This post is in total contrast to what I’ve written in the past. It’s not planned and I honestly can’t say when my next blog post will be. The past couple of months have not gone according to plan and have been filled with quite a number of life lessons. I wish I could say that I know exactly where I’m going from here but honestly I have no major goals in sight, which is a bit weird for me to acknowledge. It’s just one day at a time for me right now with plans that extend to maybe the next week or so. I’ve never really lived life quite this way but it’s the best thing for me to do at the moment. I’ve always been raised to believe that if I fail to plan, plan to fail but what if my plans that were so well planned out, still fail. Is this actually worse than not planning and just letting things happen? I’m not as sure about life as I once was and approaching 32 feeling this way is a bit scary. I’m a huge fan of The Minimalists and three of their articles entitled Accomplishments Without Goals, Moving Beyond Goals and Living Without Goals help ease my mind and reassure me that I’m not a total failure for having no major goals right now in my life. I think most of us would like to have a huge impact on this world we live in and be rewarded for it in a spectacular financial way, thus allowing us to continue to impact the world. Most of us would love to do great things and be recognized for our hard work and dedication. It may sound weak of me to say I’ve given up on some of my goals and to say that, really cannot fairly describe how I feel but I do think for the most part, I was not living in the now and it started to wreak havoc in so many areas of my life. Planning can do that to you. It can force you to lose sight of what is happening in the now because you are consumed with creating for the future. So many events and situations have brought me back to writing a blog post this morning and as I mentioned before, I honestly don’t know when next I’ll be writing another post. For now, I intend to complete the work I have set out for today and pray that I wake to see another day.
Yesterday I read an article by Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group entitled “There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important”. A quote from the article which I absolutely love is by Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Yes our culture is obsessed with time. I planned every minute of every day to try to get the most out of my day. In my mind and I’m sure in the minds of others, being productive was most important. Always designate time towards tasks that support long term goals so that you’re always prepared for that big break. I attended to my schedule weekly, constantly making adjustments to scrape off minutes wherever I could. I constantly craved more hours in the day and sacrificed personal relationships for the sake of getting more done. A lot has changed this year though…thankfully in part to Martin. If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now, I’m loving my life even more right now. Work has been given less time in my day and family, love and rest have been given greater priority and I couldn’t be happier. I am thinking alot clearer now and placing less pressure on myself to get things done as if I’ll be scolded for it. I have one deadline for Monday with the University for the submission of grades. After Monday, I’ll be at such a slow pace I hope I don’t feel lost…lol. Arianna said her mother was a towering example of the joys of slowing down. She believed that rushing through life was a sure way to miss the gifts that come only when you give 100 percent of yourself to a task, a conversation, a dinner, a relationship, a moment. I can honestly say that one’s definition of success will determine their attitude towards time and how they prioritize things in their life. As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence.
In a previous post, I made mention of my limitations with my food options. For health reasons, I must stay away from dairy, gluten(wheat/flour), soy, nuts, grains, caffeine and sugar. I’ll be honest, I have not been 100% strict with the caffeine and sugar. In comparison to the average person, my sugar intake is quite low and my caffeine intake has been restricted to one cup of organic earl grey tea a day. The past two days were extremely frustrating for me…I craved so many of the things I couldn’t eat. Around 5PM yesterday, I gave in to the temptation and Martin bought me a frozen dessert made from coconut milk. Everything except the 20g of sugar per serving in this dessert was fine, even the coconut milk was a huge plus. Being disciplined with food, especially sweet treats is a difficult challenge for most people. I pretty much avoid all the cakes, ice cream, pastries, chocolates and snacks that we should avoid and most fruits because of the sugar. The reality is that the world is addicted to sugar. I’ve read numerous articles and watched several videos that discuss the fact that most individuals consume way more than the recommended daily intake of sugar and that sugar may be even more addictive or just as addictive as cocaine. Due to the effect sugar has on my body, it’s not something I can consume often, so this frozen treat can probably happen once a month, if at all that often. I found a recipe online for home made coconut milk ice cream which I will be trying in the near future, so I’ll let you know how that turns out. While I’ve been forced to be discipline with my diet, there are many people out there who struggle with simple things like bread and coffee, I myself have struggled with coffee in the past. I’ve replaced bread with rice cakes and coffee can be replaced with Chicory Root. Being disciplined with food is no easy task and it’s helpful when you have a solid support system, so I’m thankful I now have a partner who is supportive and willing to adopt some of my quirky eating habits to so that I can be healthy and he can also benefit.
As you browse online content, you’ll find countless articles and info-graphics on activities and habits of successful people. They usually tend to be early risers, exceptionally well organised, keep journals and to-do lists, exude joy, express gratitude, continuously learn, make time for family and friends and so on. While it’s easy to see some of these traits in people we most often view as successful, I often wonder how they were when starting out, when things were tough, finances were low and their goals seemed out of their grasp. While I do have a few of these traits naturally there are some that I try to instill as part of my character. Unfortunately, I sometimes become consumed with adopting these traits that I lose sight of my goals. While it’s great to know all the traits of successful people, I love listening to their stories when they were struggling as I’m better able to relate to that. On that journey to accomplishing our heart’s greatest desires, it’s important that we allow the struggles and disappointments to help us grow. Success is more of a journey rather than accomplishing a fixed set of goals and while I understand the theoretical aspect of this, my life experiences are weaving this understanding into my every being so that I’m constantly reminded of it. People who are now considered successful have gone through their tough times and are where they are now because of many different character traits. Figure out what works for you and what makes you happy and remember to be kind to yourself while pursuing your goals and the Universe will act likewise in return.
