Friday, June 30, 2017

Confidence is key

As I sit here in my dark grey dress with my black court heels, my hair down and my crystal necklace; in the library, I feel extremely self-conscious. People stare at me for more than just a glance. Flattering? I'm afraid I'm not used to it, so I shy away, I look the other way and I glance back at my laptop, typing furiously. I was working on my dissertation but the urge to write about self-confidence leapt at me and I knew that I had to pen it down before it escaped my vestibule and end up in the pile of broken dreams where all my past imagination lay rotting.

This of course makes me address the basis of self-confidence. I suppose it is easy for some people to receive compliments and to just 'roll with it' as they say, but for someone who does not care about appearance as much and who does not take my self-portrayal as important, I think back to the times when I always preached about how important looking your best is. As a make-up artist myself, I know how important it is to put your best face forward (Get the pun? hahah.. No? Never mind). But one thing I do realise is, that I never really take my own advice although I know how bloody good it is for me.

You know, the problem with self confidence is sometimes, more to do with how comfortable you are with your own self, in your own skin, on your own, it's more about people's perception on you. But, at other times, it's also how comfortable you are, presenting your best self in front of others. Outward confidence is the balance between people's perception towards you and you presenting your best self. Inward confidence is what the usual quote about how you should be confident in your skin, not needing someone else to make you feel complete and etc. comes into play. Because, truth be told, I am comfortable meeting new people bare faced, not worrying about my outfit, but I'm extremely self-conscious when I make an attempt at looking and dressing well when I'm in a situation where I am meeting new people. But this makes me question, if anything, why do I feel this way?

Shouldn't wearing something not have any affect on how I feel? Why do I shy away from the shower of compliments? Why do I feel utterly embarrassed at the thought of flattery? Shouldn't I be happy that people take notice of me and are somewhat even interested in me? But, part of me is telling me, "How hypocritical of them, they only want to get to know me because I look good". But then again, when you choose to pick up a book, shouldn't there be something that stands out to you, like the title or the colour of the cover? If so, then why do I feel so shy and embarrassed in someways annoyed that people have preferences? Especially when it comes to physical appearance?

Nevertheless, it got me thinking on how best to describe putting your best self forward, how to accept compliments and how to always look your best and embrace the fact that you can be the best version of yourself and not feel embarrassed or torn by the fact that you do sometimes feel a certain way.

Fast forward a week later, I sit back at my desk to review my thoughts. See, I guess it's just me wanting to go up to people and shout at them and say that they're beautiful. To have that amazing confidence to just dance on the streets with my headphones on, to just be bold and attempt to make friends, or allow others around me to be brave enough to know me.

I guess the key is that I don't want to let go of people in my life and I want to hold on to as many people in my life because I feel like I don't want to lose them because I cherish them so much no matter what they were to me at any point in my life.

Now, moving forward, I'm definitely putting more effort into trying to dress better, speak to people I wouldn't typically speak to and keeping communication to a minimal with people that I know would just blank you to do their own work, which honestly, as annoying as it is, but they are doing what is better for them and that is what I should do too.

I suppose it's harder for people who think too much but either way, I'm better with my anxiety and depression and as of the 13th of June, my anxiety depression has plummeted from critical; almost life threatening to healthy levels which I am really happy about. It has taken me quite awhile to get to this point in my life but I'm content and am trying to keep it up really. Positivity towards a better anxiety and depression controlled life, you never truly recover from anxiety and depression, you merely have it under control but never get rid of it.

But I suppose the key to confidence is:
1. Fake it to make it.
2. Make an effort.
3. Accept compliments.
4. Present your best self.
5. Shower people with compliments.

These are the few things that you could do to present yourself as a confident person and at the same time allow others to feel confident as well. 

Till my next post. xx

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Try or die trying: An episode filled with distractions

Go to school, get good grades, get a job, get married, have children. Follow your dreams.

What are your dreams? I want to be an engineer.
                                      I want to be a scientist.
                                      I want to be a doctor.
                                      I want to be famous.

We grow up wanting to be the person we see, the person we hear about or the person whom our parents see as being important. We are told what is possible. At that very moment, we're being conditioned. Why?

Children have infinite imaginative capacity. However, as time goes on, we're told what is impossible, hence, narrowing down our imaginative capacity.

"Don't be ridiculous."
"Stop building castles in the sky."
"Don't daydream."
"You have to work hard to be successful."

When I look back at the things my parents used to tell me were impossible or when my parents used to say my ideas were not possible, I thank a part of my brain, which until today believes that NOTHING is truly impossible.

