Figuring out what you want

We often get caught up in expectations of the way things should be. But in many cases we’re simply taking on the expectations of others.

When you’re surrounded by people living a certain type of way, you’re less likely to trust a path that leads to a different life. The reason for this is nobody wants to be separate or other.

You might even convince yourself that what you want is no more than a daydream. Furthermore, when others don’t see the vison for the path you’re carving out you’re likely to encounter backlash.

The backlash can be so challenging that you might end up thinking that it’s easier to push your wants aside. Nobody wants to be criticised for being themselves.

We often measure up how well we are doing in life against societies expectations of what we should be doing at certain points of life. However, these expectations leave very little room to experiment and wonder which are the very things you need to do in order to figure out what you want.

Sometimes you don’t need advice

I am a firm believer that in almost every moment, you know exactly what you need to do and exactly what decisions you want to make.

So often we see advice from others because we feel stuck or get overwhelmed by possibility and uncertainty. However, what I’ve learnt even is that when you allow yourself to get swept up in the situation it becomes difficult to navigate.

Think of a boat out at sea, once it gets swept up in the waves the boat has very little control.

Or lets take it back to a previous analogy of a boat with no oars, that was the idea of how little control you have without a sense of direction. In this case it’s more about settling your mind and letting the answers come to you instead of seeking them out.

In my experience, in quiet moments I am able to gain answers or clarification on situations where I previously felt like I didn’t know what to do.

It’s something that you have access to if you want to use it but you have to trust that you are capable of figuring out the situations you encounter.

The way that things should be

We often go around with this idea in our heads of the way that things should be, in some ways it’s a good thing. When you know what you want you’re much less likely to let life pass you by.

On the other hand when you’re so fixated on the way that things should be you don’t give room for organic growth and development.

Lets say you applied for what you think will be your dream job but when you get there it’s not quite what you thought it would be. If you’re dead set on your ‘dream job’ you might end up leaving after a few months or staying put but hating it because it’s not what you wanted.

But if you take your foot off the gas and let go of the rigid plan created you might find that in this job you’re able to discover something that you’re actually interested in. It might be be even better than what you thought you wanted.

Letting go of expectations and letting things be isn’t always easy to put into practice. It requires patience and the ability to trust that things will turn out okay.

The problem with looking back

I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.

Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.

We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.

That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.

What if things don’t work out?

What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?

What if I have to start over again?

The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.

The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.

The opportunity to be supported

So often, we’re afraid to be vulnerable and let people know where we’re at. In doing that you miss out on the opportunity to be supported by people that care.

What often ends up happening is you feel frustrated that there is no one to support you, not realising that you haven’t even given them a chance.

The best way to break this habit is to be more open when talking to the people that you know you can trust. Instead of having those Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, good thanks, you? types of conversations make the effort to be a little more vulnerable.

It might feel strange at first but when you talk to the right people they’ll listen to you and show support which is sometimes all you need. Your act of bravery might have a knock on effect because often you find that the other person will start to open up more too.

Embracing temporary things

Wake up, wake up! The world is changing.

Over the past 10 years or so I’ve noticed a big change in the way that people work. Self-employment is on the rise along with jobs in the gig economy.

Perhaps as a society we believe in ourselves more or we’ve opened up to the idea that we don’t have to commit to a single career.

Maybe work can just be something you do to fund the life you want rather than being where you gain your sense of self and something you want to grow and develop in.

You might have a career or means of income in mind that you have yet to actualise, so on your journey to bringing that to life you do temporary, flexible or short-term jobs like hospitality and Uber driving.

You could be that person in your late 20s or early 30s and to some what you’re doing may seem risky or not the sensible choice. But it’s actually pretty amazing to be able to trust your vision of what you want in life enough that you’re not willing to settle because so many of us settle.

The world is changing and you have to find a way to evolve and adapt.

…endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

The Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

Worth seeking advice from

Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they’re the best person to seek advice from.

I think there’s a level of vulnerability that comes with asking for advice, to be open and honest enough to say ‘Hey, so I’m going through xyz and I just wanted to get some advice from you asĀ I’m not really sure how to move forward.’

Something I’ve learnt is that when I have a difficult decision to make it helps to view the situation from a different perspective and sometimes that happens quickest when you talk to someone.

However, it’s important to make sure that you’re talking to the right person.

For me that would be:

Someone I trust.

Someone I look up to.

Someone I admire.

Someone who has my best interests at heart.

Someone who will give impartial advice.

Someone with experience.

When you feel stuck and want some advice you probably want it from someone who can help steer you in the right direction rather than someone who leaves you feeling stressed or further fuels your indecision.

Whilst recently asking for advice I realised that often the main thing I want is someone who can shift my perspective.

Perhaps to not even advise on my specific situation but to remind me that I’m capable of making the ‘right’ decision.

You should take your own advice

One of the easiest ways to gain trust is by doing exactly what you tell others to do.

People are much less likely to listen to what you say if it’s not what you do.

And that’s why I’m careful about the advice I give and the words I share, the truth is I’m still working on all of it.

But I’ve tried it which is why I’m comfortable telling you to try it.

But people that sit around dishing out advice that they themselves don’t practice, those people might not be worth taking seriously because if they don’t even take the advice they give, why should you.

Paying for free stuff

In a recent discussion online, I got thinking about how when it comes to information or resources we pay for things that we can get for free.

But what I’ve come to realise is that for me it’s not about getting the information, it’s about doing something with it. When you pay money for something you’re more inclined to use it, unless you don’t mind wasting money.

It’s also about trust and how much we value the resources.

Sometimes we forget that time, effort and care goes into the things people create.

I think we’re more likely to trust and value something with a cost from someone who has given us things we trust and value for free.

To the point where even if we could get something similar for free we’d actually prefer to pay for it.