Getting Our Expectations Met

Photo by Zoltan Tasi 

Why can’t we seem to be able to overcome our conditioning? It may be our laziness, tendency of judging other people or our attitude towards money. We come into this world untouched by the world of ideas and biases, but by the time we realize that we can think for ourselves many of us agree to what has been fed to us. What we hear at an early age is limited by our exposure to people. We will most likely be around family and people in the community, maybe some mainstream tv that feeds the narrative of the masses. If you’re looking around you and you see people placed in different bodies with similar identities – it’s not an illusion, it’s what happens when we stop growing.

Being poor and staying poor is a puzzle that not many of us can understand. But the discourse of consumption is so dominant that it leaves no room for thinking that we can be on the producer’s side. What we ask of ourselves is what we get and for that reason, we need to be truthful to our dreams and expectations of ourselves.

Setting our expectations high will allow us to reach there. If we can’t see the finish line with our mind’s eye, we won’t get there. Meeting our expectations of ourselves means asking enough of ourselves to push us forward and to believe possible. But if we were kept in a state of passive living, it may take a big leap of believing in ourselves that will allow us to be pleasantly surprised by our unexplored potential.

The One Thing We Can’t Claim Back – Time

Photo by Matthew Huang

Time off in lieu is a concept that can trick us into thinking that when we invest our time into something, we can then back time. This might be doable as part of the workweek convention, but let us not be fooled that time can be claimed back. Time is the only universal currency that we trade at any given time and it’s the one area in which we are all equal.

We created a category of time unaccounted for called leisure time or free time. ‘Free’ time is as valuable as we make it. If we use it to up the quality of our lives by bringing value and growing, every minute of our life can add to a positive balance. When we give our time to consuming the hyperrealities portrayed by Netflix, television, social media, celebrity personas and so on, we trade our time and even then, it’s not free. We pay money to spend time and the effect that these activities have on us and our evolution is negative. Good night sleep versus going out drinking? One good deal over a bad deal.

All time is accounted for in the grand scheme of things, even though we might not always keep track of it. So whenever we look at people making more money than us or pursuing their dreams, we must remember that they are simply making a better time trade. They choose to create, rather than consume. And once you add value, you not only get rewarded financially, but the impact on your on growth will be positive.

Say No to Distractions

Photo by Ashley Richards

Having set a goal, it’s time to clear the road ahead and focus on progress. How do you set a goal? It’s not an exact science. It takes introspection and a desire to face your dreams and failures to find a way to move towards success. If you’re stuck in a state of wanting but incapable to persevere, this piece on Adjusting Your Goals Makes Them Attainable might help.

Distractions play a great part in weather or not we will make progress. When we think of distractions, the internet may be the first thing that pops into your mind. And that’s certainly a key player, but we don’t often consider:

  • the news
  • unnecessary phone calls
  • shopping and wasting time on making decisions that have little impact in the long run
  • chit-chat, gossip and criticism towards others

A distraction is anything that will take you off the road that leads to your goal. More than willpower, we need better planning to succeed. Plan to avoid situations where distractions might occur and set the expectations low from those close to you when it comes to social activities. It doesn’t all have to be about sacrificing a good time for a productive time. Limiting distractions will not only help your progress, but turn a good time into a memorable time.

Taking Responsibility for Our Life

Photo by Nicholas Ng 

Taking responsibility and ‘taking the blame’ are two different things. Responsibility requires action, a response to circumstances that facilitates growth. Blame is passive. As much as certain people think that they benefit from it by maintaining their public image, blame doesn’t serve anyone. Blame hinders the self-esteem, while responsibility builds integrity and a feeling of self-worth.

How does this apply to how we approach life? Responsibility plays a great role in our perception over the world and we need to discipline our mind to be able to use its power. It really means that victimisation is not an option and that dreadful feeling of failure gets spun into success by avoiding blame and focusing on the solution.

This is a superpower that can turn our life from a passive experience into a dynamic search of solutions. The great thing about it is that taking responsibility is a choice that you and I can make to help ourselves stay focused and in control of our life.

Preparing for the Best to Come

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Success is attainable through deliberate effort. This means not wishing for it, but planning for it. It all starts with what we have to offer and that doesn’t really mean a degree or a letter of recommendation. It simply refers to what skills we have that can be of use to others.

Preparing for success is a mixture of discipline, training and having a clear focus. Superior characteristics are not inborn, but acquired throughout life. Building ourselves up for success comes with superpowers, such as saying no to the easy and yes to delaying gratification.

The best to come is the best of us that has ever existed. We sometimes look around us and see people who haven’t moved an inch from where they were a year ago – not in their beliefs, not in their personal interests. That is what instant gratification looks like in the long-term. Where do you want to go and what can you do every single day that will help you progress?

How to Use Tension in a Productive Way

Photo by Monica Leonardi

We tend to want to eliminate completely built-up stress, either through activities that clear our mind, such as meditation or exercise, or through activities that give us pleasure at the expense of our long-term wellbeing – drinking, stress eating etc. Focusing on tension release without accounting for the long-term impact of how we do it creates a bigger negative impact in the long run than the immediate positive effect.

Experiencing tension is a good opportunity to pause and understanding what led us to this moment. Is it frustration with our own decisions or some things that are outside of our control. Once we understand the root cause, we can empower ourselves to change the way we react to situations. Reactions are natural, but they are also specific to each individual. We react based on what we perceive as normal. A broader example is how some cultures celebrate death, while others celebrate the birth of a child. Our values are specific to us.

Tension is our body and brain reacting to events throughout the day and storing a sense of alertness that cannot be maintained for a long period of time. Managing tension is a life skill that allows us to clear out the clouds and see the sky clearly. Under a clear sky we are more likely to stick to our path than in semi-darkness. Also, seeing more friends than threats in people will attract more kindness.