Keep Moving Forward – The Road Ahead

Keep Moving Forward – The Road Ahead

A few blog posts ago I wrote about how life was like a road and to some extent it is.

If life is a road – albeit a non-linear road but a road nonetheless – then we are faced with three options: stay still, go back or keep moving forward.

A road can lead to another road and another road and inevitably lead to the destination.  The destination with any journey is different for every person though, arguably, the journey is the most important aspect.

Staying Still

I said that staying still leads to the possibility of not developing, but can this actually be the opposite? Staying still allows for reflection and on a journey to a goal, self-reflection and self-assessment can be a key ingredient. 

Three questions that should be asked: what? So what? And, now what?

Developed by John Driscoll asking these questions can help a person make a decision about a goal if they have any worries.

What?

Asking what can allow a person to think about their decision. This could be: why am I down this path? Is this the right thing for me? These questions and others like them can be used in a reflective context to help a person see why and how they are on this journey.

So what?

Analyzing the event or even process can help in two ways: re-evaluating the decision to help you understand why you are where you are. This is true if you are in a place where you have doubts. You can secondly re-live. Was there something that happened which held you back? Was their a decision you made that could have been negative when you thought is was a positive one? How can these be turned around? So what is important in so many ways. It is the start of putting your ideas into place to get back on track. It is the beginning of a path to help you continue on your journey

 Now what?

Can be a difficult question. When you have thought of the event or decision and analysed it, what is next? Next is go on. Next is use what you know and what you didn’t know to not make the same mistake/s twice.

Going Back

Going back can be attractive to someone especially if they have lost their way.  The thought of starting again, almost setting the reset button can make a person feel better. A mind frame that has often baffled me is this notion of  someone saying ‘I am going back to the old me’. By pretending they are: ‘going back to the old me’ often implies they have made some kind of mistake. By going back to this old version, a person will believe that they can possibly escape mistake and failure by re-visiting a more successful version of themselves. The question that should be asked is: was this version actually successful? Just because we have a view that by re-visiting a person who we deemed successful doesn’t mean it was. 

Going back can prevent as many unknowns as going forward but relatively cannot be unchanged.

The past cannot be changed. The future is in your power – Unknown

It is best to leave the past in the past; walking down it can be dangerous, though it is ok to glance at it from time to time. Don’t concentrate on who you were especially if you feel lost or struggling. Concerntrate on who you are and who you could be. Moving forward is the key to success. The good times were good and going forward can create more good times.

Going Forward

If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place – unknown

Often moving forward seems simple – plot a target or path and go towards it – and it is! 

What actually is the most difficult and as Erin Pavilina says her blog The Importance of letting Go is the ‘anchor’ everyone holds on to. Everyone holds on to something in the past and this deters them from going forward. She actually then goes on to say that the past is the past and we should let it go. This is true. Letting go of any anchored past will allow for change. This will give a clear mind and conscience to help tackle any problems that will come from the unknown path ahead. The past is never going to change but it can repeat itself. 

The future that has not happened yet, but compared to the past it is something that we can change.  Using the past can give the foresight needed to walk into the unknown. This can be from learning from mistakes to prevent us from doing them again or to help us build ourselves up. 

The road to the end is difficult but nothing in life is easy. If it was easy then it wouldn’t be worth striving for. Staying still can help with reflection, but staying still to long can lead to others around advance. They will then be at the end of their journey while you are stuck in the same place. Going back is dangerous as there will be no progress made. Letting go of the anchor of the past is beneficial. The future is scary but that is exciting. It can be, but it is up to you. It is up to you to see how far down the road you go and if you make it to your destination.


Blog 12

(Feature Image: https://polysyllabicprofundities.com/tag/route-66/)

Blog #11: Life Through A Window

Blog #11: Life Through A Window

*Warning – this blog contains a rant*

There are these things I carry around everyday. Without them I am different, I look different and people perceive me as different. Actually, people have perceived me different to them because of these things.

