So often in life, we find ourselves stuck in situations that are pretty far from ideal. Whether that’s terrible life events, such as dealing with grief or a bad break up, or a simple insidious case of depression in an otherwise happy life, altogether too often, everything seems to conspire against us.

One of the big dangers is failing to rise against the bad times. We all get knocked down a little, but the most important thing is getting back up and keeping plugging away. Without this fresh injection of effort and positivity, how can you expect your circumstances to change?

Having said that, pushing yourself too hard regularly can run a person into the ground, so be aware that we do need time to recover, and we need time off. You can’t just plough through serious depression like this, especially if it’s part of what caused it in the first place.

For a lot of people, however, breaking out of a depressing cycle can be a great first step, but before I talk about that, first, you’ve got to think about how to avoid that cycle full stop.

Don’t Get into a Negative Feedback Cycle

It doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a bad break-up, losing your job, illness. You can’t let things like this knock you down permanently. Every day, people are knocked down by bad turns like this, and it can spark off a chain of events that lead quickly to a cycle of downward spiralling.

This is in most, but the direst of situations, avoidable. Sure, you’re going through something that hurts, but you can’t eat your emotions, you’ll just end up fat, and resenting yourself. You can’t drink your way through feelings, you’ll end up washed out and dependent. You can’t even sleep or watch TV through bad patches. All you really need to do is get some positive proactivity going.

I don’t mean doing the job you hate, and I don’t mean doing more chores, although the simple act of doing even things you hate can help you.
What I mean is doing things to develop yourself or change your circumstances. Do an online training course, start an exercise regimen you’ve wanted to do for years. Go on a diet, or apply to go back to school. There’s so many different things you can do to start living the life you want to live, but sometimes, it’s really hard to see the inherent potential in all our lives.

The most important thing in this situation is always going to be just getting started on something really positive. Don’t worry about where it leads, or if you can keep it up, just get started, and start moving in a positive direction in your life.

Proactive Positivity Breeds Proactive Positivity

When I said not to worry about whether or not your new positive direction leads anywhere or not, I meant it. Once you get started doing something positive and helpful, you can start a positive feedback loop, where you feel better, with more energy and more desire to accomplish things, so you continually work harder and harder.

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to virtually every useful skill or goal in life... Share on X

…whether that’s learning an instrument, or building a business. It’s also relevant in stand-up comedy, with Jerry Seinfeld talking about his calendar method of self-motivation.

Every day he wrote a joke, he’d put a big red ‘X’ on the calendar. After a few days, he’d have a chain. Then once that was going, he didn’t want to break it, so he kept at it for longer and longer. That consistency is one of the big elements of his success as a comic.

No matter what method you follow, if you work on getting that level of consistency in your life, especially moving in a positive, proactive direction, you will come out of the other end of the tunnel. That positive feedback cycle can become a major part of your life that allows you to accomplish great things.

It doesn’t have to be a ton of work either, just a little bit, consistently, will get you moving in the direction you want to be going.

Do New or Much Missed Things

When I say positive proactivity, I explicitly don’t mean ‘work harder at your job’ or do something that you’ve been doing for years. If it’s work you’ve been chipping away at for years, then we’ve already basically proven it’s not the cure for your predicament by the nature of the situation.

When it comes to surviving and busting out of really trying circumstances, you can’t keep doing the same old things. Einstein called repeating the same experiment and expecting different results the definition of insanity, but despite that, so many people keep plugging away at things that don’t make them happy in life.

continue to part 2