Personal Development

Working With What You’ve Got

Sometimes it’s easy to find yourself wishing for something. Something that you don’t already have – whether it’s something material or something that is physically intangible. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of both.

To illustrate, I will use myself as an example. Things I’ve wished for include…

Material – Warby Parker glasses, Macbook Air, new clothes, new watch, new jewelry, a completely remodeled house, more money, my own designated parking spot at work since parking is impossible unless I get there before 6am or something. Hence I’ve been commuting without my own car this week. Uber to work, train + walking back to home. And yes, Los Angeles now has Metro Rail which is its own train system which kind of blows my mind. I thought trains only existed in places like New York and Boston.

Non material – The ability to jump out of bed feeling completely refreshed every morning, 24/7 happiness, a Master’s degree in Finance (without having to do the stressful learning part), the ability to sing better, to be a little less awkward and introverted, and lots and lots of free time to do more personal reading, to get more sleep, and to learn and work on my hobbies/passions, one of which is now blogging.

I also wish for my next relationship to go much more smoothly than the last. But we’ll cross that bridge when/if we get there. In the meantime, I’ve actually been really happy enjoying my life of independence and self discovery.

So you get the idea. We all have our list of what we wish we could have. But the reality is, we don’t have all that we want, and we will never get everything we wish for. Because once we get that one “something,” we soon find ourselves wanting something else. And then something else, and then another something else.

My most relevant illustration is the case of the lack of parking spaces at work, which at first made me so annoyed and frustrated. No one likes the feeling of coming in late to work because you couldn’t find street parking for the past hour.

I realized that well, this is my current situation and this is what I gotta work with, and so I better make it work well even with all this inconvenience.

What this looked like for me is as follows. For my 2nd and 3rd days of work, I decided to Uber it with the cheapest Uber option (Express Pool ftw) which has cost me about 5 bucks each morning.

I had to use my brain a little more when deciding how I would commute back home from work. My thought process was something like: no parking spot, will Uber, but there’s terrible rush hour traffic after work so Uber would also take a long time, so let me try walking for 30 minutes and then I can call an Uber to pick me up and that way I won’t have to spend as much money and I could use the walking time to have some personal prayer which I’ve been wanting to do consistently for so long, and the walking will be good exercise too after sitting and staring at a computer screen all day.

The first time I tried this 30 walking thing was yesterday, and little did I know that I would walk right into a train station, buy a train tap card, and hop right on. Three stops later I get off the train but I still have to walk another 16 minutes to get home.. hm. I decide to go for it and I came home sweating with cold ears and face because of the brisk, chilly air outside.

And yes I do realize that I kept switching between present and past tense in that last paragraph. My apologies. I promise I do speak English.

Anyway, I was just using my recent experience as an example because it shows how I was able to use a “negative” situation (no parking spot) to my advantage by getting more exercise, having a new set time for daily pray-walking, and saving a little bit of money by taking the train instead of Uber.

In my experience I’ve noticed that once I get started on something that I find productive or useful, it’s easy to just keep the ball rolling even when I’ve moved on to whatever I have to do next. I’m no psychologist or scientist but it seems like there’s something to that kind of productivity mindset in that once you get yourself into it, you have the momentum and desire to keep moving forward with that mindset, which you may or may not even be aware of at this point.

For example, today I went to work. I did my work productively for 8 hours while listening to podcasts with my headphones. Ok I didn’t listen to podcasts for 8 hours, but I did listen to them for a good while today. There’s so much food for thought in every podcast episode, even when it’s on a topic that you thought you already knew a lot about. Today I listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast episode that caused me to have a shift my thinking regarding people who have been incarcerated.

Ok so I went to work. Good building up of momentum, getting “in the zone” and staying there. Then I get off work, and my brain and body are still in “zone mode,” so I find ways to take advantage of my train ride time, walking time, any time.

Then I get home, greet my dog who runs up to me like she’s never been happier to see me, and I go to my room, put my stuff down, change into comfortable clothes, then I have dinner, chat a bit with my mom about the podcast I listened to, and then turn on my laptop, go to Pinterest and Tailwind to pin pins that would appeal to potential blog readers, then I go on WordPress, check how many posts I’ve published which was 53, so I click the “write” button and type in “54.”

(update: I realized on 3/7/18 that this is #55, not 54..)

There really weren’t any gaps in between all this “stuff” I did today. Rather, the more I got things done, the more I wanted to get more things done, not as a chore or obligation but as what I really want to do..

Although now I’m starting to feel a little sleepy….

Which means it’s about time to wrap this post up and hit that “Publish” button with a sense of accomplishment.

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