What I am talking about is glasses.

Now glasses are not a major be all to end all in life but sometimes I would prefer not to need them at all. Someone once said to me that they find it weird that people can’t see ‘properly’. I actually find it weird that some people can. From a younger age I was often told I was looking at people with a angry face – though it was just me trying to see objects far away. I often couldn’t read what was written by teachers in school but to me that was the norm.

Then the day came when through one thing or another in my teenage years, I went for an eye test and was told I had to wear glasses. I didn’t have to wear them all the time from that point. I was only told them that I need to wear them at school or when watching television. Even then I only felt comfortable wearing my glasses at home and on occasion wore them at school.

I hated them. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see the person I was, I saw a person who was different and wasn’t normal. In my head I attached myself to this stigma that people with glasses were a minority and were outcasts to everyone else. Awkward teenage years indeed.

It wasn’t until I saw characters on television like David Tennants portrayal of The Doctor and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones (both of whom wore glasses) did I see myself differently. I saw myself as someone who was different because I wore glasses, but maybe that was ok. These people were highly intelligent and action heroes in their mediums. They used intelligence to save the day and glasses to me could signify this. So – if superheroes wear glasses – maybe I had a super power?

With this mindset I was still slightly embarrassed to wear glasses.  I had these very cheap frames because it was all my family could afford and I had then developed ‘glasses envy’. Everywhere I looked people had cooler frames compared to me and looked better. I had to have better glasses. This wouldn’t come until I became older and working helped raise my self-esteem with wearing glasses, as I could buy any pair I wanted. Two for one deals are also the best.

The thing I’ve noticed as I’ve got older -where I have accepted that I wear glasses – is non-glasses wearers. These people will want to do a number of things:

  1.  They will want to try your glasses on to see ‘how blind’ you are and then tell me ‘you must be blind’. Well for one, I’m not blind because I can see and secondly I wear glasses to see and not for some hipster fashion statement.
  2. People will want to try your glasses on to take a picture where they will either: ask people how ‘intelligent’ they look; take a selfie send to people to see ‘how much of a geek they are’; Or to see how much they suit glasses.

    My Philosophical Dilemma

    When I look through my glasses am I seeing the world the same as those with perfect eyesight. Or, am I seeing the world differently. 

    I am sure that there is a explanation for this as any Optician may tell you but it is a random thought you get in your head at 2am in the morning.

    Maybe I should get laser eye surgery.

    (Image: Specsavers via Google)

    Blog #9: Battling On The Frontline

    One thing I battle with on a daily basis is is the dreaded P word: procrastination.

    Procrastination is the bane of my existence like I am sure it is for many people. I will often get waves of productivity where I will makes a list of things to do. Then, when it comes to completing this list – I put it off.  I will often make excuses. I’ll will tell myself: ‘I will do it tomorrow’, ‘I’ll do it in an hour’ or the ever classic ‘I’ll do it it a minute’. Even at the time of writing this blog post I have put off doing it for three hours.

    The thing is procrastistation I see is a battle. It is the thing on my mind all the time. Unless I really invest my time by burying my head into what I need to, I will procrastinate. 

    But is procrastination a bad thing? Or is it your subconscious telling you to put off the stuff that doesn’t matter and to do the things that do matter? 

    Actually if you procrastinate by putting off a project or piece of work, the pressure can motivate you to do well. On the other hand, it doesn’t work for everyone. It also will create more work to-do in a time space where more time is necessary.

    More featuring cons of procrastination is anxiety and disorganisation which can lead to a project or work not being the best. Thus setting the procrastinator to fail.

    To no procrastinate we have to discipline ourselves, set deadlines and stick to them. My deadline for a blog usually is to start on a Monday and finish by a Thursday. Sometimes this may not be the case. From me I should be on Blog #11 by now but haven’t due to procrastination. I often think I write a blog post to procrastinate!

    So whatever makes you procrastinate look it in the face and go to war with it. Defeat it and progress.

