Start With 5: Do You Let These Feelings Slip?

I’m feeling something good coming. Not only is this series super fun to write, I feel like it’s some of my better work, and the responses have been great. The best part about it all is that I get to write straight off the cuff, providing a voice for the thoughts tapping around my head. In case you missed it, here is the first piece where I describe some super underrated feelings that probably get overlooked. This is purely just about giving some well-deserved appreciation to feelings that just slip right past our radar sometimes.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Mambo Number 5*
(*underrated feelings)

1. That ‘AHA!’ moment you finally remember the word that’s on the tip of your tongue

It’s like a floodlight that surges with power before the huge shine of light and man, does that ever feel good. The longer you spend wrestling over what simple little word was on the tip of your tongue, the greater the rush pumping through your veins momentarily. Am I exaggerating this a little? Maybe, but when this happens to me I am way too excited for a second and I’m hoping there’s at least a few other people who can relate. Who knows, maybe this will be the best parts of my day when I’m much older and wiser yet still approaching senility. As an old man, I’ll make a point to still get fired up when it takes me a little too long to remember what I ate for breakfast, but I remembered nonetheless.

2. When you find a new song and instantly fall in love with it

I might be just impressing my own personal pump up package with these feelings, but here’s another thing that gets me jazzed up (not a bad pun, but certainly a welcomed coincidence). I cycle through music pretty quickly and pretty regularly, yet finding new songs with HEAT are still few and far between for the most part. When you find that song with some fire though, those first few listens are like an audio-espresso in the ear-drum. I then listen to them until the wheels fall off and then wonder why I have a tendency to just way over-do things. I guess that’s why I can’t have nice things.

3. Not being allergic to peanut butter

Man oh man, if you are reading this and you are allergic to peanut butter, I am so sorry. That creamy, peanut-y goodness is just different- healthy, tasty, and addicting. I probably slap way too much of it on my little pieces of toast, but it’s only to keep me from just eating it straight from the tub. If you don’t think peanut butter is that big of a deal, I bet if you couldn’t eat it for the rest of your life you’d miss at least a little bit (and if you still can’t agree to that, then maybe go eat some more Brussels sprouts or whatever else you’re probably into, I don’t know).

4. Driving past a cop and then almost freaking out because you realize you’re cruising a little too fast, but it’s all good because he’s in a good (or lazy) mood

So going back to number 2, finding that new tune can lead to number 4- and that stroke of luck followed by a wave of relief is a pretty good feeling. It happens, sometimes you just don’t realize you’re into that zoom zoom mode and when your friendly neighbourhood police guy let’s you off the hook it feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

5. When you wake up wondrously rested and ready to go

As an avid sleep fanatic, let me just start this by saying that this doesn’t happen a whole lot for me, so when it does, it’s a pretty special feeling. Sometimes I ruin it by going right back to sleep, but sometimes I get up feeling pretty charged up for the day. It definitely helps when you have some good stuff to look forward to, but either way when this miracle happens I do not take it for granted.

*Photo to illustrate that even when I wake up energized, I’m still a baby*

That’s it for this week. Using one of these buttons down below would make me a happy guy, mainly because I had to figure out a bit of coding just to add them. Let me be the first to tell you, that stuff is not easy. Have a good week!

Have a feeling that fits the topic? Maybe I’m overlooking it- comment it below or send me a message and I’ll feature it!

Start With 5: Have You Overlooked These Feelings?

Officially reaching the last month of summer really makes you wonder where the time went, and how it just keeps getting faster and faster. Since time won’t wait for anyone, taking time to appreciate moments as they happen and even in reflection helps lets us savour the flavours as they constantly come and go. Savouring’s the name of the game here for this series, where each week I’ll be sharing 5 things that just made me feel some good kind of way- maybe you’re familiar with the feelings.

1. That feeling when you finish an overdue or challenging task

It’s Saturday morning, first day of the long weekend, and I wake up and just take a look around and it’s like I’m seeing my house for the first time with brand-new eyes.

We’re living like slobs, and since I have the day off I figure enough’s enough. I blast music through out the house to get the juices flowing and power clean the house in some sort of weird, focused determination (with the begrudging help of my visiting little brother, who did his absolute best to seem enthusiastic- kudos to him).

