Why It Is So Hard to Focus in Life

Do you want to know why it’s so hard to focus on your own life and stay on your own zen wavelength? Well, I re-discovered the answer today. Wait for it…

It’s because everyone around you is so DARN LOUD!

The Setting

I am writing this post during a fit of frustration on a plane to what I hope is a rejuvenating vacation. While attempting to enjoy my book, I find myself amidst the cackles of inebriated passengers on a mission to win the who can talk the loudest competition. It is extremely hard to focus on my book.

The Story:


I am all for freedom of friendliness and libations but why do these people have to be so LOUD on this plane? Then again, this is a country that has freedom of speech, so who am I to tell the newfound besties to sacrifice their hyperactivity for my peace. I mentally rummage through the safety manual to see if there is some rule they were breaking. However, there is just information about oxygen masks, life vests, and “in the event of an emergency” situations. There is nothing about being courteous to your neighbors.

But wait, isn’t this an emergency? I am being forced to sacrifice my page-turning enjoyment to listen to the loudest passengers on this plane. Doesn’t that warrant some kind of rescue? With no way to politely ask them to pipe down, I might as well find a lesson in this experience.

I take a deep breath and hope for some annoyed passenger to ask the noisy neighbors to quiet down. More and more frustrated by each screech and shout, I think about the moments in my life when I’ve felt trapped, frustrated, limited, and a victim of other people inserting noise into my life. Right now, I would do anything to turn up the selective attention dial to “I can’t hear you” mode, but nothing is a match for these voices of Godzilla.

The lesson

I had a plan for this plane ride that included me, God, reflection, and a book. It did not include writing a blog post about my frustration with this noise. Typically, I would be oblivious to the loudmouths around me as I drown them out with my music or a movie. However, I forgot my headphones this time!

I keep asking myself over and over, “Why is it so hard to focus? Is it really that hard to tune them out?” As I wait for the answer from the universe, I realize a similarity between my ability to focus in life and other people’s voices in my head. These noises are the external opinions and beliefs we allow in our heads that make it hard to focus on our own life and journey.

Some noises are louder than others—fears, other people’s opinions, societal and family expectations, and our internal self-talk. At times, it is so loud, confusing, overwhelming, and tiring to combat.

Today, I have learned a few things:

  1. I understand why people invest in quality noise-canceling headphones
  2. It’s hard to focus in life when our fears, other people’s opinions, and negative self-talk drown out own our inner voice.
  3. It’s necessary to clear your head of the noise in order to find your inner voice.

The good news is that my neighbors are now quietly resting. Maybe now I can get back to focusing on my book and the amazing view in peace and quiet.

20 Questions for When You Feel Frustrated With Life

Feeling frustrated with life bullseye

Do you ever feel frustrated with life and/or yourself because you think you should be doing more in life? Do you feel like life keeps throwing up obstacles at you when you feel like you’re getting a few steps ahead?  

When the reality of life, work, responsibilities, stress, and our personal goals collide, they can often compete for our time and attention. If we’re not careful, these can cause frustration and throw us into a cycle of negative talk, and trigger poor physical, emotional, and mental habits. 

Two months ago I wrote a blog post about having faith in yourself. It was a great reminder that we have to rethink the mental and emotional limits we place on ourselves. Yes, it is true that sometimes the world, circumstances, and people can feel like they are working against us; but, it is also true that the person staring right back at you in the mirror has control over how they respond to that frustration.

Perspective and peace are crucial in life, especially when you feel frustrated. 

It is so easy to fall into the trap of focusing so much on the big picture that we overlook our past and present victories. Yes, life is frustrating right now, but this too can and shall pass. Sometimes we need to slow down, count the blessings, weigh the good versus the bad, and appreciate the accomplishments and victories written in our life’s story.

When I start feeling like life is not moving at my pace, or like things are not going as planned, I try to take some time to evaluate whether my frustrations are warranted, healthy, logical, or accurate. Listen, this little brain of ours is POWERFUL! If we let it, it will control our mood and energy—for better or for worse.

When things are starting to feel overly frustrating, I try to process using some of these questions: 

  1. What is within my locus of control that I can change right now?
  2. Where can I spend more energy on the things I can control?
  3. Am I extending enough grace to myself in this situation?
  4. How am I contributing to this ongoing frustration?
  5. Is this situation more frustrating for me because there are things I still need to heal within myself? 
  6. Do I feel frustrated because I am out of balance in important areas of my life?
  7. Has this frustration the result of comparing myself to other people’s timelines and successes?
  8. What can I learn from this moment in life? How can I readjust, reset, and rest?
  9. Do I just need to adjust my attitude?
  10. Have I contribute to this frustration by not monitoring my time and energy? 
  11. Am I taking enough time to take care of my mental health or just push forward in life?
  12. Who and what do I need to take a break from in order to regroup? 
  13. Am I in misalignment with my deepest and truest self? 
  14. Do I have a vision for my life or am I just winging it? Could this be adding to my frustration?
  15. Do I need to learn to be more flexible?
  16. Have I been getting enough sleep and taking care of my body? (Believe it or not, this does influence your mood!) 
  17. Am I taking responsibility for my life or waiting to blame my problems on other people?
  18. Am I projecting my frustration in this situation and avoiding addressing the root concern(s) in my life?
  19. How willing am I to take different actions to have a different outcome? Do I secretly enjoy the misery? 
  20. To what extent am I living in a box that is too small for me? Is it possible that this frustration is really a catalyst to grow?

