If you have to ask…

…you probably already know the answer.

Sometimes when you ask questions, you’re not looking for an answer, you’re looking for confirmation on what you’ve already decided or you want someone to tell you what you want to hear. This is why you end up frustrated with how the person responds, you didn’t get the answer that you wanted.

For the person on the other end they’re simply being honest. As much as you may favour a particular response, there’s not much point in asking a question if you’ll only be satisfied when things go your way.

You have to learn to ask the question and accept that things could go either way. You can begin implementing this by learning to give people the space to be open without judgement and then placing honesty above things going your way.

Alone time

Something really interesting happens when you start spending time alone.

You learn a lot about yourself. You learn what you like to do, how you like to spend your time, what brings you joy, what fulfills you and so much more outside of your relationships with other people.

So often we learn about ourselves in conjunction with other people. ‘My sister and I like to do this, when I’m with my friends I like to do that or my partner and I often do this together’. And it’s not that you don’t enjoy those things or that it’s not the real you but I think it’s important to explore yourself by yourself.

You might discover that there are a whole heap of things that you enjoy doing alone that you never previously had time for because you always prioritised spending time with other people. Or, you might find that you appreciate making time for yourself to spend doing small and simple things like bake, take a walk or read outside in a park.

Starting and finishing

Sometimes one is much easier than the other.

There is always always excitement in the beginning, in that process of bringing an idea to life.

But then as things start to develop your interest wanes and finishing becomes an uphill battle. There is none of that ease and excitement that you had in the beginning, not even the thought of the final result is enough to spur you on.

And so, maybe you just decide to put the thing to the side or you finish it up to a bare minimum standard just to get it out the way.

But, what if things could be different. I think it’s unlikely that you’re motivation and vigour to begin can follow you through right to the end. However, what if you could learn to become a little more committed to the things you start, that you don’t have to rely on being excited in order to finish.

Fear and change

When it comes to change, big change in particular you might not ever feel ready.

However, that doesn’t mean you should simply stick with what you know.

The reason you don’t feel ready is because change means unfamiliar territory, something we often shy away from.

We scare ourselves with 101 ‘what ifs’ instead of believing that things might actually turn out alright. We become so consumed by the fear that we convince ourselves it’s better to stick with what we know than to try something new.

But once you teach yourself that it’s okay to be a little afraid and that you don’t need to wait until you feel ‘ready’, changing your life might become much easier.

So much more than the room you’re sitting in

When you’re a kid, not learning in a lesson or not being interetsed in the subject or topic being taught can happen when you don’t like the person teaching you.

At a young age some people totally rule out subjects like Math, Science, History or Art simple because of who the information is coming from.

But when you get older, when you’re at the age where you’ve picked the subject that you study you focus much less on who is teaching you because the stakes are higher and you’re choosing to be there.

In England you choose your GCSE subjects at 13, you’re A-levels at 15 and your Degree at 17. By the time you get to University, so much has changed. You’re studying something that you have picked for yourself and you’re now paying to be there.

When you’re 12 and don’t like your History teacher, don’t pay attention and perform poorly in class you can always say ‘Well, I don’t even care about this class, it’s boring’. Not much happens as a result of you getting a low grade when you’re 12. You have to be in school because it’s the law however, it’s free.

Now let’s skip forward to being 19 and doing a Civil Engineering degree. If you choose to not pay attention because you don’t like your Structural Engineering lecturer no one is going to force you to listen or make an effort.

But you could end up failing the module or even therefore failing the course overall. This might mean you have to resit an exam or you could end up changing your entire career plans. Nobody had to go to university, it’s a choice and it costs around £9000 every year.

The older you get, the less it matters who the information is coming from because you realise that it shouldn’t have really mattered in the first place. Overtime, you also realise that your end goal will always be so much more than the room you’re sitting in, the module you’re learning or even the course you’ve chosen to study.

Why learning something new is a great idea

Last year there were lots of discussions, tweets and conversations about how we’re in a pandemic, you don’t need to do xyz it’s totally okay if all you did was survive.

The thing is, of course you don’t need to do anything new or different with your time. That statement has always been true. But if you want to and if you feel like you can, why not choose to do something new?

And even if you don’t feel like it, even if you’re anxious and overwhelmed maybe trying 10 minutes of aerobics or a breath work exercise might actually help.

I think learning or doing something new during a period where you have more free time than usual is a great idea.

The reason for this is whether you sit around passively watching YouTube all day or try out a couple of new recipes every week, the same amount of time has still gone by.

You don’t need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to do, pick something that you will enjoy.

And you don’t need to use up all your free time, it could be 20 minutes of meditation each day or a few hours a week doing an online course.

You don’t need to post about it online and it doesn’t make you better than others because you’ve now started a successful business or have perfected the crème brûlée.

The focus should be on how you feel about the way that you’re choosing to live and the way that you’re spending your time.

Seeking information

We now have access to more information than we’ll ever use and can ever truly comprehend.

You might have grown up where the only way to learn about something was if you went to the library, watched a documentary on TV or even asked someone you know.

If you want to learn about something nowadays, the answer is a few seconds away. Any random thought or curiosity that comes to mind doesn’t have to pass you by.

You can google it.

And because we have that access, it might make us less likely to read books, watch documentaries and ask questions. Those are things I’d consider to still be worth doing.

When we’re seeking answers or information on a topic, we can find it out on our own pretty quickly.

It’s also something we take for granted.

Learned behaviour

I’m really into self-observation and learning about why we are the way we are.

I find behaviour to be quite fascinating. I’ve learnt that often how we act is down to the people we surround ourselves with and the people we allow ourselves to be influenced by rather than just something ingrained within.

It might be easy to blame external factors for why you are the way you are. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change.

The same way you learned to be one way you can choose to learn to be different (and hopefully better).

Exploring something new

From a young age it is likely that you were taught to figure out what you wanted to do with your life. That in turn dictated the choices you made and paths you chose for many years that followed.

Sometimes what ends up happening is you end up creating a very specific life where you rarely explore something new.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and what you’re interested in, you don’t want to be so set in your ways that you’re closed off to the unknown.

Exploring something new every once in a while allows your mind to stay fresh. It could lead you to take a new path or just remind you that you’re exactly where you want to be.

When it happens again

If you find yourself experiencing a difficult situation, similar to something you have faced in your past you have the opportunity to handle it differently and with new knowledge and experience.

Don’t just caught up in the thought of ‘why is this happening to me again?’. Instead thing about what you can do to get the outcome you desire.

Answer the questions:

What did you do last time?

What did you want to happen?

What was the outcome?

What can you do differently this time?

Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, it’ll feel good to know that you handled things better than you did in the past