After I was done, I literally stood there with my hands on my hips, just stuck in a power pose for a minute with some major BDE (if you’re not familiar with the term, let me just substitute it for ‘confidence’ before you go looking it up…). Man, that felt good. The cleaning itself was nothing to celebrate, but that feeling after was great. I kind of just started cleaning to tidy up a bit, but once I got rolling it really did feel great and the moment of accomplishment after was nothing to take for granted.

2. When the sun comes out from being behind a cloud

Simple but pleasant, being outside when it’s not sweltering hot is much nicer with the company of a warm sun. I was sitting outside and subconsciously had the expectation that there would be no sun, so when it peeked out and shone down, it felt reeeeaaaal nice.


3. That moment of excitement and anticipation near the end of a game

If you’re not a huge fan of sports, maybe you should just mosey on to number four.

Okay cool, it’s just us now. How sick is that end-of-game rush when the score is just a little to close for comfort? I was at the Calgary Stampeders football game with my little brother (shout-out to the sister for the tickets) and the game took that surprise turn with the other team making an unlikely run during the final minute of the game. There’s nothing like the energy of live sports when the game is close. Looking over to see my little brother not just on the edge of his seat, but standing on it, was enough to emphatically illustrate that it wasn’t just me going wild with anticipation. The game ended on the final play, with the loser-other-team only inches away from stealing the game.


4. Sitting down after a long day

After a long day, especially one with walking or activity, plopping down on the couch knowing everything is done is a great feeling. I find this to work especially better when you have a brother to grab some snacks and the remote for you (camp Big Brother isn’t free, you know).

It just doesn’t feel the same after doing nothing

5. Hearing some thoughtful comments from someone you care about

My friends and I like to think we’re pretty insightful cats sometimes, and when we have a group dinner we’ve been known to talk about things we’re grateful for, or what we like about one another. It’s not a bad way to boost the day, and hearing my guest, my brother participate and deliver some comments straight from the heart really made my night, in combination with him being a part of something like this for the first time. Now in the first year of being a teenager, we’re starting to see our relationship deepen and I’m stoked for it.

The little bro and I at the game

That was my five, what’s a feeling you were happy for this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Virtues Necessary In Every Friendship

No matter how adept someone is at maintaining friendships, there will always be conflict. Despite these struggles, friendship and social interaction is a necessary part of human life, so understanding them better is a vitally important topic. Here are some research based approaches of making sure those around you accurately receive how you feel about them (with sources at the bottom).

1. Adding Value

Poor friends take more value than they give to another, while good friends add more value than they receive. Healthy relationships function best when the value each puts in is relatively equal, and without expectation. What is adding value? Adding value is anything that makes the another feel cared for, loved, and valued by the other. A simple method of someone showing the value of another person in their life is by checking in with how a person really feels or is doing. Beyond the basic nature of “how are you” and other formalities, checking in with how someone is truly doing is an essential form of love in the way of expressing genuine care. If this is common sense, great- applying it further and making a conscious effort to think of more ways to make someone know they’re valued to you is fantastic and still underused in many relationships.

2. Empathy

This articles contents are all interrelated to each other, and empathy is a tool to better understand the people around you. By making an effort to see and understand what another person may be feeling about something is a great way to not only gain motivation for helping them, but also to understand the best way to help them out. The old saying of “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” is the basis of this idea and, aside from the overused cliche, it still rings true in dealing with not only your friends, but with anyone you come in contact with. It is much more difficult to be consumed with negative emotions such as anger and frustration with someone when you have a truly empathetic standpoint on why they might be doing what they’re doing. In addition, developing a strong, empathetic perspective has been shown to increase investment, as well as genuine care in others success.

3. Honesty and Being Authentic

Being honest and authentic is a no-brainer, but to expand on it further, openness and honesty is also relevant apart from just ‘telling the truth’. There are hundreds of interactions where people suppress their genuine feelings on something for fear of being rude, hurting someones feelings, or otherwise. For example, in Canadian culture (God bless our maple-syrup-loving souls), there are many cultural norms around being polite and friendly to one another. This is great and doesn’t need a remedy; the only time this becomes a problem is when someone avoids telling another person what that they need to hear, or pretending everything is terrific when it really isn’t. This can hamper someone else’s growth as well as create resentments from within that result from expressing a form of inauthentic behaviour. In other words, if you have to be someone you’re not, say something you wouldn’t say, or pretend to be happy and fantastic, research shows that it will take a toll on your own mental well-being. Being authentic and letting your true self show is easier and beneficial to yourself, as well as the people around you.

