Quirky thoughts

The next right thing

I was reading a story of this woman that was an addict and then became pregnant (yes, it was in Cosmo, but I’m a sucker for reality so excuse me!). She was saying that she felt like a ‘walking contradiction’ when she was a teenager, always pretending to be someone she wasn’t. She pretended very well and was very popular, but deep inside she knew how much she was lying to the outside world – and to herself. Then, she found herself pregnant and finally decided to take action to destroy her worst habits of drinking, bulimia and drug usage. At this point, I thought to myself:  ‘Crickey, that can’t have been easy’. And, because it got me intrigued, I carried on reading.

The story unfolded well and in the end she managed to break free of all of her bad habits. She says that she now accepts that she will never be totally happy, so she is happy to accept to be happy-ish most of the time (I personally find this a bit hard to understand, but she must have her reasons). But this story of struggle is not the reason I’m writing this today. The reason I’m writing is because she mentioned something that struck a chord with me. She had a technique to get rid of her old habits that made her so unhappy but at the same time were so consuming. And I thought that this technique could be of use to anyone, hence this post. It can certainly be useful to me (and I have already started using it).

next

Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs help or anything like that (and I certainly don’t want people to think this is a self-help kind of blog), but who doesn’t find themselves in times of trouble sometimes? Who sometimes doesn’t quite know what to do next? Exactly. The technique is called ‘the next right thing’. If you find yourself in a position where everything is getting on top of you and you don’t know if you are coming or going, just think small and think to yourself: what is the next right thing that I could do? And then do it. And then, if you do this often, it will become a way of life and you will find it much easier to take action when you need to.

Let me translate this into practical examples: you messed up at work. You made a mistake and don’t know what to do now… don’t think about losing your job, how hard it’ll be to find a new one or how people will judge you. Just think of the next right thing you can do to try and resolve the situation. It doesn’t need to be something big, but it will get you moving, rather than freezing because the prospect of all the negative things you thought in the first place. Another example: you feel that you don’t spend enough time with your children and you fear that they will not remember you in the future in the way you hope they would. Yes, this is a very sad prospect, but don’t think that far ahead. Think about the next right thing you can do to never get to that negative outcome. See? It works when you are already in a sticky situation or when you are trying to prevent one.

When I’m overwhelmed, I freeze… I think things like: ‘oh Gosh, this will take ages’ or ‘ ahhhh, I have so much to do, I don’t know how to get started!’ or ‘I want to stop going to bed so late every night, but can never accomplish it’. You can apply this thinking to everything, really (I have been applying it to work, with it being so busy and crazy at the moment).

Taking-small-steps

For a worrier-type like myself, this is a wonderful solution. Instead of over-reacting and thinking ‘this will never be possible’ or ‘I’ll never get out of this situation’, this approach puts things into a much smaller perspective and makes you act. It’ll be a small act, but because you’ll be asking yourself constantly ‘what is the next right thing to do?’, one small act will follow the next and you will end up just doing things instead of thinking them through too much. You will also do what is possible for you at the time, rather than waiting for ‘when the time is right’. Sometimes thinking too much, I find, hinders action. And without doing, we are hardly achieving anything, aren’t we?

Please don’t think that I’m being patronising here. Everyone is different. I’m just saying that this little sentence has already had an effect in my sometimes lazy approach to things… I think, think, think and sometimes don’t really act, and then start thinking ‘why aren’t things happening how I wanted them to?’ Well, it’s my own fault for doing fxxx all about it! Thinking about the next right thing to do makes you constantly do something. And achieve results that can change your life. One step at a time.

Categories: Happiness, Next right thing, Quirky thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take it all in

It was my birthday this week. I’m not as excited as I used to be about my birthday for whatever reason, but it’s always something to celebrate all the same. I didn’t think about my birthday until the day before, really, so it was with great surprise that I ended up having a magnificent day.

There is a programme on at the moment on BBC. It’s called The Voice, and I’m sure lots of countries around the world have done their own version of it (through a costly franchise, that is). Yes, I’m a sucker for singing programmes. I just watch them all. Yes, yes, yes, you can think whatever you want. I just like it.

The judges in the UK always say something to the contestants when they finish a song and the audience is going mad. They say: “Take it in, take it all in”. I, for some reason, remembered this on my birthday. I had such an amazing day and just kept thinking to myself: “Take it in, Marilia, take it all in, you deserve it!”. I felt so good about myself and, literally, felt the love in all the messages I received and in all the celebrations: at work, with my boyfriend, with my family, with my friends. It was a superb day and the best of it was that none of it was planned. It was a spontaneous day, full of joy and love.

birthday

Alternatively, birthdays can be planned and filled with quirky things to do. Here’s a list to get you inspired (if your birthday hasn’t come up yet this year):

1. Buy gifts for other people and wish them happy birthday.

2. Wear a cape!

3. Make people sing the Happy Birthday song to you. (backwards)

4. Tell people your new age + 10 years, just to watch their jaw drop.

5. Randomly scream “It’s my birthday!!! Woohoo!” at odd moments (be creative).

6. Ask stangers what they got you for your birthday. If they respond in any way, run and scream, “Ahhhhh, I’m not suposed to talk to people!”

