The key to growth: you

#byBéka

The key to growth in other words is actually accepting the dark side of the future and most importantly, accepting the power you have over it. What I mean is that death cares little for timing, perceptions and “good people”. Life is short, horribly and chaotically short. Thus, this ugly truth should be enough to give you the perspective and urgency to make the most of the time you have. Make it happen and make it count. 

There are certain things that will come to define your life when you’ll be gone. Things that will define your era or your environment. When we look back in years to come, there will be, of course, a time and place you’ll remember most. 

A few months ago, someone wise asked me “what would you like to be remembered for?”. My answer at that time seems to be different from the one I have now. There was then and still is of course an urgency to say that you want to be remembered for your values, your kindness and your love for others and that kind of shenanigans.  But the thing is, no one seems to think – when you are asked that kind of question  – that you want to be remembered for the way you fully embraced and enjoyed every bit of your life. The urgency you had to make the most of if, seizing opportunities and taking calculated risks for the greatest gain. Sometimes though, it seems smarter to do what we need for short-term enjoyment and fullness and put the long-term future in the hands of fate. That is why I think that the key to be happier, to have a better life and outcome and mostly to your personal growth is to actually accept the unpredictability of the future and take lessons from your past.

Although, what I’m advocating for right now, is that we make more decisions in favour of our future selves over ourselves here and now. Which means that it seems more appropriate to me to provide for my future by understanding some fundamental truths about my life now and the people around. Ultimately, here are the truths that keep revealing themselves along the years.

The surest way to live a miserable life is by spending too much time worrying about what is already done.
If you want to be happy and fulfilled, I have truly realized that you need to learn to let go of the past and most likely learn how to be present and enjoy the small joys of everyday situations.  It means that instead of thinking and rethinking and re rethinking about your past mistakes or fearing the future, try to be fully present right now. Try to focus on your day, your current relationships, work, school project, etc. Because now is actually the only time you can influence and change. The present time is the only one that truly matters and that you can shape the way you want for the future you wish for.

Obviously, you can’t change anything about the past, and you can’t determine your future.  So why would you lose your precious time worrying about something you have absolutely no control, no power and no possibility to change like? Though you can give your very best to enjoy every moment and live intentionally. You can and you should then start to focus on the now and what you can do today to live your best tomorrow instead of worrying about yesterday? Buddha said that you shall not dwell in the past but concentrate your mind on the present moments. 

For that, I recommend that you set daily intentions, focus on your goals, and think of all the things you are grateful for in your current life. to help you with your goals, I suggest these three articles for your next read: 

  1.  How to take action on your visions and make them a reality – part1
  2. Where to start your personal journey
  3. Two options: Evolve or Repeat

Of course, you can improve yourself, but stay modest about it
I think that the feeling of “the need to be busy all the time” is a trauma response and fear-based distraction from what you’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if you slow down. Of course, leading a life like that may attract the right people combination for you such as the one who you won’t spend time defining your soul too and you’ll be able to focus on your strengths and achievements. Although is it really what matters?

What I mean is that it’s easy for everyone to be confident and proud when you accomplish something you have worked for and when you do great things. But you rather need to be your own fan, even if you fail miserably, instead of pushing through constantly with the aim that people will notice you. Cause they won’t! Throughout your life, you will meet so many people who won’t encourage you or won’t respect your achievements and your goals. No matter what others say, you need to stay true to yourself, but also stay modest. When one is modest, they have a moderate view of their abilities. That is, they are not necessarily undervaluing themselves, but they would never overvalue and will keep in mind that they can improve with working harder or get better while being patient. A person is modest when they do not brag and when they tend to stay low-key about their own abilities. What I mean is, your succes should be silent and your pride should be personal.

If you obsess with other peoples’ opinions you’ll never evolve
The truth is that you’ll never be able to satisfy everyone. So stop trying, it will get you anywhere else than a breakdown. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t matter. You have one life and you don’t need to waste it by living up to the standards of others. You have one shot at life, it is not a school play or an essay. You can’t draft it, erase any part or switch roles. You can though, change it, switch the narrative and improve it as you go. 

The bigger message here — stop trying to be something you’re not. Society has done a great job of confusing us about happiness, about your needs and about who should be and what you should do. Being the smartest, hardest working person in the room isn’t happiness. It’s just another way to explain OCD. 

You are you. “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Lao Tzu

I think life really comes down to either follow your heart or live in fear. Your heart speaks through your feelings while your fear shouts through others’ feelings and judgements. Being authentic to who you are and who you want to be is actually a beautiful gift from you to a better version of you. Be vulnerable enough to accept your flaws and be confident enough to cherish your strengths. You can be hurting today and wondering what tomorrow will bring out, but also, you can be healing and be happy if you choose you. Not knowing is clearly scary and it makes you feel uncertain – true. But also, choosing you for you is the best way to discover the answer.

If you are fearing change, you won’t get anywhere

We fear change because we can’t anticipate the outcome. because the future is a terrifyingly blank page. However, staying put is just not the solution. Whether it’s your career, your health, your relationship that needs to be changed, you risk lifting behind great outcomes if you don’t continue to grow by stepping right into the changing process of it. The obvious paradox is that although we fear and reject uncertainty, we also have the skills as human beings to change and evolve to a greater good. what you have to understand is that fear is only an emotion that gets in your way. 

On one hand, we are hardwired to resist uncertainty — our brain prefers a predictable negative outcome over an uncertain one. On the other hand, our mind is flexible and adaptive — it can be trained to thrive in change. Thus, I would like to add that our fear to change is most likely based on stories – both real and the one we create in our minds overthinking everything. We narrate our lives as if they are out of our control — indeed most of it is out of our control. so let’s not focus on those parts but instead face the things we can manage.

Also, remain flexible to the surprises that life has in store. A little bit of flexibility goes a long way. After all, in the words of Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet: Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.

In the end, life is short. It’s the only thing that matters truly. Remember to honour your feelings and find the time to understand what causes them. Remember that the world around you is a product of your own imagination. Take the time to feel curious about things around you, people, work, environment, cultures, etc.  And most importantly, don’t forget to breathe! Pause for a moment, breath in and out and try on mindfulness.  Your life is not a book written by others — create your own storyline. Create a bestseller while you’re at it. The fact that most outcomes are out of your control doesn’t mean you can’t play a more active role. Stop being passive about everything and start taking actions and responsibility for your own character.  If you want a different outcome of your daily life, start by changing your mentality. You are not just a character; you are the author of your life. You are in charge, you make it happen! Don’t close the door to any new chapters or adventures. When we try to protect ourselves from uncertainty, we lose awareness of the present moment. And we stop enjoying what life gives us, we become passive and just a stranger of it all.

Finally, my advice for you today is just to avoid living on autopilot — every day is an opportunity to write something that is or could be exceptional.  Don’t give up and enjoy the ride, cause if it’s not a great adventure it’s nothing at all!

  • With all my love, B
Photo by Jonathan Petersson

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