4. Communication

As mentioned earlier, these points are connected and this one stems from above. Knowing how to effectively communicate with someone else as well as knowing the right time to is important in making sure the message is received in the right context and in the right state. On top of this, communicating from a perspective of empathy can help make sure that the other person knows it’s coming from a place of love; strengthening the overall message.

5. Committing to Happiness

There’s a mass movement behind loving yourself and putting yourself first. While this is important, it should not take away from investing in your friendships by committing to someones else’s happiness. When someone commits to another’s happiness and they put it ahead of the friendship, they make a decision to do things that are best for the other person despite if it’s uncomfortable. For example, holding someone accountable can be tough and unpleasant, but is necessary to benefit them in the long run. Loving yourself and loving your friends are not mutually exclusive ideas, meaning they should be done together.

Leave a comment below or on Facebook on what you think is missing.

Photos from Elbsandsteingebirge (top), and Bastei Bridge (above) Germany

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

References

Lavner, J. A., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2016). Does Couples’ Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction, or Does Marital Satisfaction Predict Communication?. Journal of marriage and the family78(3), 680–694. doi:10.1111/jomf.12301

Valuing empathy and emotional intelligence in health leadership: a study of empathy, leadership behaviour and outcome effectiveness. (2005). Health Services Management Research, 18(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1258/0951484053051924

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201002/what-makes-true-friend

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

(function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[2]=’LNAME’;ftypes[2]=’text’;}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

My New Challenge

Originally posted on StMU.ca


St. Mary’s University student-athlete Jordan Britton joins Advancement team for remainder of the summer
With summertime at the peak of its powers, not only is it time to ensure the barbeque is fired up and the mini-fridge is stocked, it’s time to introduce myself as the newest member of the Advancement Team at St. Mary’s University for the summer.
While a position in communications is brand-new to me, the campus and university is not, as I have had the pleasure of attending the university for the past three years and look forward to continuing my education here in the fall as I aim to put some more finishing touches on my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. This distinction in psychology afforded me an opportunity work in children’s mental health as a youth and family counsellor for the past two years, and I intend to extend my experience there once my degree is finished.
Going from youth and family counselling to adding a role in Communications coordinating might seem like a bit of a contrast, and it is! I’m very excited to diversify my experience and as some people around the university already know- it meshes well with my penchant for writing that I first began a couple of years ago when I started a website focusing on personal growth and well-being. Feel free to check it out at http://www.thefiveyouneed.com and let me know what you think!

In addition to being a part of the student body for the past few years, I have also had the pleasure of being a member of the men’s basketball team here at the university. Coincidentally, the man in charge of the team, my coach and mentor, gave me the alley-oop for the position and I’ll do my best to dunk this one home (for those that don’t know what an alley-oop is, that’s alright- come down to Glenmore Christian Academy this season and we’ll do our very best to show you! We open at home October 19, women at 6 pm, men to follow). Optimism within the Lightning program is at an all-time high, with the mixture of key additions and positive growth a cause for excitement for a surging program. And if you’re not familiar with the women’s program – they’re poised to remain the perennial championship threat they’ve established themselves to be. Like myself and every athlete from each program can attest to, the rise of St. Mary’s on the post-secondary athletic scene is largely attributed to the increasing support from the school’s own – so come show some love and we’ll do our best to represent you right.

Being a student-athlete is one that comes at a price, albeit one consisting of dedication and time. Athletes are happy to pay with their time and commitment each year in academics and sport. Life is all about balance, and academics is a great balancing act to perform alongside athletics, perhaps a job, and a personal life (what is that?).
As I’m going into my fourth year, I’m no stranger to the demands of this fantastic juggling act that I’m privileged enough to do for two more years. Daily practices, weekly games, homework assignments, and Sunday work shifts make for a recipe to accelerate time by way of always being busy – and it will always be a valuable lesson learned on time management and priority setting. Success in class is paramount, meaning staying on top of schoolwork is essential. If some bus rides are long and tedious enough to want to study, then hey, I’ll take it! Needless to say, however, is that passion fuels productivity much better. Athletes train and compete because of a passion for a hobby that they love, and utilizing this in other areas of life is something I’ve found both to help and further other facets of life. Finding activities, classes, and jobs that have the ability to invoke true passion is a vital part of being able to truly flourish in everything we choose to do.
I’m taking this to heart, meaning I’m very excited to demonstrate a passion for writing and organization within the St. Mary’s University community- stay tuned!

