07/05/2013: A Curious Case of The Hiccups

Yesterday I had a mild case of the hiccups.

Not the usual ones, the ones that make your chest feel all squeezed if you have them for too long. No, I had the I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life hiccups. It seems like I write about this all the time –  I’ve written about creating lists, speaking to people, revisiting old hobbies and going for it (well to be honest, that’s because it’s the point at which I am at in my life) but even though I have now come to the point where I am 85% sure that I know what I want to do that 15% comes back to attack and overwhelm me creating doubt and worry all over again.

anxiety

I had planned to use the day really well. I should have been enjoying the sunshine with my friends but because of the lazy bone, homebody that I am, I decided that I would stay at home and do some work on my business project (which I hadn’t done in a week! eek!).

Well, as usual, that idea flew out the window. I actually got started quite well, I concentrated for a while about an hour *sheepish look* but I’ve found that once something breaks the focus, it’s hard to get it back. I let myself get distracted, went out to do some food shopping (my mama and I  made a lovely roast dinner…want some?) and I planned to do the work when I got home. However, when I looked at the time, I started to get frustrated – I hadn’t used my day as I’d planned. I got annoyed because I now didn’t have enough time to do what I had wanted to, I worried about how I should be much further along with the project than where I currently am, how I think I’m stalling, how I seem to be losing motivation, how I get distracted easily, how…and so it continued.

I then did what I always do when I get bored, distracted or frustrated…I started browsing stores online.

All together! “Tut, tut, tut” *Shake head*.  Online shopping can be dangerous. If you don’t see an item, you wont want it but if you constantly browse you will and when you start to see them your wallet shouts “nooooo!”.

I started to see all of these items that would just look fabulous on me and would solve everything! I began to fantasise about what I could wear, what outfit I could create, the imaginary places I could wear it to and what shoes would match. Not a bad thing when it’s necessary (wedding season!) but I didn’t need any of these items and I, sadly, don’t have anywhere to wear them to, so I was falling back into my old habit of impulse buying to feel better.  Retail therapy  honestly isn’t therapy at all – you feel good for a moment then get sad over the state of your account! – not a healthy habit.

It came to a point where I was debating whether to purchase some items. One was low in stock and if I didn’t buy it now I wouldn’t have it! Cue panic: should I buy it?, should I not?, should I buy it?, should I not?… Then I remembered this and tried to think about what I was doing. I say, tried because even whilst thinking about it I was still debating!  As I sat there staring at the screen I grew sad because I knew I was wasting my time and there were things I should have been doing. One step forward two steps back.

I was annoyed at myself for doing this once again and annoyed because despite all of my efforts to be saving my money, focusing my time and be productive I was making the wrong decision. I then started to question if I could be disciplined. If I can’t be disciplined with this, how do I expect to run a business, do I even really want to do the project? (am I serious enough?), why do I still have limited funds? should I be looking for a “proper” job etc….all these worries were seeping in and it made me sad but you know what would make me feel better?…you guessed it!

This debate went on for a while until, with my head hanging over my Mac, my mouse hovering over the purchase button and my eyes drooping due to sleepiness, I had a sudden surge of “Turn it off!!!!” “You don’t need it, you can do better than that and  you can wait. If you really want these items you can buy them tomorrow with a clearer head after making a much more informed decision and if you get there and it’s gone, it’s gone – can’t do anything about it. Tomorrow you will also consider all the things you said you want to save up for and weigh up whether these items are really that important. You can work on the project and you can work on your blog. Tomorrow is another day to start again

I kicked myself in the butt.  I woke up this morning still with the urge to purchase the items, a little sad that I had wasted my evening and feeling ridiculous for it but I thought to go to work and leave it all out of my mind. Focusing on the jobs at hand helped me relax and  by mid morning all my impluse-buy feelings and feeling of frustration had gone. It was like I had returned to normal (cue scene from a movie where the person’s alien green eyes go back to normal and they groggily look around, saying “Hey, what happened???“). I didn’t buy anything, instead I reminded myself of what I had already achieved with my business project and remembered that everything takes time. I had to remind myself of the progress I had made with my finances and also with deciding what to do in my life as well as the reasons for doing everything.worry1