7. Hum (or whistle) the birthday song all day.

8. Take a picture of yourself (and do the same every year after that). You can check out your wrinkles. (nooooo!)

9. Make yourself a birthday cake. And eat it all on your own.

10. Throw a proper party (maybe I’ll do this one next year).

So there you have it. A few tips about what to do on your birthday and an overview of what made me happy on mine. Getting older is not so bad after all…

Categories: Birthday, Creativity, Love matters, Quirky thoughts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Me, myself and… erm… myself

This post will surely bore the hell out of you all, but I’ll post it anyway. Yes, it’s all about me, but the reason for posting it is because, if anything, it can only be a good thing to encourage each of you to do this as well.

This year (and it’s only February!), I have been told by three different people in three separate occasions that I am a very self-aware person. No one ever told me that before. Mmmm… that got me thinking… I wasn’t aware that I was a self-aware person (no pun intended!) and therefore tried to figure out what this meant for me and in my life in general.

It’s no secret that we know more and more about ourselves as the years go by. It’s only logical, really, as the more we ‘live’ with ourselves, the more we will know about our likes and dislikes. And the beauty of it is that the more we know, the more we respond to life’s requests in accordance to our tastes and beliefs. This is if you are brave, though, and not a pushover.

This whole thing got me thinking about myself, what I’m like, what makes me tick, what I want from life, what makes me happy… and after a couple of weeks of making notes, here are my results. Some things are really silly and some reflect my personality on a deeper level, but either way I believe that both make me the person I am. It’s on a list and it’s not in much of an order as they were scattered thoughts that I put down on paper at first. I’m sure this list is not conclusive by any means either but, for now, I think I got a pretty good idea of who I am.

My little list, then:

1. I like eating something sweet before savoury food. Not sure why but I frequently do it.

2. I wash my hair every other day.

3. I always, ALWAYS have to have a Plan B or I get really nervous.

4. I absolutely love butterflies, they are my favourite animal. However, recently I have taken a liking to penguins.

5. I frequently ‘shut off” and don’t listen to people when they are talking to me for several seconds, even though I’ll be looking intently at them. I think they call this ‘selective hearing’.

6. I like to be a recluse sometimes.

7. I like night time a little more than day time.

8. I love the silence of the mornings.

9. I love looking at an empty street (do this all the time from my balcony). I like the silence.

10. I love making jokes and coming up with funny comments. I love making people laugh. I guess this is ‘my thing’ (I hope! ha!).

11. I have a strange passion for whistling. I’m always doing it.

12. I love judging TV adverts (did they pass on a straight forward message, did they convince me to action on something, was it pleasant on the eye, was it clever, etc, etc, etc).

13. I love Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. In my opinion, they are the best.

14. I love the sea.

15. I hate peas with a passion. Weird little green balls!

16. I am terrified of motorways.

17. I have always been in love with the sunset. It’s always been my favourite part of the day.

18. I love the moon too.

19. I love trees and I like to hug them from time to time. There is an incredible energy that comes from them.

20. I am very easily distracted.

21. I get bored easily. (this can be a problem sometimes!)

22. At work (and even at home), I tend to jump from one task to another without finishing the first. I’ll then end up with 100 things started and none completed. I do tend to complete them, but it’s a funny way of doing things!

23. I love riding bikes.

24. I always like people at first. And then sometimes I just get disappointed. Even so, I’d rather it be this way.

25. I usually change my mind about things.

26. I am a very blunt person. And I can’t really control it. Things just ‘come out’. (area for improvement, me thinks!)

27. I love movies with no happy ending, or with no ending at all. I like that they can just represent a passage in someone’s life.

28. Family is the most important thing in my life.

29. Followed by friends. I don’t have millions, but the ones I have are ultra special. I know them well, they know me well. Quality beats quantity.

30. I like reading and writing and I feel lost if I don’t do both for a while.

Ok, enough about me. Yes, I agree it can be boring reading about someone else’s characteristics. If you reached the end of this post, however, it’s because you have some interest in how people operate. This means that you may be interested in finding out things about yourself. You probably know it all already, but I found it so helpful to put it all on paper. It kind of helped me figure out areas for improvement and also made me happy to realise that I do and I am a few things that I’m proud of.

If anything, I found this a good exercise. And if people think I’m ‘self aware’, good! I had to write it all down, but yes, I suppose I can agree with that. The more we know ourselves, the more corageous we are with our life decisions. The clearer is our path and what we have to do next. It’s almost like looking at yourself with a magnifying glass. Just be ready to find out all sorts.

Categories: Personality traits, Quirky thoughts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Just a matter of time

I find myself with no time. And when I say no time, I mean no spare time. Of course, I have time to go to work (since I have no choice in the matter), I have time to brush my teeth and time to clean the kitchen floor. But I don’t have time to BE. I have no time to just sit and watch the world go by, to just look out to the sea and day-dream. I have no time to do the things that inspire me because everything else takes over.