    Or you can do it later.

    Blog #6: ‘Do More’:Why you are the problem to achieving your goals

    Blog #6: ‘Do More’:Why you are the problem to achieving your goals

    Sometimes in life there are moments where you feel down. You feel out of luck and think the world is against you. You have a goal but you don’t seem to be getting there. The problem isn’t the world or others – it’s you!

    Here’s why it might be you who getting in the way of achieving your goals.

    Criticism

    When I was younger I hated criticism. It used to make me feel like I was incapable of doing anything. I took criticism personally and never acted on it. I just assumed I was not able in the task and left it there. I then would go to the next thing and continue doing as before and the same result would happen. I never progressed.

    I have a rule: ignore praise and embrace criticism. I never seek a compliment, it’s generally a dead end – Casey Neistat

    Criticism is more valuable then praise, and it should be embraced. Criticism is telling you what you are not doing. It will also tell you how to get to the finish line.

    If you want to do something and you want to do it badly, you need to concentrate on getting the bad good and the good even better. Criticism and critique will help that. Next time someone gives you some criticism, see it as a positive.

    Everything you do will not be perfect and even if it is, it can be critiqued. Everyone has a opinion on how something can be perfected. It is up to you to decide if it is good advice or not. Now, this maybe contradictory but some criticism is not useful. If you are doing an essay for example and your teacher who is an expert in the field criticises your essay- their critique can be trusted. It can be trusted because it is given in a constructive capacity. They want you to succeed and they are only trying to advance you. If someone with no expertise critiques your essay but has no experience in the field criticises you, or if you write something online and a person who comments on it is a troll, ignore it! It is all about moving forward and listening to negative opinions and opinions with no knowledge to back them up will keep you back.

    Comfort

    Having talked in more detail about this in a previous blog post (The Void or Montony) I will only summarise on why comfort will keep you from your goals.

    Comfort in some sense is playing it safe. You know what you are doing, you know what tomorrow holds and the next week and possibly the next year. When you the actually step back to look, you realise that your life is 10 or 20 years down the line and you are not where you imagine yourself to be. Just because you are comfortable.

    To combat this you need to take risk. Take steps to achieve what you want to do. Ask yourself every week: ‘Am I close to where I want to be?’ If it is no, then change it. With one life, it is the time you use that is important.

    Keep Looking Forward

    If life is a road- albeit a non-linear road but a road nonetheless- then we are faced with three options: stay still, go back or keep moving forward.

    Will it be difficult? Of course. Will you want to quit sometimes? Yes. It is up to you. If you look back and you hold on to past success at some point, you will wonder where the magic went. If you stay still you risk the possibility of not developing yourself. But, if you move forward only glancing at the past, using it to help you along the road and move forward, you can succeed. 

    The Little Steps

    Having a goal or ambition is amazing. If you are at a point in your life where you need change and you are going to be pro-active about it – good for you!

    You know the finish line and you have to take the first step. The first step is to plan and instead of planning the whole journey, it needs to be broken up into smaller achieveable goals. Then, if posssible, make those small goals into even smaller goals. This takes planning and time but is crucial. 

    The first step should be going from the end backwards. If you wanted to be a blogger for example begin by writing in the middle of a paper ‘ I want to be a blogger’.

    Around that should be things like: What should I write about? Who is my audience? How will I reach out to my audience? What is my style? Can I use pictures of the Internet? Do I need to do research on a topic? Can I earn from this? Looking at these things and setting a path will help.

    Next is to set a time limit for these tasks. This also means that you will have to look at your steps and distinguish the big tasks from the small ones. A time limit for these will help complete them and discipline yourself to finish them.

    Growth vs Fixed Mindset

    The theory of Growth and Fixed Mindset by Caroline Dweck sums up perfectly some of our attitudes in life.

