A Trick To Solve A Lot Of Your Problems.

There are some things you just won’t read in self help book, things you won’t know until you find out for yourself…Or you know, until a random self help blogger finds out and runs to the Internetz to tell you.

I believe this is one thing that can really help your life beyond anything else. It will make it easier to go exercise. It will make it harder for you to procrastinate. You will get more done. It benefits your work, your household and even your relationships. It will even boost your mood altogether.

By now I probably got you on the edge of your seat (or not, maybe I’m the only one who’s easily excited), but it’s a very general, and maybe even deceivingly simple thing: Go from a passive mindset to an active one.

See, I can observe this in my own life and have come to the conclusion this is a main, underlying cause of either my struggles and frustrations or my victories and happiness. I am very familiar with both ends of the spectrum.

My passive lifestyle consists of sleeping in (8:45, but still – it’s late for me), watching endless television shows, not working out, and putting off anything of significance until the very last minute. I often feel lethargic, unmotivated and lazy, which also makes me terribly cranky and frustrated. Doesn’t help. I just occasionally spiral downwards in it, though. Sometimes it only lasts for a couple of days, but I’ve also had this problem for weeks (and longer in my teens).

My active lifestyle is very different. I get up early, often to work out first thing and then have a busy day. I have a clear overview of what I want to do, I make to do lists. Very importantly, I move a lot from place to place (work, family, yoga studio, groceries, social appointments, extra gig) and I also take a lot of action myself (calling people, emailing people, going places, pursuing things). I’m on the go a lot, which somewhat forces me to use my time optimally. The more I do, the happier I am, the more productive I become. I know when to take a break and I take great care of myself and my life.

And the thing that makes the difference, the very basic general thing is setting my mind to active instead of passive, and then acting on it.

My mindset in Active Mode is when I think in opportunities, useable time frames and solutions. I decide to combine yoga with a trip to the grocery store, that I can write an article while I’m in public transit for an hour and I decide I’m going to fix an administrative order by making a phonecall.

My behavior in Active Mode is getting up a little earlier than I have to, moving from place to place a lot, writing down everything I no longer assume to remember, and actively seeking out people and opportunities.

I observed my own days: Happy and productive when doing a lot, annoyed and ineffective when being lazy. And I decided that I can consciously flip the switch whenever I want. Knowledge is power and because I know what ultimately is best for my well-being and my mood, it’s easier and more interesting to access that side of me!

I also suddenly remembered that it’s actually a very influential way to help people out of their depression: Reinstate activity again, as depressed people become more passive (and it’s easier for passive people to become depressed). I encourage you to give it a try. Switch from a general sense of passivity to activity. Try to think like an active person and behave this way, it’s a powerful behavioral strategy.

It may seem like a no-brainer but it’s crazy how easy it is to overlook the obvious when it comes to self help. Sometimes we get lost in complex strategies when you can solve a lot with something basic like this. I wonder if it is as helpful to you as it is to me; I’ve been applying it a lot this week and it really helps. Let me know in the comments if you give it a shot!

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  1. Yep, going to give it a shot 😀 I recognise this, though I’ve never tried to use it consciously. I think I’m allready in an active mindset at the moment, I’m sending import emails and stuff like that, so I don’t really have to switch into it. But I’ll use this technique to stay in this active mindset 🙂

  2. Dit is ZO waar. Precies waar ik een tijdje terug ook achter kwam. Je voelt je zoveel beter als je actief bezig bent, dan kun je de wereld aan, en ga je voor je dromen. Als je passief bent denk je dat je die dromen toch nooit gaat halen, en heb je geen zin om iets productiefs te doen. En slecht dat je je voelt dan.. Activity for the win!

  3. So true, thanks for writing about this! I’ve been thinking a lot about this very subject for the past couple of weeks. I’m a total introvert and need a lot of time to recharge after busy days/periods, especially if it involved a lot social interactions. However I always have to make sure to kick myself when it’s time to get going again. A couple of recharging days of reading/watching tv shows or films/catching up on reading blogs/exercising/being healthy can very easily turn into a passive period where my days just turn into watching tv shows, internet, eating and sleeping 9+ hours a night. I love my recharging days, but I really hate my passive days.

    Anyway, I have a question. I was wondering what you think about MBTI or Jungian typology? I used to think things like that were kind of bogus (of course when you fill out a questionaire and you are not all over the place and giving conflicting answers the results will match you somehow) but after reading more about the theory behind it I actually find it kind of fascinating. I read somewhere that it can actually be a nice way to aid a self-help journey because it can give some nice insights into yourself, so I wondered if you were familiar with it!

  4. Helemaal mee eens! Ik moet zeggen dat vooral als je passief bezig bent, de knop omzetten en actief aan de gang echt een eyeopener is. Dan denk je achteraf, zo moeilijk was dat toch niet? Toch is het nog best moeilijke die actieve mindset altijd aan te houden, vaak ben je je (lees= ik) er niet zo bewust van als je passief bezig bent. Maar daar kunnen self help boeken en theselfhelphipster je dan weer bewust van maken! Thanks:D

  5. Inderdaad heel effectief! En zoals je schrijft ook goed voor mensen met een depressie. Ik heb een chronische vorm van depressie (dysthyme stoornis, waarvan de lijdenslast helaas flink wordt onderschat) en actief worden leidt snel tot resultaten. Als je daar discipline aan toevoegt heb je een mooie basis om te overleven. Ik heb er ook een boek over, waar ik de titel helaas niet meer van weet. De ondertitel was geloof ik ‘Gedragsactivatie bij depressie’, zeker een aanrader, al gaat dat dus om gedrag.

  6. Ja dit herken ik ook. Als ik een luie dag heb gehad, voel ik me lusteloos, chagerijnig en heb ik zin om slechte dingen te eten. Ook heb ik dan gewoon nergens zin in en zie ik overal tegenop. In een actieve flow gaat alles veel makkelijker.

  7. Absoluut herkenbaar 🙂 Hier kwam ik zelf achter en geef dit ook als advies aan anderen, fijn dat jij dit nu ook deelt. Het probleem is dan weer doorslaan erin 😉 endan komt er een dag dat het weer omdraait…

  8. I really recognize the watching tv-shows and laying around stuff. And I know I get more done when I try to think active and I try to have lists everyday of what I need to do (been listening to Eat that frog).
    But I have the feeling sometimes I get tired more easily than others. Maybe because I don’t really work out at the moment or maybe because I’ve been through an emotional hell last year or maybe it’s my astma. But then I think it doesn’t really matter what it is right because they’re only excuses. I find it hard to determine when I’m being a baby and when I should listen to myself and think, ho stop you’re going just a little bit to fast. Never really know what cues to look for because when I’m being a baby and being lazy watching shows all day I feel like crap, but then when I do a lot of stuff during the day at the end of the day I feel like crap too because I’m so tired.
    Any tips on this or just stop being a baby?

    1. This sounds so familiar. I get tired very easily. It used to be much worse (i used to be tired all the time) Healthy eating and working out definitely made a difference, but still I feel like I’m just more tired than everyone else. Is this just my passive attitude or should i really take some rest?

  9. Haha ik lees net mn horoscoop in de metro: hoe mee bedrijvigheid, hoe meer werk jij kunt verrichten. Je hebt niet de rust nodig, maar de drukte om je te laten inspireren. Voor de uitvoering kun jij je dan weer in alle rust terugtrekken.

    Coincidende? I think not!

  10. Grappig, dit is zo herkenbaar. Ik voel me zo rot wanneer ik een dag helemaal niets doe (zoals nu op de bank hangen en alles behalve aan de studie zijn) dat ik einde van de dag gestrest ben en weet hoeveel ik had kunnen doen. Wanneer ik juist lekker actief ben op een dag en moe en voldaan thuis op de bank plof ‘s avonds, voelt dat toch heel anders! 🙂

  11. Truth.

    People (myself included) often overlook that it works both ways. Yes, when you feel bad you don’t want to do stuff. But being passive is just as much a cause of feeling down as it is a consequence.

    Same with smiling, in a way. Happy = smile. But also: Smile = happy hormones all over the place. And dressing up. “Putting yourself together makes you feel put together.”

    In general, maybe: Do it if you feel like it, but even more so if you don’t.

    (So, fine. Off I go. Bye internet, got a house to clean.)

  12. Goed verhaal! Net wat ik nodig had. Heb na lang wikken en wegen besloten om ontslag te nemen op mijn werk omdat het me dood ongelukkig maakte en zit nu sinds kort thuis. Is lastig om deels even te focussen op bijkomen van alle stress van de afgelopen tijd maar aan de andere kant ook de druk te voelen van dat ik weer een nieuwe baan moet vinden (die ik hopelijk een stuk leuker ga vinden). Vandaag me een dagje banen-zoeken-vrij gegeven maar heel de dag relaxen ga je je alleen maar ellendiger door voelen eigenlijk. Bedankt voor je verhaal, ga morgen weer een actief dagje doen!

  13. Ik was very inspired by this, but I found it very hard to apply on myself. You see, you need to know how to switch that button. I can be very passive for days when I just feel like staying in bed all day doing nothing but useless things and eating. But today I had a very positive and productive day! I had an exam in the morning, was already at home around 10.30 am, I ate and chilled a bit, then around 1 pm I went to the library to get some studying done and borrowed a book (I want to get myself reading again). Now I’m at home, probably going to eat soon and after that Zumba. When all that is done I’m gonna reward myself with a nice shower and watching my favorite series. The funny thing is when I was waiting for the bus to come I was thinking to myself ‘ah this has been such a positive and productive day’ and right after that the bus stopped in front of me so I could get in first (law of attraction?) I think the key to an active day for me is waking up early, making sure that I have things to do, if I need to study I do that somewhere else (not in my room, it’s one big distraction there) and give myself little rewards now and then (after going to the library I found that I deserved some hot chocolatemilk).
    That was a very long comment (for me at least), but I just want to thank you for your inspirational posts and share my experience. I find your blog much easier and way more fun to read than self help books ^^