The month of August has come to an end, I thought I might share with you what I've learnt in the past 31 days. A lot of things have happened in the past four weeks - I've learnt what it means to be strong, I've learnt what it means to be confident, I've learnt what it means to 'fake it till you make it'...
So many lessons were learnt and I continue to be grateful for every experience that comes my way.
1. There will always be noise
I've finally realised that everyone has an opinion and the large majority want someone to listen to their ideas. Sometimes, people's opinions can be really useful. I met a wonderful executive coach by chance last year and, with a few words, she was able to completely change my way of thinking. She really empowered me to take a path not taken by most, so that I can be happier than most.
But it's not everyday that you'll meet someone like that. In fact, in this past month, I've been meeting some of the most negative people I've ever come across. I've sat in front of people who hate on other people's ideas because they are 'too big/small/stupid/insignificant/outlandish/impossible/impractical'. The list goes on.
I confess to being a pessimistic and cautious type of person. So to be surrounded by these type of people only makes me more unsure about the path I've chosen. Uncertainty has also lead to inaction. Inaction has led to more uncertainty...
It took awhile for me to actually catch on to what was happening. And it took just as long to realise that what people have been saying to me have all been opinions. They are not facts. They do not know anymore than I do about what the future holds.
I've learnt to take things with a grain of salt. There will always be people who want to let you know their opinion. Don't only hear what you want to hear. Hear everything but also examine everything to know whether what they're saying is valuable or not.
Obviously, if people have a point, then it's best to take note and to really question whether their concerns are well founded.
If not, then, at the end of the day, so long as it makes sense to you and it makes you happy, cut out all the noise and do exactly what you were doing before.
2. Rephrase your words. Say what is useful
I think it's always important to be aware of what your words can do to others. Even though you mean well, your words might still hurt someone.
I've been on both sides this month - I've been the well intentioned one and I've also been the hurt one. I know how wronged you feel when the person you're speaking to throws back your good intentions. I also know how uncomfortable it is to hear someone offering well-meaning, but just unhelpful, advice.
I don't think I can completely decide never to be the one who gets hurt in this equation. But I have decided that I don't want to be consciously responsible for someone else's unhappiness or stress. I think one of the best ways to approach this is by only saying what is helpful to others.
It's not like I'm going around sugarcoating everything or straight out lying to them. It's just that I've chosen to rephrase my words. Instead of blatantly pointing out someone else's flaws, I offer suggestions by saying things like 'how awesome would it be if...'
It makes such a big difference. No only is there no negativity exchange during the conversation, but people seem so much more receptive to what I have to say.
3. Get your priorities right
If only I had a dollar for every time someone told me they were busy. I totally get it - You're busy. I'm busy. Everyone is damn busy, especially since we live in times where being pressed for time is equated to productivity.
We're THAT busy that we're often forced to choose between our work, studies, partners, families, friends and interests. But sometimes I wonder if the words 'I'm busy' is an avoidance mechanism.
I'm beginning to think that if we really wanted to do something, we would make time for it. We would diarise it and use it as motivation to get through all the mundane stuff.
I've found that if a task comes across of mind more than a few times and I don't make a firm commitment to complete it, I know that it's not something I really want to do. And then I have to ask myself some honest questions about why that is so and what I can realistically do about it.
Sometimes it's as straight forward as 'Well, even though I don't want to do it, I still have to because the consequences are unwanted or something I don't want to deal with'. Other times, it's a huge wakeup call and it calls for a rethink about what I'm doing.
Either way, I think it's important to have a look at where your priorities lie and to see whether they are aligned with what you want out of life.
Do any of these points resonate with you? What have you learnt in August?
Always love to hear your thoughts on life!