Level Up

How do you get to the next level of a video game? You play, of course. So, I have just a few points I want to make on this subject today. Firstly, do NOT give up! Chances are, your avatar will die a time or two or you will in some way or other fail before advancing to the next level. If you give up & decide never to play the game again just because you, as the player, make one mistake causing you to “lose” the game or back up a level, well… You will never get very far. Video games mimic life in the sense that success often requires failure. But, more importantly, learning from that failure. If you can figure out what you did wrong & how to improve, your chances are better of progressing towards your end goal. 

Secondly, video games require focus. You need quick reflexes, sure. But, predominantly these games often require you to outwit your opponent(s) or to be strategic in some way. Again, such is life. In order to succeed you can’t just float through life waiting to win the game. You have to be active. You have to plan ahead, think, organize, strategize. I won’t get into the importance of exercising your brain right now, I will save that talk for another day. However, as I have often said, you must set goals & work to achieve them. You must actively be thinking through things & focusing on what you can learn from your mistakes, figure out new tactics & constantly be conscious of what you are doing & what is going on around you. If you want to rise to the top, study how others in your field got there, & then make a plan that conforms to your strengths & weaknesses to pull yourself up. But, whatever you do, do not sit passively by watching the game happen, not utilizing your controller to make moves. 

Last, I would just like to point out the fact that you have to actually play the game in order to “level up.” Life is a game & if you don’t take part you can never expect yourself to improve or go anywhere. PLAY the game! Get involved, make mistakes, learn from them, strategize & plan out your next move, but play the game. Trust that each level you are at is there to teach you something, a new skill, without which you cannot move up. Think about it. Chances are, you can’t beat level 3 if you lack the basic skills required to pass level one. You are learning as you go, assuming you don’t give up. The game is a process, & by the end you will be better than you were when you started. Trust the process, do not get frustrated with the things you are struggling with now. Your struggles are fleeting, they will pass & you will move on to bigger & harder things. Know also that as you progress, so will your struggles. Meaning, you will discover more challenges, some harder than your previous ones, as you move up the ladder. Do not let this catch you off guard or anger you. Yes, it actually is fair! You don’t get the title of being “the best” or “the winner” by being mediocre. Those who win are those who try hard, learn from their failures, & never give up! ❤

Simplify. Prioritize. Commit!

I have been coming across a lot of information lately on how to be more productive & work towards your dreams. I have decided to consolidate my thoughts on that which I find most important & share these tips, as well as one of my own, with you. It is not uncommon to see articles that list “10 traits of successful people” & other such similarities. While I’m sure these articles hold validity, I have narrowed down all of my research to 3 key components I believe must be implemented in order to achieve proper elevation of yourself towards your dreams. 

Simplify. Prioritize. Commit. 

Pretty basic right? After all, 3 things is easier to remember & work on than 10 right? So let me quickly elaborate on each of those topics.

Simplify:

The less trivial decisions you have to make, the more you can focus on the important stuff. From downsizing your wardrobe to meal prepping for the week, you can make small changes to simplify your life. This leaves you more brain cells to focus on bigger decisions. 

Prioritize:

Sit down & write out personal goals. Get rich quick schemes seem to be quite popular these days, but the actuality is that the likelihood of you acquiring your desired wealth over night is entirely unrealistic. It is important to set more attainable goals to work towards. Your goals can grow & change over time as you do. Make a budget, not just for your finances, but more importantly, your time. Write out a schedule, blocking off time for the highest priorities first. Note: you are more likely to get things done earlier in the day before you are worn out & normal daily distractions come into play. 

Commit:

This is the most self explanatory, yet also most difficult in my opinion. Figuring out the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be is often the easy part when compared to living out what is required to get you there. It is easy to say you are going to go to the gym an hour a day, or schedule a time in your planner to brainstorm marketing ideas for your new business. But actually acting out these tasks is harder to follow through with than just making a mental note to complete them. So, make it a priority to commit to your schedule & any goals you set! 

The last piece of advice I will leave you with today comes from me personally. It is something I have found beneficial over the years. Try listening to pure classical or acoustic (but no lyrics) music. Go out into nature, away from street noise, & breathe some fresh air while listening to the sounds of nature. These things help clear the mind & create a sense of peace. We often don’t realize it, but what we hear has a huge impact on us! If everything entering our ears is vulgar or profane, we will have a much different mindset that is not conducive to productivity.

