How To Push Through Obstacles

When I moved out of my parents house this year, it was a scary process. My end goal was to live on my own and start to manage my own life, but every step of the way I faced obstacles I didn’t anticipate.

It had to be in our budget, it had to allow pets and it had to be close enough to all three of our work places.

After painstaking efforts to find somewhere that met all the criteria we had to gather all of our information and convince the landlords that we were the best tenants.

Finally we got the place and moved in, I thought it was all sunshine from there.

But boy was I wrong.

We had trouble getting the internet working, paying bills for the first time, figuring out groceries and a hundred other obstacles. To this day at least one house related obstacle pops up per week.

Right now, here at 2HelpfulGuys, we are in the middle of writing a book. I can already imagine the hundreds of hurdles that we are going to have to conquer.

Nothing you do will ever come without an obstacle or two so here are my tips to help you push through them and accomplish your goals.

Obstacles are a part of life.

The first thing that will help you push through these pesky obstacles is realizing that obstacles are unavoidable.

They are going to pop up, you can’t stop it. Even if you anticipate as many obstacles as you can, you are still going to run into a few nasty surprises along the way.

For your own sanity, it’s best that you become friends with obstacles.

Use obstacles to help you improve.

By definition an obstacle will help you improve and grow. If you didn’t need to grow to get past the obstacle, then it wouldn’t be an obstacle. It would just be another walk in the park.

When you realize that every obstacle matures your abilities and your drive, you will begin to become excited to face them.

Relish the opportunity to conquer something. It will only lead to more victories.

Break down your obstacles.

When you first encounter an obstacle it is almost always daunting. When you see a mountain from far away you think to yourself “It must be impossible to climb to the top! Look how high it is!”

But when you get closer you start to see the individual paths you can hike. You see it broken down into details that are easier to conquer one by one.

Do this with every obstacle you face. Break it down into small bite size pieces and start chewing.

Never give up.

Some people say Edison tried up to ten thousand different prototypes for the light bulb. Even though the first nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine didn’t work, he refuse to say that he ever failed.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
-Thomas Edison

This is the way you need to think. Every time you try something that doesn’t work you are getting closer to finding what does work.

I’ve learned that nothing you try will ever work the first time. Or maybe you’re lucky and you can get a hole in one.
I never can.

Learning to be okay with being wrong is the most important skill you will ever gain.

Keep being wrong until you find what is right. Just make sure you don’t give up.

As always, I’ll see you next Friday.

With Love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

The 3 Rules For A Good Life

What is a good life? Without getting too philosophical, I think a good life is only based on a few rules.

There are too many rules in life. I’m told to stand up straight, act a certain way; don’t use the salad fork for the steak.

What do you mean?

A FORK IS A FORK!

Amidst all the criticisms how do you live a good life? To be honest, I don’t know. But, here’s where I start:

1) Laughter

Every single day, I insert a reason to laugh. As children we laugh about 300 times a day. As an adult, that number is reduced to a meager 7.

SEVEN.

How did we go from 300 to 7?

Did we cross some bridge of agony and now here we are: Mindless drones that wake up, go to work, participate in office gossip, watch Breaking Bad, and then sleep and die?

Laughter is really hard as an adult. It must be, right? Going from 300 to 7? There must have been some sort of life-changing traumatic event that occurred between childhood and adulthood.

We need to get back to our childhood roots. We need to laugh more. Start here:

Standup – Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K. Gabriel Iglesias

T.V. Shows – Blue Mountain State, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office

Movies– Anchorman, Happy Gilmore

YouTube – Our Own Gentlemen’s Corner (no list would be complete without it)

2) Be Grateful

Start your day with gratefulness. Before I get out of bed, every morning, I say ‘thank you.’ The simple-ness of living often gets taken for granted.

“But I’m drowning in debt. I have no friends. My family hates me.”

Even if it seems like you have nothing to be grateful for, there is always something. You can still breathe. You can still come up with ideas. You can still walk and eat and live.

In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of being grateful. You can check that out for more information.

Grateful-300x300

3) Never go to bed angry

I seldom get angry, but when it happens I make sure to deal with it immediately. Address it with the other and with yourself.

Your ego will not let it escape your thoughts. Cast your ego away. Allow those angry thoughts to float away into the wind.

