You Only Have Three Options

There’s another topic that came out of my lunch with Jaja & Lukas recently and is connected with the sacrifices I talked about yesterday:

There are 3 productive choices in any situation – take it, change it or leave it. After you’ve chosen, live with your decision.

There’s plenty of non-productive things you can do – complain, whine, blame others, blame everyone, sabotage the efforts of others, back-talk, pity yourself… I guess you could go on for quite a while here.

Only 3 productive and healthy choices stand out:

TAKE IT

Take the situation and decide to accept it as is. Sometimes when some things don’t seem bright and shiny, this option might be necessary. Considering priorities, sacrifices you are willing to make and your options, you might decide, that taking the things as they are, accepting the status quo is the best possible way to handle it. Just make sure you are able to bear the consequences – take it with all there is, it’s your choice.

CHANGE IT

Do you feel you can do something about the situation, that would improve it? Do it. Consider your options, consider what you can do. If you cannot take the situation as is, and you are willing and able to change it, then do it. It’s going to hurt, but it’s your decision.

LEAVE IT

If you cannot take it and you cannot (or don’t want to) change it, you can still leave it. Sometimes saying „that’s enough“ is the best. Quitting in right time doesn’t mean you are giving up or losing. It means you have the guts and will to state clearly you want something else and you are not afraid to face the consequences. It’s your decision, so don’t look back.

Sounds simplified? Ridiculous? Not taking into consideration all the aspects? Might be. But it also is true.

Whenever faced with the situation that you don’t feel comfortable in, you can chose one of those. You can take it as it is and endure. You can change it. Or you can leave with your head up.

Millenia Old Wisdom Which We Still Keep Forgetting

Every time I see a runner on the street I have to think, how many kilometers there’s already behind him or her. It can be one. Or twenty. I will never know for sure. But one thing I do know. He sacrificed his free time, comfort of sitting at home, of doing something else to run. To get something that he wants.

Today I had lunch with two of my good friends – Jaja & Lukas. They were discussing about how much many people envy and complain about good fortunes of the others. And hardly any of them realize there’s much of sacrifice and hard work behind the success of those people. And if they do, they are not willing to make the same sacrifices to get the results.

Many of us seek to find the easy way. The shortcut. The miraculous solution, that will make us rich, famous, successful, get us better job, better status, anything. If we don’t find it, we blame fate, government, the neighbour… Anyone, but ourselves.

There’s a trade off in anything we want to achieve. There’s always something we need to give up to gain something else – current spending for long term financial stability; free time for work achievement; junk food for good health…

What separates the successful from unsuccessful is the willingness to make sacrifices and ownership of own fate. Nothing comes free. No success is made without sacrifice.

I am right now thinking, what all do I need to sacrifice to achieve my goals. I set high targets for myself and I want to see them hit. And it has and will cost me a lot of sacrifice in the coming months and years. Even more than I have made until now, because I realize I have been lazy in some ways, unwilling to change some things, that I have to in order to achieve.

Have you thought of what you are willing to sacrifice to get what you want?

 

UPDATE 2015:

Most recent top focus personal priority for me has become the „Sixpack Adventure“ – my journey to achieve top fitness condition (Healthy, functional & good-looking body). And that is one of the greatest learning about sacrifice and gain that I could ever have.

Fall and rise

Today I have another „poetic“ post for you. It was one morning thought, after a long week when I woke up and thought how great the day will be.

FALL AND RISE

When I fall
I will rise
and rise again.

There will be days
weeks and even months
when nothing will seem
to go the way I want.

With every move
I will make mistakes
I will be in mess
all the light vanishes.

I’ll lose all the strength
will be thrown around
in the wind
tearing me apart.

I’ll have my face
buried in the mud,
have walkers by
point fingers.

But I will look up
to see the blue skies
one day.

And I will rise
and rise again.

No matter what hits me,
no matter how hard,
I will rise
and rise again.

And as an addition, one of my favorite scenes from Rocky series:

 

In the dark

Not every day is bright and shining. There are days that world just doesn’t make sense and you want to forget and crawl in the cave out of everyone’s sight. Even those are valuable moments  in our lives.

I have some of those as well and sometimes they bring out creative emotion. On one of those days this short poem came to life. Let me know how you like it 😉

I’m sitting in the dark
thinking of all my mistakes
I made because of a reason.

I hear the sounds
of the street outside
kids play in the sunshine.

Used to be innocent
curious and wild,
now sitting in the dark.

I closed my curtains
keep away from light
there’s none in my heart.

I’m sitting in the dark,
sitting in the dark
thinking of mistakes,
closed to the light.

