The Art of Patience
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The Art of Patience

I used to think that patience was one of the easiest things to develop. Wrong you say? Definitely. Patience has been difficult for me to manage as I’m a strong-willed person, so I always assume that if I work smarter and push harder I’ll inevitably achieve the outcome I hope for. Life has shown me that my will cannot open every door I seek, and patience is required to achieve certain goals. I now view patience as an art form I seek to master. I’ve listed some of the key influencers that help to increase my own level of patience:

Timing

Timing and patience are best friends. You cannot have a high level of patience without understanding that timing is essential for things to come to pass. I realize that my timing conflicts with the powers that be all the time. I set a date, I put in the work, so I expect the results (insert comical laughter). But that doesn’t always happen. After suffering numerous disappointments I’m still learning that timing is the key to it all. You can push and shove as much as you like, but if the timing is not right there is nothing you can do about it. Coming to grips with this will directly affect your patience level in a positive way as you understand that one can not operate without understanding the other.

Focus

In order to have a high level of patience, you must focus on staying patient. Just like anything else, focus requires practice. We can do certain things to increase focus on our patience level by simply not allowing certain things to agitate us to a level of frustration. Understanding that you can only control your personal actions will allow you to see the frustrating situation in a different light.

When certain things aren’t meant for you

This is one that’s pretty hard to process, as life tells as if you want something just work a little harder. But sometimes certain outcomes are just not meant for you. We all have limitations and we can choose to focus on them or our strengths.

I firmly believe it’s not meant for me to be an Olympic track athlete as my family has a horrible history of knee issues. I’m sure if I was really passionate about it I could push myself to the limit by taking different substances to change my fate, but eventually, the natural order in life will let me know this calling was not meant for me. I think we can change this by focusing on our strengths while acknowledging our weaknesses. We’ll save ourselves a ton of frustrating times by understanding that certain things just are not meant for us, or it’s just not meant for us right now.

Learning to enjoy the present moment of the day, hour, and second is a great way to combat impatience. Understanding that whatever is meant for you will be, as long as you put the effort in. When you view your life in a new light by showing gratitude of the present moment your patience level increases. You began to realize that the effort you’re putting in may not materialize the way you envisioned it, but it will come together.

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Societal Pressures

It always seems that we’re pressured into doing things we have no desire in our hearts to do. These pressures can come from our own expectations that conflict with reality, or simply the pressures of society. The latter seems to dictate more than we realize. The biggest difficulty is when your goals and dreams counteract societal norms. This type of situation can be most challenging as it lacks a support system. Below are some of the societal pressures I’ve personally faced, and how I overcame them.

At your age, you should be….
This is the most annoying one, as everyone seems to have the perfect advice for your life. Who created these guidelines of where I should be at a certain age, and why? I am truly a believer that age does not define anything you hope to achieve in this life. Only you can do that. When people come to you looking to dictate where you should be at your age, kindly thank them for their advice but let it be known you choose to live Your life on Your terms.
What you should be doing with your life
I believe we unintentionally place our expectations of our unfulfilled hopes and dreams on others; when we feel that our own personal a dream can no longer be accomplished. It’s not intentional or something that stems from envy, it’s a natural law that people who love you want to see you accomplish great things. But sometimes their definition of greatness is fuelled by their own desires. Learn to distinguish what your heart desires to achieve from that of the people who love you. For if they really love you, they’ll recognize their error and only wish that your personal desires are fulfilled.
How you should view life
Everyone has an opinion, myself included, about everything. I personally combat unleashing all of my opinions by only dispersing it out when it’s requested. I realize my views are one-sided, as people internally have a ton of emotions going on inside of them that dictates their view. Everyone does not see the world of opinion giving as I do. This is where self-awareness is essential, as you’ll be susceptible to how the masses think you should view your life rather than how you view it. There is nothing wrong with receiving advice in times of uncertainty, but the direction of your life must come from within yourself.
The pressures of society will always be present, but if you want to fulfill dreams that differ from the norm you have to get used to sometimes standing alone. There is no need to justify your views or spend your time trying to convince someone of your viewpoint. We are all granted one life, let’s not waste it on trying to conform to acceptable norms of society.
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The Path to Resilience

2017 has brought more twist than any of the past few years in my life, but I love it all the same. I’ve learned to embrace the turns that life brings by being adaptable. Being adaptable has helped me to free myself mentally from the past by placing my focus on the present moment. In difficult times I don’t allow myself to sink into stubbornness, as my only focus is to become more resilient in the present moment. I’ve learned to embrace the emotion of uncertainty rather than fight it. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty is the key to growth. I also recognize that resilience is not a natural quality for most people, but it can be taught. How can you tap into the resilience inside of yourself? I’ve outlined a few steps that have led to increasing the level of resilience internally.