The Formula for ‘Being Happy’ (Achor)

If everyone could choose to either be happy or be sad, I’m sure there would be a clear favourite from the two options. It’s obviously not as simple, and involves so many things that make it complexly different for each person. I’d like to think that most people know what gratitude is, and the impact that it has every single day. I’m sure everyone could easily explain what it is, wrapped neatly in well-thought out answers, in different amounts of depth and in different ways. After all of this considered, I just wonder why it isn’t talked about more, or why we don’t see more of it in every day life.

I’m sure anyone who took the time out to explain what being grateful meant could do a great job at it, and could logically infer that having more of this is better for happiness. And if they can’t, they should.

The greatest motivator that had biggest hand in restructuring the way I saw the equation of productivity and happiness was best explained by Shawn Achor, the author of the Happiness Advantage (also the single most influential book I’ve ever read). I’ve written about this topic in a dialogue sort of way, and if you haven’t checked it out already and are interested, you can click here.

Basically, the author (Achor), explains that there’s a bit of a misconception around productivity, success, and happiness. Most people see it like this:

People work tirelessly to become successful, with the ultimate goal of being the happiest they can be. Which is what everyone is ultimately trying to do right? At the end of the day, we all have stuff that make us happy, and it’s the pursuit of this that keeps us going (shoutout to Will Smith).

However, while it’s great and all to have this end goal in mind, the biggest message from Achor’s philosophy is that it’s backwards. I like to think of an analogy of waking up in the morning, since it’s something I used to be terrible at and am now somewhat manageable at. When I’m happy or excited, for whatever reason at all, it’s fairly easy to spring out of bed and get going with whatever’s got me fired up and ready to go.

When I’m not-so-happy is the time where this gets way to difficult. I linger, procrastinate, debate what I’m going to do, or just waste some time away on my phone. I’m sure someone can relate to that.

This is the same for productivity and success, which is better illustrated like this:

If I can get to that place of happiness and excitement beforehand, I’m way more inclined to get stuff done and my overall productivity sky-rockets. It isn’t much of a surprise that people get more stuff done when they’re feeling good, yet it still isn’t enough of a commonplace at work, school, whatever. Google is all over this idea and has been for years, evidenced by the puppies in the office, nap pods, frequent breaks, and anything that will boost the morale and mood of their employees. They know that happy workers means more results.

Now obviously, moods aren’t able to be controlled on demand like Pay-Per-View (anyone still use that?). If everyone could click to be stoked and happy, like already stated, they would. This is where gratitude comes in, and acknowledging things around you is the vehicle to get there. By making a point to appreciate what’s already here, the habit of satisfaction in the present moment is found. I was laying in bed last night and thought of a situation wherein I was genuinely concerned for my safety, and from that small flashback I was overcome with some appreciation for being safe and comfortable where I was- something usually super easy to overlook and something I’ve probably overlooked hundreds of times. Thankfully, it’s something I usually don’t ever have to think about- but it doesn’t mean it’s not something I can’t appreciate. I can think of dozens of things that I overlook on a daily basis that I would miss should I not have it, and this is the central theme around gratitude. Why wait until something’s gone before truly appreciating it? Reordering these appreciations really makes me feel luckier and can usually always improve my mood.

Gratitude is everywhere, and if someone doesn’t think they have anything to be grateful for, they might be doing it wrong. Some days without a doubt will always suck more than others and nothing can change that, but appreciating something when you have it feels a hell of a lot nicer than appreciating it while it’s gone. Practicing this daily has become routine, and like any skill the improvements result in it becoming easier and more natural, creating a more effortless pathway to gratitude.

Two Different Kinds of Friends, Are You Real or Fake?