Ask yourself, ‘how much does this matter?’

More often than not, it doesn’t.

Ending the day with anger sets the tone for your next day. Those thoughts fester in your sleep and you wake up with them, fresh in your head. Those thoughts will weigh you down.

Apologize or let it go completely. It’s not worth wasting your life over any problem.

For me, I know everything will be fine if I follow these consistently. And maybe, I can laugh, be grateful for the advice and shrug it off the next time someone tells me that I’m using the wrong fork.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

3 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE MORE

A lot of people feel alone. They feel like they don’t have a connection to those around them.

I know how that feels. When I was younger I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, I didn’t get a whole lot of practice socializing with people my own age.

Spending most of my time with doctors, nurses and my mom made me feel alienated when it came time to engage with others at my school.

But there was an upside.

Doctors and nurses are some of the most caring people you will ever meet. They are intelligent, polite and empathetic. Every time I was in their care I felt appreciated and important. They were family to me.

I’ve wondered what made my connection with these people so deep and profound. I can still picture the faces and emotions associated with so many of the beautiful people I met at different hospitals.

Here are three conversational habits I internalized that helped me foster a deep connection with those around me.

Make eye contact and listen intently.

My doctor would walk into the room and greet my mother. He would then make his way over to me, bend down to my eye level, look me right in the eyes and give me a firm handshake.

The entire time we talked he would keep eye contact with me. I felt like he absorbed every single word I said. His focus never drifted from me, it made me feel like I mattered.

Too often we have conversations that we aren’t fully invested in. When someone is talking we take that as an opportunity to think about what we are going to say next instead of paying attention to what the other person is saying.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
-Stephen R. Covey

Worse yet, we might take the chance to check our phones, think about our day and zone out the other person completely.

Don’t waste the time talking to someone if you aren’t going to listen as well.

Cater the conversation to the other person.

The nurses and doctors would always ask about me.

“How are you feeling? How was your day? What are you thinking about?”

We all know that one person who will tell the same story to everyone they see in a given day and make every conversation about themselves. Maybe they bought a new phone and now they’ll show it to everyone. Maybe they didn’t get a lot of sleep and now that will be their topic of the day.

They somehow seem to direct every conversation to themselves.

Guess what. Not only is this terribly self important, but it’s also boring. Do you really want to have the same conversation about your new phone ten times in one day?

When you start wondering how other people are and what is going through their mind, you get a lot more out of your conversations. More variety, more connection, more perspectives.

If you have something nice to say, say it!

My mom would always tell me “Steven, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

That is fine and dandy, I can agree with that.

But that isn’t my main concern. In this day and age compliments are rare. I hear friends tell me “Wow, that girl has nice eyes.” but they never actually tell the girl.

What if that compliment would have made her day?

She might be having a horrible morning. She might be feeling down in the dumps after a bad break up. One compliment can change a persons entire mood.

I live my life by the motto “If you have something nice to say, say it!” I want to point out every single piece of good that I see in the people around me.

When you give someone a compliment they like you more, and their connection with you deepens. A compliment may not change their life, but it might change their life for that moment. Isn’t that good enough?

So, I hope that these tips will help you foster a deeper connection with everyone around you. It is one of the most noble goals you can pursue.

I’ll never get to thank the people I met that have made such a deep impact on me, but I hope to leave the same impact on those around me.

As always, I’ll see you next Friday.

With love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

One Simple Tip to A Better Life

The girl I was with recently said, ‘How are you so confident?’

The truth is, I don’t know. The majority of my life was spent an unconfident mess. There is something wrong with being unconfident.

In my last article, I referred to being confident as absolutely essential to getting a job. In general, I believe that confidence is essential to leading a fulfilled life.

Confidence allows you to decide what you want and when you want it. It allows you to grow as person.

So few people are confident. People are scared or worried of everything. I was scared of failing, scared of embarrassment, and scared of rejection.

But, it was my job to overcome it.

I tried to retrace my journey towards confidence. Here’s what I came up with:

A) Friends

When I was a teenager, my mom wanted to inspect my friends. She made sure that I didn’t associate with ‘bad people.’ At that time it meant, ‘the thugs that drank on park benches.’

She realized that friends DIRECTLY impacted a person. Whether they are positive or negative influences, they eventually rub off on you.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

If you want to be confident, it starts with your inner circle. I was fortunate enough to stumble into my circle. It consists of extremely confident and positive people. They have had profound effects on my personality.

