The Comparison Trap

Do you spend your time, wondering what would it be like to be someone who is famous, the person who has so much money, you don’t have to worry about the bills anymore, or be the stunning creature who turn heads when they walk into a room, the person who has their choice of amazing designer clothes, or maybe you might want to be the person who lives in that gorgeous designer home, in an affluent suburb, where you can drive your fast and expensive car through the leafy green streets, or maybe you imagine being that person with a massive following on some social media platform? We look at people who have these things and toggle between idolizing them, aspiring to be them or despising them. These mother fuckers appear to have it all meanwhile you feel like your ship has sailed, leaving you standing on the dock. But don’t take the bait my friends.  You have to learn to shut that shit down. Comparing what you have, and what you wished you had to those who have it, will suck the life out of what little self-esteem you have, quicker than a thief in the night.

We compare our behind the scenes with everyone’s else’s highlight reel, causing us to question our accomplishments, appearance, personality traits, ultimately our self, who the fuck are we? Comparison is unavoidable, its human nature to compare ourselves to each other, but its what you do with those feelings that really matter. For some, the overwhelming feeling of ‘I’m Not good Enough”, takes over their mind and thoughts become like a cancer, they infiltrate and kills off self-esteem, confidence, self-worth and self-belief.

The number one rule in the game of life, never, ever allow someone or something to erode your self-esteem. Cos here’s what happens when your tank of self-esteem runs low, victim mentality, you choose to believe things like “I’m not lucky”, “I don’t deserve”, “I am inferior” you begin to believe you’re some kind of victim, a victim of life, circumstances, the actions of others, it’s always someone else’s fault, never yours. Your life becomes a birds nest of negative, ugly emotions, your trapped in the comparison trap, and right there is when you knowingly or subconsciously make the choice, to stop living. But here’s the thing, make no mistake, you have a choice. Sure it’s natural to compare, we all do it, but instead of allowing your mind to think you’re not good enough, take that negative emotion, you’re not good enough and use it, turn it into motivation use it as inspiration. If you think you’re not good enough then do something about it, its choice. The ball is in your court, don’t like what you see in the mirror, then do something about it, don’t like your job, your profession, then change careers, get a new job, not happy with your lover, end the relationship go find the love of your life,  it’s all up to you, you have a choice, stop wasting time on excuses, planning the blame game, because pity parties are for one.  Get clear on what you want from life, and go after it, when you know who you are and what you want from life, you begin to build a stronger sense of confidence and self-worth. It’s about being real with yourself. You deserve to be happy, and you can be happy, it all starts by making the choice. Refuse to loose.

I refuse, to allow cancer to take my hope!

Today I want to post a video I created this time last year when Covid first hit the world. I created the video because I could feel the world loose hope as the virus spread like an Australian wild fire. Today I am re-posting the video, because today my family received my mother’s diagnosis. And it feels like another C word, Cancer has drained my family of hope,.

I am at the fork in the road. I could easily go down the path of feeling sorry for myself, this is the third time cancer has hit my family, my father and father in law passed away from cancer. I could get angry, fuck life, this is bullshit, I don’t deserve. Instead, as my mother faces the biggest battle of her life, going round for round with lung cancer, I have made the choice to choose Hope! I refuse to take the other path, I am better than that, I will not let cancer beat me down, and take away the joy and happiness I share with my mother.

When life deals you a shit hand, you have a choice. For me, I refuse to sit back, a bystander and feel sorry for myself. Instead I am going to roll up my sleeves, put my gloves on and prepare to do battle, side by side with my  mum, I am going to summon all the hope and fight, to support my mum so we can beat this insidious disease.

Don’t ever forget, you have a choice. If you’re facing struggles in your own life, choose hope, summon the courage and strength and place it in hope, faith that you will make it through, because you will, you have too, because in the end, no one is coming to save you, only you can save yourself.

I hope you enjoy the clip 😊

Give in to hope – Refuse to give in to anything else !

What does success look like?

We all want to be successful. No one aspires to suck. So what does success look like, what the fuck is success?

