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When nothing goes right, go left

Everyone has been there – that situation where it feels like nothing is going right in your life. Where you try and you try but nothing goes right. Where you put your all in to something and you don’t get the results you were after and you’re just left with the thought of “nothing ever goes my way”. Well, when you’re left feeling lost and angry when nothing goes right, there is an answer. And it’s an answer that is going to require tonnes of energy and hard work to push through the pain. And that answer? Well, the title of this post, of course! – When nothing goes right, go left!

Let’s explore this more.

"When nothing goes right, go left" quote by unknown
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“When nothing goes right go left” meaning

Like the similar phrase of “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, the meaning of “when nothing goes right, go left” is that, if you find yourself in a situation in life that you don’t like (i.e., when nothing goes right), then turn it on its head (i.e., go left)! It could be like the lemonade example, in that you actually turn the negative in to a positive, or it could be that you change things drastically and switch things up.

Let’s say that you keep applying for jobs online and don’t seem to be getting any responses, could you switch things up and apply in person where most people don’t? Or if you keep dating people who you meet on nights out that turn out to be… not quite what you expected, could you switch it up and stop looking when you’re out drinking and, instead, meet people doing an activity you like? Or if you just can’t seem to get that promotion you really want and you really need some more cash, could you start a side business that makes you some extra money per month?

Essentially, this phrase is about taking a situation where it feels like nothing is going right and turning it around so that you try something new/make it go right/or use it to your advantage. So, fundamentally, the definition of “when nothing goes right go left” would be, to turn a negative situation in to a positive one.


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Simon Sinek quote on learning when things go wrong not right - "We don't learn 
much when 
goes right. We 
learn the most 
when things 
go wrong."
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Is nothing going right in your life? Are you sure?

So there’s a strong chance you’re stuck in a headspace thinking that nothing ever goes your way or nothing ever goes right for you. This is a very dangerous mindset to be in. This is a purely negative mindset, and has the strong chance of leading you down more and more negative paths so that all you see is negativity.

If you feel like nothing goes right or that nothing is working out in your life, I urge you to stop, close your eyes, take a breath, and just let yourself sit for a while. Try not to think about these feelings of everything going wrong and just let yourself be.

When you’ve done that, ask your mind to think about all the positive things you have going for you. I know, I know – you get told this all the time and you really don’t want to because you just want to focus on how bad everything is (trust me, we’ve all been there). But please just trust me when I say that that won’t help you. Force yourself to stop and think about the positive. It’s impossible to be negative when you are grateful for things, so this is an excellent way to bring your positivity levels back up, even just a little bit, so that you can start to move on from feeling like nothing is going right. So these could be things like a good job, stable house, loving partner, good body, strong work ethic, quick wit, good looks, good with numbers, good at talking to people, and so on.

Try and think of even 5 things that are positive in your life and, when you are done, write them down so that you can go back to them and always know they are there.

Elvis Presley quote on when things don't go right go left - "When things
go wrong,
don't go
with them."
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Now that you have some feeling of gratitude about you, try and think specifically about things that DO go right for you. Do you find that people find you easy to get on with? That’s something that goes right for you because a lot of people find it hard to converse with others. Do you find that opportunities flow your way, even if they are not ones that you are interested in? Just because they aren’t ones you want, doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t a way of things going right for you. Or was there something in the past that went really right for you? For example, are you married and found the love of your life? It may have been a long time ago, but it’s proof that some things DO go right for you, and that gives you a good chance to move on.

So, hopefully, rather than being stuck thinking “nothing ever goes my way”, you will start to see that some things do go your way. Rather than feeling like nothing goes right, you can focus on the things that do go right and give your mind the opportunity to move on. Rather than thinking nothing is working out in your life, you can see parts of your life where things really have worked out.

Do these exercises as many times as you can, for as long as you can, and as often as you need to, and hopefully you will start to see the ways that things go right for you, even if they are only small things, infrequently!

Michael Jordan quote on turning a negative into a positive - "Always turn
a negative
situation into
a positive
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What to do when nothing goes right

So hopefully you’ve done those exercises and feel a little bit more receptive to doing something about your situation. But that’s just it – you are still in that situation. So we do need to do something about it. And it’s all very well being told, “if nothing goes right go left”, but what does it mean, exactly, to go left?

