1. Don’t try to rush things that need time to grow.
Ahh, instant gratification – it’s something that connects us all in the quest for success and self-satisfaction. We want what we want, when we want it – which basically means right freaking now.
Patience is a hard thing to wrap your head around – it’s not the ability to wait – it’s having a positive attitude WHILE waiting.
If you’re like me, you’ve put in hours and hours into:
1) trying to figure out what the h-ll it is that you want to do, and
2) trying different things over and over again only to have it not ‘pan out’ the way that you expected it to.
And you have to tell yourself over and over again, that things will happen as they should – that just because things don’t turn out the way you expect right now, doesn’t mean that they won’t turn out the way they are supposed to. And at the end of the day, hard work always, always pays off.
2. You are struggling for a reason.
Wishing it will get easier will probably not make things go by any easier. You’re struggling right now, trying to figure out what to do next, or why things aren’t working for you right now.
And when you get stuck in this place in your head – remind yourself:
Rock bottom has built more champions than privilege ever has.
And one day you’ll realize that the tough moments were placed in your life for reasons that are unknown to you at this time. That you weren’t born to be simple, or comfortable. You were born to be a warrior. Remember that only the hardest battles are given to the strongest soldiers. There is a reason why you live, while others exist. Because without adversity, we would never know how it truly feels to be alive.
3. Take it day by day.
Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours right in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.
Worrying about what could be, or what may be – is doing nothing for you but breaking you down. Stress kicks in, anxiety settles in, and you’re left spending your time worrying about stuff that you simply cannot change.
What is the point of this? Absolutely nothing.
Learn to remove yourself from the mindset of having to plan every single thing out right now at this moment.
Because the truth of the matter is – you can’t. You can’t anticipate what will happen – tomorrow, next week, next month, next year – and this in itself is the unexpected beauty of life.
4. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.
There is no fast track to success. I’ve wished upon stars for shortcuts. I’ve tried to figure out ways to get the most amount of work done in the least amount of time, or try to brainstorm ways to grow my followers, or how to write more articles to get more traffic.
This way of thinking – wishing for a faster way to get to your ‘success’ point – is ruining and drowning out your voice.
You have to be diligent, consistent and hardworking to be successful. And at the end of the day, hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.
Remember: Nothing worth having comes easy.
5. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.
Hang on. It gets easier. Then it gets okay. And then it feels like freedom.
Do you have a place to sleep?
Do you have enough to eat today?
Do you have a family who loves you, or a friend that you know will have your back no matter what – or better yet, a dog that will lick your tears away when you’re crying and feel alone?
Then take a deep breath and remind yourself that for today, you are okay – that for today, you are blessed. And that this alone is a wonderful thing.
6. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Measuring your own successes by comparing them to others’? This is your biggest mistake.
Everyone has their own timeline. Oh, just last year you were working a job that paid you less money and you had a boss who hated you (cough, was an idiot). Now you’ve been promoted, or started a new job and you got a raise – or better yet, more responsibility.
So you felt good about yourself – you felt accomplished – for a week.
Then you went on Facebook and saw that some random girl from your high school – two years younger than you – who you’re not even that close with – just started working for a (cough) “bigger” company – or you heard through the grapevine that she’s making a sh-t ton more money than you – and now you’re back at square one feeling like you didn’t do enough or haven’t accomplished enough at your age.
WHO THE F-CK CARES?
Stop measuring your own self worth or accomplishments through the successes or failures of others. You are better than that.
Just because someone else ‘seems’ like they are more successful than you, does not mean that you are being shown the whole story.
I used to feel worse about myself, even jealous – of other people who seemed like they ‘had it all’ – and that made me try to shift my strategy or focus onto things that just weren’t right for me at the end of the day.
That led me down a path of trying to mimic others – while drowning out my own voice – pretending to be someone that I knew that I was not – and it didn’t help me get any closer to my goals or dreams.
Your journey is your own – and that’s what makes you, you. This is what is going to make you successful – staying true to your own voice – maintaining your own, authentic vision.
7. Hey, you – you’re f-cking awesome. And here’s why.
You’re awesome because you’re trying. You’re trying anything – anything at all – and that’s more than I can say for other people. You actually care. You care about your success – you’re striving – you’re making gains – and you’re working your a-s off.
And you should pat yourself on the back for that alone.
There are people who float through life, or simply don’t care about pursuing anything meaningful at all.
You’re not one of those people.
Don’t forget to count your accomplishments, and focus on the positive things you’ve done. Give yourself some credit, and stop harboring on your ‘I haven’t gotten there yet’ – or ‘I’m not doing enough.’
You’re on your way. And that is all that matters.
8. Success is a journey, not a destination.
You’re so busy worrying about where you need to be, that you forget to enjoy the ride. Stop looking at the map, and put your head out of the window and enjoy the breeze. Yell and jump around, play the music really loud and sing until your voice gives out.
Enjoy what is happening right in front of you – the simple moments in life are the ones that will take up the most room in your heart.
The late nights rolling around in bed with your loved ones, laughing uncontrollably at corny inside jokes – driving around aimlessly trying to find somewhere good to eat only to end up at a fast food joint throwing french fries at your friends – panicking at the huge pimple that you woke up with the day of an important event just to have your mom scramble around Macy’s attempting to find concealer strong enough to cover it and hysterically laughing at you because none of them work (this actually happened).
The most wonderful moments that happen in your life are usually unexpected, unplanned and may even go unnoticed.
Don’t forget to look up and look around – count your blessings – and enjoy what’s happening right under your nose. Because these will most likely be the moments that you miss the most.
9. You are enough.
When we’re in pain we think that love will be our savior. What no one tells us is that that savior resides in us.
For years I was told by people that I wasn’t pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough, crazy enough, loud enough, quiet enough – that I talked too much or didn’t say enough – that I looked too ‘Asian’ – that I wasn’t trendy enough – that I didn’t have the best clothes – or that I simply didn’t have enough followers to work with certain companies.
And I’m not alone. Millions of people around the world are told every single day – by people that they do not know, or even their parents – that they are not enough to do what it is that they want to do.
But I want to tell you that you are good enough.
You are absolutely, positively, magnificently good enough – for anything that you can dream of. And with hard work, a positive perspective, patience, diligence and a can-do attitude – you can make your dreams come true. You can find happiness and surpass others’ – and even your own – expectations.
Let people say what they want to say – sometimes it’s better to be underestimated and surprise – than to be expected to succeed and disappoint.
Cheers to the underdog – we will always work harder and shine brighter in the end.
10. You are a beautiful soul. And I promise you, this is all that matters.
You may not look like a supermodel.
You may not have the perfect nose.
You may not be a size 0.
You may get wrinkles on your forehead when cringe or smile.
You may not drive the coolest car, or have the roomiest apartment.
You may not have the best collection of shoes, or the biggest closet.
You may not be the smartest, have graduated college – or even high school.
You may not be the most ladylike – or the most masculine.
But you are beautiful, in your very own way.
The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.
And the more days I spend traveling the world and meeting new but like-minded people – I realize that we are all the same – connected through the spirit of laughter, the love of family, the desire for happiness, the craving of discovering the simple reminders of how grateful we are to wake up and see a new sunset.
I am reminded that the world is a beautiful place, despite the evil that may happen – that goodness is alive and well -and that it does not and will not ever take much to witness it.
Thank you so much for reading this post. For daily motivational reminders + travel photographs, follow @projectinspo on instagram and join our community on facebook.
Five years ago, I quit my full-time job, booked my first one-way ticket and built my dream career as a travel photographer.
Learn how I did it – and how you can do it too – here.