What matters most?

When it comes to what is important sometimes we confuse external pressures or expectations with what really matters to us personally.

In doing so we end up focusing on and prioritising the wrong things.

These external things could come from work, family or friends and they overwhelm us because we aren’t clear about what we’re willing to give.

Maybe you end up working late because you have a lot of deadlines in a short period of time and it’s important that it gets done. But, if you take the time to think it turns out that what matters most to you is that you have time to de-stress as being busy has you in a constant state of overwhelm.

It’s important that the work get’s done but our wellbeing is what matters most.

Even if you know what matters most sometimes it still turns out that we’re not able to acknowledge and take action in the moment. It’s only upon reflection that we’re able to identify what we should have done at the time.

Other peoples opinions

Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing the things that we want to do because we put others above ourselves.

We choose to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, as if that is our responsibility. It often results in not doing the things that we want to do.

In the moment, it might feel like the right choice but in the long run it often leads to regret or resentment.

It could be staying in a ‘good job’ when you actually want to pursue something that is held in a much lower regard by the people you know, maybe it pays less too. You’re worried that people will tell you you’re making a mistake, of the looks you’ll get at the family dinner when they ask how work is going, you want to please your parents and you don’t want other people to think that you’ve regressed.

So, you stick with your current job that you’re no longer interested in.

Overtime you grown to resent those people around you because even though they’re happy with where you’re at in life, you’re miserable. It feels like it’s their fault. But, deep down you know that your misery comes from you caring about other peoples opinions more than you care about making yourself happy.

The lesson here is to learn to put yourself first. How you feel about your life and the choices you make matters so much more than what other people think.

What would Jimi Hendrix do?

It could be Jimi Hendrix or it could be Jesus .

As much as I am a champion for being yourself and searching within to find your own way, I think having someone that inspires you can be incredibly helpful.

It can helpful when you’re just starting out and haven’t quite found your own flow yet but it can also be helpful as a reminder no matter where you are on your journey.

I think issues can arise when you’re trying to be like another person so I think it’s important to be very conscious of how you use this tool/technique.

If you’re trying to become like the other person doing the same things that they’ve done or changing your appearance to look like them, you’re not quite heading down the right path. A healthy way to do it is to identify the qualities of the person that cause you to look up to or be inspired by them and know that those qualities are also within you.

And so when you ask yourself ‘What would Jimi Hendrix do?‘ what you’re actually asking is something like ‘In this moment, how can be more creative?’.

Don’t try, just be

I think it could be said that one of the biggest things that holds us back is that we try to hard to be a specific type of way or create a certain kind of thing. Often our efforts go into emulating what we have already seen done and the way that we think or have been told that things should be.

When this occurs instead of just doing our work and creating, we put limits on ourselves.

Suddenly, the ideas you have end up being tweaked and altered because you haven’t seen things done that way and you’d rather go with what’s been seen to work.

I think a reason we do this is because we don’t have enough self belief to really do things the way we want plus, we want things to work out.

When you’re someone that creates, you never want to put your heart and soul into something and it not be well received. People not taking to your work feels personal because it came from you and often we end up internalising that feeling and coming up with stories like ‘I’m not good enough…’.

The way to avoid all this is to just be, just create. The more you create, the more you find your own flow and no longer feel like you need to mimic others. The work you do will become so much more gratifying.

The more you create, the more you lower the stakes. The first time you create something that comes from you might be scary but over time once it becomes more familiar, it will get easier.

Accepting change

It’s one thing to know it happens but to accept it is a whole other story.

You might find that you’ve become so comfortable with the way things are that the thought of them being any different is just too much to bear.

But change is part of life and no matter how much you try to hold on, things will always keep changing.

Choosing to be resistant instead of accepting change just delays the inevitable causing unnecessary levels of anxiety, stress, sadness and frustration. because

Think of change like the tide, it’s so much easier to go with it than against it.

How to get better at receiving feedback?

Getting feedback can be terrifying.

Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.

I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.

And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.

But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.

And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.

But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.

Knowing when to pivot

There is a popular saying goes something like ‘insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results’.

But what’s worth understanding is that sometimes you need to do the same thing over and over again.

Take meditation for example, it’s very rare that you get it the first time. It could take ten times, that doesnt mean you should stop.

Or, maybe you’re an artist taking your work to galleries, or a writer pitching to publications. Just because things don’t work out the first or 15th time, doesn’t mean you should stop. But, of course if you’re doing something that costs money don’t go broke trying to make things work.

I think it’s good to have the determination to keep going even when things aren’t working out.

But it’s also important to know when to pivot. The end goal doesn’t need to change but maybe your approach should.

Big problems and small solutions

Sometimes we assume that the solution to a problem has to be complicated. We overlook the little things forgetting how big an impact can be caused by something small.

And so we go in search of something complicated but to no avail. Then the problem continues and maybe even grows which causes us to become more frustrated.

Until finally we decide to start small, to have a conversation, to go to bed a little earlier or to drink more water.

In time the problem will begin to dissolve until suddenly it’s gone. However, it’s important to remember that these small solutions aren’t quick fixes. It could take weeks of conversations to fix a big problem.

There’s no need for survival mode

A while back I came to the realisation that unless your basic needs like food, air and shelter etc. are at risk then any mistake you make or growth point you encounter is not ‘the end of the world’.

You can bounceback and get on with life. And that’s it. Life is as life does and like someone once said ‘it doesn’t stop till you’re dead’.

If you’re going into survival mode over small things that are just part of life that have no significant impact to your basic needs, you’ll undoubtedly struggle in life.

I think a useful thing to do is acknowledge you may have fears/triggers for your survival mode/panic button to go off but to check in and ask does it make sense to have the same reaction as though your life is at risk?

Survival mode is draining, our lives aren’t at risk in the way they used to be.

In need of a push

I think it’s fair to say that sometimes we’d rather be comfortable and complain than push ourselves. It’s not a bad thing to be able to admit it, infact I think it’s good to be able to pick up on these habits if you have them.

A common example of where this occurs is the work place. You have an issue to deal with and instead of sorting out the issue by facing it head on, you skirt around it.

Perhaps you’ve even had times of venting to someone but when they offered you suggestions you ignored them because you weren’t ready.

And sometimes that’s the simple truth, you need more time.

So, complain and stay stagnant for a little longer, just until you can take it no more.

Then either you take a leap and do what needs to be done or someone gives you a push. If it’s the latter it might not feel so good in the moment but it will benefit you in the long run.