Worry is a killer of time and productivity. All that time spent being worried and could have been used to achieve something even if it was small. A deep breath and maybe a written list of what needed to be done, with me tackling each one, one at a time, is all that was needed. Sometimes we let worry get a hold of us and this leads us to doubt ourselves, our achievement and let bad habits creep back in.  We should accept that it is ok for it to happen but it can’t linger. When times like these happen, this moment has taught me that you can worry as much as you want, for the whole day if you have to and you can even regress a little bit in breaking a bad habit but tomorrow is a new day, there’s no more worrying – you’re not allowed. You have to ask yourself:

– What exactly am I worried/ frustrated about?

– What can I do about it?

And when tomorrow comes you revisit your goals, reaffirm your decisions, take a deep breath and get on with it. Realise that it was just a mild case of the hiccups. They come and go. Yesterday happened and there’s nothing I can do about it, but today? Oh that’s a whole other ball game – I’m self-medicating: I get to decide what happens and I choose better!

Have you ever experienced something like this?

Good thing of the day: Popping those worry warts!

02/05/2013: Please Sir, Can I Have More?

oliverFrom http://www.ahickincalifornia.blogspot.co.uk

I am hooked on this website: www.relevantmagazine.com and really want to create something similar here in the UK.

I was reading an article they posted called The Socially Acceptable Sin by Jason Todd. It talked about living in excess and our “..constant hunt for more over what is enough. Or, in an uglier terminology,…gluttony“.

As I was reading I was really convicted, *She slowly puts down the third Triple Chocolate Cookie she was about to eat*.  You don’t notice how much you actually do this but it has become such a part of our society and our daily lives that it’s not seen as wrong or out of the ordinary.

At its simplest, gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. It occurs when taste overrules hunger, when want outweighs need.”

This feeling of never having enough is why I would buy a single item of clothing in about 7 different colours even though I only need one or why I would buy and eat junk all day long even though I’m not hungry (eating through boredom is a terrible habit). We get so used to having so much and yet wanting more, that we don’t enjoy what we do have. If you had a smaller plate of food, you’d probably take more time to enjoy it than if you over fed yourself. Quality vs Quantity.

gluttony

We have ask ourselves: Why are we not satisfied?

 One person commenting summed it up exactly and I agree wholeheartedly with him:  “I would add that part of this “gluttony” is a deep fear of missing out. Us millennials are afraid to miss out the next best thing; whether its that new sushi place, or the new iPhone or even that new worship CD; we want to know about it and experience stat, and if we don’t something bad will happen. I think I read an article last year in Relevant where the lead singer of Death Cab called it FOMO – fear of missing out. I see this in me as well as many others I know.Tim Griffiths

This happens to me all the time too, whether it is food, clothes, an event – you’re always worrying that you’re missing out, so you buy those shoes you don’t need because they are “selling out fast”, go to the event instead of putting time into your coursework because it’s “a chance of a lifetime” or eat that extra bit of food because you’ve just got to eat it now instead of later.  I remember one time I went to visit my cousin at her University and we bought pizza together with her house mates. I don’t eat fast but boy did they devour their food in record time! So much so, that in order to not miss out on the various chicken wings and at least two slices of Meat Feast Pizza and one each of the others, I stuffed my face with the slices on my plate and grabbed the next ones whilst eating the first. I can tell you I did not taste a thing and I didn’t really enjoy it. When we catch ourselves doing that we need to check ourselves and ask: Am I really missing out here?.

My parents conducted a seminar at our church last Saturday which was all about being balanced – balanced in all areas of your life and this includes living within your means and knowing what is enough. When we are honest with ourselves and take time to discipline ourselves to say no to excess we can live with less stress, less conflict and less health problems!

Food for thought.

Good thing of the day: Ice Skating – I can go backwards!!