I used to be the kid that used a ruler to unscrew the sharpener, you know the ones we used to have with those mirrors at the back, just so I could get the blade out.

I would then proceed to slice the skin on my index finger because I forgot what pain felt like and what blood looked like. Masochist? No, hardly. I personally felt it was because of my inquisitiveness that made me want to know. The curiosity, the drive, the thirst for knowledge, to know, and to feel.

I look at the people around me today, and myself included. A common theme that appears to arise everywhere is that we're easily distracted. It's as if as soon as you have an idea or as soon as you decide that you'd like to get some work done, your brain, just automatically pings and then there is this tremendous drive to open up the Facebook app, or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat, and these days, these four apps just come hand in hand, you have to have them, except Twitter, most people don't find it exciting anymore, but those who generally do, would have these four apps, otherwise, just substitute either of the apps with Pinterest or tumblr.

I'm not saying that distractions are bad. During certain times, like if you wanted to mindlessly browse through something, if you were on the bus or if you were waiting for a friend, then perhaps that could be an excusable matter. Although I am a strong believer of being present and being attuned to our surrounding but just like many others, I sometimes feel the need to be on my phone or to appear distracted so that I don't feel lonely when I'm on my own.

But these distractions and tools for procrastinating also has downsides to it. Why?

Imagine if in the world, you're only being fed information, but you're not doing anything to think about the information that you have gotten. You won't be able to process it, refine it or churn it into a different idea.

Think of a person who constantly says they would like to lose weight, but they just keep eating and eating and eating and not exercising. Similarly, if you have so much input but not output, then the throughput also equates to nothing.

People say work hard and you will get what you want but honestly, here it is. No, if you work hard, you live comfortably perhaps, but you're never at the top. Why? Because if you get paid by the hour for example, if you use up all your hours to work and get paid, what probably is not your true worth. Then, all the time you have spent working equates to no amount of increased income. So, the best thing to do is to work smart, just as you would study smart. Scout the sort of skills that are in high demand, invest in yourself. Learn a new set of skills. Get some part-time gig which pays you per project. Approach people. Network. Learn about new things, be a passive entity, receive sometimes and keep your mouth shut.

Other times, talk, give your input, let people go against you. Engage in friendly debates, try to understand someone else's view. Don't just stay set in your own ways. The best thing you can ever do is listen. The art of being a good conversationalist is not in bringing the best topic or the best points onto the table, but rather of being a better listener and bringing relevant input to the table and taking away with you valuable information which you can grow from.

Social media these days provides us with a platform to not want to go out there and do it. We sit in our little rooms, watching Netflix, debating online, but what are we actually contributing?

I feel the reason why people who create distractions for us such as the Facebook mogul, Mark Zuckerberg, or the Snapchat mogul, Evan Spiegel, are rich is because that's what people want. So, as much as I'm trying to say that we have to go out there and do something, I'm also saying, "Get off your f***ing phone and be present in the moment!".

Now, if you will excuse me, I will go speak to my mother.

Till my next post. xx

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What is travelling actually costing us?

A couple of days ago, I was doing what every regular person would be doing at some point during their day. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. What I saw personalised for me, in terms of the sponsored ad, although I had already switched off the preferred ads monitoring on Facebook; were travel the world posts. I don't know if any of you are getting the same things pushed to you. But, as millennials, we're constantly having people tell us how we should travel more often, we hear stories of how some people chose to leave their jobs, claiming that they were completely unhappy being in a stressful work environment with what most of us would call a 9-5 job. But now, since they have quit their jobs and are now travelling the world without worry, they love being able to travel without thinking about responsibilities or perhaps the whole idea is to stop living from paycheck to paycheck. Financial freedom.

We all know how cheap it is to travel the world these days, with return flights sometimes costing less than £20, it's no wonder why some people live in Hungary for example and travel to London everyday for school, opting to couchsurf mainly because it's cheaper to fly in than to actually rent out in an expensive city like London. Now, would it not be so great if you could live on the road and think of nothing, just travel the world and make money as you go? Sounds like the dream? Well, there are people who are doing exactly that, and more so, by trying to sell you your dream. They've done it and now they're choosing to sell it to you. They're saying that you could live this exact lifestyle and they want you to follow them so that you are able to live the life that you have always wanted. Now, as much as I want to believe that this is all real, I'm having a hard time believing this. Okay, call me a shrewd, a disbeliever. Whatever.

