Wave After Wave

It almost felt like things were starting to get normal again. A few months ago, we were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But just as we started getting comfortable and complacent, the fear of another wave started creeping in.

Life is like the ocean. The tide oscillates between high and low. Waves come crashing in at different speeds, heights and strengths. We have no control over that. What we can do is learn how to surf through the challenges.

Today’s post won’t be focused on Covid or the beach. I’m sure you read enough about that already. I’d like to talk about how things generally get worse before they get better, expecting the unexpected, noticing our behaviours and reflecting on the shortness of life.

Things get worse before they get better

In hindsight, we always tend to appreciate the struggle. Amidst the chaos, however, there is a very different feel to the pressure. What I’ve noticed in most of the challenging experiences that I’ve encountered, is that it generally gets worse before it starts getting better. This is not always true and I am speaking from limited experience, but it’s just an observed trend.

The insights I gained from this is that when things start hitting the fan and you feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to lose hope and want to give up. What we don’t realize though is that our growth and greatest strengths tend to arise soon after overcoming the struggle.

If things were always easy and we behaved complacently, we wouldn’t need to push past our limiting beliefs. So, when things start looking gloomy and difficult again, embrace it! It firstly means that there will be a moment of relief eventually. Secondly, it means that we will be forced to grow and push past our comfort zone.

This is how we can equip ourselves with a rigorous growth mindset and an impeccable ability to be resilient.

Expect the unexpected

This should be standard procedure by now. We should no longer expect a smooth sailing the whole way through. It’s about looking at all that is unpredictable and almost expecting it. Sure, you cannot expect everything. But if you start thinking about the worst-case scenario and how you would potentially overcome that, it makes it less shocking when things do get pretty bad.

You’d need to be in a fairly healthy state of mind to be able to do this exercise. It’s not about being pessimistic and holding onto negative thoughts. It’s about finding ways to be proactive. Here are some examples of questions you can ponder over:

  • If you lost your job, how would you react?
  • If you became terminally ill, what would you do differently?
  • If you lost certain loved ones, how would that affect you?
  • If Covid only gets worse, what do you need to do from now to adapt?
Thomas Jefferson Quote: “If you want something you have ...

The flipside to this is to also give thought to optimistic ‘what ifs’. Don’t limit yourself and don’t hold yourself back. I won’t write down bullet points on that, but it’s essentially thinking along the lines of ‘What if I achieved that goal?’, ‘What if I won that prize?’, ‘What if I could start that business?’ etc.

Your mind is a supercomputer. Don’t undermine it. The more you work it out, the stronger it gets. The more data you feed it, the better it become at analysing. Let’s look at what drives our behaviour then.

What drives our behaviours?

Intentions, intentions, intentions. Why do I keep coming back to intentions? Because what I’m realizing more and more, is that when you have the right intentions (and behave accordingly), it makes a difference. We don’t necessarily have to get it perfectly right or think like angels, but at least just think about your intentions before you do anything.

It substantially changes your ability to make sound decisions. The thing about waves is that your intention is what helps you push forward. It’s what keeps you dedicated to the purpose. The intention to do good in the world. To try your best. To keep learning. To help other people. To be as kind as you possibly can. To make an impact.

Remember your intentions, assumptions, beliefs and values. It will all affect your behaviour and how you show up in the world.

What drives our behaviour at work?
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The shortness of life

Again and again and again, we need to ponder over our death. If we look at the world around us, it’s just absolutely chaos sometimes. That’s the cycle of life. We will pass on in order for others to carry on living. Nature has a remarkable way of operating, thanks to God.

I’d like to leave you again with the concept of how short-lived we are. The reason I constantly emphasize this is because it can also drive our behaviours. We should strive to be more grateful, more appreciative, kinder to those around us, and shower people with love and compassion.

We should try to give everything we do our best shot. Why? Because why not? When you reach the end of your life, you’re more likely to regret the chances you never took (definitely can’t say that I’m speaking from experience, haha). Stop trying so hard to satisfy your ego and live in a little bubble. It’s not going to burn the fire inside of you.

