The Importance of Having a Clear Vision

Note: This post was written over a span of several weeks, not because I was perfecting it, but because I either didn’t feel like writing or I got interrupted/distracted or sleepy. Hope it still makes sense! 🙂

Not gonna lie, life is pretty rough sometimes. Sometimes we might find ourselves in an extended slump during which we have no motivation or drive to “push through.” Maybe that’s how you feel right now regarding some long-term endeavor. Maybe you feel like all you want to do is give up, but you’re also torn knowing that if you quit, you’ll probably feel like a failure and consequently, that would be quite depressing.

Maybe that’s how I’m feeling right now. Actually, that’s exactly the case. Inwardly I’m a blob of discouragement and unmotivatedness, and quite frankly I feel depressed, as if there’s a deep hole in my heart. But this “hole” has visited me enough times in my life that I’ve somewhat learned how to handle myself in such times.

How did I end up showing up to my laptop to write this post when my whole inward being doesn’t want to do anything except feel sad?

Two things.

#1: PRACTICE – Or more like, it’s happened so many times in my life already that after experiencing it over and over again, I’ve found that some ways of coping/dealing with depressive episodes are far more effective than other ways. I’ve learned that no matter how terrible I feel, the feelings will not stay permanently. I’ve been practicing, based on my therapist’s suggestion, to “notice” or “acknowledge” those feelings, to recognize that, “oh look, there’s sadness paying me a visit, so I’ll say hello to it and then let it go,” similar to letting go of a balloon. In a sense it’s like you’re objectifying the feeling, though I still allow myself to feel the feelings rather than pretending they’re not there. It’s like, hey, I have this feeling and it’s there, and I won’t deny it because that’s the fact, but the feeling is just a feeling so I acknowledge that it’s hanging out here with me for now, but in the meantime I’ll keep doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing. The more I do this, the more easy and automatic this “method” becomes.

#2: VISION – If you have a clear vision of something you’re working towards, and you can really SEE it to the point where it’s REAL to you, and you want it SO badly.. then that vision will be able to override your lack of motivation (the majority of the time), and it’s COMPLETELY OKAY to have occasional “off” days. The vision is THAT good, that even when you’re like, “I can’t get up from this comfy couch and I don’t feel like doing anything,” you’ll somehow still (perhaps slowly) get up from that couch and do something to get closer to your dream goal.

For some reason I somehow find myself writing more about depression on this blog than planned, so apologies for that. If you can relate at all, then great, and I hope my sharing can be of help to you. But if you can’t really relate much to depression and mental health struggles, that’s okay too. Regardless of our natural disposition, we all still need to find ways to get things done in life, especially us millennials.


Some days later…

I didn’t get to finish writing some days ago, so here I am again. Showing up to my laptop. Except this time I’m not feeling depressed at all and am finishing up this post at the end of a great day. (Didn’t actually finish the post that day..)

I also learned an effective secret yesterday, which I guess is now my not-so-secret secret. 🙂 This secret has gotten me way out of the realm of depression, sadness, anxiety, and restlessness. This “secret” – actually, I don’t know why I’m calling it a secret because it’s not something that needs to be kept from others to know about.

So this “tool” that I discovered over the past week is something that has revolutionized the past few days for me, and I believe the lessons learned here will also revolutionize the rest of my life.

It’s actually quite simple. I began to shift my attention away from myself, my problems, my worries, my discomfort, my unfulfilled desires, MY MY MY everything… and began to pay attention to the problems of those around me, but not in a critical sense at all.

What I mean is, I’ve been finding that what saves me from depression the most (besides meds and therapy) is helping and caring for others, thus redirecting my focus to something outside of me and my situation. I believe that human beings have this innate characteristic of finding fulfillment in making a difference in others’ lives. Just think about it.

That being said, I was told by my therapist that I shouldn’t always be “distracted” from the difficult things I’m going through, because in order to properly pass through the healing process, it is still necessary for me to take time to process everything, while not allowing myself to fall into the depression vortex.

So for the most part, focusing on other people or things is a healthy way to be distracted to the point where I can still experience the inevitable emotions for healing, without being overtaken by the stronghold of depression.

