know that reading your words, getting touched by your perspectives has pulled me out of the swamp. I am also helped by the thoughts of our fellow ‘Wake Up Cloud’ respondents. I hope we all appreciate today and appreciate the Blue Planet. Thank you for yanking me out of my swamp and making the ‘mud bath’ become a refresher.
Take care, and keep on “keepin’ on”.
Glad to have been of service, Cornelia 🙂
I agree that life cannot really be planned…so does John Lennon BTW (“life is something that happens to you while you are making other plans”). However, you are in opposition to immense social pressure to make goals and achieve them. Its a very challenging idea. Its also good to see you in my mailbox again.
You’re right there, Jane. There’s always pressure from the outside to be who you are not, and to conform. That’s why it’s so important to learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
For what it’s worth, here is my answer. Our soul’s growth comes in the journey, not the arrival. If we know what the destination (or the arrival) will be, there is no journey. Of course there is a lot more that goes along with this, including the fact that we choose the major lessons we want to learn before we come, but that is a post for another time.
Amazing article and comments.
Thank you Henri and all that commented!
Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and ideas about not getting what you want in life. I’m sorry it has been hard for you
At present I am feeling detached from my self. And I am not going to spend this moment beating myself up about trying to change/fix things. Feel so far away from me. I am not going to be a victim of someone’s else’s idea of what I should be doing. If I have a bad feeling about something, I sense that nothing good will come from that, no lasting feelings of success and happiness.
I will not resist the gravity pulling me in to a dark place, I will simply turn away and look to follow the light that is drawing me back to my true authentic self. Knowing that Being where I want to be doesn’t require massive efforts, and If I am striving to get somewhere it is like treading water, and I get no where fast.
Have a good week ahead
Santhana RajanM says
Brilliant. It injected some new energies for a renewed perspective, visually as well as emotionally. Thanks a Million.
“Follow your heart” – sounds so easy and beautiful but is one of the most hardest things to do in life. What is my heart telling me? Some people might know but most of the time I do not have a clue. I hear a voice but is it my heart? my sensibility? my inner demon? I do not know. I have many different voices. One telling me to do one thing and the other telling me totally different. I am 65 years old and – boy – have things happen to me in my life !!! Things I never ever expected would happen. Good and bad. Sometimes I have listen to the voice I “think” is my heart and things have gone horribly wrong or vise versa. Today I think life will happen to me no matter what. I just try to stay afloat, be kind and thankful and hope for the best.
Yes. It is not easy, nor does it shield us from life. But I’ve found it aligns me for what is for me in this life. I don’t always know what my heart is telling me, and that’s okay.
Some important points:
1. Just know “What is my next step”?
2. Do what you can with what you have.
3. Keep life unplanned to the extent possible as it gives you greatest satisfaction.
4. Do what feels magnetic to you
5. If you are in low phase of your life, facing some troubles/challenges don’t fight to change it but instead go with the flow.