Useless criticism

If you have something bad to say about something but have nothing to say when it comes to how it could be better. I think that it’s a useless criticism.

It’s easy to be a critic or to complain about the way that something is but what’s the point if you can’t even offer a solution.

It’s far more useful and far more helpful to say ‘I don’t think this works very well but here’s what I think would work better…’, rather than just saying ‘That’s not a good idea’.

I think what a person says comes down to their intention to speaking up. Do you just enjoy complaining or do you want to try and find a way to make things better?

And on the 7th day…

The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.

For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.

By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.

It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.

Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.

Welcoming normal

I think what many are craving is a sense of ‘normal’, the way things once were.

If you’re lucky, normal might have been just fine but it’s worth acknowledging that that’s not the case for everyone.

Of course the easy thing to do would be nothing and just let things go back to what they were, after all you don’t have any issues.

I think that’s the mindset that limits us and stops progress.

We’re so afraid that better for them means worse for us that we’re willing to let them suffer.

It might not be so explicit in your mind but if you take some time you might realise that’s the reason behind your mindset.

Slow progress

There’s a popular saying that goes ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. I totally agree.

What we often do is rush because we want progress to be quick.

Perhaps this is because slow progress doesn’t feel like moving forward in the moment. It’s only, in a few weeks or months time that you’re able to see how far you’ve come.

This idea of choosing to rush instead of embracing slow progress can be applied to many scenarios, one of which is procrastination.

Dedicating a few days to get something done is often much more appealing than spending a few weeks doing something bit by bit.

But often we don’t have a few days spare, just a few moments each week.

And the great thing about slow progress is that it helps build a habit of long term commitment.

On the other hand when you rush you’re relying on adrenaline and cortisol, what your body releases as a response to stress which is great in the short-tun but not something you want to make a habit out of.

Looking back

When you experience a mood change from sad to happy it’s easy to find yourself looking back.

Perhaps you do so because you remember what it was like to feel sad and you remember that you didn’t think it would pass. But now all of a sudden here you are with a smile on your face, feeling like a whole new you.

Looking back is a reminder that the difficult times don’t last forever even if in the moment we sometimes forget.

A taste of normality

Right now a lot of people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the slow return to normalcy. Granted it’ll be a long time until things are back to how they were but as they say ‘slow progress is better than no progress’.

This normality will be positive for some and for others, something they are dreading.

There are people that have been furloughed from jobs they don’t want to back to.

There are people who have finally been able to live without feeling obligated to be social.

There are people who miss being in the presence of friends, family and lovers.

There are people who miss going to work.

But I think that what many are forgetting is that even when things go back to the normal, it won’t be same, too much has happened.

A pandemic is a pretty big deal.

It’s changed us.

Disrupting the plan

Most people have some kind of plan. Even if it’s just a loose idea of how they would like things to be.

You carry it around with you wherever you go, it influences the choices you make.

You say yes to doing that thing that will help you progress and hopefully make things easier in the long run. You say no to things that are fun, exciting and interesting because you consider them a distraction.

But then sometimes something or someone comes along and disrupts the plans you made.

It could be someone that makes you realise that you’re settling, a listing for an amazing kind of job that you didn’t even know existed or meeting someone that went down a non-traditional route and has managed to make a great life for themselves.

Your eyes become open to the possibilities of life. You realise that the plan you made was created to give you a safe and stable life rather than being something you were truly passionate about.

Finding your rhythm

Good things take time.

When you start something new you’re likely to be unpolished to begin with, you’re still learning afterall.

But that initial stage is what puts many people off. They get caught up in the idea that they’re not good enough. They play the comparison game, often looking at people with much more practice and experience.

The reality is that it takes time to find your rhythm. After a couple of weeks you can’t expect to be perfectly polished. That’s not even reasonable.

It’s so helpful and a much more enjoyable process, when you put the focus on doing the work instead of the end result.

Why it’s so hard to change

You spend a large amount of your formative years trying to figure yourself out. You’re favourite colour, what you like to eat and the kinds of movies you like to watch.

But it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it’s what political party you want to support, your career path, whether you want to get married or have kids, who your friends are, your opinion on world issues and the sort of place you want to live.

However, sometimes these things change. Perhaps you wanted to be an Accountant at 19 but years later you now want to be a Visual Merchandiser.

Changing your path might feel difficult because it goes against the person you thought you were, the character of you that you created.

Suddenly other aspects of yourself may no longer seem to fit because one part of you has changed.

This is the point where many choose not to change.

I’ve wanted to be an accountant for long so I may as well stick with it. 

It’s going to be so hard to become a Visual Merchandiser so I may as well stick with a more stable option.

The thing is though you’re allowed to change, not only from childhood to adulthood but day to day.

As you gain new experiences, your perspectives will change. Don’t reject your development and hold yourself back.

 

With an open mind

That thing that you’re not interested in, that you don’t think is for you, it might be one day.

It takes time for the mind to open up to things, especially when they’re different or new.

This could apply to the music you listen to, shows you watch or even the food that you eat.

One day you’re telling everyone that you don’t do comedy, you don’t find it funny and you much prefer a drama.

Then years later you’re sat at home watching the office (US), snorting with laughter thankful that you changed your mind about the kind of shows you watch.

The thing with your taste changing over time is that it’s part of your development. You don’t need to force yourself to be a certain way right now just because it’s something on the path you’re heading down.

Be patient, remain open and allow the changes to happen naturally.