Everything Always Takes Longer Than You Expect And Costs More

  • Reading time:5 mins read

I think human beings are optimistic creatures, almost to a fault. We get excited about something, and we work on it, believing that everything is going to turn out perfectly, without any effort, or with very little effort, time, and money invested. In this article, I speak about the relation between optimism and realism.

The hopefulness is a good thing. Optimism is absolutely a ‘positive’ quality to have (no pun intended). It is overly optimistic people who end up believing in their own power to make change, and end up creating impact on this planet. If the entrepreneurs of the past and present did not believe that they had the capacity to influence the world, if they didn’t run with that positivity, they wouldn’t have lifted a finger to make their dreams come true.

But everything has to be gauged with a sort of filtered optimism. Yes, be optimistic, believe that everything is possible, and everything is going to turn out roses and butterflies.

And then pour on a little bit of realism onto those roses and butterflies, to turn them into lily pads and caterpillars. A healthy dose of realism along with a dollop of optimism is the true recipe to success in any endeavour.

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Think Of The Simplest Way You Can Do Anything First

  • Reading time:6 mins read

I am a creative person, and before I started doing improv as a hobby, I used to imagine that the more complicated you make something, the better it is.

Then, I was in improv class one day and the teacher said something poignant. She said that most people assume the point of improv is to make some random sassy complicated joke and make people laugh. But in fact, that is not true. The actual point of improv is to build connections between human beings through simple effective yes/no communication.

The main point of improv is to say yes to whatever your partner says. It can be as complicated as going into space on an elephant’s back. Or it can be as simple as going for a walk in nature and enjoying the surroundings.

Before I heard that, I always tried to come up with complicated routines that would make people laugh, but also create mystery, enigma, and perhaps, even confusion in people’s minds.

Now, I am going the opposite route.

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The Point Is Not To Chase Happiness, But To Do Our Work

  • Reading time:5 mins read

Emerson says:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

When I was in my teens, and 20s, I used to believe the lie that had been perpetuated by society. That my sole purpose in life is to chase happiness. To run after it as if a demon from hell is going to murder me if I don’t.

I spent all of my time thinking, wondering, reflecting, dreaming about that special day when I would be happy.

Oh, what a great day that would be! It would be rainbows and butterflies, and everything would be oh-so-perfect. I would go tra-la-laing around the world, because at that point, I would have not a worry left in this physical realm.

Of course, I know how foolish I am. The more we chase after something, the more it eludes us. The more fervently we want something or desire something, the more it slips from our slimy grasp.

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The Ability To Change Our Opinion Based On New Information Is True Maturity

  • Reading time:3 mins read

In the past, I used to believe that the rigidity of my opinions makes me a strong person. I imagined that I was mentally weak, if I changed my opinion hither and thither based on passing fancy.

And partly that might be true. I don’t want to become the kind of person who changes the kinds of eggs she eats or the style of coffee she drinks, because the people around her change their preferences. Like in the movie with Julia Roberts, ‘Runaway Bride.’

That’s not called ‘Changing your mind,’ as she says in the scene. But not knowing what you want, as Richard Gere aptly points out.

But I also don’t want to go to the other extreme. Where someone gives me facts, figures, and data for something, and I still refuse to believe it. Because I have an opinion on the matter damn it, and it’s going to stay the same until I die. Thank you very much.

Getting Stuck In A Way Of Thinking Isn’t Mature Anymore

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about going to a plant-based diet. That’s one of the best ways you can contribute in an individual manner towards fixing the hurt that we are causing on this beautiful blue planet. It’s crazy how rigid I was on this subject. I imagined that I knew best. I am a meat-eater. And, I am going to eat meat until I die. No one can convince me otherwise.

My friends, who were vegans, would give me statistics on how a vegan diet is really good not only for our health but also for the planet’s health. And like all of those people who are ignoring the existence of Global Warming, I plugged in my ears and pretended like I couldn’t hear them.

Vegan? What? Yeah, I am going to keep my omnivore diet, kthxbye. 

As I get older, and hopefully, wiser, I realize that I was getting stuck in my paradigm, and refusing to budge from it. I had decided something was the way it is. And that’s exactly the way it was going to be until the end of time.

Adopt New Information Into Your Paradigm Faster And Faster

The minute you are able to take in new conflicting information into your psyche and change your opinions accordingly, I think that’s when you are becoming a truly mature awakened individual.

