Improving the Self

What is life without the drive to continuously improve yourself?

I’ve always been afraid of one thing, being stagnant. Last week was a good example of that fear in real life. It was in class when half-way through the lesson, I realised that I did not know anything about the topic and what the lecturer was talking about. That was when I panicked and became frustrated with my inability to understand and prepare beforehand. It was not really because I couldn’t understand the topic but instead, the underlying fear of stagnation, of wasting time in the lecture when I could’ve done something productive.

That fear has always been with me, sometimes, even paralysing my ability to rest properly and let go of work.

Though I may sound like a workaholic, I’m not. I just like to do things that are productive and continue to make whatever I do a +1.

Well, like many of my other blog posts, there really isn’t any conclusion to this story, just an entry that I would like to share with all of you.

Maybe, if there’s a lesson to learn from here, it shall be this. To always improve yourself but have time to rest, for with rest, you’ll come back stronger.

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An Academic?

I truly, wholeheartedly, admire people who seek knowledge and strive to be the best in what they do, especially academics.

I admire professors, scholars, researchers and people who delve deep into their respective fields not because they need to but because they want to.

And I guess, deep inside, I really want to be just like them.

If I were to go back to my blog post from the beginning of university, I’m sure I had written something along the lines of wanting to be an academic who seeks knowledge because of interest and not because of need. I think that was what drove me forward in the first semester.

However, along the way, I begin to forget that primary mindset, I begin to lose touch on what really mattered.

And I guess, because of that I focused on the wrong things.

To be honest, the thought of just “screw everything” had been playing in my mind, a small annoyance that will gradually get bigger if I don’t get my sh** together quickly. But I know that it shouldn’t be entertained. I love school and all aspects of it but only if I’m in the right state of mind.

After listening to one of my lecturers talked about Darwin’s and his own challenges faced as ‘seekers of the truth’, I realised how insignificant my problems were. I realised that my mind had been pre-set in the wrong state since the beginning of this semester, I should be focusing on the learning and love for the subject and not treat it as ‘just another module’.

I want to be an academic, grasp mastery of my field whatever it might be. I shall work towards it with renewed conviction that I will achieve that.

Priorities = Time

 

Recently, I have been complaining about time, the lack of.

But what I realised is that it isn’t because I don’t have enough time to do the things I need, want or expected of me but it is because I didn’t prioritise my tasks properly.

I have several responsibilities on my hands right now and I’m constantly juggling between all of them. And because of this, I’m constantly getting confused about dates, times, locations and the like.

Furthermore, it felt as it these tasks were also taking up my studying time which later on eats up my sleeping / alone time (which I truly need to stay productive).

Multitasking, that’s it. I have been multitasking, never spending enough time to be in DEEP WORK which is crucial. Thus, causing the problems I’ve stated above.

I didn’t prioritise my tasks properly, always mixing and changing about between tasks whenever they come up. Note to self: not good.

I need to have a keystone task that will keep me grounded and onward towards balance. I think that would be my studies.

In the last semester, I made it a goal to study at least 5 hours a day. It was a mild success (a success, nonetheless). That was my keystone task as anything I do during the day is towards reaching and striving that goal (which kept me focused and neat).

I think I will still keep that goal in mind this semester.

Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.

 

We Can Do a Great Many Things

We can do great things. We can do so many great things.

If you’re reading this, it means that you’re given the chance to do something great. What do I mean?

Have we ever stop to think about how wonderful the devices in our hands are? Have we ever stop to think about how powerful these devices are?

And yet, we procrastinate away.

I call myself an artist, even though the art side of me is pretty subjective. Thus, I see everything through the lenses of creativity. When I look at my Macbook, I don’t just see a Macbook, instead, I see a key to success, an outlet for my creativity. I use it to write, to edit, to research, to work, and do many other amazing things. I see an opportunity and I grab it.

I guess, now, it becomes somewhat of second nature to do something worth my time every single day. Maybe it is the byproduct of blogging every day. Whatever it is, I put the opportunities that were given to me to good use.

Sometimes I think to myself how fortunate we all are and I would get emotional too. Why? Because many of us don’t see it.

People ask why successful people become successful and how to emulate them. It is a valid question and one that I have heard many times. But the true reason they’re asking that question is because they want to know ‘THE SECRET’, something that does not exist. There is no secret.