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({ google_ad_client: “ca-pub-3327592462136994”, enable_page_level_ads: true });

   I find myself in Riga, Latvia in eastern Europe and while it’s similar to Canada with its northern disposition and affinity for hockey and basketball, the two countries are otherwise very unalike. Walking around my hometown in Canada would be met with the sights of relatively small buildings with modest heights and space, space for pretty much as far as the eye can see. Conversely, walking in Riga is thatched with sets of evenly parallel streets typical of downtown settings and buildings with fine carved, dated architecture expanding far above your head, built far beyond your time (or your grandparents for that matter). It’s a welcomed scene for a Canadian guy who is normally surrounded by the ever-expanding, but comparatively fresh buildings from home.

The differences don’t stop with the city and its surroundings of course, with cultural norms and behaviours following their own unwritten but established rules. To the outsider looking in, it might even seem like these people just aren’t as friendly, operating on their own wavelengths and at their own pace. Even my limited encounters with some locals had demonstrated their knack for being pretty blunt when something wasn’t funny, pronounced horribly wrong, or just plain stupid- all things I’m quite capable of in conversation, sometimes in bunches! Like when I tried to say a former Latvian NBA basketball players name just my second night here, which was met with a laugh and a comment about how brutal my pronunciation was…

Building from this, I was reading a book that serendipitously coincided with this area of Europe and shared the thoughts of a teacher on these differences, and explained by the author of the book (which was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, by Mark Manson- a great read on a healthy, productive mindset that’s worth checking out).

To summarize, the Russian teacher explained that the strong influences of socialism and communism felt by older generations had shaped the social behaviours of the people here (there is a heavy Russian influence in Latvia, and about 1 in 3 people are Russian). Basically, during these times in the mid 20th century, fear became a very real factor in the lives of the people and trust from one individual to another became one of the most valuable commodities. People became motivated to find individuals they could trust, and those who were trustworthy had more value to others, thus having a greater social gain. The teacher explained that the quickest way to build this was through blunt, honest, and genuine encounters in order to show this quality and gain the trust of the people around you.

Flip over to North-American culture and you see such a vast difference, where people often modify their behaviour to be liked more or present themselves differently at home, work, or otherwise. Capitalistic influences and making money and as much of it as you possibly can has seemingly motivated this difference, with people on a cultural level interested in changing how they act in order to maximize success in different ways. As a result, more people native to this continent are more prone to living in ways unauthentic to their true self, with these background influences of society ultimately playing a role in who they are as individuals.

While the first few instances of experiencing this firsthand were a bit of a shock, the timing of reading an explanation on why it’s like this was perfect. With this in mind now I find the difference pretty refreshing, and definitely something possible in learning from. It’s more typical here that what you see is what you get; if you just said something stupid or definitely, totally not their humour at all (ugh)- you’ll know about it. But when you hear something positive, it holds more weight because you know its true and not some BS that someone’s blowing up the back to make you feel better, or some sales pitch to make them seem like they have more value as a friend.

Just some things I found super interesting that got the wheels turning in thought and I’m sure there’s more to it- what do you think?

Leave a comment below or on Facebook!

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

(function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[2]=’LNAME’;ftypes[2]=’text’;}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

Being Happy Is All About Right Now (One Habit That Will Blow Your Mind, This Is Totally Click-Bait)

            When this site and page first began I had the intention to share the thoughts swirling around my brain and throw them out here, hot off the press. It’s kind of funny now with how little I’ve written over the last several months and while my mother might attest it to the lack of activity going on up there, I’d like to think it’s because of something else. In a way, she’s right.

I really don’t know anything. I enjoy writing about things about my life, and I can stick to that. It almost feels like I can’t write about things I don’t know much about, but I started by sharing my thoughts on things and I’m sure I can continue that. Over the last few years I’ve really become a hungry little nerd about life and growth and all the concepts that stem from this in various ways. At the end of the day, just laying back and writing about my thoughts is fun and as my friends can vouch for, I’m pretty good at entertaining myself- and I don’t think anyone laughs at my lame dad-jokes harder than I do. That’s just self-love, baby. 

Right?

