Every so often I log out of social media.
I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.
I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.
I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.
And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.
Some days will be more challenging than others.
There will be difficult days and then there will be better days.
It’s easy to forget when things are challenging and difficult that they won’t be that way forever.
It’s easy to focus on the thing that is not going to plan and you can end up doing it so much that you lose the ability to see past it.
But just because today is difficult, doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever. Maybe tomorrow (or the next day) will be better.
Often in life the thing causing the most anxiety and frustration is not particularly important in the long term. If you were to assess it in the grand scheme of life and death you’ll probably find that it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.
We tend to get swept up in how other people feel and what other people will think (in general but mainly towards us). We do this because we are eager to please, want to be liked and we convince ourselves that if we just try hard enough we can control what other people think and feel towards us.
But instead of getting swept up in other people, think about yourself. Have you even considered that what you feel and think is important too?
More to the point, maybe how you think and feel is actually the most important thing.
Do you ever have those days when you feel stuck and even though you know exactly what you need to do to get unstuck, you still do nothing?
And what you need to do could be incredibly simple. It could be as simple as watching your favoutite Key and Peele sketch on youtube, listening to your favourite pick me up song or maybe a breathwork mediation.
You might feel like doing something simple won’t help or maybe you feel like you don’t have the time. But it’s important to make the time because the feeling of being stuck won’t go away unless you do something about it.
I often wonder what I would have done if I was a twenty something year old in the 90s or even 80s.
Would I still write? Maybe I’d have written articles for a magazine or newspaper and I’d have tried to make a career out of writing. Maybe I wouldn’t have tried to put my words out there and instead stuck with journaling.
The advances in technology have allowed us to be our own gatekeepers. You don’t need to ask for permission if you want to have a website, write articles, put out music, be a presenter etc
And so if you’re willing to take initiative and do something, you can do all the things that would have been a lot more difficult 20, 30 or 40 years ago.
There are good arguments to support both sides.
On one hand perhaps you should lower your expectations because they’re too high. Examples of this could be expecting to earn £50,000 as a graduate with no experience or expecting a friend to reduce their rates even though you know the quality of their work will be more than worth it.
Then on the other hand, a reason not to lower your expectations is because you don’t want to get into the habit of settling. I think there’s a fine line between knowing what you want and expecting too much. Knowing what you want is great. Believing that it is possible to have more than you have right now even though it might take time is a pretty fantastic thing.
One of the most common reasons that people lower their expectations is because they allow the thoughts and opinions of others to convince them that what they want is unrealistic.
If that is the case, it might be worth being more selective about who you get advice from and who you choose to listen to.
Chocolate cake for breakfast is a great idea in the moment. It’s sweet, chocolatey and tastes great.
But if you’re working towards becoming someone that is healthier and eats more nourishing food then you might not want to make a habit of it.
It’d be like saying you want to stay dry then going outside in the rain.
But if that is not something you are working towards then it doesn’t really matter what you have for breakfast.
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogs.
We have the opportunity to take in a lot of information every single day to the point where we can become overloaded.
But more importantly a lot of this information is other people’s thoughts, opinions or just things we don’t need to know or don’t benefit us.
I think online content is great in moderation but if you find yourself at a point where it feels like too much, the best thing to do is reduce your consumption.
That could mean unfollowing, unsubscribing, logging out, taking a break or setting a time limit.
You need to do those things for long enough so that you can restore the balance between online and offline or creation and consumption.
The balance should always be in your favour so create more than you consume or be offline more than you’re online.
Around 18 months ago I created a Pick me up playlist.
The reason I did this is in the name, I wanted a pick me up. But more importantly I wanted something I could go back to.
I’m lucky enough to know how the music I listen to makes me feel and, I curated a playlist of songs to listen to when I am in need of a pick me up.
It is simple yet incredibly effective.
And of course the music doesn’t fix the issue but it reminds me what it is like to feel good and that makes me want to make the effort to make things better.
If you’re someone that enjoys listening to music, I’d advise you to give it a go.
You don’t even need to create a whole playlist but the next time you feel down just listen to one of your favourite songs and see how it makes you feel.
When you feel stuck and don’t quite know what to write, instead of shying away from it, follow it.
Start typing and just see what happens.
Don’t focus on how good or bad it is. Don’t focus on whether it’ll be worth sharing online or what people will think. Just write and then write some more.
Keep going until the words start to flow with ease. It might get easier after a few sentences or a few hundred words but keep going and just write.
When you finally decide to stop, you might find that you love what you’ve managed to write but that isn’t the goal or the purpose.
The purpose is to write through the ‘writers block’ because doing so teaches you that maybe it’s not as big of an obstacle that you think it is.