Hi People, and welcome back to my reveries. I deliberately didn’t sign off on 2020 because it was more a beginning for me, than an end. I did take a break to travel, spend time with family and take some much needed rest. Being back feels good, I have many potentials to realize this year. Now I will be sharing with you these few words of wisdom I have found are necessary to come out on top in 2021, no matter what it brings!
Your brain is your boss
Mental stress and illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain. The brain is the organ of the mind. Your brain is the boss of you. Love it, cherish it, pay attention to it, do everything to make it happy. It is where self love starts and ends.
Therapy? Do it. Exercise? DO it, both mental and physical. Not for a sexy body or a tight butt, but for the chemicals it releases that does its thing in your body to make you happier and sharper. Sports? Play it. Crossword puzzles? Solve them. Omega 3 supplements, good, healthier food? Eat them! Laugh, dance, have fun, live light. Everyday let your inner child come through. Dedicate time to making your brain, your mind, stronger and smarter. If you are always dependant on substances to make your brain happy; alcohol, weed, cigarettes, try this year to break some addictions. I’m not against any of these things, but addiction is a weakness, and this year we won’t be weak.
The robots will take over one day. You don’t want to be dumb and depressed then do you? Okay, just kidding. You’ll still be fine by then.
Keep your circle small and stay global
“Normalise words like acquaintance, old school mate, colleague, ex colleague, neighbour, client etc. Not everyone is your friend or should have the privilege of being called that. Don’t get it?
Think of yourself as a president of your country, here and now. And imagine if a neighbour you don’t share your life with starts throwing the word friend around. Will it be weird then? Yes? So let it be weird now. Not at work, not on social media. It’s psychological, thinking you have friends on social media or at your workplace gives a false sense of security you may genuinely not have. When tough times come, it becomes harder and disorienting even more when these “friends” don’t come through.
But don’t close yourself off because you already have “enough friends”. Be open to meeting people and sharing a bit of you that you’re comfortable with. The moment you stop connecting or networking (for the right reason) you start dying. What set us apart from animals is our ability to imagine, and our innate need to socialise. So socialise. Attend that work event with your colleagues, or the random flier you see on social media. Smile to strangers, be open to conversations with random people.
Be Sceptical, not Cynical
The “truth” is, in the world we live in, the goal post for “truth” seem to always be changing. You have to be open to this fact. We live in a world filled with information but humanity is even more ignorant. We are suffering from information overload and diversity, simultaneously. Nothing you know is totally objective; you cannot know everything. Scientifically and morally, everything is constantly changing. Even if you’ve done your research, someone is out there with even more research to prove you wrong.
The goal is to always look for your own answers and trust your instinct, an instinct you have to hone in by reading and acquiring more knowledge. Relying on one source of information is dangerous. And as you stay true to your principles, things you can or cannot do, don’t impose your principles on someone else. Everyone cannot be like you, and that is what makes humanity strong. While you are questioning things, don’t question that there are good things and good in this world, and that you are deserving of a lot of them! Don’t get jaded.
Spend, spend right, spend less
Spend, because that’s why you work so hard. Imaging if the reason you work so hard is to provide for other people’s need, specifically except yourself. I’ve seen this play out in African societies, I speak for Nigeria and Kenya, where the first born or the most successful in the family sponsors everyone’s needs but in a bid to meet up with other people’s financial expectations, they forget to do basic stuff for themselves or enjoy life. Is it money these people don’t have, is it the new bag people are not carrying, is it expensive schools these people are not attending? So let them cut their clothes according to their coat, or in this case the number of yards in the coat you’re giving them. Allow yourself to reap the direct benefit of your own hard work. You work and earn well but you never look good, or happy because you’re not any of those. Not to say cut people off, but always prioritise yourself when it comes to your own money. You will never ever achieve your full potential as a human if your back is bent from carrying other people’s burden.
Allow yourself to enjoy. But also spend right. Make wise spending decisions. Know the different between wants and needs and when you do want something just for the sake of it, want it within reason.
Recognise that we live in a capitalist society that drives people to spend extravagantly even in the middle of recession or pandemic. Advertising is a very dangerously beautiful tool and you have to be aware of its power. And yield correctly. Avoid ads like your life depends on it, spend only because you are convinced it will make your life significantly better. This will lead to you spending less. You’ll find that when you spend smart you spend less! Read more on financial responsibility here.
Take a long break from social media and technology
Excessive social media use can cause stiff necks, arthritis, carpal tunnel, unhappiness and a general dissatisfaction with life in users, but also increase the risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. A lot of us see excessive use or addiction as something that makes people itchy, delirious, snappy or have seizures. It doesn’t have to get to that point. We don’t even let it get to that point, because we’ve never been in situations that let us do without our devices for too long!
We now have phones with 24hr battery life, and power banks that can go 10 full phone charges. When we lose our phones we just go out and get another one, easy. We are constantly comparing our lives to someone else on the internet subconsciously and feeling like we’re not doing enough. We are constantly trying to stay in touch with 50 people at the same time. We are constantly reading information that we don’t even need but we have FOMO. We are constantly shopping through endless ads and subconsciously, inactively making purchasing decisions when we think we are at rest.
And these platforms? They don’t want to give you a break. They want you to consume. To use. That’s why they have data, algorithm, AIs, life facts about you, your interests, that’s why they are constantly sending notifications to your phone. “John Doe just posted to Instagram after 2 years”. You naturally shouldn’t give a fudge what John Doe does but he’s your high school bully and you need to know what he’s up to, if he’s successful in life or now a bum, which will make you believe in karma. LOL. “There are two industries that call their customers users: illegal drugs and software” – Edward Tufte
Make the conscious effort to take a break. Put your phone away or face down when in social functions. Turn off phone notifications, if you can, turn off your phone before you sleep. Need an alarm, get an old school one. Use social media for business? Schedule your posts on approved third party apps and go from there, share to Instagram. Set up automated responses to your DMs and have approved number of times a day to “attend to your customers”. Imagine spending all day on your “marketing tool” without taking actual time to develop your products offline! Newsflash: Gmail, is social media! If you’re at work, then use your work tools. When you’re off work, then close from work! Have designated hours of the day for things you want to spend time on online, subscribe to blogs you don’t want to miss their posts and go back to them during your “online hours”.
And the impatience nowadays? Because people can be available and accessible all the time, we believe people should be accessible and available all the time. Most of us get frustrated when someone does not answer their phone immediately, or if we see that someone has seen a message but has not yet responded. Start “ignoring” your phone and messages more and you’ll see how normal it is for you that other people aren’t just on their phones waiting for you to call or text.
It’s the weekend and you need to relax and be entertained? Don’t just plop in front of the TV or your phone because there’s nothing else you do. That’s passive entertainment, it requires no effort or input on your part and it is not the healthiest either. Try going out and taking a walk through nature. Run. Play some tennis, football, rock climbing, go to paint classes, use a coloring book and crayons, go to social events, visit friends and play card games, whatever rocks your boat.
These are tenets I’ve been trying to live by slowly but consistently over time, and I have been better off, sleeping better at night knowing I am doing all I can and I am enough no matter what. I hope it helps you feel these too.
Stay light, stay within the light, and let every decision you make be the one that makes you a better and happier person.