Self care isn’t selfish

Self care isn’t a fad, it’s a necessary habit.
It’s a mindset that will help you to do more not just for yourself, but for others too.
Often self care is thought is as a selfish attitude.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Looking after yourself does not make you a selfish person.
It makes you a smart person.
Because unless you look after yourself, you can’t look after others, not for long anyway.
Take care of yourself first.
Your wellbeing is important.

What can you do better?

There’s always room for improvement.
No matter how good you are, there are always ways you can improve.
No matter how well you do something, there’s always the potential to do better.
No matter how well you deal with challenges, there’s always the possibility to deal with them better.
It’s just the nature of growth – life is always expanding.
It is ever growing, and ever changing.
If you want to be the best, you need to find ways to keep getting better.
You need to find ways to keep growing.
You need to find ways to keep improving.
Because the alternative is becoming stagnant, outmoded, outdated, and even irrelevant.
Growth is an essential (and usually unavoidable) part of life.
So keep growing.

What to do if you want the best results

Your results are directly proportional to your efforts.
What you get is always going to be a reflection of what you put in.
So if you put in your best effort, you are best positioned to get the best results.
Conversely, if you put in just the bare minimum effort, you’ll get the bare minimum results.
The rule is nearly always universal:
Good effort in, good results out.
Bad efforts in, bad results out.
So if you want to be in a position to get the best results, the best outcome, you know what to do…
Do your best to get the best results.

What is the point of life?

What is the point of life?
Self awareness and fulfillment?
Taking care of ourselves?
But they can’t be the point of life, and I will elaborate why below.
Self care, self love, self awareness, etc are all important because at the end of the day if you don’t take care of yourself you will be of no good to anyone.
But that can’t be, and is not, the end goal. Because if all we did was take care of ourselves, made ourselves happy and then died when our time was up – it would be a very meaningless existence.
For everyone else, it would be as if the person never existed.
No, I believe our existence far precedes our own needs and wants.
Our existence is about making a difference.
A life spent in pursuit of only one’s own happiness doesn’t lead to a life of meaning, a life spent in the pursuit of making a difference does.
Steve Jobs’ quote about making a dent in the universe is one of my favourite quotes.
We are all here to make a dent in the universe.
Some will make bigger dents than others, and that’s ok.
The point isn’t about who makes a bigger dent, but rather about making a dent, a difference.
How we do that is up to us.
Making a difference is what makes humans such an incredible race.
It is what makes the world such a great place.
It is what makes life worthwhile, and worth living.
Make your dent in the universe.

Are external factors defining who you are?

It is really easy to let external factors define who we are.
Especially the traumatic ones.
I know, I’ve been there…

There will always be things in our lives that impact us negatively.
Some of them a lot.
And it can be really easy to become bitter or sad and live your life like that.

But here’s the important thing to understand: these external factors, especially the negative ones, they can only define us if we let them.
That’s the key to it.

No one has a perfect life.
Everyone has challenges – some big, some small.
But we all have a choice in how the challenges (and bad experiences) impact us: we can let them define who we are, or we can make a conscious decision about who we are.

We do have a choice.
But only if we exercise it.

Exercise your ability to choose for yourself.
Don’t let external factors define who you are.

Think before you speak

There’s a time and a place to speak up and voice your opinions.
And times when it’s better to keep your mouth shut.
This was a lesson I learned the hard way pretty early on…
I’m a pragmatist.
As important as it is to be honest, authentic and truthful, there will always be times when the benefits of voicing your opinions don’t outweigh the costs.
Times when voicing your opinions cause more harm than good.
Times when voicing your opinion causes more confusion than clarity.
Times when voicing your opinion does no one any good.
There is a time and place for everything, especially your opinions.
Otherwise, everyone would be going around blurting out whatever came to their find.
Filters are necessary.
You have to be smart.
That includes knowing when to voice your opinion, and knowing when not to.
Think before you speak.