On another note, I’m also at a time of the month when PMS is no longer an issue. Pardon me for being TMI. Just telling it as it is, because I don’t want to sugarcoat anything I write here. So granted, my stabilized hormones has probably also contributed to my improved well-being.


Even more days later…

I just went back and added some more writing above to fill in some gaps.. now my brain is tired after trying to put into words some of the complicated ideas in my brain.

 

 

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How to Save Both Time + Money by Investing in Yourself Now

Today I want to address something that I feel a lot of people, especially young people, do not see or realize. I really hope that reading this blog post will change or shift how you view time and money, and that this will save you from so much wasted time in the long run.

It makes me so sad when I hear of people who, at the end of their lives, have all these regrets of not doing things that could have brought them closer to their dreams. Instead they can recall plenty of “safe” experiences. Experiences within their own comfort zone.

Okay, please don’t get me wrong – I am all about living in and treasuring the present moment, which is so good for your mental health and saves you from so many nonexistent life stressors. There’s always two sides to everything.

On the “other side” of focusing and enjoying the present is the matter of doing things with a long-term view. The reason why this is crucial is because this can make all of our future present moments so much more happy, stress-free, and enjoyable. Interesting huh?

What do I mean by “investing”?
To most people, investing usually has something to do with personal finance. That is true, but the investing I’m referring to now is specifically focused on yourself. That is, investing in yourself.

What does investing in yourself mean?
Investing in yourself means you spend extra time and money on something now with the full expectation that your present actions will save you an even greater amount of time and money in the long run. You put in the work and money now for a shorter period of time, and therefore speed up the process of getting to the results and success you want.

How do you invest in yourself?
There are two main factors: TIME and MONEY. Maybe you’re thinking the money part is unnecessary because you can still find ways to be successful by figuring things out for yourself or by taking advantage of free resources. You may be right in a certain sense, but I would also beg to differ.

Sometimes just by spending that little extra money, we shave off bits of time here and there, and really though, when it comes down to it, time is money. You can have all the money in the world but if you die tomorrow, the money is useless. Not trying to be morbid but just pointing out the facts.

Since time is money, and we care more about time than money, BUT we can also spend money in a way that can help us save a lot of time,so that during our lifetime we can have more time do the things we love and enjoy, it’s so important to invest in things that can speed up the process for us in whatever it is we want to achieve.

But how do we know what to invest in?

Decide what is most important to you in life.
It all comes down to this one question: Is it really worth it to spend extra time on something in order to save extra money? In other words, in any given situation, which limited resource would you rather spend – your time or your money? I would argue that time is much more valuable than money, though of course one can always think of extreme scenarios which I will not get into.

Example: Wait in super long line at a gas station with lower gas prices, or save 30 minutes of your life by spending a little more money at another gas station? Add up all those extra 30 minutes in your lifetime and you’ll probably get back a ton of time to do more productive things.

Oh, and by the way, I recently learned from an online course (can’t remember which one cause I’ve purchased many.. also check out this site if you’re into personal development and would consider investing in a course) that if you spend 15 minutes learning the same thing/topic every single day for a year, after just one year you will be an expert on that topic. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty mind blown by this statement.

My point in mentioning this 15 minute thing is to show how just a little bit of time here and there on minor things can actually add up to a lot of time wasted, even if it did save you some money.

Of course there are always ways to still make the most out of those “wait times.” If you have no choice but to spend extra time on something due to your financial situation, you could use that extra idle time to listen to podcasts, read books, practice a language, make important phone calls to eliminate tasks on your to do list, or anything else – you can get creative here.

Another (random) example: Buy a better, more expensive knife, and spend less time cooking. In this case, you’d have to decide if you believe that investing in the expensive knife is worth it, or if you’re happy with spending more time on cooking because perhaps cooking is your way of unwinding and you find it very therapeutic.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s really about what will make your life better. YOU know yourself best so I trust you can make those little daily choices in a good way. 🙂

There’s also this thing called outsourcing.
I recently learned about a strategy that many entrepreneurs use called outsourcing. One great example of someone who outsources is Tim Ferriss.

