The Wall

 

It is 11:58 am, I am 2 minutes away from my lunch break, and then it hits me: it’s 11 February, 2016, 41 days of the new 2016 – a year that I had accomplished literally nothing, I stopped doing sports, I stopped drawing, basically I stopped doing things that I cared about.

At the beginning of this year I suffered a big blow, somebody who I took for granted, who was always there in the far corner of my mind, passed away. I didn’t even send him a Christmas card, although I hand-made it for him. I just forgot to post it, but hey, we always have the next Christmas, right?

I fell in this deep dark place where you feel extremely sad, but at the same time you feel safe. It’s easy to be sad, it’s easy to all the time expect the worst from your life, your surrounding and from other people. You do not have to invest any emotions or time: you just float slowly but safely somewhere on the edge of reality. Nothing will ever blow you out of balance.

Except something did. This particular date Feb, 11 11:58 am. And it beats me why, because this is not a date I would choose for my spiritual healing or anything. I think I just recently worked too much and allowed my thoughts to penetrate my wall of indifference that I have meticulously built up to fend off any emotions other than bland numbing sadness I got used to.

So ok. It is now 12:13 am, and I have opened my blog I haven’t touched in years, and am writing paragraph after paragraph. One might say I’m on fire. I kind of am, but I am still afraid of it, so I just write really quickly, not allowing myself to lean on my chair and have a real thought hitting my head. But I guess this is good enough for now. That’s this proverbial first step. Good for me! Jo beating Wall 1-0 in a fair fight! The audience in all stands go nuts!!

Exciting? Maybe for an hour, and then back to reality. How do I make sure there is a second and a third step? How do I keep going when the wall is up and running again?

I now realise that the real question is if I want the wall gone. And truth to be told, I don’t. I’m scared of the reality, I’d rather observe it than take part in it. I got used to it. The wall is one big constant in my life – it almost makes me feel invincible, it is a pillar that I have decided to hold on to and never let go. And I have to be honest with myself, I am not inclined to let it go for now.

This not very observant conclusion leads me to another one: an ultimate cliché. If I am so attached to the predictable, to the constant, why not use this against myself. Maybe I should hack myself: why not creating another constant: a set of well-defined routines that will allow me to process the reality with the same robot-like attitude. Mechanical, devoid of feelings.

I am not strong enough to destroy the wall. I need it.

But I can allow a bit of nature on it.

Let it grow with moss.

For now…

“Yes, we can!” How to Allow Motivation to Change us for Better

stockvault-smiling-daisy-air-balloon133312Is it possible to change the world, and to make a visible difference? Or is it just a fleeting dream of visionaries and a quality of a superhero?

The answer is both yes and no, depending on the approach you take. If you consider the world and its overwhelming size, you can get frustrated. Naturally, you are not able to change something that is magnificently huge.  But what if you consider yourself as a part of a whole – a whole that can be broken down into little pieces? A friend of mine once told me that a way to manage an unmanageable task is to divide it into many manageable pieces, which put together are powerful enough to make a difference.

So how can you as an individual change the world? Setting an example or initiating something meaningful can be a good start. Although, big endeavor can be overwhelming at first, you should remember that nothing is as hard as it seems. Try shifting your perception: start small, aim big. Focus on one step at the time, and allow a small change to grow bigger with the natural course of time.

“Be the change…”

It is impossible to change the world immediately and single-handedly, but we can be a part of it starting with our own contribution. Ghandi says that it is you that should be the change you want to see in the world.

In Poland, where I come from, many people are engaged in a campaign of collecting plastic bottle tops. Instead of throwing them away, they put them into special containers which when full are transported to sell-out points, and sold as plastic waste. The money is used to purchase supplies for people in need.

When I was working in Spain in a primary school I felt uncomfortable having to throw the whole bottle away, so I checked if there is anything similar done there. It occurred that the nearby university is also engaged in the same campaign, but due to poor advertisement not many people knew about it. I decided to spread the idea in my school, so I talked to one of the teachers, who started the bottle campaign in her class. Soon, the whole school was engaged in the project, and it took one more month to engage other primary schools.

Cast the first stone

Mother Teresa once said that she alone cannot change the world, but she can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. You do not have to start with something big, let it become big with time and participation of others.