Is success when you can say you own 5 properties like your some hard arse contender in the game of monopoly.

Is success when you can drive yourself around in some European labelled car.

Is success, some high powered career where you work sweat shop hours 60, 80 hour week, in exchange for your bosses praise, only you pass your partner like ships in the night or your kid calls the nanny mommy or daddy.

Or maybe you think success is about wearing designer threads, with the logos blazoned across the front so all the other dumb arses out there know, you’re the rich prick who’s stupid enough to pay $200 for a t-shirt, that self-promotes the brands name. 

Or is success defined by the number of followers who’ve signed up to your posts, nameless, faceless people you’ll never know, have merely served to elevate your ego.

Success is not about materialism, success is not predicated on the dumb shit you buy to impress the people, who don’t care about you, the people you don’t even know, or will never know. Success does not belong to those beautiful people, manicured to an inch of their lives, so they can shine in their tick tock, insta, pintrest bubbles.

Success belongs to those people who go after what they want from life, who get kicked to the mother fucking curb, time and time again in their pursuit, knocked down in the arena of life, and yet they spring back up, like the proverbial Jack in the box.

Success is a status reserved for those who know what they want, they go after what they want with vengeance, with determination, with single bloody mindlessness, …  why because nothing else matters but the achievement of their dream. Success is a title for those people who show up, they summon courage from deep within, to step back into that ring, having had the shit kicked out of them, failure after failure. With gloves drawn, bruised and battered but ready to fight another round. That’s success.

You see people success is not about what you fucken own or creating the picture perfect image, a version 2.0 of yourself in the hope, that dear god some mother fucker out there will like you. Success is a choice, it’s about refusing to loose. Going after what you want from life, stepping outside your comfort zone, getting uncomfortable with failure, digging deep to draw on your resilience. And it all starts with one freaken choice.  Life is not a dress rehearsal, find what you are passionate about, and go after it. Do not give up when the going gets hard. Everyone can be successful but it’s a choice. What choice are you going to make.

You can not enjoy life, if you follow a set of instructions, this is not Ikea

Ever noticed how self-help books and materials, form a list of instructions. Each chapter detailing step by step what you need to do to become a better version of you. I’ve always struggled with books that list life like it is a recipe, a set of instructions, a methodology required to achieve happiness, goals and your life long desires. “Do XYZ, and you’ll achieve happiness, inner peace, conqueror your fear or find true love. Titles that read, “10 Simple Steps to a Better You”, or “Eight Steps to Happiness”, some even drag a little science into their titles for extra qualification, “Happier Human: 53 Science-Backed Habits to Increase Your Happiness”. The self-improvement industry treats their readers as insufficient, lacking some essential characteristic or need, ranging from beauty, health, wealth, finance, sexual partners, marital happiness, and then offers itself up as the quintessential solution, in a certain number of steps.  “You too can actually become the successful person you wish to become, following this list and viola”. There’s even been studies on the magical number of steps. According to #### 7 is an attractive number. I have never found self-improvement books to work, for me I had to work my own shit out, which meant I had to make the hard choices, dig deep into vulnerability, courage and determination. In some cases, taking the advice from a page of type, has done more harm than good. But its left me wondering, if self-help … self-improvement was so bloody effective, we’d follow the set of instructions and we’d all have bodies to die for, six pack abs, great health, a positive attitude, untold financial wealth, abundance of love, in summary … the life of our dreams. Wouldn’t we?

