I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus as I organize material to really kick off this blog the proper way. Coming back atcha soon! Stay tuned!
“Take risks and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.” -Bobby Flay
Being afraid to fail means being afraid to live.
I was listening to a Chase Jarvis interview with mountain guide Melissa Arnot Reid and this message is what stood out to me the most. Generally I believe I do a pretty good job of ignoring fear and doing what I want to do, but I would be lying if I said that is always the case.
This blog, for example, is one of those things. Did I start it? Yes. But am I doing everything I possibly can with it? No. And why is that? I’m afraid. I’m afraid I won’t connect. I’m afraid I’ll be ignored. I’m afraid of not being good enough, or interesting enough, or whatever word can fill in the blank enough. And that’s so lame.
Everyone has something to offer the world in a positive light. I truly believe that. Every. Single. One. But knowledge doesn’t always equals action, especially when it comes to our own actions. Is it just me or are we more inclined to believe in other people than to believe in ourselves? If someone tells me they want to do something, I’m their biggest cheerleader. If you tell me your plan, I will immediately say, “Yes, do it. You’re going to do it.” But when I flip the conversation around to myself, the voice is a little quieter. The doubt comes in and even though I know I can do whatever I set my mind to, there is always always ALWAYS a part of me that’s like, “Are you sure you wanna try that? Because here’s a million reasons to not. You’re welcome.”
And how unfair is that? So I’m using today to be better. Our growth is a process, one that never (and should never) end. And it’s not a straight line up. It’s jagged and wonky. But straight lines are boring anyway. I accept my fear of failing but that doesn’t mean I welcome it. Although fear is natural, it should not be controlling. And if I believe this, which I so wholeheartedly do, I must practice it. Make today awesome, whatever way you can, and I promise to being doing the same.
Dear 27-year-old me,
What a year huh? It started in Ireland, one of my favorite places in the world. Little did I know where I would be one year from then, living in my dream state of Colorado, with a whole lot of adventure in between. As I reflect on the year that has past, I can’t help but focus on everything I have learned at 27. I drove into the mountains yesterday and with miles and miles of beautiful landscape in front of me, I parked my car and made a list. Here’s what I came up with:
- If it’s not working, change it. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned this year. I planned to study in Poland for an entire year. I have never left any sort of travels or living abroad early, so the decision to leave didn’t come naturally. I had to tell myself that there was nothing keeping me here, I can do whatever I want. After a few months of not feeling like myself, it was a no-brainer. Just leave. Go where your subconscious is telling you to go.
- The same could be said about the decision to go to Poland. There was no reason for me NOT to try. I’m proud of my decision to go and to come home.
- If it’s not working, change it: the relationship edition. If we are not on the same page, adios!
- Fear is something you create in your mind. Usually when I’m afraid, I just tell myself I’m not afraid. It’s a complete lie and I know that but somehow it works. I was forced out of my comfort zone more times than I can count this year and I’m very thankful for that. The practice of looking fear in the face is one of the greatest ways to achieve growth.
- I do not need the approval of others to make myself feel good. Getting the approval of others would undoubtedly make me feel, well, not good. I am strong and damn good on my own and I do not need anyone’s permission to live the way I want to live. PERIOD.
- When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind. This comes from the book Wonder and it is some of the best advice I’ve ever received from a work of fiction. This year I found myself putting it into practice as much as possible. With the world in the state that it’s in (and has been and probably always will be) I find this sentiment more important now than ever. It’s not always easy and sometimes I fail but the point is to do the best you can with good intentions.
- No one cares. Just do what you want because everyone’s so busy worrying about themselves that they don’t really care about you. Sounds harsh and sure people care about the health of their friends and family but does anyone actually care that I moved to Colorado with no job prospects or a place of my own? NO. (Except my mom. Sorry mom.)
27 was a great year. One of my favorites. I have really enjoyed the development that each year of my 20’s has given me and I’m seriously looking forward to what 28 has to offer. I’m going to miss you, 27, but you helped me get to 28 and for that I am eternally grateful.
All the love in the world,
Tomorrow is May 1st, my birthday month, and a time to reflect on the past year and what to look forward to for the next. To kick it off, I’ve made a list of the best books I’ve read so far in 2018. I’ve also put my complete list at the bottom because I haven’t read a bad book yet and I wouldn’t turn someone away from reading any of them.
So, in no particular order:
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
I didn’t know when I picked up this book that I would be laughing out loud from start to finish. I was expecting more of a Wild vibe, but Bryson’s witty commentary on his adventures along the Appalachian Trail left me cracking up and wanting more. A real treat, I look forward to discovering more of Bill’s work in the future.
2. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
A haunting true story of a child soldier. Throughout the entire read, I was wondering how he survived it all and came out on the other end a caring and kind individual. Not for the faint of heart, this book is an eye-opening account of the reality that too many have had to face in Sierra Leone and elsewhere.
3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
I’ve always had a curiosity about outer space that I seldom follow because it always seemed out of my league. But this book made learning about the Universe accessible in a concise and riveting way. I also loved how Tyson gets philosophical and I wasn’t expecting this book to touch me in the capacity that it has. I will be rereading this at some point in the future.
4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I am not much of fiction reader these days but this book pulled me in from the very start. I don’t play video games and I have no idea what even made me choose this book but I’m so happy I did. Set in 2045, this tale follows teenage Wade Watts as he takes on a challenge much bigger than he bargained for. If you’re looking for an adventure-packed, thrilling work of fiction, I highly recommend it.
5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
I don’t know how it took me this long to pick up Frankl’s masterpiece, but better late than never. This should be required reading for all of humankind. Frankl describes his survival through concentration camps but with a heavy emphasis on psychology and what one needs mentally to survive unsurvivable conditions. Seriously, if there’s one book you read all year, make it this one.
And here is my complete list:
The Year of Magical Thinking- Joan Didion
Talking as Fast as I Can- Lauren Graham
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do- Amy Morin
A Walk in the Woods- Bill Bryson
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen- JK Rowling
A Long Way Gone- Ishmael Beah
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry- Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Ready Player One- Ernest Cline
Tribe of Mentors- Tim Ferriss
In Cold Blood- Truman Capote
The Undoing Project- Michael Lewis
Song of Solomon- Toni Morrison
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe- CS Lewis
The Rules Do Not Apply- Ariel Levy
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind- Yuval Noah Harari
Prince Caspian- CS Lewis
Man’s Search for Meaning- Viktor Frankl
“Clarity comes with action.”
If you listened to the interview I posted yesterday, you heard these words spoken by Jeff Goins. So often in our lives, we are undecided. I know from personal experience and my current situation that it is easy to allow indecision to dictate our lives. And we stand still for a thousand reasons. “That would be awesome but I could never do it.” How many times have you said something like that to yourself? I think it crosses my mind daily. There are goals that seem impossible; someone else achieved them but that person is special, different.
But how do we know? How do we know we can’t achieve something if we aren’t even willing to see for ourselves? I believe the idea of failure is worse than the actual failure itself. The idea of being told no can be paralyzing. Our brains are trying to protect us from disappointment because disappointment is hard to feel. And yet, every time I’ve been told no, the sun has still come up to greet me the next day. A life without disappointment means a life without really trying anything.
The only way to know what we can and cannot do is to act. And the only way to know we don’t like something is to try it. We don’t get clarity by wondering, sitting comfortably in our fear-averse lives, counting ourselves out from the get-go. We only get clarity by acting on that thing we have always wanted to do. So in what part of your life do you need clarity? I promise you that you can find it if you seek it.
If you know me well enough, you know that I am a huge fan of podcasts. They offer insight, advice, information on anything and everything out there, and are often times a motivator for me to get myself together and to help quell the fears of not having it figured out (whatever “it” is).
I listened to this interview with Jeff Goins for the second time yesterday (the first was on a tram in Warsaw in November and I promptly told a friend to listen to it- I HAD to share). It really hits me hard every time I listen to it and gave me a renewed sense of power.
Hearing Jeff’s story, the highs and lows, and ultimately the power of repetition that he garnered, reminded me that consistency is key, the “secret” to success. If you want a good conversation and need some motivation, I highly recommend this episode. I will be posting other conversations that I find highly valuable in the future in hopes that one of them will help someone else too.
Also available in iTunes. Here is the YouTube version:
Within you stands a mountain. At the top of the mountain stands the best version of yourself, fists raised to the sky in triumph, tears of pride streaming down your face. It’s easy to believe that the climb is the most terrifying part of the journey. But really it’s that moment right before the first step. When only the unknown lays ahead, and your brain is yelling at you, screaming, “Don’t do it, you could die!” But the heart whispers, “But you’re going to die just standing here.” And somehow the whisper is louder than the scream. And that’s when you realize what you thought was a choice, was really a command, because this is your life and it hangs in the balance. So, you do it. You gulp. You grin. You go.
Sometimes there’s so much to say
That I just can’t find the words
Something about excitement
Being unapologetically, resolutely, relentlessly
The universe is so big that it makes some feel small. But it makes me feel bigger, because the chances of this moment actually happening were almost zero. The chances were literally almost zero but my atoms didn’t care. They happened anyway.