“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anaïs Nin
Making change is one of the hardest decisions you ever have to make in your life. It requires willpower, the ability to let go, and courage to embrace the unknown.
It’s funny, growing up, growing pains had another meaning. It symbolised a natural occurrence of growth, one which we all eagerly looked forward to, often fantasising about what it would be like to be ‘taller’ or ‘more grown up’. But as we get older, we start to develop a resistance towards ‘growth’, and the ‘discomfort’ that comes with it. Instead, growing now represents an active choice, that is associated by many as inconvenient.
If I’m honest, I am have found my growth very painful at times, because it means admitting and facing up to my errors and the negative emotions that come with it. I am even having to shed everything from my preferences to my core beliefs that I previously believed made up my identity. I feel pretty vulnerable but at the same time empowered, because I know I am on a path that not many choose to walk. But with unventured territory comes an adventure with no map. So I’ve developed a few techniques I use to keep me sane in the wilderness:
1) RECYCLE YOUR PAIN
“Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret”.
What’s it going to be?
2) YOUR ‘DESPERATE WHY’
A couple of months ago, a friend invited me to attend a seminar that was basically a sell to join a company, and sell a product. A decent product, I must say, but just not for me. While many were writing away about how they could join the scheme in a day and make money in a week, by the end of the session I only had 2 words on my paper… ‘DESPERATE WHY’. Funnily enough, I had one person ask me if I wanted to borrow another pen to continue writing notes. I laughed. I told him that I was taking a mental note. He looks baffled and shook his head.
That was what I came to the seminar for.. those 2 words; not the product. Sorry mate. Why? Because the man who owned the company became a millionaire at the age of 22. I wanted to know what drove him to wake up every day and go for his dreams, so I asked him. Develop an ultimatum that you tell yourself when things get tough. What is the ‘why’ you can use as motivation in ‘desperate’ times?
3) THINK BY YEAR, FUNCTION BY DAY
Something that really got my anxiety up when I was growing up was that time was ticking. Yes even when I was 12, the clock ticking drove me insane! It got to the point where I had episodes of analysis paralysis at some points in my life. For what reason….Maybe it’s the fact that everything is about time windows and limits. ‘You only have 1 hour to answer 10,000 questions in this exam that will determine what jobs you can apply for in life’.’By 30 you should have settled into your career and started a family’. ‘Your youth will be the best time you will have in your whole life, after that there is not much hope.’ Ok, so you are saying that only within these certain time frames are we allowed to succeed, make mistakes and that our choices are the most important, and if we miss it then its game over?
Can everyone please just chill. Stop for one second. WHY are we so consumed by quick fixes and moving in sync with everyone else? Yes, it is important to work hard in school, but if you don’t manage to get the grades…there are many other avenues to become successful. The same applies to all areas of life. Make life meaningful to you. Don’t worry about thinking too much ahead, or where other people are. The rule I have now given myself is to think up to a year maximum (with exception to long-term goals and important events) and only about things that benefit my life and the people I care about. I do not care that a celebrity’s baby is due in a month (though I wish them well and congratulate them in advance, haha). Decide where you want to be a year from now and set daily goals for you to achieve. Use your past self as your current competition.
Think by year, function by day.
4.) TRUST YOUR GPS
(GUT PROMPTING SIGNALS)
My gut has saved me from difficulties on numerous occasions. Luckily growing up I have been naturally in sync with my GPS. If my gut told me not to do something, I didn’t question it. I was flat-out not going to do it. Some people would laugh and say I was being ridiculous, but these were the same people who would then begrudge me for not getting caught up in their problems. It has given me great blessings too.
My GPS told me to plan for this project a few years ago. At the time when things were dark, it didn’t make sense, but I knew that it would be something I’d regret if I didn’t follow it. 5 years later, the dots are connecting perfectly, and it gives me great joy and motivation. Please note that there is a difference between GPS and Fear. I have personally found that GPS makes your mind unquestionably clearer, while fear triggers off your emotions and makes you feel overwhelmed. When you are given direction, just follow it and hold no expectations as to where it may get you. Just tune into the signs around, and within you.
Trust yourself. You know yourself better than most.
5.) LEARN FROM THE SETTLERS
The wilderness can be a lonely place, so when you meet people on the way use this opportunity to use them as a valuable resource. And by settlers, I don’t mean people who have chosen to not to make a change, I mean people who you meet on your own path, and have just finished theirs.
Befriend them, listen to their stories, know them so much that you feel like their story is yours. Learn from their mistakes, take their advice and celebrate their joys, and use this to develop your knowledge bank. The more you learn, the more it will make your journey a lot easier. After all, most are happy to help and they know the terrain better than you do. They may even know shorter and safer paths to take.
When in Rome, do what the Romans do.
6.) IF ALL ELSE FAILS, SAY THANK YOU
If you don’t know how to feel, say thank you anyway.
It sounds counterintuitive, but there is actually logic to it. Gratitude is more powerful than you imagine, and its sadly sometimes the least likely thing you’d think to do. So that’s exactly why you should.
If you follow the Law of Attraction, the more you are grateful for, the more life seems to work in your favour. So yes even if you feel like the world is over, be grateful for it, because you never know how the universe might turn it around. Or, from a psychological perspective, when your ego and inner critic go into overdrive, thanking them will stop them in their tracks. This is because they thrive mostly off of resistance. So break up the cycle and surprise yourself.
The more they (the universe and/or your mind) begin to think you favour the way they work, the more they will begin to work with you. Even if it just for a moment of peace, that’s sometimes all you need to get yourself back on track… And exhale.
Every day I aspire to evolve and become the best I can possibly be. Though, that does not make me perfect, nor my methods. I do what resonates with me, and what may work for me may not work for you. Please do not take my blog as medical advice. If you feel low, do not be afraid to ask for professional help; if anything it will probably speed up the process! Though if it does help, feel free to use it alongside other sources of professional support, and let me know!
I hope that you find this project equally as rewarding and insightful as I do, and with every step I take, I hope it gives you the courage to take yours.
All the best,