I’m sitting in the dark
closing down in my heart
that has been open until now.

Day comes to twilight
it’s grey outside
and I’m sitting in the dark.

I suppose
things will change
will get better
how they used to be.

But for now I lost my lights
can’t see the beacons.
I’m sitting in the dark
closed to the light.

It’s good to let emotions flow, whether they are positive or negative. They help to create.

Fear to fail. Fail to live.

I needed to write this to verbalise myself the sad and ugly truth that I try to hide to myself and change something about it. It’s for all of us over-analysing people who get caught up in the endless cycle of doubt and avoiding uncertainty.

Imagine a scenario:

Sitting at the bar, spotting a beautiful girl / handsome guy (let me go with what’s natural for me from now on). So there’s a girl. She seems nice. She doesn’t directly turn down your eye contact, doesn’t run away the moment you fix your eyes upon her. Opportunity exists. Now you start playing over the scenarios how to approach her. Buy her a drink and come over with it? Just randomly walk by and sit next to her saying: „I couldn’t stop watching you, you look great in that dress / jeans / shirt / skirt.“ Or just raise your glass for a toast to her and see if she reacts with a smile?

Replace the girl in the scene with any other „object of attention“ – job, business idea, investment opportunity, whatever. There are different actions to be taken to „win“ them, but the idea stays the same.

EVERY opportunity comes with a possibility of failure. EVERY chance also can work out. Only one scenario is sure to bring no result – not acting.

We need to fail to succeed. I’m not  keen on failure. Who would like that feeling after you f**k up something? I try to avoid uncertainty and possible failure as much as I can. It’s in my nature. I am thinking through all actions, considering pros and cons, playing different scenarios in my head. What if I do this? No, no, no… Rather not. What if I do that instead? No, no, no…

It takes me ages to act sometimes. And many times when faced with possibility to fail, I rather don’t act at all. There comes this wishful thinking – until I don’t act, the hope still exists. Let’s wait for a better idea. Because the one wrong step might end all hopes. There has to be one right thing to do, I just have to figure it out, right???

THE UGLY TRUTH IS: if you don’t act quick enough, you won’t act. Ever. There’s no definite answer, a right action with ensured success. We keep holding ourselves in the belief, that we will come up with a great, splendid, most extraordinary, genius plan of action, that is risk free and definitely will work-out. Wake up! WE WON’T!

When we succumb to fear of failure, we will fail to live.

Life get’s interesting when the thrill of uncertainty enters it. When you hang over that edge and you can fall both ways – success or failure. Yes or no. But until you act, you don’t get to that edge…

Next time you get to the opportunity, when every scenario involves a risk to fail (which is almost all of them), I have an advice for you (and I hope I’ll be able to follow it as well). Just ask yourself couple of questions:

  • Would my life be better or more interesting if it worked out?
    Yes? Good, proceed!
  • Would my life get terribly worse if it didn’t work out?
    No? Proceed!
  • Does any of the possible actions seem risk-free?
    No? Good, pick one and act!
  • Did you discard more than 3 options already?
    Yes? Stop over thinking! Do the last thing you came up with! Otherwise you’ll just sit and stare at that „girl/boy“ for the rest of the night thinking about „what if“…

I hope this will help me to break-out of the endless cycle and help me act more often on what I want. And hopefully some of you as well.

Give it a shot. Get on the edge.
Don’t fear to fail, because you’ll fail to live.

Pain, Gain, Learning and Quitting [updated 2015]

This was originally published in 2013, below some revision.

There was nothing but the title in it and a faint idea of what it should be about. Recently I came by the article on zenhabits.net regarding the discomfort and it made me finish this post. I would like to tell you about couple of discomforts of my life from past months and my learning from it.

MY JOB

In May 2012 I joined company DEVELOR. I just finished the job in Egypt with Alcatel-Lucent and through some luck and hard work I managed to be hired for Key Account Manager in DEVELOR Slovakia even before I finished in Egypt (you can find my „motivational letter“ on slideshare).

Since then, it has been a roller-coaster ride. I realised that it is first time that I work in a company and environment that is really strongly different and diverse. Everyone in my office is different and many of the people are in terms of communication and work style my strong opposites. It’s luck that we work with personal typology and communication as well and that helps me to understand and adapt.

Though I really like the job and the company, my work as a sales guy isn’t easy for me. I’m not a typical profile to do sales. I’m not naturally assertive. I don’t really flourish in contact with new and unknown people. There are things that I am naturally good at that can help me in sales, but many of the „sellers attributes“ I’m missing. There have been and still are moments when I want to pack my backs and run away. They still occur 🙂 But still, here I am. I stay and fight. It hurts often, but most of the time it hurts in a good way.

