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The power in letting go of regret

Regret… now that’s an emotion that we are ALL familiar with, some perhaps more than others. Unless you are a sociopath, in which case you do not have the brain function necessary to feel the emotions associated with ‘regret’. So anyway, I did a quick search on this blog and turns out I have written exactly eight posts were I have tagged ‘regret’ as a key word. It’s a word that I have associated with coming out stronger from adversary, in making life choices, with death, with honesty, with having more than others – a myriad of situations which on the surface are not related to each other.

But looking at these posts, basically I have associated it with any situations where I felt there was a choice (ok, death was not by choice but maybe I have survivor’s guilt). So even though we love the feeling of having options – unfortunately, the minute we make the choice – any choice (it really doesn’t matter what we choose) – we immediately open ourselves to the very real possibility of experiencing regret – for not picking the option we didn’t choose.

I was watching the movie “About Time” last weekend, and the main character in it reaches the age of 21 and discovers that part of his inheritance is the ability to time travel. Now I tried imagining that given this ability there would be events in my past that I would choose to erase (trust me, I have a vivid imagination). The thing is, just like in the movie, if the butterfly effects of things changed means that I don’t meet certain people, experience certain situations, fundamentally, who I am, would change. And surprisingly it turns out THAT is a choice that I am not willing to make.

I like me, I am me because of everything that has happened to me, through the years, with the people, in places and situations, which at the time I had thought were the worst thing that can possibly happen. Yet, there I was, slapped on the face with the realization that I don’t want to lose or change who I am.

You know what that means? I don’t.

I think it might mean that I am letting go of the regret I had felt at the decisions I had made through life. That I had somehow made peace with my choices. Now knowing me, before I make any choice, I do weight them on a scale (I am a Libra so that figures my obsession with the scale thingy). I do the whole exercise of columns and rows of alternate scenarios and in most cases, I had chosen, what I believed at the time, to be the best possible option/choice. I can be quite obsessive with having a plan A (for action) and back up plan B, C, D… you get the picture.

Now, if you watch the Ted Talk below you will notice that at 6.15, she outlines what people regret the most – or rather the choices that people regret the most and funnily enough these are related to – education, career, romance, parenting, self, leisure, finance, family, health, friends, spirituality and community – in exactly that descending order. And that basically means that we most regret the things where we feel that we had a choice and we could’ve chosen something else. But what if like me, you get to a point, where you realize that at the moment of choosing, you had weighted all your options and you had made the best possible choice you can?

Would you still then hold on to regret? Or would you let it go?

So, here’s what I am going to be doing…. I am going to get myself tattooed this weekend and then be damn happy that I at least had the courage to do something that I had always wanted to get done. And if I regret my tattoos, then I guess I will learn to love my imperfect flawed creation 😉

The lesson that I ultimately learned from my tattoo and that I want to leave you with today is this: We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly. It reminds us that we know we can do better.

BTW, hindsight is always 20/20, so don’t bother looking back.. just keep moving forward 🙂

 

 

I can’t accept not trying

Can't accept this

Luck and Success – by chance?

Let me clarify this first – I do not believe in LUCK but I do believe in HARD WORK.

And I believe that when we want something, really really want something, the universe aligns itself to give us what we want.

If you believe in God, then you probably also believe in some corner of your heart or in the back of your mind, that God will provide. Whether it’s in the Bible or the Quran or any of the other holy books, I believe that God has clearly and repeatedly mentioned that you cannot stop at believing, you must toil to get what you want.

God definitely provides, He’s given me things that I didn’t ask for but definitely needed. He didn’t give me courage, He gave me circumstances that I had to rise above. That took courage that already exists in all of us.

Our wants and needs are two different things and our frustration stems from our confusion of the two. What you need and what you want – are not the same things. You need a place to live, what you want, maybe a mansion. Both fulfill the same basic need and function, yet, if you had asked for a mansion, you will be frustrated with living in an apartment. There in lies the difference in attitude, between being frustrated or grateful.

We chose to be either lucky or unlucky. Grateful or ungrateful.

We can blame others for all the things that have gone wrong in our life or we can stop playing the victim of circumstances, of birth etc, and take responsibility for our own actions.

You are only as lucky as you think you are. You are only as successful as you think you are.

