A new year is the time for new beginnings. Every year, at the beginning of January, I make a ritual of binge-watching one of my favorite tv shows.
This time, I decided to re-watch the show that marked a huge part of my life.
Unlike the first time I watched it, almost 10 years ago, one particular episode taught me more about myself than all the series did a decade ago. In fact, the episode resonated with me on so many levels and, at the same time, it made me feel uneasy with myself.
I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly was it that made me feel that way, so I had to watch it 3 times before it finally hit me.
In a nutshell, the episode revolves around one of the main characters, Desmond, and his struggle to cope with reality. Due to the influence of the mysterious island, where the majority of the storyline happens, he experiences flashbacks and his consciousness travels through time.
Aside from a cool storyline, this episode can teach us a lot about success and overall happiness in life. It certainly taught me a key concept of happiness that anyone can relate to.
You see, Desmond is just an average Joe.
All of you who watched the show, know that he is a screw-up on so many levels but, most importantly, he sacrificed one thing he had going on because he was a coward. He bailed on his relationship with Penny and left the only person who ever loved him for who he was.
However, in the fifth episode of season four, we learn a crucial lesson about happiness in life.
The secret is to find your constant.
Disclaimer: Even though it’s highly recommended to watch the episode (and the entire series), it’s not mandatory to do so to understand the rest of the article.
‘’Every equation needs stability, something known. It’s called a constant.’’ — Daniel Faraday
We live in a fast-paced world where the concept of absolute control, for the most of us, is just a wish. As we deal with the adversities of life, there are so little things in our everyday life that we have absolute control over.
Being reactive to the face of life difficulties doesn’t make it easier for us as we strive to be the best versions of ourselves.
If you are like so many people out there and you feel that life is hitting you in the face with the brick, it’s time to make a stand and take the driver’s seat. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to have control.
All you need to do is to understand and apply the concept of the constant and, gradually, you’ll see your life shifting for the better.
The almighty internet defines constant as a situation that does not change. We can go a step further and define a constant as a situation where you have absolute control and a situation in which you feel at ease.
The beauty of it is that you can easily choose your constant by asking yourself the following question.
What makes me feel good?
The reason for asking yourself this question is simple.
You should realize what evokes a positive emotional response and what exactly puts you in the desired mood. The desired mood to face every challenge that is placed in your way.
In other words, what particular activity lets you feel that YOU are in control even if everything else in your life feels like it’s slipping and it’s out of your grasp.
Every human being is unique in his own way.
What energizes you and what makes you feel good about yourself and life in general is not necessarily the thing that every other individual can relate to.
Now, it’s time to be honest with yourself.
If necessary, dig deep and think of the time when you were so engaged in an activity at hand that you lost track of time. Think about the action that made you feel good about yourself and in control of your life. It can be anything, from the first cup of coffee in the morning, exercise in the gym, to journaling right before you go to sleep.
Maybe the only thing that can put a smile on your face is playing with your kids or having a special moment with your significant other. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and own it.
It’s important to note that the activity you choose to be your constant is the one that requires you to be present in the moment and not the one that allows you to operate in an auto-pilot mode.
In other words, you shouldn’t make your constant the activity where you spend hours scrolling through your Facebook/Instagram feed or playing video games. Even binge-watching the entire series of the tv show isn’t the constant we should be looking for.
Although, there is nothing wrong with it and we shouldn’t rid ourselves of those guilty pleasures as long as we are aware that this behavior is the form of escapism.
To find your constant, ask yourself these two questions:
1. Is this activity pulling me towards something larger than myself?
2. Is it pushing me to do better or become better in any way?
Please, don’t feel discouraged by the big words like ‘’larger than myself’’ and ‘’become better in any way’’.
Usually, to be better requires a certain level of self-awareness but, more importantly, it requires your complete honesty with yourself.
Doing something larger than yourself is nothing more than making someone else’s life just a little bit better.
You already know what area of your life you should improve.
Whether it’s your body and the physical aspect of your being or relationships that you may have neglected for whatever reason.
Your constant can also be a mastery of some sorts. If you love writing, then it is putting your thoughts on a piece of paper (or a white screen) and focusing on creating content.
My best friend and a mentor in many ways, Zdravko, has a simple philosophy for creating his constant and succeeding in the game of life.
‘’All I have to do is get up every day at 5 am. Once I do that, I am in control. While the rest of the world is sleeping, I’m working on my business and I’m creating my success. Every morning, I make myself a cup of coffee and I’m ready. I have created my ritual and it’s the one thing that is 100% in my control.’’
Now, at 25, he is successful. Z is fully in control of his life and behind the wheel. He’s living the lifestyle he chose for himself.
Knowing him for a very long time, I can assure you that this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when he felt overwhelmed with everything life threw his way. More often than not, he was lost, too.
Not anymore. He found his constant.
Of course, like anyone else on the face of the earth, he has his good days, but he also has those days where the sun isn’t shining and he would rather stay in bed than face the world. The only difference now is that when those days come, and they will inevitably, he knows how to turn it around and regain control.
Once you determine your constant, move on to the next step.
Make it non-negotiable.
A few years ago, I unknowingly exercised this principle and my life shifted for 180 degrees from that point on. Back in June 2015, just like Desmond, our charming character from the tv show, I felt lost.
I had no idea in which direction my life is heading and I certainly felt zero control over it. To be more specific, I felt as if I’m taking a back seat while something else was driving the bus.
In June 2015, I firmly decided to exercise each day for at least 30 minutes. Little did I know that the decision I made would have a significant effect on my life and my personal growth later down the line.
Looking back to it, it was the only rational decision I could make. I was always into sports, and I believed that the only aspect of my life, where I had 100% control of, was my training regimen and my food intake.
I had no idea what a proper training was. I didn’t know what exactly I need to eat to lose fat or how much macros I have to eat in one meal.
I just knew enough to start and my only responsibility was to show up every day and do the work. The first couple of weeks were tough and I thought about quitting a few times but I didn’t.
I decided to make my fitness non-negotiable. Whatever happened throughout the day, I decided to commit to that one hour in the gym.
After a while, as my body started to change, so did I. In December 2015, just 6 months later, I had my first professional photo shoot. I became a fitness model.
New opportunities came knocking on my door, I meet people who became my friends, and gradually, my perception about life started to shift.
I still had to deal with life and all my demons, but now it was different. Having that one thing I could always count on to make me feel better and get me out of the rut was liberating in a way I never felt before.
For the first time in my life, I felt in control. I guarantee that once you find your constant and you make it non-negotiable, so will you.
Life is like an equation. It has so many unknown variables, and the truth is that anything can go wrong at any minute on any given day.
Instead of focusing your time, energy and effort on the unknown variables, deliberately focus on the one constant that gives you the sense of control of your life. Unfortunately, there is not a guru on this planet that can tell you what should be your constant.
You have to figure it out for yourself.
Take a long look at your life and your current situation, and honestly tell yourself what it is that makes you tick and puts you at ease. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear answer right now. Neither did Desmond, nor Z.
I can genuinely tell you that I didn’t know either when I first started exercising.
Whatever it is that makes you happy is a good place to start, as long as it keeps you present at the moment. Let go of all the things you can’t control and commit to that one thing you can and you will.
You don’t need to have all the answers to be happy. You only need that one thing.
Ready for the next step?
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