The art of the gift

Currently reading linchpin by Seth Godin and learning a whole lot.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of gift giving lately. Not in terms of a birthday or Christmas gifts but in daily life.

The small or grand acts of generosity like saying good morning with a genuine smile or offering to help someone without expecting anything in return.

Those acts of generosity brighten people’s day, make them feel seen and are often easy to do.

I’m certain that you would have been on the receiving end of an act of generosity at some point in your life or maybe you’re the giver.

Despite these acts often being easy to do, how many times have you missed or overlooked the opportunity to give.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own worlds and our stuff that we can’t even see the opportunity we have to make an offering in the world.

But when you do stop and choose to give not out of obligation or expectation but just because, that right there is the art of the gift.

Embracing the worst case scenario

Because if you make peace with the worst possible outcome, it can only go up from there.

If you’re afraid to do something because of how it will turn out you’re probably not going to do it. But by figuring out what exactly you’re afraid of it might help you overcome it.

That’s because once you learn to embrace the worst case scenario you realise that it’s not the end of the world.

When you accept that things going wrong won’t bring the world down, that unless you’re dead (yes I had to take it there), there’s room for you to bounceback,¬†well the fear kinda dissipates.

And as much you might feel fear, most of what you’re afraid of isn’t ever life and death risky.

So, learn to embrace the fear instead.

A writers influences

Whatever is going on in my life will be woven through the words I write.

At times, I’m like a floatie being pulled and swayed in all kinds of directions. But I’m easily influenced and inspired.

From the ages of 16-18 I studied textiles, discovered Seth Godin and read a few books by Dickens.

That trio of things heavily influenced my writing at the time through the language in used. I can see it now but I was also aware of it at the time.

And as time has passed new things have influenced the way I write things like music, nature, relationships etc.

I still have my core style but my choice of words and what I want them to evoke has developed and grown with along with me.

For this blog my writing is heavily inspired by my themes of overcoming fear, self exploration, dream life etc

But I’m also still influenced by Seth Godin after all these years (I’m now in my twenties). I’m also influenced by things that move me emotionally, I’m a feelings person, who has kept a journal for more than a decade so it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t help but let that part of me pour out when I write.

I’d like to think that my influences and inspirations come through but it’s not down to me if they show or not.

That’s for you to decide.

1000 and something days ago

Can you remember where you were at in life 3 years ago?

Did you have a job?

Where did you work?

Were you happy?

How were you spending your free time?

Where did you live?

What were you reading?

What were your life goals?

Who were your friends?

Who were you dating?

A lot can change in 1000 and something days and in a ‘Go, go, go!’ society it can be easy to overlook just how far you’ve come.

Maybe you went from working part-time in a cafe, pretty happy with life, reading sci-fi and dating a dreamy guy who took you on picnics and twirled you to beautiful music.

But now you work full-time in HR, you’re not particularly happy, you have live in an expensive apartment in the city and don’t make time for the things you enjoy.

Things could be better, worse or maybe just different.

And if looking back makes you realise you’re not happy with where you’re at, why not do something about it.

Is it so wrong to be influenced?

People make careers out of their ability to influence others.

There’s whole branches of psychology and sections of NLP about how to influence and sway people in whatever direction you desire.

In fact people have the ability to make us feel as though we desire the very thing they have to offer and we believe it so much that we follow that feeling.

We spend money on things we’ve been influenced to buy. We follow the lives of strangers who influence the way we live our lives, the places we go, the way we dress and the products we use.

And sometimes it all seems calculated and sleazy.

You start to question if you really want anything at all.

But I can’t help but wonder, is it so wrong to be influenced?

I think the answer is no.

Of course if you’re spending all your money trying to be like someone else buying things you have no use for and generally have no sense of self you might need to take a step back.

But if you were influenced to read a book that taught you something new or opened your mind up to a new perspective, I think it’s okay.

Once I started earning enough money to buy my own things I realised that my purchases were heavily influenced by a variety of factors, not just people.

Often it’s about how we want to feel or be perceived and the person we are influenced by is likely to resonate that.

 

The storm before the calm

Often in life there are things we go through in order to reap the rewards later on.

To study for a degree because you’ve been convinced that having one will make things easier in the future.

To stay in a relationship that isn’t great but you hope that it’ll all be for the best once you’re married with kids.

We rationalise it as short term pain for long term gain but sometimes it’s a lack faith.

Maybe you don’t believe there’s better out there so you settle for what you can get.

You say ‘I’m willing to brave the storm’ in the hopes that the calm will follow (and that the storm won’t totally rip you to shreds).

And that’s cool because it’s an option that you can take if you want but maybe there’s more out there for you.

Maybe you could also choose the calm without the storm because you don’t have to settle and you don’t have to go through ‘hard times’ in order for ‘good things’ to happen.

Why sometimes you should do what you’re told

Have you ever had someone tell you what to do or what you need to work on and instantly put resistance to it, even when it’s something you planned to do or know you need to work on?

I have and I can take a wild guess that some of you have too. I recently found myself wondering what exactly this resistance is that comes up and more importantly why it happens.

I think it’s a mix of ego and the fact that sometimes being told what to do is annoying.

But since it’s impossible to avoid someone telling you what to do whether it’s a sibling, parent, manager, teacher stranger etc. The best thing to do is figure out how to overcome that feeling instead of being stubborn about it.

However if that has no benefit, it might be worth just doing what you’re told.

Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone that tells you what to do. But when you know that you need to be more focused and someone points it out, if you give into stubbornness and double down on your lack of focus it’s not going to help and it probably won’t feel good.