I’ve missed writing here. In the meantime, I’ve tweaked my site like crazy. I wanted to have a perfect looking website before I fully engage myself in blogging. – This is the perfectionist in me and looks like she brought her brother, the procrastinator. I want to do my best to ignore them.
This whole “I need this and that before I start working on what I really want to do” is just a trick of the mind. We try to find logical arguments why we don’t start or continue doing something new.
But what we do is that we trick ourselves out of what we want because we try to avoid discomfort.
Every time you start something new, you feel a level of discomfort. That new thing has the potential to become second nature to you if you continue on the path.
Not everything you try becomes second nature. Some things turn out to just not be your “thing.”
The challenge, then, is to recognize what’s worth continuing with, despite the discomfort of change, and what’s not worth it. And it all comes down to what you truly want. Do you want it enough to overcome the discomfort of the new beginning?
I read a book called “Self Discipline in 10 Days” and I wanted to write a short recap of the ideas I found most useful in it.
This book is actually about goals and the mindset to reach them. I would have called it “How to Reach Your Goals” or something like that. I think it would have been more popular if it had another title. People are usually not attracted to the idea of self-discipline. I’m definitely one who’s not, and I don’t think I would have thought of reading it. I only did it because a psychologist recommended it to me.
But let’s dig into the content. It’s written using simple, casual language, as the author himself puts it: “all psychobabble and jargon have been skimmed off.”
The main idea throughout the book is that there is a hidden subconscious part of our mind that doesn’t want us to do the things that we decide on the conscious level. The author calls this part of us Mr. Hyde. I’m not a big fan of imagining myself as having two parts of me. It resembles split personality to me, and I prefer a more integrative view of the human being and personality. But I know that there are hidden parts of our mind and subconscious beliefs that drive us and that sometimes we are not aware of them. I think that what the book is trying to help us do is to bring the subconscious beliefs to the surface. The exercises prompt you to pay attention to and write down the things you say to yourself – he calls it “self-talk.” And he’s giving some tools to replace the negative self-talk and the subconscious beliefs that keep us stuck with positive ones. Some of these tools are: visualization, rewarding yourself for little steps towards your goal, affirmations – called “Vitaminds” in the book, creating an action plan for each goal you want to achieve.
A new idea I discovered in this book that I didn’t find anywhere else is to go through pre-goal stages (decision and preparation stage) before starting to work on a goal.
I found the exercise for the decision stage very useful: to write down the benefits and the drawbacks of pursuing and achieving a goal.
Another interesting tip in the book is to write next to each item on your to-do list an estimate of how long you think it will take you to complete it.
I think this book can be really useful. It has great insights about what goes on in the mind when you decide you want to achieve something and you have to take action towards it constantly and on a long-term. But you have to dig deep into the exercises, with self-honesty and courage. And, of course, you have to do the work required for each stage of the goal.
I have a friend who’s going through a difficult period right now. We had a long conversation over the phone last week, and she asked me these questions:
Are you happy?
Do you feel fulfilled?
These are questions we all ask ourselves from time to time, and would probably like to ask others – it wasn’t a little award and almost impolite to ask these questions. But anyway, here is the answer I gave her, and my point of view related to this.
First of all, I don’t believe there’s such thing as absolute happiness. I don’t think there’s any human on this planet that is a hundred percent happy, no matter who or where they are.
Secondly, feeling fulfilled in life is like the feeling of fullness after a meal: you get hungry after a few hours. Life is not about reaching a destination; it’s a journey, an open road in front of you. You discover, learn and adjust on this path you walk on. And that’s part of its beauty.
If there were a certain destination that if reached, would give us a permanent and constant feeling of happiness and fulfillment, that destination would soon become just a static place from where you’d want to move on and escape. Because we humans need to grow, evolve and discover constantly.