You are a product of a unique set of circumstances and experiences. It is insulting to assume the application of a defined number of steps will lead to the very same outcome, it is a cookie cutter approach and it doesn’t work. It’s like assuming the recipe for a cake as featured in a glossy foodie magazine, will result in the same stunning cake sensationally pictured on the front cover, time and time again, irrespective of who makes the cake. After all the recipe calls for a set number of ingredients, along with a defined number of actions. But we all know you can give that same recipe to twenty different people and you’ll end up with twenty unique cakes. Why is it we get the same advice and yet some people fail to follow it. No two people are the same, because of variables, such as lifestyle, personality traits and circumstances. There are too many, moving parts in our lives for one size fits all solution. The factors that led to your experience of say, resentment, disappointment, anger, loss and so on will be unique to you. Just as what you define as happiness is specific to you.  A specified set of steps, is exactly that, do this to get that. But what step by step approach doesn’t address is what will it take for you to complete those steps? It does not provide the discipline to stick to the program, that can only ever come from within YOU. Only you are truly accountable for doing the work. And like I will continue to repeat in this book, NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU! You and you only are your saviour. Let’s take an example, there are thousands of healthy eating books on the shelves of bookstores on and off line around the world, there is a superhighway jammed with information on how to eat healthy, no one in this modern world can really claim they don’t know how to eat healthy. Yet why is it we all find it so difficult to stick to a healthy diet? It’s because, whether you make a change or not, it’s down to you. The freaken answer is that simple. It’s not sexy, since it doesn’t sell books, it doesn’t sell courses, or provide some guru with a stream of income, but fundamentally that’s the answer. You will begin to learn throughout my rants, my book, the answer is YOU. And there lays the problem! No one has access to the intricate workings inside your head, to make you do anything ultimately you don’t want too. You have to make that choice yourself, the seven step program of some self-help online course cannot do it for you. You and you alone are solely responsible for the choices you make and whether you decide to stick with them or not.

The Self Help Vortex

There is a psychological trap, that is so well hidden we have no idea its sabotaging our efforts to simply survive the jungle of life. Its fueled by the self-help movement, the more we try to find, utopia, whatever that is for you, peace, happiness, love the more we suffer. Sadly, for many people they have no idea they are caught in a vortex of personal development, they swirl around and around, desperately seeking a solution to problems, sometimes where no problems actually exist.  It like a dog chasing their tail, continually controlled by the desire to experience the end goal.

I have no doubt, the self-help industry, means well. But their only making things worse. Its self-perpetuating and the only ones to profit are the self-help gurus, who’ve insisted you’ll find that elusive resolution, if you only visualize it, create some fucken whacky story board, or drink some gross connotation to cleanse your evil sole. Why is it the industry grew by %, if the solution is as easy, and as readily available as these gurus have us believe. The real answer lies in the fact that maybe the resolution is within you and all you have to do is actually choose, persist and stick with your choice. Whoa, wait a moment it’s that simple – yes as a matter of fact it is, make a choice and bloody stick to it. If you want to lose weight, start a business, resolve family conflict, get over an ex-lover, start a new relationship, whatever it is, STOP MAKING FREAKING EXCUSES AND GET ON WITH IT. Stop wasting time, going from one self-help guru to another. 

It’s not like life is a stage rehearsal, you have one shot at the title. Seriously you know what you need to do, at the heart of most issues people know what they need to do, what they don’t want to do is make the choices they know they need to make. Which raises the question, how do you motivate someone to act? And that is the answer everyone is looking for, how do I stop eating bad food, how do get myself to exercise more, get over a broken heart, fix my financial woes.  If you are turning to self-help to work this shit out, then stop your wasting your precious time. It is only YOU who can do the doing, and as I will repeat many times over and over, NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU, this shit is all on you.

Sure, the self-help movement might provide you with a momentary flash of inspiration to act, but ultimately who keeps you accountable? That work, is all on you. Once you’ve read the gurus book of seven steps to a better you, or listened to the pod cast, had your fill of inspirational quotes, visualization, who is ultimately responsible for the implementation?

That’s right, YOU. Refuse to lose!, Make the tough decisions and get on with life!

