We are a week into the new year, motivational & self-improvement books adorn beside tables all over the globe. Atomic Habits (James Clear), Never Finished (David Goggins) & The Five Second Rule (Mel Robbins) are currently on my nightstand. While there are gold nuggets of wisdom appropriate to my current life stage & mindset in their pages, there is a common theme that I am not sure is helpful. All these books & podcasts offer a way to dramatically change your life. I like my life, so read these books with the realisation I just want to “adjust” a few habits, learn some life hacks & achieve goals.
From experience, I can attest dramatically changing every aspect of your life is not ideal. One day, over 10 years ago, I went to work as usual, come home, as usual. The locks at my family home were changed, my kids wouldn’t talk to me & my wife had a boyfriend. Within 24 hours everything I knew changed, forever. My business collapsed, my evenings previously noisy & chaotic (I have 6 children), were silent & lonely. Fast forward a couple of years & I found myself in what I affectionately refer to as “time out”. A medical facility for the mentally unwell.
Although, I am grateful for the life I now live, a life that may not be my reality should my life had not “blown up”, I think I could have achieved my newfound contentment a lot easier. I knew that my life was not a happy one, but what were the “options”, I had 6 kids. There was no time to contemplate an alternative, definitely no time to read a self-help book! Now, with the knowledge of hindsight I realise I could have made gradual changes, that would not only have benefited me, it would have also benefited my wife & children. My wife & I could have been honest with each other, worked through a separation & co-parented our kids.
If you are genuinely unhappy, take a moment to work out where things could be better. Consider alternatives. It may seem hopeless with no way forward – there are always options. Talk to someone, if they don’t help, talk to someone else. Don’t let your life “blow up”, you are responsible for your own happiness. The moral to the story, when you read or listen to “life” experts, maybe think adjusting rather than overhauling your life.