How To Feel Better About Your Life

This morning I woke up at 5am, went to the bathroom, weighed myself, drank a big glass of water and made some coffee.

I flipped open my laptop and the first thing I saw was this photograph of a dead toddler washed up on the beach.

syrian_refugee

Apparently the boy and his family were Syrian refugees trying to get to the Greek Island of Kos. Ultimately they were seeking refuge in Canada. 12 of them drowned when their boat capsized during the journey.

At first it reeeeeally messed with my head. I mean, I don’t think it’s possible to see an image of dead baby and not have your day ruined.

But then I started thinking…

How small are my problems compared to this child?

How easy is my life compared to this family who boarded a rickety sea vessel and risked their lives for the chance at a better life?

Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad.

  • I forgot about not having a perfect childhood. While I didn’t have a lot growing up, I did always have what I needed to get by. I had a roof over my head, I always had food to eat and I had a mom who encouraged my dreams, allowed me to be creative and taught me that we’re all the same regardless of race or sexual preference. F#ck it, my childhood was awesome.
  • I forgot about my anxiety. I don’t even know why I worry so much. In all honesty I have no problems. My bills are paid, I have food to eat, I can push a button on my phone and get groceries and a massage. I have nothing to worry about.
  • I forgot about the stock market. Sure the stock market is down right now. But at least I have the excess cash to invest and I know as long as I don’t sell while it’s low, it’s almost (almost) always going to go up over time. Nothing to worry about here.
  • I forgot about my frustration with campaigns. Sure I have a few campaigns that lose money one day and make money the next. And yes it’s nerve-racking as hell. But how lucky am I to be able to make money online, from my apartment with no job? Even when things aren’t working, I’m still lucky as hell.
  • I forgot about my shoulder injury. I’ve been dealing with a shoulder pain for the last two months. I can’t train as hard/heavy as I’d like to at the gym. It’s been driving me crazy. But I know over time it will go away and I can go back to normal. It’s not like someone cut my arm off. It’ll be fine.
  • I forgot about taxes. California charges between 10–13% more in taxes than some other states. Every year I think about moving to Nevada or Florida or Puerto Rico to save on taxes. But honestly, who gives a shit? The weather in California is perfect, I love this place and I’m making more money now than I ever thought I would anyway. How many people are starving right now in the world? How many of them would trade spots (including my taxes) with me?
  • I forgot about my car problems. I feel like my car insurance premium is too high. I think about it all the time. I consider selling my car and using Uber, but what if I need a car down the line? It’s embarrassing how often I worry about it. I mean, there are people in the world who have to walk 5 miles to get water. Then they have to carry the water 5 miles back to their family. How lucky am I to have options? I can either drive my car or have a private driver drive me around Hollywood? This isn’t really a problem at all.

All of these little worries (and several others) that have been driving me crazy went away.

All these things that I worry about on a daily basis are nothing compared to this kid.

His entire life consisted of:

  1. Being born
  2. Living in awful conditions
  3. Getting on some weird boat
  4. Then drowning in the ocean

Compared to this kid’s life, I’d guess that most of our lives look pretty damn good.

Compared to this kid’s life, I’d guess that the things that we’re complaining about on a regular basis aren’t actually so bad.

How To Feel Better About Your Life

Want to feel a little better about your life today? Try this.

  1. Write down all of the little things that you’re worrying about.
  2. Then write out a few sentences for each one about why it’s really not that big of a deal at all. (Kind of like I did in the bullet list above.)

Not happy with your job? At least you have a steady income and can make ends meet until you find something better. There is a guy out there that would cut off his own foot to have a paycheck again after being laid off in 2008.

Think you’re apartment is a dump? At least you have four walls with an air conditioner, heater and refrigerator. There is a guy sleeping on the sidewalk today that would drink battery acid just to be able to share your sandwich and use your shower.

Our problems are all relative. And if you’re reading this, that means you have a computer (or phone) and an internet connection. And that puts you ahead of a lot of other people out there.

Keep in mind that right now, somewhere on this relatively small planet that we all live on there is someone who’s entire life has been pain, starvation and horror.

They’re climbing into a broken down boat with no GPS, hardly any food and all of their children. They’re going to risk their lives and are willing to die…

Just to get to where you are right now.

  • Андрей

    Malan you 100% right – writing that almost all our problems are actually not the problems at all. We should change our attitude to them and then see on them from a different angle. If compare to other people lives we are in better conditions and should always remember this!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      agreed

      • http://www.traininbrazilgroup.com/ Brandon Pennington

        Couldn’t agree more. I feel very blessed!

