That’s what I wrote on my computer’s desktop. Just so I remember. I get easily distracted and even if I know it’s wrong, I sometimes give in to my other me, who doesn’t care about time or value, purpose or meaning. So when I’m in need of a reminder to keep my mind focused on things I truly value, I take a look at that little note.
A Finnish poet I very much admire, Eeva Kilpi, wrote on her book Kiitos Eilisestä (Thank You for yesterday) her mother’s words: ”Grow yourself up”. We have a lot in common. The same determined and disciplined mother, reminding us to hold tight on the steering wheel. That’s what they are supposed to do, right? Make sure we don’t fall behind. Preach the meaning of improvement. I’ve heard a lot about Education. But in my books, it doesn’t only come from books. You see, you can be good with the numbers but it doesn’t mean you’re smart. You can have a high salary but that doesn’t make you a leader. You can speak with a loud voice but that doesn’t mean you’re wise.
Keep your eyes ahead and hands on the wheel. Where are you going?
There are a hundred things I want to learn in life and it’s my job to pursuit them. Some of my goals are easier, ”concrete” things which give palpable rewards. Some of them are slightly harder, because the progress is not as visible and the reward only comes after a long time if you have maintained to keep your course. My post-it originally came to life after I found vocal coach Felicia Ricci from YouTube. On many levels her weirdness and wisdom gave answers to my questions and I remember thinking she was exactly what I was looking for at the time. That I should constantly seek ways to better both my skills and knowledge on singing and absorb everything that I can use as a fuel. That I should choose things that have a positive effect on me and widen my understanding about.. well, everything. Things that grow me up and make me a better person. They don’t have to be big things, you know. Just choosing to keep your mind open makes the biggest difference.
Concrete things often include physical action and determination to fight the discomfort of being socially isolated. That’s one of my pet peeves, because I’m bad at making time for myself. They say you need 16 repetitions to learn something, but also 10 000 hours of practice to master it. It might seem like an overwhelming number, but it will be taken care of by time. And time will pass wether we have the eyes for it or not. That’s why 5 or 10 year plans are good — you have the time in the world if you allow it to yourself. Just don’t waste it.
Concrete things, such as traveling around the world, graduating as a doctor or giving birth to your first born before 30, are relatively easy to achieve, because they come in frames you can define easily. Just finish that essay. Just save enough money. You know your direction and you know wrong from right. After a year of hard gym practice and eating healthy food you will have the body you have dreamed of. The choices are simple and you know when you have hit the goal. It can be easy to value concrete things more, because the rewards are often paid in social credit — as in admiration or appreciation — or money, which all bring immediate satisfaction. They are also the most definitive and appreciated qualities when evaluating someone, and traditional values, such as beauty or wealth, usually succeed to bring you the clout you desire. Of course we know the downside of it as well. How your ”best” or most beneficial attributes can be our looks or the numbers on our back account (which technically doesn’t even count as an attribute.) People are generally drawn to everything that’s perceived as some form or power — sometimes even specious success. What never fails to amaze me is how talent plays a continuously diminishing role in everything. All you need nowadays is a thick hair. It can gain you a record deal.
And then there are the little less sexy attributes that don’t get a lot of attention, like developing your personality and aspiring to be a good human. Practicing forgiveness, selflessness and benevolence towards other beings. Raising your kids well. Being unconditionally nice to the defenseless. Protecting the ones in need. In common language, possessing qualities money can’t buy. Also sometimes known as ’doing the right thing’. That’s a good field to set goals in.
However this box is by far the harder one to check. It means you can never give a blind eye, even if it meant your own discomfort. Doing what’s right requires plenty of faith and determination, and most of all balls. You can think of it like body building: a muscle only grows after frequent repetitions. The muscle ache is a concrete sign of progress. It’s exactly the same on the mental side as well. You need to repeatedly hit the goal, fight the discomfort (imo be willing to cry a lot), know your course, even if people told you otherwise and above all never give in, even if you felt like nothing was happening. Quickly thought, frustration is a concrete sign of progress on this field. That’s the discomfort you need to fight to go forward, and because it is so friggin’ hard, this I think requires the most strength in the world. You have to be willing to be kind even if it’s not reciprocated. It means extra work that no-one else necessarily does. You might be exposed to ridicule and questioning, because people will always have the desire to ask you who the hell you think you are. It’s so much more fashionable to give the finger than give a hand. But you don’t have to choose that.
Still, do you ever get credited enough for being ”a good guy”? Can you? Hasn’t made anyone a millionaire. And so what if you are an outstanding parent if you don’t make enough dough. This is what most of us get totally wrong. In my books, a beautiful aura beats any amount of money hands down. I don’t care about your six pack if you’re ugly on the inside. You shouldn’t be able to impress anyone with any amount of Instagram followers if you’re a bad friend. The time we’re living sets challenges on our sense of moral and it’s sometimes hard to tell right from wrong.. things always like to be more complicated than simple. But I believe concentrating on doing the right thing really is what will reward you the most in life. We spend so much energy on making money that we forget to pay attention on our relationships and on helping others. I wish they taught that in schools.. but guess that can only be learned if you got some really good teachers outside of them.
More than ever today’s world is about individualism and being the author of your own rockstar career. We have stopped being our own judges and too often we let other people dictate our lives. We spend way too much time impressing people we don’t even like, doing things we wouldn’t normally do. Does it sound healthy? No. Whatever you decide to do, be sure you do it for the right reasons. Set goals on health, beauty, education and lifestyle, but don’t let it devour you. You deserve to go to sleep at night knowing you’re a good person. You are so precious you deserve to grow yourself up and become a better person. You deserve to be as amazing as you have always wanted to be. And that doesn’t ever come from shallow qualities or possessions. Be true. Thank, apologize, forgive and let go. Be kind and treat everything with love. Millionaire or not, that’s undeniably the best direction you can ever move to.