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To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life

By Jamie Varon on Wednesday November 23rd, 2016

You Don't Need More Motivation

You don’t need more motivation. You don’t need to be inspired to action. You don’t need to read any more lists and posts about how you’re not doing enough.

We act as if we can read enough articles and enough little Pinterest quotes and suddenly the little switch in our brain will put us into action. But, honestly, here’s the thing that nobody really talks about when it comes to success and motivation and willpower and goals and productivity and all those little buzzwords that have come into popularity: you are as you are until you’re not. You change when you want to change. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. That’s just how it happens.

And what I think we all need more than anything is this: permission to be wherever the fuck we are when we’re there.

You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best. You put your ideas into action in the timing that is best.

You Don’t Get to Control Everything

You’re not a robot. You can’t just conjure up motivation when you don’t have it. Sometimes you’re going through something. Sometimes life has happened. Life! Remember life? Yeah, it teaches you things and sometimes makes you go the long way around for your biggest lessons.

You don’t get to control everything. You can wake up at 5am. every day until you’re tired and broken, but if the words or the painting or the ideas don’t want to come to fruition, they won’t. You can show up every day to your best intentions, but if it’s not the time, it’s just not the fucking time. You need to give yourself permission to be a human being.


Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written because you haven’t met the inspiration for your main character yet. Sometimes you need two more years of life experience before you can make your masterpiece into something that will feel real and true and raw to other people. Sometimes you’re not falling in love because whatever you need to know about yourself is only knowable through solitude. Sometimes you haven’t met your next collaborator. Sometimes your sadness encircles you because, one day, it will be the opus upon which you build your life.

Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written yet.Sometimes the novel is not ready to be written yet.

We Are the Same Until We’re Changed

We all know this: Our experience cannot always be manipulated. Yet, we don’t act as though we know this truth. We try so hard to manipulate and control our lives, to make creativity into a game to win, to shortcut success because others say they have, to process emotions and uncertainty as if these are linear journeys.

You don’t get to game the system of your life. You just don’t. You don’t get to control every outcome and aspect as a way to never give in to the uncertainty and unpredictability of something that’s beyond what you understand. It’s the basis of presence: to show up as you are in this moment and let that be enough.

Yet, we don’t act in a way that supports this lifestyle. We fill every minute with productivity tools and read 30-point lists on how to better drive out natural, human impulse. We often forget that we are as we are until we’re not. We are the same until we’re changed. We can move that a bit further by putting into place healthy habits and to show up to our lives in a way that fosters growth, but we can’t game timing.

Timing is the one thing that we often forget to surrender to.

We can't game timing.We can’t game timing.

It Will Make Sense Later

Things are dark until they’re not. Most of our unhappiness stems from the belief that our lives should be different than they are. We believe we have control – and our self-loathing and self-hatred comes from this idea that we should be able to change our circumstances, that we should be richer or hotter or better or happier. While self-responsibility is empowering, it can often lead to this resentment and bitterness that none of us need to be holding within us. We have to put in our best efforts and then give ourselves permission to let whatever happens to happen–and to not feel so directly and vulnerably tied to outcomes. Opportunities often don’t show up in the way we think they will.

You don’t need more motivation or inspiration to create the life you want. You need less shame around the idea that you’re not doing your best. You need to stop listening to people who are in vastly different life circumstances and life stages than you, tell you that you’re just not doing or being enough. You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that right now becomes inspiration later. You need to see that wherever you are now is what becomes your identity later.

We believe we should be richer or hotter or better or happier.We believe we should be richer or hotter or better or happier.

We Can’t Game It

“There’s a magic beyond us that works in ways we can’t understand. We can’t game it. We can’t 10-point list it. We can’t control it.”

Sometimes we’re not yet the people we need to be in order to contain the desires we have. Sometimes we have to let ourselves evolve into the place where we can allow what we want to transpire.

Let’s just say that whatever you want, you want it enough. So much so that you’re making yourself miserable in order to achieve it. What about chilling out? Maybe your motivation isn’t the problem, but that you keep pushing a boulder up a mountain that only grows in size the more you push.