Outsourcing essentially means that you pay other people to do certain tasks for you so that you have the time to focus on your most important tasks. For bloggers, one of these most important tasks would be content creation, rather than something like pinning new pins on their Pinterest account. This explains why virtual assistants have become more popular, to handle the smaller and probably more tedious tasks of the one paying them.

Okay, that’s cool Amy, but how does this apply to my own life?
Great question. Well, this outsourcing thing can be for things like house cleaning, laundry (yes, there are people who always have their clothes washed, pressed, and folded by someone else), gardening (don’t tell me your family never had a gardener before), grocery shopping (apparently Amazon bought Wholefoods so you can literally have quality groceries delivered to you), taxes..

Speaking of taxes, two of my friends just got their taxes done by pros at H&R Block and it literally took about an hour or so to get it all completed. If they had done their taxes completely by themselves, they wouldn’t have as much time now to work on things they really need to work on. For one of them, it’s applying to prestigious writing/journalist jobs to advance in her career. If anyone is looking for an amazing writer to work with, hit me up and I can get you guys connected!

Two days ago I decided to try out this outsourcing phenomenon thing, so I paid 10 bucks (plus one dollar service fee) to have someone research 40 strategic niche hashtags, write 5 Instagram posts, and create 2 branded graphics, because I found myself having a difficult time keeping up with my Instagram account. We’ll see how this goes.. This is just a fun experiment but money doesn’t fall from trees for me (yet.. ha) so I’ll probably still post on my social media myself for some time… maybe.

I used Fiverr for this gig, and have also looked into Upwork. There are freelancers who do pretty much anything you can think of. It’s pretty cool.

It’s also quite affordable to hire people from Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, and other countries, which at first I thought was equivalent to taking advantage of them for cheap labor. But then this guy Jimmy Naraine pointed out in his productivity course, which by the way is currently on major sale, that actually, $1 in these countries is worth way more than $1 in the U.S. And say, if you go to New York, 20 bucks is pretty much worth nothing.

What about saving money for the future?
I personally really like this part of investing in yourself. For me, investing in myself has looked like purchasing online courses that have helped me tremendously in blogging and even productivity in general.

I paid the extra money after much deliberation, and as I went through the courses I was like, WHEW I’m SO glad I bought this course, because who knows how long it would have taken me to figure out things that others have already spent months and even years laboring on to find the best techniques and strategies.

So you’re basically paying for all that time that others have spent racking their brains in their quest to success.

The reason why I invested in a few courses, some more costly than others, is because I had the view that these courses would educate me in a way that would speed up my progress working on things that would, ultimately, help me earn far more than the original costs.

You probably have already invested in yourself in ways you’re not aware of. Maybe you went to college to get your Bachelor’s degree and took out loans while you were at it. Maybe you or your best friend are in med school and racking up a ton of debt. How is such insane debt justifiable? Well, I believe all those who graduate from medical school would expect to have a six figure starting salary which would inevitably compensate for the large investment cost (tuition).

So, take some time to think about it – investing in yourself. Sam Brown does a great job explaining why she makes investing in herself “one of [her] biggest priorities.”

I have also been listening to a bunch of podcasts every day at work (yes, at work, with my headphones, and yes I do get all my work done very well), and one that I highly recommend is The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo. After listening to many of her podcast episodes and hearing all the ridiculously unbelievable success stories of her students, I am now dying to invest in her expensive ($297 per month) but apparently life-changing course, Self Coaching Scholars. Definitely on my wish list.

UGH. MONEY. It’s not that I love money, but it’s just that I feel like a dry sponge waiting to absorb (maybe inhale is a better word) as much valuable information as possible so that I can apply new awesome things to my real daily life. And I use that analogy because just this past week my mom commented on my recent podcast/books/onlinecourses obsession with, “You’re like a sponge.”

Which reminds me, one of my nicknames used to be “Patrick” as in Patrick the pink starfish from Spongebob Square Pants, because of my ignorance of many commonly known things. I guess that makes me like Patrick since he likes to hide under a rock.. Yup.