Don’t worry, I too had fallen into that downward spiral of questioning but I quickly realise that successful people are successful because THEY GRABBED OPPORTUNITIES WHEREVER THEY GO. They don’t procrastinate and wait. They don’t idle around with friends. Instead, they go out and DO.

It may sound simple, maybe too simple that most would just shove it aside but it is so true!

What I’m trying to say is this, that device in your hands is a gem of the Technology Era. Use it. Abuse it. Find success.

Do great things with it because we can.

 

 

Self-Aware, the Journey

Being self-aware has been a skill that I am and still am constantly working on. It is a skill which I also believe everyone should put in their time and effort into mastering. To be self-aware is to understand the ins and outs of ourselves, to understand our emotions when it occurs and to know what triggered them in the first place. However, to me, to be self-aware goes beyond recognizing emotions, it also includes understanding and appreciating the way we feel because that it naturally who we are.

In every phase of life, I believe that there will always be some sort of limiting beliefs that we will be battling, be it, thinking that we are weak, believing that we are not good enough, seeing ourselves as inferior to the rest and so on. In my case, however, I am currently struggling with the limiting belief that “I am shortchanging my success because of my nature.”

There are several reasons which I believe caused me to feel this way. Firstly, I deeply admire successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, just to name a few. I compare my nature with their nature. I compare my level of maturity and thinking with their level of maturity and thinking at my age. I realized that they have a natural Type-A personality of just going forward and striving for the best which I realized, I sorely lacked. This puts me down and I secretly still am striving to reach that level of hustle. Secondly, I believe that hard work is the key ingredient to success. In the past, before I went on this journey of being self-aware, I went with the flow, not putting in the extra mile to work harder, strive further and scare myself with seemingly unreasonable goals. As I slowly come to realize that by being aware of my senses, by understanding that I am capable of so much more, I began to unknowingly put in the effort to work hard and so far, I guess it has been fruitful to a certain extent.

Sometimes, problems can give ourselves a real headache and sometimes, it becomes seemingly overwhelming. However, I realized that one can zoom out their problems and see the bigger picture. I believe that comparing oneself to others is never and will never be a good strategy to define your rank in society but sometimes, by zooming out and recognizing that our problems are so insignificant as compared to the rest of the world, will help us to overcome that problem. I believe that it is due to a certain mental barrier that we have erected in our minds that prevented us from seeing a solution. Once we allow ourselves to zoom out, will we finally able to shine some light on our measly problems.

Nothing humbles us more…

A passing of a young life has always and will always have a profound effect on my emotions no matter who that person is.

It scares me to know that our life can be taken away from us, anytime, anywhere, at any place and if we allow that fear to grow and propagate, we will paralyse ourselves.

However,

By remembering that such a thing will happen to each and every one of us one day will humble us. It will remind us that we are not as powerful, as brave, as healthy, as intelligent, as we think we are.

For me, such an unfortunate loss constantly reminds me of how pathetic we are, how weak we are, how powerless we are in the face of Him. It reminds me of how our miserable lives are at His mercy.

A young life lost is a lesson gained for all of us who are still alive. We can learn so much from the beauty of that young life, from the way they interacted with others, the way they held trust to the will of God, the way they smile, laugh and listen as if they weren’t the ones going. There’s so much we can learn from their mannerisms, their wisdom, and even though amidst their last days, their unyielding youth.

As they move on to their next phase as a creation of God, we might ask, what happens now?

Now, we can pray, seek forgiveness, repent, and supplicate. We can be aware of who we are and what we want to achieve in this life that will never last. We can realise that dream, our dream.

Understand your purpose, be kind, be good, be humble.

 

 

Back to the Grind

Well, tomorrow is the start of a new semester.

I’m having mixed feelings of excitement and fear.

I’m excited because a new semester means new opportunities, new people to meet and things to do. However, I’m fearful because of the failures that will come with all of that.

I’m truly afraid of one thing however, I’m afraid of being swallowed up by busyness and neglect my studies and my creative work.

I’ve learnt a lot from the past semester and I hope to deploy those lessons this time. I honestly don’t want my past mistakes to happen; the almost burnt out, the constant fatigue and the stress. I want to at least have a clear mind at the end of every day.

Well, I guess all I can do now is to try my best.

Back to the grind.