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.

Outcome based actions

If you want someone to trust you then getting angry when they try to open up won’t help.

It is so important that what you do reflects the way you want things to turn out, otherwise what’s the point?

You can’t just go around doing whatever you want and expecting or hoping that everything will turn out your way.

You have to ensure that your actions are in line with your desired outcome. But you also have to remember that sometimes things just won’t quite turn out the way you want them to.

Managing high hopes

High hopes can lead to disappointment.

We all have things that we want in life whether it be physical items, titles or things from other people.

I think it’s perfectly okay to want things but it’s important to also remember that you might not get them or certain things won’t quite work out as you expected.

And when you carry around great expectations, it can be difficult to adjust when things turn out any other way.

So, it’s important to know (or create the belief for yourself) that you don’t have to rely on one specific outcome in order for things to turn out okay.

Maybe you should quit

If you had to choose between pushing on with something in the hopes that it will work out or choosing to quit and starting over, which would you choose?

We’re regularly encouraged to keep going, to try and try and again but what if things just aren’t working out.

Often, the reason we choose to carry on is because we’ve invested time and money and we aren’t willing to accept that our idea won’t be a success. Even when we are aware that our continued efforts will be fruitless, it somehow feels easier to continue down what is likely to be a dead end.

Of course, in time perhaps things will be a success, but maybe we’d actually just be better off quitting and trying something else.

Accepting where you’re at

Where you are right now might not be where you wish you were.

But it’s important to accept it.

You may have a detailed dream life that feels a million miles from you’re current life. And so you focus on the future to distract yourself from your current circumstances.

Perhaps there are feelings of embarrassment, shame, low self-esteem, not feeling good enough or fear associated with where your life is at. By choosing not to accept the present you amplify all those feelings which of course makes you feel worse.

Instead of trying to distance yourself from your current life, try to accept it. It’s okay to not be where you want to be in life.

That doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort to change things and work towards where you want to be. It just means that you don’t bypass the present.

Important conversations

We might not like them but we have to have them.

We put off difficult conversations because they make us nervous.

We’re worried about how our words will come out, how our words will be perceived, how the person on the receiving end will feel, we’re scared of being vulnerable and we worry that we might regret it.

The list goes on.

Unfortunately, no matter how you might feel, the conversation still needs to be had. You can have it now or you can have it later.

As much as it is difficult it is also important. I think that’s the bit worth focusing on and is much more of an incentive to get yourself talking. Don’t focus on the nerves or hoping you can control how the other person will react. Just remind yourself that the conversation is important and worth having.

The old normal

Lockdown allowed us to fantasise about the possibilities of life.

The way that things were was no longer seen as the way that things had to be.

The longer we were inside the more we began to speak of the new normal. We were able to imagine changes on scales small and large. I think this gave a lot of people hope, that this pandemic would not be for nothing if once it was over there would be change for the better.

But, somewhere along the way, there was a shift. Instead of speaking of the new way of life we had once hoped for, we began to long over the old ways.

Suddenly, it was the old normal that we were dreaming of, not something new.

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?

Pastry and persistence

So, today I tried something new in the kitchen that involved shortcrust pastry.

My hopes were high but unfortunately the end result was pretty terrible.

I tried to rectify it but to no avail.

I found myself feeling a little frustrated because it wasn’t a complicated dish and I thought it was going well, until it wasn’t.

But once I got thinking I realised that it wasn’t so bad. I was lucky enough that there was plenty of other food in my house so I didn’t have to go hungry.

And then I moved on to thinking about what went wrong and what I could do differently next time in order to improve the outcome. I could roll the pastry thinner, I could cook the pastry for longer, I could use less egg for the filling or I could follow a recipe properly rather than just for the amount of butter and flour for the pastry.

The bottom line is that I tried something new and it didn’t work out how I had hoped. That’s something that happens a lot in life and I think the issue is that we consider it to be a bad thing when in fact it’s a normal thing.

It’s normal for things to not work out sometimes especially when it’s something you’re doing for the first time. It’s all just part of the learning process. And if you’re willing to try again, then there’s a possibility that things can get better.

Hoping for better

Often we look at situations and systems that are in place and we hope for better.

We are able to identify there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be.

And even if you have no idea how to bridge the gap, identifying it is the perfect place to begin.

You can then start thinking about how things could be better and what sort of changes should be implemented.

You can start asking useful questions like why certain things are the way they are and what can be done to change them.

Of course it is not solely up to you to make change as it would be impossible for one person to do it all. However, I think a bunch of individuals that are willing to hope for better than what we currently have is exactly what we need.

We need people that are willing to ask the right questions, people that are willing to say maybe we should try something different and most of all people that are willing to act even if they don’t directly benefit.