I urge you to shed the toxic, negative relationships in your life and pursue ones that will impact you positively.

B) Absorb Knowledge

PURSUE IT. I know it sounds simple, but most don’t do it. Learn everything you possibly can. Start by reading or watching ‘how-to’ videos or interviewing people.

Out of competency comes confidence. The more knowledge you possess, the more confident you will be. One of my earlier passions was politics.

I studied everything about government, economics, business, and war. I learned that everything the news was reporting was a complete nonsense. When political debates came up, I was confident in my knowledge.

I explained myself and stood for something. My ideas came from an area of confidence, which were backed by knowledge.

C) Reassure Yourself 

“I, Leroy Milton, will be confident today.”

That is one my affirmations that I recite every morning and night. It reminds me everyday that I have to be confident. This affirmation is like a goal for me.

I have to hit it everyday. I have to make sure that my confidence is tested everyday.

Even my mantra, “Be Bold, Be Free, and Love On,” is a reminder to myself. Being bold is the FIRST STEP, because only then will I be free to love.

D) Jump In

“What’s the worst that can happen?”

I wasn’t ‘taught’ how to swim. I got pushed into the deep-end at the tender age of nine. It was a type of Darwinian trial, but I’m still here and I can swim.

Plus, my dad wasn’t going to let me drown. I’ve realized that most of your ‘worst-case scenarios’ only exist in your head.

A girl slapping me in the face when I ask her out is far-fetched. The girl won’t publicly yell at me when I try to talk to her.

Sometimes, you just have to leap in feet first. Trial and error is the most effective way of learning. You can figure out what works and what doesn’t based on your personality.

There it is. I think that’s all of it. I’m sure there were more factors in my fabled journey to confidence, but nothing as significant as these.

Even though these scenarios only exist in my head, I’m still scared of failing, embarrassment and rejection. But in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

Replace your have with a want.

I have to write this article.

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but I have deadlines and sometimes I’m caught in a rush.

I completely forgot that I had to write an article for Friday instead of Sunday from now on.

So I add it to my ‘have to do’ list.

But that list can be scary.

I have to do my Spanish lesson, I have to meditate, I have to come up with my ten ideas today, I have to write a 2HelpfulGuys video, I have to go to the gym, I have to, I have to, I have to…

When I get into this mode of thinking it’s no wonder I become stressed.

I enjoy doing all of these things. They are the kind of activities I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

So why do I feel this immense pressure when I think about them?

Change your language to change your life.

A while ago a wrote an article about replacing the word should with the word could. That way you see things more as opportunities instead of obligations.

Since then I’ve been contemplating the language I use in my self talk. What am I saying to myself and how is it affecting the way I perceive my daily life?

I realized that this whole time I have been saying “I have to” and it has been giving all of my actions an overtone of pressure and responsibility.

Where did all the fun go!?

I worry that one day I’ll accomplish everything I want but I will be wandering around the streets grabbing people and yelling “where did all the fun go!? Do you ever have fun? Why do I hate my life!?”

That probably won’t happen, but I still can’t help feeling the pressure of a long “Have to do” list.

Replace your “Have to” with a “Want to.”

If these are all things that I enjoy doing, then why do I think about them using the same words as when I have to go to work? Or when I have to clean the toilets in my house?

Toilets are disgusting, but I love meditation.

From now on I am going to put in big bold letters at the top of my to-do list “Today I want to…”

That way, I’ll always subconsciously know that these things are my passions. They are what keeps me balanced. They are what brings joy and progression into my life.

I don’t have to do these things.
I want to.

This is my plea to you.

Watch your words, they dictate how you perceive your world.

Don’t say you have to play with your kids. Say you want to.

Don’t say you have to take your mother out for coffee, say you want to.

When you want to do something it feels like a choice, and one that you enjoy. When you have to do something it makes you feel as if you are at the whim of outside forces.

Sometimes you do ‘have’ to do things.

That’s fine. We all need to do things we don’t enjoy.

But save that language for your chores, not for the things that move you forward in life.

And not for the things that make life worth living.

I had to wanted to write this article today.

And I enjoyed every minute of it.

As always, I’ll see you next Sunday Friday.