Over the last two weeks, I’ve discussed how I managed to pull myself together at a time when everything felt as if it had fallen apart.
This week, I’m looking at the lessons I’ve learnt from this period, and how it’s changed my understandings moving forward.
I think the first change would be the ability to take on new habits.
We all tell ourselves that we can do these new thinks if either a) we wanted to, or b) we had the time. The reality is, if you wanted to develop these habits badly enough, then neither of these factors become a problem, but simply excuses.
Yes, we’re all working more than ever, and our home lives are getting more cluttered but if you want to do something positive, try substituting it in for something negative in your life.
For example, I used to spend anywhere between one and three hours watching YouTube videos. Nothing in particular. Just bouncing between videos the algorithm thought I might like – and it was right. After about a month of doing this, I caught myself in the moment and decided to make a change… A small change.
I want to cut down the time I spend watching these videos, so now I’ll limit myself to one hour. Additionally, I want to get into art, so I’ll make sure to watch at least one art-related video at that time.
It’s incredible how quickly your mind adapts to this new outlook. Not only did I have more time on my hands, but I became inspired to start a hobby that for so long had eluded me.
As of writing this, I‘ve been drawing every day for four months now. The change in my first and my last drawings are incredible. Yes, I realise I’m no Da Vinci, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. By applying yourself a small amount each day, over weeks, months and years, these moments of practice accumulate into a great skill.
As you can see, I’m no Da Vinci, but my drawing has improved significantly since I first began.
While researching this topic, I came across The 5 Hour Rule. It’s the essence of giving yourself one hour a day, five days a week, towards learning. This could be a physical skill, such as drawing or singing, or mental development; researching a subject you have an interest in or reading to expand and subsequently challenge your mindset.
Whatever it might be, give yourself just one hour, and over time, the results will amaze you.
If you’re interested in learning more about The 5 Hour Rule, then Thomas Frank has made an excellent video deliberating the long-term benefits.
The second lesson from all of this is, you’re in control of your emotions.
Life will always give you bad, traumatic times. But understand that these are needed to not only make the good times feel so but to teach you more about who you are.
You can’t control the world around you. You can’t control the people around you (no matter how much you may want to). However, you can control how you deal with these situations. You can always choose to react positively or negatively.
Take the situation I mentioned in the first part of this series, splitting up with my girlfriend. I could have reacted in an angry, negative manner, but ultimately, that would only fill me with rage. Instead, by refocusing my efforts back towards myself, I can boost my own self-esteem and learn to deal with the situation over time.
This method of self-motivation isn’t perfect. There are still days when I don’t feel like working, but I know that if I push through and just do a little bit of something, over time, that’s worth more than feeling sorry for myself and ending up with nothing.
I’ve created a sticker, which can be used as a reminder to make more time for yourself. All profits will go to Young Minds. They’re a UK charity that helps young people tackle their emotional and mental issues, allowing them the opportunity of a balanced and happy lifestyle.
If you enjoyed this mini-series, then please consider subscribing to future articles, which will centre on motivations, mental health and of course, books.
Until next time, stay safe!