30/07 – Spreading Positivity

So the last couple of days I’ve felt pretty happy. Which is nice, not to mention a little bit strange. I decided today to spread it around a bit more, in a couple of different ways. One of them is the simplest thing; smiling. It’s bloody addictive, let me tell you that. And it often works. I mean, it’s a bit odd seeing someone just grinning at everything, but sometimes when you meet someone’s eyes and they smile back I imagine it makes both parties that little bit more pleased than they were before.

Another isn’t really positive per se, even though it does seem to have a positive effect on relationships; it is simply talking to people more. Being interested in what they have to say, and keeping a conversation going instead of letting it lapse into silence, something I’m often guilty of, being completely happy and comfortable in silence. Apparently it unnerves some people. And by conversation I’m not talking about what often tends to happen, whereupon two people just wait their turn to speak thinking of what they want to say next, no, I’m on about actually listening and engaging with another person. Share your thoughts on what they’re going through. Give helpful advice. Most importantly, wait until they finish, pause, and be mindful. Once they feel they’ve been listened to, they’ll be happy to do the same to you.

Possibly the most outlandish thing I’ve tried is something I’m calling letters of appreciation. Fanmail, essentially, but my way of saying it sounds a bit less tragic. It’s spreading positivity to people who have imparted some feeling of happiness, inspiration, confidence, whatever positive emotion fits, to you, but would not know it. I mentioned Jon Olsson  possibly last week, so I chose him to do first. If there’s any interest I’ll post exactly what I said.

Hey, I also started a little instagram which is gonna be related to my newest pet project. It will be 100% positive, not like some of the drivel I write on here. So if being upbeat and happy is your thing, you might like it.

 

 

26/07

The past couple of days have flown by. New job contract arrived, new personal project started, new writing task started. I’ve got some photo editing software downloaded and the trusty old Canon dusted off. Won a fair few games of poker. Hell, I’ve been consistent at the gym and even cleaned the kitchen.

Which isn’t to say that my week has all been gravy. Lawnmower broke. The vacuum I wanted to buy wasn’t in stock. Somehow the memory card with a whole holidays worth of pictures on isn’t recognised by my PC OR laptop. And it’s too damn hot to think. Eh, two steps forward and one back is still a step forward. Practical, sorry, measurable stuff aside, I do feel better. I caught myself just smiling at nothing today. Just….smiling. After I caught myself, I laughed, freely, ‘cos I was happy with myself for just grinning like a fool. I wasn’t even thinking of anything exciting, I was thinking about one of the things it’ll be quite likely I have to do in my new job.

So yeah, fair to say I’m pretty excited and positive at the minute. A very pleasant and welcome change.

Oh this post doesn’t have any words of inspiration or any message behind it. I’m just trying to continue making baby steps. Keeping up the habit. I’m positive at this moment tomorrow will bring even brighter things. It is a Friday, after all. Maybe I’mma go out and spend some money. Probably touch on that in my other blog. Anyway, laters.

Followthrough

So the last post was entitled simply ‘new’ and since then no effort was really made, despite the surge at the time. Bugger. Ah well, habits are hard to form.

But. In the past month I’ve travelled round London, southern Spain, handed in my notice, been offered two jobs (only having attended one interview…200% interview success rate?) and made the earliest steps towards a new little, pet project. More on that later.

So what I’m doing now is just making the attempt to form a habit. I’ve been, for lack of a better term, inspired. By this guy, Jon Olsson. The dude was a pro skier (I love skiing), loves cars (some of these are absolute beasts), is unceasingly positive and upbeat (wish I was) and generally lives the most ridiculous, fun, carefree lifestyle I’ve ever seen. Take a look-

It would be so easy to dislike the guy, but his openness and attitude to everything he does is so refreshing it’s inspired me to put more time into my interests and pursuits, and I wholeheartedly urge anyone to get on board.

