Getting Out of a Bad Place [by Derek Sivers]

This was actually a private email to a good friend. But he loved it and forwarded it to some people, and they all suggested I should post it on my site.


Hey B –

A few months ago I was in a really bad place.

Really upset ALL the time about the whole situation.

Couldn’t think straight. Very reactionary.

Wanting to make some big drastic change, just to ease the discomfort of uncertainty — that pain of living with an unknown future.

You’re definitely in that place now. So here’s how I got out. Maybe it helps.

 

#1. Ask myself “What’s wrong RIGHT NOW?” — this very second. Am I in physical pain or danger?

No.

I’ve got mental pain, but that’s just me imagining things, or remembering things. None of it is real.

If I put aside the mental torture I’m giving myself, the only thing that’s real is this physical moment. Is it so bad?

Hm. No.

Look around.

Nice day. Nice place. Nice food. Nice people. Nice work.

Of course the mental anguish is still there, but it’s a nice reminder that it’s all in my head.

 

#2. Observe now. Act later.

When I’m feeling so cloudy, my decisions and actions will be cloudy too.

So I wait a few days before acting on anything.

Just watch the emotions pass by like a thunderstorm.

And the longer I wait, the smarter I get.

 

#3. Raise standards. Say no to anything less than great.

Every person that doesn’t rejuvenate me and make me feel better, say no. Blacklist them. Banned. Not allowed in, not even for a minute. No explanation needed. No compromise. No favors. Done. Gone.

More fountains, less drains.

Every thing I’m doing that isn’t good for me. Every thing I’m eating or drinking that isn’t making me more healthy. Stop. Say no.

This even means saying no to half-ass conversations that are not whole-hearted and unconflicted. People that are “fine” and I “kill time” with, but don’t actually love and actively enjoy? Nope. Not good enough.

Doing this gave me a huge feeling of self-worth. Setting the bar really high for something to take my time.

It means more empty time, but that leaves room for POSSIBILITY!

Empty time has the POTENTIAL to be filled with nourishing and awesome new actions and people, whereas filling it with half-ass things and people kills all that potential and possibility.

 

#4. Focus on my goal/mission/path

The empty space created by #3 — no longer chasing distractions — helped me remember what I’m really doing with my life.

Creating, learning, improving, whatever. For me, it’s writing, parenting, and health. For you, it’s something else. It’s the 10-year-plan type stuff.

Clearing the clutter helps you see the horizon.

It’s a HUGE energy-filled feeling of “Oh yeah! That’s where I’m going! I had forgotten! I can see it now! Let’s go!”

It really helps make the “say no” thing stick, because once you’re heading towards a spot on the horizon, you just don’t let any crap get in your way.

 

#5. Do ALL the daily mundane stuff

This sounds silly, simple, and shallow, but it’s surprisingly effective:

When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it.

But despite feeling that way, I brush, floss, go to the gym, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, clean the house, pick up clutter, vacuum, pay my bills, answer my emails, take my vitamins, do the laundry, play with the kid some more, brush and floss again, turn off the computer early, turn off the phone, and get to bed early.

It’s so mundane, but it really helps to feel on top of things. Things in life well-sorted so I don’t need to worry about them.

(And when I ask, “What’s wrong right now?” — it really helps me say “nothing!” when I look around and see this clean house, paid bills, happy child, and have a good night’s sleep.)

It’s really peaceful to go through the motions, even though I don’t really feel like it. It’s more time to think and process.

It’s a great reminder that I have to eat, even if I’m not feeling hungry. I have to clean the house, even if my mind is a mess. I have to sleep, no matter what!

Like #1, above, it separates the mental anguish from the physical reality. Keeps me focused on what’s real versus what I’m just imagining.


There’s more to it than that. Lots of diary time, friends, reading healthy new thoughts/philosophies, etc. But those are the big 5.

I hope it helps.

– Derek

Source: http://sivers.org/bad

Derek Sivers Gave His Company To Charity

The timing of this information is Divine. I was guided by my Angels to find it and just had to share it. You’re awesome Derek Sivers, and such an inspiration to me! Thank you for all you share.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing this on my blog. My hope is to inspire many people to live prosperous, rich, abundant lives (whatever that means to them) and follow in your footsteps. Sharing love and light (information) is what we are all being called to do.

I’ve been on an amazing spiritual journey that has led me to simplify my life and experience things I never thought I would. I’m very grateful and now have so much more appreciation for the more important things — things money cannot buy. There’s so much more peace in simple living.

Help yourself by helping others! Follow Derek’s lead…

Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Why I gave away my company to charity

2009-12-04

Two friends were at a party held at the mansion of a billionaire. One said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” The other said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have: enough.

When I decided to sell my company in 2008, I already had enough.

I live simply. I hate waste and excess. I have a good apartment, a good laptop, and a few other basics. But the less I own, the happier I am. The lack of possessions gives me the priceless freedom to live anywhere anytime.

Having too much money can be harmful. It throws off perspective. It makes people do stupid things like buy “extra” cars or houses they don’t use – or upgrade to first class for “only” $10,000 so they can be a little more comfortable for a few hours.

So I didn’t need or even want the money from the sale of the company. I just wanted to make sure I had enough for a simple comfortable life. The rest should go to music education, since that’s what made such a difference in my life.

So I found a great way to do this. I created a charitable trust called the “Independent Musicians Charitable Remainder Unitrust.” When I die, all of its assets will go to music education. But while I’m alive, it pays out 5% of its value per year to me.

(Note: 5% is the minimum allowed by law. It’s still too much. I would have preferred 1%, but oh well. I’m free to use it to start new businesses to help people, or whatever.)

A few months before the sale, I transferred the ownership of CD Baby and HostBaby, all the intellectual property like trademarks and software, into the trust.

It was irreversibly and irrevokably gone. It was no longer mine. It all belonged to the charitable trust.

Then, when Disc Makers bought it, they bought it not from me but from the trust, turning it into $22 million cash to benefit music education.

So instead of me selling the company – (getting taxed on the income, and giving what’s left to charity) – that move of giving away the company to charity then having the charity sell it saved about $5 million in taxes. (That means $5 million more going to music education.)

Also, the move of giving it away into a trust now – instead of holding on to it until I die – means its investments get to grow and compound tax-free for life, which again means more goes to musicians in the end.

I’m only writing this article because many people have asked why I gave it away, so I thought I’d write my long explanation once and for all.

It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.

I get the deeper happiness of knowing the lucky streak I’ve had in my life will benefit tons of people – not just me.

I get the pride of knowing I did something irreversibly smart before I could change my mind.

I get the safety of knowing I won’t be the target of a frivolous lawsuit, since I have very little net worth.

I get the unburdened freedom of having it out of my hands so I can’t do something stupid.

But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.

best things in life aren't things