Experience does not end. That's life. And the experiences that seem so difficult as you go through them are the ones you will look back on with gratitude for how far you have come.
We know you're reading this (probably from home right now). And we want you to know that we are writing this for you. Others will be confused. They will think that we are writing this for them. But we are not.
This is for you.
We want you to know that life is not easy for any of us right now. Every day is an unpredictable challenge. Some days it can be difficult simply to get out of bed in the morning. To meet the reality of COVID-19 and put on that smile.
But we want you to know, your smile has kept us going for more days than we can count. Yes, as a reader of this little blog, YOUR SMILE – your willingness to read and strengthen yourself – helps us.
Never forget that, even through the toughest times you are incredible. You are really.
So laugh more often. You have so many reasons to. Again and again, our reason is you.
You will not always be perfect or act perfect. Neither will we. Because no one is perfect and no one deserves to be perfect. No one has it easy, everyone has problems. You will never know exactly what we are going through. And we will never know exactly what you are going through. We are all fighting our own unique war right now.
But we fight through it at the same time, together.
Remember that our courage does not always rush high. Sometimes it's the silent voice at the end of the day whispering, "I'll do my best again tomorrow." So stand strong. Things become best for people who make the best of what things become.
And we are determined to make the best of it with you.
Tuning Out the Noise
As we adapt to a world of COVID-19, let's not just think outside the box.
Let's think like there is no box at all.
Let's relieve our troubled senses by tuning the excess sound into our heads for a little while each day. After all, it's a perfect time to slow down. There is no reason not to think about (wrong) things and find some in-demand inner calm.
You know how we usually lower the volume on radio or TV when we need a moment to think clearly?
The same goes for all aspects of our lives in general. What noise do we need first? It's the mental noise we hear all too often – the troubled thoughts that scream over our collective reason.
Turning down the radio or TV volume focuses on our thoughts again and offers us a moment of peace and clarity when we need it most. We don't really think about how or why this makes such a big difference, we just know it does.
So now is the time to apply the same strategy to every other noise in our present lives, starting with noise in our collective consciousness. And while it's not as easy as spinning the radio or the TV's volume knob, the good news is that we can quiet our minds and train ourselves to think more peacefully and rationally by simply reminding us to do it every day .
The best tool for the job while distancing ourselves in our homes?
Daily Journaling …
It's just a simple practice of self-reflection that can keep us on track by keeping peaceful, productive thoughts at the top of our minds, even when dealing with all the COVID-19 related noise and chaos that surrounds us. Think of this short excerpt from our latest volume 1000+ Small things that successful successful people do differently:
"When you want to get somewhere in life, you need a map, and your diary is that map. You can write down what you did today, what you tried to accomplish, where you made mistakes and so much more. It is a place to reflect. It is a place to capture important thoughts and eliminate the rest. It is a place to find out where you have been and where you intend to go. And it is one of the most underutilized yet incredibly effective tools available to the masses. "
If you are interested in journalizing with Angel and me as we distance ourselves from COVID-19 in the coming weeks, I have listed 21 magazine articles below that we personally use to remove our thoughts and push us into a calmer state. We have used similar requests in the past, so we can assure you that they will get a healthy dose of awareness and help filter out excess noise and chaos.
Challenge yourself to join us and start today as we read and write at each prompt for at least five minutes each day for the next three weeks (21 days). Let's see how we gradually change how we think, feel and behave at this outstanding time …
The goal is not to get rid of all your negative thoughts, feelings and current life situations. It is impossible to do that. The goal is to change your response to them.
What is something specific about your current circumstances that has disturbed you? What can you do to improve your answer today?
The most powerful moments in life often come when you find the courage to release what cannot be changed. Because when you can no longer change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself – to grow beyond the unchanging. And that changes everything.
What is an unchanging reality that you have resisted? What can you do right now to help your mind accept this reality?
Love what you do until you can do what you love. Love where you are until you can be where you love. Love the people you are with until you can be with the rest of the people you love. This is how we find happiness, opportunities and peace.
What do you think about your current life situation (despite the challenges that exist)? Who do you love today (despite the properties they have)?
Peace does not mean being in a place where there is no chaos, problems or harsh realities to deal with. Peace means being in the midst of all these things and still remaining mentally, emotionally and physically centered.
What is something small that always gives you peace when you think about it? Why?
All too often we say "life is not fair" as we eat the food, sip a drink and read the news on our smartphones. Think twice and be grateful. Right now, before you think of anything else, breathe deeply, appreciate where you are and see the value in what you have.
What is a privilege you have right now that you take for granted?
Happiness releases what you assume your life should be like right now and sincerely appreciates it for all it is. At the end of this day, before you close your eyes, smile and be at peace with what you have been and be grateful for what you have. Life is not easy right now, but there is some good.
What do you most appreciate about your current life situation? Why?
