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Creating Opportunities

by Dan Garro about a year ago in success
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The importance of attitude and mindset

Much of what we suffer from is self-inflicted. Our mood, attitude, mental health, physical health, and energy levels are interconnected and influence each other. When we fail to take care of ourselves, when we don’t have direction, we start to see and feel our health, energy, and mood deteriorate.

In my own life, I have struggled with depression and anxiety for quite some time. I was not living the life I wanted. I felt disconnected, detached, out of place. As time passed, everything started to seem dull, bland, distant. I found it harder to motivate myself and was unable to even feign interest in the world around me.

My attitude grew increasingly negative, my energy levels dropped, and I felt exhausted. Eventually, I would sleep most of the time or just lay around doing nothing. It became a challenge to do the bear minimum each, to perform the most basic tasks I needed to in order to get by.

The harder it got, the more hopeless I felt. I started to blame others, blame the world, and blame circumstances for my situation. It was never my fault that my life was the way it was, it was the fault of my mental health, or the system, or the world, or some person or other.

I didn’t want to face reality; I didn’t want to admit that the only way to change my situation was to change it myself. I needed to stop blaming others, to stop seeing myself as a victim. I needed to act and, most importantly, I needed to start taking responsibility for myself and my life.

My own self-doubt, anger, and fear was limiting me, blocking my forward progression. At first, I set impossibly small goals—anything to demonstrate to myself my agency, my ability to choose something and to make it happen.

As I worked on myself, I slowly started to see improvement. My days were getting better. I still had bad days, to be sure, but I was learning to get through them, to not let those moments or days overwhelm me. It took months, but the longer I stuck with it, the easier it got.

What I found most interesting was the fact that the world started to appear noticeably different. Before, it seemed like everywhere I looked I found my negativity, pessimism, and sense of hopelessness validated, justified. Now, however, the world seemed brighter, and I found myself thinking about the future with a sense of hope. I started to become more confident that the life I wanted was within reach…

At my worst, I saw a world full of closed doors. As I improved my mental health, physical health, and as I took possession of myself once again, the world started to seem full of potential, of possibility. I realized, in short, that it is up to us to create the opportunities in our lives. We create opportunities through our agency, our efforts, and our trial and error.

“I conclude that all is well,” … and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted.

Camus

Tools to Help You Start Creating Opportunities

Create opportunities for yourself by taking action and focusing on your mental and physical health. Here are a few suggestions to help you start:

  1. Journaling/Writing: Write down your goals. Not only does writing down your goals make you more likely to realize them, but it helps you focus and plan.
  2. Walks: Daily walks are an important way to improve physical health and are an easy way to gain perspective. Taking a walk is a way to make time for yourself, for self-reflection, and is a great way to give yourself time free from daily distractions and noise.
  3. Small pleasures/delights: Each night, write down three pleasurable or delightful things that you noticed that day. This practice is a great way to make yourself more aware of the positive things in life and improves your attitude and mindset.
  4. Meditation: Practicing meditation/mindful breathing is a great way to work through difficulties and to develop tools for dealing with anxiety and stress.

Thanks for reading!

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See my related articles: Curiosity, Perplexity, and the Wisdom of Socrates, Reason, Autonomy, and Kant’s Ethics, Perspective: in pursuit of truth, One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy, and Living Underground.

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About the author

Dan Garro

Philosopher/Educator/Writer/Podcast Host & Producer

I'm a philosophy professor, avid reader, I love writing, and I co-host/produce The Existential Stoic Podcast.

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