What 2020 taught me..
6 min read
A few harsh truths that have changed my perspective of life.
Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash
I don’t have enough time for things
Try to eliminate this phrase from your life as soon as you can. There are 168 hours every week in everyone’s lives. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s a monumental amount of time. Where could it possibly go? The average person spends about 5 hours every day on leisure activities according to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of which we spend on YouTube, TV or Netflix. I don’t know about you but I don’t think my TV shows are gonna help me in any reasonable way in my life. We could spend that time creating art, reading books or exercise. The next time you say you “don’t have the time,” change your wording to say “it isn’t a priority.” No time to exercise? Your fitness isn’t a priority. No time to prepare healthy meals at home? Your health isn’t a priority. No time to do something nice for the love of your life? Your relationship isn’t a priority. It’s harsh, but it’s true. How you spend your time is a deliberate choice, so spend it wisely.
The Past can be rewritten
Have you ever made a mistake so monumental that you wish you could go back in time and do it all over again? Yup, we’ve all been there. It’s one of the perks of being human. I know you might feel immense regret, but beating yourself up about something that’s already done serves no real purpose. Shift your attention to the present, take control of the moment and move forward into a better future.
Tomorrow is guaranteed to go your way
Steve Jobs said it best, so I’m going to defer from the harsh truth:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the biggest choices in life. Because almost everything — all eternal expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what’s important. — Steve Jobs
The next time you catch yourself playing the “I will do it tomorrow” game, remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed to go your way. Traffic accidents, heart attacks, and acts of violence do happen. Live in the present and take action today, because that is where real progress happens.
Because I’m busy today, I’ll accomplish something great
If you like to brag about how great you are at multitasking like me, just stop it as soon as you can. Because you are only kidding yourself. Changing tasks without rhyme or reason and switching from one thing to another a million times a day is only going to stress you out and possibly cause you to make more mistakes. You’re not a microprocessor to do 2.5 million interrupts a second.
As a human, it’s only going to make it longer to finish each individual task than you would if you do each thing separately in sequence. If you want to save time, instead of multitasking, try grouping similar tasks together. Have a bunch of emails you need to send? Do them all at once. Have an article or essay you need to write? Get it done completely before moving on to something else. Different tasks require different mindsets, so focus on one thing and one thing only at a given moment. Being “busy” in life doesn’t guarantee that you are indeed doing something useful. It probably just means you are doing a lot of things badly.
Life will always be perfect
If you are waiting for the “right” time to do something — pursue self-employment, begin a fitness plan, dive into the dating pool, or move to a new town — you’re going to be waiting forever. There is no such thing as the “right” time to do anything. This reaction is based on your fear-of-change, plain and simple. If you keep waiting for that mysterious “perfect time to act” (please tell me, when have you ever experienced such a thing?), this means you will never actually have to take action and confront your fear. Do the scary thing. You will be so glad you took the dive.
Someone is going to fix me always
If you are waiting for some knight in shining armour to gallop into your life on a mystical horseback and heal your broken heart, you will be waiting forever. The only real person who can help yourself out of bad things is yourself. Be happy for other people in life, but do not become dependent on them for happiness unless you like to be on a never-ending emotional roller-coaster that is far beyond the realm of your control. Are you alone? No, far from it. But no is going to fix you, so it’s in your personal best interest to take responsibility for your own life. When you do that, you’ll discover you are more powerful than you ever thought was possible.
Nah, I never failed in my life
If you’re going to say something as blunt as that related to anything in your life, I can’t help you. I’m just kidding. What I mean to say is if you attempt to achieve an ambitious new goal, then it is possible that you might fail somewhere along the road while pursuing it. Welcome to reality, amigo. It’s time to change your thinking about failure. It’s not one big bad thing that everyone say it is. Failure is just a learning opportunity and nothing more. If successful people quit pursuing their goal after failing the first time they tried something new, then there would be approximately zero successful people of all time, ever. Do you know how many times I have failed? Over a thousand. The only reason I’ve managed to accomplish whatever little I have in my life is just because I’m a firm believer in continuous improvement. If you fail in something, distance yourself from the event for a day or two, because agonising over the problem will not make it go away (it will actually make you feel worse about it). Read a good book, catch up with some friends you haven’t met in a long time or go on a nature hike. You will be able to look at the issue from a new perspective. After you have done that, ask yourself: “Why didn’t this work out and how can I do better next time?” This process very well could repeat itself several times depending on the nature of your goal, but if you keep making a firm commitment to continuously improve on your mistakes, you will develop so much that the only option left out is success. Consistent hustle always wins.
P. S. To be fair, I’ve actually listed all the items that I learnt, but put up the titles to look the exact opposite.