It’s not about sticking your head in the sand, and getting stuck in your ways. It’s also not about swaying about with the wind, going one way or another, depending on the weather change. But it’s about changing you opinion only when you think or realize that a change is absolutely necessary.

That your current way of thinking, your current paradigm doesn’t hold true anymore, and needs to be adjusted. This is so you can live in this world, without faltering, and without failing. The world is moving faster and faster every single day.

In order to live successfully in such a fast-paced environment, it will become more and more crucial to adjust our thinking to the new data that pours into our psyche every single day. 

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Napping Is Becoming A Daily Part Of My Creative Process

  • Reading time:5 mins read

When I was younger, in my teens, or twenties, I used to believe that napping is a huge waste of time. I used to look at a sign of weakness. If I couldn’t get through the long days without sleeping, then that meant that I wasn’t strong enough to live in the real world.

Even if I was exhausted because of the long hours, waking up at 5am, and going all the way till 10pm, I refused to succumb and take a rejuvenating nap in the middle of the day.

Part of it has to be because I grew up in a high-achieving, Type-A personality, perfectionism-seeking family. Which meant that if I did ever fall asleep in the middle of the day, it would result in all of these queries about my health. “Are you not feeling well? Are you alright? You are still young, you shouldn’t need to sleep in the middle of the day.” And so on.

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The More You Know, The Less You Realize You Know – The More Relaxed You Become

  • Reading time:5 mins read

When I was in my twenties, I thought I knew everything. Like a typical young know-it-all, I thought I had discovered the secrets to the world. In my opinion, every one around me was foolish, and I was the only smart one holding the answer key to life’s questions.

But weirdly enough, the more I thought I knew, the more nervous I became about life. Life was scary somehow. If I knew all of the answers, then where did I have to go from here? Where could I go but down from here?

Also, what if the answers I had were completely false? What if I think I know, but I actually don’t know? But I have to keep on pretending to know, because I made such a big show about knowing to everyone in my life. I can’t say I don’t know anything anymore, because then I will look foolish in everyone’s eyes.

This nervousness didn’t leave my life for a long time.

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The Competition Isn’t Outside You, But Dwells Within You

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Your competition isn’t other people. Your competition is your procrastination. Ego. The unhealthy food you are consuming, the knowledge you neglect. The negative behaviour you are nurturing & your lack of creativity. Compete against that. – Jade Jackson WSBT.

I read this quote recently and it struck at the heart of how I think about competition. I have never been a competitive person. The idea of competing against other people gives me heart palpitations. Why would I want to fight against someone who is on a completely different path than me, and who has different life experiences, different agendas, and different goals in mind?

It didn’t make any sense to me, until I realized a few years ago that my competition isn’t other people, it is in fact, myself. I am competing with that older version of myself. The version which is more foolish than me, perhaps less fit than me, definitely has less life experience than me, and hasn’t done as much as I have, in my current version.

I am competing with all of those older versions of myself. No one else matters in this competition, except me and my older versions.

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The Same Messages Appear As We Forget The Lessons

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Recently, I have started taking part in a lot of varied healing modalities. This means that I am spending a lot of my free time, either recovering from some kind of physical or spiritual pain, or integrating the lessons learned. Self-care has become an absolute priority for me. Because without knowing how far I can push myself, and how much time to take away to rest, I will start disintegrating very fast.

Due to this, the universe has started sending me messages upon messages, about the importance of self-care. These messages come from all sources. Friends, family members, random people off the street, and more.

I learn the lesson from someone and I am good about self-care for maybe a few days or weeks. And then I forget about its importance, or I get busy. Instantly, the universe will perk up again, and send me another message from another person or situation about the importance of self-care. Hopefully, this will then reestablish itself into my mind space.

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Some Days, I Would Rather Do Anything Else, Than Work

  • Reading time:7 mins read

This happens to me all the time. Especially since I work from home, and I have no one really telling me that I need to get to work, or I need to get shit done. In fact, I could spend my entire day contemplating the length of my fingernails, and no one would be the wiser.

That’s one of the dilemmas of people like me, who work from home, who are creative, who need to get in the mood to create shit, and who sometimes are just not in the mood to do anything.

Just today, as I psyched myself up to write this blog post, I spent 3 hours procrastinating in the following manner. I read manga on a couch that got more and more comfortable as time went on, took a 15 minute nap, cut my fingernails, ate my lunch, drank some coconut water, read some more manga, browsed Facebook for something (anything, please God).

