Rule # 71: When in doubt seek structure
Throughout your life you will find yourself lost at different times. Lost, unable to find direction or purpose and it is in these times you will feel like your life has no meaning. When this happens you will be most vulnerable to depression and self-harm.
When you lose focus life becomes scary and lonely fast, its is all too easy to become buried in self doubt- confidence is one of those things that just seems to disappear if not feed a steady diet of affirmation. Even simple things become hard once start rolling down the slope of uncertainty.
The important thing to understand is you are not alone or strange for having these feelings. It is a certainty of the human condition that there will be times when the next steps seem impossible to find. Nothing is more certain than uncertainty.
I have been in bad relationships, they starts with lack of clarity about someone’s feelings towards you and leads to you doubting yourself. Simple things like buying groceries or picking out clothes become unbearably hard because of over thinking every action. The gift of intelligence can become a curse as we try not only to understand what we are doing but how it is interpreted by others. Its hard believe but in these dark times of uncertainty things like deciding on the right pair of shoes paralyze you from leaving the room. And this is from a man who only owns four pairs of shoes at time.
At times we need to accept our stupidity and our lack of control of the world.
When these clouds of uncertainty and fear appear on the horizon we need to seek structure.
As a father of 6 and the owner of several businesses with large amounts of debt I have felt the pain of failure and uncertainty. There have been days when the choice between loafer and oxford seemed far more difficult than differential calculus. Where I start at these times is to add structure…simple structure and keep adding it till I get my feet level.
It starts with setting the alarm, 6am everyday, including weekends.
Then regular bedtimes, forcing myself to be in bed by 11 pm. Sleeping and waking may seem like very silly things, but they are at epicenter of find a lost footing in life. Start with this and all else will follow more easily.
Sometime we need to ask for help. A spouse, love one, friend or sibling are good choices. But ask for help if you can’t find a starting place. Saying ” I think things are not headed in the right direction in my life, and I need your help” can be very powerful words. I think its important for all of us to realize that we have a bit of a submissive side to ourselves, and accepting direction can be both rewarding and powerful. Ask for someone else to hold the lead while you find your footing. Asking for help may be the most important, and yet hardest thing you do.
And keep giving into structure, the more lost you feel, the more structure you add. Add regular exercise and be fanatical about it. Add routines such as clothes washing, grocery shopping and other activity to a increasing defined and rigid structure, you will need certainty in your life. We all secretly crave structure and certainty in an very uncertain world – these routines can bring back confidence and safety to our lives. Not that we all want to be dominated ( unless you are into that sort of thing…just saying) but we all crave certainty. Knowing what happens next. Alarm clocks and schedules help give us that.
Three thing is our lives move us in the opposite direction from the structure.
Unhealthy people. People with addictions, bad habits uncentered lives want to drags us into their unhealthiness. Beware the enabler, the person that is equally lost but tries to convince you giving up is your only option.
Alcohol and drugs. For short period of times we can self medicate ourselves out of the pain of uncertainty by drinking or using drugs to mask the confusion in our lives. Just because we blackout doesn’t mean the problems won’t be there in the morning.
The internet. Yes the internet. The consent stream of stimulus and response from web searches and online interaction can make you feel that virtual in good. Why seek friends if there are is an unending supply on Facebook? These friends are here 24/7 , 365 days a year, their raw availability gives us false sense of certainty. When lost the worst place to turn is the web. I don’t care how many likes and re-tweets you 140 character of wisdom gets, it doesn’t give you a moment of pure confidence pure structure will give you. Try a month of non- internet during these times of uncertainty- trust me Donald Trump and Beyoncé will still be there when you come back. So will 2catrule.com.
The world is a scary uncertain place, setting your alarm, going to bed early and regularly and living a structured life will bring you the confidence and purpose you have lost. I’ve said it earlier in the blog, but few things make you feel more confident than making a bed.