I used to hide from my problems. I used to let them pile on top of each other in the back of my mind thinking they’d magically evaporate.
I remember graduating senior year of college with no job lined up and student loan payments staring me right in the face.
I remember thinking it would work itself out.
I would live each day as if it was an extension of college. I’d go to the gym, watch a few episodes of The Wire, drink with my buddies, and then MAYBE apply for a few jobs.
As you can guess, this process didn’t get me anywhere.
The days, weeks and months went by without even a call back from a recruiter.
I told myself I was “trying.” I told myself the job market was bad. I came up with every excuse in the book.
But in reality, I was running from my problems.
Over the months I grew anxious. My problems weren’t going away on their own. My friends all had jobs while I sat on the couch. During this period of my life I felt like a failure.
I reflect back on this time now and wonder how it got so bad. How did I let myself slide like that?
The answer I keep coming back to is fear. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid to face these real world problems that I had been sheltered from for so long.
This fear sent me into a state of paralysis and caused me months of depression. It was one of the darkest periods of my life.
And it wasn’t until I took charge of my situation months later that things started to change for me. I had to accept that the problem in this situation was me. I was in full control over whether or not I had a job and no external forces could change that.
As soon as I took on this mentality, my “luck” started to change. The harder I worked at the problem itself, the more opportunities presented themselves. Within a month I had my first temporary employment and a month after that I landed my first full-time job.
It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t easy. But I did it. I was able to claw out of this dark hole by facing my monsters head on. Five years later I find it hard to believe that this was me at all.
You see, the longer we disregard our problems, the worse our situation becomes. They compound on top of each other until they threaten more permanent damage in our life. They can threaten us financially, socially and mentally.
As you read this, I’m sure your own problems are rising in the back of your mind. I’m sure you’re trying to quiet the noise.
We all do this. I still do it. But it’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable.
The sooner you learn to face the monster within you, the sooner you can unleash yourself of its burden. The process might be painful, but it’ll be worth it.
You’ll falter in the process. You’ll fail. But, you’ll grow. In fact, our biggest obstacles provide the greatest opportunity for our growth.
As Ryan Holiday explains in his book, The Obstacle Is The Way, “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
By learning to lean into our problems rather than run from them we can become a better version of ourselves. Each storm we weather makes us stronger.
The key is to have the courage to face your monsters. The key is to let those voices in the back of your mind rise up and learn to tame them.
The choice is yours. A better life awaits you.