We all have those times when everything feels difficult. It might feel like you’ve ramped the life’s difficulty up to Hard but the thing to understand is that it won’t always feel like that.
In most games, once you set the difficulty, you can change it again if things are too challenging. Life’s the same. We push ourselves and give ourselves challenges – either consciously or not – but we can take a step back when it all gets too tough.
But, like a game, there’s something to be said for persevering through those challenges because the sense of achievement is wonderful when you come out the other side. In real life this might be asking out the person you’ve been crushing on; it might be setting up a new business; it might be pushing through that dissertation to finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
In the game world – for me, at least – that means using every tactic in the book to kill at Deathclaw in Fallout4. (I’m really bad at games, OK.)
Whatever your gaming preferences, the fact is you can and will level up and things will start to feel easier. Whether you level up your in-game skills or equipment or you just become more skilled at a particular game, it’ll start to feel easier.
My friend, life is exactly the same. The more we expose ourselves to those tricky situations, the better equipped we’ll be to handle them in the future. But that doesn’t always stop life feeling like it’s hard because sometimes all those little challenges can just pile up and that’s not fun.
Here are some tips for handling life in hard mode.
Understand the journey
Life is full of ups and downs. One of the biggest things you can do to help you through tough times is to realise that this is a rollercoaster ride.
A down will be followed by an up so never give up hope.
It’s a necessary step
The Hero’s quest would be pretty dull if they faced no hardship along the way. Difficult times help you grow as a person just in the same way they help any hero to level up.
Take life’s challenges as a chance to learn and grow
There are no failures.
If you feel like you’re getting knocked back, try to think of it as a lesson rather than a failure.
Last time you felt like you’d failed, what did you learn from it? How can you improve for next time?
Focus on what you can control
If life is making you anxious, stop thinking about all those things you can’t control and focus on what you can.
Let’s say you’re worried about Brexit and the impact it’ll have on your job or business, it’s very likely that you can’t control what deal we’ll get it how it’ll all pan out after March.
Stop worrying about those What Ifs and start focussing on what you can control.
What steps can you take to protect yourself and your work? What productive things can you do in the meantime?
The problem with worrying about what you can’t control is that it leads to inaction. When yu get anxious or worried, start focussing on what you can control instead as it’ll lead to productive actions.
Ask for help
Just like in a game, you don’t have to go at it alone. There’s always a companion or hired hand available to help. Being able to ask for help is a skill but It’s so much easier if you surround yourself with people willing to come to your aid.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether you need help with a presentation at work or need to get something off your chest, there are always people who will be able to help. Even if you don’t feel like you can rely on friends and family for support, that’s what counsellors, coaches, freelancers and online forums are for.
Take a step back
Going from first-person mode to third-person can give you a better view on how you fit into a situation.
From the outside, things might not look so bad. This new perspective may offer up options you hadn’t seen before.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the bad times so taking a step back can give clarity. How you do this depends on you. Here are some tips.
- Write down the situation as if it were happening to someone else
- Visualise the situation as if it were happening to someone else.
- Meditate on the problem.
Go back to basics
Life can get clogged up with so many things. Instead of trying to juggle a million projects, scale things back.
Instead of trying to see multiple groups of friends, just see those you really value and want to spend time with.
Instead of feeling obligated to spend time with colleagues, start saying no.
Instead of taking on that big project, just focus on your core work.
Look after yourself
You might feel like you have 1001 things to do but you need to take time for yourself too.