  • Rory Coyle

    Malan – you are f*#@ing awesome man! I have to do the same thing when I get caught up in my anxieties and worries. We really are lucky. Not everybody can say, “it’s good to be alive”.. but we can.

    I am without words for those like this little boy and his family. It’s so cruel and unfair.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      it’s harder than it sounds. I forget all the time. Then I see a photo like that am just like.. “oh yeah”

  • http://www.ultimatedjacademy.com Dan Castro

    Totally right man… Always have to take a step back and be thankful for what we have. We have it already way better than most of the World in the whole context. The above is very sad and hopefully this could be a turning point for some Governments to help…

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      I heard a phrase once about how if you sit down with 5 other people and everyone puts their problems on the table and you get to swap if you want to… you’ll almost always choose your own.

      • http://www.ultimatedjacademy.com Dan Castro

        That’s a really good point thinking about it! Gratitude is important – it’s easy to forget from time to time and sometimes it takes something like that above to give you a kick up the ass …

  • Jonathan Koo

    Malan, it’s really weird to see that you also had posted the Syrian boy’s photo on your FB, as I just did mine as well! What is happening is just terrible and hopefully some of us will end up lending more of a helping hand somehow…

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah that photo is everywhere today. some are saying it shouldn’t have been posted online. I don’t know, but it sure did snap me out of my little funk

  • CreationNation

    Simply… m/

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      #simple

  • jazzmaniac

    Malan,

    Thank you for this post. I saw the picture of Alyan Kurdi today, and read the story of his father being the only one left alive in their family, and I wept. And this poor child and his family deserved better than this, and I hope that his father can find some peace in his life. The human condition in so many places is completely wrecked. Wrecked! My own family is dealing with a terrible situation– my 10 year old sister got diagnosed with terminal cancer a few weeks ago.What strikes me the most about my sister is that she is remaining incredibly positive, and never wastes an opportunity to tell us she loves us or to do the things she can enjoy.

    Thank you for posting that perspective is everything, because it is. It was an important reminder to me.

  • http://yussefgilkey.com Yussef Gilkey

    We are the total sum of our experiences Malan. One of my favorite sayings is: “Happiness is not about always getting what you want, but wanting you’ve got.” Those of us that have been through some adversity in life are usually equipped to look at things from the “brighter side” perspective. When I look at that picture I am reminded of why I should appreciate my worst experiences because I was given the chance to make things better. -Word

  • Michael Staub

    Yes.

  • Dylan Redgrave

    I find using this particular photo for a self involved, comparative self-improvement piece to be be in rather bad taste. The headline “How to feel better about your life” with that photo made me feel ill.

    Surely this photo, if it is moral to be to be used at all, is a call to action for people to educate themselves about the humanitarian crisis involved and possibly do something positive for their local or global community.

    I understand you were trying to convey the principle of gratitude and how important it is for those of us who live privileged lives, however I feel that this child’s story transcends any personal struggle and should be treated with respect.

    Just my opinion and no negativity

    Dylan

  • https://twitter.com/jonnyhaski jonnyhaski

    Malan, I have something to say. This is very bad picture to use. It is all relative all the time. You’ve written right things in this post, but picture…. It is just awful.

    • Melanie Oliver

      I agree.

  • Derrick

    If you are alive, you can move forward. Without a doubt. My prayer( NMHRGK ) goes out to Alyan Kurdi..

  • Melanie Oliver

    Hi there, thanks for the interesting read on positivity. I understand your point: don’t take life for granted because others are in a worse situation.

    However I do not believe that this is the right image to express it and I think it trivializes the plight of Aylan, his family and other asylum-seekers.

    I think I would have responded more positively to your article if it had contained some thoughts on what we can do – precisely because we are in this position of privilege. I think the point of “Look at those people. Thank gosh that’s not me. Be happy” doesn’t encapsulate what is needed as a response this particular photo.

    We need Compassion. Action. Change.

    Not “happiness”.

  • Matt

    Malan, could you do a post on worry and anxiety? I feel the exact same way you do, even though I have everything I could possibly ever need. Somehow the gripping feeling in my chest only goes away when my mind is distracted (sex, video games, drinking), otherwise it’s there 24/7. Fucking can’t handle it anymore…

  • Mitesh

    Awesome post, you’ve got a great way of putting thing’s into perspective.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Mitesh – I think everyone who is at work wishes they were somewhere else… 🙂

  • Raviraj

    It makes so sense when you clarify things in this manner. Mann I have such a great life. I just have to persistent on something so that I can achieve great things.

    I have become a fan of your articles. Thanks for sucha good share.

    I hope someday I will be an affiliate marketer/ run own business like you do!.