Make the Choice – Refuse to Lose

On Amazon, my book is classified under the banner of self-help. Which absolutely pisses me off to no end. It’s unfortunate and misleading, since I don’t believe my book, Refuse to Lose is a self-help book. Rather it is a book on my experiences, I hope to provide an alternative perspective for my audience through relatable experiences, I am definitely not a self-help guru. The limited range of categories offered by Amazon Kindle Publishing forces me into the category ‘self-help’.  Why does it piss me off? Because I despise the million dollar self-help industry and all that it stands for. The self-help market is flooded with books that either advocate some 12 step program, or they promote a list of specific must have characteristics, that if you can develop will ensure you achieve your hopes and dreams. But here’s the cold hard truth, it’s all freaken bullshit. Many self-help resources are written by experts in their field who’s experience is limited to the theory they’ve studied, or they piggy back off their patients experiences. Few resources are written by experts who have faced genuine struggle, and adversity. Because if they were, they’d realize the answer to how you can enjoy a life filled with happiness, and all those aspirational objectives is really relatively simple. All you have to do is,

“Make a choice” 

That’s it people! Irrespective of the objective, goal or dream your trying to achieve, whatever it is your going after, the only way to achieve it is to make a choice. If you want to lose weight, then make the choice. Want to go to college … make the choice. Want to end a toxic relationship, make the choice. Want to meet Mr or Mrs Right, make the choice. It’s just not that simple, I hear you cry. Well yes it is. You make the choice and you focus all your energy and attention on that choice. I can already hear the reactions of many of you and they all start with “But”.  Buts are just another opportunity to make more choices.

Stop over complicating things! Stop making excuses, you are in total control of your life. You don’t need a ten step plan to realize if you want to lose weight, eat a healthy diet and exercise more, these are choices you need to make, if weight loss is the goal. Do you really think a guru on the seven steps to infinite inspiration is going to get you on the treadmill pounding out those miles? No that’s a choice you need to make on your own. Its high time, many of us realize, we are all accountable for our choices, we cannot afford to outsource our personal development to some self-professed life expert. If we stick with the weight loss analogy, who do you think is there to stop you over indulging in cake? Not the self-help guru, that’s on you. You need to own your choices, be accountable.

“But what if I don’t like the choices available?” Then you have another choice to make, you either confront the fear, examining the reason behind the fear, or choose another path, in order to achieve your goal. For example, those of you intimidated by the thought of going to a gym, where the equipment is as foreign as a second ,language,  your negative internal chatter will happily use this as your Achilles heal, pardon the pun. You’ll  tell yourself, you can’t get fit, because joining a gym is out of the question, whether it be due to financial reasons or just purely because you can’t stand the smell of the sweat and grind, so then you make a new choice. Choose another means to get in your daily dose of exercise. Once you make the choice to pursue an objective, just sticking to your initial choice, will prompt several more choices, and so begins the cycle of internal chatter. Your choice to lose weight for example may call into question who you are, it might challenge you, push you to confront deeper issues, move you out of the comfort zone. Whilst it is easy to say, ‘make a choice and stick with it’ it’s not as simple to do. Which is why self-help resources are limiting. No one, other than yourself can talk down the internal chatter in your head, it’s a choice, whether you listen to it or not is up to you. That’s right, you need to choose which voice of reason, you’re going to listen too.

Nearly all of my tougher choices involved facing my own fears head on. Some choices I had to dig deep and lean into my courage and determination to persist. These choices demanded I look at the ugly parts of who I am and address them.  When I could finally admit I had developed an addiction to pharmaceutical pain killers, I summoned the courage and made the decision to stop. This choice, lead to the honest self-reflection, of why I felt the need to get lost in a haze of oxycodone.

Not all of the choices you need to make will lead you to utopia, rose kisses and unicorns. Some choices will take you down a dark path that reveals more about yourself than perhaps you bargained for, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make that choice.  In fact when you start to make the hard choices is when you truly begin to grow, develop and build on your mental strength. It takes mental fortitude to find the determination to stick to your choices.

Self-help often serves to over complicate matters. It serves as another convenient excuse, another reason to justify why you can’t do something. Am I being callous, insensitive, or just a plan bitch, since I don’t know your back story, what you’ve been through, your struggles? Whilst I may not know your plight, you can be rest assured of one thing, I am certain you are not alone, we all experience struggles, we are all challenged at one time or another, your story, like my own is not the exception.

