I recently had an unanticipated situation occur, in fact I’d describe it as unideal. At first I found myself focusing on the situation, all that had occurred and how it had led me to feel.
But the more I got thinking about it, the more I found myself zooming out and thinking about this situation in the grand scheme of life and death.
Doing so allowed me to pick up on other things happening in the different areas of my life.
Sometimes it takes an unideal situation for us to become aware of the aspects of our life that require some care and attention. I think that my choice of word is so important here. It’s easy to fall into an unhelpful mindset of thinking everything is a mess. The reality is that sometimes things happen just to remind us to stay on track, pay more attention to ourselves and to take better care of ourselves.
Life is about balance. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to pay equal attention to all things constantly. Instead you give more attention to different areas of your life when necessary.
And that means that at certain points, some things will have to take a back seat. Perhaps when you’re focusing more on work, you spend less time with friends. Or when you’re focused on saving you spend less time going out for drinks/food. But when you’re focused on improving your health and fitness you spend more time working out and cooking.
Sometimes, after a period of focusing on one thing, you might find yourself feeling guilty for having put other things aside, even though it was for the best.
Something has to give because you can’t give 100% of your effort to every aspect of your life at once.
However, you can’t just totally neglect an aspect of your life, the trick is to balance your time so that you’re not so focused on one thing that everything else falls apart.
Looking through drafts is a great way to observe your growth as a writer. Many time you come across things your current self would never write and so you press delete. Other times you come across good ideas that are poorly written out and you then have the option to just delete them and start over or to tend to them with a fresh perspective.
I believe that most writers drafts or deleted content far outweighs what they’re shared and put out into the world.
It’s quite obvious that the things that get deleted aren’t considered worth sharing. Perhaps, it had been in your drafts for a few months or even years but every time you went back to it, you didn’t really like it enough to work on it a little more and complete it. Maybe it just wasn’t a good idea, it happens and it’s perfectly okay.
Then, there are the drafts.
There are days when you write, write and write some more. This results in an influx of ideas and some of these ideas are ‘microwavable’ whilst others are more like seeds.
The ‘microwave’ ideas don’t take much time to be brought to life. They’re not necessarily instant but if you set a little time to work on them you can finish them fairly easily. They don’t stay drafts for long.
Then there are the ideas that are like seedlings, these ones require time, care and attention. They can’t be rushed and if if you ever try to hurry them along, you’ll never be happy with the result. But if you’re willing to have patience these ideas will flourish when they finally come alive in all their glory.
If you were someone who led or pioneered in a particular sector or topic, how would you feel if you weren’t recognised for it.
Is getting credit more important than the work being noticed or the voices being heard?
For a lot of people they may tirelessly work towards a cause and receive little attention for it but they keep at it because they care. They keep on because it’s something that matters.
Then sometimes that thing becomes popular, the sector grows and may even reach a point of saturation. People in other areas get involved and if they’re already more established or more well known than you, they’ll receive more attention.
They may be praised as heroic for their contribution to those who have only just started to pay attention. But if you’re the one that was in it from the start, that can be a difficult thing to handle.
You might have to admit to yourself that you wanted the credit just as much as you wanted the change.
Once you do that, find a conclusion, something to bring you solace. Perhaps that it is more important to work on something you care about and be truly committed than it is to simply show up when it’s the cool thing to do.
A useful exercise.
Something I would consider worth doing is establishing an intention behind your actions. There are many things that we do in our day to day life without putting much thought into it and so when others perceive your actions in a certain way, you may find yourself wanting to change your intention in order to receive the desired response.
I think establishing intention is helpful because it’s a guide to remind you why you started in the first place.
I think for a lot of people, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing on how you are perceived. By establishing an intention, what you’re actually doing is giving yourself a baseline to come back to, or a north star to guide you, something that comes from yourself instead of other people.
The last thing you want to end up doing is putting too much emphasis on what other people think and then being swayed every which way because you’re so focused on trying to please people.
I think that there are two things that often happen, the first is that you are perceived in a way that is different to what you intended. The second is thing is that you find yourself changing to fit a particular perception that is does not align with your original intentions.
This is because when we don’t hold a clear vision for what we want we’re more likely to give into the short-term attention gained from aligning with a trend or popular perception rather than building a solid foundation.
Sometimes we need a reminder to focus more on ourselves instead of the world around us.
A difficult conversation is a conversation worth having.
It’s hard speaking up when you don’t know how to say things eloquently, you’re worried about how people will react and feel like nobody will pay attention.
But that doesn’t mean you should say nothing.
Maybe it means you should take a different approach, ensure you’re talking to the right people and trust that even if you don’t get the outcome you wanted at least you tried.
Sometimes we’re so focused on the end result that if things don’t go our way, we end up thinking that it was mistake to even try.
Being patient is a hopeful thing. It’s often done hoping that sooner or later things will change.
Sure you can scream and shout for what you want and to be heard by others. But often you just end up being ignored. People will focus on the fact that you scream and shout, not the reason you’re doing it. In fact they’ll gladly forget all about it.
And so you choose patience and you wait full of hope for things to change.
But when patience runs out, it’s hard to figure out what next.
How do you make yourself heard, when people don’t want to listen?
It’s easy to fall into thinking that you only have 2 options.
Do nothing or do what everyone else is doing.
Sometimes that works out okay but other times you need a third option.
That third option is to carve you’re own path and do what feels best for you.
And sure that might draw attention to you or people will have something to say about you straying from the norm but it’s better than the alternative.
I’ve learnt that it’s important to be able to stand in your truth without considering other peoples opinions and thoughts before you’re own.
It could be pursuing a career that others see as risky, taking a solo trip or even speaking up about issues that are important to you.
It doesn’t matter what it is but it does matter that you do what’s right for you.
You have the choice to treat people however you like and sometimes that will depend on how much you care.
Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind for long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.
Without knowing it, sometimes the kindness of strangers can be enough to change someone’s mood or brighten their day.
It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be as small as making someone a drink or picking something up that you thought they’d like when you’re out shopping.
In order to do those things you have to get out of your head a little and pay attention to what’s around you. In some ways kindness is about not being bare minimum.
You do it because you want to, not because you have to.
I don’t know was one of my most used phrases during my school days.
It was an easy 3 words to use in situations where I didn’t want to participate, like class.
I’d sit daydreaming, ruminating or just quietly paying attention. Then all of a sudden a teacher would call on me for the answer to a question.
Perhaps I hadn’t heard it or maybe I didn’t want to think or join in because after all my hand wasn’t even up.
So, I’d almost immediately respond with I don’t know even if after some thought I might have had an answer to contribute.
I never wanted to offeranything because on the occasions that I did, my hand would be up.
And so when I used to say I don’t know it just meant that I didn’t want to offer, join in or engage.
This phase of my life was around 10 years ago at a time where I found it incredibly difficult to use my voice.
These days I’m more commonly heard saying I’m not sure and I’m much more willing to contribute something and be wrong instead of saying nothing at all.
If you find yourself using I don’t know as a regular response ask yourself why because you might find that it could actually be replaced with the phrases ‘I don’t want to think’.
And if you don’t want to think then you might be a lazy person or you might be scared of being wrong.
Either way there’s something to work.