 

New

New look. Yay. Nah it’s not about that, it’s about increasing effort. I feel like I can find the inclination to put more effort into spewing more uneducated thoughts out into the world, and expanding them into something  resembling an opinion. Just about. Maybe I’ll even get myself so organised that I can think and write about current events. Christ on a bike, that would be somethin’.

I read a pretty good interview today yesterday with this guy. You can find it here, and honestly, it’s phenomenal. Actual content aside, the tone of his answers give a real sense of the character of the dude; of someone who’s been around and has fully stopped caring about the fallout that may result from what he says. He teases the stuff he knows before coming out with it anyway with a real ‘I don’t give a fuck it’s nothing to me anyway’ style. Absolutely awesome. The casual manner with which he drops facts is frankly unsettling. The implication from that is that he knows even more stuff that isn’t mentioned but just can’t be bothered to mention it. And the confidence he shows! My favourite response;

What was your greatest musical innovation?
Everything I’ve done.

And that is phenomenal. The balls to say that every single thing he’s done in the world of music has been entirely equal as well as being something he is unashamedly proud of. Fantastic. Thank you Quincy Jones.

Image result for quincy jones

Will

I had a conversation yesterday with one of my closest friends, he writes occasionally too, sparked by the famous speech from Any Given Sunday. Goes like this;

Anyway, a bit more background. We’re both a bit dissatisfied with life, for various reasons. Have been for a while. And he makes a good point about motivation. Specifically about how fleeting it can be, how quickly your mood can swing from ready to take on the world to wanting to curl up under a blanket and hide from the world. The point he made was about how useless it is to rely on a feeling, one that is as changing as the wind, to be able to be productive in your personal goals. Instead, he put to me, we should cultivate discipline. Self-discipline. Discipline to form new, productive, positive habits.

It’s accepted there’d be days where the new action (the one to make habitual, automatic) wasn’t done. Fine, everyone slips up. The thing to do was accept it, come back and make it twice as many days before the next slip up. Grow the discipline.

Anyway, I’m not saying he slipped up, but he was feeling lower and definitely less determined. So I sent him the video and said check this out, see if it does anything. So he did. And the verdict? ‘I don’t think it really applies to me.’

I took a second or two pause to think about it. Asked him what he meant. ‘I’m after self-improvement, I’m not after inches.’ Which I took another of seconds to process, because to me, it’s all about inches. Everything. Especially self-improvement.

My thought is, right, self improvement isn’t gonna come all in a lump. You’re not going to wake up one day and be the perfect image of yourself, it’s just not going to happen like that. It’s a chain of constant, incessant steps taken. It’s  going to bed thinking I’ve done well today. Tomorrow I’m going to do this just a little better. Tomorrow I’ll do this faster. Tomorrow I’ll have learnt this. This is the discipline coming in, the discipline to keep strong, to say to yourself that you don’t have a choice. This must be done.

Power

So. It’s been a little while since I added anything. and on a quick glance, the last addition was pretty positive and upbeat for me, an amateur melodramatic. Even I can spot my head’s up my ass.

I’ve picked power as a title for little reason other that I felt completely powerless a couple hours ago. I was low. Yup, just got denied a mortgage, then when looking into why, find a defaulted debt that was unknown previously. Regardless of whose fault it is, or the amount, it effectively ruins mine and my partner’s chances of getting a decent mortgage. So far as I know, it could stop us getting one for a reasonable chunk of time. It stops our plans to be in a new home, which we love, before Christmas. It knocks all of the careful furniture and layout planning out of whack. It means I have extra stress trying to fix this, which means I likely won’t be pursuing any hobbies for a while. It puts a downer on us just before our time off work. It ties me into the job I intensely dislike for a bit longer. It robs us of almost all the high we had going from being so close to getting a house that was bigger and better than any we’d hoped to get. So yeah, low.

And what got me thinking was how little I can do, at this point, to remedy this situation. I can appeal that we didn’t get the deal we wanted, but having a very poor credit report basically means that hah, can’t have it. Settling the amount, no matter if it is actually owed by me, or is in dispute, or whatever, has no effect for at least 6 weeks since on paper it’s my default, my liability. All I can do is wait, see and hope.

