There could be habits you have that you have carried with you thorough your life for so long that you aren’t even aware the impact they have on your life.
Perhaps, you assume that those habits are ‘just the way you are’ rather than them being something you could change.
Sticking with what you know is easy, comfortable and familiar even when it negatively impacts your life.
And so you do nothing.
That’s why I’m such an advocate for regular reflection. In doing so you’re able to identify the habits you currently have and understand how they impact your life. It could be something like you always wanting to be right because you believe that you know more than most.
This may result in people not wanting to engage in conversations with you because you’re now seen as closed minded, someone that is not open to other points of view. In turn maybe you’re unable to develop close relationships because your desire to always be right pushes people away as they don’t feel respected and they find you frustrating.
Identifying that bad habit and deciding to let it go could be the catalyst to solve many of the problems that you regularly encounter.
Of course, it rarely feels good to know that you’re the problem as it forces you to take responsibility instead of the playing the blame game. But in the grand scheme of things perhaps it is much better to know that the problem begins with you and your bad habits because that way you know that the problems can end with you too.
Robin Hood is infamously known as the one who ‘steals from the rich to give to the poor.’
He is an interesting character because he forces us to see things from a different point of view.
If asked, we would probably all say that stealing is wrong but would consider it less wrong if it was for the sake of those less fortunate.
And so we don’t consider Robin Hood to be a ‘bad person’. He’s someone who does a bad thing thing for a good reason.
What would happen if we extended that level of awareness to people in real life, not to accept or encourage ‘bad’ behaviour but to simply acknowledge that we understand.
When it comes to getting swept up in the future it’s easy to get caught up in the worst case scenario. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the ideal scenario.
However, more often than not neither of them come true.
The outcome ends up being what I’d call the most likely scenario, something fairly ordinary. It could be good but not great or alright instead of terrible.
But there’s nothing wrong with that sort of outcome, infact most choices or actions that make up our days have those kinds of ‘normal’ outcomes.
And so I think the reason that we’re so drawn to getting swept up in the extremes of the worst case and the ideal is because we unknowingly enjoy it.
When you think about the days that have passed and the days that are to come, does it all roll into one?
Does today feel like yesterday?
Will tomorrow be different to today?
Sometimes, without you even realising you’ll find your life has become a blur of sameness. You do the same thing each day with little conscious awareness.
By the time it gets to Friday, if someone asked you to recall your week all the days blur into one because there is little to differentiate them.
When life gets this way, it helps to give yourself a little time each day to be more mindful about how you’re spending your time.
Privilege is a complex thing.
I think the reason that so many people have a hard time accepting their privilege is because they feel like it negates their hard work. They’re not comfortable with the realisation that if it wasn’t for certain things about them, they would have experienced life very differently. More often than not having more hurdles to overcome.
Privilege comes in many forms: financial, gender, race, sexuality and religion for a start but there is so much more.
And so if you come under the categories of Middle class, Male, White, Straight and Christian there is evidence to show that you face less barriers. Furthermore, the categories you fit into don’t disadvantage you, for the most part.
It can be challenging for people that feel like they have worked hard to be told that they’re privileged. They’re often the ones that believe in meritocracy and feel like anyone who can’t achieve the same as them must not be working hard enough.
Ironically, it’s often that everyone else has had to work harder.
I think the easiest way to understand this whole thing of privilege is to meet more people that are not like you. That way you actually get to see the what it’s like for other people.
Whether that is not continuing education because they can’t afford it, worrying that their natural hair will be a barrier to employment or even constantly having negative assumptions thrown at them because of their religions beliefs.
The point of all this is not for you to feel bad, the point is to gain understanding and awareness.
Your privilege doesn’t negate your hard work but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
They might seem the same but they’re not.
An anxious person will grow to become familiar with the feeling of anxiety and how it manifests in they’re day to day life.
And over time they may find that they knowing doing certain things will trigger there anxiety so they won’t do it.
But not because it’s dangerous or unsafe but because they’re afraid. And the thing with fear is that it’s a feeling and so even when in your mind you know it’s fine your body is sending signals that it’s not.
So just because you know yourself when you’re afraid it’s not the same as knowing yourself because you’re more than your fears.
Chances are there’s so many aspects of you that you’ve not given yourself space to explore.
If the service you offer doesn’t require you to be there in person then there’s a chance you can get more for doing less.
Take a coaching service for example.
Say you have 8 clients who all have a total of 4 one hour sessions a month costing £55.
That’s 32 hours a month earning £1760
But what if you batch your sessions and make them online with 2 groups of 4 but each session now lasts 1.5 hours and now costs £50
That’s 12 hours a month earning £1600
But now lets see one group of 8 with a weekly 2 hour session at £55.
That’s 8 hours a month earning £1760.
Imagine working a quarter of the time but earning the same amount, if not more.
It’s not about being money hungry but simply having an awareness that the amount you earn isn’t dependent on how much time you spend working.
Through discovering the kind of person that I want to become I’ve learnt a lot about who I am.
It’s interesting to observe yourself and how you interact with others. Are you kind to yourself, what are your relationships like, how do you show up in different situations.
When you uncover the things you need to work on it can be hard to accept them in a loving way and not get frustrated at how much work you have to do.
But that awareness is important. Being able to see yourself as you are is important and even though you might feel like the work is too much or overwhelming you don’t have to do it all right now.
You just have to start.
Then work your way through it bit by bit, until eventually you’ll be transformed.
I’m posing the question of why we sometimes end up saying yes instead of no, or no instead of yes.
It’s related to fear, the root of a whole lotta life hassles.
You say yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re a people pleaser, you don’t want to disappoint the person and you want them to like.
You say no to something you want to do because you’re scared you won’t be good at it, it comes with uncertainty and you’re worried about what other people will think.
Or, perhaps you can’t relate as each decision you make is so in line with your core self that you know how to voice what it is you really want (or don’t want).
If you feel that you align with the former, all is not lost, your awareness means change is possible.
It’ll just take some practice.
I think it’s important to get to know yourself. Not just on a surface level but right down deep to the core.
Not just your likes and dislikes but your beliefs and why you do the things you do.
Something I’ve always focused on is behaviour. When you find yourself doing and saying things or feeling like you are making a choice to act a certain way, if you take a step back you might come to realise that you’ve just been falling into a familiar habit loop over and over again.
That you’ve become so accustomed to your past behaviour that you turn to it whenever similar situations occur without actually considering if it’s the best way to respond.
So next time you’re about to get riled up or raise your voice ask yourself ‘Is this something I want to do or am I just doing it because it’s familiar?’
The answer might surprise you.