Well, that can really mean anything you want it to as long as you are switching things up. And this really takes some work. You are going to have to get yourself in to a positive mindset before you can start to think about how you will “go left”. It’s no use having no energy or feeling down because your mind will find it incredibly hard to see ways to move forwards.

So do whatever you need to do to get in to that positive mindset – go for a run, meditate, listen to empowering music – whatever works for you. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. And I know this can feel extremely hard and feel like a massive struggle when you feel really down about yourself and feel like nothing is working out in your life. But trust me when I say you have to take the hard steps that you don’t want to do in order to feel better about it.

Once you have got yourself to feel more positive about your life and your situation, you need to brainstorm the different ways you can switch things up in your situation. If you’re looking for a new job, does that mean asking friends, asking strangers, going in person, making a video résumé, etc? If you want some more spare cash could you get a new job, start a side business, drive for Uber, do food deliveries, or so on? If you have applied to college but didn’t get it, could you wait another year and take more classes? Could you re-evaluate if you even wanted to do that degree anyway? Could you start your own company? Or if you have your own company but you are not seeing the results you want, could you reach out to new networks you have not tried? Could you experiment with online advertising? Could you get out face-to-face with potential clients? Could you branch out on to YouTube? What else could you do?

Christina Aguilera quote on when nothing goes right go left - "People expect 
me to cry, 
but I always 
laugh when 
things go wrong."
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What is important with this is to spend dedicated, focused time where you will not be disturbed. Write as fast as you can, and try not to think, because thinking often gets in the way.

And if you are still stuck and just can’t get the energy to get yourself positive or to ask yourself to find a way forwards, you can try the good Tony Robbins trick question of saying to yourself something like, “I know I can’t think of any way to try something new, but if I HAD TO say a new way I could think about this/try this, what would that look like?” I.e., FORCE yourself to come up with at least one answer. And if you can come up with one answer, you can come up with two, and if you can come up with two, you can come up with three, and so on.

So, again, the steps to take when you’re asking yourself what to do when nothing goes right, are:-

  1. Ask yourself if nothing is ACTUALLY going right in your life.
  2. Get grateful about the things that ARE going right in your life or HAVE GONE right in your life up until this point.
  3. Get in a positive mindset.
  4. Brainstorm all the ways you can change things up in your situation.
  5. If all else fails, force yourself to come up with at least one way you can switch things up.
Neil Gaiman quote on when nothing goes right go left - "When things 
go wrong, 
this is what 
you should do. 
Make good art."
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Conclusion – If nothing goes right, go left

I hope this post has helped you if you are caught in the mindset of feeling like nothing goes right. It’s not a fun place to be in, but I promise you that if you take the steps outlined in this post, you will start to feel better and you will find a way through and be able to turn the situation around.

That is what this post and the saying “if nothing goes right go left” is all about – being able to have the mindset to take any negative situation you are in and turn it around.

It may seem hard at first, but with determination, courage, and positive energy, you will be able to do it. And the more you do it, the easier it will become, so eventually these kinds of difficult situations don’t really affect you anymore.

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Further Reading

If you have decided you want to take drastic action and go and do something completely different with your life, maybe you are pondering if you should follow your dreams or if it’s ever too late to go after your dreams. If so, those posts should help you.

If you have read this post and decided that you want to develop the ability to change things up when needed, or if you already feel like you have that ability, then congratulations! This is one of the key signs of success that show you are on your way to being successful in life! Check this post out on the other signs of success if you want to know the other traits that will help you to get success in life.

When you are deep in the mindset of feeling like nothing is going right, it can be really hard to get yourself out of it. So it would be far better if you never got in to that mindset in the first place. I would encourage you to read this post on defining yourself, which talks about the importance of defining who you are and who you want to be, so that you are resilient in these sorts of situations and so that you find it easier to do things like keep a positive mindset.

If you feel like nothing goes right or nothing ever goes your way, then there is a chance you might also have thoughts of feeling like a failure. If so, please check out that post which talks about how to move on from feeling like a failure. Or check out this post if you feel like you suck at everything and you want to figure out how to not suck at everything.

Finally, you may also be thinking about the fact that you hate your job. If so, check out that post to get ideas on what to do if you hate your job.


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When nothing goes right, go left. Top tips for success when things go wrong
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Disclaimer: Nothing on this website should be taken as medical or other professional advice. You should always seek the advice of a professional, qualified person.  

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