There’s a magic beyond us that works in ways we can’t understand. We can’t game it. We can’t 10-point list it. We can’t control it. We have to just let it be, to take a fucking step back for a moment, stop beating ourselves up into oblivion, and to let the cogs turn as they will. One day, this moment will make sense. Trust that.

Give yourself permission to trust that.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

 

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84 Responses to To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind in Life

  1. I haven’t read the whole article, because I got stuck at the word “fuck” and gave up. I am probably becoming more alone in this, but I feel really sad when I see how our online language has become so accepting of the word “fuck”! After all, it means “sexual intercourse”, so what are we actually saying when we use it? “What the sexual intercourse!”? Is it meant to be derogatory, when sex is such an important part of human life, which deserves the utmost respect? It is probably a generational thing and I’m too old to get used to it – and yet at the same time I need respect and politeness in my communication with others, and feel sad as I perceive this is less and less the case in our online language. So sorry to the author for not reading on, and I’d like to ask them what they think about this?

    • You didn’t even take the time to read the article, yet expect the author to read and comment? Lazy. Read the article first. The descriptive words ring so true and authentic to so many, myself included, with the language suited to the message. The word is appropriately used in conveying sentiment. Fuck.

    • if i were u i’d get over the language-personally as educated as i am & even with as large a vocabulary as i have swearing is an outlet for a great deal of rage that was suppressed for far too long & the situations that caused it were never resolved & covered up by medications that after stopping the emotions that have come up have been overwhelming & need to be expressed. so i use the f word frequently among others that u would find equally offensive & although i could use curse words in a language that most wouldn’t even know it just wouldn’t have the same effect. i don’t like hearing them when they’re overused however……………………………………….

    • Fuck was originally used in courts: F.U.C.K. which stands for “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge but like a lot of things has been bastardised. I completely understand your reaction to the vulgarity of the word but it is sad that we miss out on the richness of the entire message because we are unable to process our inner reactions toward it. Personally I’m tired of fancy language that excludes everyone outside their own intellectual genre and I’m grateful for the people who are not afraid to say how they feel. Sure it can sound ugly but we can always turn the “ugly” into something more positive if we choose too hey. Apart from all that I thought the message was brilliant and something I’ve be saying to people for a long time.

    • If you need to replace the word with heck or gee geewillickers, or whatever, then do it. You are missing the message. The f word was used properly in it’s slang meaning. Surely you have used a slang word, or figure of speech in your life time that someone somewhere at some time did not like or agree with. It was a figure of speech and you missed the message because you gave up reading the article. I thought it was well written and the message important and spot on.

    • Helen, what the sexual intercourse? Too funny. Bet no one considered that before. I agree it’s a private subject and I wasn’t brought up in a cursing environment. However, I read on and the article is excellent; actually encouraging with the authors insight.

    • For unlawful carnal knowledge, witches were marked when burned at the stake, originally the word fuck had nothing to do with sex. It’s just a word.

    • Helen – I get where you’re coming from. However, the message in this article was profound and uplifting. It literally made my day. Just ignore the word you find offensive and take what you want from the article. All the best to you.

    • I’m 28 and I 100% agree. I read the article, loved it, but was so put off by the derogatory word. I feel our language is so powerful & we can express so much without cursing and it just belittles what the author is saying. Like I always say a great comedian is someone who doesn’t have to curse or talk about dirty things… 🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. i am sat here crying after reading this.The tears rolled down my face not long into reading. i truly did/do feel this on every level. This is something quite similar as to how i have been thinking lately & coming across this article randomly has made me think that things truly do work in mysterious ways.I can’t thank you enough for sharing these words.I don’t know if things will ever change for me as i’ve become my own prisoner & everything is so overwhelmingly difficult to understand but just reading this now has brought relief. knowing someone out there understands & has taken the time to share their thoughts truly does mean so much. Thank you

  3. i loved it!! every single word and thought…..giving myself ‘permission’ to be exactly where i am is paramount for me right now….i am a 60 year old female who for far too long has always been afraid of not measuring up to so many other people’s expectations. in the last two years or so, i have been rebelling against any and everything ‘conventional’ and enjoying where i am. i don’t give a fuck what other people think of me or expect from me! i am resting up to start a new way of living. and yes, i will write that story about myself, to myself, for myself……WONDERFUL post!!!