I saw a quote last month that really reverberated through my mind, and it made an appearance on the Facebook page. It’s pretty easy to get carried away sometimes in thoughts, activities, planning, reflecting; a drink maybe. With thoughts and planning this is different though, with these two mental activities sometimes taking me off to the races. The distraction is real, too. Man if I had a nickel for every time I made myself look like an idiot by slipping into auto-pilot and doing something I was really paying no attention to because of the frenzy going on in the ole cranium. 

Of course, there’s more; like how these thoughts inch me further from what’s going on in the present moment little by little. I don’t think it’s all that bad though, as long as this doesn’t dominate my day. Mindfulness is really about observing these thoughts in a non-judgmental way, and since I could rant about that all day like a choirboy, I’ll just leave it there for now. The chorus of this song is just that thinking about these things, for me, can make me wonder about what’s to come or what has already happened. 

This is where one of the quotes comes into play, and is all about the presence of happiness. 

“Happiness is not in another place but this place… Not for another hour, but this hour.”

–Walt Whitman

It’s a bit of a funny relationship, the present moment and happiness. I don’t think many people struggle with staying present when they’re happy or engulfed by that good feeling of satisfaction. It’s pretty easy to just enjoy the ride when given those great moments. 

But that’s not really what this quote is saying. Since this isn’t much of a struggle to do when wrapped in those warm feelings, it definitely points to the way we choose to view all of the other times where it isn’t so easy. I find it super easy to boost myself sometimes by thinking of some upcoming event that will improve my mood or lift me up a bit. It could be a basketball game that night, some plans with friends, a new episode coming out. But the reason I love this quote so much, and perhaps why it resonated with me so strongly, is because it reminded me that focusing on loving ‘the now’ is such a vital habit. Sure, it’s definitely nice to look forward and be excited about something, this isn’t discrediting or villainizing that. It’s just a simple reminder not to habitualize this as a main source for some emotional satisfaction. Looking for love in the present moment, the present hour, minute, and second is a great alternative habit that really develops like a skill over time. I’m just one big ole bag of my own habits as I’m sure many other people are, and getting the same repetition for things like this is much like the way I try and develop new habits and skills as an athlete. 

This quote just gave me a tug of concentration back onto this message, and led me to begin asking myself something I love about ‘the now’ in times I drift off into the future. It’s wild how something so insignificant can influence our thoughts. For the people that already do this so effortlessly, that’s dope and I aspire to be more like that. 

As for right now, I’m happy to come out of my writing cave and get some new content out there.

What about you?

As always, any sort of activity on social media goes a long way- any likes, shares, etc. on all posts are super appreciated! 


The Power of Perspective: How To Come Out Better Off From Adversity

I’ll tell you one thing: when it comes to physical growth, it’s something I picked up on super quickly- not that I had a choice. Evidenced by a constant rotation of new clothes, cramming into cars, or straight up hitting my head on low ceilings and door frames, rapid growth was just a part of my life.

However, what I’m most interested in lately is the other side- the mental side. Growth in that area is much less obvious, yet more important. To be willing to change and adapt to what is around is an ability that serves each person, and specifically the mindset around that and problems that arise can feel like a make or break in dealing with it all.

In other words, how we see challenges and adversity will determine the ability to overcome them when they come around.

And just like everything else, it’s a habit.

I’ve read some interesting things lately that support the claims that how we interpret a problem or obstacle influences how we’ll be able to actually get through it, and how we’ll be left afterwards. This is where growth comes into play. Adversity is always going to be tough, clearly as it’s in the definition itself. But when a challenge presents itself, however harmful, draining, or distressing it is, looking at it from a point that’s determined to see an opportunity to grow changes how we move through it- and what we’re left with when it passes.

This school of thought is based off of viewing adversity through two sets of goggles. One of these lenses show a struggle as something debilitating, hampering and a source of stress. The other shows a landscape from the bottom up littered with rationalization of ways this will help benefit some aspect, or promote growth in some way.

This is similar in the motivational mantras we see from time to time that preach the importance of failure and how it’s necessary before success. It’s from the same branch of perspective and requires the same mentality. The only difference with this is that it’s applicable into everyday life and the struggles that present themselves. Big or small, the philosophy remains the same.

Psychology supports this by offering that we have two routes when presented with adversity (small challenges all the way up to immense ones), and that’s growth or trauma. Framing things from the former perspective enables us with this ability to become better, smarter, stronger- whatever we wholeheartedly believe is possible. This isn’t my own idea, rather something I was drawn to and am now reiterating to go along with my own insights.

