It ain’t bad. It just “is”

It ain’t bad. It just “is”

December 12, 2021 0 By Rick

This post is about playing the hand you’ve been dealt. It’s about mindset. It’s about controlling what you can control. And what can you control? What you can control is how you show up each day and how you perceive the world and events. But most of all, you can control how you respond to problems and the things in life that blindside you. Yes, bad shit happens, but it also ends. We need to remember that. We need to stay in the fight, whatever that may be. And we need to be our very best when we’re at our worst. Sound impossible? Not really. Events themselves aren’t intrinsically stressful. They don’t become stressful until we think of them that way. It’s how you handle shit that matters. We have a choice about what to think. You own your emotions and moods.

Be a winner not a victim
Don’t choose to become a victim. Choose to become a winner. Don’t be a slave to your mind. Negative thoughts are bound to pop up now and then, but most people don’t bother to master their thoughts. They simply take the path of least resistance. It’s your choice. Stop having a problem with “what is.” Dare to be different. Use the bad shit that’s happened in your life to propel you forward. Use the darkness as fuel instead of emotional baggage. Feed off it. It ain’t bad. It just “is.” Visualize challenges AND obstacles. Visualize how you will solve problems and overcome obstacles. Why settle for less than your very best? When you learn how to push yourself past your perceived limitations, you’ll discover you can accomplish much, much more. If you’re not getting the equivalent of a punch in the face every now and then, you’re not getting far enough outside your comfort zone to grow. An optimal learning zone is a place where you’re failing about 50% of the time.

Listen to yourself – not others
Have you found yourself super motivated to do something only to have people – friends, family or colleagues – squash your dreams by telling you that you can’t do it? People will try to shit on your dreams. It’s the way many people work. Get over it. Don’t listen to them. What image do you have of yourself? It’s important to know because you can only live up to the image you’ve created of yourself. Make sure it’s positive. I’m not saying it will be easy. It’s going to require hard work. Shit storms will appear. There are no life hacks or quick fixes. Learn how to compartmentalize and focus. Learn to turn negative into positive. You’re either getting better, getting worse or standing still. Choose to get better. In the battle between mediocrity and high performance, don’t take the easy way out. Grab every opportunity presented to you. People get this strange idea that life is supposed to be easy – that you’re not supposed to feel, stress, doubt and pain. Life is not supposed to be easy. In fact, if you’re not experiencing that stress and that challenge, you’re not striving toward fulfilling your potential in life.

Dealing with failure
Whenever I fail, which happens frequently, it’s usually because I’ve lost my focus. And when that happens, I own it. I lost my focus for a split second in the Swedish version of Alone. It was dark, cold and rainy and I needed to pee. Instead of thinking about how to negotiate the uneven, rocky terrain in the pitch-black darkness, I was in a hurry to pee and get in out of the rain as quickly as possible. That resulted in a nasty fall and a badly twisted knee. I lost focus again the following day when gathering firewood and had a major face-plant. One second of neglect and I slipped on a wet stone, tearing my Anterior Cruciate Ligament yet again. What the hell was I thinking? I had already injured my knee during the night and should have been more vigilant. But I own that shit. I own that failure. It wasn’t bad luck. The universe wasn’t conspiring against me. It wasn’t because I was 73. It was because I lost my focus. Suddenly it was over, and the doctor was sending me home. Sending me home was the hard “right” decision. He told me that my age (73), low body fat and the inability to walk, gather firewood, fish and make a fire would lead to death from hypothermia. The doctor told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. But I didn’t hang my head in shame. I owned my own shit!

The entitled mind
According to an old Rolling Stones song, you don’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. Life’s a bitch, and then you die, so the saying goes. And there’s some truth to that, of course. Life isn’t supposed to be fair. Things won’t always go your way. Don’t get bogged down by thinking that you “deserve” something. Stay humble. Refuse to have an entitled mind. Focus instead on what you’re willing to work hard for. Never blame anything or anyone else for your failures. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, either. I competed in two reality TV shows – Survivor at the age of 70 and Alone at 73. To stay young at heart, I need to keep on challenging myself. That’s why I decided to try out for those shows. No one thought I should do this except my younger son and me. It took a lot of balls to put all my vulnerabilities (and there are many) on public display for the Swedish population. Some cheered me on, some laughed, some made fun of me, and some couldn’t have cared less. The thing is, I learned a hell of a lot from those failures (I failed in Survivor, too, tearing the ACL in my other knee. Go figure!). 

Internal voice
Become a warrior to eliminate your limiting beliefs. One of my favorite quotations is from Heraclitus, who lived in the fifth century BC. He said, “Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldn’t even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior… be that one out of 100.” To become a warrior, you must prepare for the battles of life you’ll face ahead. So, how do you do that? Take a deep dive into yourself and ask the hard questions. Is life so frigging comfortable that you never feel the need to push yourself? Are you living in a world where mediocrity is not only the standard but is rewarded? Are you on the spoon-fed path of least resistance? If so, it’s time to make a change. Adversity will help you thrive in life. Resilience is really about your ability to bounce back. Mental toughness is about performing effectively when the heat and pressure are on.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable
Well, maybe it’s time to get uncomfortable. The more you become comfortable with being uncomfortable, the stronger you’ll become. When you’re going through something really difficult, remember that this is forming the foundation for your performance in future difficult events. You can look back in times of trouble and say, I’ve survived difficulties before, and I will again. I’ll get through this. The world is full of jealous, envious and insecure people. These are people who’re afraid to try. They’re afraid of failure but equally afraid of success. Don’t allow the nay-sayers to stifle your passion. Don’t worry about what others say about you. That’s not what will hold you back and defeat you. It’s your internal voice that will kick your ass if you let it. That’s the voice that accompanies you 24/7. But there’s a way to silence a negative internal voice. Just repeat my mantra – It ain’t bad. It just “is.” When you’re going through something really difficult, remember that this is making you stronger and preparing you for future challenges. You can look back in times of trouble and say, I’ve survived difficulties before, and I will again. I’ll get through this. And trust me, you will. Stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right!