    • Good on you Edith ??. You echo my philosophy exactly – as does this article. I too am 60 this year. And am living life as I want – but I have realised I can’t force the timing. Things happen as they will – I’m just enjoying the ride!!!!

        • Same here Jo and Edith. Turning 60 too this year, worrying abt other peoples opinion doesnt bother me anymore. Exactly the thing im going thru now, but who cares, am happy where i am.

  4. I’ve had a reply to my comment below by Andy Janiszewski but can’t find it here. Hello Andy, if you read this. I understand that you greatly appreciate what the article says, and that you feel frustrated when I write that I couldn’t get beyond the word “fuck” and that I have objections to the use of this word. I have now read the article through, and, as with most Uplift articles, I also appreciate the message and the support it gives to many people, including, as you say, you. I wonder if you could attempt to give me some empathy about my issues with the use of the word “fuck”. I am acutely aware that our use of language has an immense effect on our communication (that’s what it’s about, after all) and therefore our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Many words are used with little thought as to what they actually mean or why we are using them, and unless we have collectively decided that the word no longer has its original meaning, or that the meaning is now irrelevant and it is more about a sound expressing an emotion, I believe this can do harm. As I said in my original comment, it is probable that I grew up in another world from many others, because I was taught to be really careful about expletives. If this world has now gone, then maybe I need to adjust, but I would really appreciate some empathy around my loss and about the difficulty I might have in doing this. Does that make any sense? You have also called me “lazy” because I admitted I didn’t read the article. In doing this you have labelled me although you know nothing about me except what I wrote. I feel hurt, because I’m needing some understanding for my point of view, and would like to ask you if you can respond to this?

      • Hello Matthew. You have replied to Andy that you are “on your side buddy” and that “we all deserve a 2nd chance”. Andy seems to have deleted his response to my comment below, so I have to presume you didn’t read it. I’m feeling confused because I need to understand why you are thinking Andy and I are on different sides? For me, Uplift is all about helping us to see we are all, as human beings, on the same side, though we are culturally ingrained with the idea that we are divided into “them and us”. I do not want to be on another side from any of you: at the same time I would like my concerns to be heard. I am not attempting to deny anyone else’s needs or feelings: I was trying to express my own and was looking for some communication about this. Would you be able to tell me what it is you don’t like about what I wrote? Are you feeling annoyed because you would really like some understanding for how much this article has helped you? I’m very willing to accept that – no question! My concern was purely about the way we use language and how this can exclude some people, as well as obviously help others to feel relieved because it is “their” language. Please reply – I sense I need a conversation with someone about this!!! xxx

        • Dear Helen; don’t worry about it/him/them (Andy Janiszewski, etc.)
          I see it in two ways:
          1) Worrying about what others think/say about you is a waste of energy and time! (Read a book by Sarah Knight: ” The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck”).
          2) Our language (whatever lingo we speak) is only enriched, in my opinion, by some colorful, spicy terms, and when used skillfully and in moderation, it just makes it so much more fucking interesting!
          Sso; most of us, “normal” people just don’t give a fuck.
          With Kind Regards; T.

    • Hi Helen
      Words are words are words…
      Even though I understand & respect where you stand regarding the use of words, maybe focusing on the greater meaning of the message is what matters here.
      Also, I personally feel that in the case of this particular article, the use of ‘fuck’ really emphesise the true depth of the message.
      It is deep & raw just our feelings are..
      To me, it really fits the context.
      don’t let words stand between you & truce.
      Ultimately words are only words trying to express the often unexplainable.
      Take care. Dominique