To constantly compare yourself to others. To have to find excuses to justify your failures, whether to others or yourself, is to give over the reign of your life to someone else. It is no longer your own life that you live by your own choice, when you do that.

As the year draws to an end, the internet will be flooded with articles on how to make better resolutions, or how to stick to your resolutions and make your dreams come true. Another year ending seems to bring about all these in people. Yet I cannot help but ask, why didn’t you ask yourself these questions every day? You had 365 days when you could have done so. Why did you wait for a year to end to look back and realize that you have wasted yet another year? That you are no closer to your dreams, your aspirations, your very own definition of success?

Luck, is when you decide that you are lucky anyway. Luck is when you realize that while you have an apartment, someone else is sleeping on the streets tonight. Luck is when you decide that you can afford to finance another child’s education beside your own. Luck is when you know in your bones that empathy is priceless and decide to cultivate it on a daily basis. Luck is when you realize that love is not the selfish gratification of your own needs but the fulfillment of the need of another being. Luck is holding the reigns of your life in your own hands and the innate knowledge that your potentials are unlimited and only you have the key to unlock them.

And in that sense, as yet another ‘successful’ year draws to an end, I wish you ‘luck’ and may you keep finding and giving the best of yourself 🙂

Body language: What does your non-verbal cue say about you?

Did you know that you are talking to people, even when you are not saying anything at all? We are constantly communicating with non-verbal cues that we are sending without even thinking about them. Some of it is purely instinctual and some of it is learned behavior over our life time.

Did you know that if you frown for a minute, you will start to feel irritated and angry? Or that if you were to force yourself to smile, even when you don’t feel like it, you will notice that you are feeling better in a couple of minutes? Our nonverbal do govern how we feel about ourselves.

If you are curious, I really recommend watching the TV series “Lie to Me“. I love how they break down non-verbal cues into micro-expressions and derive so many meanings out of them. I read the book “Blink – the power of thinking without thinking” and immediately got so interested in non-verbal communication that I downloaded all 3 seasons of “Lie to Me” and watched it. I promise you this, you will NOT be disappointed.

So, to sum it up,

Our bodies affect our mind

Our mind affects the outcome

So try your power poses and be aware of the non-verbal cues that you are sending to yourself.

Secrets for Career Success

Catchy title … right? Only the biggest secret is that there IS no secret 🙂 It is a lot of hard work, common sense, consistency and perseverance. Don’t count on or blame luck – the so called lucky people made their own luck. They didn’t just happen to be at the ‘right place’ at the ‘right time’, behind the scenes, they have worked very hard to be right there. 

Take for instance the mission statements of any successful company, they clearly and briefly outline what it is that the company aspire to. You may be tirelessly working for just such a company but ask yourself, are you working just as hard on your own career? Do you know your own mission statement? If you don’t have one, maybe it is time to sit down and write one.

When people talk about wanting to have successful careers but do not really know what ‘success’ means to them, it reminds me of the conversation Alice had with the Cheshire cat in the “Adventures of Alice in Wonderland”.

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.

‘Where do you want to go?’, responded the Cheshire cat.

‘I don’t know.’ Alice answered.

‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

 Now, if you have understood what that conversation meant to convey, then make the time to sit down, concentrate, write & re-write, your own mission statement. It could be for your career, your family, your life in general – the important thing is if you have the burning desire to change things for better in any sphere of your life, then sit down and figure out what you mean by ‘better’ and be specific.

  • Do you want a particular position? What makes you want that particular position- money, prestige, passion?
  • Do you want to make more money? How much more money? Put the amount down in “x” along with a timeline of by when you want to be making that money.
  • Do you measure success by material comforts? a house or apartment? a car? certain gadgets? make a list… I call this the ‘wish’ list of things I want to own and by when.
  • Clearly state a date, year or age, by when you want to be where you want to go or have what you want to own.
  • Now, you need to understand what are you willing to sacrifice to get where you want to go. This is the opportunity cost that you will incur on the way. Where you want to go may require additional trainings or you might have to go back to university, change companies, work longer hours, travel more, spend less time on social life and more on networking events, etc.  Once again, be specific.
  • If you have reached this step – congratulations! It means that you have managed to clearly state where it is that you want to get to, by when and how. Now take a look at your plan, date it, sign it and refer back to it at least once every 3 months.

You have managed to lay down the first brick of the foundation to build a succesful career!

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