28/04/2013: Gifted and Talented

We had a special program in my school for people who were considered ‘Gifted and Talented’. The chosen few who were selected to be in this group enjoyed the pleasure of attending classes that were designed to push them further and give them inside knowledge on good opportunities.

For those of us ‘regular folk’ who weren’t deemed ‘Gifted and Talented’ we just had to make do with the mediocre teaching and insight that not being part of this particular set had to offer.

I was reminded of this today after a discussion my family and I had about discovering and using our ‘gifts and talents’.

“What are your gifts and talents?”

We each took time to think about this question and my dad, mum and Sibling One named theirs and I  (finally, after three years of soul-searching) could now name some but Sibling Two came up stumped. I could identify with him.

What does it even mean? What are your gifts and talents? Does everyone have a gift and/or talent or, as it seemed in my school, was it the reserve of a select few?

The first place to start is to completely rethink the notion of ‘Gifted and Talented’ as a single entity. A gift is, in actual fact, different from a talent. Your ‘gift’ is the seed and basic ability you have to do something well and when that seed is nurtured and grown it becomes your ‘talent’. Everyone has gifts but not everyone is talented in the area of their gifts because they haven’t taken the time to nurture the seed and develop it.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I used to think that I didn’t have any special gifts or talents as there wasn’t that one thing I thought I was exceptionally good at and in a way this was true.  I had quite a few gifts but because I was comparing my seed/basic ability with the  fully fledge talents of other people I was getting frustrated.  I didn’t realise that the reason I was frustrated was that I hadn’t really taken the time to develop any of my gifts to a point where I would say I was talented.

Everyone is ‘gifted’ and can become ‘talented’ if they develop their gifts. The only problem is in figuring out what those gifts are.

Over the past couple of years I have discovered that the best way to identify a gift is to acknowledge the things you have a natural liking for, pick one or two and start to develop it. The more you develop it the better you will become and if it really is a gift the easier it should become.

I questioned Sibling Two along these lines and asked him whether he had even explored the areas he was interested in, to which he said “No”. He stated that he was waiting until he went to University and had the freedom to explore, to find out what he was good at (an excuse for continually playing X-box I think – he’s always had the freedom!) but why wait? Try as many things as you can, get writing, drawing, singing, debating, helping, planning, crafting, brainstorming now. I’ve realised that your talent could be the most obscure thing to you, like planning things or storytelling but if you don’t take time to asses and identify it, you will never know.

Sometimes the things you are good at, are hidden in your worst qualities. Sibling Two is great at arguing. He is able to refute a point emphatically and do so without getting worked up (but usually working the other person up to my  annoyance) and is also able to quickly find holes in an argument. If used in the right setting this would make him a great debater which could be used for law, politics, even negotiating business deals. He would obviously have to develop it and train himself in a way that ensures he doesn’t antagonise people but this, however crude, is a talent. He is also good at baking, drawing, writing and but if he doesn’t take the time to explore  and develop in these areas he would never know just how talented he is.

If you can’t see it, a great way to discover the things you’re good at is to ask other people what they think your best/strongest skills are – they see you from a different perspective so this might help. I would never had said I was a great storyteller but according to my friends the way I relate events that have happened to me is engaging, they feel like they were actually there with me, experiencing everything through my expressions and gestures and I just thought I was recounting a moment! So ask people – they might know and it’s a great place to start! (Admittedly this ‘gift’ of mine also has its pitfalls as I like to describe everything so take a long time to get to the point, but this is something I can work on).

A gift and talent is something you’re good at AND you enjoy doing/want to do. We can all develop skills but that doesn’t mean they are our talents. I have skills in analysing data and mathematical problem solving but they are not things I enjoy – they are just useful things I know how to do. Writing, however is a gift I want to develop, as is communicating, singing and working with children. The basis for a talent is always there but it has to be developed.  The people we see expressing their talents well, have usually taken time to develop their gift behind the scenes.

What are your gifts and talents? Have you discovered them yet? If not, what one thing can you do today to identify your gifts and turn them into talents?

Good thing of the day: Good to surround yourself with creative people, good NWTV creative session.