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.

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.

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.

Short-term pros

When making a decision you might find yourself making a pros and cons list.

The choice you make in the end is likely to be based on whether the cons make the benefits worth it.

But sometimes we focus too much on the short-term. Making a particular decision might be great right now, great in 6 months and even great in a year. However, in 2 years or 5 years it will end up being something you regret.

Or, perhaps we allow short-term pros to outweigh long-term cons.

It could be taking a job where you earn way more money but isn’t in a field you want to progress in. Maybe the alternative was a job in the field you’re interested in but you passed it up because the salary is lower and the commute is longer.

In the short-term you’re earning more money and you’re journey to work is shorter. But in the long-term you’re progressing in a job you don’t want to be in which probably means you’re not as happy as you could be.

On the flipside, if you’d chosen the other job in the short-term you’re salary would be lower and your commute would be longer. However in the long-term, your salary will increase, you’re progressing in field you’re interested in, you may choose to move closer to work and have a shorter commute or perhaps you now work from home 2 or 3 days a week and best of all you’re happier.

Does your life align with your values?

Yesterday I wrote about the simple life and after clicking publish I realised that I still had more thoughts to share.

After giving it some thought, I started to question why instead of living the life that we want we decide to pursue other paths. In yesterdays post, I wrote of how it is often the expectations of society however I didn’t consider that actually it can often have a lot to do with being out of alignment with your own values.

If asked the question ‘what do you value in life?’ it’s very unlikely that you would say things like stress, not having free time, feeling overwhelmed, working with people or in an environment where you’re not supported or not having the energy to do things that you enjoy. Yet, those are often traits of the kinds of jobs or lives that we settle into.

There is great value in asking yourself what you value in life and then working towards creating a life that aligns with that.

You don’t need to pay attention to what everyone else is doing or what everyone else is telling you that you should do. Maybe that’s not the sort of life that you will enjoy.

It’s worth so much more to reflect and ask yourself the big questions and follow where you think you want to go. If that leads you to where everyone else is great and if it leads you to a different path that is also great.

It’s about you and what you want rather than conforming or meeting the expectations of others.

The simple life

I recently came across a short story that got me thinking about the way that we live. The gist of the story was that other people will try to convince us that instead of living a simple life that we are happy with now, we should be working hard so that we can live a simple life that we are happy with later.

We’re told that we should chase money and success until we can chase no more then we should settle down and enjoy life, finally reaping the rewards of our hard work.

But what if you could enjoy life right now.

Many people want a simple life but they’re taught that it’s not enough, they’re told that they should want more. And so they they sacrifice internal happiness for external validation and then they end up on a path that they don’t truly want to be on. But they plough on and on with the hopes that one day they can break free and live life the way they always wanted to. Often that time is retirement when you’re no longer required to work.

But if all you want to do is live in a little house by the coast and grow food and flowers in your back garden, why wait until you retire. Why not do it now instead of later?

What’s missing?

I’m a big believer in creativity, in art and in making things.

That’s the thing that has always been my joy in life.

It’s not something that I do for a living or get paid for. However, I value it just as much, if not more than my day job.

It feels special to make things, to work my hands to allow something to be transformed into something else.

I don’t think I’ve been doing that enough lately. I’ve had small moments here and there but not enough consistency.

That’s what I’m missing right now, immersing myself in making, creating and using my hands.

You have to be willing to change your mind

It’s more important than you might have considered.

When it comes to your opinions, beliefs and life plans, you have to be willing to change your mind.

You never want to be so set in your ways that you close yourself off to other options.

Sometimes when you’re so committed to what you know, it feels too difficult (or requires more effort than you’re willing to give) to change your mind. And so you hide away from information that could change your perception.

Or maybe you hide away from learning about what you could do to change your life path. You do this because once you know it’s possible for things to be better you’ll end up miserable if you never do anything about it. Yet you end up staying stagnant because you’re not willing to change your mind about the path you want to be on.

Change comes with risk and sometimes we choose security or familiarity over happiness.

Emotional labour

When it comes to the work that you do, do you work hard?

Not as in work that requires physical labour but another kind of hard work, the sort that requires you to give something of yourself. I guess it’s what is known as emotional labour.

So often, we refrain from exerting emotional labour because it’s easier not to. Or maybe you feel like it’ll wear you out or you just don’t want to give that much of yourself.

But I think it’s really just about making the choice to offer something of yourself. It’s sort of like an act of generosity, if you look back on the places you have worked you’re likely to find that your willingness to be generous varied.

I suppose that’s why I think it’s important that we like the place we work and the work that we do.

The consumer doesn’t care

The viewer or the consumer does not have to care about what went on behind the scenes. They are there for the art not the person and I think that in some cases that’s the way it should be.

In other cases, like on social media, the consumer is often there for the person just as much as if not more than they’re there for the art (or whatever creative thing that the person does).

This is why people with highly dedicated fans/followers will be supported no matter what they do.

I think that because of social media there are now blurred lines between what is business and what is personal.

But it is important to know that just because you’re visible online and people may know what you do it doesn’t mean that they care. Some people are there for the work, not for you and that is perfectly alright.

So, if you offer a product or service and the customer is not satisfied they might voice how they feel. If it is not considered good enough the customer doesn’t necessarily care that you did your best and that you will be better next time. They care that they bought someone thing they are not happy with.

And so your job is not to find customers that care about you personally but to instead to show up, create great work and deliver.