Surround Yourself with People Who See the Best in You

Thanks to Ariel Acosta

We are in charge of our lives and in control – to a certain degree – of how people perceive us. From makeup to body language, we can choose how we come across. There are also moments when we don’t feel what we display and that’s when what we hear from the people we trust makes a great difference. Do they remind us of what we strive to be, or do they belittle us and make us feel like screw-ups? It’s as simple as that when choosing our circle of friends.

Aiming to Create rather than Destroy

Photo by Ethan Hoover 

Travelling, eating good food, having a good time… all these are goals that we can easily relate to. But everything comes at a cost and the financial aspect comes second when we realize that time invested in these activities take away from the time that we could be spending growing and impacting the world. So next time you’re laying in bed, feeling bored, remember that this very second is all you’ve got. We only live in the present moment, yet our actions accumulate and create long-lasting impact – either positively or negatively. Not choosing is not an option. What’s your aim?

The Concrete Attitude

Photo by Lovie Tey

In our urban lives we expect nature to be when and where it suits us: water in the lake, greenery in the park and plants in pots. To protect out attitude of sealing the earth in layers of concrete we’ve stripped down the ground from positives and turned it into mud.

The concrete attitude reflects our need of being in control and having security. But just as our relationship with Mother Earth got damaged, this attitude is equally detrimental in how we connect with others. It shows our inability of going through mud and washing up afterwards, or taking a jump over a puddle. Simply put, expecting things to go according to plan impacts our resilience.

If you need concrete in your life, leave room for the flowers and wild plants to emerge from the ground. A small crack can bring just enough room for growth.

Breathe In and Take Control Over Your Actions

Photo by Nine Köpfer

We pride ourselves with our ability to think, but when it comes to pressure and perceived threats we are not always making conscious decisions. From ‘I can’t find my keys before going to work’ to fear of public speaking, deadlines or our views being challenged – everything takes a certain level of awareness. Panic leaves little room to clear thinking.

Long-term practices such as meditation or floatation tanks deal with the backlog of accumulated stress, but what can we do in the moment? It’s as easy as breathing, but taking deep breaths isn’t a natural reaction when our heart is racing. This is why it’s good to have prompts either around the place (environmental design) or a person that can keep you accountable and guide you.

It takes strength to acknowledge the weakness of when our prefrontal cortex takes over. Once we accept the reality of the situation, we can move through regulating our body, telling it to obey us and then plan according to what the reality is, rather than what it looks like.

Give Yourself Space

Photo by Brooke Lark

Our living conditions have a great impact on our productivity. Living in a time when we take power from material possessions endangers our personal space – because where else will you store all those not-so-useful yet trendy items you own?

Make a habit of giving away things once a week. Start with what you don’t need. This might clear up space for other changes and clear up your mind for clarity of thinking.

Giving away useless objects starts the process of internalized order. The purpose of designing your own environment is to lift you from a state of comfort into a state of productivity.

As you eliminate things you were holding on to, clear your thoughts of any debris. Any little comments, negative feedback or inconsiderate remarks. We make a start in life with little things of our own and the aim is to accumulate insight and experience rather than objects that bury our soul under the weight of the visible.

Designing Your Environment to Make Good Decisions Obvious

We often think – ‘Why did I make that choice?’ which even seconds after felt wrong. Habits are reinforced pathways between neurons that need time to level up with other unwalked territory. What this means is that by the time you can make a ‘real’ decision in that the decision is minimally influenced by previous action you need to make your choices obvious.

Do you want to replace unhealthy snacks with fruits? Don’t buy snacks in the first place or if you do buy them – give them away or simply bin them. Are sugary drinks a challenge for you? Make water the obvious choice. You want to reduce the time you spend on your phone? Put the phone away from your visual field and silence it.

These are not superhuman techniques, but they do give us a superhuman power: the power to trade repetitive unhealthy but comfortable decisions by making one decision that prevents questioning later down the line. When the positive choice is obvious we won’t go out of our way for a negative option.