uh, wait a minute, I forget…

Humans like to forget things. Drugs have been a part of our culture almost since the beginning of our species, partly because it takes away the past self to a certain extent. Every culture in every time has had some sort of entertainment to distract people. Our brains themselves are masters of creating and transforming the memories we’ve already made into whatever suits our desires. We can’t forget everything, but we can do a surprisingly good job of blocking out past events in the right circumstances.

The reason we like to forget things is that we reach a level where we become too much for ourselves. The life is hard. The more you look into something, the more complex it gets. It becomes difficult to deal with the truth of situations because the truth can seem to be unreachable. In the light of this multi-headed beast, we tend to settle for wherever we ended up when we got tired and stopped. Along the way, our minds tend to get caught up in a cycle that slowly gets us tangled up somewhere dark and alone. So we try to forget since dwelling on that psychological state is upsetting.

Our minds will always get caught up. We’re vulnerable and fragile creatures when it comes to overthinking. We are kites perpetually getting caught in trees. However, there is a difference in dealing with our problems and ignoring them. Of course, we should forget things, but only once we’ve dealt with them. Dealing with our problems isn’t fun. It’s exhausting, which is why we need things like entertainment. But we can easily overuse it to the point we miss out on our actual ‘living’ part of life. It’s a strange balance, and it requires constant readjusting, to know when you need to relax and when you need to charge at solving your problems. Either way, we will continue to forget. Our choice is in what we choose to remember.

when you have zero motivation

Sometimes it seems like the point we need the most motivation is the point we have the least. It’s easy to have the drive to do amazing things in the middle of the peptalk, in the middle of the conversation. However, when we need to wake up or push through, motivation somehow disappears through the window.

It is at these moments where we need to pull through and make our own motivation. No human can magically show up everytime we need it. Instead, we need to find the motivation to motivate ourselves. When we can’t focus on our task, we need to instead focus on finding the way to get to that point. Look up quotes! Listen to some intense music! Jump up and down!

We can do amazing things, but only when we have the strength to pull through. Even if you think you don’t have that power, you can build it up. Our willpower is like a muscle. You can’t go straight to the 500 lb. weights and expect to not hurt yourself. So challenge yourself with something that still seems beyond you but that isn’t too far out. Then do it. Take the time. Take the risk! Motivation doesn’t always come organically from within and that’s okay– find it elsewhere and push through.

buy an umbrella if it’s raining

The world is a jungle, a tropical rain forest with incredibly high annual precipitation. The thing about rain is that while it is critical for life, it has a negative connotation. Most people run indoors away from the rain, not bask in it. There’s practically no one who likes heavy cold rain because it’s uncomfortable and (literally) sickening. Plenty of people compare life to rainstorms, but we miss out on the kinds of storms there are.

Not every storm, not every obstacle is overwhelmingly difficult. In life, there are sunny, good days. Yet, no matter who we are, or where we come from, everyone experiences things that are horrible to them. How objectively “bad” an experience is might differ greatly, but subjectively, everyone faces conflict at some point that really challenges them. There are also days where it might rain, but it’s okay because you know you’ll get through it fine. After all, plenty of people like light, warm rain, just as challenges can be invigorating. We need to be able to last through the hurricanes of life, and the best way to deal with hard obstacles is by facing them

It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be uncertain. It’s okay to feel unprepared. If challenges didn’t shake us, they wouldn’t be challenges at all. The key point, however, is that we need to move forward! We need to grasp today and live it! Even if we’re trembling in our boots, we need to take the step. Whatever the conflict is in your life, you need to make a plan to overcome it, and work towards that. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, you just need to do you best! Trying your best is the most incredible thing you can do. Life isn’t necessarily pretty, but it is worthwhile.

 

what works? Hard work.

What we have built into us is a fear of failure. Risks are called risks because there is that chance everything could explode. It’s not easy to work hard and follow your dreams! Whether we realize it or not, we make justifications.