Discipline

Discipline is one of those things that never gets old. It requires daily, weekly, and sometimes hourly work. Discipline can be developed in many forms, from exercise to eating habits. It’s created when you learn to stretch yourself to complete a task when the initial desire has faded. It requires a strong mind linked to a strong will, compiled with an even stronger desire to accomplish a goal. I personally choose the path of exercise. And believe me, there are days I’d like to skip the activity, but I push myself beyond the feeling of laziness to achieve the results I desire. I know if I can get beyond the first few minutes of laziness I can complete the task.

Learn not let your wounds cripple you

Our memory is the best thing we have, but it can also be our worst enemy. We have to learn to let go of the past and move toward a level of growth. I’ve worked to develop a selective memory, and it’s been life changing. I realized that I don’t need to remember every little thing from the past, especially when it doesn’t contribute to my growth. You have to learn to separate the good memories from the unhealed wounds. Yes, wounds remind us of where we’ve been, but unhealed wounds will surely slow our growth.

Releasing self-doubt

This is a tricky one as it requires a strong connection with your internal self. Your mind is a powerful weapon that can be used to make you stronger or weaker. Learn to control the messages you send it, and don’t be afraid to self-correct. Personally, when I recognize that I’m sending a message to my mind that increases a level of self-doubt, I tell myself to Stop It. I then make a positive statement that counteracts the negative one. I prefer to always leave positive thoughts of a situation on my brain, rather than let a negative one linger.

Become immune to words

This directly correlates with learning not to let your wounds cripple you. Learn to be selective of the words you hear that build a house internally in you. My Grandfather had the great misfortune of having selective hearing, and I used to think that was horrible. I now view it as a major plus in our current world. In this day and time, we’re presented with loads of opportunities that let the words of others directly affect us. Learn to become immune to the words that mean you harm rather than good. People say a lot of things, but you control what lives inside of you.

In essence, resilience is the first step to manifesting success. You can’t reach your goals if every little wind that blows knocks you off course. Learn to persevere even when the rain hits your eyes. The sun always shines, even if some days it takes longer to see it.

The Art of Flexibility
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The Art of Flexibility

How flexible are you? This was the recurring question that continuously popped in my mind throughout the month of May. I’ve come to realize that flexibility is just a dance. You have to learn to anticipate an improvised move while maintaining your rhythm. I’ve learned more than few ways to find comfort in the flexibility of life. My life lessons are as follows:

Be Open

We all have a specific vision in our minds of the life we’d like to live but we have no idea of how to make it a reality. I still have no idea of how to make visions reality, but I am mastering taking small steps. I’ve formed a habit of constantly aligning my current actions with my end goal. I continuously question myself to ensure my current actions are a direct reflection of the goal I seek to reach. And if not, am I flexible enough to feel comfortable changing my course. I’m learning to be open to the possibility that there are many ways to reach an end goal, and if one direction doesn’t work you just have to simply switch directions.

Be Kind

It’s hard to be kind when you’re frustrated, disappointed, and down on yourself. Whether intentional or unintentionally, our frustration leaks over to the people we interact with. Understand the importance of energy and how it affects our flexibility. When we become stubborn and set in our ways, we stifle our growth. Try to put an immense amount of effort in allowing the frustration to flow through us, giving kindness an opportunity to show up. Kindness enables us to embrace flexibility, and remain open to life.

Be Aware

The art of flexibility requires a high degree of awareness. Awareness of those around you, and the awareness of self. It’s very difficult to be flexible to change when you don’t access your current surroundings and understand how you fit within it all. Even if we can’t seem to understand situations around us, we can always reflect inwardly and acknowledge the awareness inside of ourselves. Being aware ensures that we are fully present, and we’re more equipped to steady ourselves when an unpleasant situation arises.

Be Intentional with your Transparency

Being intentional is something that’s essential to our success. If we’re transparent, and our intentions are clear, it will allow for a lower level of confusion for everyone we interact with. As long as our intentions are clear the level of flexibility that’s needed for a situation becomes less burdensome. We must learn to permit ourselves to be free as we understand it’s all needed to ensure success.

The art of flexibility is forever changing and always needed in whatever course you choose to take in life. This past month has made it clear that as long as I make a daily effort to align my actions in the direction of my intended goal, I am capable of adjusting my route to get there. How I deal with situations that require me to be flexible will have a direct effect on my ability to reach the end goal.

