This is the way of the optimist.
It’s also worth remembering that even if things don’t turn out in the way that you consider to be ‘the best’, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
That way no matter what life throws at you, you’ll be able to roll with it with a little less resistance or resentment.
However, all of this means nothing unless you put it into practice.
The next time thing don’t turn out as you planned pay attention to your thoughts. Is your inner monologue deflated, is it going 101mph complaining about how life is unfair and nothing goes your way or is their acceptance of your current situation and thoughts on how to move forward?
Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.
With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.
Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.
As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.
But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.
These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.
I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.
For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.
Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.
It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.
I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.
I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.
It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.
Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.
You have to think small-scale.
A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.
It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.
But make it humorous.
How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?
And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.
It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.
So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.
We all have our Veruca Salt moments every once in a while.
Can you think of a time when you got annoyed/angry when you didn’t get what you want?
Maybe you had an idea of what you wanted in your mind but found that the other people in your life didn’t comply with that vision.
Granted you might not have shouted and your wants may not have been expensive things for others to pay for but the idea behind it is the same.
The basis of Veruca Salt is someone who is selfish, inconsiderate and greedy.
Yet she was also someone that knows what they want, was determined and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
We all have moments when we put our wants, needs and desires above all else. In truth it’s not always a bad thing as long as you don’t put yourself in danger or treat others poorly in the process.
Just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure, if someone doesn’t accept your help doesn’t make you useless and so it goes on.
I think sometimes we try so hard to define things and to define who we are that we miss the bigger picture. It’s not about being a winner or a loser.
Alan watts wrote something that really stuck with me that pretty much said in terms of duality that you only know one thing because of the other, that they’re different sides of the same coin.
We put so much weight on the meaning behind things that we forget to just take them for what they are.
Hiding who you are is an easy way to find yourself misunderstood.
If you focus on only being a small fragment of your true self then that is what people will take you as.
That small fragment could be serious and hardworking but deep down you have a silly side.
Maybe you’re embarrassed about the silly side or worried about judged so you hold back.
You don’t join in with certain conversations even when you have something to contribute, as though you’re not allowed to speak.
Yet you walk around feeling misunderstood totally unaware that you’re in a web of your own making.
Reflecting on the part you play in your own life circumstances is a useful exercise.
Because cracking the illusion of the super human might be just what you need.
So, I don’t have anyone I’d consider an idol but I have a bunch of music favourites as well as Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Gary Vee etc. They’re all people that move or inspire me.
They’re people I think are amazing but not superior just different. I’m not under any impression that they’re perfect or that I would like them if I knew them personally or even that they would like me.
When I think about meeting Seth Godin based on what I know it would be a pretty ordinary experience. He’s just another bald man in a suit with odd socks and a purple glasses.
Putting people on pedestals isn’t useful or beneficial for you.
That’s why we should meet them, to break the illusion. To remember that we aren’t less than and remember that we’re capable of great stuff too.
…in anger (this has nothing to do with Oasis but I do love that song!).
You can spend your whole life working on improving aspects of your life. Imagine you’ve always struggled with your career and finding something that you like that pays enough that you can live a life you’re happy with you.
Imagine you’ve spent years feeling unsatisfied moving from job to job.
Then all of sudden you find something that is everything you’ve always wanted and you’re finally happy doing what you do to earn a living.
But you’re also left with somewhat of a gaping hole in your heart where that struggle used to be.
Even though things have changed for the better, it feels as though something is missing because you’re lighter now.
What’s missing is the stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, worry and the struggle. Yet somehow you might find yourself longing for what once was.
Overcoming is a pretty big deal, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished and don’t look back on what once was.
Whether you’re stressed, organised or relaxed as you go through life, unexpected circumstances will arise.
It isn’t necessarily anything good or bad but rather something you haven’t planned for, something that you did not anticipate.
Often these things knock us for 6 and we find ourselves stuck or setback. I think that comes from the fact that we aren’t open to the motion of life. We get so caught in wanting things to be a certain way that forget that there’s an infinite number of awesome outcomes that we could be willing to explore.
So next time, instead of pushing back or getting frustrated by unexpected circumstances, remain open to them and maybe even try embracing them.