Aaaaand we’re back! Lovely people – this long, unanticipated hiatus is finally over! I missed you almost more certainly than you missed me. I am about 51% sure this is the case. Regardless, we are going to jump right in and get the ball rolling again, faster and with more purpose than ever before.
While I’ve been away I’ve published two collections. (“Yay! Congratulations Ayanda!” “Why thank you very much, I love you so much! :)” ) One of short stories and the other of poems. You’ll find both available for purchase and download on Amazon under the titles: ‘Unrealistically Plausible Short Stories’ and ‘Bleeding Heart: A Collection Of Poems’. If you can, get ’em. I promise you will not be massively disappointed.
We’re embarking on new territory, governed by experience but mostly principle. The topics we’re going to cover in the coming weeks should help us all do amazing things and take small steps towards achieving the goals we set in our lives. So… right now I have 3 SERIES LINED UP!
The first is called ‘Comfort Zone’. Here we will look at the things that keep us tethered and like an anchor, prevent us from reaching far, as well as looking at what we need to do to flourish outside of the waters we have been paddling in all our lives.
The second is called ‘Communication’. We are going to look at the benefits of knowing how to communicate effectively and find out which tools we can use to help us do so. We’ll discuss things like love languages and preventing misunderstanding. This is going to be lit!
Third but not last (can you feel my excitement right now? “Not last” because there’s loads more to come!) we are going to talk about ‘Friends’. This will range from how to introduce yourself to people who you would like in your inner circle, to identifying who you should spend the most amount of time on and/or with. We’ll talk about what I’ve learned are referred to as “quality people”, how to identify them and keep them in your life.
New posts coming up Every. Single. Day. Be sure to let your friends know all about it, it could change their lives – it could impact their lives positively… and as you know that’s what we’re all about.
If you have followed this blog for a while you’ll probably know this story. I used to sleep with the lights on. My hyperactive imagination and darkness went hand-in-hand like a lick of flame to a bale of dry hay draped in gasoline. However there came a time when I fell in love with novels and nothing in the world could compete. I would spend an untold amount of hours immersing myself in Fantasy or Sci-fi worlds and it was pretty awesome. My favourite time to read was late at night, because that’s when I had the least distractions; my homework was done and most people in the house were fast asleep. When my parents started questioning why I was so sleepy in the morning it didn’t take them long, with all the wisdom at their disposal, to realise that I was staying up late doing something. Soon enough they found out and eventually asked me to stop reading at night so I would be alert during lessons. Fair enough if you ask me. It was a super sensible decision – but did I mention I LOVED my novels? Coz I did. As the good kid I was I “obeyed”. Back then I had a tiny Nokia just a shade cooler than the 3310. It had a bluish-white background and a game of football (soccer) that I mastered at the highest level (yeah I know I’m amazing). That was my first and most fondly remembered phone. I got into the habit of switching off the light (this was how they would know I had actually gone to sleep) then turning on the torch on this thing whose battery is probably still going strong a decade after it was last charged. I would read my novels under the covers until I could read no more. This is how I read Stephenie Meyer’s ‘New Moon’ in 2 nights. I didn’t notice it at the time but through the power of love (for novels) I overcame my fear of sleeping with the light off. It is this power of love that is a powerful tool. Similar to yesterday’s post, you need to lie to yourself that you can’t access the thing you love until you overcome your fear. Overcoming your fear just for the sake of it is hard – but doing so for a reward you cherish? Totes doable.
See you tomorrow for Part 5 of the Individuality Series: We Are Not In This Together.
Starting a habit isn’t always easy. The proof is in the number of people who say they want to start a new habit who don’t actually end up doing so. Or maybe they’ll start but stop before it’s really become a habit.
Habit – a regular tendency that is hard to give up.
Lally’s study claims that it takes anywhere between 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit.
How can one actually achieve such a feat that requires an incredible amount of discipline? First of all we have to acknowledge that it is difficult to maintain something just because we see the benefit of it in the future. If you are one of those people that can do it by just intentionally making the decision, kudos to you! If you are like me then you have to use a different way. The good news is it works just as well. Here it is… it’s time to lie again!
