I didn’t get my drivers license or even my permit until I was 20 years old. Why? I was absolutely TERRIFIED of driving! Just thinking about it spiked my anxiety!
Up until moving to California, the only city I’d ever driven in was Salt Lake. I planned activities around driving downtown, I asked whoever was with me to drive, or I just simply didn’t go so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it.
This week, I maneuvered through traffic in several California cities by myself and somehow, I found myself smiling. Not ‘I’m finally losing what’s left of my sanity’ smiling, but an actual, genuine, smile! Not to say that I wasn’t stressed because I was! But, I was still so happy, I couldn’t help but smile.
So what sparked this sudden change? I thought about all the major decisions in my life. I decided to quit a job I love to move out of Utah for the first time in my life, to LA, no less, with someone I had only met a couple months ago, with no job and no apartment lined up. I had created and then placed myself in the most stressful situation I have ever been in and somehow I was HAPPIER.
After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that what it all boiled down to was a shift in focus; a conscious attitude change. For such a simple concept, it’s easier said than done. I’ve broken it down to 3 things that you can do to re-train your mind and cause this shift.
BREAK IT DOWN: When I run into things that I absolutely do not want to do or that I think are too difficult, I have to mentally remind myself that the task is important and that putting it off isn’t an option. It sounds a little ridiculous, and maybe it is, but I find that saying to myself (sometimes even out loud)
“I’m an adult. I’m capable of getting this done! It HAS to be done and no one else is going to do it for me!”
In the words of Shia LeBuf, you have to “JUST DO IT.”
BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER: After breaking this news to yourself, you may need a pep-talk in order to follow through with what you’ve set out to do. As silly as you might feel, say to yourself (out loud)
“I’m awesome! I’ve got this! I am an INCREDIBLE writer! I’m going to finish writing this essay and I am going to ROCK IT!”
Let out your inner Donald Trump (homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. excluded). “I’ve got the best words, ask anyone! I’m going to write that essay and my GPA is going to be yuge.” If nothing else, the man’s got confidence, and so should you.
Am I telling you that you should talk to yourself? Yes. Am I crazy? Maybe…but all the best people are.
STOP STRESSING OVER WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL: Recently, due to lack of planning on my part, I was late for a job interview. I had to make a conscious decision to not let this ruin the rest of my day because there was nothing short of traveling back in time that would change what had already happened. All I could do was learn to leave much earlier next time.
Of course, it’s not enough to apply these things once or twice. It takes time, effort and consistently practicing this new way of thinking in order to make it a habit. It’s like George Lucas says, “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”