In this episode of The Mindful
In this episode of The Mindful
In this episode, my friend Chris and I had the chance to rant about one of our favourite topics, technology and the overstimulation it creates in our mental patterns and behaviours. In specific, we dive into our view of how modern dating is impacted by smartphones, dating apps, and hookup culture, a topic we’ve recently collaborated on for a hopeful creative project. In his work life, Chris is a renowned videographer known for his work in the music industry covering events and directing music videos. Give this episode a listen to catch up on Chris’ views on all of the above topics as well as success, happiness and his personal story of career expansion in the world of cinematography.
I was recently chatting with a friend about the current state of the world. In particular, a few specific aspects of modern culture that seem to be particularly noticeable in big cities like ours. People are postponing marriage longer. People are postponing committing to a career longer. And people are postponing moving out of their parents homes longer. At this point it all feels like a pretty normal phenomenon. For the most part, millennials are holding off on the traditional lifestyle our parents grew up with. Despite the fact that this pattern is happening nearly everywhere, there’s still a very powerful and strange pressure to have your life figured out at a really young age. Sorry to the traditional narrative but we are trending in the opposite direction, and that is totally alright.
For myself personally, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to have my shit together. It’s a familiar feeling I’ve had looming over me since the end of high school. Up until just recently, it was constantly jabbing me in the side, trying to convince me to do things I knew did not feel right. It convinced me to try jobs and lifestyles that did not turn me on, and it influenced me to make a lot of decisions based on the expectations of others. The pressure to succeed and progress actually put a significant delay on my headway toward the things I knew I wanted deep down. Giving in to this pressure obstructs the natural and agile flow of our lives along their proper path, and I’m glad I learned this early on. It took me a lot of life experience to realize what this pressure was doing to my success, and my situation changed tremendously when I chose to adopt an alternate perspective.
You don’t need to have your shit figured out. You just need to be doing something.
It’s a really simple concept that carries a powerful message. We all believe we need to have our career solidified, a well established relationship and savings or a home by our mid to late twenties. We’ve been told this our entire lives, and it’s not our fault if we give into this mindset from time to time. With that being said, I believe that expectation is pretty much bullshit. You don’t need to know what will happen ten years from now, and really, you shouldn’t. Anybody who requires that kind of control to be happy is on the wrong path anyway. What you do need is purpose. You need something to work toward because that is what keeps you in gear. It’s what keeps you level headed, and its what keeps you in the present. Purpose gives your actions meaning and it will ensure that you make decisions based on your values, not desires or fears. You do not necessarily need to know where you are going, only that you are going somewhere. Every bit of progress and learning empowers you to do better at the next stage.
As many people have said before, your speed does not matter. Forward is still forward. Accepting and embracing the uncertainty of the process is a skill in and of itself. Uncertainty can be a beautiful thing.
I have always contemplated what a healthy balance between time spent focusing on a career and time spent focusing on personal leisure actually looks like. For me, I have always thought this point was further into the leisure side of the equation, and focused most of my time on personal enjoyment and expanding my experiences (not that I plan on stopping). While time invested in this was certainly worthwhile and highly influential in shaping my current worldview, I am beginning to see the viewpoint from the other side of the spectrum as well.
When I was growing up I always enjoyed the challenge of playing organized sports. I was driven by the competition, and strove to constantly develop my abilities. It was an outlet for me, and always gave me something to focus my energy on. While this mindset was great for athletics and definitely provided me with some valuable experiences and skills, for years I struggled to find the same motivation in the adult world. In particular, the world of work. Perhaps it was due to a lack of satisfaction with my previous career path, or perhaps it was that I simply was not ready. Regardless of the source, work I actually enjoyed was something I often feared I would never find.
“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris
For quite possibly the first time ever, I am feeling really excited about the prospect of taking steps forward in my job. It’s a feeling that is both strange and new for me. I’ve found a field of work I find fun and interesting, and I notice my inner drive re-emerging as a new and creative source. For a long time, I looked down on the thought of dedicating so much of one’s energy toward “career success”. “Success”, I felt, was never the correct term to describe what I wanted. Instead of idolizing business moguls and the wealthy, I have always admired individuals who live their purpose regardless of money. The kind of people who are willing to pack up everything so they can live modest lives in surf and ski towns. These individuals make passion their priority, and from my experience, seem to be the happiest people around. It takes a lot more courage than you may think to ignore every expectation society has for you. In their own way, these people are far more admirable than we ever give them credit.
Deep down, devoting heaps of energy to a career is in direct conflict with many of the values I have always used to define my code of ethics. I’ll be the first to admit that I spent a lot of time doing my own thing and avoiding any form of job commitment due to a subconscious fear of where I might end up. I realize now that fear contributed nothing to my life other than to serve as a convenient excuse to let great opportunities pass me by. Fear does not create safety, it creates complacency. As I get older and more self-aware, I am beginning to understand the reasons behind my actions, including my new interest in making the most of my work. As counter intuitive as it is, my reason for this drive is simple:
Because I don’t ever want a monotonous job. I want work that keeps me on my toes and never feels “normal”.
I don’t give a shit about having a BMW by the time I am thirty. I do however give a shit about how I spend my time, and about having the ability to make decisions for myself and the people in my life based purely on what is the right choice, uninfluenced by external financial factors. I do not define wealth by possessions or big homes, but by experiences and freedom of lifestyle. This is the kind of wealth I truly seek. I am excited about my career because luckily I enjoy my job, but also because I am realizing where I want it to take me.
I give a shit about having an awesome lifestyle, and taking some time to build myself up is what will get me there. Progress is fun.
