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A year old isn't a year better

by Kene Ezeaputa 2 months ago in self help / advice
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Lessons I learned from 18

Every year I like to look back on the lessons I learned and compile them into an article. It encourages me to think more critically about the progress I've made and who I want to become. Although I'm not perfect, I hope you can take something from my experience.

Imitation is suicide

There comes a point in every man's education where imitation is suicide. There comes a times when you need to think for yourself to get ahead. You can't watch YouTube videos about how to cure writer’s block or copy someone else’s study routine simply because it works for them. At one point you must take the wheel of your own ship and steer it - stop looking for answers and start creating them. Before asking for advice - question if you need it - ask will I implement what is about to be told to me or will I add it to the pile of things I know I should be doing but don't do.

Understand you are unique, and if you reach your potential your uniqueness will manifest in a unique way. You will fill a void only you can fill. Who could have taught Shakespeare to think like Shakespeare or DaVinci to draw from so many disciplines when creating his art. Who could have taught the Wright brothers to fly? Who can teach you to be the best you? Imitation is suicide because at a point by trying to be like other people you lose your own identity, and the world will be a lesser place for it.

Time is not to be killed

There is a quote about time that goes something like this – “most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day in underestimate what they can accomplish in a month, most people overestimate the year and under estimate in the decade”. I couldn't disagree more with this quote; in my mind it is unequivocally wrong. Everyone underestimates time; the day can yield as much as the week the week as much as the month and the month as much as the year. The determining factor is our focus; a much better quote in my opinion is from Michael LeBoef – “Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of herself to nothing” our time is a valuable asset. It's a shame to hear people say they’re “killing time” you might as well say you're throwing your life away. Since time is fixed, we ought to change our priorities to make the most of it. What actions taken this day, this week this month, this year, will give me the most return on my investment – that is the ethos of time management.

the next step once you can identify your duties is to schedule them in, but not necessarily at a specific time (although that is helpful). A tip I recently learned is to batch tasks that are similar for example, if you are a student; do your law and English homework on the same day or back-to-back and leave your math and science for later. this will be beneficial for getting into a flow state because the brain does not have to switch from left brain computation to right brain computation. When it comes to time maximization; less is more.

A year is a long time

I want to get partial attention to the year because it is the most elusive. Because of the year's size it is hard to take it seriously, most of us find it hard to conceptualize who we will be in a year’s time but that doesn't stop us from making goals that we seldomly hit. A year is a long time; goals that involve the year struggle because we cannot will ourselves to complete them like daily weekly or monthly goals. But yearly goals are not to be forsaken because yearly goals are often the beginning of big changes in our lives (jobs, relationships, physique goals, etc.). The best advice I have for yearly goals is to divide the year into quarters. First see if you're yearly goal can fit into a 3 month chunk(most will be able to) if not break your goal into four parts separated by three months the end of each three months section will serve as a review point. The most important part is once your goals are set don't worry about anything besides what your plan is to achieve the goals set forth in that three-month section. Thinking about your end of your goals well distract and discourage you from what you must face today. Create your goals let them discipline you and then be transformed. If you don't hate your three month goal assess why for no more than a few days and then take dead aim at the next three month goals in the sequence.

Today matters

What does your day- to- day look like? What's something you do every day that you know is beneath you? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life watching 3 hours of YouTube or two hours scrolling on TikTok? Is that a life you’d recommend to someone? is that living? The end goal of these questions is to get 50 plus percent of what you do on any given day to be things you’d enjoy to doing for the rest of your life. Don't neglect today when it comes to improving your life. Today is inherently special because every decision you've ever made has lead you to this moment. To reject the importance of today would be to reject yourself. Today matters. We’re all looking for opportunities to excel and today is the opportunity that must not be forgotten.

Today is important because today is your life - in more ways than one. Today is the cumulative result of all the actions you've taken in your life but also a low-quality representation of what your life will be like. Today actions compounded are your future life. That's why you must aim for the best day possible. The best day possible doesn't constitute of hedonistic pleasures because pleasures are simply a means to escape the day (at least in some sense) best day practices must consist of actions that add meaning to your life, actions that you wouldn't hate you did the next day week or month.

The default is down

I have yet to meet someone who wanted their life to be worse than it was in the present moment. in fact, most people expect for their lives to get better with time, especially young people. This expectation comes from their youth when you and I were growing up in school, our lives word dictated by people older than us, whether that was a system like school or your parents, there were forces that pushed you to grow. Without those systems the default is down. Imagine who you could be in a year if you committed yourself to your development -that is what constitutes “up” And imagine who you would be if you lived in the moment in complete disregard for the future - that is what constitute “down”. Without systems in our lives the default is down because up defies culture and the status quo. Just as rockets need force to defy the default of gravity, we too need discipline to direct ourselves towards our potential. Discipline should be seen as an act of defiance -a refusal to let things fall apart. discipline is what separates Bad from mediocre, mediocre from good and good from great. Discipline is the bedrock of a life well lived because discipline focuses on priorities. Discipline attributes a rich life to a poor man's pleasures, because life is not found in luxury but in purposeful action. So, aim high - imagine who you could be, get it in your crosshair and knock it down.

To ensure the longevity of your discipline define a clear why for your actions, what is the end aim, why do you want to aim high, when little fault is low. You need your own philosophy to ensure you follow through.

Goals as personality development

Goals are important in themselves because they orient individuals towards a better future but there is another under looked ethos for setting hard goals. Goals are personality development. Imagine someone who works out three times a week-you can imagine them to be more disciplined, self-awareness, Organized and hardworking. Those traits are valuable in themselves, so you decide to seek that goal. The attributes that come from a goal should be a conscious target. So, when you are struggling to find time for that third gym session remind yourself that the person your become is more valuable than the person you are. This idea that goals are personality development can also be used for bad habits. Imagine someone who spends 2 hours a day on tik-tok, what are they like? Or someone who watches porn, how do they act? Personally, I can imagine these people to be less ambitious, more distracted and less articulate, all undesirable traits. Now I'd make the case that by stopping the tik-tok and porn habit that person will be more conscious, less distracted and more ambitious (that is on top of the more concrete benefits such as free time).

How many times?

Ryan holiday author of bestselling books “ego is the enemy” and “courage is calling” tells a story about responsibility. Ryan lives on a rural county road, it's unpaved and unmaintained. The trash that piles up is remarkable. “People dump tires and old mattresses. They dump debris from construction sites. They dump beer bottles and candy wrappers. They dump illegal deer kills and for some inexplicable and alarming reason, a lot of dead dogs.”. initially he describes himself as feeling pissed “It made me angry at humanity and the place that I lived.” Then one morning walking with his kids, he had a thought ” how many times do I have to walk past this litter, before I am complicit in its existence” how many times? 4? 2? how many times do you need to complain about your job before you quit? How many times are you going to be disrespected before you stand up for yourself? When are you going to stop allowing who you are to stop you from being who you could be?

Future looks bright

In good faith

Kene Ezeaputa

self helpadvice

About the author

Kene Ezeaputa

Trying to do my best

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