gratitude days

I’ve started a new rule about my productivity

Or more the lack of productivity during certain days

If by 5 PM, I feel as if I’ve “wasted” the day, then instead if forcing the day to be a productive day, I call it a gratitude day

A day where I reflect on my life

A day where I can relax and just be at-peace with my lack of productivity

A day where I can be grateful for what I have

Today is Sunday and I did quite literally nothing

But I am grateful that I exist and I am grateful that I am still here, able to do nothing

Life is a Grocery Store

I’ve been having some life dilemmas recently

Regarding my education, career path, vocation, existentialism…

and I talked to a professor at Villanova today who is the head of the Honors department and he gave me this great analogy:

A lot of people think of life as a sprint. But life isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.

And then after you realize life is a marathon, you then realize again that life is actually a grocery store.

A lot of people can see the finish line in a marathon. They know where to go. They know that it will take a long time. But the path is predestined. I want this job. I’ll get married at 28. I’ll have kids by 30. Be a millionaire by 35 and retire early at 50. I’ll travel the world, go volunteer, do work for the government, or a bank, or a non-profit.

Life isn’t a sprint. And it’s not a marathon.

Actually, life is more like a grocery store.

There are many aisles. And you are perusing, checking out items, meticulously (and sometimes non-meticulously) putting items into your cart. And sometimes you’ll get random items in your basket and you’ll have no idea how it got there. Maybe a kid put it in. Maybe YOUR kid put it in. Maybe it just fell in from a shelf. All the different items at the grocery store are unique and sometimes your cart will be full of items that you weren’t planning on getting.

Even more so, you might end up at the checkout and decide you didn’t want that pasta or cereal anymore.

Sometimes you’ll be 20 years into your career and realize you want to be a Buddhist monk instead of a banker.

I think the most important thing this professor told me though, was that I should call myself a seeker.

Life isn’t black and white. There is no right or wrong. No simple Yes or No answer to the dilemmas of vocation and purpose that I’ve been having.

Because yes, some of us will be Buddhist monks, and some of us will work for a big bank, and maybe I’ll be the one in the middle ground and be a Buddhist Banker.

Get there

What’s more difficult: getting to the gym, or actually working out at the gym?

Or getting into the shower, vs. actually showering?

Getting into bed vs. sleeping?

A lot of the times, the most difficult thing is the initial hurdle.

It happens way more often in life than we think.

That hurdle is sneakily in every aspect of our life:

  • Getting to the library to study
  • Writing a new blog post
  • Starting any new habit
  • Starting a new project
  • Starting a new book

The common theme is starting

The start is always the most difficult because we see this giant hurdle right at the front of the gate and fear that we can’t make it.

Although I don’t know of any scientific research that proves this hurdle exists, I believe that even just realizing that the hurdle exists is part of the many steps we take to prepare ourselves to jump it.

I have this huge hurdle in front of my new project to start creating podcasts and YouTube content. It’s a big hurdle. So I suppose I should start stretching my hips. This hurdle is a big one, but I plan to jump it.

 

Quick thought on influence

Thought: How often do you tell the people who have influenced you the most that they were a meaningful part of your development as a person?

Rarely, if at all. Maybe you just can’t reach them, or you just decide not to.

Either way, we don’t tell our influencers that they influenced us.

Even just telling your friends, family, that you appreciate them is not a common thing for us to do.

Gratitude is rare.

Now, think about how many people YOU have personally positively affected… And how many of those people have chosen NOT to tell you. Probably most of them. Maybe they can’t reach you or have chosen to stay silent. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t being a positive vibe.

This thought drives me to continue being the best version of myself, both knowingly and unknowingly positively influencing others on the way.

The best and ONLY thing we should do is continue striving for greatness–however you define that term. Good Luck.

 

Balance

Does balance exist?  

We all know someone who is getting perfect grades, competing in a team sport, volunteering for the local animal shelter, plays the violin, and writes a food blog. 

But a part of me thinks that this type of person has to be sacrificing something, right? 

You’ve probably seen the 4 pillars of life before: physical health, social health, mental/creative health, and emotional/spiritual health. 

Physical health includes exercise, diet, and sleep. What measures do you do to take care of your physical body?

Social health is how well you manage your relationships and ability to have meaningful social interactions.

Mental/Creative health considers how you satiate your “creative” side. Maybe you write poetry, play an instrument, or perform theater; either way, we all need some type of outlet.

Emotional/Spiritual Health is, in a general sense, how you take care of your “soul.” Are you emotionally stable? Are you in tune with your mind and body? Religions often see this as a type of spiritual health.

I’d have to imagine that all 4 of these pillars are equally important in their own right. I can also see how there may be debates for each pillar as being more important than the rest, depending on the type of lifestyle you live. Perhaps a professional athlete at their prime would rank physical health over anything else, while professional theater performers might willingly (or unwillingly) have to sacrifice social relationships and physical health to achieve mastery in their profession.

My question is: is there a way to perfect balance all 4?

Is there really some way for all of us to get 8 hours of sleep while exercising 3-4x a week, have healthy relationships with their family and friends (and potential significant other), write poetry and play an instrument, emotionally stable and emotionally intelligent and meditates + practice mindfulness?

I can confidently say that I have maybe 2 pillars down, maybe 2.5.

For me, at least, this idea of balance is something I want to achieve. It seems like an ideal lifestyle for me, because I see the merit in dedicating effort to fulfilling each pillar. I see that each pillar can contribute to my overall lifestyle and happiness.

But the real question not just for me but the world in general is: do you seek this type of balance?

Or is a “balanced” life really a myth? The myth of balance is that the most successful people in their field are those who sacrificed balance to instead focus on specialization; they are the best in their field because they sacrificed the opportunity to be good at other things in life.

To be successful, do we have to sacrifice one or even several of these integral life pillars?