What do you want to be known for?

When Seth Godin answered this question he said ‘ I would like to be known by what the people who have learned from me have taught other people’.

I think this was said on an episode of Tim Bilyeus’ podcast, Impact Theory.

If you’re somebody that creates or puts stuff out there, I think it’s an important question to have regularly running through your mind.

Your answer will serve as a compass to help guide your decisions.

I often ponder on that question in relation to this blog and my answer is always about adding value and sharing something useful. And so I’m so I’m less likely to write about personal details in the day to day life because it doesn’t align with my answer.

Perhaps, it isn’t something you’ve considered much and maybe right now you can’t sum it up in 18 words. But it is definitely something worth thinking about.

For those that refuse to listen

Some people will never truly hear you when you speak no matter how hard you try.

In those circumstances the solution is never to try harder.

You might think that the harder you try they’ll eventually come around and hear you out. But the thing is some people aren’t interested in being wrong.

Some people aren’t interested in hearing a perspective that contradicts their own.

And even if they realise that they were wrong and the information you shared had changed their mind, they’re more likely to dismiss that.

When a person is more interested in being  right than being open to new information, it might be a waste of time trying to get them to listen.

Don’t believe you’re missing out

You’ve probably had the experience of feeling totally fine but as soon as you see or hear about what other people are doing (or have done) suddenly you feel a sense of lack.

It’s like if you spend your Friday night at home watching a movie and painting your nails but the next week everyone is talking about this amazing party they went to saying things like ‘it was so good’ or ‘you should have been there’ you might end up believing it.

That’s an example of the mind almost playing tricks because at the same time we’ve all been somewhere and known that we’d have been just as content (and in some cases happier) staying at home.

I guess sometimes it feels good to do what everyone else is doing, it brings of sense of belonging and as humans that is something we all seek.

But it’s so important to consider how you enjoy spending your time.

If planting flowers, cooking and writing poetry is time well spent for you, it shouldn’t matter what other people are doing.

The last thing you want is to find yourself belonging in a space where you aren’t even being yourself or doing things enjoy simply to avoid ‘missing out‘.

Temporary things

The idea of things not lasting, of things being temporary is often seen as a bad thing.

It’s seen as a failure.

We get caught up in this idea that if something is good it should last and if it doesn’t last then something was wrong.

I think the problem is that we find it hard to let go of a good thing, perhaps because we don’t believe their is more good things out there for us.

This idea of temporary things can be applied to many situations but lets take the example of friendship.

If you grow apart from someone who was once a close friend you can accept the situation or you can try to get back to the way things were. We idolise the past and try to force things to become what they once were.

I guess it’s difficult to accept that not everything was meant to last.

But in learning to accept temporary things you also open yourself up to some of life’s most beautiful moments.

Creating a safe space

When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?

A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’

I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.

For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.

Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’

Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.

A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.

And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.

Disappointment and desires

Expectations can be an interesting thing. They often span from our desires and wants or even our imagination.

But they will also leave you disappointed.

As much as it can be good to hold people to a standard, it’s also important to ensure that you aren’t creating this whole other person in your mind of who they should be.

For example, you might expect someone to make time for you because this is someone you enjoy hanging out with. But then you end up disappointed when they aren’t as keen to do what you want.

In a situation like that you need to assess where your expectations are coming from because you might find that what you’re expecting doesn’t even align with what this person was ever willing to offer.

You got so carried away with our own wants and desires that you were no longer willing to see things as they are.

A convincing sales person

Anyone can make a living selling things if they’re good enough at driving sales.

It’s not about being an ‘influencer’, having the most followers or being the loudest.

Sometimes it’s about having something that people want and presenting it to them in a way where they value it enough to buy it.

Yet we somehow find a way to over complicate things. Perhaps by convincing ourselves that we’re not ready.

But if you have something you believe is worth selling, you don’t need to wait for a big audience to do it.

Start small, work your way up and focus on being good at what you do instead of on being popular.

When it’s no longer trendy

For some people they choose to follow trends not because it’s something they care about but because it’s what everbody else is doing.

And once the trend dies down and is no longer as popular they stop following it too. They only joined in because they wanted to be a part of something.

Then you get other people who don’t follow trends at their height. They wait for things to slow down and then determine whether or not it’s something they’re even interested in.

Sometimes it turns out they don’t really have an interest in the trend so they don’t participate. But other times they find themselves enthusiastic even when things have died down and thats when they choose to join in.

I suppose it’s just about discernment really but that is something that takes practice.

Perhaps one day you won’t have to wait until it’s no longer trendy to figure out if you’re really interested.

Who determines your self-worth?

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

This might be great when people are treating you well and constantly telling you how great you are but when not so much when you’re treated and being spoken of poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough.

Then you end up feeling stuck because you were always so reliant on other people to determine your self-worth that you don’t know how to stop.

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.

Taking advantage of kindness

So lets say you’re someone who has a habit of running late. And this has happened quite a few times with Friend A who is always super understanding about it.

Perhaps the first time you were late you were super apologetic and felt bad but you were also glad your friend was understanding and didn’t get mad about it.

For some people, when they keep getting a kind response as a reaction to their mistakes they’ll end up being less and less apologetic.

Afterall, what’s the point in preparing for the worst case scenario when the past responses have taught you that things will turn out fine.

This is how people end up taking advantage of kindness.

I used the example of being late but this can apply to any scenario where your actions directly effect someone else.

The point is that when you’re making mistakes or when you’re in the wrong you shouldn’t expect for others to just be cool with it. In fact, in some ways it’s actually healthy to accept one of the worst potential outcomes as it’ll keep you on your toes and your apology is much more likely to be genuine.

Granted, the best option will always be to do better but mistakes will always happen and that’s okay.