      • Thanks for offering some respect for “where I stand”. I don’t think words are just words; I think they are incredibly powerful and we have an immense responsibility as to how we use them. I think how we use them often does indeed stand between us and the truth, because they can mask so much. A word represents a thought, and a thought has in itself the power to set energy in motion, create energy even. The spoken or written word is our human way of communicating our thoughts and the emotions that arise from them to others. It is important that we express our emotions, yet at the same time also that we take responsibility for them, own them, do not blame others for them. To communicate effectively I believe it is important to communicate with an attitude of respect towards those we are communicating with and also towards ourselves. For me thiis involves an awareness of what the words we are using actually mean. The use of expletives feels good in the moment we use them – we get our feelings out there, release them – yet this is like physically hitting out, and I see it as a form of violence. I believe it to be more life-giving and furthering to the human spirit to convert our violent feelings into self-awareness, to look for the unmet needs behind them. Marshall Rosenberg said that it is how we use language that can create violence and conflict in the world: I sense intuitively that the use of expletives is not lessening this violence. Can you follow what I’m saying? Perhaps people who read what I have written above interpret it as me judging others, and this is why I’m meeting with resistance. I have probably expressed myself in the kind of violent manner I’m trying to avoid! I don’t want to judge – I do need, however, some empathy for what I am trying to say! 🙂

  5. I’m surrounded by all kinds of pressure right now and, to read this, put a peaceful place in my heart. Sometimes we just get lost with all our thoughts and expectations from the inside and outside, that somebody has to come and say: “hey, look! you missed it again! be present, have faith.”
    Thank you!

  6. This is the second time this article has shown up on my timeline, and I still love it. Thank you. I’m so weary of the shame of not being where I “think I should be” and not being able to do what it takes to “fix” it. Do you know the poem by Rev. Safire Rose called “She Let Go”? If you don’t, Google it. It has a similar feel, I think. Anyway, thank you. I so needed this today.

  7. Wonderful article posted originally by my Sufi friend (who really gets these things). Five years ago I embarked on a spiritual path I would never have taken if the thing that happened to me never happened. Its been literally life changing putting other people’s expectations of me – and, more importantly, recognising the limiting effects of high self expectation- behind me. Recently I found myself trying to force things to happen and then finding myself disappointed when things didn’t work out the way I thought they should. I took a step back and realised things were working out, just not as I envisaged and not in the timeframe I’d set. Partly I think this is due to the fact that I am 60 this year (how the hell did THAT happen) and I feel there is not enough time left!!! However, losing a dear friend to cancer at the age of 51 just before Christmas pulled me up short and made me rethink a few things. I needed the reminder and revalidation this article has given me so a BIG thank you.

  8. This blog reached (and touched) me at the right place at the right time… while I am surrounded by motivation/self-improvement/goal-setting “experts”, articles and books.
    I agree, wholeheartedly, with every word, Jamie; it has my name all over it,
    I could have written it all myself.
    Thank you! For I like myself and where I am at, so much more now!
    *

  9. Thank you.

    As much as I enjoy working towards goals, at the same time exhausted of trying to control the process.

  10. tired of living in the darkness-been too many times for far too long & my best never seems to be good enough. going thru shit that not very many people could understand-having a hard time making sense of it myself.

  11. This is so true. We are not robots and we don’t have control things come up and we have to learn to deal with whatever comes before us it’s just passing thru. Might as well enjoy the ride cause whatever is to come its here for us!

  12. Perfect timing for my journey. I appreciate your words and the spirit in which they come through. Well said. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. I’m so glad I needed to read this,and I love the word fuck!!just saying.
    Such a small thing to pick out with such great food for thought,but I guess that’s what she sees.
    I see and hear what you wrote,it is what it is,can not be anymore. Have we gotten so arrogant that we think we are in charge, life definitely tries to show us we are not! But boy did I need reminded about this LIFE lesson,Learn and grow from all of it. I do know for sure if you do not listen LIFE will SHOW you.
    Thank you for words.
    I needed it.

  14. I really like this article and I think this is it, that timing is the best criteria to figure out what is best for us, we just have to believe it. Thanks for the article.

  15. I am lost for words….. thankyou thankyou so very much. For so long now I have felt so very alone, reading many articles on ‘what to do if’ etc etc. All they’ve done is served to knock me further down, make me feel more of a failure and desperately isolated. There isn’t one part of this article that doesn’t lift me up and make me feel I’m more ‘ok’ than I thought!! I’ll read this daily x

  16. I agree with Helen below: the article would be much better without the f words.
    I know it’s only a word but it carries a strong undercurrent of aggression and goodness knows we don’t need any more of that.