Lately, I’m reminded that in relationships there must be some sacrifice and compromise for it to work. How much should one compromise in a relationship, I’m still trying to figure that one out. A close friend of mine told me a few months ago, that I compromise too much of myself to make friendships and relationships work. I think compromise and sacrifice are great once the other person can be thankful for what their partner is willing to give up to make them happy. My last serious relationship ended in 2009 to one of my best friends and I’m really glad we have maintained a great friendship after the break up. Having spent the past six years focusing on myself, compromise can be somewhat of a challenge. I’ve invested so much in my education and career that I believe I need to grab at every opportunity that comes my way, even at the expense of my health and time with loved ones. I recently had the opportunity to work with a start-up here in Trinidad and Tobago and sadly, I turned down the opportunity. I looked at my current schedule and I knew it would be impossible to manage. I’m making great headway with a web based application and my lecturing duties are extremely important to me and I’m also finding it easier to make time to spend with loved ones. To risk losing the things that I have working for me now may not be a sensible compromise. It’s impossible to grab at every opportunity that comes your way and it’s understandable if you feel you need to. I wish that start-up all the success in the world even though I cannot be a part of it. One old saying that I always remember is “One bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes“.
Earlier this year, I read an article by Ivanka Trump talking about women not being able to have it all. Ivanka Trump is the daughter of business mogul Donald Trump. She is also the executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization and the founder of the Ivanka Trump fashion brand. Most importantly, she is a wife and a mother of two beautiful children, daughter Arabella Rose and son Joseph Frederick. Ivanka recently launched the initiative #WomenWhoWork, which aims to “celebrate the many different ways in which women work and to redefine and break stereotypes around, what it looks like to be a working woman today.”. In an interview with Business Insider, Trump explained her perspective on work-life balance. She frankly says, “You can’t have it all.” When people ask her how she balances work and life, her response is always: “I don’t, and I don’t try to.” “People obsess too much about balance,” she said. “A scale is only in balance for a brief second. Inevitably the pendulum swings. It’s impossible to maintain.” Ivanka says, it’s less about balancing a “work life” and a “home life” and more about creating one rich, full life that’s tailored to my specific goals and priorities.
As I’ve decided to give my personal and family life a bit more focus, I too am realising the difficulties with trying to create a balanced life. I began feeling a bit overwhelmed with my additional responsibilities and sometimes I even felt as if I needed to give up something in order to feel a greater sense of accomplishment in at least one area. I grew up watching the women in my family. My grandmother was the first to rise in the morning and the last one in the family to go to bed at night. For a working women who still has the responsibility of taking care of her husband and children, I can only imagine a full night’s rest of 8-10 hours sleep can seem like such a fairy tale. Sometimes I think that it’s a bit unfair for women but then again there are times I see how privileged we are. We are expected to be as educated as men but in some organisations, industries or countries, we will never be professionally equal to men. Even after contributing our day’s work at the office, we switch our hats, become more submissive and nurturing and come home to take care of our families.
It’s inevitable that some of us will have to sacrifice some of our professional goals for a family life. Having been so focused on my career for most of my life, I’m starting to realise that I need to view family life with equal or greater importance than I do my career. The drive and passion I have towards my professional goals and accomplishments need to also be the drive and passion I have towards my personal life. When asked what’s her definition of success, Ivanka says happiness. She doesn’t think you are truly successful unless you are a happy person and are happy with your life. She recalls many people who are professionally successful but miserable. She concluded by saying that she’s happy when she’s achieving her professional goals and when she’s with her husband and children.
For a while now I’ve been receiving daily inspirational emails from the Napoleon Hill Foundation. It’s been about a year now since I’ve subscribed to them and I am most thankful for the daily inspiration I receive every morning. There is also the Facebook Page that can be liked and followed so posted content appears in your feed. I first became greatly interested in Napoleon Hill in early 2013 and his teachings have been a great inspiration to me. I purchased audio books, electronic books as well as printed copies. Napoleon Hill is probably most famous for saying “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve“. Today’s inspiration is about “Nature yielding her most profound secrets to those who are determined to uncover them.” It goes as follows “The field of science is perhaps the best illustration of how success always seems to come to those who apply the principle of accurate thinking in a persistent, determined effort. America’s great inventor Thomas A. Edison is said to have failed 10,000 times in his attempt to develop a workable electric light bulb. He learned from each failure and refused to quit until he succeeded. Breakthroughs occur every day because a determined person continues to search for solutions to complex problems long after everyone else has given up and gone home. You may not invent the light bulb or the next supercomputer, but you can find creative solutions to old problems if you apply the proven principles of success consistently and persistently.” I am sure after reading this anyone can smile and think about some experience where this has proven to be true. I usually repost these daily inspirations to my My Facebook Page for my friends who do not subscribe to the site. I’ve even received messages from a few friends thanking me for the postings. While I subscribed to the site for daily inspiration for myself, sharing the daily quote and seeing how it inspires my friends have brought me more satisfaction than I ever expected. Thank you again Napoleon Hill.