I have genuinely got up every day for the last 10 days with a different outlook on things. I struggle to get up midweek mornings normally, especially Mondays, I usually snooze for at least an hour, but have been happily getting up every morning bright and early! I knew my target for each day was to be as positive as I could, regardless of how I felt inside and to try and pass a bit of it on wherever I could.
Since the initial self-doubt started to fade away and I could feel it working, I can honestly say it has become one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I have loved every minute of this week for so many different reasons and I certainly feel a whole lot better about life than I ever usually do on a grey week in early January. Hopefully I managed to do what I set out to and have spread a bit of that among some of you too.
I think it was because it’s been on my own terms, my goal was to be positive and productive in everything, rather than just dragging my arse out of bed and going through the motions. But the truth is, everything we do is on our own terms, maybe if we can make positivity a priority more, then perhaps we can wake up with a zest for life a bit more often.
Thank you so much to everyone who has liked, commented, shared, discussed, read the blog, forwarded things to me and for your amazing messages of support for what I’ve been up to. And thanks to all the amazing people I have met along the way! You have made this 10 days something that I know will genuinely change my outlook on things long term. Maybe not all at once, but I can already feel a difference. My foot and leg have been yelling all week since my run on Monday morning. I clearly thought I was bobby big bollocks (I don’t know where that phrase came from or how big bobby’s big bollocks actually are) but clearly I didn’t work myself into fitness gently and was limping for a few days. Having said that it hasn’t slowed me down as it once might have and I haven’t moaned (much). I completely soaked my foot the other morning while loading my car up and was already running behind schedule, something which would have usually resulted in me feeling annoyed and negative or swearing at the world; instead, I laughed. I didn’t force it, I didn’t have to stop and breathe or count to ten, I just giggled, walked inside, changed my shoes and socks and left. On Thursday, my car started chugging a bit and the engine warning light came on, pretty sure it’s on it’s death bed. That would normally have set me on a negative path, worrying about how much it will cost to fix it or how will I get around. But I just didn’t feel that way. I know these things might seem insignificant to some of you, but these are the sorts of things that would add up and eventually make me feel like the world was against me. If I am conquering these small hurdles with positivity already then I know that overall my state of mind will improve!
While I’m saying thanks to people I need to mention Simon G. This was his original concept, I just grabbed hold of it with both hands because I thought it was awesome and believed it could work. Simon looks after people, it’s what he has always done for as long as I’ve known him. He also knows exactly who he is and how to be honest with the world about it. If we could all be a bit more like Simon then the world would be a better place.
Even though she is terrible at taking credit for all of her incredible attributes I also want to say a special thank you to my gorgeous Anna. She helps me remember everything’s always OK and keeps me from floating off into obscurity or sinking down into the abyss. When I started the week unsure if I should be sharing it with everyone and if it was OK to be as honest with my feelings like this, she reminded me why I was doing it and that it’s alright to show vulnerability sometimes. This 10 days has been as much for my personal improvement as a partner as it has about trying to be a better part of the human race.
So a few positive pledges for the future:-
Make a mix out of those awesome songs people were posting on my wall yesterday, I was so chuffed at how many got posted and how great they all were! Be nice to have them all together so I’ll get to it.
Finishing my online course on gravity which I started over Christmas. It’s free and it’s fascinating. There’s tons of other free courses on there too which you can just do in your own time. Have a look!
Continue with volunteering. I’ll be helping with Film at The Folk Hall on a monthly basis and looking after the Facebook page so keep an eye out and come along if you fancy any of the films! I will also be hoping to work more with any Joseph Rowntree opportunities that come up and I will be sure to keep you posted on those too!
I am going on a coaching course next week to discuss opportunities at work where coaching might help me navigate my career with some support or help me to do the same for someone else.
Reading more! I had just started Stephen Hawkings ‘Brief History of Time’ and need to get back into it. I’ve been rubbish at reading since I left school, mostly because by the time I switch the TV off every day I am almost asleep! It’s never too late though, to push yourself, feed your brain, learn something new that excites you!
While I’m on about reading – I was blown away by an awesome little invention I heard about. It’s like an add-on app that works with kindle type programs and it allows you to choose the speed you are capable of reading at. It takes our eyes longer to cross a page and build the words in our brains than it does to actually comprehend them if they are fired directly at our centre of vision. It means that, with a bit of practice, some people are capable of reading over 4 times the speed of conventional book reading which is about 220 words a minute, and with less eye fatigue. Try it HERE. I can comfortably read at 500 words a minute and uncomfortably do 600, and that’s without practice. How awesome is that? Technology giving us the ability to be more efficient at learning and improving ourselves!
So in a time when we are more connected, intelligent and provided for than ever before, why is ‘bad still stronger than good?’ Why does the human condition see us leaning, more often, towards the glass being half empty? Not for all of us, but a vast majority lean toward the negative. There’s loads of studies and information on Negativity Bias available and it does kind of make sense. We are pre-programmed through evolution to assess risk, and there is a higher risk of harm to us if we don’t respond properly to most negative events, than there is if we don’t respond to positive ones. It seems that we worry and look on the dark side in order to protect ourselves. Perhaps understanding that and taking ownership of it could help us to overcome the fact that those same ‘protective’ emotions can also be harmful to our mental well-being.
I don’t believe we can choose our thoughts and feelings, I think they happen to us subconsciously based on our experiences in life, which is why I believe telling someone who is down to cheer up or telling me to stop over thinking things just doesn’t make sense. I am, therefore I think. But I do know our actions can be chosen and this week I have chosen to take positive action towards the world around me to counter the negative thoughts which normally get me this time of year. I can promise you, it has worked. My week has gone quickly but I feel like I have squeezed the opportunity out of every last minute. It’s left me with a buzz and a renewed sense of gratitude to life that I will always remember when my brain starts looking towards the gloom. Check out THIS TED talk on gratitude.
Someone posted a video clip a few months back showing a man trying to explain why we can become weary of the world as opposed to living in the moment, and it hit home. It stated that because we spend so much of the day either consciously or subconsciously worrying about things in our future or regretting the things from our past, we spend very little time focussing on the moment we are living in and enjoying it or using it to better ourselves. He asks why children have so much energy and enthusiasm for life in comparison to adults? We are far bigger, more powerful, intelligent and creative, yet we have lost our zest for the world and our excitement for the moment. He believes because they have yet to learn regret and worry, children simply find enjoyment in living for the now. I like this idea. Because I feel like it’s something I can practice and train myself to improve on. Starting from now!
Care to join me? I’m not going to ask people to do their own 10 days; that was more something I felt I needed to do for me. I’m also not saying that I assume people aren’t positive, I know so many of you are! I’m just saying, let’s go above and beyond and take people by surprise, let’s let our guard down and be honest about how we feel, good or bad, then let people cross that threshold between our online or projected personality and who we really are and aspire to be. We all need each other to make our journey more fulfilling and exciting, so let’s be there for each other with bells on. It might have been small but I know I’ve made a positive difference on my world and if we all did that as often as we could, how awesome could life be?
Just believe in yourself!