Today, I woke up feeling pretty hopeless.
There were a lot of reasons for it.
Here are just a few.
- A work client left me a pretty sour, off-base work email
- One of my kids was a little bit mad at me
- My house was a mess
- It was really hot and I just didn’t feel good
- When I checked my YouTube subscribers, one person had left (it went from 20 to 19. Yep, my YouTube channel is still small.)
- My girlfriend and roommate were also in bad moods
Now, these are all relatively benign problems on their own. There isn’t anything too world-ending here.
I must also say that a lot of people have far worse problems than these!
But, they all made me feel a certain kind of way in the moment. Let me explain.
- Bad work email: Feels like my business is just going off the rails
- Kids mad at me: Feel like a bad father
- House is a mess: Feels like my life is out of order
- It’s really hot/don’t feel good: Feeling physical miserable, everything is more stressful
- YouTube subscriber count down: Feel like my YouTube is going nowhere
- Girlfriend and roommate mad: Feel like nobody is happy, which sucks
Alright. So, this is what was making me feel hopeless today.
So let’s talk about what I did about it to overcome this hopelessness.
At First, I Just Wanted To Give Up
I’m probably not the first person who has felt this way.
By 10 AM in the morning, I was just ready to give up.
I literally just wanted to leave… to walk away from everything. I wanted to drop my kids off at their mother’s house, say goodbye to my girlfriend, walk away from my house and business, and go live a cashless life in the wilderness.
I just wanted to say fuck it all. Fuck humans. Fuck all of this petty bullshit nonsense.
But of course, this isn’t what I really wanted. That is just how I felt in the moment.
And we all feel this way sometimes.
Yes, I am an alpha male. Yes, I have my shit together. And yes, I sometimes still get really down about things and feel like giving up. It happens quite often – probably about as often as it happens to most people.
But, I didn’t give up. And here is why.
What Do You Do In A Hopeless Situation?
I have felt a lot of hopelessness in my life.
If I were to be asked how do you describe hopelessness? I would answer it by saying that hopelessness is when things get bad enough that you begin to doubt whether or not going through the trouble is really worth it.
I mean, we all know that almost any problem is solvable. But the real question is this… how much are we willing to endure, and when is enough enough?
But, I have also learned that feelings of hopelessness do not render us powerless. And I have also learned that what we choose to do in the moments of hopelessness is what defines us.
My life is not just this one day.
My life is also tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, etc.
And I live my life so that I am moving forward. I am blogging, YouTubing, and podcasting specifically for that purpose, so that I can help people and grow my platform.
As I build all of this, I have a plan for a brighter future where I will be able to do more and more of the work I love.
And that is really awesome!
One Of The Most Powerful Tools Against Hopelessness Is A Plan
It is pretty rare for me to get discouraged about my business, because it tends to go pretty well most of the time.
But today, it obviously happened.
I felt like just walking away from it and saying I’m done!
But I don’t really want that. I know that if I keep working, I have a bright future to look forward to – a future where I can help more people and do more of the awesome work that I love to do!
And this helps me. This serves as a fortification against prolonged hopelessness. And the fact that I have a daily plan in place helps me even more, because it helps me to understand that as long as I stick to my plan, my future will turn into the future I have imagined for myself.
And if I can reach that future, a lot of my more immediate stresses won’t matter.
How Do You Find Hope When There Is None?
This is a tough question to answer. If you have absolutely no hope, then you are probably feeling like the problems aren’t worth the effort to fix.
But… even in all of my worst problems, I have always been able to find a way out of them.
And I believe that you can do the same thing.
And the best way to get started is to take a deep breath, sit down, and make a plan.
For example… Most of the challenges in my life revolve around a work plan. It all goes back to my work.
If I post one blog, one YouTube video, and one Podcast every single day, my platform will grow by a certain amount every month – and eventually, my platform will be large enough that my income will grow as well.
And with that income, I will be able to fix several things.
- Be able to disengage with problematic clients right away, instead of feeling like I should try to stick it out to earn that extra money
- Be able to hire someone to clean my house, since I struggle to find time to do it myself
- Be able to take more time off of work to spend with my kids, to develop an even better relationship with them
- Be able to find some time to travel, which will give me some much-needed healthy space from my girlfriend and roommate
Don’t get me wrong, I love my girlfriend… and my roommate is awesome.
But we are all humans. We are all living together to work toward our goals and realize better futures for our lives – and sometimes, this little house gets a little crowded, and we all get a little frustrated.
It would be so nice to be able to take off and travel a bit. But in order to do that, I need a bit of extra money.
So for me, it is pretty easy to see the plan.
I need to publish content every day, and also keep up with my work projects right now so that my platform will grow, and I will be able to grow my income in the future as well.
This will give me more freedom.
How Do You Find Faith When Things Seem Hopeless
Trust me, I understand that we all feel hopeless sometimes.
It sucks. It isn’t fun. And none of us are immune to it.
Life is not all rainbows and butterflies.
Take a look at this clip. It’s a speech by Jordan Peterson, a man who has given me a LOT of hope in my life. In this passionate clip, he goes into pretty graphic detail about how life truly is suffering – but we don’t have to choose to live that way. We don’t have to allow it to define us.
How Do I Get Hope Again? My 5 Step Plan For Overcoming Hopelessness
In my life, I’ve found that the best recipe for regaining hope, and regaining my happiness after I’ve had a particularly bad day or experience, is to do the following.
Step 1: Take a step back. Push pause. Try to stop the negative cycle of anger, depression, and bitterness that often results after realizing that I feel hopeless.
Step 2: Maybe break up the cycle by doing something fun for a little while. A small escape. Don’t waste too much time, because that will just make you feel worse in the long run. But… do something to break up the cycle.
On this particular day, I chose to take my kids out to lunch. It was really fun. I enjoyed spending that time with them, and it helped me to feel more connected with them.
Step 3: Sit down, focus on the problems, and make a plan to deal with them. I already had a plan in place (publishing content every day while keeping up with my work). So instead of making a new plan, I reviewed my plan and reminded myself that there is hope for the future.
Step 4: After reviewing or making a plan, take another small break, if you need to, to change your outlook and find some positivity and happiness.
Again, don’t waste too much time – but maybe talk to a friend, go for a walk, or do something that you enjoy.
Don’t waste too much time. Because this next step is the most important part.
But sometimes, taking a break after making a plan or reviewing a plan can help the hope for that plan to work to settle back into your mindset.
Step 5: Get started. Enact your plan, and start making small steps toward fixing the problems.
It may take days, months, or even years to fix all of the problems. And some of them may never completely go away.
But that’s ok. Because reducing suffering helps. And the only way to reduce our suffering and hopelessness is to chip away at them with small steps.
Brick by brick, we build a life of success and triumph. But it takes work. God knows it takes a LOT of work.
But, it’s worth it. It truly works.
For me, I sat down and wrote this blog post. By the time I got to this sentence, I had stopped feeling hopeless, and had found my lost sense of faith from earlier in the morning.
I realized that as long as I stick with my plan, everything is going to be ok.
And getting this blog post written was a part of that.
Realizing that I made so much progress helped me to realize that I DO have what it takes to succeed. All I have to do is keep at it, one step at a time.
Overcoming Hopelessness Is NOT Easy
But it is possible.
Follow this 5 step plan I’ve laid out, and start chipping away at it.
Remember – brick by brick, the castle is built.
Start by laying one brick. Then another, then another.
You’ve got this.
I believe in you.
Go with grace, my friends… and never give up your power.
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus