How Do You Keep From Getting Depressed?
While I was at the airport yesterday, I got a call from a young lady that I have been close friends with for a few years now. She has been living out in LA for the past few years, pursuing an acting career and working part-time. She reached out to me because she's been stressing for a long time about money and she didn't know who else to turn to for advice.
I respected her reaching out because it was clear she wasn't looking for a handout, she legitimately couldn't figure out how to get out of debt and wanted some practical advice on how to fix her situation. I could tell it was stressful for her because she started to cry when she told me the amount. She had been living off of credit cards and piling up debt to take more improve and acting classes as she auditions for what she hopes will eventually be her big break.
I was a little surprised at the amount of money she owes, it was significant but also not impossible to erase. Based on what she was making working part-time, I guessed it would only take her about 6-12 months to eliminate all of it if she dove in and worked 50-60 hours per week.
My advice was simple: In life, sometimes we need to be very strategically unbalanced at times.
Tony Robbins talks a lot about this. A balanced life is a myth. It doesn't mean we give equal time every day towards our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs... To our family and friends, our work, and our hobbies. What he explains and what truly exceptional people have discovered is that the people that have the best balance while living at a very high level in life are periodically completely focused on one aspect of their lives until they take it from wherever they are on a scale of 1-10 and get it to a level 9 or level 10.
After doing this, they can pull back on that part of their lives, knowing it is in control of itself; they attack the next area. A fulfilled life is a never-ending cycle of seeing where you need to put your focus and constantly leveling up. This is how bodybuilders, professional athletes, authors, and business people alike create amazing bodies, careers, and products. This is how extraordinary happens!
I told her to quit her classes for the next year and to go full time in her job. She realized that in 4-5 months, her debt would be gone. This black cloud that hangs over her on every audition and in every acting session would be gone. Over that next 6-8 months, she could build up a reserve that would give her confidence as she auditions. She could focus on the roles she wants, knowing that she doesn't need any of them.
I explained to her that this is what I did to build up my business and my career. She didn't meet me until I was about 33 years old, and the version of me that she knows is the one that spends a lot of time now traveling, doing charity events, and still having time for things like my book and my family. She sees me as balanced because she didn't know me when I was in my 20's and I was working 60-70 hours per week for five years straight. She didn't see me when I went from age 24-31 without a single vacation over three days long. She didn't know that while I have visited 28 countries in the past 16 months, in that same span in my 20's I didn't leave the country for eight years!
She loved the idea. She agreed it was what she needed to do and thanked me for helping her see it. She was even a little surprised that she hadn't thought of that on her own. But then she said something that threw me completely off guard. Something I thought was common knowledge but now realize is not. Something that most people see the complete opposite way of reality. She asked me this;
"If you are working that hard, how do you keep from getting depressed?"
I knew at that moment that she had never put in 60 hours a week. She had never fallen asleep at the office in her suit or forgotten to eat until it was already too tired, and you choose to sleep because you don't have enough energy to make a sandwich instead. I knew all this because there is no way she would have asked that question if she had.
The truth is when you go home at the end of a long workday, and that comes at the end of a long work week, and you truly gave all you had to your work for that day, there are few better feelings in the world.
There are few better feelings than knowing that you gave it all you had today.
There are few better feelings than falling asleep as your head hits the pillow because you have completely exhausted any energy you had for that day.
It's very popular right now to talk about being depressed. I am sensitive to this issue because I know it is real, and it is dark when someone is suffering from it. But I also want to challenge you. If you are reading this and you think you might be depressed, spend the next 30 days giving more than you ever planned on giving. Get up early and hit the gym, read 30-60 minutes of an amazing book like, "The 5:00 am Club" or "Atomic Habits." Then go to work and leave your phone in the car. Give your boss everything you have, give your co-workers everything you have. Plan to stay 2-3 hours longer than you usually do and truly do something above and beyond that you ordinarily would not. Then go out and serve someone. Be strategic.
Find someone that needs help and give them your heart and soul. Give away whatever it is you want more of. Do you need more time in your life? Give it away! Do you need more money? Give it away! Do this consistently for 30 days, and you will realize that you have everything you have ever needed. You will live in abundance and gratitude, and you will grow your self-confidence, knowing that YOU control your own life. YOU control your own destiny. YOU get to write the script for how your day, month, year, and life turn out. It won't work every time, and there are lots of issues that come into play with depression. However, I can promise you this. You won't be more depressed because of the hard work.