In a span of 10 months, I went through a devastating breakup (we were on the verge of purchasing a house together), went through another breakup (a business breakup – my partner left the business), turned down several business opportunities (mostly for good reason), put myself through a vicious cycle of self-doubt and external validation, felt my life was going nowhere, and took a solo trip to Japan just to gain some sanity.
However, these experiences helped me to find my center. I calibrated my innermost principles, values, and dreams amidst all the chaos. At this point in my life, I can confidently say that I am happy. Not in an exhilarated manner, but in a calm, peaceful way. I’m glad with how things are right now – and if God was to take me away tomorrow, I’d actually be okay to go.
I wouldn’t attribute this to a person, several people, or even a certain life-changing event. In retrospect, it was really a series of events which caused this change. However, if I had to pinpoint the most important aspect – it was the simple luxury of having several pockets of time alone to reflect.
I’ve written a list of fundamental concepts I’ve learnt on how to center myself. I don’t want to call these advice or “nuggets of wisdom”, as I don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach in life. Hence, I urge you to read this with a pinch of salt. I just hope you’ll find some of what I’ve written useful, and perhaps you’ll gain a fresh perspective on your life, as I did mine.
1. Focus on building yourself up. Whether it’s through learning new skills, reading more to gain more knowledge, or picking up new hobbies – do what makes you feel better about yourself. You’ll start to value yourself more, and stop doubting yourself so much.
2. There are no defined standards on how to live your life productively. What may work for others may not necessarily work for you. If you find that your optimal work time is from 8pm to 12 midnight, use that time to work on things that matter. Go for a run at 11pm. Wake up to code at 4am. Walk your dog at 6am. That being said…
3. Make sure you get enough rest. Get at least 5-7 hours of sleep each day. Eat well and exercise.
4. Learn to prioritise. Even when have a million things to do on your task list, pick out only the most essential tasks and allocate time to focus on them. Get rid of distractions. This means closing your Facebook page when you’re at work.
5. You’re not at all an independent entity. Like any living organism, you can truly thrive in the presence of others who help you grow.
6. Surround yourself with people whom you respect.
7. Surround yourself with people who make you question your uncertainties and doubts.
8. Surround yourself with people who nourish your mind, heart, and soul. These are the people who push you to become a better person, not push you over the edge.
9. Surround yourself with people who display positive intent. Cut negativity out of your life.
10. Take yourself out of uncomfortable situations. Your time is a precious resource – why spend time on things that make you feel distressed?
11. Keep an open mind. Be empathetic. When you analyse things from others’ perspectives, you’ll start to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with them.
12. Think before you speak, for the pen is mightier than the sword.
13. Never look back at situations of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. Move on and prepare yourself for what’s to come.
14. Believe in yourself. Don’t lose the battle before it even begins. That being said…
15. Pick your battles wisely, and never put all your eggs in one basket. Instead of fixating on one thing and expecting everything out of it, diversify your life with several things that make you happy.
16. Have patience with people. Like us, they are human and they err.
17. Love passionately. Your significant other will appreciate it.
18. Be happy for others when they succeed.
19. Your life is yours. It’s not anyone’s right to make decisions for you. Having said that, don’t base your life on this list. What works for me may not work entirely for you. Go ahead and create your own list. You’ll be surprised what comes out of it.