I recently made the decision to quit a really great job, working for a really great company. Although the opportunity was ideal in many ways, it made me feel miserable. I never understood why until I left. What I realized after quitting was that not once during my time with the company did I feel like myself.
I had to leave to realize that this job that was perfect for many others, was not perfect for myself. I did not choose to resign because of low pay, lack of advancement, or anything opportunity related. I left because the job forced me to live a lifestyle so incredibly different from that which would make me truly happy, and I needed to make a change. I recognized the fact that I needed to work toward a lifestyle that is authentically my own and to stop letting the expectations of others dictate my own fate.
In the book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig discusses the inherent differences between two types of mountain climbers, the ego-climber and the selfless climber. He states that the ego climber is almost certainly doomed to fail.
On the surface he may actually succeed, although for him it will be a hollow experience lacking any real value. This is because he climbs only for the credit that will be received from doing so. The selfless climber however, will succeed because he climbs for nothing but pure enjoyment. He climbs for the pleasure of the experience, and will leave satisfied regardless of the outcome.
In modern society many connect and live through technology. Our minds have become distracted by popularity contests and societal expectations. Instead of living out our hearts desires and fulfilling our personal needs, we are often occupied with managing the perception of our personal ‘brand’. Although a skill for public relations can definitely be great, it will not help any of us live the lives we have always dreamed of. Just like the ego climber, many of us are guilty of possessing such an outlook. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard not to.
Authenticity is not about being honest and transparent with those around us, it is about being honest and transparent with ourselves. This means not convincing ourselves that we want to be a banker if deep down we know we would rather build custom furniture out of tree trunks.
If we find ourselves trying to live a particular lifestyle only for the image it portrays or the inherent benefits, we need to rethink our priorities. There is nothing wrong with being open minded and giving new experiences a try, but our own happiness should be the ultimate priority. Individuals with passion in their hearts act from authenticity, and not for the implicit rewards. They do what is right for them, when it is right for them. They are exemplars of the selfless climber we should all strive toward being.
As we are constantly bombarded by the external influences of daily life, it can often be hard to remember what our unique, personal needs actually are. The difference between how we truly feel and how we think we should feel is sometimes unclear. Carl Gustav Jung said it best: “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”. Understanding ourselves is the most important step toward finding our true purpose in life. Happiness cannot be faked.
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com.
People are fundamentally good, though it may often seem otherwise.
“Life is easy” and “life is hard” are equally true statements.
Travel is probably overrated. Expanding your comfort zone isn’t.
The longer you wait to do something, the more difficult it becomes.
Exercise and proper nutrition are technically optional, but you will suffer without them.
Life, the universe, and the meaning of it all are troublesome subjects; questioning them never fails to summon an unpleasant sensation.
Drugs are fun but it’s generally unwise to do them.
Success mostly comes to those who work for it.
Most things seem silly if you think about them for a while.
Complaining is typically a waste of time.
Gratitude is the only reliable source of fulfillment.
People, ideas, and things don’t have to be good to be popular. They don’t have to make sense either.
Humans create meaning for everything. Happy humans create happy meanings.
Cynicism is weakness.
Everybody has split personalities.
It’s unhealthy to avoid being alone. It’s also unhealthy to be alone too much.
You can’t choose your family but you can choose to love them.
Who you spend time with matters.
Everybody is interesting if you give them the chance to be.
It’s wise to be skeptical of those who will profit from your actions or beliefs.
The older you get, the faster the time goes.
If it’s a cliché, it’s probably true.
Mistakes and misfortunes are inevitable.
The spirit is strong. Your resilience will surprise you.
The imagination is a superpower. Some people abuse it.
Art is magic.
All we can do is the best we can do.
Originally Published by The Self Actual at www.SelfActual.com
We can achieve our wildest dreams and we can shoot past moon, too. (In fact, no one would have made it to the moon if it weren’t for a crazy dream.) Our hopes can become our reality if we take steps to get there. Here are five ideas:
Surround yourself with people who encourage you.
Do you have people in your life who berate you? Or who imply that you aren’t good enough? Drop ’em! There’s no reason to be around folks who do not support you. The amazing thing about being human is that we can choose our friends. Pick wisely.
Of course there are people with whom we must have relationships, perhaps difficult bosses or energy sucking family members. So maybe you don’t share your life’s aspirations with them. Shorten the time spent you spend with them or steer your conversations when you’re around them to other topics.
Hold yourself accountable.
Talk about your goals openly. Tell people your dreams so that you can hold yourself to them. The more you discuss your hopes, the faster you’ll want to get there, and the harder you’ll work toward them.
Start with smaller goals and get bigger.
Think about your biggest, in-my-wildest-dreams goal. Work backward from there. Create a ladder of smaller goals, until you get to the bottom rung, the first and tiniest step toward dream realization. Go for that one first, then start the climb. Give yourself a pat on the back for each achievement on the way up.
Celebrate what’s going right in your life.
It’s amazing how forcing a smile eventually turns genuine. Smiling begets more smiling. Guess what else? People like to be around happy people! Thehappier you are in your life, the more success you’ll have, guaranteed. If you aren’t content with where your life is, make a change. Another idea: write down a list of all the things you have to be grateful for. Then, the next day, try to add three things to that list. Add three different things each day.
Take note of your accomplishments.
Struggling with Number 4? Turn your list into a journal: Write down why you should be proud of yourself. It will change your mood and your life.
Remember that some of life’s wants can be achieved through hard work and determination. So work hard in pursuit of your dreams. Prepare yourself to say yes when opportunity knocks. Be the best version of yourself that you can show that to the world. Dream big, and reach for the stars.