So I challenge you today to create the life you believe is worth living. Set goals, works towards them, & you will find yourself living out your dreams. They will become your new reality. Don’t put off getting started, you never know how much time you have left. Besides, the longer you wait to get started, the longer it will be until you achieve your dreams. So get ready, set, go! ❤

Mental Starvation

Your mind is home base, it is your safe space. But, if you never leave, if you never let anyone in, if you never open the door it will remain the same. If you aren’t happy, or even if you are content, but want something more, you must open the door! This is the only way things will change. Going somewhere new, trying something new, meeting someone new; all of these create opportunities—open more doors. Things will look different behind each door, & that is okay. As Jay Shetty says, you can’t desire something you haven’t been exposed to. You will never know what amazing things this world has to offer if you stay hidden behind closed doors. You will mentally starve yourself to death! No matter what age your physical body lays to rest, do not go down on a spiritually empty stomach! Expose yourself! ❤

Expand Your Mind

The mind is such an amazing thing. We don’t really consider it a muscle, but in all actuality it can, & should, be exercised just like a muscle. I’ve often talked about exercising the mind in terms of building self control & focusing on positivity. Today I would like to add another ability of your brain that I feel deserves a good, consistent workout. 

Your creativity & imagination are just as important as any other aspect of your mind. Now, by this I don’t mean you need to create an imaginary friend, & become consumed with a fake reality. Rather, expand your mindset. J. K. Rowling once wrote about imagination being the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. To see their point of view. Reading is a great way to broaden your horizons & experience different points of view. Yet, as much as I love to read myself & hope others enjoy reading the things I write; we cannot rely on this alone. Reading allows you to peek into the mind of someone else. We can often gain insight in this way, yet those ideas are not original. 

It is important to think for yourself. Read, study, watch the news, do whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Learn about things happening around you, whether you feel they involve you or not. By seeing what is happening in other places in the world or to other people we can often learn how to prevent similar issues happening closer to home. That’s my political input for the day. But, enough of that!

I only say this to make the point that the more informed you are, the easier it is to develop your own personal opinion. It is such a beautiful gift to think for yourself! This does not mean you have to disagree or argue with everyone. It just means you know better who you are. It frees you to be your own person, a nonconformist. Granted, the concept of free thought scares most, as they don’t know how to experience it for themselves. Do not let the close-mindedness of others prevent you from opening your thoughts. 

I have often come to corners of my mind that frighten me. However, recently, when I reach a place that makes me uncomfortable, I just sit there with the thought & allow myself to work through it, instead of trying to instantly switch my brain to a happier place. Through this process I have experienced the unlocking of parts of my brain I didn’t know existed. 

As the meme below states, “You have an eternity to think inside the box.” Choose to be different, choose to be bold. Not just to be obnoxious & prove how smart you are, rather to experience the freedom of control. Challenge your brain, make yourself think, ask questions. Don’t settle, don’t become complacent, don’t be one of the herd. Be YOUnique! Be prepared, as you will be judged when you step outside the box. But, know that regardless how you live your life, people will judge you. So don’t let the opinions of the small minded individuals threaten your ability to be who you are. Stretch that muscle that is your brain! ❤

Self Published… FINALLY

I finally did it! I typed, formatted, & (self) published my first book. A collection of my poetry from the last 10-15 years or so. I am more proud of some works than others, however, it is all a part of who I am. You can now download an ebook version or a hardcopy by following the link below. I apologize for some of the formatting being off. It was my first time doing this & I was so excited to complete the project I probably didn’t focus on that as much as I should have… Please check it out, buy it, share it… Let’s get the word out! I’ll be starting on my next book soon. It will be focused on the power of positive thinking. ❤

http://www.blurb.com/b/9293428-random-bits-of-my-brain

 

 

Musical Chairs

Life is a game of musical chairs. I’m just tired of always being the last one left standing. This week I have once again been struggling with the belief that I am lagging behind in life. I am well into my 28th year of life & still struggling to find a job in the medical field (which I have a degree in) as well as someone to walk through life with. As always, this is a frustrating, disheartening mindset. But as such, it can be controlled. 

I’m sure you have heard quotes similar to the following: “you can’t control the situation, but you can control your reaction.” While this may sound cliche, it is in fact true. I experienced two highly negative issues this week. One affected me more than the other as one occurred to my friend & one occurred to me. As I listened to my friend venting about her struggle it was easy for me to stay positive & encourage her. Remind her how lucky she was & help her focus on better things. Yet when later that evening I had my own aggravating encounter, I was quickly saddened & let my anger take over. I spent the entire following day allowing my emotions to control my thoughts. 