Yes, I had a sulk. I went for a run and got that little endorphin rush to try and help. I spoke to the mortgage advisor, spoke to my partner, spoke to my dad, was comforted by my mother, sorted out what I needed to do, what I could do, did it, then carried on with life.

Yeah, this is a pretty big setback. One of the biggest I’ve had. But I’m almost used to them now, right? I messed up my A-levels. Had to repeat a year at Uni. Flunked out. Got given the leave-or-you-will-be-sacked ultimatum. Moved the length of the country. Kept going with a job I hate. Now I’ve been refused a mortgage. Setbacks-r-us.

To date, I have cracked on each time, and that is exactly what will happen now. I’ve had my sulk. I’ve gotten a bit angry. I’ve let it pass. And now, yeah I’m still burnt up a little bit, but mentally I’ve grit my teeth, rolled my shoulders, and will be pressing on. I’ve done what I can for now, and I have a plan for what comes next. I know what I want out of it, and, more or less, how to get that. This is within my power to do.

I’m not entirely sure it’s failure that defines us. I think it’s more about mental fortitude surrounding our failures. You could take a hit and give up. You could take a hit and not notice it. Hell, you could alternate between giving up, soldiering on, and drinking the pain away. Whatever. If you can recognise that you are wholly capable of taking each beating and overcoming it, then you have such power, that in your own mind, you can move mountains. Keep battling it. Do what you can. Gain control, and use it as a foothold to gain more.

So yeah, that’s what I did tonight. I took a hit. Had my sulk, had my cry, got angry. And now I’ve rolled my sleeves up and will move forward, whatever comes next.

17 Oct Progress Report

That shit sounds official as hell. Complete opposite of me, which is alright, I know I’m not ever going to end up as some stuck up, starched collar CEO running around the big money districts of the world. Couldn’t stand it. The money that would come with it, sure, but not the job itself. Or the dedication and slack morals needed to get there.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction though. For me, anyway. This last week or so I’ve mostly maintained a positive mindset. I might not have achieved anything, but I enjoyed myself for most of the time I wasn’t working. Which is a step forward.

I’ve even started to changed my stock responses to the constant question of ‘How is work?’, which I get asked more than once a day, by people who in the past have had responses on the theme of ‘shit’, ‘awful’, and, sometimes, ‘apocalyptic’. Which might be a slight exaggeration. The stock response now is; ‘it’s a fantastic opportunity’, which, in a way, it is. It gives me an adequate amount of time to exercise, to write, to think. I have enough money that I can go out to eat with my partner, or friends. I can buy some drinks, or a game, or (god-help-me) some shoes, without really thinking about it. Staying there long enough would even likely lead to more raises.

I love the above as an example of the effects of small positive changes. Just by changing the way I respond to a question that is asked often, makes me think of it slightly differently. Possibly not enough to completely change my dislike of it, but instead of abject hatred, the emotion I feel towards it right now, is more of a…a tolerance. Yes I don’t enjoy it, but for now, it’s enough of an opportunity to sit back and put some work into hobbies and possible futures. It’s enough.

But I don’t want to confuse tolerance with laying down and simply accepting this as my lot. No. Never could I do that. Instead, the effect (overall, not that single positive change) on me has been a little more palpable. I’m eating better, exercising better. Talking more. Thinking better. I have more drive to sit for an hour and write. I think I’m more relaxed. Slightly.

My concern at the minute is keeping this up. Every day at some point I go for a walk and think about what I’ve just been doing and what I need to do. Then I move on to what I want to do. Then to an almost daydream where I’m already doing what I want to do. It always ends with what I like to call a ‘fuck you’ smile. It doesn’t exactly reach the eyes and is otherwise the same as any other pleasant smile, but the way it feels in my head, is like a teeth-clenched, manic glee where I’m daring the world to get in my way. I will achieve what I damn well want to achieve and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

Back to work.