    Fixed Mindset: Is the mindset where a person accepts who they are. There talents, traits, intelligence are fixed. They see themselves as being at a level that they cannot extend. They are fixed there and that is where they remain. If they see a wall and believe they cannot get over it because they’re small, they will not attempt to get over it because they see themselves as fixed.

    Growth Mindset: Is the opposite of fixed mindset. It is where a person will not see themselves a certain way. They see their abilities, talents and intelligence as sonething that can be changed. If they are given an obstacle they will have the mindset that they can control it. If these people see a wall that they can’t get over because they are small, they will find a way to help them get over the wall and succeed. 

    We all are arguably guilty of having a fixed mindset especially when it comes to work. Growth mindset is a mindset that can be arguably achieved by everyone if they want something. If you feel at some point that you have a fixed mindset when are striving for your goal, then maybe it’s not for you. If it is something you want to achieve then sticking with a growth mindset in the tough times will help you strive.

     Do More

    The attitude you have is a defining feature in the successes of your life as well as the failures. When it gets hard, pushing past the fixed mindset attitude and embracing criticism to guide you will help you to get closer to your goals. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are the person to blame if you don’t get to where you are going. Now, others can factor into this but how much you allow them will be down to you. The first step is yours to take. Will you take it?

     (Featured image of Casey Neistat taken from LinkedIn)

    Blog #4: 4Things that displease me about working in retail

    Blog #4: 4Things that displease me about working in retail

    (Image: Dentons via Google)

    Have you ever worked in retail? Do some customers arrogance make your day harder? Does a possible 24/7 day corrupt your sleep pattern? Here are four things that displease me about working in retail after spending a considerable amount of time working in a supermarket.

    1. The Hours

    Some days are a bliss working in retail especially the hours. Not working during weekdays are often the best part of the job. Not many cinemas are full, shopping centres are empty and their are next to no children in my favourite coffee spots because they are in school. On some days, I would often go to my barbers on a Monday afternoon and go straight to the chair.  On the weekend this would be different; it is full of weekday workers and children jumping all over the place. Not a bliss! With the perks come the downsides. Some days you could be waiting until 7pm to do a 7pm – 11pm. All day is spent counting the hours until you have to go. You even will occasionally get a text from a friend ‘fancy a drink after I’ve finished work?’ To which you would reply, “Sorry I can’t I have work”. The hours can be range from early morning to well into the night. It can mess with your body clock especially if you agree to do an extra few hours until 5 am with a possible shift that night (7pm). What is it all for? Well it’s all for….

    2. The Money

     The money in some sense of the word (well for students at least) is good, but for someone where retail work is their main source of income. It can be soul destroying. You can work many days, work your hardest, and in sometimes a sales assistant will have to do more than one persons job in a day. At the end of the month, after all this, you see that your wage is not that much as thought. Or worst of all – find you have been underpaid! To then wait a month or more to get the money you are owed. The money is not for those who want to live a lavish lifestyle but is enough for students and possible parents who work part time to help supplement their household earnings.

    3. The Management
       

    Retail managers come in my experience in two types: 

    •      The Good

     These are the people who will motivate you to do your best, give you feedback that will help you do your job better, and will not expect you to do more then you can do -even when pushed to your limit.  These managers will be professional yet friendly to you.  They will also be there to help give you advice to help you develop in the hierarchy of the company and aid you in your pursuit. These managers will also look to keep people happy in the work place to avoid losing valuable members of staff.

    •      The Bad 

    These managers are the exact opposite of the above. These people see their position as a privilege, but see it in a way in which they are better then their staff. These are the managers who lead a team by force and snobbery. They will often be in the back doing little work, especially if their team is struggling – either with a late delivery or maybe understaffed due to illness – then blaming the members of staff present for their lack of progress. They will in some instances show little compassion to some staff with bereavement and possible childcare. They will be all about ‘playing the game’ to get ahead. Staff with these managers will often have little motivation, want to leave the company they work for and have a negative attitude towards their work. Senior managers should do their best to train these managers to do better, but often don’t.

