Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Lessons

Believe in yourself. Be happy. Do what’s best for you. These are three things I learned recently from someone else. I am trying to put them into practice. Let’s discuss them, shall we?

First, Believe in Yourself. Believe in what you have the capacity to do. Believe that since you have done something in the past, you can do it again now. Believe that given what you already have, you can put things together to something you have never done before. You have been given special talents and gifts, and all of them together are what make you unique. You have something to offer the world. Have the courage to share it, even if it’s not perfect.

Be Happy. Choose to be happy now. It’s an attitude, not a product of the environment you’re in. Things could always be better. Things could also be worse. Be grateful for the moment, and savor this time, because it will change soon. If you dedicate your concentration to right now, you won’t have to worry about whether you’ll forget it, because it will mean something to you. There’s also something you can learn from right now. See it, and love it. You deserve to be happy now.

Do What’s Best for You. Contrary to superficial belief, this is not selfish. If you really think about what’s best for you, what is the best decision that will not just serve your selfish pleasures, but something that thinks about the best outcome for the present and the future and that benefits not only yourself… some decision that is made by your best self—then it will truly not only be a great decision, it will also have a positive effect on others and will help them to do what’s best for them, too. Let’s not make decisions only based on our perception of what other people think.

I’m reading a book, How to Find the Work You Love, and I think it’s really great. What sets it apart from other books that I might read is that it makes me trust it (which I am inclined to do anyway), not so that I blindly accept what the author says, but so I can turn inward and answer questions for myself. It allows me to be the one in charge of the decision making, and that’s what I desperately need in this time. I need to learn how to make decisions to craft my future. I plan on answering questions that deal with my personal desires for myself, what my natural talents and abilities are, and to find patterns with my identity that I can put together into a vocation to help the world at large (or at least a small part of it). This is an important task, a vital one, which is worth spending the time on it, because there’s a powerful quote mentioned in the book that describes what happens if I don’t take the time to figure it out: “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on…children, than the unlived lives of their parents” (Carl Jung).

I was asked at work if I could proof read something that would be sent out to an agency. It was text and formatting from the graphic designing. I said sure. As I went along editing—changing the smallest things, checking the rest of the document for consistency, capitalizing words, making notes—I felt a feeling in my chest, a feeling similar to when I am learning something spiritual. At the end, when we were updating the actual document and I was passing my notes along to the graphic designer, I could see what she needed to do, but I don’t have the skills right now to do it on the designing program. At any rate, I realized that my picky-ness is actually helpful! It depends on which areas, but I enjoy making things the most accurate that they can be, and people need that in the professional world! It’s a great thing to have something confirmed to you that you can then act upon with confidence. I can always make my skill better, such as becoming a pro at APA style, but at least it’s been made manifest to me (and I understood it), that I am a good proofreader! My quest for perfection can be useful to somebody.

It’s interesting because this discovery seems opposite to a couple of other discoveries I have had recently. I visited Alianz Francois (or however you spell it), and also felt the same feeling while listening to other people speak French, so I think I should learn French. That doesn’t mean I will be an awesome French speaker in my life, but “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Another realization is that I need to do creative things with my hands. Here at the school, I have made a Mater (from Cars) costume out of cardboard and paint, painted a black shirt with white ribs (so I looked like a skeleton), and I fixed the auxiliary valve of our shower with just a plastic bag and a rubber band. I have the ability to look at resources and then see how I can make them into something new and better together. That is a great skill to have. It is useful. I can also be creative. There are no rules. I see the goal (for example, Disney-themed barbeque), and then I decide what I will do based on that parameter. I cannot fail, for there are no specifics. I can be as creative or involved or dedicated as I want to be.

I hope that you have not gotten discouraged by my personal findings. My goal is to make you look at yourself and what you want to do, and then to do it. This is your life. No one else is going to live it for you. You make the most of it, or you don’t. What you’re doing right now is good. It’s not bad. But there is always a better way of doing things. You can be more effective or reach more people or hone your skills more. Like Switchfoot says: “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves? Somewhere we live inside.” So listen to your conscience, and have the courage to act on what you hear.