  17. I have enjoyed many of the articles through uplift connect.com. But you’re losing me with this article and the language that is used in it. I don’t trust your content as much as I did before and I don’t want to subject myself to this kind of crudity. So, I’m asking you as a uplifting group to not allow this kind of sub language to sully the minds of your readers whether they want to see this stuff or not. I don’t want to see it. I did force myself to read/scan your article but I didn’t feel good about it as I read because of the discrediting “f words”. And the message could’ve been given in a couple of lines: You can’t force the process — who you will become is part of what you go through and don’t let people drive you crazy by calling you a failure because someday maybe success will sail your way and maybe not. Be happy where you are.
    Ok. I’m a financially struggling professional artist— thanks for the kind encouragement but please couch your future articles in more respectful language— I don’t conform to this type of disrespectful crudity even if tv and lots of others avenues project this as “normal and popular”. I have really enjoyed several of your articles and have shared them with others but if I see much more of this, I will avoid you.
    With respect,
    Marguerite

  18. I appreciate where this is coming from. For the most part, I agree with it. However, we cannot forget that people don’t live in isolation. Sometimes the expectations of others are because the others have the right to be treated fairly and with consideration. Should an abuser be able to say ” I’m not ready to be there (considerate) yet, so I have the right to place others ( family members, neighbors, employees , whatever) in a position where they they need to be the brunt of the nasty behavior or disrupt their own life plans to escape the behavior?

  19. This! Is! Everything!!! I love love love this post. I needed this at this moment also. Thank you! When things are ready, they will be!

  20. This was so absolutely heart touching and so very true and real, I couldn’t help but have tears reading it. I have difficulty reading articles or stories from other people, but each time I find a new one from this man, I can’t help but fall into each and every word. It’s life. It’s real. Every word, every sentence, is so very true. I need this. I need to let all of this sink into my daily living, as I have my own struggles, my own negative thoughts, and find it hard each day to find motivation, or ambition, to get through each day. This is “good” therapy. If anyone could change a persons way of thinking and make life just a little bit better, then they need to read these inspiring words from this man. I don’t understand the people who are posting negative thoughts about any of this. Even one word. See past it! Be inspired! Read this! Understand it. Let it be absorbed into your mind and soul and uplift you. It did me. Thank you Jamie Varon.

  21. Yes I agree. I have been through years of feeling unmotivated and having limited abililities . I understand that I have no control over these feelings but realise it is something I have to endure. I believe my time to come forth will evolve as I have been shown the bigger picture. Thankyou for sharing this. We can often feel so guilty living a life of restraint and also feeling inadequate

  22. This article hit me in the gut. For the past 16 yrs I have felt like I was in the wrong place at the time. I have been torn between two places I wanted to be. I joked that I wish I could master bilocation (not a dirty word). Your use of fuck was perfect. I will keep this flagged so I can read again because so much emotion came up. Thank you. Yes we are exactly where we need to be. And this was an exsmple.

  23. I feel that l can completely relate to this article as this is where l am at at this moment and time…l have been trying too hard to feel motivated and have found myself in the realm of attempting to “keep up with the Jones'” so to speak…overthinking (rumination) is my biggest downfall and it has actually lead to a state of inertia where l’m beginning to think what’s the point of it all? I recently broke my ankle and this time of being laid up has allowed me to review things in terms of where the hell l’m going with my life…what is truly important and why. I believe that we as humans (we are human beings not human doings afterall!!) place way too much importance on the idea of constant productivity…if one isn’t being productive and continuously on the go then one is considered idle and not worthy of credit. I feel that it is vital that we as humans can give ourselves the permission to take a step back and just be in a quiet place, to reflect,even for a moment. I am beginning to learn how unbelievably crucial that is for our continued existance. It is something we all should be taught from an early age.
    It’s perfectly ok not to have to feel motivated ALL THE TIME.

