A moment to reflect: Self-talk
It’s been a few days now, but I’m back! As the holiday season ramped up my days and night became much longer and more busy and unfortunately my 3-day streak of blogging came to an end. My latest entry wasn’t quite as successful as my previous two, but that’s okay…it was probably my personally most important entry to date. I constantly must remind myself that this is for me, and if you happen to take something from it that’s merely icing on the cake. Mmmmm cake. Okay, update over.
Laziness When it Come to Yourself
Why are we here today? Well, it dawned on me that I simple do not love or respect myself. I have little regard for me when it comes to making the most optimal use of my time. If you read this blog you’ve probably started thinking, “man…this guy is so self-deprecating”. You wouldn’t be wrong exactly, but I’m really using this as a vehicle to talk to myself and identify the things that I noticed need to be changed. One of those things is time management.
When it comes to time management I actually think I’m pretty solid depending on the context. My whole life has been driven by routines that have been designed by others. This includes going to school, going to work, making sure my children get to their activities on time or showing up for them at the designated time by their school or coaches. That is easy for me. Tell me where to go, how long to be there, and what time to show up and I’m there. When it comes to showing up for myself I’m finding it’s rather difficult. I don’t know when to show up, where to go, and how long I should be there because those guardrails haven’t been designed and nobody is holding me accountable for whether I follow a set routine for myself. The funny thing about that, is that showing up for yourself is easily the most important thing you can do, but we’re so brainwashed and dependant on society that we begin to feel that we are not that important. We find our purpose in all the things we do for others and that type of existence just cannot continue on, not if you’re feeling the type of unrest I’ve begun to feel lately. We only get one chance at life, why are we so blind to understand that our optimal happiness and sense of self-worth can be found within ourselves. (Bangs head on the desk). Easier said than done right? Right.
Time to Retrain the Brain
I was watching one of my favorite YouTubers, Kevin Edwards Jr. this morning. I have been watching him for years. I’ve seen him go from his lowest point of being broke and sleeping on the floor in a friends apartment, to now being a millionaire. He finally woke up one day, quit his minimum wage job, and began following his dreams instead of a corporate routine. I aspire to do the same, but I find it’s hard to start and be consistent because there is no guarantees at the end of that particular path, and it’s frightening. It’s easy to follow someone else’s ladder because they’ve made somewhat of a promise to you…be it the simple promise of a check, or promotions, or whatever. The problem is that no matter how far you go in that particular system you’ll never reach your optimal level of success or realize your full potential. Watching stories like Kevin’s are inspiring, but figuring out how to be the story yourself is more puzzling and confusing than anything.
The Foundational Principle for Success…it Seems Anyway
As I hear stories of success many of them are based on the foundational principles of always be creating and just get started. In my freetime I find myself spinning my wheels and thinking about doing more so than actually doing. The brain, in its current state, analyzes the outcomes of my actions before even taking action. Many of the rationalizations usually end up reducing any of the steps I could take in a more positive direction down to being a “waste of time”. I’m so conditioned to the workforce that I always pat myself on the back for putting in my 40+ hours a week, showing up before my manager, and feeling deserving of that 2 week vacation because of how much I helped the company this past year. I’m always excited for that bonus they may pay out, knowing in the grand scheme of things it only makes a marginal difference in my life, but given my current circumstance feeling beholden to it. When it’s just me and my brain with no rules I usually find myself plugging into YouTube videos to be motivated or just sitting in silence…which is what inspired me to write because I wasted the first hour and half of this morning I have off doing both of those things.
Tactics We Can Use to Retrain Ourselves
I’m no expert on how to retrain the brain, but here are some things that I’ve been trying to implement daily and I’m beginning to see subtle changes in the way I approach life. I’m trying to learn in the process by just doing. Here’s a brief list.
1. Research the Thing You Wish to Do
If you have an idea for something you wish to do then start by doing some simple research. Find some reference materials. These could include books, websites, or blogs regarding your area of interest. Start by going through your reference materials to begin building enough of an understanding to where you feel comfortable getting started with creating something, even if it’s crappy. It’s your first project, so crappy is fine. What you’ll discover is that by getting started you start to become more comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to experiment and not have to be perfect. With each attempt you’ll learn something new and be able to make your next output better.
2. Don’t Use Experts as Reference Material
I didn’t mention the idea of using experts in your area of interest as a point of reference because I believe it’s unhealthy. I think it’s great to see what these people do, and maybe spend a little time seeing how they do it, but sometimes when viewing experts we forget that they’re experts for a reason. We compare our efforts to theirs and often belittle our attempts as a beginner because we’re not at an expert level today. Remember, even the experts were beginners. They most likely started where we did and it took years to get to their level of proficiency. Admire them from afar but understand that you’re NOT them and that you need to build experience. Even with experience you may not be them because you are unique and have your own perspective to offer to the field you’re trying to go into. Be comfortable with being you…don’t try to be them.
3. Get Started, but Keep Researching
You’ve got enough knowledge to get started so…get started! Now…not later, but now. You have to remember that you don’t need to know EVERYTHING before getting started, you just need to know enough. Your journey of learning is only just beginning, and a lot of your learning will not come from your reference materials, but from your actual creations. Get excited in the things you do well and continue to improve upon those, and go back to your reference materials to correct your errors or find a new direction. Constant research will not help your build any real applicable experience. Remember, we’re not trying to be perfect…we’re trying to build working knowledge, and learning without doing will not help your efforts move forward.