Learning to ride the waves of life
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Learning to ride the waves of life

Spring is almost here! I can’t believe it. With the first quarter of the year already gone, now is a good time to be extremely honest with ourselves about where we are, and what it will take to accomplish the goals we seek to reach. It’s reevaluation time.

I’ve learned a ton of hard life lessons in the last month alone. I’ve learned that life is full of waves. We’re constantly riding them, and trying to navigate around them. I’ve learned that it’s not about finding a way around, but facing and standing above them. We have to find ways to propel ourselves higher when a wave arrives, and it’s where we should place our focus.

In order to successfully ride the waves we have to keep our eyes open for key signs that a wave is coming:

#1: Learn to embrace the unexpected

This month has thrown so many curve balls my way, from unexpected financial expenses, to a trip to the ER. It’s shown me that I can’t let the unexpected alter my course to reaching my goals. I took a moment to sulk in the unexpected turn of events, but still allowed myself to move forward. Even in the face of embarrassment and judgement by others, I still have the capacity to progress.

#2: Don’t let a huge wave throw you off course

This past month forced to me to get accustomed to the waves. I began to ride them like a pro. Up, down, up down. But then a bigger, unexpected wave came crashing down on me. That wave came in an unforeseen visit to the ER that required stitches. The consequences of the wave forced me to slow down quite a bit. I was still jumping to ride the waves, but I wasn’t doing it as enthusiastically as before. I then faced a choice; to use the wave as a crutch and allow it to cripple me for the remainder of the year, or to get up and do something, even if it means taking baby steps. I chose the baby steps.

#3: The importance of self-preservation

I’m a natural helper. I love assisting people in their growth, and helping them to evaluate their current circumstances. I’ll go the extra mile, even when it’s not required as I want to ensure the growth of people. This is a good and bad trait, as sometimes, it results in me temporarily neglecting my own goals and targets for the year. It also means that, I’m not always open to letting people help me, only to me helping them. This month has taught me to receive as much help as I give, and to not avoid asking for help because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone. I learned to be open to the help of others as it directly connects to my own self-preservation.

It’s been an extremely rewarding and challenging year thus far, and I know we can accomplish every goal we set out to reach. We just have to learn to ride the waves, and stay on course. Don’t let missteps or mistakes cripple your efforts of moving forward. We may tumble and even fall, but we have to get up and keep moving. Let’s start the second quarter of the year with the same energy of January, and ride those waves all the way to the top. We can do it!

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How to Decrease Focus Zappers & Increase Work Productivity

It seems that 2017 is turning out to be a year of figuring out the right balance between work and life. In early February, I began to center my focus on the goals I’ve outlined for the year and I placed more attention on how to strategically accomplish them. I realized that work comes in two forms – the work you put into an activity, and the work you put into focusing on that activity.

Learning to focus can feel like a chore for me, because so much energy is required to shut out what is going on around me. With all of the unwarranted emails, phone calls, and random distractions that demand my attention, it can be difficult to channel my energy toward completing my work. However, once I’m in the zone while working on a project, my focus is unparalleled and nothing can interfere. To combat focus zappers, I use the following three actions to decrease distractions and increase my work productivity:

Create Your Focus Zone

Yes, there are an endless amount of things around us that can be distracting, pulling our focus away from where we’d like it to be. In order to hear your own voice and focus on what you’re looking to accomplish, it’s important to create some quiet time for yourself. I like to allow myself a few minutes to sit quietly before concentrating on a project. It is a short meditation that gives my mind time to prepare for the task at hand. During this time, I like to envision the goal of my project and the end result that I want to accomplish.  I encourage you to observe the optimal conditions for you to concentrate and find ways to create your own focus zone.

The Art of Saying No 

I’ve had to say “no” to more than a few outings already this year. Sometimes it can feel like I am missing out, but it’s essential that I reserve time for reaching my goals. A major step that is helping me increase my productivity is prioritizing my goals. I arrange my time so that I am concentrating on achieving one specific goal at a time and I don’t deviate from that plan until I have accomplished what I set out to do. This has been difficult at times, especially when someone comes along with a fabulous distraction! However, it has been worth it when I decline. Saying ‘no’ is never easy, but you have to realize that it’s vitally important to reach the goals you have set.

Embracing Failure

I’ve learned to embrace that failure is a byproduct of success. This mindset has enabled me to focus on what I want to accomplish and not beat myself up when I make a mistake.  Self-empathy is necessary when you need to pick yourself back up after failing. Be kind to yourself and know that your failures don’t define you, but how you react to them does.

