How certain is probably?

The idea of language, the way we speak and what we choose to say is fascinating.

There are words you may use without really understanding exactly what they mean or how they could be interpreted.

I recently received a message that included the word probably. My first thought was how far from definite it was.

I found myself asking google ‘How certain is probably?’. The answer I got, is that it’s more likely a yes than no. However, that no is not a no without a shadow of a doubt, it’s more like a no with a shadow of doubt.

For example, if you asked someone of they would help you with something later in the day and they responded with ‘probably’, you haven’t really gained any clarity from the answer.

When you’re looking to someone for some form of clarity, you’ll want responses like yes, no or certainly, you want an answer that you can rely on.

Exploring something new

From a young age it is likely that you were taught to figure out what you wanted to do with your life. That in turn dictated the choices you made and paths you chose for many years that followed.

Sometimes what ends up happening is you end up creating a very specific life where you rarely explore something new.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and what you’re interested in, you don’t want to be so set in your ways that you’re closed off to the unknown.

Exploring something new every once in a while allows your mind to stay fresh. It could lead you to take a new path or just remind you that you’re exactly where you want to be.

The perfect words

There are some cases when, if you don’t know what to say the best thing to say is nothing at all. But that doesn’t apply to every situation.

In fact, in some scenarios saying nothing is one of the worst things that you can do.

Sometimes we hold off from speaking up because we think that less than perfect is not good enough. However, the perfect composition of words shouldn’t always be the aim.

At times it’s better to speak up in the moment, to perhaps let someone know that you care instead of staying quiet. The alternative is to wait until what you have to say is closer to perfect but by then it will be too late.

Covid 19 and the connected world

After reading an article about the effects of the pandemic in Nepal, I got thinking about how we are significantly more connected than we were 100 years ago and even 20 years ago.

We’re aware of what is happening in our own city, country and continent but also around the rest of the world too. We’re finding out things that maybe 50 years ago, we’d never have known about.

There are so many benefits to this increased connection.

Being more connected has changed the way we experience life. Physically travelling has become more and more accessible but we’re also more connected by technology (emails, internet and social media etc.). It’s this that allows you to know about what’s going on in Nepal even though it’s over 4000 miles away from where you live.

What makes you happy?

How often do you take the time to stop and think about what makes you happy?

I don’t mean in relation to acheiveing goals, I mean just in life overall.

Most of the time we over-estimate what brings us real joy, thinking that we need something grand or something that is difficult to obtain.

In reality, it is often the smallest moments that make us feel the happiest.

Things like dancing to your favourite song, picking fruit from the garden or laughter with an old friend.

Ahead of their time

Often the key indicators of someone being ahead of their time is that years later other people are doing what they did with less pushback and other people are gaining more success.

Another indicator is if the person were to do what they did 5 years ago today, how would it be received.

A few years ago I started listening to a podcast that began a few years prior so I had hundreds of episodes to catch up on.

From the very first episode I listened to, I was hooked. I went back to the very beginning and worked my way through.

The podcast ended around a year after I started listening and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve gone back to the beginning and re-listened.

When I think about that podcast I honestly believe it was ahead of it’s time.

I’ve come across other people that are doing similar podcasts and I’ve come across people who started later and have had more ‘success’. Lastly, if the podcast I enjoyed started 5 years later than it did or even if it started today I’m certain I’d have liked it just as much if not more.

And so, I think it’s fair to say that the podcast was ahead of it’s time.

Procrastination and relying on stress

Anyone who regularly procrastinates will tell you that they want to do the thing but they just keep putting it off. Often when we procrastinate we justify it to ourselves by prioriting things with low urgency that still give us that good feeling of that comes from getting things done.

We tell ourselves we’ll start later or tomorrow and we convince ourselves that that we still have enough time to get it done.

But what tends to happen is we just continue to put things off more and more. We do this until our stress levels start to increase and we reach the point where if we don’t start now we’ll miss the deadline.

And so you finally begin.

I had a recent experience with procrastination and once the work was complete I ended up reflecting on my behaviour.

When you get into the habit of choosing to procrastinate until the last possible moment, you train yourself to rely on stress to get things done. And so the next time you have a deadline you’re unable to find the motivation because you’re waiting for the adrenaline to kick in.

I think there are 2 main ways to stop procrastinating.

The first way is to experience things going wrong as a result of your procrastination. When our habits have negative implications this encourages a change in behaviour. It might start with you giving yourself 5 days for something instead of two and slowly build up until you become someone who always makes sure they have enough time.

The second is to just start straight away next time. We tell ourselves it’s difficult to start and just decide that it’s true when it’s not at all. Starting takes a little effort and commitment but it’s not as challenging as you tell yourself.

It’ll probably help to remind yourself of the benefits of starting straight away like being able to work at a steady pace instead of having to cram everything into a short period of time.

If you’re someone with a habit of procrastinating, it might not seem easy to change but it’s definitely possible.

Out of sync

A morning routine is a great way to keep yourself in sync. But sometimes life will have you thrown off track, have you doing things differently and you’ll find yourself out of sync.

Instead of a meticulous step by step almost domino effect morning routine, you find yourself frazzled and in a rush. You forget the things you usually do or they’re done with less effort.

And so when you go out into the world you’re all over the place.

When that happens what you probably need is to rest, relax and reset.

Vulnerability and having your needs met

Do you really know what you want?

Often we go around telling people what we do want and even what we don’t want. Doing so can help you feel like you know and understand yourself because you’re able to articulate your needs.

What can end up happening is, when the needs you voiced are met, you come to find that it’s not what you really wanted at all.

Suddenly, you find yourself going back on your previous statement or displaying emotions like frustration or annoyance at the person who has done what you asked.

For example, you may say that you want to be left alone. However, when everyone leaves you end up getting upset.

The truth of that matter is that you didn’t really want to be left alone. Perhaps, it’s that you felt misunderstood, wanted someone to sit with you and listen or just wanted comfort. However, voicing these kinds of needs isn’t always easy because they show your vulnerable side.

It’s much easier to just say that you want to be alone, particularly when you’re not sure if the people around you are capable of meeting your real needs.

But, if you give the people around you some credit and allow yourself to be vulnerable for just a moment, you might find that you’re able to get exactly what you need.

The disciplined creative

One of the things that I think is severely underestimated is the need for discipline in creative pursuits.

We’re bombarded with ideas and imagery of the wild artist. The creative that is awoken from slumber with their great idea. The writers block or creative block that results in nothing being produced for days, weeks or months. Then suddenly they’re almost possessed by the desire to create.

I think we separate the idea of being disciplined because it seems so in contrast to the idea of creativity.

But furthermore because we often look at creativity as a natural thing that just comes to you instead if being something you have to work at.

Time, dedication and discipline of a creative pursuit isn’t always appealing but it’s necessary.