There’s this story about a mouse that’s put in a cage. Scientists would ring a bell at a certain time and then put cheese in the cage. Over time the mouse associated the sound of the shrill bell with cheese and would come out of its little house when the bell was rung and wait, even if the cheese wasn’t forthcoming. The bell didn’t sound attractive but the cheese was attractive. Over time the mouse would come out for the bell because to it the bell = cheese. We’re not mice though so what can we do? We use the horse and carrot stick method.
Looks ridiculous right? The carrot is the reward after you’ve done the hard work of doing whatever the new habit requires you to do. This way we associate the reward with the work. For example, I love movies! When we got back from a service on Sunday that’s the first thing that I wanted to do. Unfortunately for me, I lived with very wise, orderly parents who would have me do the dishes first (after we’d made and eaten breakfast) before watching any film. Doing the dishes was work. Watching the movie was the carrot. My love for movies was so strong that I would speed through the dishes to have my carrot – ahem – I mean watch my movie. You couldn’t motivate me to do the dishes because it wasn’t something I looked forward to, but because I looked forward to watching movies, the labour of doing the dishes was no longer as hard as it seemed initially. Over time I stopped doing it as an inconvenience and started viewing it as a sort of key, a key to me watching the movies that I wanted to watch on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve used this same trick to exercise daily, write more consistently and to drink enough water each day – all things I never used to do.
So what are the practical bits you can use for you. The only thing you need to do is to make a list of the things you love. Lie to yourself until you believe that you can’t do one of those things until you’ve actioned out the habit you’re trying to build, then reward yourself with the thing you love at the end – and repeat. Make sense?
A short real-life illustration of the effectiveness of this technique:
Mom: Where are you?
Me: I’m in the kitchen. I’ve just started doing the dishes.
Mom: We’ve started watching a movie, come watch with us – you can do the dishes after.
Me: I don’t like doing dishes well after we’ve eaten. I’ll finish up fast then come watch when I’m done.
I’m a dish dog now!
See you tomorrow for Lying Is Good For You: Trumping Fear.
Now we know to appreciate my traits as an individual and to be grateful for others’ gifts and talents. We know too that we shouldn’t compare myself with my neighbour or it will cause us unnecessary, unwanted stress. Our neighbour is our neighbour and we are ourself. Yet we’ve also learned that we can learn certain good traits from them, observe and apply what we’ve seen to add to ourself so we can be a better version of ourself according to a personal ideal. Today I want to address that concept of an ideal self – also known as a standard.
If you read all the posts I’ve written in the last week in the worst possible context you would probably come out with the conclusion that you are perfect as you are and don’t require change. As the author of the posts I’ll let you know that wasn’t my intention. You are wonderful and you should not allow yourself to be stressed out or condemn yourself for past actions or undesirable traits you possess. Instead, come to an appreciation of who you are and develop an ideal that will spur you on to achieve personal growth. If your goal was to become the world’s best assassin, look at information about assassins, compile a list of the traits that you want to attain and start planning practical methods you can practise to achieve that dream. If you check the name of this blog you’ll know I don’t advocate for such I just wanted to choose an example that you probably haven’t encountered this month.
Christians look to Jesus as an ideal. Believer or not, it makes a lot of sense as he preached and practised loving one’s neighbour as one loves oneself. That statement alone is an ideal that one can live up to for the rest of their life. If you aren’t a very loving person and decide to live by this ideal, you’ll be forced to develop loving attributes. The same applies if your ideal is an incredibly hard worker, an avid reader or a world-renowned communicator. Having an ideal that is or was a real life person is good in that you know it is achievable. It is also limiting in that person may have had traits that you would not like to associate with (they are human after all) and that may stunt your belief in the great traits they have. In comes the idea of ‘ideal agglomeration’ where you come up with a mishmash of traits from people you would consider role models in the areas of life you want to be exceptional in. This is the next level of what we have been talking about. This becomes your ‘Life Standard’ and is something you move towards all your life. It should seem almost impossible to achieve so that you keep growing. If you achieve the landmarks, well done and keep going… maybe you too will be someone’s ideal role model for something and in that you would have impacted their life positively. That’s what this page is all about.
With that we conclude that comparison series. Tomorrow we enter into the series ‘Individuality’ starting with ‘Singleness Is Underrated’.