Before or after processing these questions, I encourage you to spend some time also recording a few things that you are grateful for. Gratitude is the best thing you can do to start changing your attitude and mindset. It really is all that it’s hyped up to be. 

If we are willing to learn from our mistakes and successes in life, then we are growing and learning! The faster we learn the lessons, the less time we will waste repeating the same test(s). Life can change overnight (for the better or worse), so there is no point in staying stuck in a frustrated mindset.

We will inevitably get frustrated, but we can overcome it, move forward, and find greater balance than before. Remember, you are only stuck if you keep repeating the same mistakes. Life is full of frustrations, but we don’t have to let them become the overarching theme of our lives.

Let’s take back our control, power, and just take life one deep breath at a time. 

Protect Your Optimism

Man, oh man! How much bad, poor, negative news can we handle? Does anyone else feel like every time they turn around there is more bad news being reported? Yes, Facebook is usually filled with positive messages and laughs; Instagram with joyous photos and smiles; but, the news, forget about it– sad news upon weird news upon more sad news. Of course, there are many hopeful stories mixed in, but violence, rape, fraud, cancer, overdoses, war, terrorism, racism, death, and financial ruin seem more prevalent than the positive, the hopeful, and the good.

I often struggle with keeping a positive, hopeful, faith-filled head when I watch or receive dreadful news. In the moment, it really knocks a little bit of the wind out of me and makes me wonder if there is any good left in the world. In some instances, I find myself asking myself “why” this or that happened. Thereafter I usually utter a “God, help me,” put everything back into perspective, and realize more and more that living to the fullest is the only alternative to the negative surrounding us. Herein lies the good news: the more I attempt to live life to the fullest is the more that I realize and believe that there is still more positive than negative in the world.

Some time ago, I began thinking about how often fearful negative things actually happen to me or people I know. Throughout this exercise, I found that more negative instances did happen more in some areas than others, but overall the chances of the negative prevailing were lower than my fears would lead me to believe. In no way does this mean that I believe bad things will not or cannot happen to me or those that I know. It just means that although the negative, bad, discouraging events may happen, they are probably far less prevalent than my fears will allow me to believe.

Sometimes it can feel that negative things unceasingly happen to us. While this may or may not be true, the goal is to not lose hope and try not to become too overwhelmed by them. In the grand scheme of life, the statistics may still fall on the side of hope and good. If life does not feel positive right now, keep living and eventually the numbers will straighten themselves out. Who knows? Maybe the positivity and optimism we all seek lies inside of us all.

Protect your optimism, then, share it with the world.

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/qBtgR4

Untangle Yourself.

Slaves to the mind, trapped back in time

Freedom seems to be confused with nickels and dimes

Success nothing more than a borrowed image

Satiated by perverted perspectives

Chained to rusty bars of mental prisons

Fighting for the chance to realize destiny

While clothed in costumes of hijacked dreams

Stolen language, borrowed frames

Walking in circles waiting for answers

Convinced that conquering the world will reveal it

Yet there’s still no dirt on the bottom of your shoe

And the real you still stands hidden inside of you

If you ever stopped to take an inventory of your thoughts, frustrations, goals, and priorities, you will often find that they have become wildly webbed with borrowed pieces of other people’s goals, fears, and thoughts. Sometimes those borrowed pieces are beneficial and help us push toward finding our true self. Other times, however, those borrowed pieces weigh us down in knotted webs that seem to make finding our true self more stressful than just living out other people’s dreams and expectations for us.

However, it is necessary to determine how entangled you are with the images, goals, fears, and expectations of others. On that journey of disentanglement, you will find happiness, freedom, and purpose in life. Until you make the first steps to untangle yourself, you will always have the weight of the skeleton of the real you pulling you under water. It may not seem like it at first, but once you bring that skeleton to life — by accepting and embodying who you were created to be– you will feel lighter, happier, and less like you are constantly drowning in a world that seems to enjoy pushing you under water.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/bsszvi

Ask Me: http://wp.me/P31EeG-hg

How to Accept the Cards You are Dealt

Why are we dealt different cards in life? How do you accept the cards you are dealt? What can we do if we don’t like the cards we are dealt?

How many times have you asked yourself this question: “Why them and not me?”

I am not an expert card player so I do not have some great analogies from Poker, Blackjack, Spades, or Solitaire. UNO, however, is a card game I understand. I already have some people in mind that I would make “draw four” cards. And, it would be nice to “skip” some of the challenging parts and get to the beautiful ending. Clearly, if the greatest card analogy I can come up with is UNO, then I should probably stop while I am ahead.