The Shortness of Life quote by Seneca

Try out something new. Go on an epic adventure. Speak to strangers more often. Plan that party or event. Live more fully and in alignment with your values. It’s not about being reckless or out of boundaries, it’s about making the most of the time you have left.

Wave after wave, we get better at surfing.

Surfing and Posture - The Surfing AccountantThe Surfing ...
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Mindful Monday #4

Do you want to find peace of mind and learn how to deal with disappointments?

I hope by now the practice of mindfulness is becoming an ingrained aspect of your life. I’ll keep talking about the different ways in which I calibrate my mind to stay present and the thought processes that help me get going.

In today’s post, I’ll run you through certain aspects of our thinking that we should try and take control of. This includes dealing with expectations, disappointment, hope and forgiveness.

Make sure your life vest is strapped on, it’s about to get deep.

Expectations

It’s almost impossible not to have expectations. It’s an evolutionary advantage to some extent. The key then, is to be conscious of those expectations and understand when they might be flawed.

Whether you agree with me or not, you’re constantly expecting certain things to happen. When you’re hungry, you expect yourself to get food. When you’re tired, you expect yourself to get some rest. When you’re out with your friends, you expect yourself to have a great time.

Issues arise when our expectations don’t coincide with reality.

More often than not, that’s exactly what happens. The food we ordered didn’t taste as lekker as we thought it would. We couldn’t fall asleep because our minds were restless. We didn’t enjoy our outing with friends because of complicated dynamics.

Our projection of reality is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside of us. The more we’re able to accept the fact that life is unpredictable, the better we’re able to expect more realistically.

Why then, do we get disappointed so often?

Disappointments

When our minds aren’t calibrated to the way reality functions, we constantly expect outcomes that aren’t feasible. I’m not saying don’t be a dreamer or don’t have ambitions beyond your current limitations. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t allow yourself to fall prey to the mind’s illusion.

Disappointments are essentially a result of our expectations not being met. That is completely in your control. Who else made you expect that?

It’s infuriating yet absolutely liberating. We have control over our thoughts (to a certain degree). We therefore have control over our expectations. Which ultimately means, we are in control over our disappointments.

The more we expect, the more false hope we have, the more we’re disappointed. We need to constantly bring ourselves back to the present.

Hope

What is life without hope? Despair and despondency are satan’s allies.

When life gives you lemons, you squeeze the hell out of them and make something delicious. Then, you take the seeds and plant more lemon trees, giving you more lemons to squeeze. Thanks life.

Our minds are like gardens. Every thought is a seed that will eventually bloom. When we plant seeds of hope and positivity, it results in a plethora of beautiful flowers. Hope gives us something to look forward to.

As always, we need to acknowledge the fact that now is all we have. The way to utilize hope is to take action now. Be conscious of the seeds that are being planted in your garden and put in the effort to remove thoughts which aren’t serving you.

Hope is just another form of expectation. It must therefore be realistic for it to serve you.

Do you want to know how to remove weeds from infecting your mind’s garden? Through forgiveness.

Forgiveness

Possibly one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s a concept that absolutely develops your characters and allows you to become a beacon of mercy. When we’re able to forgive others, regardless of all the wrong they’ve done to us, our gardens start to flourish.

This is not to say that we should ignore those faults and allow people to step over us. But let go of the mental baggage. Let go of resentment. Let go of the hate, envy, grudges and toxicity.

The mental clarity and relief you obtain from forgiving others is like no other. 

Keep in mind that forgiving yourself is just as crucial. You need to accept the mistakes you make – you’re only human after all. Love yourself by being kind enough to forgive yourself. Make a definitive plan to move forward and learn from where you’ve messed up.

By now, you should see the point I’m trying to make. Most us don’t take time out to mow the lawn or get rid of alien plants. It’s up to us to take charge of our mental garden and look after it. The thoughts we have directly influence our behaviour. Our behaviour ultimately influences our mood and emotional state. This cycles back to our thoughts.

By being realistic in your expectations and understanding that life is full of disappointments, you should find solace in maneuvering through your thoughts. Hope and forgiveness are key aspects of acceptance, don’t let go of them.