Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Last Night

Note: This was written earlier this morning but posted later in the day. I decided not to change the tense so read with that in mind.

Last night, after a mumbled and downright inaudible conversation - most of which I cannot currently recall, I fell asleep fully clothed with my make-up and the lights still on. To some of you, this may not sound strange at all and your response to that statement of fact would simply be "you were probably just really tired, big deal?" Actually I was exhausted. Why am I telling you this? Well it's because, falling asleep wearing the clothes sported earlier that day with my make-up and lights still on is very unlike me. Very, unlike me.

Don't get me wrong, it has happened before but the reason I am alarmed is because I never usually sleep the whole night through like that. Usually, my body would be in a state of unrest because my subconscious would be imploring me to wake up, change, cleanse my face and conserve the damn electricity! Usually, in the wee hours of the morning, that time reserved for drunkards, slumber-seeking pub or partygoers and prowling, nuisance urban foxes, I would randomly wake, change, cleanse, conserve our electricity bill and then go back to sleep.

So, as I write this on my commute to work, I find myself asking two questions:

1) Why am I so tired?

2) Why do I think this is blog worthy?

Well, I'm tired for a number of reasons. The last week has been extremely busy for me and somewhat stressful. Actually, the last few weeks have been busy and that usually means I get less sleep or my rest is extremely disturbed and plagued with nightmares and/or thoughts of what I should or could be doing. Also, another explanation could be that I do a lot of other things outside of my 9 to 6 (oh how I wish it were a 9 to 5!). This (understandably) is starting to take its toll.

I feel that this is worth writing about because there is actually a noteworthy number of the UK population that have problems sleeping; 25% to be specific (that may or may not be a fabricated statistic to illustrate my point - I thought it would be fun for you to find out no your own) but I digress. I do a lot of different things and yet somehow I still feel like I'm underachieving - I'm learning to cut myself some slack though. Working hard is a wonderful thing but working smart it better.

I made a pretty important decision recently that'll hopefully enable me to work smart and less hard. (I say less hard because anything worthwhile in life always requires some degree of effort - very few [good] things will ever be handed to you on a plate.) But anyway, if you haven't had a similar "do I work too hard / am I working hard or smart enough" conversation with yourself yet then I implore you to do so in order to reassess your goals and strategies.

Due to the comparatively short-ish nature of this post, I'll leave you with a few words that have gotten me through the past few weeks taken from an amazingly insightful book called Notes from a Friend by Anthony Robbins (READ IT! If you haven't already!):



Massive, consistent action with pure persistence and a sense of flexibility in pursuing your goals will ultimately give you what you want, but you must abandon any sense that there is no solution

We all have problems, disappointments, and frustrations, but it’s how we deal with setbacks that will shape our lives more than anything else we do


Happy working. goal setting and sleeping - let me know if you often/ever experience problems sleeping too?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Pentad Problems

Would life really be easier if it were simpler?

A few years ago, someone - in fact, a few people (often nosy Uncles and Aunts*)  - asked me to explain where I saw myself in five years time. Successfully masking my outrage and uncertainty, I reeled off a convincing list of accomplishments that I was half-heartedly sure I'd achieve in addition to a little of what I knew they wanted to hear garnished with what I thought I'd be doing.

After all, there was no point in saying these things in the vain hope that the prying people would cease to exist in my life a pentad from then right? Because it was likely that they would still be around, said achievements would need to be...well...achieved.

But they weren't.

It would be amazing if I could tell you that my life's events unfolded just as I'd foretold and we all lived happily ever after in houses made of platinum stocked with designer shoes, bags and an unending supply of form-fitting dresses I could wear to pick n' mix serving peace parties celebrating all the love and sensibility in the world.

But I'm not a drinker nor a smoker and therefore not high enough to type that lie and expect you to seriously believe it. In fact, anyone (with the exception of a minute percentile of the human population) who tell you that they were able to execute the five year plans they committed to paper, memory, smart phone or sand, in the exact order they'd envisioned is probably fibbing.

Such plans, whether written in indelible ink or made as off-the-cuff remarks when put on the spot as I was, rarely ever pan out as desired. However, I have learnt over the years that this is not necessarily a bad thing. For instance, had I fulfilled my five year plan, I'd be married now, potentially with a child or one on the way and be practicing Law while forsaking my love of more creative pursuits.

Had I followed my 'plan', I wouldn't have done my Masters and encountered some fascinating people along the way, traveled to Thailand almost seemingly on a whim, met one of my best friends, nor be working where I do now. A whole host of things could, would and should be different. But I believe those with an inability to let go of the past, appreciate the present and look forward to the future deal in the currency of coulda-woulda-shoulda's.

Although I feel as though I am in the midst of an existential crisis -  a good one though, if that even exists? I am of sound mind enough to know that in every setback and failure is a lesson that if heeded, or at the very least remembered, will help you to get to a goal possibly greater than the one you'd set yourself initially. That can't be true of my life alone which is why I am generalising.

Sometimes I feel like my life is a comedy of privileged errors, but errors that keep me learning and laughing so for that I am eternally grateful. And before you misunderstand me, I am not anti-planning. I am a believer of the adage that 'if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail' but what I disagree with is sticking to the plan so rigidly that it leads to failure; rigidity can lead to breakages whereas flexibility (within reason) is my preferred route to success.

Do you agree, disagree have a five, ten or fifty year plan of you own?

*I mean "uncles and aunts" in the West African sense i.e. anyone who is older than you and / or a friend, associate, colleague or neighbours-sons-sisters-fathers-uncle, of your parents, are always usually automatically referred to in that way as a "sign of respect".