Science tells us that this concept of belief in growth over trauma is possible with anything. I’m not disparaging or taking away from the horrors that some people go through, because sometimes it’s beyond difficult and overwhelming. My two cents on the matter is mainly that plugging in this habit first with minor challenges repetitively, and often, can help put us in the position to do so when the bigger problems come along. Every person is a bundle of their own habits, and making a frequent effort to reason what all of the positive benefits the not-so-positive things bring can shape how we feel during adversity, and what we’re left with when it passes.

Reverting back to the motivational cliches, if Michael Jordan being cut from the varsity team was seen from the traumatic lens, we might never have known the now-household name. If Dr. Seuss had seen each rejection from children’s publication companies as a sign to quit, we might not have seen his world of fantasy and art.

Brainstorming all the different, intricate ways that any certain challenge can push you forward, strengthen you, or make you wiser helps growth while also showing just how possible moving beyond the struggle is.

Starting small seems to help with me, making those a habit before tackling the major stuff.

These are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours- feel free to comment or write a message. Also liking and sharing content is always a huge help, thanks for the support!

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

(function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[2]=’LNAME’;ftypes[2]=’text’;}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

If One Thing’s For Certain, We’ll Never Have It Figured Out- And That’s Alright

There’s so much more to life, from the things that grab my attention for a moment or two, to the things that impact me forever.

An incredibly vague statement, but let me get going here.

Like the lust that overcomes an adrenaline junky seeking out their next thrill, I’ve become pretty hungry for anything putting me along a path of growth and personal development. In doing so, I feel like I’m relentlessly searching for things, ideas, and concepts to get my fix. This is great, but I feel like the mentality of this pursuit is sometimes like seeking out an always-elusive feeling of certainty that just doesn’t exist.

In other words, sometimes I’m chasing a feeling of absolute stillness within myself that isn’t real. As a child, always thinking that teenagers were so old, wise and cool, transitioning to being a teenager and thinking someone the age I am now has it all figured out. To what I’m sure will be the feeling as I approach the next phase of life, revering the generation before me as the ones that just have life down and pegged out.

I’m here to tell myself now that it’s garbage.

Wisdom is a wonderful crystallized knowledge that we get after trading it for youth. And while I have no experience to back it up from, I feel as though wisdom will teach me that of course no one has all the answers, figuring out life and laying back in satisfaction. There will always be someone who knows more, can teach me something- younger or older.

I write this because I feel like now more than ever I’m being shaped by my experiences. Currently on month number three of jumping around Southeast Asia, every day is something new that offers something I can learn from.

Some stuff hits me to the core in some profound way, some stuff makes my mother worried sick for my safety. I’ll ominously leave it at that, and sorry Ma…

But this wave that I’ve felt come over me recently is just the overpowering realization of how much more there is to life than anything I could ever do. And because of this, making sure I’m taking the time to do things that I want to do and live the way I want to live just seems like the only logical option.

Why wouldn’t I?

There’ll be more to life regardless of whether I’m down in the trenches of something unpleasant, unfulfilling, or upholding values I don’t believe in. In the nicest way possible- it doesn’t matter, aside from the standard I hold for myself.

As children we grow up trying to fit into and belong to the fast-flowing social ocean of youth, trying to belong somewhere. As adults I can’t help but feel everyone around me and at similar places is now trying to distinguish themselves from the herd of  ‘everyone else.’ More and more I find the peace that comes with living for myself in spite of the repercussions of what other people might think- this is a thought I hope to keep running with as I try to live free from the influence (indirect or otherwise) of what someone else might think.

To those younger, or those trying to find their own way, it might seem like that’s all that matters right now but man, those feelings will pass- be you and learn comfortability within everything about yourself.

This might be common sense, or a long-known truth to others, but growth is a subjective path and I’m happy to relay where I’m at and how I feel. As always, I write for myself but thanks for taking the time to read and share with me- the support has been fantastic.

Top photo: Mui Ne Sand Dunes, Vietnam. Above photo: Da Lat Canyon, Vietnam. 