Finally, I sat down on my computer, after I could delay it no further, and I am writing this absurd post on procrastination after procrastinating. How original!

No One Is Going To Fire You If You Don’t Do Your Work

Now that I don’t work in the corporate world, I realize the importance of superiors. They are not there because they are necessarily smarter than us, or that they know more than us. Some of them might, most of them probably don’t.

But they are there for a more profound reason. Yes, indeed. They are there to ensure that we actually get our work done.

No, I’m not joking about this. Many times, it is extremely (read impossible) difficult to motivate oneself to do the work that is necessary. I know. I have been working on this problem of mine for years now.

Having tried everything to motivate myself to do my work, now I have several strategies that I use in order to get my shit done.

The biggest problem, of course, is that no one is going to come after you if you don’t get your work done. You won’t make any money and you might be destitute begging on the streets, if you don’t work. But at least no one will fire you.

Dieting And Working At Home Are Very Similar In Many Ways

I think dieting is a good analogy to use when thinking about working at home. When you first go on a diet, you are doing it entirely for you. The same thing applies to you when you are working at home. Every single thing you are working on, you are working on for yourself. If you binge eat that entire pizza at midnight, no one is going to care (especially if you live alone). If you don’t finish your projects, no one will blink an eye.

But, eventually, you are going to notice that you are gaining weight, and your clothes don’t fit anymore. And similarly, you are going to start noticing that you are not bringing any cash in, and at this rate, you are going to have to think about selling a kidney or two, to stay afloat.

Just like staying fit is an inside job, working at home, especially creative work, is an inside job. It has to come from within you. The motivation, I mean. You are the only one who can get yourself from scarfing down an entire family-sized tub of Haagen Daz icecream. And you are the only one who can motivate yourself to do the work every single day that will bring you closer to your goals.

Keeping Your Goals Close At Hand Works Beautifully In This Scenario

One of my girlfriends recounts a story of how she decided to go from chubby to fit. She used Victoria Secret models’ pictures as motivation. She pasted as many as she could all over her refrigerator, bathroom mirrors, and bedroom walls. Every single time, she felt like eating unhealthily, or breaking her diet rules, she was reminded of her motivation through the pictures literally stuck everywhere.

The same thing applies to us when we are doing creative work from home. What is our goal with regards to the work we are doing? Why do I need to post one blog every single week on a Monday, even though most Mondays I don’t feel like doing it? Seriously, why do I need to post a YouTube video every single morning? Why do I need to put out one podcast every single week?

It is all related to the vision and mission that I have clearly pasted inside of my head. It’s related to my ‘Why.’ I check off all of the items on my to-do every single day, even though some days I feel like killing myself rather than doing work, because it is all moving me closer to that goal post. That goal that is stuck stealthily to my head. Just like the pictures that were stuck on the wall for my friend.

Even Today, I Would Rather Die Than Work, But I Still Did It

I woke up today and realized that it was going to be one of those days, where I had to write a blog post. Instantly, my skin started crawling from fear. Procrastination, my old enemy, reared its head once again.

Oh no, I don’t think I can do it. I have nothing to write about. I have nothing interesting to say. No one reads my shit anyways, so why bother? Why am I doing this to myself?

All of this self-doubt started pouring down my back like a cold sweat, so that by the time, I decided to write out my blog post, I was in a state of panic. No, I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to do anything. All I wanted to do was laze around, and self-sabotage my future self, by reading manga.

Strategies To Counteract This Procrastination Problem

Thankfully, I have encountered this situation several hundred times before. I know how to deal with it. First of all, I let myself be distracted for a few hours. I know I am going to do it anyways, so I do it with intention. I give myself a couple of hours in which I just laze around, fart around, and do nothing important. The thing about lazing about is that eventually it gets boring. At least for me, I get bored of it very fast, and then I am hankering to do some real work.

Secondly, I will allow myself days where I get nothing productive done. I have had some days where I will wake up and know that I am not going to do anything useful today. On those days, I will allow myself to get into absolute lazy mode, and do nothing. Because the day after that, I am so excited and motivated to work, that I get so much more shit done than normal.

Lastly, I always remind myself that I am lucky to be able to do the work that I do. I get up every morning, and I get to work on stuff I really care about. This isn’t some reality TV. This is my real life, and I get to live it everyday. I’m lucky enough to live this life, and I am not going to throw it away, because I didn’t ‘feel’ like working one or two days.

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