It doesn’t matter where you come from
It matters where you go
No one gets remembered
For the things they didn’t do
– Frank Turner ‘Peggy Sang The Blues’
It’s definitely not easy to stay optimistic about the way my life is going. I’m 29 now and for some reason I finally got around to writing down what is happening to me. I’ve always been a pessimist, coming from a long line of pessimists (I guess, to be honest I don’t know). I’ve always thought little of myself and my capabilities. That’s part nurture, part nature I think. Hard to say how that happens. I think it’s a quality to not have a high opinion of yourself. It enables you to stay humble and sincere, but it also keeps you small and cripples you once you start getting ahead of your peers.
Where is the balance? It’s hard to say really, a reputation is something you need to build up, but tearing it down only takes seconds. If you focus on just that it is as much a limitation for you as focussing on your bad qualities.
I don’t have the answer, I can relate however what I think are some points on how to make your own life more positive and pleasant.
1. Fill your tank with the positive and dissect the negative.
We run on what we feed ourselves with. If you only have negative experiences or you only recognize those, you will start filling your tank wit those. It means you’re running on angst, fear and insecurity. You are what you eat, that’s as true for this as anything. I really believe that we should take that which inspires, feeds and lifts us up as fuel to go ahead. The opposite goes for negative experiences. Don’t dwell on it too long, dissect it, discard what hurts you on an emotional level and deduce the actual lesson from it. A lesson should always be taken as a positive thing. We are fallible and we’ll always make mistakes. That also means we can always grow, and growth is good.
2. Focus on where you are going, not where you are or where you come from.
Decisions are the one true freedom we have. When we set goals or targets for ourselves, when we start some development, choose what you want to get from it. Focus on where you want to be. That doesn’t have to be a high goal necessarily, for example when you start an excersise, your goal can be to just have fun doing it instead of getting good at whatever the excersise is. Sometimes a goal is given to you, for example in a work related situation. When you have a goal, focus on that, not on the starting point. Where there’s a wish, there’s a way.
3. Take time for all elements of your life.
It’s very easy to just focus on your work and then in your spare time on whatever you feel most like doing. Using your spare time for social connections can be really exhausting. Yet, planning time for that will reward you much more at times. Take half an hour to make a call to a relative, go have a beer with a friend or just hang out with your partner. It seems like such a small thing, but it means so much for your relationships. Life is to short to waste on things that don’t really matter to you.
4. Do things that scare you.
Growth and development is only easy when there is no actual growth happening. We learn from stumbling, falling, trying again and trying harder. Find challenges in your daily routine and go at them. That moment of self-doubt and fear is usually the sign that you’ve found it. Step out of your comfort bubble and talk to the people that make you nervous or are hard to talk to. You’ll probably find appreciation and gratitude for trying, either from the other person or from within yourself. Nothing good ever came from the comfor zone.
5. Hold on to your own values, but respect and accept those of others by standing in their shoes.
It’s very easy to judge others by your own views, probably everyone is guilty of failing those. The other problem is that it’s usually hard enough to live up to our own values. Values are always idealistic and bound to social norms, age, ideas and ideals. That means they’re fleeting and hard to live up to. Judging others is easy by them, but judging yourself by them is even more depressing. It’s better to focus on your qualities and express those. Qualities last and also stay closer to you. Be recognized by those that come from within, not a rigorous code that only shoes on the outside. Also try to step in another persons shoes, try to see that their qualities and values are differen than yours. Once you accept that, life will really become a lot easier and tolerance will grow into an external warmth towards others and new found respect.
6. Do what you think is right and accept that succes or failure came from your own decision.
I’m just speaking my mind here, which doesn’t mean I know anything really. As I wrote earlier, I think it already helps a lot if you try not to be a dick towards others. These things I share in the hope they are of some use to you. If they are, let me know. If they aren’t, let me know as well. I hope to learn from that.
Whatever you choose to do, that is your decision and you should stick by it. If you ignore your own instinct and do what someone else tells you, it’s still your decision. Stumbling and falling will happen now and then, either way. Realise it’s all on your terms and admit that to yourself. Forgiving yourself is way easier than others, blaming yourself is much harder.
Whatever you do, don’t dwell on what you did, but on what you wan’t to be doing and how. Be critical and sceptical of yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. Good luck and thanks for reading.
It really doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go.