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.

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?

Passive helping streams

Have you heard of passive income streams? The idea with them is that you create income streams that continue to generate income from work you do once.

It’s a great strategy, one that I applied to my passion for helping people.
I have a few passive streams for helping people.
They continue to help people from one-time work.
This includes my books, blogs and other writings, as well as people I’ve advised, coached and mentored.

I hit upon the idea years back, when I posted reviews based on places I’d travelled to on Tripadvisor.
The reviews I posted there continue to help people even to this day.

I knew about passive income streams, so I wanted to emulate that principle for helping others.
And that’s what my books do.
As well as my blog posts and other writings.

And I will continue to build similar passive helping streams so that people continue to benefit from my work long after I’m gone.
That will be one of my legacies.
One of the ways in which my work will continue to make the world a bit better every day.
One of the ways I want my life to mean something, and matter, and make a positive difference.

How about you – do you have any passive helping streams?