Don’t read the comments

Well not yet anyway.

I consume a lot of YouTube and social media content, most of which comes with comments. Something I’ve learnt is that reading the comments before watching the content can totally skew your view.

You might not even realise that your opinion is not your own but simply a mix of the other peoples opinions you’ve just read.

I think it’s important to be able to watch something or look at something and form an opinion about it without knowing what other people think first.

A life changing perspective

A running theme throughout a lot of my posts (and what has become the baseline for this blog) is this idea of life’s challenges and difficult moments having a lesson or a takeaway.

Having this perspective completely changes your life.

You go from things like blaming other people, being overly self critical, treating yourself unkindly and feeling stuck to feeling empowered with the ability to move through challenging situations with greater ease.

Let’s say you like the way you look but someone makes fun of your appearance. On one hand you could get upset, feel bad about yourself and feel anger towards the other person for how they made you feel.

On the other hand, you could accept that this person has an opinion, remind yourself that how you feel about the way you look is what matters most and see if there’s something worth learning there.

If the persons comment upset you, perhaps the lesson is that you need to work on your self-confidence. The takeaway could be a reminder that other peoples opinions of you shouldn’t matter more than your own, that you don’t need to take on the opinions of others or that you need to become more comfortable with not fitting into other peoples standards/ideals.

And then maybe you’ll go away and work on these things. An example of this might be embracing the way you want to look by going a week wearing whatever you want as a way of learning to become more comfortable with looking different. In doing so, you’ll probably realise that it’s exhausting to allow yourself to be bothered by everyone else’s opinion and that you feel at your best when you’re just being yourself.

This might seem excessive to some but the truth is that you can choose the way you look at things and how you handle them. Imagine if you faced every difficult or challenging situation with this kind of perspective. How different would your life be?

Something to prove

Sometimes the only reason we choose to stick at something is because we have something to prove to ourselves.

From the outside it might seem as though we’re wasting time and money because the success isn’t coming. From the inside we’re just not willing to give up yet because we believe that somehow we can find a way to make things work.

People tend to make fun of or be critical of things people do when they don’t consider them to be successful or aren’t making money from it. But the thing you choose to stick at doesn’t have to be something you’re trying to earn a living from.

More importantly, if you have something to prove to yourself, don’t let other people get in the way of that.

All ideas welcome

When you’re used to doing things alone, the thought of asking other people for their input, ideas or opinion might not be so appealing.

But often seeking the perspective of an outsider is much more useful than we realise. They’re able to see things from a point of view that is not so easily available to us.

I think sometimes we just want to say that we did things totally and independently, we don’t want other people playing a part or being involved. But if we could only welcome input, ideas and opinions from the right people it could actually be the very thing we need to help us when we get stuck.

Focus on the good bits

It’s probably true that in almost any situation there is something negative, difficult, disheartening or unfortunate that you could focus on.

And focusing on those things will rarely make you feel good so why not instead just focus on the good bits. Focus on the bits that bring you joy, make you happy and make you excited about life.

It’s not that you should ignore things that need sorting out or just put your head in the clouds. However, sometimes having the kind of perspective where you focus on the good bits allows you to see the not so good bits with a level of clarity, this then allows you to move forward and progress.

How do you view you?

For many people, how they value themselves comes from other people.

This can be great when people are treating you well but when not so much when you’re treated poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough and because you’ve become reliant on other people to determine your value.

It may even get to the point where you almost feel lost and are unable to truly establish how you feel about yourself without it coming from other people. And so, you feel down and worthless whilst also blaming other people for how you feel.

I think that stage of blaming others continues until you’re able to realise that nobody else should be in control of how you feel about yourself. That’s not a solid foundation.

Don’t try, just be

I think it could be said that one of the biggest things that holds us back is that we try to hard to be a specific type of way or create a certain kind of thing. Often our efforts go into emulating what we have already seen done and the way that we think or have been told that things should be.

When this occurs instead of just doing our work and creating, we put limits on ourselves.

Suddenly, the ideas you have end up being tweaked and altered because you haven’t seen things done that way and you’d rather go with what’s been seen to work.

I think a reason we do this is because we don’t have enough self belief to really do things the way we want plus, we want things to work out.

When you’re someone that creates, you never want to put your heart and soul into something and it not be well received. People not taking to your work feels personal because it came from you and often we end up internalising that feeling and coming up with stories like ‘I’m not good enough…’.

The way to avoid all this is to just be, just create. The more you create, the more you find your own flow and no longer feel like you need to mimic others. The work you do will become so much more gratifying.

The more you create, the more you lower the stakes. The first time you create something that comes from you might be scary but over time once it becomes more familiar, it will get easier.

How to get better at receiving feedback?

Getting feedback can be terrifying.

Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.

I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.

And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.

But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.

And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.

But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.

Getting drawn in

Some people enjoy arguing.

They love it, it fuels them and they will seek it out.

They’re rarely interested in understanding other people or sharing what they know instead they want to dominate and they want to be right.

You may find yourself often getting drawn in but by then it’s too late, you’ve gotten swept up in it all. All of sudden you’re passionately explaining your point of view hoping the other person will take it in enough to agree to disagree and move on.

But the other person tells you no, they tell you you’re wrong and they try to invalidate your opinion by saying you don’t understand.

And in these kinds of situations when you’re being baited in order for the dialogue to continue it’s easy to get riled up. It’s easy to try to get the other person to accept that it’s okay to see things differently. More often than not your efforts are to no avail.

And so the growth point is in choosing to not engage even if you think this time might be different.

The exchanges are rarely helpful and you just end up leaving them frustrated wishing you didn’t once again get drawn in.

You have to be willing to change your mind

It’s more important than you might have considered.

When it comes to your opinions, beliefs and life plans, you have to be willing to change your mind.

You never want to be so set in your ways that you close yourself off to other options.

Sometimes when you’re so committed to what you know, it feels too difficult (or requires more effort than you’re willing to give) to change your mind. And so you hide away from information that could change your perception.

Or maybe you hide away from learning about what you could do to change your life path. You do this because once you know it’s possible for things to be better you’ll end up miserable if you never do anything about it. Yet you end up staying stagnant because you’re not willing to change your mind about the path you want to be on.

Change comes with risk and sometimes we choose security or familiarity over happiness.