Half empty, or half full?
Back when I first started travelling, in the not too distant past, I never really went anywhere for a long period of time. Two weeks here, ten days there as weekend thrown in the midst of a month of heavy work.
My mum always used to say, ‘Two weeks is too long, One week isn’t long enough and seven days is just about right’. Considering she was usually paying for the tickets – back when my only form of travelling was family holidays – I used to adhere to that rule a lot.
So to me, going on a three-week holiday to my Dad’s house in Ireland was being away for a long time. A really long time.
By the time I was finally about to embark on a 9 weeklong trip to Australia – It was like I’d booked to go away for an eternity. I thought for sure I was going to be gone for so long that when I got back we’d have a new government, the currency would have changed and Bieber was finally retired from full time music. One can only hope, right?
When I got there, and for the weeks ensuing, it felt like I had a lifetime on my hands. Even when it got to four weeks left of the trip, I still had forever and a day to do whatever I wanted.
Fast forward 18 months to the present day, where I’m on my final four-week stint in America and it feels like I have absolutely no time left, at all. The grains of sand are passing through, the seconds are sprinting away and I’m on the verge of going home to cold, soaking, dull, boring, grey, England.
After having spent 9 months here, the last month feels like nothing at all. Like it’s just slipping away.
It’s been getting me depressed; ruining my mood and basically making me feel all around like crap. So, I had to do something about it. I had to flip what I was thinking.
Instead of thinking, ‘Crap, I’ve only got 4 weeks left, what a drag’ I had to change it. I needed to refocus. So I started to think, ‘I’ve still got a month left in LA? Amazing. Be right back, just heading out to do something awesome.’
Since then my mood has come back, I’m enjoying my work again and, although I’m still not overly excited to be heading home – I’m making the most of my time I still have here.
The lesson in this though is simple, like I stated at the top. ‘How we look at things, is how we live them’.
Our individual worlds are made up of the perceptions that we have. Whether it be the can’s and can’t of what we can do, the certain types of people who can do certain things and the rules we choose to live by.
Lets say for example that you have always been an IT Technician. You’ve spent the last 10 years of your life working in a small air-conditioned office, telling people to turn their computers on and off again. You know the coding for all of your companies systems and you can fix just about any problem. But, it’s boring. You hate it. You want out.
The first thing people are inclined to say is, ‘I want to go somewhere else, but I need to do a job in IT Still, it’s all I’ve ever done.’ You refer back to your perception that because it is all that you did do, it’s all that you can do.
You still have a capacity to learn, you could still retrain to a different profession. Your brain hasn’t only become a source of IT Knowledge for your peers. You could finally fulfil your dream of becoming a full time gardener. Or lawyer or go-go dancer or whatever it is. But because it’s ‘all you’ve ever done’, you’d rather go back and do the thing you hate than change your career path totally.
Another, more sombre approach comes from racism. The belief that ‘all’ of a certain race or religion act a certain way. That people are thieves, that they have 18 wives or that they’re ‘coming over here and taking all of our jobs’. These perceptions are wrong, but day-in day-out they affect how people approach life.
Changing the way you look at things, flipping it around and looking at the positives can make a whole new difference in your life. You have certain beliefs, limiting beliefs, which hold you back – that prevent you from being happy and in the moment.
Challenge: Find one perception or belief that is holding you back, and look at it in a new light. Instead of a countdown to a holiday, why not a list of things you can do with your time before? Don’t think you can draw? Get a piece of paper and start doodling. Then work on the bigger stuff, like career changes and stuff you ‘can’t afford’.
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