After making these actions a part of my routine, I found my productivity dramatically increase and it was easier to flow into my focus zone by the end of February. I plan to make even more progress throughout the course of life. The work I put into pursuing my goals empowers me daily, as I understand it’s not always the finish line that’s important, but the lessons you learn along the way.

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Learning to Overcome Distractions

So the newness of the year is starting to wear off. As I stated in Dealing with Discouragement, I thought this might happen. January was all about recovering from the holiday festivities and getting down to business. The transition within your mind was the most important one, as we have to develop a strategy to ensure our vision becomes a reality.It does seem hard to do when the world is increasingly changing so quickly around us. Every country looks as though they are going through a period of indifference. How do we stay focused with all of the distractions?

For myself, it has been difficult. I even decided to set up certain barriers to ensure I stay centered during these difficult times.

#1: I only read the news once a week

This is something I feel strongly about as I empathize naturally with anyone that’s being oppressed. I have set up perimeters to make time for the world, but for my own development as well.

#2: I recruited an accountability partner

My partner will hold me accountable for everything I say I’m going to do. This is vital as it pressures me to be more realistic when setting my goals.

#3: Writing Affirmations

I wake up every morning, look myself in the mirror, and say a few words that are important to me. Affirmations can be any positive words that remind you of who you are, and who you want to become.

I felt myself slipping in mid-January. I began to question myself, and doubt my abilities. It felt as if I may have set my goals too high. I then recognized that I’m surrounded by a huge network of people, and if I don’t know something I can ask for help. You’ll find that most of my acquaintances are happy to assist you. Just make sure they understand that you value their time.

January taught me a few things. Firstly, to not let the temporary negative thoughts become my permanent thoughts. Secondly, to remind myself to ask for help when I need it. Though every day provides us new opportunities, we have to learn to maximize the moments of each day. This is the only way we’ll reach the goals we set out to accomplish. And if you need to pretend like February is January all over again, DO IT! Do whatever it takes to keep yourself motivated and focused. I personally realized that I need mini breaks in order to stay focused. It helps to keep me from burning out. Whatever works for you do. Just don’t give up.

I’m more than ready to move into the second month of the year with the same focus and enthusiasm I started with in January. I hope you are too. Let’s proceed with the journey of 2017 together and help each other reach our goals.

Combat Discouragement
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Dealing with Discouragement

New Year, New Goals, New Me! It’s what we all say, right? A large portion of us seem to go into the New Year with a great deal of optimism, filled with an abundance of positive energy. And if you’re a Journey Chaser you definitely do. As the months roll forward from January to February following on to March, we won’t admit it but the overwhelming optimism and energy begins to lose momentum. We seem to have the best intentions, but then we realize that reaching certain goals won’t come easy as it requires a huge amount of sacrifice. Sometimes the loss of momentum comes in the form of discouragement, as the vision we created in our head doesn’t quite line up with reality. For most of us April is where we purposely try to forget the things we promised ourselves. Once that takes place the months seems to fly by as we busy ourselves with summer activities, holidays, and sometimes pointless gatherings that require an unnecessary amount of energy and resources. How can we halt this vicious cycle of time that seems to stop us from reaching our goals? Time has a way of killing dreams through an abundance of distractions, self-inflicted mental discouragement, and external discouragement of comparison to others that seem to cripple us internally.

Discouragement will inevitably come along any path you take, but you must not let it stop you from moving forward. In essence you don’t have to pretend that the discouragement doesn’t exist, or that you’re happy with your progress when you really aren’t. I personally hit this same wall in my efforts to achieve fluency in French. Most times I seemed to crash and burn, even when I put an immense amount of effort in. I experienced a level of discouragement, but I didn’t let it stop me from making progress. I may have felt defeated for a week or two, but eventually I found myself right back on the language course site going over the same French words again and again.

Don’t let discouragement hinder your process of growth because you will eventually get to your goal; even if it’s accomplished through a million tiny steps. Elizabeth Gilbert stated “It’s a simple and generous rule of life, that whatever you practice you will improve at.” Do not allow yourself to settle for discouragement, as it will eventually move to regret. Even when all the external factors point to failure, and your mind begins to agree with them, stop and remind yourself that success comes in small steps not just large ones. I’ve decided to focus the first few months of the year on combating discouragement, in hopes that I’ll keep the momentum that I start out with in January going all the way to December. I won’t allow discouragement to hinder me from reaching my dreams, and neither should you.

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Why Journey Chasers?