4. Constantly Be Self-Deprecating If Need Be
I’ve read a lot of articles online that says self-deprecation is unhealthy. I can understand that point-of-view, especially if done publicly. I however do feel that self-deprecation is a helpful tactic that encourages self-actualization. I kind of like to think of it as 3 parts of your spirit. A self-deprecating person is viewing the things that they don’t like about themselves (part A) or current situation. Sometimes they joke about it, but when doing this with yourself you’re merely making clear the things you wish to change. We’re using self-deprecation to call those things out. The self-aware person (part B) is looking at those items from another perspective. You’ve identified your shortcomings in part A, part B is where you begin to take action on correcting those things or your feelings about those things…whatever they may be. By doing this we go into part C, self-actualization. We’ve called out our issues, we’ve put action into correcting those things, and now you’ve become, or begun to become, the greatest version of yourself.
5. Make a Schedule / Plan for Yourself
Make a schedule for yourself. If you’re working at a job this might prove to be more difficult because your daily job is a huge part of your schedule. However, we have to begin to move beyond the idea that this element of our life is going to always take up a bulk of our days. Place your job on the list, I know…it sucks, but it’s reality. Now, let’s look at the things you REALLY want to do. Find out how to prioritize them in comparison to the job. If you really love your gig then don’t follow this piece of advice, but if you don’t then I’m going to encourage you to take your heart out of your job. Don’t half-ass it, still show up, but don’t go above and beyond. I mean to say…clock-in, give a solid effort…and clock out. If you’ve identified what you really want to do then make time for that in the morning before you go in, or in the evening when you go home. If overtime isn’t mandatory then disconnect from the job while you’re not in the office. Make sure that you invest the most energy and passion into your goals. These are the things we’re hoping will serve you in the long run so that you don’t have to waste your life away at your soul-sucking job.
6. Stop Giving Yourself a False Sense of Accomplishment Through Videos and Podcasts
It’s easy to mistake action as being something that it isn’t. Watching Gary Vee videos everyday without actually doing any work might feel good and motivating, but it leads to stagnation. The idea of getting up and doing work begins to feel like you’re actually doing the work. This isn’t purposeful. There’s nothing wrong with having downtime and catching up on content from your favorite motivational influencers, but make sure you do so in moderation. Watch a video or two, take what you learned from it, and then put it into action for yourself and let it help guide the things that you’re actually doing to bring your goals to life. I’m sure most of these people would encourage you to do the same. I can’t count how many hours I’ve poured into this type of content only to realize that years later I’ve made very little actual progress. Nothing helps you move forward better than actual work. That is entirely up to you to put your plans into action.
7. Think about the end of your journey if you don’t take action
Think about where you are today, and consider where you life will be in 50 years if you did nothing more than what you’re doing now? How healthy are you? How financially stable are you? What is your legacy when you leave this earth and whose life will you have made an impact on? These are all real things to consider as you squander countless hours and minutes without taking action on your goals and building up somebody else’s dream. The hope here is that by doing this constantly you’re motivated to make changes that eliminate the fears of what wasting your life could look like.
8. Think about the end of your journey if you do take action
Get excited at the possibilities that implementing a routine can bring. I know it’s hard to see the future because you might feel like you’re drowning in the present and the past at the moment, but looking ahead with optimism can spark new energy that helps you progress. Nothing worth pursuing is ever easy, but look ahead at your future yourself and be proud thinking about what realizing your full potential could look like. If you can see it first, and believe it, then you can achieve it.
9. Understand everything takes time
Make peace with the idea that slow and steady wins the race, unless you happen to somehow win the lottery. Every person who is an “overnight success” probably put years into their craft. As people on the outside looking in, we don’t see how much hard-work, blood, sweat, and tears went into helping those people succeed. Don’t give up. I believe that most of the people who make it keep pushing forward when it seems as though the world doesn’t care or isn’t paying attention. We could do nothing, but doing nothing leads to nothing changing. It doesn’t hurt to pursue your interest. The worst case scenario is that you continue to live the life you’re living now, which is tolerable and manageable. If you want to make a change then you have to do things, big and small that help bring that change about. It may seem like a long road to travel but feel good knowing that you’ve at least begun the journey. Push forward until you reach your destination. I have to believe that you’ll look back and feel as though it was all worth it.
10. Give yourself permission to fail, you don’t have to be perfect
This is a big one. A lot of us victims of perfectionism. A lot of us are also victims of our securities. If we can’t make it perfect, then we don’t even both to try. If people don’t like it or criticize our efforts, we retreat into our shells and feel like we just suck and we shouldn’t even try. Newsflash, who the hell cares! You’re in a race with yourself. If you feel like you can make improvements then don’t shrink in the face of adversity, pivot and make improvements. There are so many great quotes from people who overcame failure that it would be crazy to narrow it down to just one. If you’re willing to give up at the sight of failure then whatever you’re pursuing will never come to be. Thomas Edison is cited as saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We learn from our failures, and as is the case in many successful people’s journeys, sometimes the failures shed new light on different directions to success or what you’re actual THING is. That THING you were put here to do. You can’t discover that without putting your efforts out into the world.
Currently, I’m a zombie…and you most likely are too. Today, that is okay. I’m hoping that you’re at least realizing this fact so that you can implement real change to bring you back to life and find what you were destined to do. Stop rewarding yourself for putting hard work into someone else’s vision, and start taking the time to prioritize your life and your vision. You deserve to live, not die trying to be and serve somebody else. You owe it to yourself, and your family and friends to be the best you that you can be. Take time to make a schedule for yourself and treat goals as if they were the company you work for. Put some rules in place, give yourself some tasks to accomplish, and show up every single day as if your life depended on it.
If you read this rant then thank you. What are some practices you use that are helping you retrain your brain to help you progress towards your goals? I’d be interested to hear from you. Thanks again, and until next time…be blessed!