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

(function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[2]=’LNAME’;ftypes[2]=’text’;}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);

You Can’t Always Choose Life, But You Can Choose Gratitude

Gratitude comes at me in so many different ways it’s not even funny. It’s easy to be grateful for family, friends, achievements, and stuff like that- because those are some of the best things in life. Naturally, we like these things.

Duh.

Today though I found myself feeling gratitude for an event that could’ve been immensely worse had the dice been shaken differently and thrown a different way. The kind of gratitude that left me with something I cherish deeply: life.

Taking things back a bit, and I’m cruising through Thailand on a bike I rented from the mountainous Pai area to head back down to the bustling but charming city of Chiang Mai. I had trekked up about a week prior and now it was time to head south again to move on to the next leg of our journey, back down the mountain highway.

Winding through the road with the smell of a jungle-y forest and the remnants of the rain that had swept through an hour ago made for an unreal ride. After about a quarter of the way down, we stopped to grab a tea as these two particular Canadian boys had somehow already become climatized enough that temperatures in the mid-to-low twenties were actually making us chilly, in lieu of the usual high thirties.

Not even an hour after sending my mid-journey snaps and messages to people back home, winding around the corner I caught a blanket of gravel while trying to hang the curve to the right.

It didn’t work so good, and in a split second, I spilled over top of the handlebars and onto the highway, crashing to the ground.

I immediately jumped up, in a daze while I tried to make sense of what just happened. Braden had slipped in front and hadn’t seen me tumble.

The tingly-sensation of shock crept across my body as I instinctively screamed his name, hoping he would hear and come back for me.

Nothing.

I began to feel out of body as I looked over my wounds, looking but not really seeing them. Noticing the shock in my body rising, I began reassuring myself despite the fact that the pain hadn’t set in yet- this concerned me.

I watched as a few cars drove past me, my wounds beginning to bleed and my shredded poncho reduced to just a symbol of what had happened. On queue, Braden raced around the corner, and a local pulled over and ran to my assistance. I’m not even really sure how everything happened from there on, but the bike was pulled from under the guard rail and I was loaded into the local’s vehicle- a man named Te (who had at some point also enlisted the help of another local woman, who climbed in quickly to take me to the hospital. I could feel my bearings coming back to me, and while this was nice, this was accompanied by the corresponding pain.

Three doctors hurriedly but meticulously cleaned the various wounds ranging from my shoulders to my feet. Braden and Te made sure to capture the whole encounter through photos, as Te was incredulously and affectionately calling me Superman as I refused to take a photo without smiling. Albeit some were downright forced, as the skin in the right side of my body were scraped and scrambled like ground beef cooking over the stove.

Slowly, in between the winces the whole ordeal slowly crystallized in my mind. The bike jammed into the metal plated guardrail, the way I fell off the bike and protected my head, and the local who found me and came to my rescue instantly, loading me into his car, blood and all.

Sitting there finishing getting cleaned and sterilized, and the bandages relieving some of the pain, I realized how lucky I was.

Not going to lie, tears formed in my eyes.

Te waited for the duration until I was cleared to leave the hospital, and while his English was a little less developed, he understood enough for us to embrace each other and revel in the moment.

I sat there with the most tremendous and profound gratitude for life and the way I had avoided being closer to an encounter that jeopardized it. Reality hits me in different ways, but nothing could stop me from the thankfulness for the severity of the situation and the kindness shown from absolute strangers.

Toughness is a quality I’ve been both unpacking and exploring lately, and even on the ride to the hospital, however delusional it may be, I was thankful for the opportunity to show myself that I was tougher than this event. Someone dear to me explained the beauty in adversity, and how in these moments we find out who we really are and in turn presented with an opportunity for growth.

I can definitely be a big baby some times, but through this I was excited to dig down and power through it. A little unorthodox? Maybe. But after today there’s no other way to frame it.

I’m sure I could look at it all from a different lens, criticizing the roads, weather, luck, or maybe even my driving. But truthfully that sounds like such a bizarre concept that accepting that is less likely than me getting my damage deposit back on the bike I just crashed.

Not a freakin’ chance.

I’m going to keep loving life, loving today, and carry it with me tomorrow.

What about you? Leave me a comment and tell me something you’re grateful for!

Te, left side in the red shirt. The doctors/nurses who mended me. And the woman who guided Te to the hospital!