At some point and time we have all been discouraged in this life. Sometimes this is due to external factors, and other times due to our own self-inflicted wounds. Life has a way of taking you from extreme highs to devastating lows. As Heraclitus of Ephesos stated, “the only thing constant is change”. It can sometimes be difficult to not let the lows crush you totally, or worse use it as a gauge to where all similar situations will inevitably have the same outcome. Oh the bitterness of resentment can destroy any future greatness that can come in your life. In order to combat bitterness, depression, and anger we have to learn to embrace change, and utilize it in a powerful way.

Everything happens for a reason. As corny as it may seem it’s definitely traced with truth. And true indeed, we have all done something that we regret, but the best way to overcome the tortuous downward spiral of anxiety is to learn. Every experience gives us an opportunity to grow ourselves, allowing us to expand the internal spectrum within, giving us an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on this world. Unfortunately some experiences we have to go through again and again before we learn the ultimate lesson, but we have to learn to trust the intuitive spirit that lies within each of us in order to be attune to the lesson. One of the biggest challenges in the land of lessons is the catastrophic imprisonment of comparison.

It’s one of those things we don’t seek to do, but the psychological aspect of our brain tends to automatically default to it. In order to change defeat our primal instincts we have to train our brain to process a new message. We as humans fail to realize how vastly expansive our brains are. The brain can be trained to think whatever you allow yourself to process.

Yes words are just words, but they have a way of affecting us beyond ways we’d like to admit to ourselves. An affirmation has no meaning it you don’t take the time to process it internally. The power of speaking and feeling what you speak until you see it should never be underestimated. Call yourself power, call yourself amazing, call yourself whatever you wish to be and eliminate those words that speak against your internal belief. Always remember you are who you say you are, as we create ourselves in this life. Your only job is to ensure your actions align with the person you seek to be.

When I was around the puberty age of 12, I began to compare myself to the other little girls around me that seemed to attract tons of attention, and always got to sit next to the real cute boy. Unfortunately I still had an enormous amount of stubborn baby fat that refused to let me go, on top of the fact that I had an increasing amount of metal in my mouth. I can look back on it and laugh, but at that point and time the anxiety of showing my brace face overwhelmed me.  One time my Mom’s friend was around, and they were discussing something random. He said something that I found quite funny. I began to laugh, and a broad smile spread across my face. He looked at me and said, “you have such a lovely smile. You should smile more often.” That one little act of kindness touched me, as I didn’t like my smile. I didn’t instantly always smile from that point forward, but I did begin to smile more throughout the years. Once I hit my late teens going into 20’s I begin smiling a whole lot more, and it impacted me in a great way as I didn’t realize my smile had an effect on the way I felt internally. From then on I began to embrace the internal beauty of me that now radiates outwardly.

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Overcoming Fear

There are no lack of books explaining and elaborating on how to overcome fear. They all seem to give you some perspective of it in a way, and it may work in some shape or form, but the solution always seems to be temporary. I have yet to encounter a book that completely eliminated all of my fears allowing me to through caution to the wind scream Forget it all! What I have realized is that not all fear is bad. There is such a thing as healthy fear. Fear of standing on a ledge without a rope, fear of jumping out of a plane without a parachute, which is real and essentially linked to survival. The key lies in understanding fear attached to anxiety, and separating it from healthy fear.

I realized that you cannot live fearlessly by stating fear doesn’t exist, but learning to feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s a process that requires us to go beyond our little mind that are filled with doubts, judgement, and regret; which is all caused by anxiety. Learning to let the fear pass through you is the key to overcoming it. Recognize its presence, take deep breaths to slowdown the over thinking of your mind, and come to peace with the fact that this world is working for you not against you.

It’s a feeling that’s extremely difficult to overcome and over time it may never get easier, depending on your level of anxiety, but what we can all do is overcome it by embracing it. We can take steps to defeat every unhealthy fear by focusing inwardly, and understanding that we’re only a small grain of sand within this vast universe. We have the capacity to shape and view ourselves in any light that we see fit, so why not view ourselves free from unhealthy fear? You take control of the fear when you allow it to pass through you and not linger in you. Once the fear lingers anxiety takes full control over us. It begins to marinate in our mind, slowly moving to our spirit, before consuming us entirely, and we’re left with nothing but the feeling of depression.

Creating a routine that allows you to center yourself in a balanced way is helpful when learning to embrace fear. Whether it’s through prayer, mediation, or a private moment with yourself, find a place where you feel centered, and better able to connect with yourself from within. Take the time to understand that it’s all working out for your good, whether the situation goes your way or not. Learn to embrace the fear as a learning experience so that you’re not thrown off course when faced with a similar situation in the future. It’s one of those things that easier said than done, but when it’s practiced regularly it can become a little easier to manage. The understanding is that your life in proportion to what you see internally, and to not allow the unhealthy fear to dictate you.