I'm not doubting whether or not if it's possible, but to me, my question would be, how long? What is the length of time anyone is able to spend like this without wanting to gain a stable career, build a family and perhaps maybe even purchase a home? The answer to that is " I don't know", but I'm going to break it down for you.

You see, I see so many posts these days, be it on Facebook or even on Instagram. There are couples that travel the world together, solo females who decide to venture out on their own and then some people who perhaps travel the world in groups? Whatever the way that someone goes travelling, they're all selling you the same thing, the opportunity to quit your job, and gain this "freedom" that would enable you to travel the world full time. See, all of this is completely fine to me, you can quit your 9-5 job, you can travel the world, with a little planning, you can get part-time jobs wherever you are. But, the problem that we have here, is most likely these people that are saying that you would be living an amazing life, don't tell you what goes on behind the scenes.

You see, with social media, it's so easy to just put out what you want about yourself. Whatever goes on in the online world, let's just call it that, is just a fraction of their whole life. There are going to be difficult times, and honestly, I don't want to be in a place where I am scrubbing toilets for a living, because half of the time, I can't even deal with cleaning the bathroom in a shared house, let alone busting my butt in a foreign country, trying to earn a buck.

Yes, you save up before you go, that's what everyone says. But you can budget as much as you like, but things always don't go as planned. You can plan as much as you want, but there are going to be external factors that are going to hinder you from travelling. That's just how it's going to be. I'm not being cynical or negative, I'm just being honest. I'm not going to deny that it is possible to travel cheaply around the world. Over the years, I have learnt a couple of tips and tricks about travelling that has allowed me to travel to various countries below £200 for a week's trip. So, I'm honestly all ears if you tell me that it is cheap to travel, but it is also very difficult to lead your life continuously on the go. Travelling is tiring. The amount of time you spend in airports is tiring, the amount of time you spend in trains, is tiring. I've done it multiple times and the only thing that would keep you sane is if you have a travel buddy with you. Things in airports are much expensive than in the city and there are so many things that you won't know as a tourist until you arrive, that's different if you've done enough research about a place, but if you're constantly on the go, you're going to be mentally drained and that's just a fact.

Travelling your life, is very exhausting, there's so many things to see, I'm not denying that, but at the end of the day, it does get me thinking. I'm one individual and so are you, the experiences that I get, can never be passed down. Yes, I can say that I went to Tanzania once upon a time, people were amazing, went to the Serengeti, all these things are merely just things that people say to make you. go. travelling.

Tourism is such a big business today because we're just so tired of our lives. We're thinking, if I go on a holiday then I'm able to relax and I'm able to be in an exotic location, sipping on coconut water, and cocktails and I will be happy. But once you go back to your life, then you just start over the whole process of hating your life. And honestly, to me, that isn't financial freedom. That isn't freedom at all.

To me, financial freedom is being able to live my life not worrying about money, not worrying about when or how my paycheck would come in. I have a good life, I have enough money to pay for my rent, enough money to buy good food, enough money to do what I want, but being smart about things. There are so many YouTubers out there who share so many advice on how to save money, what you can do to make investments and there are so many people out there that you can speak to, even in your friend circle. We just take everything for granted and we don't focus on the possibilities to form good connection with our surrounding which is why we often want to run away from the country we're living in. Most of the third world countries for example, aren't that great for citizens who are living in the country itself. But we have the privilege to be there and to use the money that we have already earned and because of the conversion rate, is why it appears to be cheaper. But if at all, you were working and earning the money in the country itself, then you'd see that most of things are proportionate to the price of the items.

I find it rather amusing when people sell these " free your life " seminars where they teach you how you can break free from the job that you're currently in. But, I think, personally, as much as I love travelling, I also know that it isn't something that I'm willing to sacrifice my stability for and that's just me, because to me, long term financial stability is way better than short term happiness. When you start working freelance and when you take jobs when you want it and not to build your own portfolio continuously just because you can, you lose the opportunity and basically allow others to surpass you simply because they have more time to focus on these things. I'm not saying that there aren't ways to pay for your holidays such as by using certain websites to find remote jobs, but you take what you can get. That's just the harsh reality of things. But as much as we do try to get people to think of a different perspective, people are hardwired for wanting fun and for wanting to chase happiness. If we weren't airline companies, retail companies, businesses in general will not be making money and that's what consumerism is all about. They want you to hate your life so that you spend your hard earned money on them. My average expenditure after giving up spending for no reason, impulse buys, happy treats all include, comes down to literally less than £20 a week, groceries included.

More about my grocery expenditure in my next blog post.

Till my next post. xx