It’s quite sad when you realise that your life is passing by and you are not being able to take control of it, to take the bull by the horns and say: “Hey, I have a say here! I want to spend my time differently!”. I want some time for creative idleness. That time that you use to do nothing or do a lot. That time that you use to do whatever floats your boat, to make you happy, to inspire you and make you productive.

Some people like to drink, others like watching TV, some people eat to pass the time and others go running. I like to just BE. I don’t have a specific activity that I like doing to be in my creative idleness zone. I go with the flow. Sometimes even cleaning gets me in the mood to create something and that’s fine, as long as I feel like I’ve achieved something from time to time.

I know that we all suffer the pressures of not having enough time in the day – and I’m not even considering the ones who have children (honestly, can’t figure out how they manage!).  We all have things that if we don’t do, we feel guilty about. I feel guilty when I don’t give myself the time to exercise, for example. I know that my body benefits immensely from it and I know I like it after I start it but, most of the time, I simply can’t be bothered and then I feel really bad for not making the effort afterwards. I also feel a little guilty if I don’t keep the house clean enough or if I don’t give enough time to my friends. We need more hours in the day!

I always give 110% at work and although I consider this a good thing, I get home with my brain cells smashed. Some nights, I get home with no more energy than the necessary to make something to eat, shower and go to bed. Yes, it is demanding because it’s always so busy, but it does drain me and affects my life outside work. And life should NOT be just about work, there is so so so much more to it!

I wish my time was spent more wisely. I wish I didn’t care if there are clothes to be washed or a sink to be cleaned. I wish I was more of a ‘happy go lucky’ kind of girl. But I’m not. No matter how much I try, the dirty sink will get on my nerves if I leave it, so I’d rather go and spend 5 minutes doing it than worrying about it for the rest of the day. It’s just the way I am, I guess.

I’m not sure what I can do to make this better, rather than writing about it, which always helps in my case. I don’t know if there are things I can leave out of my ‘to do list’. I simply don’t feel able to cross anything off at the moment. I just wish I could get ‘in the zone’ a bit quicker. By being in ‘the zone’ I mean getting to that place where your mind is clear, ready, inspired. That moment when I feel I can create something out of nothing, something I can call MINE, something special, even if only to me.

This quote kind of explains how I feel about time:

“The soul requires duration of time – rich, thick, deep, velvety time – and it thrives on rhythm. Soul can’t be hurried or harried… We may go through many events in the day and experience nothing because the soul has not had the opportunity to feel them from many different points of view.” Roberto Sardello

The choices we have to make every single day on how we divide the hours in the day into what deserves our attention can be overwhelming. And I know when I’m not making the right ones because I basically feel crap if I don’t do the things I like to do. It’s simple maths really:

Time + things I like to do = Happy Marilia

Time + things that I have to do but don’t necessarily like to = Unhappy Marilia

My commitment to myself from now on must be, I guess, to try and declutter. I must try and erase from my life the things that don’t deserve that much of my attention. Like cleaning, for instance. Maybe I can clean less, so I can read more. Maybe I can worry less, so I can day-dream more. Maybe I can just apply this newly found maths to everything that requires time in my life. This way, I’ll know straight away if spending time on something I don’t really want to do is taking away time that I’d be using to do the things I love, so I’ll feel more empowered to saying no to a few things here and there. If we think about it, even the person who has absolutely nothing, has time. Time is universal, everyone has it, even if only a little left. This makes us pretty powerful. We ARE in charge.

Right, enough talk, I’m gonna go make a nice coffee and read my book for an hour. Sod the washing-up.

Categories: Creativity, Dreams, Personality traits, Quirky thoughts, Time, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing without looking

I have always admired security people. They have this strength in their posture, in the way that they carry themselves. They just have this fierce look in their eyes, as if they are prepared for anything and everything at any time. I think this perception of mine has probably something to do with the movie ‘The Bodyguard’. Yes, that very same one you’re thinking of, the one with Kevin Costner and (the late) Whitney Houston. I just remember Kevin Costner being so strong and so controlled.

Control. This is an intrinsic characteristic of security people. They need to be able to control themselves and also others. I admire that. And I admire even more when such security people are the ones in the Olympic games. Have you noticed them throughout the whole thing? There they are, in their coloured jackets, looking at all the spectators, since they are not allowed to turn back and look at the games.

They don’t know who is winning, who is losing. They can only guess. But boy, that must be fun. Imagine being able to observe and analyse people’s reactions – sad or happy, exasperated or relieved – to something without looking too creepy? Imagine that you are allowed to look at them as much as you want when they are lost in the moment. You can notice the crease of the forehead, the narrowing of the eyes, the big smile that unfolds.

The games here in London have been a massive success and these security people have seen it all through a different light. They could not look at the winning moment approaching, the missed throw, the rivalry, the kissing of the floor when it all ends. So they felt it through everyone else’s reactions.

Damm. I wish I had volunteered to be a security person in the Olympic Games. I’m sure I’d have quite a bit to report.

 

Categories: Olympic Games, Personality traits, Quirky thoughts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: