It’s unavoidable that every one of you reading this is going to face some struggles in life.
Perhaps you’re going through the storm right now — feeling stuck somewhere you don’t belong and looking for a way out.
Here’s the thing about struggle — it can last way longer than you think. If you read some inspirational quotes about life and struggles, you’ll see things like, “Just stay strong! The struggle will end eventually!”
That’s only half-true. Your struggles will end, but that’s assuming you make the decision to take focused action in a positive direction. The ugly truth about life is that no matter how bad things seem, there’s always some stupid thing that can you do make it worse.
The good news is that there’s also always something you can do to make things better. In this article, we’ll discuss some five positive shifts you can make that will help you overcome your current struggles in life.
What Is The Importance Of Struggle In Life?
Many people tend to organize their lives around avoiding struggle and pain, which is a huge mistake.
It’s completely natural to avoid struggles in life. Your brain’s mindset each day is this — keep you alive while expending as little energy as possible.
Your brain perceives pain and struggle as threats to this goal. Whenever you’re faced with a situation that may involve some form of physical or emotional pain, your survival instinct kicks in and your brain tries to convince you to avoid it.
It does this to protect you without realizing that it’s destroying you. Everything that you want in life tends to lie on the other side of struggle — running from struggle is the same thing as running from the life you deserve.
The start of any new journey is easy. You get motivated to start lifting weights, or running every day, or building a business, and excitement flows through you as you imagine what you can achieve.
The end of a journey is easy too. If you’ve been doing something daily for years, you’re most likely starting to see really positive results even if you haven’t achieved your goal yet.
The middle is what makes everyone quit — it’s precisely where the struggle is.
It’s where the newness wears off and the daily grind starts to get to you. It’s the point where you’re still seeing minimal progress or change. Despite your efforts, the gap between where you are and where you want to be feels light years away.
It’s during this point where your struggles in life will be the greatest, but here’s something that you need to realize.
The true reward of achieving any goal is the type of person you become in the process.
Achieving a goal never feels as good as we hope it to be. Even if we reach our most ambitious goals, that feeling of elation is fleeting — it might last for a few days but then we’ll start looking to climb the next frontier.
When you realize this, you realize that the struggle is all there is. The pursuit of a goal is worthwhile not because of the reward that comes from achieving it, but because of the way that your character is molded in the middle of your journey.
Anyone can put in the work when they have that initial spark of motivation to rely on. Anyone can take consistent action when they’re seeing positive results.
But what about when that spark runs out? What about when you’re not seeing any results? How do you respond then?
These are the moments when your character is tested. Anyone can take action when things are going well, it’s when the struggle kicks in that you find out who you really are.
It’s the struggle that forces you to overcome challenges and find inner strength. It’s the struggle that teaches you valuable lessons that help you achieve success.
It’s the struggle that turns you into someone that people admire, respect, and love — don’t run from it, go through it.
5 Tips For Overcoming Your Struggles In Life
Deep down, you already know that you need the struggles in life in order to learn, grow, and evolve in the best version of yourself.
The problem is that it’s hard to embrace struggle in-the-moment. You can’t just shake off negative feelings by saying:
“Oh great! I’m so glad that I’m really stressed out right now and struggling with self-doubt. This is an awesome feeling!”
The following tips aren’t gonna focus on bullshit rah-rah advice designed to get your adrenaline going, nor are they going to be based around idealistic advice that paints a rosy picture of suffering.
There’s just no way around it — the middle of your journey is fucking hard no matter how you slice it.
With that being said, there are certain tactics you can use to ensure that you stay consistent and keep walking down the path of self-discipline even when things feel stagnant.
Let’s discuss those five tactics right now, and why they work.
#1: Shorten Your Timeframe
When we’re struggling in life, the future can be really overwhelming. When we think about our goals and dreams, we feel a rush of excitement. Our desired future seems so real when it becomes our present focus.
However, what usually happens next is that a dose of reality kicks in. After focusing on the goal, your mind tends to start thinking about everything that it will take to reach that goal — early mornings, countless hours of work, personal sacrifices, etc.
At the start of our journey, it’s easy to justify these actions because you’re in the honeymoon phase with your goals.
