So how many months have you been disappointed with people you look up to? 3 months? 6 months? Perhaps 12 months already? And meanwhile, how many months it have been since you are not being yourself? If it’s the same number of months then you have to face it. You need to ask yourself: ”Am I disappointed because I look up to them?”. But perhaps the best question is: ”Why do I get disappointed?” The thing it’s impossible that you would feel like not being yourself when you get disappointed while keep saying that you have ”moved on”. Then tell me what exactly the cause of your disappointment is? Is it about the people or is it about you? Why did you feel disappointed? Were there times perhaps in your upbringing—from childhood to pre-adult period, when people you looked up to have disappointed you— and that no matter how many times you have tried telling them that you get upset about things they have done they still don’t listen to you. If so, you need to deal with it! Always deal with yourself first, especially if the coping mechanism doesn’t work. Be patient with the cause why you get disappointed. Be stoic for a little while especially if you believe you know better.
There is a different feeling when a person you don’t look up to disappoints you versus when a person you look up to does. The more you are attached to a person (or group of people), the harder it is to admit that they are wrong. Then you would be having that kind of dilemma, telling yourself, that you need to adjust and that you need to speak with them to fix things. But if things were out of their control yet they chose the things that benefit them rather than the whole, you would of course feel disappointed. And you can’t blame them for choosing themselves. But you can’t also deny that having them close helps you improve. So the question is what will you do? I highly suggest remembering what you dream of. What you have always wanted for yourself. It may be rare to find people like them, but when you prioritize what you feel, everything else will follow. Rather than waste your energy feeling disappointed, take that energy to explore and rebuild (or build) relationships.
Here are a few mantras you can fill in to reduce stress, avoid boredom, and thus, avoid procrastination:
- I know I will be stressed doing this, but [insert long-term happiness that you can feel by constantly facing the stress from the activity].
- I know I will be bored doing this, but [insert the most fun thing you can do by finishing the activity].
- I know I will be stressed doing this, but [insert worst-case scenario that will make your life more stressful] .
- I know I will be bored doing this, but [insert worst-case scenario that will make your life more dull].
Procrastination is usually defined as a ”time management” issue, but there are studies saying that it is actually an ”emotion management” issue that usually derives from avoiding the perceived stress induced by our work and from being disengaged with the work that does not give instant gratification. Thus, in this ”Mantras” episode you’ll notice how the sentences start on being mindful of your stress or boredom.
You have come across again to the stage where you feel disinterested. In such, the things you have worked and thrived so hard have become too mundane or too easy. That when you do activities related to it, you don’t feel that kind of spark anymore. But what exactly caused it? Is it because you become bored? But what exactly caused your boredom? Is it caused by you not exploring things? Then why did you stop exploring things? Maybe, perhaps, you have been thinking all this time that you already know everything about it or you have been thinking you have done a lot. And that’s basically where the problem lies. You lacked humility. In most cases, people who have thrived and feel happy in their field have that similar virtue of having humility. You can’t expect a grown-up veteran to get fresh ideas from younger minds if they will act conceited as if they already know everything in the field. In fact, they’d likely to get outdated and become ineffective ”professional”—that they only have the experience on their resume but when it comes to actual working, they are good as a novice or, worse, more awful than a novice. This does not only applies when you have become a veteran or known in the field. In fact, the reason why most novice people could not step up is that they have biases that they think they are already good enough. And the thing is you can’t have such biases if you are not conceited nor even have a faint contempt towards the environment you are working in. The simplest first step you can do right now is to ask yourself what causes you to feel this way and picture how it would affect you— and those you were thriving for— if you would still allow this kind of feeling. And if ever you have pictured a miserable scenario, maybe you should start working on having more humility.
Overview of the contents of a manuscript I started back in 2018 and was supposed to finish in 2019. Oh well, what happened. I initially planned to title it as ”Jack: Master of all Trades” because of that greed to “master” several skills in short amount of time. But I guess, mastering several things requires being consistent practicing and learning holistic aspect of a skill. I’ll just share the outline as I think it was able to help me in the past 3 years.
Part 0: Lost and how to genuinely love yourself
- Everyone can be an expert in a different field, they just don’t have much willpower and motivation. Clue: Therapies can help.
- Love yourself. Meaning respecting your previous phases in life, enjoying the current situation, and taking consideration of future dreams. Clue: Be your own compass and direction.
- Optional: Consider if you have mental illnesses in improving yourself i.e OCD, Depression, Mood Swings, etc., and how you can break out in that state or at least have ways to cope.
Part 1: Acquiring knowledge, skills, and talent
- How to learn effectively and efficiently?
- Why you should think outside the box always?
- Why do people think they know enough?
- Why not being hungry in learning is not good?
- What to do: Reduce unnecessary thoughts
Part 2: How our body implements this knowledge, skills, and talent
- Body parts that affect the performance the most — brain, emotion, and guts
- Cognitive and physiology patterns between experts from different fields
- What to do: Reduce unnecessary actions
Part 3. How we can nail it!
- Focus on physical fitness, mental fitness, emotional health
- Science behind the word “soul” — connection with inner-self, connection with the surrounding, connection with people. The balance amount of “soul” on different fields (i.e. art, music, law, teaching, etc.)
- Optional: Psychological effect of not having enough foundational resources i.e. you are less fortunate, being poor, being part of the vulnerable sector
Part 4. Flowing knowledge, skills, talent
- Stay curious. Stay hungry with knowledge. Being a “kid inside” is NOT childish and is actually a mature thing
- How to nail things not only once, but consistently nail them?
- Why everyone should be goal-oriented? There’s this reading “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams and it talks about people should be system-oriented and not goal-oriented. That was a better way to have direction. Interesting to discuss how to keep moving forward. But I think, he was implying too-specific-goals regarding goal-oriented. I haven’t read the book yet. I believe we have same idea so we have to find out.
