Consistency and effort… as simple as that.

Yes.  Life is as simple as that.  So are relationships – platonic, romantic or otherwise.

 

When we are younger, a little bit of effort or even small gestures can keep us happy for a long time.  In fact, some of us end up with friends or lovers based on one or two strategically-placed gestures that subsequently taper off and amount to zero effort.  However, as we get older, it becomes apparent that effort has to be applied consistently: to one’s life, one’s friendships, one’s relationships, one’s business dealings, one’s education – to virtually anything worth attaining and keeping.  At the end of the day, the most important pieces of your life won’t be easy to get to and will be equally as difficult to keep – especially if you decide that the effort can dissipate once you’ve gotten it.

 

So yes. Keep being consistent.  Keep putting some effort.

Keep giving it what you got.  Every day.

Show your loved ones that you love and care for them.  Every day.

Be there for your friend in that time of need or in that time of celebration.  Every day.

Push towards your business dreams or scaling up that visionary project you have on that table.  Every day.

Keep striving towards that degree or diploma or certificate.  Every day.

 

Trust me – the rewards are worth it, and if you felt that it was worth attaining in the first place, keeping it is just as worthy of your time and energy.  Delayed, sustained gratification requires consistent effort – take it from the Book of Lessons Learned.

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Milestones should be celebrated, no matter the size.

It happens sometimes.  You feel low – been feeling low for a long time.  Maybe it isn’t a downfall of sorts; it may just be that you just feel like nothing is really happening with you, you’re in a rut long-term, or things in your life have been at a pregnant pause.

 

Suddenly something happens – you get a call about a job interview you’ve wanted, you get into that school programme you’ve been looking at, your certificate from that online course you did comes in the mail.  You don’t really think much about it, but your inner circle – be it mentors, friends, family members, loved ones – make a big deal over it for you.  And you’re still steadily downplaying it.

 

But go ahead – celebrate it!  It’s a milestone, a step in the direction you are meant to be going in, whether it’s diminutive or gargantuan in size.  It might be getting a new job offer, publishing an article you’ve worked on or even just losing that first pound in a weight loss journey.  No matter how big or small, every monument that brings you closer to your purpose in life deserves a celebration.

 

So go ahead – make yourself a nice cup of coffee (or tea) and do your happy dance for yourself – because you earned it.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Get moving, no excuses!

It’s true: even the most active people can get a bit unmotivated at times.  And unless your profession entails a high level of activity, you have to make time for getting in some form of physical exertion.  On any given day, you’re going to wonder why you should even bother to move a muscle after you get home from work, especially if you spend the day stuck behind the computer – your eyes are tired, your brain is tired, sometimes even your heart is tired (emotionally, not physically).

 

But there’s good reason why you have to do away with the excuses and get yourself moving to the point of sweating at least 30 minutes a day – and if you can’t get it done daily, at least not miss more than 3 workout days consecutively.  It gets your mind clear and helps you mentally organised – if you get moving at the beginning of the day, it gets you decluttered to start your day.  If you get it in during lunchtime, it helps get your head ready for the remainder of your day.  If you get in your workouts in the evenings after work, it pushes the frustrations and drama of the day off you and helps you boost your endorphins to celebrate the good things that have happened throughout the day as well.

 

Bear in mind, I know it can be a tall order to fill.  But even on your droopiest days, working up a good sweat makes things feel so much better.  So of the million excuses you can find not to exercise, the best after-effects – clearer mind, endorphin boost, gaining strength, getting in better shape, and who can forge the power of the after-burn (with some workouts!) – are more than enough to beat them all.  So get on your gym kit and start sweating!

Friends and True Friends – know the difference. Or learn it fast.

Now this one may need a sour or bitter taste in many mouths out there, but I’m gonna say it anyway – when you know what kind you are, go on ahead and swallow your mouthful, cupful or bowl-ful of sour or bitter and learn how to shape up and be genuine or gracefully embrace your place as one of the fairweather variety, for whatever it’s worth.

 

There is a very stark difference between friends and true friends who become your family.  Some of us take longer than other to learn that difference, but I’m putting it out there in hopes that us slower learners get it that much faster.  Comedian Steve Harvey said it one morning during the first 12 minutes of his radio show, where he inspires only and reminds himself of life’s lessons in faith and other important qualities (forgive the paraphrasing but you’ll get the gist):
“you want lots of friends, go hit the lotto.  you want real friends, go get you in some trouble.”

 

It’s true: you can and will have lots of friends who show their pride when things are going well.  But when you hit your lowest lows, it’s the people who stand in the gap for you – whether it’s just checking up on you with a message, email or missed call – that are your true friends.  Experience the difference – or learn through those of us who already know.

Others’ behaviour towards you is a reflection of them, not you.

