What to Do When You Feel Nothing is Working

“I can’t do this anymore. Nothing is working.”

If we’re being honest with ourselves, we can probably admit to feeling this way at some point in our lives. Probably several times in our lives.

But is it really true?

Is nothing at all working?

Or could there be something else going on?

I’m here to shed light on this common phrase.

So let’s unpack it together.

Nothing is Working

It’s an extreme place to get to. But it happens more often than we would like to admit.

I’ve been there myself. There’s something about the finality of that statement. NOTHING is working. It’s tempting to make a comment or have a thought like that because it seems so official. When nothing seems to be going right in life, we occasionally latch onto words to make a point, to give us some sense of control.

But what we fail to realize is that we have more influence over our reality than we think.

“Nothing is working,” if we were to make a very specific analysis of it, would literally mean that everything around is broken. It would mean that anything and everything we try to do fails and blows up in our face. Every person frowns and walks away. Every appliance starts smoking and whistling. Everything. Is. Broken.

When I put it that way, I actually feel foolish for making such extreme statements.

But there’s something you need to realize.

It’s not your fault when your brain jumps to these conclusions. Your brain has evolved to protect you from danger, so it will do whatever it can to protect you. Even if the thoughts it conjures up don’t make sense in reality.

It’s Not Your Fault

It’s not your fault when your brain jumps to these conclusions. Your brain has evolved over thousands and thousands of years to protect you from danger, so it will do whatever it can to protect you. Even if the thoughts it conjures up don’t make sense in reality.

“Nothing is working” is a way for your brain to tell you to step back and stop taking action. It sounds great in theory. But there’s only one teeny problem.

It doesn’t work.

Interestingly enough, it is precisely taking more action that will get you out of the funk that you’re in. But there’s a catch. It needs to be certain kinds of actions. It needs to be something different than what you’re currently doing.

You see, the brain, as much as it wants to protect you, also wants you to do what’s familiar. But doing this is a recipe for boredom and more problematic thinking.

Have you heard of the phrase, “What fires together, wires together?”

In a nutshell, it means that the weird, spindly neurons in your head — those dastardly nerve cells-will route stronger pathways for the actions that you do more often over time. So if you constantly take the same actions while saying to yourself, “Nothing is working,” you’re essentially wiring your brain to make that a reality.

Soon enough, your brain associates your actions with certain thoughts and feelings.

This sounds awful, and it is. In a sense. But it’s also not.

You Can Change Your Brain Through Action

We now know that the brain doesn’t exist in a fixed state. It can change over time.

Neurons that were wired one way can rewire to go another way. All it takes is consistent action in another direction.

This is what I recommend that you do.

Try to catch yourself when you are thinking or saying extreme statements — statements like “This is impossible” or “This is never going to work” or “My mother-in-law is the most evil person in the world.”

Awareness is what helps break the cycle. Once you notice what you’re doing, now I want you to think about what you were doing right before you had those thoughts. And also think about what you did right after you had those thoughts. It’s likely a pattern you’ve played out over and over.

Now, here’s the big switcharoo. And it’s easier said than done.

I want you to STOP doing what you’re doing. You have to pick new actions. If you’ve done something so much that you’ve wired your brain into an extreme state, you need to choose new actions that will wire your brain in a better, more functional way.

Do whatever you can to change the pattern. Keep a notebook nearby so that you can write down the old action and list NEW actions right next to it. Write down a couple of ideas. Read them over and over, so the next time you get into never-going-to-work mode you can select a new action to try.

Believe me, this is effective. You just have to remember to do it.

Long story short, “Nothing is working” is a lie that your brain tells you.

It’s convenient for your brain, but it’s not convenient for you. To change this, you need to change your reality. And to change your reality, you need to change your actions.

It’s totally doable, but it requires awareness.

So start the process. Notice where you slip up. Don’t beat yourself about it. Just smile and thank your silly brain for keeping your ancestors safe from danger. And then choose a path that’s more fitting for this modern reality we live in.

You can change your brain and, in time, change your reality.