UPDATE 2015: I’m just finishing the 3rd year in DEVELOR. The pain of daily operations went down of course through learning. Still, there’s a lot of activities which I’m not made for and I have to deliver.

RUNNING, READING, EATING, EXERCISING

I started running in 2011 a bit, but 2012 I’ve gone further. I ran 350 km during last year. [Now I set myself to reach 1000 km and run a marathon.] UPDATE 2015: I’ve scrapped the goal of marathon after I completed the half-marathon in 2013. I even stopped running for some half a year altogether, but I’m back on track. I don’t want to target for such long distance runs, because this is where the pain is going from „enjoy the pain“ to „starting to fear the pain“.

Still, what I like about running most is one thing – every step I either achieve or fail. I can push through the pain and make one more step. Or quit. It wasn’t easy to wake up in the morning one hour earlier and go run. That is the hardest part – get dressed and step out of the front door and start running. I had many days when I didn’t want to do it.

I picked up regular reading in 2011 as part of monthlong initiative. I read 22 books last year. When I started, I set myself to read 30 minutes every day for one straight month. I remember days when I came home, tired of work and all other things and the last thing I wanted was to still do something like reading. But I knew, that if I don’t stop, reading will become part of my life, that I cannot live without. So I kept on going.

In August 2012 I started doing something for my body as well – exercises and change of eating. I met with Andrej Ulicny, who introduced me to convict conditioning exercises and helped me to change my dietary habits. Many time when I had to exercise I felt like not doing it. Every time I had to say no to some food I used to like, I wanted so bad to have it. It was uncomfortable and painful each and every time. I managed to lose over 10 kg since then and most importantly, I feel much better. Without getting over the discomfort of change, I would still be where I was those 6 months ago.

UPDATE 2015: Today, I work with Mišo Duchoň as my personal trainer, and right now I’m in my „Sixpack Adventure Challenge„. This works pretty well to get me into shape I’m aiming for. With Mišo I found the right way to train myself into a healthy and fit person.

WHY AM I TELLING YOU THIS?

There are things that hurt. New job. Different people. Exercising. New eating habits. Reading. Writing. Anything, that we are not used to hurts. Every second out of comfort zone is painful.

It is good that it hurts. It means you are developing.

This sentence I tell to myself each and every time I consider quitting. This, and a clear picture of what I want to achieve keeps me going on.

UPDATE 2015: I changed this from sentence to a question – I rather ask myself:

Are you considering quitting because it is hard to get done or because it makes no sense and the pain vs gain is no more valuable to you?

Learning to enjoy the „good pain“ is one of the key habits that we need in our life. And over past months I’ve gotten to the stage, where I can appreciate and enjoy the pain. It hurts so good when I know I’m growing.

Once we quit when it hurts a bit, we stop moving forward. Only when we master the pain which discomfort brings, we can grow. Master and enjoy the good pain.

If you want to read more about mastering the discomfort zone, I really recommend the article on zenhabits blog.

And don’t forget to let me know, how you are doing around discomfort. Have you started to enjoy the pain?

Look back

Look back
in the rear view mirror
look back to see the road
you have traveled.

Look back
and don’t regret
mistakes need not to be forgotten
for they were made for a reason.

Look back
and marvel over things
which happened and brought
you where you are.

Look back.
But be here.
And head forward.

Don’t collect souls, make connections

I love staying in touch with people. Whether in person or in social networks life. Online networks have some down-sides. Like for example being followed / connected / liked / subscribed (or whatever) by people who you share something with, but who you have not met ever or who you might have met once.

I don’t mind to be linked with people I barely have spoken to, because I know the network might bring me something later and that I might be help to someone as well. But I do mind the way people approach me online…

Couple of years ago I read a good article on how short personal message might totally change the look of a „cold contact request“ and I started to use that. Everytime someone  connects with me on LinkedIn for example, I find the time and write a simple short message, something like this:

LinkedIn message

I do it almost every time I contact someone new (whether I know or don’t know in person). And also when someone contacts me and I accept. Even when I meet this people on daily basis, it’s fine to say „Hey, thanks for the connection over here ;)“ It doesn’t cost much.

I think there needs to be some decency to the way we approach people online. It’s so impersonal to get an invitation like this:

LinkedIn generic invite

I KIND OF HATE THIS. I will connect with you even if you send me no message at all. But know, that these invitations show absolutely no personal interest, they just show you stumbled upon my profile somewhere and clicked „Connect“. It’s like if you would be going into the room full of people and just threw a business card on anyone who you recognise without any word.