In the time of economic downturn it is small business that is fundamental for recovery and further development of the world’s market. Entrepreneurs strengthen local economies: they respond immediately and accurately to demand, they even invent jobs that have not previously existed.

According to the research done by economists from the University of California small businesses create more job than larger ones. They also saturate the local market with customer-tailored services and products on which there is huge demand. Making a difference on the local level, small business influences the world’s economy being the very first stone that contributes to the creation of many ripples.

Step by step, little by little …

As adapting to specific conditions enables small business to be vital for the whole economy, as should we, accordingly, adapt ourselves to the world around us. Start with adding little routines that will not change your whole life fundamentally, but with time will contribute to shape your better self. A good e-book on your iPod on your way to work will serve you better than listening to maybe soothing, but in the long run meaningless music.

Stressed about not meeting deadlines? Next time prepare a timetable with all the small steps you need to accomplish in order to perform a big task. Such small changes are important, because they shift our perception of the world: we start to be hungry for more, seeking deeper fulfillment, and abandoning our comfort zones.

However, as good and motivating as it all sounds, we also have to remember that change cannot be measured, and something that is a milestone for you, can be a pebble for somebody else. Nevertheless, remember that positive influence can have an impact on more people that you can imagine. You never know the outcome unless you tried. So, I say: cast the stone, and wait for the ripples!

Here’s to New Beginnings!

Another Nestockvault-splashing-drink116328w Year has approached, and another thousand of New Year’s resolutions were uttered by millions of lips all over the world. I was one of them: I promised myself to start a blog, write regularly with the intention of motivating me and my future readers to follow the rocky path of self-development.

Will I be successful with my resolution? Time will tell, as time is the main factor to consider upon taking up a resolution. No change happens immediately. Given time and an adequate approach change is nothing more but a logical next step.

New beginnings are tempting, because they offer people a blank slate that is not yet ruined by reality. It is our tabula rasa that is waiting to be filled with our dreams. It gives us motivation and this is why Google Resolution map is so full of wishes, most of them concerned with self-improvement.

So now, at this point, my resolution is pure and unspoiled by further thoughts. My blog will be ideal: educational, thus helpful. I am excited by this idea, and it makes me feel good about myself. I am highly motivated.

But then, there comes the infamous Next Day Syndrome – doubts and many what-ifs. I start to question the sanity of the resolution: it is a huge endeavour after all. What if people will not like it, what if my writing style is unacceptable, what if I will be too cliche instead of being educational, what if I will fail in every possible way? Yes it is natural, and yes that brings us to the next step: acceptance of possible failure, and forthcoming relapses.

Failure is a natural step in development. We fail, we draw conclusions, we avoid past mistakes, we progress. But deeply rooted fear of committing errors exists in most of us, and it very often prevents us from trying out a new idea. People very often and very wrongly associate making mistake with embarrassing themselves. However,  if you look at mistake as another way of acquiring knowledge and experience, it will no longer resemble a nightmare, and you will be able to shake off this devolving fear and get down to work on your resolution.

No matter how big is your target change, you should not be scared of the overall size of it, but rather divide it into many small tasks, and step by step make it happen. However, your resolution cannot be too vague because you will have problems with preparing a schedule for it.

The base of every good resolution is to proceed with it by preparing a good plan. A plan makes your resolution more tangible, hence more manageable. It should contain your aims, deadlines, actions that together will contribute to the fulfillment of the plan. We also ought to include possible problems that we can encounter in order to be aware of them.

Only when our resolution is properly quantified and limited with deadlines, we can advance with its implementation. It is very important that we also invent a system of reward for every step that we manage to complete. Upon completion of this post I already know that I will reward myself with a relaxing cup of coffee over a book that I am currently reading. Since I am a lost cause of a bookworm, I cannot wait to finish and start reading. This thought elevates my motivation, and prevents me from taking any other unnecessary break.

Motivation, being a crucial factor in fulfilling any resolution, is something that we also should monitor regularly. We have to know what keeps us motivated and what decreases our devotion to a task. Keeping track of our progress is extremely healthy for maintaining a high level of commitment to the resolution. Once you start to see progress, you want to progress more and more, you feel excited almost as much as you were at the beginning of your endeavour.

So, without further ado: here’s to new beginnings!