Once you’re in the middle of your journey, you’re well past the honeymoon phase. It’s likely that the work you’ve been putting in isn’t matching where you want to be, and that’s when the struggle sets in.
This is the breaking point of any worthwhile pursuit — it’s the easiest thing in the world to give up.
The best thing you can do when you find yourself encountering struggles in life is to shorten your timeframe.
Don’t think about next year, or the next month, or even the next week. Hell, don’t even think about today. It’s entirely possible that the thought of everything you need to do today will only send you spiraling even further.
Maybe you’re so broken and stuck that you can’t even think about the next hour, because even that will fill you with dread.
What about the next 60 seconds? What can you do in the next minute that will create a better future?
Usually this will be something simple:
- Opening up a google doc to start the writing process
- Opening the book that you’ve been meaning to read
- Dialing the number of a friend you’ve been meaning to call
Whatever comes to mind, it will usually represent a small step in a positive direction towards your self-defined goals.
It will always be something that you can handle. Earth-shattering? No, but it’s 10x better than stagnation.
The tiny act of opening a Google doc may turn into typing out 1,000 words. The tiny act of opening the book you’ve been meaning to read may lead to reading 25 pages.
So whenever you feel like the struggle is keeping you stuck, shrink your timeframe to whatever you feel is manageable for you in the present moment.
- What can you do today to make progress towards your goals?
- What can you do in the next hour to make progress towards your goals?
- What can you do in the next 10 minutes to make progress towards your goals?
- What can you do in the next 60 seconds to make progress towards your goals?
If you run through these questions, eventually you’ll reach a level where you get an answer — and each minute, hour, or day you win brings you closer to escaping the struggle and achieving your goals.
#2: Imagine The Personal Hell If You Don’t Overcome Your Struggles In Life
It’s said that it’s important to define a clear future and work towards it, and that seems to be good advice.
- What do you want from your career in five years?
- What do you want from your relationships in five years?
- How physically and mentally healthy do you want to be?
These are important questions to answer, but they’re only half of the equation. It’s true that with enough hard work, focus, and determination, the future you desire is out there waiting for you.
However, it’s also true that a life filled with guilt and shame awaits you if you fail to break bad habits that keep you where you are.
You think what you’re going through right now is bad? Imagine your procrastination, lack of accountability, and laziness continues for five more years — where do you end up then?
You know exactly where you’d end up — your own personal version of hell. At some level, you already know this, the problem is that you haven’t clearly defined this personal hell.
Clearly defining this personal hell serves as motivation that the struggle you’re going through can become so much worse if you really let yourself go.
Sit down and write out the compound effect of not changing your daily decisions for another five years
- Imagine your relationships with your family and friends.
- Imagine the weight that you’d carry with you each day
- Imagine the lack of fulfillment you’d feel
- Imagine what you’d be thinking about each day
- Imagine where you’d be in your career, or even if you’d still have one
Once you paint a clear picture of what your life will be like in five years if shit doesn’t change, you’ll want to avoid it at all costs.
Remind yourself of the details of this personal hell daily. More importantly, realize that with each day you don’t move forward, you’re moving closer to that hell.
#3: Focus On Your Personal Relationships
We’re social creatures, that’s just how we’re wired. Our level of closeness to other people plays a significant role in how happy we are.
When you’re facing struggles in life, deep personal relationships can reduce their impact on your emotional state.
The research on social connection is clear — quality relationships lead to happier, longer lives. One of the most fascinating studies on happiness tracked the lives of 724 men with the goal of answering this question — what’s the biggest predictor of someone’s overall life satisfaction?
Amazingly, the study has been active since 1938. Through the years, four different directors have studied these participants and analyzed heaps of data about their life.
What did the thousands of pages of research show to be the #1 predictor of someone’s level of happiness? Well, it wasn’t fame or status. It wasn’t about how many vacation homes someone owned or their net worth.
The #1 predictor of one’s happiness was the quality of their relationships with friends and family.
Here’s something even more astonishing — people who had great personal relationships reported a change in their overall happiness levels even on the days when they suffered intense physical pain.
This means that good personal relationships seemed to act as a protective shield against physical and emotional pain.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this? Well, if you’ve been struggling to find meaning in life, maybe you should put less focus on your goals and more into your personal relationships.
Start doing little things like texting one person from your social circle every day, or Facetiming one of your family members. Start taking the initiative to make plans with your friends instead of waiting for them to do it for you.
Go out and meet new people who share similar hobbies and interests. If you’ve been dealing with some social anxiety, start attempting some public comfort zone challenges so you improve your social skills.
The work required to improve your social skills and develop deep personal relationships isn’t sexy — it’s private work that doesn’t get headlines.
However, it may be the very thing that pulls you out of the rut that you find yourself in.
#4: Address Your Biggest Source Of Pain
Let me ask you a question for those of you who are struggling right now — what’s the biggest reason why?
- Is it your lack of social connection?
- Is it your inability to get meaningful work done?
- Is it your wildly erratic sleep schedule?
- Is your inability to control your thoughts?
- Is it your physical appearance?
- Is it your marriage?
- Is it your lack of self-confidence? Are you living life in fear?
Now if you’re really struggling with life, you may think it’s all of those things. And if that’s the case, then you’re a fucking warrior for even being here and reading this.
But for most of us, there’s likely one or two things about our life that we really want to change. There’s probably a few really powerful demons that weigh more heavily on our conscience than others.
Those are the things you want to stand up and face, because they are what’s contributing the most to your struggle.
If you have the courage to face down your biggest demon and work every day to fix it, you’ll notice that a compound effect occurs — other aspects of your life begin moving in a positive direction too.
When you’re trapped under a pile of rocks, the best thing you can do is remove the heaviest rock.
You don’t need me to give you a framework for finding your biggest demon — you probably know exactly what it is.
It’s the character flaw that’s on your mind all the time. It’s what you wake up thinking about and what eats at you when you’re trying to go to sleep.
Identify it and make a plan for fixing it. Commit to one small habit every single day that addresses the biggest source of pain in your life.
Make sure that whatever you commit to, it’s a target that you can realistically hit every single day. You’ll be shocked at how quickly you can fix something about your life when you learn how to be consistent.
#5: Find A Mentor
Another great resource that you have at your disposal is other people who have suffered through the same struggles as you and come out on the other side.
For years, the biggest source of pain in my life was social anxiety. I’d tried to address it several times on my own, but things never seemed to change.
One day, I made a decision that changed everything — I hired a mentor who had experience with the same emotions I was dealing with.
- Fear of being the center of attention
- Lack of confidence around women
- Lack of general self-confidence in everyday situations
On our first call, he showed me the roadmap to overcoming these challenges. After putting together a plan of action, we never looked back.
The guidance he offered was invaluable, but here’s the real reason why mentorship helps so much — you’re accountable to another person, not just yourself.
It’s easier to take action when you know that if you skip days, you’re going to answer to someone else. The pain of disappointing myself was heavy enough, but the pain of disappointing someone else added even more fuel to the fire.
After hiring my mentor, I began talking to strangers and actively going out to expand my social circle. I began approaching women on the street and doing embarrassing things in public to help me overcome my social fear.
Being exposed to situations that I had avoided for 5+ years turned me into a more confident person and significantly reduced my social anxiety. Truthfully, I don’t know if these results would have been possible without someone else pushing me on a weekly basis.
What I do know is that I saw more progress in three months with a mentor than I did in five years trying to do it on my own.
Whatever you’re struggling with, there’s someone out there who can speed up the process of overcoming it.
Find that person and leverage their insight to take you wherever you want to go.
Final Thoughts On Overcoming Struggles In Life
If life has tried its best to knock you down and you’re still standing, then it’s 100% within your power to make things better.
Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life, and what sucks is that the more we avoid it, the more of it we tend to experience.
It’s okay to be engulfed in struggle. Every successful person has struggled to get to where they are.
The difference between them and everyone else is they realized their struggle would only stop when they started taking action. If you can begin the private, persistent work of addressing the source of your pain, things will get better, that’s a promise.
Your struggle might not end tomorrow, or a month from now, or even six months from now, but if you don’t quit at least it’ll end fucking eventually.
If the next day feels too overwhelming, start with the next hour. If that’s too much for you, take control of the next minute.
Start where you are and do what you can — the only wrong decision is reading this article and doing nothing.