    4. The Customers

     Some customers can be very nice and for a short time, or even the whole day, can make your shift that more enjoyable. It is even better when these customers are regular. Some are just rude, they come in and expect to be given the best treatment even when their first words to you are ‘ oi you’. Now, to expect execellent service with this will never happen. With me I gave these customers the bare minimum of good service and often directed them to a product they wanted in the store. This was instead of my customary take them to their product and wishing them a good day.

    Now, because of 24/7 trading hours an assistant can work late at night and very early mornings. This can bring in one type of brilliant customer: the drunk/s. These people can either be good or bad. The good can be the regular drunk who comes in  and on some occasion cause amusement to the staff as they sing and dance around the shop. These people don’t often get the extra alcohol they want because they are already intoxicated and it would be dangerous. They are a good distraction and are often harmless.  The other side to this is the bad. The bad customers are the drunks that are aggressive and often shout abuse at staff. In one instance I have seen people come into my place of work and be aggressive and start a confrontation with other people, resulting in the police needing to be there. There are also the type of drunk customer that will come in and shout verbal abuse at the workers.

    Retail can be a great place to work and earn money and work less days – if you don’t mind doing 12 hour days. When it is great, it is great, but when it is bad it can be a place that can motivate you to find somewhere else to work or it can drive you to a profession you truly care about. It can be a place to make possible friends for life and skills that can help you in later life. The upsides do outweigh the negatives that I have noted but every job has bad qualities. If I were to tell someone where to get a first job I would recommend a job in retail.

    Blog #2: The Void Of Monotony

     

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    (Image: Pinterest)

     

    Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  Do some days just feel the same?  Are other days more monotonous that others?  Ever stare out of a window and imagine you were somewhere else that isn’t where you are?

    To some of us, that is life in a nutshell:

    6am: wake up

    6.30am: make coffee

    7 am – 9am: sigh on the way to work – standstill traffic again!

    9am – 6pm: look at the clock/ computer screen counting down the hours until time to go and brave the afternoon rush hour.

    7pm: Dinner

    10pm: Bed

    …..and repeat!*

    *Now everyone’s day is not like this. I myself go to bed sometimes at 3am after binge- watching a series. I often then regret the decision (because one more episode won’t hurt right?) and then I hate myself when my phone tells me ‘Alarm set for 4 hours 57 minutes’ – Eurgh!

    This is what I call ‘The Void of Monotony’ – or Void for short.  The Void is when life gets repetitive and comfortable. The urge to want to venture out of your comfort zone gets overwritten by comfort in everyday life.

    You may even find yourself staring out of the window probably thinking of the places you want to go, the things you want to do and the kind of people you want to meet; or maybe the job you actually want to do. You convince yourself that you will get out of this rut, you will tick the to-do list in your head. You then google and plan out your new found adventure, for then it all to change. Comfort then settles in, the fear of the unknown settles these desires to the back of your head.

    You then tell yourself that it’s actually not too bad and then convince yourself that you love your life, that it could be worse. The cycle continues and then before you know it the daily routine begins and you are staring out of the window.

    The cycle of the void can be ended but it takes work. There can be some anxiety that comes with change and as the saying goes ‘the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step’. But taking the first step towards change is the hardest. I spent many months employed in a job after university on a minimum hours contract hoping to be given more. I asked and asked and waited and waited, but that isn’t how life works. I procrastinated and danced around the idea of leaving, but was scared of what to do next. I took the leap, left the job and the experiences and people I met changed and shaped me.

    Trepidation filled me when I made the decision to dwell into blogging and to walk away from that job – that cycle had ended. To end the cycle you have to be willing. You have to look at why you are anxious about moving on and take a wider view of your life. Once the first step is taken the rest come with ease.

    The fear of the unknown can make comfort more attractive but take the leap, go from staring out of the window to go outside achieving what you want to do.  All it needs is some get go. Fight past the fear and actually that thing you were dreaming about could be the thing you become comfortable in.