Private Victories

In my teens I was quick to boast about my accomplishments. Winning a competition or talking about trips that I did was quickly followed by the idea of sharing it with everyone I knew.

With time I realized that it’s simpler to keep it private. Call it private victories. I don’t want the attention. Tranquility, or peace of mind, is so much sweeter. If someone has genuine interest then I can tell them how I did, or what it is I do, because they are asking this question with a receptive state of mind, it will be better for both of us.

With private victories, when you start a new hobby or anything that’s vaguely different and that may take you out of your comfort zone it will be easier to protect it. Because people don’t know; they won’t attack your idea. You won’t have to justify your actions. After a while you will gain that confidence that comes from consistent practice which also nurtures humbleness. That leads to not really having a desire to tell other people what you are about. If it comes to it, it’s okay, but it if doesn’t, you just keep doing what you do. And that’s fine too. That silent confidence expands into other areas of our life. We don’t have to tell people were great, we know we are.

It isn’t easy, especially if we’ve been taught to compete our whole life in school, at work and among our own siblings. The good news is, all it takes is to treat any small win by keeping it for ourself. This will allow us to build up on the habit of remaining cool when we are overly excited.

Although, if we do fall into excitement, let it be. No need to feel guilty, no one gets it perfectly the first time.

Intelligent Hours

Today I went to work at 9:30 and left at 15:00. That’s a little more than five hours of work. And that’s how it is on most days. Whenever I start feeling resistance within or that my productivity is going down faster than drinking a cold beer on a warm summer day I know that it is time to take a break.

I do the rest of the work remotely at home after either a nap, mild exercise or any kind of activity that can help me forget about all of the hats I sport every day.

Perhaps doing multiple hours in a row is what makes me sluggish later on, but I can usually recognize when I am in a state of flow versus when I am simply hacking away to get rid of some work. I prefer getting to the end of things and getting them done well. Granted it isn’t always possible, that mentality is what helps us understand what we do and get good at it. In other words, what’s the point of reading a book if you are skimming the chapters?

When I see employers raising their eyebrows at employees who leave early to finish work from home I would like for them to understand that were all different. Some people like putting in four hours of work in an eight hour shift. I don’t. I like putting in intelligent hours. I know myself and I know what makes me productive.

Obviously some employers are skeptical because there are always people who abuse the system, but if you talk to your employee everyday you will get to understand his profile and then make a proper assessment as to what his preferred work flow is.

How the kids do It

While I was reading a book at the park I saw a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bicycle. The kid would push on the pedals and fall immediately. This brought me back to my own days and I realized that, if kids do learn fast, that doesn’t mean they had it any easier than an adult learning the same skill. We have this impression because we barely remember the falls and the struggles we had when we were young.

Kids have innocence, a sense of curiosity and perhaps a little bit of help from our good friend the gravity to learn things quickly. In contrast, we have responsibilities, were grounded in conditioned beliefs and struggle with concepts like passion and motivation.

Here’s a fact, that little girl fell down about 10 times in just about 15 minutes of riding. It did not feel like there was any difference in her expression as she went on with her riding. She just repeated the experience with a few helpful hints from her father. A full grown adult might get dismayed or develop anxiety which will hurt his assimilation of whatever he was trying to learn.

I am under the belief right now that adults have the potential to learn faster than young children. It just takes the right mindset. What is that mindset? Well first off, accepting mistakes and not being too attached to the end result is helpful. Secondly, once we do see the results we can look at them honestly and see what needs tweaking without being self-critical. Finally, instead of coming from a place of conclusion thinking we already know how how it ought to be we can give ourselves a change by consuming different helpful resources and only then form an opinion thanks to our broader perspective.

Influences in Environment

Our environment has powerful, constant and silent influence on us. Here’s how I came to really understand that.

In January I moved to a new apartment in downtown’s busiest pub district. There were parties upstairs and a pub downstairs. I dreaded going to sleep knowing I might have to deal with hours of incessant music. My room had no windows so it felt like a coffin. To top it off my roommates were students while I worked full-time and so we had very different lifestyles. I grew edgy, impatient and distant.

After two months I moved to a calmer neighborhood. Children are playing in the fields at the back, the place is bigger, my room is more spacious, my roommates are diverse and I get along with them pretty well. In a matter of a few days I’ve gotten better sleep and regained my inner peace.

In both situations there is one element that hadn't changed. My daily routine. Difficult times, easy times, mellow times, stressful times or busy times, you name it; my routine was there waiting for me. It kept me in the game, but in reality I did have to face the facts of my life situation. I planned my way out and resolved to change my external circumstances by looking at what I could do. To have time to think about this change my routine was priceless. It nurtured my damaged principles and what came out of it was the confidence to act on what I believed to be the truth at that time.

So even if you are an effective individual, be weary of your environment, because it is always there, it’s always present and it unconsciously sends you messages. It tweaks your habits and it has the potential to make you miserable. Be weary.

Choosing idols Wisely

When were hustling everyday, we can spread thin or stray off into unknown territory. That is an adventure in itself and it brings a good lesson beneath all the frustrations we may live.

That being said, we can pick a few role models to help us along the way. It’s as simple as loosely following the footsteps of people we deem having lived the way we strive to. When I read Mark Twain’s adventures in Western America, or let myself be amazed by Alan Watt’s explanation of Western philosophy I am also planting a seed into my brain. By collecting seeds we nurture a new perspective and a different way of doing what we love. We also become a beacon of information for other people.

A good dose of skepticism can be beneficial though. Because some people put their idols under a god-like veil. Let’s not forget that they are all human beings. And if you choose to follow a character of fiction then remember that he is just that, a character of fiction. Otherwise we tend to have a gap between us and an image that can never be reached. Were never good enough.

Also, when it comes to having role models in real life, we want to strive and remain at their level. They have qualities that they exhibit, but you also have your own. You just lived with them for a very long time, so you might not be as aware of your own influence and uniqueness. Thinking of anyone in too high esteem is bound to hurt. Simply because we immediately discard anyone who isn’t like that, including ourselves.

So the next time we choose an idol, let’s remember we are also paving our way and that just feels awesome.