I finally realized what I already knew, that emotions affect your reaction. When something negative is placed in your life, is easy to act quickly based on how the event makes you feel. This is not always a bad thing, sometimes we have an overwhelmingly positive reaction to things. But if we let our emotions run our mind, we will often find ourselves crouched in a corner of disappointment. Even the most outwardly confident person contains self-doubt. I read somewhere that our brain often underestimates what we are capable of. This is why we constantly overthink things. Only a true sociopath can live a life with a clear conscious. The rest of us, while some more than others, will premeditate or ruminate on things we cannot control.

While you are free to make decisions in your own life, so are others. Meaning, despite any decision you may make, situations are not always going to have your desired outcome. This leaves you making follow up decisions. We cannot control everything that happens in life. That is a simple fact. What we can control, is how we react. Emotions are not a bad thing in & of themselves. Yet, they are powerful, & when we act on them without any logic they can take control. 

Next time negativity strikes, take a step back, breathe, & try to organize your thoughts before acting out. Keep in mind that your reaction to a situation will, in many cases, affect someone else. Don’t ignite a chain of negativity. Learn to turn the other cheek, without allowing yourself to be walked on. Most importantly, stay focused. When we set goals in place & work towards those we will continue to move forward. Choosing to control your thoughts & emotions is certainly a difficult task, but it is so incredibly important. I have written before about this self control being a muscle that must be exercised. So do not be lazy! Work on feeding your thoughts into a river of positivity. Sift through, removing all the bad. Only let the good flow through. Your reward will be a happier, more carefree life. Do not rush time, it cannot be controlled. Let go of the need to be in control. ❤

“Forever I feel like a record on repeat

Time is pendulum, back & forth it swings

Yet time only moves forward on this planet that we live

People pressure time & they beg it to give

As my words remain the same

Time is constant; doesn’t change

The older you get the quicker time passes & the less you posses

So when life slips you by, then you begin to stress

Without being God, you can’t slow it down

& all your fun moments swim by & you drown

You’ll rush life away

But you want certain moments to stay

You can’t pick & choose

Time won’t be abused

So try not to wish your short time away

Be fulfilled by each moment; let every second stay

Stretch time out, as long as you can

Marinate in the now, don’t focus on future plans

The present is all the time you are promised

The future isn’t guaranteed, so with yourself be honest

Enjoy where you’re at, don’t return to past thoughts

They can’t be changed, & your present will be lost” ~Kimily Trehern

 

 

You’re Just in Your Cocoon

I once read a quote about the importance of knowing the difference in pace & place. I’ve also come across a few quotes about butterflies in my day. I’d like to make a comparison using these concepts. As always, I would like to remind you to remember that life is a journey. You are never going to live in the same moment or place forever, at least not until you die. Therefore, the place you are at is irrelevant. But, I have decided so is the pace at which you travel. You see, as the analogy goes, the caterpillar does not know he is about to become a beautiful butterfly. He knows no end after the cocoon, for all he knows it is death. The realization of what he will become is lost on him as he is transforming. 

So have no fear if you are still in your cocoon so to speak. You are still transforming. You are constantly learning, growing & changing whether you realize it or not. Think about it, when you see someone daily, you do not notice how they change as drastically as you would if you went a decade without seeing them & they have suddenly lost or gained 50 pounds, gotten gray hair, grown a beard, cut their hair, etc. So you may not see the changes in yourself. For after all, you live with yourself 24/7.

Everyone is in a different place in life. Some are still caterpillars on the ground, others are tucked away tightly in their cocoons, & yet there are those who have already become beautiful butterflies. Chances are, you won’t know where on your journey you are. So stop comparing yourself with others! Live your own life. & do not worry about the pace at which you are transforming. Everyones’ path is different, & people will spend different amounts of time in each stage of life. Do not stress over where you are at. If you aren’t where you want to be, be patient & continue to strive for improvement. Eventually you will emerge from your cocoon. Just keep in mind that even though you aren’t aware of the changes you are undergoing, they are occurring. There is a plan in place & constantly at work. No stage is unimportant & you are simply preparing for who you are to become. Also know that the struggle to be freed of the cocoon is going to be tough. This is also vital. A butterfly must work hard to break out of its cocoon, as this strengthens its wings. Without this effort the butterfly will be too weak to fly. So do not fear the struggle. Embrace it knowing that it is only making your wings stronger to soar away with in the future. Trust your path. Trust the time the road to maturity requires. 

Do not stress over where you are on your journey, or your “place.” & do not rush the “pace.” Growing takes time & preparation. Do not look at the butterflies in the sky & cry for not being able to fly. Do not look at the caterpillars on the ground & frown that they are dragging everyone down. Everyone, just like you, is growing & changing at their own speed, in their own way, from their own trials & tribulations. All of this is necessary to maintain balance. Trust the cycle. ❤