Appendix A: Philosophies you can apply in life
- Stoic philosophy
- Kaizen philosophy
- Lean. Note: This is more of a management philosophy, but can be applied in life
Appendix B: Computer analogy “Cognitive” Flow
- Input: Our five senses (touch, smell, hear, sight, taste) and other mental senses
- Process: The mind/brain, the emotion/”heart”, the gut (PS. I just wanted to sort the emotional part of our mind to its rational part. But it’s still the brain.)
- Storage: Long-term memory, Short-term memory
- Output (as input): Brain response (to information processed) i.e. analysis skills, analytical skills etc.
- Output (as output): Body response, Muscle memory i.e. physical skills, creative skills, etc.
- Parallel processing of brain. Interesting insight at Stackexchange https://psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/1946/difference-between-parallel-processing-done-by-human-brain-and-by-computers
You may be surrounded right now by people whom apparently you found out have great achievements. They were in the news, they won in local and even global competitions, they were class valedictorians, they literally have successfully helped out their communities, and more. And there you are, thinking you are worthless in comparison to what they have done so far in life. Although it is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by them, it is sometimes scary not only to keep up but those thoughts that what if you were dragging them into your level?
Truth is keeping up will only make you burned out. What you only need is to get out of your comfort zone. Ask yourself, how did they able to achieve these things, or how did they are able to catch and pursue these opportunities? Is it because of their environment? Like perhaps, they have a very supportive family and friends that helped them persevere and push themselves forward. Then imagine what’s your current situation right now? Are you still keeping your toxic family and friends who are psychologically and emotionally dragging you down? Interacting with them as if they would help you grow, but in fact not? And if it’s really true that they’re not helping at all, then cut-off ties, or at the very least, do not interact too much. Better yet, find a better environment that you can express the best out of yourself.
Related thought: 2019SEP17 – Expectations on setting the bar high
Updated: Get out of your comfort zone – Mar. 21, 2021
There are times we get unconscious of our habits, and think that it would help us to do things that we should be doing.
”Oh, I need a coffee because it helps me think!”, ”Oh, I need a sleep because it would help refresh my mind!” etc.
This might be true on certain circumstances, but we often misjudge things just because it worked effectively in the past. But how really are we certain that it is exactly what we needed?
What if the caffeine just worsens your focus as you get more agitated? What if the sleep wasn’t necessary at all and only made you procrastinate?
These are misjudgments and this would likely put consequences to our cognitive ability. Yet the question is how can we really not misjudge our habits without slowing down how we respond on things, and be more conscious about it?
Maybe the brief answer revolves only around to what we feed to our brain.
Sunlight, water, enough protein, enough iron, etc. We are bio-creatures and how we take care of our brain (and also those parts that connects to it and those parts that needed the information i.e. veins, guts, sensory organs) should be healthy*.
Facts and stories might also help. We are intellectual being. These information are technically what reminds with our objectives or at least wants in life. Well, of course, with the help again of sensory organs and those parts that processes these information.
And last, find meaning and answers (yes, plural with ”s”) with this question: ”Would it really help if I do (— or don’t do) it?” This would help you understand the rationale behind your every decisions, including decisions for miniscule activities such as taking a sip of water— in such whether it would help you or not to maintain the productivity momentum or not, and even sighing— in such whether if this would help you release your stress or maybe just worsen the room. Well again, it’s a matter of judgment— a mindful one.
* Note: This is not a neuroscience nor cognitive science site, there are lots of books and article that would describes a healthy brain and body, and how we respond to stimuli. Few recommended books that might help on how you can understand our brain and behaviour: (1) Behave – The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by R. Sapolsky, (2) Physiology of Behavior 11th ed. – N. Carlson.
Few mantras and affirmations:
- I will avoid reading statements from people who kept sharing unreliable information regardless if used to look up on them in the past.
- I will avoid resorting to habits that are part of coping mechanisms and, instead, I will resolve the things that concerns or bothers me heads-on regardless if I would consume energy and time more than comfort zone’s usual energy and time consumption.
- I will be mindful to every movement I would do, to every words that I would utter, and to every decision I would take regardless if I feel like it is uncomfortable, disturbing and/or terrifying.
You may be in the middle of crisis thinking whether you should be doing what makes you happy or work towards your goals. But think a little more, how did you end up here? If it’s because what you have been doing right now is part of your plan, perhaps you need to reassess yourself if you did mistakes or miscalculations the past few days, weeks, or months. Be honest to admit it. And if so, make amends, rectify, and fill in the gaps you did. You may ask, ”when?” the answer is it has to be now. Time is always running. There won’t be such thing as ”seize the day” if there is no such thing as running time.
To end, have you ever even thought you won’t be in this kind of situation if your past self did not work really hard to be in this place? Think again. Make actions. And when trying to get the things that would make you happy, make sure to never ever take people, time, and opportunities for granted. That’s how you righteously define ”seize the day.”
There are the things you need to consider when dealing with yourself and other people. To deal with your biases. To deal with your flaws that has tendency to be misunderstood. To improve yourself in communicating well your thoughts and feelings. To build long-lasting bond and relationship, not only with your family, friends, but also people you meet along the phases of your life:
Mantras you can fill in:
- I feel [or I am] frustrated because of ___ , but I have to ___, thus___ .
- I feel [or I am] disappointed because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
- I feel [or I am] mad because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
- I feel [or I am] humiliated because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
- I feel [or I am] pressured because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
- I feel [or I am] annoyed because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
- I feel [or I am] upset because of ___, but I have to ___, thus ___ .
There are lots more of things to fill in, let me know if you have suggestions.