Process

Build a solid foundation | happier life 1

It’s all about your foundation

 

I’m a conscientious person; I like to do things well, no matter how much or how little interest I have in it. It works all right when things are swell. Enter dark phase(s) in my life: everything comes crumbling down – or more accurately, I crumble. “Why?” you may ask. Because I had no solid foundation to fall on, given that each area in my life was bland, passionless, and lifeless.

So there I was one day, saying to myself: if this is life as an adult, I don’t want it. Fast forward two years (yes, self-development came a little slow at this point in my life) and there I was thinking about how life sucked. Somehow, I managed to whisper to myself a few words that would help me drastically change the way I was living my life: 

If only I had at least one consistent thing in my life that made me happy”. 

See, I was always such a curious and ambitious kid, seeking improvement and having so many dreams. Somehow along the way, my inner fire just died and I settled. In fact, I settled for quite a few things:

  1. Settled for a job that had nothing to do with my dream job;
  2. Settled for studying for grades only – not for the love of learning;
  3. Settled for endless marathons of Netflix instead of pursuing if only one of my many hobbies;
  4. Settled for making my life as mundane as possible. 

Take a step back and see what’s missing

Taking me as an example, we notice that a few things are lacking: 

  • any form of self-development
  • hobby- or skill-related challenges
  • spending time wisely

Before we continue, I would like to point out that not every area in your life has to be exactly as you want it to be right away. For instance, some of us need a job to sustain us and depending on where we are in our life, and we do not have the luxury of waiting for the perfect job. And that is completely fine. What isn’t fine is settling and getting too comfortable (as I did). Before you know it you’ll be looking at your CV and realize that nothing has changed. So keep challenging yourself and let that not-so-fun job fund your education, your life experiences, your future. Let it be a stepping stone; not a limitation to what you can achieve.

With time and patience by your side, you will be able to achieve goals in each area of your life until you create the life you want.  

Foundation Requirement 1 : Self-development and personal challenges

If you constantly feel sluggish and uninspired, get some perspective on your day-to-day life. What are you doing? What aren’t you doing? How do you keep yourself busy? 

Categorize this into these components:

    • Fundamentals: job and/or school 
    • Hobbies, skill-development: (examples: music lessons, art class, workshops, dance, extracurriculars, etc.) 
    • Extras: Social outings, trips, occasional events.

For some of us, our job or school program isn’t everything we want it or expect it to be. They can be a source of stress and are not a reliable source of joy. The job might be temporary (to pay for school) and not every class you will take will be a dream come true. And that is normal. This is why it is important to have something you can rely on that is not a source of stress. It challenges you, promotes your creative side and might inspire you in other areas of your life. Little wins like getting the next colour belt in karate help with confidence and make you feel like you are progressing.  

The bottom line is that without a solid foundation, you will not have anything to fall on to get you through the tough times: there will be no immediate source of joy. 

The risk that this entails is for it to become a vicious cycle: the less you do, the worse you feel; and the worse you feel, the less you do. 

Foundation Requirement 2 : Consistency and source of joy

Let’s take another look at the quote I mentioned earlier, this time, drawing attention to 2 key words:

If only I had at least one consistent thing in my life that made me happy”. 

Fun night outs, hanging out with friends, spontaneous adventures and what not are needed to fill our lives with joy and great memories. Surely, they check off the happy box, but not the consistent one. In fact, not only are these irregular events, they also depend on others to fulfill them. That’s why we need hobbies that we have full control over, scheduled on a consistent basis and that make us happy, fulfilled and proud.

Foundation Requirement 3 : Spending time wisely

It can not be stressed enough: SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY. Intelligence is defined in many ways. In my opinion, you can judge someone’s intelligence by how they fill up their time. If you love movies, and relaxing by watching TV shows, then by all means, reserve time for that. But before you sit down to watch, make sure you complete what needs to be done. 

Foundation Requirement 4 : Do not overwhelm yourself

Begin with changing one aspect of your life. One of the mistakes many people do is have too many goals at a time. You can imagine how something that is supposed to improve the quality of your life can become another source of stress and disappointment. Personally, I felt like I was trying to catch up for all the years I had wasted. But there is no point in regret. You need to remind yourself that you are moving past and beyond that phase and you are working towards bettering yourself, and doing so one step at a time. So breathe. 

Eventually, if you put your mind, time, effort, and patience into self-improvement, you’ll be able to create a life for yourself that you actually want. With every little success, the easier it will be to wrap your mind around the idea that you have all the control you need to succeed.

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