Mental health and dealing with anxiety are topics I’m incredibly passionate about.
Even though we have it so good in 2019, suicide rates are up. And a lot of people feel anxious and unhappy in their day-to-day lives.
Sometimes, the answer is really just to see a professional. But if you’re feeling anxiety that’s not a result of an actual medical illness, here are some mental shifts you can use to get past it:
1. Spend 24 hours looking for the “good”
I really believe that you find what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for negativity in the world — people to disagree with, people to blame, people doing wrong to one another — you’ll find it. I see so many people in this position on social media and in real life. If you’re looking for negativity, the world will start to look “glass half empty” real quick.
But if you look for positivity and kindness, you’ll find that too. There are thousands of random acts of kindness people do every single day. There are tons of people who see the “opportunities” instead of the losses.
Just go to Twitter search. There’s literally so much of it.
There are plenty of things going wrong in the world, but there are plenty of things going right too and how you look at it makes a massive difference. I feel that many of you look for negativity and the “bad” – that’s why you see so many problems in your day-to-day.
If you’re reading this article, I challenge you to spend the next 24 hours looking for the good.
Watch what it does to your outlook on life 😉
2. Create an outlet to build self-esteem
I might be the least anxious person I know.
It should be the opposite. I have so much going on in my world, along with so many “fires” and problems that I have to deal with as the CEO of a large organization. I also have enormous aspirations for what I want to accomplish.
It’s because I have self-esteem.
I believe that self-esteem is the ultimate drug in our society. Self-esteem is what gives me the audacity to dream big (i.e. my goal of buying the New York Jets). It’s what gives me the “air cover” to take risk in the face of uncertainty.
If you weren’t instilled with self-esteem or if you haven’t developed it yet, nothing you read in this article is going to magically give it to you.
You need to use an outlet to instill it.
Maybe it’s a relationship with someone who “builds you up.” Maybe it’s playing a sport or instrument you’re good at. Maybe it’s a side project.
Whatever it is, you need to find something you’re good at or enjoy doing, and use it to build up your self-esteem over time.
3. Find happiness by becoming self-aware of who you are
Self-awareness is the key to being able to navigate life around what makes you happy and what you’re good at instead of what society puts on a pedestal.
In the 1960s, people wanted to be astronauts.
In the 2000s, people wanted to be rappers.
Now, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.
But there are a few problems with that:
First of all, entrepreneurship is incredibly hard and lonely. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with being the last line of defense at an organization. It’s stressful, and not everyone is built to handle it.
Secondly, there are so many people who would have normally gone to work at companies like Bain and McKinsey, and would go on to lead great careers after that “within the system.” But in today’s environment, those people are starting companies.
There are a lot of people who are going to fail and become unhappy because they’re navigating their decisions based on what’s put on a pedestal in the current world, instead of what’s true to them.
4. Don’t dwell on self-criticism
I’m always evaluating how I could be doing things better and more effectively. As a CEO, it’s on me to be aware of the vulnerabilities in my organization and figure out how to fix them. I’m always carefully analyzing myself and my actions and seeing where I might be going wrong.
I passed on Uber twice in the angel round – leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. I should’ve gone all-in on Google AdWords when I was building Wine Library. I probably left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by not doing that. I left YouTube at one point to focus on Viddler – if I hadn’t done that, I might be sitting on millions of more YouTube followers today.
I make mistakes constantly. I might even be disappointed in myself at times.
But I never beat myself up or dwell on those self-criticisms because that’s the quickest way for the next thing not to work.
5. Assume everything is your fault
When people start looking for other people to be at fault — whether it’s the government, their aunt, or their boss — they always lose.
Blaming other people makes you feel helpless. It makes you feel like you’re a victim of what happens around you, and it’s very ROI negative.
People are scared to be accountable because they don’t understand the difference between believing everything is your fault and not “judging” yourself.
Truth is, the line between that confidence and insecurity is super thin. And it comes down to how quiet you can get in your own head.
When I tell you that I don’t care what anybody says about me, including my wife, my mom, and my kids — it’s true. If my mom called me right now and told me “I’m disappointed in you”, I’d contextualize it real quick. It would hurt my feelings, but at the same time, I know that my mom doesn’t have full context. Even though she knows me better than 99% of people in this world, she doesn’t know everything.
No one has full context on my intentions but me. It’s the same reason I don’t judge other people. I don’t have full context on them, either.
That mindset is game changing. If you can get to that place, you stop allowing other people’s opinions to affect you.
6. Sleep as much as you need
I talk a lot about sacrificing leisure to work towards your ambitions, but don’t get it twisted:
Getting enough sleep is important.
“Hustling” doesn’t mean waking up at the crack of dawn and exhausting yourself until you collapse. The truth is, it’s not about how much you sleep or don’t sleep. It’s what you do while you’re awake that matters.
If you work hard and smart in your waking hours and really give it your “all” in those hours, then you’re hustling. No matter how much sleep you need.
Personally, I sleep like a brick. It’s hard for me to wake up from a deep sleep because of “all in” I am on my resting hours. Resting properly helps me dominate that much more when I’m awake.
7. Be grateful
Every single ounce of my energy comes from gratitude.
It’s the only “drug” I’m on.
I was born in Belarus in the former Soviet Union. It’s probably the least capitalist place on earth. It was out of sheer serendipity that I was able to come to the United States when I was three years old.
I’m grateful for the health and well-being of my family. I’m grateful for the fact that my mother and father were able to reverse-engineer exactly who I was, and give me “rope” to explore my entrepreneurial ambitions as a kid. My parents watched me be a D and F student, and allowed me to be the entrepreneur I wanted to be.
I’m grateful that you’re reading this article right now. I’m grateful that you care about what I have to say. I was grateful when I had nine followers, let alone millions.
I’ll never take any of it for granted because I understand the perspective of it all.
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