  24. I really like this article! But maybe if the writing is amenable to expressing the EMPHASIS on words in a different way, rather than the f-word? You could try using bold or italics or CAPS ..! Not swearing makes it a bit less passionate-sounding… But rather than coming across as apparent, the nature of the word “fuck” is quite aggressive and distracting, and lowers the value of your message.

  25. This is amazing on so many levels, not the least of which is the 2 latest celebrity suicides. Is it any wonder addiction and suicide are on the rise? People are so hard on themselves for what they perceive as underachieving or not enough. I can especially relate to this as a writer who has weeks and months where I cannot bring myself to work on one of my manuscripts. Then, something happens (or doesn’t) and I’m spending hours pounding the keyboard, oblivious to anything but my most insistent cats, and of course, my bladder. 🙂 Thank you for an amazing article.

  26. Amazing .I am right now in a position .waiting for right time and surrendered to god .they have better plan for me.

  27. well that’s a real downer and inaccurate too. Yes, sometimes it takes time and energy to get where we’re going, but sitting around waiting to somehow become ready tends not to actually get you anywhere. Inspirational quotes are not enough by themselves but sometimes the right one is the spark you need to get you moving

  28. AN AWESOME ARTICLE, GONNA READ THE WHOLE THING AGAIN AT THERAPY. A FEW CURSES SIMPLY SHOW THE FURY & FRUSTRATION MANY FEEL. I WILL READ THIS, LIKE WEEKLY. 4 ME, THIS ARTICLE WAS VERY MUCH WHAT I FACE,& OFFERED GREAT ADVICE. MUCHAS GRACIAS

  29. I was confused, I think we can control whoever we want …
    This story of not being a robot, not being able to simply invoke motivation when you do not have it, I do not believe it.
    If you’re proud to say that I do not get into the subject …

  30. Awesome! I’ve spent so much time beating myself up for not being where I “should ” be, and all that has done is made me more depressed and when I’m depressed I do less. The article has relieved so much stress and shame for me. I’ll be reading it daily in order to be content with where I am right now!

  31. These are all very interesting and intriguing comments. I’m always happy to see differing perspectives and perceptions. I thought the article was well put.

  32. To the author, Jamie, thank you for your wise and very real words. I couldn’t have read this at a better moment. I’ve been struggling and feeling like I’m going through a somewhat of a “midlife crisis”… Feeling like a failure… Catching grief from others about what I should do or be. It’s funny how sometimes things come just when we really need them. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  33. Great article! Same reaction here as the first commenter. That word is used way too much and I suppose it doesn’t bother a lot of people, but it does me. It’s used as a noun, adjective, adverb, verb … it’s just silly. “Fuck! What the fuck! That fuckingly fucked fucker just fucked that fucker to fuck.” Overused.

  34. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! And I CONSIDER IT TO BE REQUIRED READING!!! Reminds me of the four agreements And he fact that it has been written and well received is proof that The Westbisnindeed evolving.

  35. Hi, just read this with great interest,every word,including all the f ones! It so gels,having listened all my life to where I wasn’t good enough,could do better,wouldn’t ever come to much etc,from parents,teachers, partners, I’ve made shrinks very rich and still am left with feelings of inadequacy,futility and pointlessness. This article gave me permission to just LET GO far more and believe that there is a reason for, and its ok, to be where I am. Thank you,could I please download this for daily reference and how do I do that? At 62 I’m not well up on on techy stuff! Thank you again, so much

  36. I just discovered this site. The article is amazing! Thank you so much.

    (The ‘word’ does not bother me at all. In fact, it goes with the article.)

  37. I do not agree with this distraction of the word “fuck. ” It’s as sacred a word as any. Sometimes more. I tease my clients sometimes not to worry for such a slip. Hold your head high and say the word 3 times with intention. “It is rumored to clear the throat chakra,” I say lovingly with humor.

    But the point of the article is well said, thoughtfully constructed, and a needed reminder for this creative soul. When my writing muse takes a back seat, say when the seasons change, or taxes are due, I forgive myself. I pull out older writings and enrich them. I write about about my favorite animals and wonder if one day they might have their own voices.

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