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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Implementing Change

So we’re approaching a new year yet again. I’m genuinely surprised that we managed to survive up until now. I have no idea what 2021 has in store for us, but we’ve already endured enough to take on whatever challenges it brings.

I’ve discussed the concept of reflecting, habits and preparing for a new year before. You can click on any of the hyperlinks to read those posts in more detail. Considering that December is around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to get the ball rolling.

Prepare in advance

This philosophy has carried me a long way in terms of getting things done. Whenever we take on a new task, project or habit, it initially seems like a mountain to climb. There’s just way too much to do and it can be very daunting.

The solution? Start before you’re meant to start.

It works like a charm. If you’re writing an essay or a report for example, start with setting up your template before you even get your assignment brief. Maybe even get the introduction in while you’re at it. If you’re planning to start exercising, keep your outfit ready the night before. If you want to get into reading, keep the book by your bedside and read 1 page before you sleep.

“You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.”

It’s more or less about mentally preparing. You’re telling yourself: ‘Ha, I’ve already started… Let’s just continue and make a little more progress.’

Starting is more often than not where the most friction is. If you can find a way to lubricate the beginning, it’ll make your life a lot simpler. Prepare in advance for any of your endeavors.

Write down your goals

It’s as simple as that. Write. Down. Your. Goals. If you don’t know what to write, that’s enough of an indication that you need to start working on yourself. You’re essentially creating a map to direct your energy, perhaps we could call it a compass.

There’s an infinite number of directions that we can take in our lives. We need to figure out which ones are the most worthwhile and aligned with our values. You need to carefully start thinking about this, well before the new year comes.

*FYI, I’m just using the new year as a reference point. It psychologically helps with making abrupt changes in our lives. We should be doing these practices throughout the year at any given point.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.

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Visualize

Everything we use today is a result of someone’s imagination. It’s been thought of or visualized before. We all operate in a similar way. We’re guided by our thoughts.

Energy follows focus

Keep in mind that the more we contemplate our goals and visualize ourselves achieving them, the more likely we are to relentlessly chase them. You’re constantly reminding your subconscious of what you want. It’s essentially what we do when we pray for things that we want.

Yes, a lot of it is out of our control and somethings are destined for us, while other things are not. That doesn’t mean we should try our best to get what it is we do want. This also works best as soon as you wake up or before you go to bed. Your mind is still hazy and you absorb information a lot quicker into your psyche.

When you do visualize, really put effort into it. Feel the emotions. Feel the celebration. Feel the contentment of working hard and achieving your objectives.

Reflect

We are all just a bunch of mistakes. Each and every day, we make several terrible choices. We also occasionally make a few great ones. The best way to filter those decisions and differentiate between what worked and what didn’t, is to reflect on them regularly. It’s how we make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes again.

Before you go to bed, take stock of how the day went. What were the range of emotions? Did you achieve what you set out to do? What worked really well for you? What was a complete waste of time? What did you learn today?

These are some really great questions that we should keep in mind as often as possible. Don’t ever stop learning, especially from your own life. The treasure is there and it’s infinite, we just need to be willing to dig in.

Change

Now we’re getting to the crux of things. The post today was essentially meant to encourage you take action. To embrace change. To keep striving to improve yourself.

It’s always easier said than done. Something we’ve evolved to do is take the past of least resistance. What does that mean exactly? Well, it basically means that we’ll keep doing the same easy thing over and over again, if it give us average results. But even when we do keep at it, things just pop up and force us to adapt.

“Change is inevitable, resistance is futile.”

Ultimately, what we need to do is become more adaptable. If we start making changes in our own life and gain a new perspective, it’ll mean that we are becoming more comfortable with change. Become comfortable being uncomfortable.

“The only constant in life is change.”

And there you have it; a growth mindset. Which a central theme yet again. Because we are only capable of much more than we think we are. Our greatest limitation is our own thoughts. Remove the sentence ‘I can’t’ from your vocabulary. Whatever you’re overcoming, whatever you’re struggling to achieve, whatever you’ve been praying for, just remember: Not yet.