A good friend of mine (who also happens to be a fellow Bahamian and citizen of the world), Kendrick D said something very powerful to me recently:
“You should never discount yourself based on other people’s behaviour.”

 

It’s absolutely true: there comes a time when introspection is necessary after the same behaviour is repeated towards you by multiple people around you.  But when you know that you’ve been a positive influence (or at the very least, a source of support) to those people around you and the pattern is the same, there’s no need to hurt yourself and believe that you are the problem anymore. Only you know your true worth and when you are your genuine self, sometimes people will take advantage of that and still mistreat you because of various reasons that usually have nothing to do with you.

 

It is extremely unfortunate that our current society has so blurred the lines between genuine and counterfeit, perfect and real.  But you can’t lose sight of your true you, your true value, the realness that you give to your world around you and the greater world out there.  In gospel singer Donnie McClurkin’s words, “After you’ve done all you can… just stand.”

“What others think of you is none of your business.”

Deepak Chopra first said it as written. Since he put it so eloquently, many others from spiritual leaders like Joel Osteen to pop singers like Lana del Rey to little-known bloggers such as myself have echoed the same sentiments, either verbatim or in paraphrase.

 

Yes, sometimes people’s opinions of you actually get back to you on paper, in sound bytes or in personal conversation – sometimes it’s flattering, sometimes it’s unflattering and other times it’s just plain malicious.  The latter two are usually the hardest to shake away but regardless of what the opinion is, it’s actually none of your concern.

 

The only opinions that truly matter are your own – as long as you can look yourself in the mirror and feel that you and the God that you serve are pleased with you and what you do, everyone else’s opinions are just… white noise.

The risks and complications of adulthood, Volume 8.

Stress over Shock

Pain.

 

Whether physical or emotional, it comes in a lot of shapes and forms – it may be treatable or untouchable or even unresolvable, depending on where it comes from.   People may ask you to rate it on a scale from one to ten, when in a lot of situations the numerical rating isn’t worth a damn.

 

Some of us walk around bearing it with a smile on their face.  Others are crippled by it and are reduced to a human tear drop by it.  A school of thought believes that the absence of pain is the absence of growth.   Another believes that a lack of pain is a sign of disease.

 

Sometimes it’s a sign that something is changing.  Sometimes it’s a sign that something is wrong.  Regardless of why it’s there, it’s usually there for a reason.

There will always be many details, but don’t forget the big picture.

 

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  During this journey we call life, we get overwhelmed by little things, lost in the tiny details or tripped up by the baby steps we’re in the middle of.  Sometimes we realise it and correct ourselves right away, but there are a great many of us that don’t even notice when we’re starting to become engulfed in the minutiae that comes together to form a larger picture in our lives.

 

But remember that:  there’s a larger picture once you breathe, take a few steps back and observe.  So yes, there will always be a million little details that can distract us or tempt us to beat ourselves up at any given time, but never lose sight of your bigger picture.  Because that’s always there, too.

The risks and complications of adulthood, Volume 7.

Living.

 

Something that most adults end up taking for granted from the first heavy workday.  In fact, it’s something that humans tend to take for granted sometime after puberty kicks in as responsibilities grow more and more plentiful and as aspiration and making of a livelihood become more and more of a perceived priority.

 

Bottom line: living is the one thing you have to always be mindful of doing as you become older and more successful and accomplished in your goals.  Plain and simple.

Top three things to check before planning a vacation.

The world is more connected than ever. But some still don't want to be connected.  We all have that choice.

 

I’ll be honest – I love a great getaway, whether it’s just a quick weekend escape or an extended stay to get a break from it all.  And as a person who has been travelling since childhood, I think it’s safe to say that I have a lot of relevant experience when it comes to travel safety.  While some travel-related tasks are things I perceive as common sense, there are a few key things that may not be second-nature to those who don’t travel very often but need to be considered before planning a trip.

 

Do I need a visa to go there?  Some of us have heard about the Passport Index but personally, knowing how powerful your passport is tends to be mainly for bragging rights.  While VisaHQ has some fairly up-to-date information on country-specific visa needs, You should always check with the embassy or consulate of your destination and with your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out about visa requirements.

 

Can I get a visa on arrival (VOA)?  Your most up-to-date information on this will always be with the embassy or consulate of your destination, but be sure to keep your home Ministry of Foreign Affairs on speed dial in case there’s no ready answer from them.

 

What do I need to get a visa for my trip?  If you do need a visa in advance, pick up a form from your destination’s local embassy and see what you need to apply for your visa.  If you are eligible for visa on arrival, make sure that you have checked with the embassay and that whatever you need for your VOA is packed in your carry-on or personal bag.

 

Let’s face facts: everyone could use a break from the usual scenery but making sure you can get to your desired destination is the first on the list of priorities.  Once you make sure you know what you need to actually get there, then you can enjoy your getaways with ease.  Happy Travels!