We tend to say, ” well, that’s just not my forte” when we come up to obstacles. We fool ourselves into thinking that any one path is going to be all sunshine and flowers, so facing difficulties means it’s not that singular perfect passion for you. But that’s not how things work! There will always be troubles, always inconviences that will plague you. The real question is if whether or not you are working towards a goal you’ll be happy with when you achieve it. Wanting to be finacially stable is a good goal! However, if that’s your only goal, think about how you’ll feel after you’ve accomplished it. People are different and thereby have different values, so people’s paths aren’t going to look the same.

That being said, there’s no use in pretending like you’ll up in a CEO position or becoming a doctor if you aren’t willing to put in the work. Instead, it means that we typically only see small snippets of other people’s lives. You can’t and won’t know everyone’s story. But what we can do is work hard. What we can do is keep going when there is a threat of failure. What we can do is keep going, moving on past that failure, especially when it hurts. Hard work is exactly that, Hard. The difference lies in that hard work will get you further than if you hadn’t tried in the first place.

worth and the human’s work

We live in a society where oftentimes our worth is associated with our productivity. Yet in the broad spectrum of life, productivity for each individual means something different. If someone has to work extra hard to do task A, and another barely has to lift a finger to do both A and B, who is more productive? Externally, we’d day the second person, who did two tasks. However, the first person is more productive in that they’ve put in more effort. The question becomes, what kind of focus should we have, praising those who put in the effort, or praising those who get things done?

Theoretically, those we admire the most are those who work hard and get a lot done. However, psychologically, if we focus too much on the ends, we can end up with some very unhealthy situations. If someone doesn’t need to work hard, they won’t know how to work when the true obstacles come. If someone does things only to get them done, quality can go down. Yet, if only effort matters, what’s the motivation to actually bring things to a conclusion? Besides, wasteful effort isn’t helpful for anyone. The answer is that both effort and accomplishment are important parts of productivity, which makes judgement that only reflects accomplishment lopsided in perspective.

Yet, should we even be comparing worth to productivity in the first place? It’s certainly effective for businesses and schools. Still, is this the whole of life, what our education and career says of us? No! Productivity is a single measure of success, meaning there are other measurements and factors to it. Working hard is important for our well being! But let’s remember that productivity is one part of ourselves, and that even that isn’t so clear cut. Putting in effort counts for something.

recharging every bit

It’s important to rest– really rest. It’s more than stilling our physical bodies. You could sit on the couch for hours and still not really rest. Recuperation involves every bit of your body. Physically, we need to be still. Mentally, we need to put down the work for a while. Whether that work can be homework, work from the job, work for the club, or even a distracting phone, we need to stop a while. Emotionally, we need to give ourselves a break, by either being around people or getting away from them as is your preference. The key is resting your whole self, not just a part.

Prayer and meditation are found throughout many cultures, in different forms and for different purposes, yet they remain underestimated as a tool. Each culture has some version of being still and ordering one’s inner self because everyone is a mess. You can be non-religious and learn to meditate or pray. You could also be highly religious and do it! Especially in our modern age, we find the more screen time an individual has, the more likely they are to develop anxiety and depression. That’s terrifying! But it also gives us a good reason to set the phone or laptop to the side, at least for a bit. Just physically separate yourself from distractions, spend some time alone, with no bright entertaining things to dance for you.

Without recharging, we are nothing. We cannot operate 24/7. We rush from thing to thing and get angry when we find we can’t rush rest. Slow down so you’ll have to strength to get things back up to tempo! We only get one physical body for sure; it’s smart to not wreck the only vehicle we have for our soul.

What we need to understand to live a full life

Understanding is a strange process. We may think we understand a lot of things, but even something as simple as a definition can allude us when someone asks. Whenever we engage in conversation, we assume the other person has enough context to understand what you mean. Sometimes understanding isn’t just knowing something, but knowing something on a deep level. Understanding requires a lot of effort, more than we usually want to give, but one of the most amazing things we can experience is that moment where even we don’t know what we mean and a friend can understand it.

In some ways, that’s what a friendship is: an understanding. You know you can depend on them and they on you, you enjoy each other’s company, and most of all, you know each other on a level where there is a connection. Friendship isn’t really friendship if you can’t communicate with each other because a lack of communication leads to loneliness. Lonely friendships defeat the whole purpose. Friendship is something that is almost sacred, it involves trust and the emotional support that they know, they understand how you’re feeling, even if it’s something they can’t help with.