Life is a series of choices, you have to decide for yourself. No one will do it for you. My book Refuse to Lose, is based on my life experiences, I do not give plans, or guides I have simply detailed my own struggles, warts and all, and the choices I had to make to overcome the challenges life threw my way. Often when I detail snippets from my own shit show, I experience reactions like “How did you get through?” The question would perplex me, in my own mind I had assumed “Like I had a choice”. Reflecting on my answer, it began to dawn on me, Yes I did have a choice, I refused to lose. The mantra had become an attitude so ingrained in my soul, I didn’t even realize it’s how I inherently approached every challenge, obstacle, adversity that came my way.

Make no mistake, you can read hundreds of self-help books and resources, in the end you will still need to make the necessary choices, if you want to achieve the life you have set for yourself. No guru, is able to leap off the page and make that choice for you, or help you do the work required to support your choices. Sure you may be inspired to make the choices you need to make, but at the end of the day you still have to do the doing yourself no one is going to do it for you. You still need to show up and choose to put in. 

I am sure one could argue that self-help leads you there, but the reality is, the only person who is going to save you is … well you guessed it … YOU.

Refuse to lose and make the choices you need to make to live the life you deserve!

Become Your Own Hero

Hi I’m Sonia Williams, author of Refuse to Lose, Lessons in how to successfully play the game of life. Welcome to my blog. I want to kick start these entries with a brief discussion on why I wrote my book. At the heart of why I wrote is a desire to demonstrate we all face struggles, we are all challenged by the indiscriminate bullshit life throws our way, some of it deserved some not. As the years have rolled on in my own life, I have noticed a distinct softening in the resolve of society. I could certainly write another book on why I think this is, but that’s not the purpose here. I want to explain, and show through my own lived experiences how you can overcome challenges, adversity, how with the right mindset you can accomplish the realistic expectations that you have set for yourself. How you can become your own hero.

Refuse to Lose details a series of events that have occurred over the course of my life, starting with the failings of my father, my parents toxic relationship, the fight to get to university and establish a career rising out of poverty, sexual assault, affairs, betrayal, a marriage break up, taking the entrepreneurial leap into starting up my own business, failing during the GFC, struggling to fall pregnant, battling endometriosis over 27 surgical procedures resulting in a complete hysterectomy, spinal surgery that lead to the fusion of my spine, battling menopause, addiction to pharmaceutical pain killers, the list is long as is my experience in fortifying my mindset to successfully overcome these land mines. Has it been easy, fuck no! My life resembles a roll coaster ride of highs and lows. The one overarching lesson I have learnt and continue to reinforce in my day to day life Refuse to Lose. If I want to rise above, fulfil the expectations I have for myself, I have one choice, Refuse to Lose. It’s that simple.

Conditioning my mindset to never give in, never give up is an ongoing lifelong task. It requires constant reinforcement. You don’t wake up one morning, to discover overnight you have morphed into a superhuman being, with a fortified mindset for crushing goals. Refusing to lose, takes bravery, determination and commitment. When you take on the attitude of “Refuse to lose”, you take on your mindset. Mastering your mindset is the most difficult task you will ever undertake. As I discuss in my book, we have two internal voices. There is the voice of reason, and then there is the other one. The other internal voice is much like that dooms dayer, party pooper who turns up uninvited, they have nothing to contribute other than the black cloud of negative doom and gloom that follows them.

From a very young age, I quickly realized as the chief, captain of my own ship, the control and management of this unruly critic, the negative internal voice would become my life’s work. It takes an incredible amount of discipline and control to govern the negative chatter that spews from this voice, like verbal diarrhea. If allowed to slip out of control, that negative internal critic will happily stage a coup. You may not even see it coming since the voice operates largely incognito. In a matter of several seamless moves, that inner voice can take over your thought process, hijack your reasoning, rational and logic. Before you know it, it will have mastered your mind leaving you feeling like nothing more than an empty shell. This is why engaging in combat with your internal critic is a daily battle, for which you must adopt the philosophy “Refuse to Lose”.

Refuse to Lose is not a self-help book, it is written based on experiences that I hope to share so you may learn how I managed to master my mindset in order to enjoy the amazing life I have created for myself.