You have to show interest in your interests

In a recent conversation I expressed that I believe it’s important to show interest in your interests, especially if it’s something you want a career in.

If you want to get into photography are you taking photos, learning about the manual settings on your camera, attending exhibitions etc.  And how often are you doing these things?

I’m interested in personal development/wellness/spirituality/mental health/self exploration. I show my interest by writing about these things, attending events, talking about them, reading books, listening to podcasts and taking online classes.

Aside from these things being my interests, I also consider them to be important which is why I make a conscious effort to dedicate time to them each day.

However, if your interest in what you want to pursue only goes as far as saying your interested, then you’re probably not interested enough.

Trying to make things happen

Have you ever found yourself putting time and effort into something whilst hoping for a very specific outcome? And then the more it seems like you won’t get what you want, the more you try to make things happen, the more things seem to not be working out.

I think most of us probably get some amount of enjoyment from working towards the things we care about. But if there appears to be no real progress, after a while it starts to feel un-fun.

This might feels like a reason to push and pull, to apply force and pressure to get a desired outcome. We do this because we think it’ll help. We think if we encourage a situation enough, that it’ll lead to us getting what we want.

We think we can lead a horse to water and make it drink.

But the outcome is often exactly what we don’t want.

We’re actually better off stripping things back and doing much less. And in doing so we can get closer to ourselves and actually check in with how we feel and consciously decide how best to proceed.

When something is not working, often the best thing is to simply fall back, do nothing and let things be.

Dreams change

What you want doesnt have to stay the same.

Sometimes when we’ve been set on something for so long, even after we realise we something else we stick with the old plan. This is because it feels risky to change and we put so much pressure on ourselves to have things worked out.

The result is sticking with something we no longer want in order to be someone who ‘has their life sorted out’, instead of actually doing what we want to do. Maybe we decide that it’ll take too much work and that it’s not worth the effort.

But dreams change and new dreams are worth pursuing just as much as the old ones.

Worth the effort

I recently tried something different and it didn’t go to plan. For a short moment I felt annoyed that I’d wasted my efforts but then I caught myself.

Was it not worth the effort to try?

Instead of getting carried away with an unhelpful story, I could choose to look at things differently. So, I acknowledged the effort I’d made and reminded myself that I’d get better with practice.

And that’s it.

It may seems simple and insignificant but, how often have you allowed one thing not working out as intended to bring down your mood for the hours that follow.

Sometimes, I remind myself of something Seth Godin has said many times that’s along the lines of, it’s not fatal, you can try again tomorrow.

And if you aren’t willing to try again, then perhaps you’ve succumbed to your fears or what you were working on isn’t worth the effort.

Perfect timing

Sometimes with little to no effort things work out perfectly. You know those moments where you think I couldn’t have planned this any better than exactly how it’s worked it. I think these moments are even better when they’ve come as a result of you letting go and not putting so much pressure on how things work out.

I feel like perfect timing happens on accident, it just happens. If you spend ages planning and trying to force things to turn out a certain way, the outcome might be great but it was the result of your hard work.

On the flipside when things just happen to turn out perfectly it can serve as a reminder that you don’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone in order for things to turn out wonderfully.

Do less

Sometimes in life when you want things to pan out a certain way you end up putting in a grand effort hoping to increase your chances of an ideal outcome.

In some cases this might work but in other cases it doesn’t. And when things don’t work out you might find yourself frustrated wondering what you did wrong and what you should have done differently.

The answer is often much simpler than we anticipate. You don’t need to work yourself to the bone, having life turn out the way you want doesn’t require hard energy draining labour. Often all you need to do is set things up and allow them to fall into place.

Maintaining enthusiasm

I think it’s fair to say that most ideas begin with a bout of great enthusiasm.

But overtime, the enthusiasm dwindles. Sometimes the ideas we have take much more time, effort and dedication than we anticipated. Once the excitement of starting something new wears away, you’re just left with the work. if you’re not committed to following through, this is where things get difficult.

Maintaining enthusiasm is difficult when you’re more interested in the final result than doing what is required to get you there.

Holding yourself back

I think one of the most common things that holds us back and stops us achieving our goals/aspirations is not focusing on the long term.

You’re so focused on every little thing that you have to do right now that you’re missing the bigger picture.

It might seem like it takes a lot of effort to be the type of person that is committed and disciplined, the type of person that you want to be.

But you have to start small. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget the bigger picture.

It’s really just a case of doing things now that you know will benefit you later.

Instead we often end up making excuses because it turns out what we want might actually require more effort than we’re willing to give.

You can’t be for everyone

Sometimes in an effort to be inclusive, the original message gets lost in translation.

Maybe the goal is to help a specific group of people but then over time that specific group becomes less and less specific until it now includes everyone. This makes things difficult because all these groups have different wants and needs that are impossible for you to meet all at once.

And so in trying to meet everyones needs you don’t end up meeting anyones.

You can’t be for everyone which might be difficult to accept but that’s okay, you can be for a select group instead. It’s better to help 10 people than to try and help 100 when you don’t have the time, money or resources because you may end up leaving them worse off than if you’d done nothing at all.

The importance of balance

Creating a sense of equilibrium, is important.

It’s not about everyone doing the same thing but instead about each person playing a role and having something to contribute.

But, often things end up out of balance. Perhaps, one person is over giving whilst another is putting in the bare minimum effort. Overall it may appear that things are still balanced, they aren’t.

If you’re giving 80% and getting back 30%, you’re now at 50% and probably feeling depleted. For the person giving 30% and getting 80%, their cup is now overflowing. That is not balanced.

I think it’s important to have an understanding of how much each person is willing to give to create understanding. Otherwise you’ll end up making assumptions and assuming the worst.