Do something you thought you’d never do

I think most people have a some idea of who they are, what they like and what they would and wouldn’t do. Sometimes the idea we have of ourselves is flexible. We’re open to the idea of changing even if that means being very different from who we were or who we thought we’d be.

Other times the idea we have of ourselves is rigid. We have a mental note of things we wouldn’t do and we stick to it. There are times when we want to try new things, explore and experiment but we restrict ourselves because it goes against the idea we have of who we are.

But I think there is something wonderful in doing something you thought you’d never do. It’s a reminder that we’re constantly changing and also to remain open to change.

Solution oriented

Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.

For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.

As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.

Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.

A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.

If you don’t think you’re good enough

If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.

You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.

Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.

This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.

Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.

It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.

That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.

Keep exploring

There’s something quite wonderful about being a beginner, starting something new with fresh eyes, optimism, excitement and curiosity.

There are probably plenty of things that you’ve been doing for a long time to the point that they’re a regular part of your daily, weekly or monthly routine. It could be old hobbies from childhood or a job that you’re just so familiar with that the joy has been taken out of it.

It could even be what you want thought was your dream job but because you’re doing it all the time and you’re so used to it doesn’t really feel like a dream anymore. Now it’s actually just your reality.

Sometimes, we get the job that we want and maybe we’re even living in our ideal home in our ideal location. We feel settled in life so we stop exploring. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if you’re putting aside your curiosity and yearning then maybe something needs to change. The feeling of wanting to explore life probably won’t just go without you tending to it.

The reason we don’t tend to it is often because we allow societal standards and ideas to restrict us. We end up feeling like it’s too late to try something new because we’re a certain age or it feels like it’ll be a step back. It’s no use holding on to those ideas if they just make you unhappy.

The desire to explore could be as small as reading a genre of fiction you wouldn’t usually be open to or joining a local volunteering group. It doesn’t have to be about quitting your job to start a business. selling all your belongings and travelling around Asia for 6 months.

Why you’re not as productive as you could be

So often in life we feel like we’re super busy but in reality we aren’t actually getting anything done.

Perhaps you’re the sort of person who always has at least 7 things on the go. You feel like you’re busy but really you’re just overwhelmed. You’re overwhelmed because you’re not allowing your mind to focus.

Instead of finishing one task before you start the next one, you’re doing little bits of each task, flitting from one thing to the next. Then suddenly you find yourself rushing to try and complete everything. More often than not things don’t actually get finished.

Or perhaps you believe in multi-tasking. Things like baking whilst listening to a podcast or making notes at a webinar are fine. The issue arises when you’re baking and trying to make notes whilst listening to something. Or maybe you’re writing, watching a show, playing a game and checking social media.

I think we sometimes underestimate the effect that focusing on one thing at a time can have on our ability to be productive.

In our bid to be productive, feel busy and get lots done we often end up over complicating things.

We’re much better off, slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time

How they used to be

The way that things are right now, probably isn’t how they used to be.

I think it’s important to acknowledge when things have changed.

Something that was good 2 years ago might not be so good anymore. And so there is not much use to clinging on to the way that things were because they are that way no longer.

Instead, take things for what they are right now, in the present moment.

Put yourself first

People that are considerate of others, to the point of putting others before themselves often end up feeling let down.

This occurs when they base their expectations of how others should be on themselves. But not everyone is as considerate as you might be. Not everyone thinks about how other people may be impacted. Sometimes people just think about themselves. They think about their own wants, needs and conveniences.

To someone who is used to putting other people first (often to their own detriment), it can be hard to accept when others won’t do the same. But the important thing to remember is that it almost always has nothing to do with you.

You don’t have to put other people first to prove that you care. It’s actually okay to care about yourself enough to put yourself first sometimes.

Better together

Sometimes when you’re so used to being independent and doing things alone, the idea of collaboration and working together is unappealing. After all, your past has shown that you don’t need to work with someone else to get things done, so why should you change that.

However, sometimes from collaborating with others it allows us to focus on our strengths. We’re then able to produce something that is much better than if we were to try and do everything.

For example, lets say that you work in product photography/prop styling.

A job may require someone to source props, someone to come up with a theme and provide creative direction, the stylist who puts the props together and then a photographer to take the photos.

Just because you can do all those jobs yourself, doesn’t mean you should. You may be an amazing prop stylist but if you’re not really a photographer maybe working with one would help you produce better results. And of course you can learn new skills but sometimes trying to split yourself between too many things just reduces your ability to do any one thing well. This then brings brings down the overall quality of the final result.

And so, maybe it’s worth shifting our perspective to realise that sometimes things might be good when we do them alone but they’ll be better if we do them together.

A change of heart

How you feel about something one day, might be totally different to how you feel a few months from now.

It could be about food, a tv show or a hobby.

Maybe you grew up reading a lot of fiction and you were the sort of person who felt like non-fiction wasn’t for you. You may have even felt like it was boring or that you could never be immersed in non-fiction in the same way that fictional stories managed to capture, engage and entertain you.

Then, suddenly somewhere along the way, you have a change of heart. Maybe it just took one good non-fiction book but maybe it happened bit by bit. Either way, you no longer see things the way you used to.

When to hold ’em

…and when to fold ’em.

I know next to nothing about Poker but I love this phrase.

When you have the choice to either stick with something and hope for the best or to bow out and move on, it can be difficult. Sometimes we end up believing that we should stick with things until we’ve ‘fixed’ them. Or we tell ourselves that we should keep going even when it’s clear that things aren’t working well.

We think we’re doing the right thing when really we’re just making ourselves a little bit more miserable as days go by.

In contrast, walking away sounds too much like we’re giving up, that’s the reason we won’t do it.

And like that phrase goes, better the devil you know. There’s always this fear of walking away and ending up in a situation that leaves you worse off than when you started.

But that outlook is so bleak and unhelpful, perhaps it is seen as realism. However, it’s always important to consider that things might not get worse, they might actually get better.