Let me share with you couple of my connecting principles, maybe you can use them in the future for your online networking (and offline as well):

  1. WHY SHOULD YOU BOTHER?
    Why do you want to connect with that person? What is the reason? Is it common past experiences, similar interests or what?
  2. WHO AM I?
    If you are not 100% sure that the person will remember/recognise you from your name and picture, then make his/her life easier and state shortly who are you and how you know them? Especially do that if you haven’t met and only share some connections or past companies.
  3. UPDATE YOURSELF
    Do your ground-work – check the profile of the person for the last updates. Don’t do „one-click-connect-request“. It’s just like collecting souls. Click, another one sent. Rather check & show your genuine interest. You might find out he/she is working for your dream company.
  4. OFFER SOMETHING
    You want to stay in touch. It’s good to offer a helping hand. Most people won’t react anyway, but they will remember that you are willing to help. And you are the one who decides in the end what you will do for them.
  5. ASK
    Include a question in your message, so you can initiate a bit of dialogue. Even if it ends up with simple updates and thanks for connection, it is still better than only „XYZ is a new connection.“

Hope this helps somehow to improve the manners with LinkedIn (or any other social) connections and that people will make more connection and less of souls collecting.

Let me know what your experience with online network habits is. And if you have some good case practices, feel free to share in comments!

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Crazy, stupid, life worth living

You have to admit, these characteristics fit on our lives. Maybe not always, maybe just in some periods, but they do.

Life is an adventure (yeah, I am really using that cliche) and adventures happen only when you let the unexpected happen, let the unknown challenge you, when you simply step out of that cosy little place called comfort zone.

I have to admit I am in one of those periods, when I need to do some crazy, some stupid things, that make the life worth living. And I am happy enough to have people around me to keep me grounded to my true self.

If you are in this stage as well, just remember to stay true to your values and true to your friends. The rest is gonna be okay.

Just as I spoke with my friend Sunny last weekend: „Life is good!“ So let it roll!

Roll on, roll on roller coaster
We’re one day older and one step closer
Roll on, there’s mountains to climb
Roll on, we’re on borrowed time
Roll on roller coaster, roll on tonight
Roll on tonight, yeah.

Good boundaries

There are many quotes and sayings about own limits. Most of them talk about limits, that stop us from releasing full potential and we should destroy them. Like this one from Bob Proctor: The only limits in our life are those we impose on ourselves… But today I want to talk about the limits we should build, rather than destroy.

Boundaries can help us to stay on the right course, like beacons on the seas. We can drift off-course a bit, but they will get us back on track.

Each and every one of us has those guilty pleasures, those time-wasters or just bad habits that we maintain. Some of them might be really harmful, some just waste of money, time or potential. And we should build limits around them, so that they don’t grow too big, so big that we might end up doing more of them, than the things which we really want to do.

I also have some of those things, which don’t make sense to do, or just are unproductive. But I don’t want to give-up on them totally, because they add-up some enjoyment into my everyday routine. So rather, I’ll put some boundaries. Here they come:

  • watching „stupid“ movies – you know what I’m talking about. Those free time movies or series that sometimes become obsessive need. I remember sometimes I used to watch 3 hours of episodes of Friends, How I Met Your Mother or other funny, but useless movies. Or romantic comedies (yeah, I like those).
    Limit for stupid movies: maximum of 1.5 hour of this per week
  • spending time in coffee shops – I really enjoy having my coffee after work. Even that much, that in some months I spend and hour or two per day there. But it leads me to spending more money than I should plus I tend to smoke there.
    Limit for coffee shops: maximum 2 times per week
  • facebook wall-staring: somehow I’ve developed this bad habit of staring and scrolling up and down the facebook wall. Maybe you’ve experienced the same – I  log-in and after 15 minutes I just ask myself „WTF am I doing here?“ I don’t want to cancel my facebook account, because it’s good source of information and publicising my blog & other ideas, but I have to stop the wall-staring. I’m installing this Chrome Extension to track myself.
    Wall-staring limit: check facebook 3 times a day for tops of 15 min
  • trying to please everyone – it’s one of the characteristic traits that on one hand might be very valuable, on the other might prove disastrous. I’ve talked about being selfish before, this is more about being conscious about who and how much I decide to help around.
    Limit to all-helping: before saying yes to any request, consider well the time & effort requirements and say NO to anything that might be too much

I think these boundaries can set me off to another level of productivity. I can invest the saved time and money into achieving my 13 goals for this year.

What about you? What are the activities that you need to set boundaries to? Let me know in comments.