Using pain and pleasure to form habits

Achieving something regularly, especially when it comes to building a new habit, involves motivation. Motivating yourself daily can be hard – life gets in the way, things stop being quite as interesting, you lose the initial zeal, and so on… But there are ways to ensure that you stick to the habit, which is where the principle of carrots and sticks come in.
Carrots are rewards/pleasure.
Sticks are penalties/pain.
Your motivation can be boosted by adding rewards and penalties (especially the latter, as the fear of losing something is a greater motivator than the pleasure of gaining something).
For instance, if you want to create a daily workout habit, the reward can be having a (reasonable) portion of your favourite ice cream at the end of the week, if you stick to your workout plan for the whole week. But that alone might not be enough to make you stick to the habit. So to make it even more effective, you then add on penalties, like: paying £1-10 (or more) for any day you miss your workout. Make the amount something that will actually make you feel the pinch.
The combination of pain and pleasure, I’ve found, is the most effective way to create and stick to regular/daily goals, namely goals like building a daily habit.
You need both carrots (pleasure) and sticks (pain).
What habit do you really want to form?
What rewards and penalties will motivate you to stick to them on a daily basis?

Are you living your life, or too busy trying to make life happen?

One absolute truth about life is the fact that everything in life is temporary.
Nothing lasts forever.
Be it people.
Or things.
Or experiences.

People come and go. Some stay longer than others. But no one will be there forever – be it because some people are just not meant to be there with you for the long haul, or because life sometimes gets in the way, or because death comes for all of us…

Things aren’t everlasting – they are not permanent. Some things perish, others lose utility, while some get lost somehow.

Experiences fade. With time some experiences disappear while others fade, and some just get replaced while others are blocked and forgotten.

The point is, nothing in life is forever.
So it’s important to make the most of what you have right now.

People – Live fully with the good people in your life. Fully enjoy the time you have with them because you never know how much time you have with them.
Things – Make the most of the things you have. Get the most out of them so that eventually when they aren’t there you won’t have any regrets (e.g. don’t just buy things if you aren’t going to use them or enjoy them).
Experiences – Embrace the experiences you have (and seek out). Fully enjoy the good ones, and learn from the not-so-good ones.

It can be challenging, to pay attention to things now because we get distracted, and life gets in the way. But that is what often leads to regrets.
It’s not hard though. Being present in the moment – being mindful – is a great place to start.

Live your life, rather than spending all your time and energy on trying to make life happen.
Nothing in life is permanent, so it is important to make the most of what you have while you can.

Are you mindful of the people, things, and experiences in your life?
Are you living your life, or too busy trying to make life happen?

Why traveling is good for you

I love to travel.
The new destinations, new cultures, new food… all that new and interesting to explore is interesting, exciting, and fun.

But travel isn’t just good for for the novelty and the excitement, it’s also good for your mind.

The novel experiences that you gain from reveling create new neural connections in your brain.
That, in turn, promotes the brain’s neuroplasticity and helps it stay strong, and grow.
This is essential if you want to have a healthy brain as you grow older.
Great also for reducing the probability of suffering from neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.

The stimulation is also good for promoting mental strength.
Part of traveling involves dealing with unforeseen circumstances, often challenging ones.
Dealing with them teaches you to be more resilient and strong.

It is also great for your self esteem, and confidence.
And for self awareness.

Travel can help you become more mindful, which can help you become happier.
It can help you become more open minded, through the new experiences you have.

It can also help you become more considerate, compassionate, and kind.

There are lots of good reasons to travel.
What’s yours?

A simple way to figure out your risk apettite

Here is a key rule of investing – understand your risk appetite.
Not sure how to do that?
Try the exercise below.

Imagine you’ve invested 1000 into the thing.
Now imagine it has lost value.
How do you feel?
Do you feel like this will give you sleepless nights, or are you still calm?
Now imagine you’ve lost it – how does that make you feel? Can you move on easily, or will it cause you sleepless nights (and regrets) for days, weeks, and months to come?

Now go through the same steps with the amount of money you were considering investing.

If peace of mind is more important to you, then generally you would do better with safer investment approaches.
But if you are someone who is willing to take risks, and will not lose sleep over it even when it goes down or you lose the investment, then riskier strategies will be your thing.

But whatever your risk appetite, never invest more than you can afford to lose. Even if you have nerves of steel and can mentally deal with the riskiest strategies, it’s still not a smart idea to invest money losing which can risk your livelihood.

I learned this the hard way, so learn from my mistakes.
Think about your risk appetite before you invest.
And don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose, especially in riskier investments.