The ultimate measure of your wisdom and strength? How calm you are when facing any given situation. Yes, calmness is a human superpower. The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your thoughts clean and your heart at peace, which instantly gives you an upper hand regardless of your circumstances.
Thus, the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your own mind. If you can overcome that, you can overcome almost anything. And by “overcoming,” I’m referring to the skill of mindfulness, and learning to effectively control your emotional responses to life’s unexpected tests. Because most of your deepest pain and frustration on a daily basis will come from the way you respond, not the way life is.
Of course, being calm and mindful is easier said than done, especially when we’re under pressure in this day and age. High stress, relentless worry over work and life, and various forms of social anxiety are all a part of the modern way of being. Most of us just don’t feel any sense of peace or calm throughout the day, and are therefore depleted of energy and effectiveness in almost everything we do. I have to admit that Marc and I used to be exactly this way.
The good news is, we have since learned to focus our minds more resourcefully, and so can YOU. Our biggest breakthrough came about a decade ago when we started leveraging five-second daily reminders to keep ourselves thinking better and living better. The reminders simply reinforce the core daily actions and rituals we know we need to engage in to remain calm and in control from the inside out. I have compiled ten of my favorites below (which also happen to be small excerpts from our brand new book).
Challenge yourself to pick the one new reminder every morning for the next week and a half (roughly ten days), write it down someplace you can easily see it (perhaps write it on a post-it note), and then consciously recite it (at least three times) as needed throughout the day. See how doing so prompts you to respond to life with a calmer and more effective mindset.
1. Calmness begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your thoughts. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, and begin again.
2. Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now, and sincerely appreciating it for everything it is. So, RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale, exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
3. Be here. Just right here. No matter what, you can always fight the battles of just today. It’s only when you add the infinite battles of yesterday and tomorrow that life gets overly complicated.
4. Calmness does not mean to be in a place where there is no chaos, trouble, or hard realities to deal with. Calmness means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain mentally, emotionally, and physically centered.
5. Be selective with your energy. If you can fix a problem, fix it. If you can’t, then accept it and change your thoughts about it. Whatever you do, don’t invest more energy than you need, tripping over something behind you… or something that only exists inside your head.
6. When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
7. Remember, you alone get to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of everything in your life has precisely the meaning you give it.
8. Most of the time the problem is not the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem. Pause, and breathe, again.
9. Life humbles us gradually as we age. We realize how much nonsense we’ve wasted time on. So, just do your best right now to feel the peace that flows from your decision to rise above the petty drama that doesn’t really matter.
10. What you focus on grows. Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.
In our brand new book, Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs, we further explore calmness as a fundamental daily ritual for creating happiness.
This is an active practice of taking life day by day and being thankful for the little things. It’s about not getting caught up in what you can’t control, but instead accepting it and making the best of it. Because, when you stop worrying about what you can’t control, you have more time to change the things you can control. And that changes everything.
This book represents the culmination of hundreds of hours of work with course students, and lots of one-on-one work with each other, too. Made up of small lessons and tiny, life-changing daily rituals, we have seen these exact practices change lives time and again.
We’re sincerely excited to share Getting Back to Happy with you, so we’re also giving away over $50 in bonuses (including One Day at a Time — The 60-day workbook for implementing life-changing daily rituals) to No Sidebar readers that order the book today. You can get details here.
Above all, what you need to remember is that calmness is ultimately your choice…
So, for the next ten days, give yourself the space to listen to your own voice—your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
Just breathe, be, and pay attention to what it’s like to be YOU.
Nothing to fix.
Nothing to change.
Nowhere else to go.
Just you, breathing, being, with presence, without judgment.
You are welcome here. You belong here.
Here, you are enough. Close your eyes. Breathe…
And tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like you aren’t. Because what we do in life ultimately comes out of who we believe we are.
Choose to find calmness within yourself, and make it your superpower.