We need connections. We need relationships, especially close ones. Loneliness legitimately kills; It increases your risk of disease, mental illness, and shortens your life expectancy. Even more than that, being alone feels miserable. Our relationships matter because we need to be understood. The support we get from our community and those around us is structure that builds us up to the best we can be. We can understand books, subjects, theatrical plays, anything and everything, but the most important thing to understand is that we need people.

 

Each day is a photograph 

The nature of photography is that you spend seconds or minutes or hours of your life preparing for this one specific moment, where everything suddenly fits together. You can take a good photo if your life is falling apart and a bad photo in the happiest moments. The point is that you have this one moment of art captured, in a way no one else could ever mimick perfectly. We have train ourselves to see each day like a photograph, so we can appreciate the view better.

Each day is a mixture of whatever we’ve gone through before, whatever the people we will interact with have gone through, and our environment. As to say, we can’t control too much about our day. A bitter old man might yell at you regardless of what you do, just because he’s been through so much pain, his empathy is numbed. While we can vote to change the law, we can’t decide to go against the law without substantial amounts of legal protection and expect to avoid the consequences. We can’t decide which bird flies where. If each day is a photo, we can’t pick the location. However, we can pick which parts we want in the frame, and where our focus in drawn. 

While there is so much that is out of our control, we can decide how we are going to approach each day. We can decide what we are going to do to make this day better. We can ignore the old man, vote, and enjoy the bird wherever it flies. Each day is like a photo, so let’s try to take a great picture and make our lives a piece of art.

But seriously, how are you?

“How are you?” is a scripted formality that implies nothing besides decorum. We don’t answer it truthfully, we say, “Fine” or “Good” or “Doing great!” if we want to spice things up a bit. We also miss out on asking ourselves that question until we’re full of some negative emotion like anger or sadness.  Even then, who looks in the mirror and asks themselves, “How are you”? It seems strange because we are ourselves; we should know how we feel.

It’s hard to slow down. We like to fill up every moment with something, productive or no. If we aren’t working or in class, we’re on our phones. If we’re not on our phones, we’re talking to someone. If we aren’t doing any of those things, we are either asleep or being forced to be still. Sitting there doing nothing– it seems pointless. Why wouldn’t you be filling your day up? Life is brief after all. Staring at a wall isn’t as fun as looking through the latest memes.

And yet. Taking time out of our day to just be still and relax for a moment is incredibly important. It makes you grateful for what you have, focuses you on what you want to accomplish. It says, “Hey. My mind is going everywhere, what is actually the most important thing for me to be doing?” Going from activity to activity is blurry. Instead of making your life count, too much work can actually prohibit you from experiencing it. Slowing down means recognizing where you are, realizing how you are, and being present for the moment that matters most: the one right now. So don’t be afraid to ask yourself questions. Don’t be afraid to take a moment out of the day to deal with yourself before dealing with all the other things you have to do.

It’s okay to be afraid

Fear is a part of our lives. As Americans, we don’t like thinking about that: “We’re free independent people! We do what we want because we want to do it!” But even if we say the only thing to fear is fear itself, we don’t apply that to our everyday lives. We fear being judged, failing, being embarrassed, and more. Then it stops us, freezes us up from taking risks.

However, fear is also a powerful motivator, if you’ve heard any villian-monologue. True in a lot of cases, fear is an influential emotion. It can even be a healthy motivator. Everyone experiences fear at some time or another, but it’s a matter of what scares you that drives your actions. If we fear remaining the same, we can strive to make a change. If we teach ourselves to fear the risk of doing nothing, we can convince ourselves to take risks that help us in the long run. 

And it’s okay to be afraid! Fear has such a negative connotation around it because it seems like only cowards get scared. However, fear is very real. It’s even a wise action to be afraid; it means you know the risks and are alert for your safety. Being afraid means being on guard in dangerous situations. If you are afraid, you can prepare yourself, it makes evolutionary sense. When we experience this fear, the key isn’t to try and ignore it, but push through it. Be afraid and take the jump anyways.