There are things we all learn as we go through life. Some people, I believe, exist purely to teach us those lessons. That old adage of “Some friends are here for a reason and some for a season“. In my twenty-eight years of life, I am discovering that it’s true.
The following are lessons I have learned and lessons I wish I would have privy to earlier in life. Maybe I can save you the trouble by filling you in now incase you are unaware to these realities.
People have time for what they make time for
This goes for you as well as for others. For example, nobody is too busy to respond to you. They will make time to answer you if it’s something they truly want to do. Of course, I get that people are busy but I know that I will always answer the people I want to talk to, simple as that. Stop making excuses for yourself and for others. This also applies to many other things in your life. You say you don’t have time for X, but what you’re really saying is that you don’t want to make time for X. There’s a big difference and it’s a huge realization when you start actively ‘making time’ for things.
You are defined by your actions, not your thoughts
Thinking about rushing over to help someone as their groceries’ are slipping out of their hand and actually doing it define who you are. Contemplating donating money every month to a charity an actually making the effort to do it, are the actions which define your life. Good intentions are worthy and it is our thoughts that inspire action, but you need to have follow-through. When it all comes down to it, the world see’s your actions like a potential employer reads your resume. Nobody can read your thoughts.
People look out for #1
I don’t feel cynical saying this anymore because it is true. I’ve witnessed it firsthand reflecting upon my own behavior and dealing with people who make it quite obvious that it’s the case. For example, a manager I used to have wasn’t aware she was working me to death (or perhaps she was) but as long as I was doing the work and accepting more work, she wasn’t going to check-in with how I was doing until I said something. Even the sweetest, most kind-hearted person is going to be aware of their own needs ahead of yours. In my experience, people will take as much as they feel they can get away with so it’s important to reflect on your situation and determine what you will let them do and where your final straw lies, once you’ve reached the ‘enough already’ point. It can be a very scary and daunting thing to say no to an employer or anyone in your life but sometimes in order to be successful, you need to be aware that nobody is going to stick up for you. You teach people how to treat you and you are the only one that can stick up for yourself.
We all have excuses and sometimes they are genuine ‘facts’ but most of the time they are excuses we play off as facts. Sometimes we just let our excuses pile up. The authentic truth, the one we need to remember and live daily is that everyone has a really good excuse for not doing X, Y and Z. Truly successful people get out of bed everyday and push through the struggle and the obstacles to get what they want. They leave their excuses at the door. Sometimes, you can use those reasons to propel you to the next level. It’s about owning those excuses and not giving them any validation. Tell the true story, not the fairytale. I remember a quote from Ilyana Vanzant that speaks to this truth: