Pastry and persistence

So, today I tried something new in the kitchen that involved shortcrust pastry.

My hopes were high but unfortunately the end result was pretty terrible.

I tried to rectify it but to no avail.

I found myself feeling a little frustrated because it wasn’t a complicated dish and I thought it was going well, until it wasn’t.

But once I got thinking I realised that it wasn’t so bad. I was lucky enough that there was plenty of other food in my house so I didn’t have to go hungry.

And then I moved on to thinking about what went wrong and what I could do differently next time in order to improve the outcome. I could roll the pastry thinner, I could cook the pastry for longer, I could use less egg for the filling or I could follow a recipe properly rather than just for the amount of butter and flour for the pastry.

The bottom line is that I tried something new and it didn’t work out how I had hoped. That’s something that happens a lot in life and I think the issue is that we consider it to be a bad thing when in fact it’s a normal thing.

It’s normal for things to not work out sometimes especially when it’s something you’re doing for the first time. It’s all just part of the learning process. And if you’re willing to try again, then there’s a possibility that things can get better.

When your readers hate your best ideas

If often goes that the pieces you put the most effort into, spent the most time writing and generally are the ones you put the most heart into are the least popular.

Turns out sometimes your reader won’t be as enamored with the work that you consider to be your best, in fact they may hate it.

And so you may now find yourself with the dilemma of whether you should continue sharing what you consider to be your best work when your readers don’t seem to like it.

For me the answer is yes, your work should be about so much more than simply pleasing the reader.

Just because something isn’t popular, doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good or that it isn’t appreciated.

Wants and actions

There is often a gap between what we want and our actions.

For example you could say that you want to be a writer but you never take up the opportunity to share your work or get feedback.

Or maybe you want to move to a new city but you never look for jobs outside the city you currently live in.

In situations like this, when you’re actions don’t align with what you say you want it’s quite unlikely that things will ever work out.

And maybe you don’t really want the things you think you want but maybe you do.

This is why it is so useful to reflect and check. You might not even realise that if you just make a few small changes you can start making good progress towards the things you want.

Knowing when to be open

There is a time to be open and there is a time to be less open.

It’s important to choose wisely.

Being open with people can be a great way to create understanding and build a connection. But it should also be appropriate to the situation. The openness required to create understanding with a romantic partner and a manager are very different.

Plus, the level of openness is also affected by the boundaries in place by others and also ourselves.

If a client asks how you’re weekend was the boundaries you have in place will ensure the openness is fairly restrictive. But if a friend asked you”re more likely to go into signififcnatly greater detail and divulge information that you may not share with anyone else.

These thoughts about openness and boundaries are nothing new or revolutionary but I do think it’s interesting to think about. It gets even more interesting when you observe the way openness decreases and increases as relationships change. Perhaps as a colleague becomes a manager or a friend becomes a romantic partner.

Reasons to log out

Every so often I log out of social media.

I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.

I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.

I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.

And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

Better days

Some days will be more challenging than others.

There will be difficult days and then there will be better days.

It’s easy to forget when things are challenging and difficult that they won’t be that way forever.

It’s easy to focus on the thing that is not going to plan and you can end up doing it so much that you lose the ability to see past it.

But just because today is difficult, doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Maybe tomorrow (or the next day) will be better.

Hoping for better

Often we look at situations and systems that are in place and we hope for better.

We are able to identify there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be.

And even if you have no idea how to bridge the gap, identifying it is the perfect place to begin.

You can then start thinking about how things could be better and what sort of changes should be implemented.

You can start asking useful questions like why certain things are the way they are and what can be done to change them.

Of course it is not solely up to you to make change as it would be impossible for one person to do it all. However, I think a bunch of individuals that are willing to hope for better than what we currently have is exactly what we need.

We need people that are willing to ask the right questions, people that are willing to say maybe we should try something different and most of all people that are willing to act even if they don’t directly benefit.

Change takes time

You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.

It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.

And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.

Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.

But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.

4 ideas for daily blogging

Prior to starting a daily blog my biggest worry was figuring out what to write about.

Daily blogging might seem daunting but once you figure out the kinds of things you want to share it suddenly becomes much easier. Below are 4 ideas for daily blogging that are wide enough that you won’t get bored and narrow enough that you can explain it in a short sentence.

A photo a day

Each day take a photo and share it, that’s it. You don’t need to explain the context behind it, you don’t even have to edit it. The title of each post could be a name for the image or a title that says something about your day in 10 words or less.

Lesson learnt

Share something that you’ve learnt, each day. It could be a few sentences on how smiling at other people increases your happiness or maybe sumarrise a few key points from an interesting article you read.

Comment on the news

Make each post about something you’ve seen in the news and share your opinion. You don’t need to be an expert in the area you choose to write about but you do need to share something thoughtful that is worth reading.

Ideas

Each day share an idea. It could be related to one specific or just life overall and it doesn’t have to be new. Some examples are ideas on how to better care for the environment, fictional characters or improving your life.

Each of these daily blogging ideas are great starting points. Each one will force you to pay more attention to life as the moment you have to take a photo or comment on something, the more you start paying attention.

The most important thing

Often in life the thing causing the most anxiety and frustration is not particularly important in the long term. If you were to assess it in the grand scheme of life and death you’ll probably find that it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.

We tend to get swept up in how other people feel and what other people will think (in general but mainly towards us). We do this because we are eager to please, want to be liked and we convince ourselves that if we just try hard enough we can control what other people think and feel towards us.

But instead of getting swept up in other people, think about yourself. Have you even considered that what you feel and think is important too?

More to the point, maybe how you think and feel is actually the most important thing.