Happy New Year 🎆! Finally 2021 has come - and I really hope it’ll be a better one for all of us!
Personally, I didn’t find 2020 too bad. Of course Covid-19 was (and still is) terrible, but I’m lucky to be based in Singapore where strict measures had been taken to ensure that the country was safe :) The great thing was, most of my loved ones were basically stuck with me too, so it was nice knowing that my family was safe altogether!
The introverted side of me actually really enjoyed staying home because I was just SO efficient and effective! I even learnt new working techniques from reading ‘Deep Work
’, which I could probably only ever employ at home because office would be too distracting with awesome colleagues and meetings galore!
I also took some time to do my annual review and wanted to share my top lessons learned for the year - they may sound cliche but these are just what I’ve gained from my experiences:
1) Be intentional with everything you do - your time, thoughts and actions.
Why are you doing something? Are you doing it for the sake of doing it? Make sure you’re doing stuff that fills your life with purpose and meaning.
2) No one gives a shit about what you do. You do you. Who cares what others say?
Really, most people only care about themselves. I hear a lot of folks say that they are scared to hit the gym because they feel intimidated. While I can empathize with the feeling, as a regular gym go-er I can also tell you that no one is caring about what you’re doing in the gym. They are either busy working out or listening to music. Trust me, with the amount of grunting and squealing noises I have made in the gym - you’d think people would stare but really, I PROMISE YOU. No one gives a damn. Luckily, this applies to other life scenarios too. I guess it’s a good thing that humans are generally a selfish, narcissistic lot? 🙊
3) Life is short - We’re making a dying, not a living. Do what you want to do without having any regrets!
I hope everyone is in pursuit (or are developing skills) to ensure they are primed to do something they enjoy for life. I’m expecting to live for another 50 years or so - with 1/3rd of that taken away for sleep and the other 1/3rd taken away by work (current economic engine) - we really should try to find things / people in life that keep us happy and fulfilled in that last 8 hours we have to ourselves. There really isn’t any time to waste.
4) We don’t know what people are going through - be kinder to everyone, even if they piss you off (but it’s hard honestly). Check in with people you love, you really don’t know what’s in their head.
I’m generally a nice and pleasant person (I HOPE, I THINK?) and some days, you just end up meeting folks who snap at you and are incredibly grumpy. I’m also the sort of person who gets quick to anger IF the behavior from them is unwarranted - but now I try my best to just be calm and not let it bother me. Maybe I’ve heard several cases of suicides happening over the years that have deeply affected friends of mine - and it’s really sad to see so many folks in the world feeling so sad and lonely, especially if they feel that no one understands and that there is no way out. So, always be nice to people (even if it’s hard!) Always let them know that they are loved.
5) Be Present. Don’t let the past or future consume your mind. Cross the bridge when you get to it.
I wrote about ‘being present
’ in one of my previous newsletters - and this is one of the lessons that I have taken most seriously to heart this year:
I hate being taken by surprise.
However, in my case I’ve been over preparing for everything - to the point where it becomes detrimental to myself and I’m unable to take a step forward. Thoughts of preparing for the unknown future cloud my mind, and these stem from the fear of failure and the fear of surprise.
Since I’ve been made aware of this, I’m starting to learn how to embrace the fear. I’m understanding and accepting that I’m not able to control every single thing in my life. I can prepare as much as possible, but most of the time, something will inevitably goes wrong - but that’s just life right? I’ve just gotta deal with it as it comes! I’ve already done the best I could, so no regrets!
Teachings of Stoicism emphasises the fact that the path to happiness is accepting the present moment as it is.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
So instead of constantly worrying and over preparing for the future, I’m going to be more mindful to enjoy the journey and be present. I have a feeling this will help me become less tired as well!
What were some of the lessons you learned from 2020? Please share them with me - I’d really be curious to know :)
Till next week!