Figuratively, I do believe that life has dealt us all a hand of cards. The good news: We don’t have to scheme or steal other people’s hands in order to win the game called life. In reality, we are competing against ourselves, and the missing cards we need are somewhere hidden inside us or are within our reach.

There might be a few different ways to look at the hand you are dealt:

1. We are equipped with everything we need to find the “right” cards; therefore, we are not at a permanent disadvantage.

2. We don’t need the best cards to win if we are competing against ourselves.

3. Maybe “winning” our own race is directly connected to accepting that we are both our greatest strength and our greatest resource.

4. You will acquire the necessary cards into your life when the time is right.

Personally, I have found comfort and faith in numbers 3 and 4. I trust that God created me just the way I am and that I have everything inside me to improve. Life is waiting for me to dig deep inside to find the cards labeled faith, confidence, strength, resilience, hope, and hard work.

If you don’t like the cards you are dealt, start changing your perspective about what is still buried inside you. Most times, what you need is hidden behind hard work and personal beliefs.

To accept the cards you are dealt, do not wish for a new hand, focus on learning how to work the one you have.

10 Lessons I Have Learned in the Past Hectic Month

1. Praying for strength might mean I have to experience life puzzles that require me to exercise/expose my weakness in order to gain and maintain “strength.”

2. Be less afraid of standing my ground and fighting (figuratively).

3. Accept that opposition is inevitable and necessary; and then learn how to prepare to win.

4. Being healthy is more important than being Instagram “sexy” Although, being healthy usually makes me feel Instagram sexy and happy. So, win-win!

5. Yes, sometimes blessings come in small things, but other times they come hidden within challenging times and hard work.

6. Be more patient and have more faith, especially in times when the outcome is unknown.

7. Sometimes success cannot be achieved in anonymity.

8. Care less about what people think about me, and then care even less.

9. Count the moments instead of counting the years.

10. Life is not short, maybe we are just wasting time.

What are some life lessons you have recently learned? Share your nuggets of wisdom!

Loving Those Closest To You

Fact: There are usually not that many people who we really share our complete-self with. Everyday we are so boldly confronted with society’s expectations of how we should behave that we learn to leave the house with a brave face, behave according to the norms set out for us by family, friends, and society, and keep most facts private for the sake of not ruining our image. If you’re a man, you have to project to the world that you are strong, confident, and ambitious. You have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and show women, and other men, that the unbearable “weight” is as light as a feather. If you are a woman, you have to show the world that you too are strong, confident, and ambitious. You are expected to carry the portion of the world that society deems suitable for the “woman,” and in addition, be the nurturer to those men, women, and children around you bearing their own load. Thanks to these demands, after birth we quickly realize that we need to “measure up.”

In all of that chaos, it can be very hard to find trusted people to share the real vulnerable “you” with. That is not to say that the true “you” is too much to handle; it just means that the vulnerable “you” requires delicate care. Since vulnerability requires a high level of trust, trusting that individual comes with the strong sense that they will be there for you – in good times and in bad times. Then again, they understand who you really are and are able to decipher your good intentions much easier than a stranger ever can, right? Exactly. Well, it is also for those same reasons that we are usually more likely to hurt those people closest to us. We believe that if anybody in the world should accept us for who we really are, it should be them; that if you make a mistake and say something the wrong way, or in a manner that is harsher then you would intend, they should be able to decode your feelings. Then again, we spend so much time throughout the day monitoring and creating the world’s view of us that when we come home to our family, friends, and loved ones they should be able to “just get it.”

Well, in the transition between letting down our guard and taking off our armor, it is very easy to hurt those that we love. We wear this massive armor all day, fight to maintain peace and success in our lives, are so tired from facing the world that we become careless in our weariness and may become more apt to make “mistakes” with those we love.

This post is just a simple reminder that the people you love are to be cared for, loved, and cherished just as much (if not more) then strangers. They hold your most vulnerable moments within their heart and for that reason they are to be cherished and loved just as you would love yourself. It is hard at times to give any extra energy to making sure that we don’t hurt our loved ones, especially when we are facing the world all day/week. But, if we are supposed to love our neighbors as our self, how much more should we love those that are closest to us? Just think of it this way, if those closest to you decided to stop loving you it would really be you against the world.

How do you show those closest to you that you love them?

Violation.

image

Being violated in any way, shape, or form changes you. It affects your mind in ways you never thought possible. But one thing it doesn’t have to do is permanently change you for the worse. You may never forget it and you may even think about it everyday; but, you should never let it ruin everyday. Once you’ve taken time to hurt – and yes you will think about it even after that – keep living through the thought. Whatever you do, don’t stop living the life you desire. If you’re having trouble moving on, seek help, talk to someone you trust, and get it off your chest so you can find some relief.

What are some things you do to get over a violation of any kind (friends, family, strangers, etc.)?