Now that it’s December, I’m more in self-reflection mode than ever. This happens every year, but especially this year I’m in overdrive. That’s because 2017 was such a defining year for me, much more defining that 2016 or even 2015. A long-term relationship ended early this year (on good terms! Thank you for still sending my pictures of your cat, Nick) and something new and beautiful has started. I also decided to go back to school at the age of 21 for another degree, and I’m now knee deep into homework and exams. In short: I’ve learned a lot this year, some of which I want to share with you today.
People cater to strength
I’ve learned that you must be your own source of strength while you navigate through the world. I mean that in all ways possible. Be physically strong enough so you know how to defend yourself, but also be someone who doesn’t let other people’s opinions define them.
Be strong enough to choose your battles and know when an argument is pointless. Be strong enough to step away from something if you need to – if you know that something isn’t good for you. You’ll notice that if you’re strong, people will also respond to you in a positive light and that they will respect your strength.
Short-term hustle and long-term patience are each others best friend
A while back I read a reddit comment that talked about the concept of ‘zero days’.
”There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behaviour is keeping the vortex going, that’s what you’re used to. Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS.”
This is what I do. I try to become better every day, even if it’s just 0,1%. But at the same time, I’ve become content with the idea that I don’t need x amount of money or x amount of (page)views to be happy and successful. Instead, I focus on enjoying the process and working towards my goals on a consistent basis. I focus on being thankful for the things I’ve learned and I try to become better for my future self. Also: I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts to get what you want. You need to put in the work.
It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’
There are people out there that are experts in things that you know barely anything about. And that’s a gift. When you come across someone like that, listen to what they have to say. Ask them questions. Don’t feel stupid because you don’t know what they know. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn something new.
Talent only gets you so far, your work ethic is defining
I have noticed something among the people around me that are – what I consider – successful: they’re relentless in their pursuit of what they want to achieve. They’re not necessarily talented, they just stick with the process longer than most people are willing to. They’re gritty. And bold. I want to be known as a gritty person. I might not be as gifted as you, but I’ll work twice as hard to get where I want to be.
Listening is much more valuable than you think
When you listen to what someone has to say – whether it is something small like how their day went or something huge like them telling you about a traumatic experience – when you listen to someone, you allow them the space to talk. Listening to someone is a very valuable gift. It’s the gift of attention and respect. The gift of acknowledgement of their story, their emotions and their being. The gift of accepting them exactly as they are. This year I’ve learned not only how important it is to receive that, but also how important that is to give to others.
Listening to someone is a beautiful thing, and I want to do much more of it in 2018.