Everything gets a bit uncomfortable when it's time to grow. It is only part of the growth process. It will be better. Be patient and remind yourself: Life never gets easier, you just get stronger.
How has the discomfort you have known before helped you grow? How can you better accept the discomfort you are currently feeling?
Forgive yourself for the bad decisions you made, for the times you lacked understanding, for the choices that hurt others and yourself. Forgive yourself for being young and careless. These are all important lessons. And what's most important right now is your will to grow from them.
What specifically do you need to forgive yourself? What have your mistakes (s) in judgment learned?
Inner peace begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow an external event to control your inner peace. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to be at this moment. Let go, breathe and start again.
What ideals do you hold to what holds you down? What can you let go of right now (without losing anything)?
We are wasting our time waiting for ideal roads to emerge. But they never do. Since we forget that trails are made by walking, don't wait.
What's a small step you've been thinking about, for too long?
It's funny how we grow out of what we once thought we couldn't live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn't even know we wanted. Life continues to lead us on journeys we would never go if it were up to us. Do not be afraid. Have faith. Find the lessons. Trust the journey.
What is something you have moved on from that once meant the world to you? And what is something you love today that you never even knew you needed in your life?
Even when it seems personal, you rarely do things because of you, they do things because of them. And while you may not be able to control all the things that people say and do to you, you can decide not to be reduced by them today.
What is something you often take too personally even if, logically, you know better?
Do not lower your standards, but remember that removing your expectations of others is the best way to avoid being disappointed by them. Unfortunately, you will be disappointed if you expect people to always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.
How have your expectations of others gotten the best of you recently? How will you remind yourself to ease your expectations today?
Everyone you know is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something. Know this. Respect this. And be extra kind in these difficult times. Take some time to really listen. Take some time to learn something new. Take some extra time to say thank you today.
What can you easily do to be a little nicer than usual today? And who was the last person who was unexpectedly kind to you?
You will not always be a priority for others, which is why you must be a priority for yourself right now. Practice respecting yourself, taking care of yourself and becoming your own support system during these unprecedented times. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Do not wait for others to choose you. Choose yourself!
How will you choose yourself today?
In the big thing, a relatively small part of your life is determined by uncontrollable circumstances (like COVID-19), while the vast majority of it is determined by your perspective regarding those circumstances. Let this sink in. Whatever happens around you, peace of mind comes the moment you come to peace with what you are thinking.
What is a specific part of your current reality that you need to come to peace with? Why?
Stop resisting. Breathe. Be where you are. You are where you should be right now. There is a time and place for everything, and every step is necessary. Just keep doing your best and don't force what is yet to fit into your life. When it is meant to be it will be.
What is necessary and advantageous about where you are right now? How does it feel to embrace the present reality?
Just breathe, be and pay attention to what it is like to be YOU in this moment. Nothing to fix. Nothing to change. Nowhere to go. Only you, breathing, are, with presence and without them. You are welcome here. You belong here. Here you are.
What is something specific about yourself that you need to embrace more openly and lovingly?
Give yourself space to hear your own voice – your own soul. For many of us, listen to the noise of the world and get lost in it. Stand strong! Live by choice, not by chance. Choose to listen to your own inner wisdom today.
What has your inner wisdom been trying to tell you recently?
Don't fall back into your old life patterns just because they are more comfortable and easier to access right now. Remember that you have left behind certain habits and situations for one reason: to improve your life. And right now you can't go forward if you keep going back.
What is an old behavioral pattern that is still trying to sneak up on you? What is a better alternative today, and why?
There will come a time when you think it is over, everything is broken … you have come to the end of your figurative path. That's the starting line. Be humble. Be teachable. The world is always bigger than your view of the world. And there is always room for a new opportunity, a new step and a new beginning.
What does "a new beginning" mean to you right now?
Let's be consistent for three weeks …
It is the compound effect of simple, seemingly common actions over time that leads to life-changing, positive results. Think of this quick quote from our New York Times best-selling book:
"There is nothing immediately sensational about putting one foot in front of the other every day for weeks, but by doing so, many normal people have climbed over 29,000 feet to the top of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. "
And there is nothing immediately exciting about forcing yourself to self-reflection through journaling for a short time each day, but by doing so, Angel and I (and hundreds of course students and conference attendees, Angel and I personally worked with) drastically better life.
Remember that the mind must be trained to gain strength. It must work consistently to grow and develop over time. And that is exactly what a daily ritual for journaling gradually enables us to achieve in the coming weeks. ( Note: Angel and I build more small, life-changing daily rituals like this with our students in the "Goals and Growth" module of the Getting Back to Happy Course.)  So let's start today , together! Angel and I are literally starting our three week magazines the moment I met to publish about this post.
Will you join us?
Leave us a comment below and let us know if you will.
In addition, our podcast, THINK BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event) can be used as a tool to keep your mind grounded while you're social distance, etc. You can listen to the entire first season – 30 episodes – on your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts).