It’s been a while since I have written a self development / deeper thinking post. I spend a lot of my ‘thinking time’ contemplating about why things are the way they are and today I want to talk about life.
It is a fact that people are constantly trying to change things about themselves. These could be small things like learning to save a little bit more money each month, or these could be MAJOR things like plastic surgery! I want to summarise four main areas which you should think about now and again.
Everyone is dealt a different hand of cards
This one is paramount. Prince William was born a prince. I was not. There is no amount of work or effort that I could put in to become a prince. As Lady Gaga says – ‘I was born this way’.
OK this is blatantly obvious, so why am I saying this?
I am suggesting that while it is great to have goals and dreams, don’t compare yourself to others. Make your dreams based on yourself and not to be like someone else. They have a different hand of cards. Your hand may not look as good, but you can sure as hell still win. After all it is about how you play them right?
In plain and simple English. Play to your strengths. If you are gorgeous, use it; if you have a knack for learning languages, speak them – There are so many different routes to what you want to be. Find the one that suits you. Don’t ask anyone else how they got to where they are. Think about how you can do it with what you have.
For example: I am not the best writer in the world. I know this. I never will be. I read other blogs in awe at how well the author can engage the reader and create suspense, excitement, fear etc. I want to be able to engage people at this level too.
I know that I can’t do this by writing at the same standard – therefore I have to see what move I can play with my cards (loving the analogies here). Therefore I realise that because I am adrenaline junkie and I love speaking, personal development, IT, Tech, Fitness etc. I can play on my interests. I will write about what I am passionate about and what I know about. I know that I can write about the time I went scuba diving with sharks, jumped out a plane on a skydive, or learned to fly a light aircraft and no matter how badly it is written – the concept is still exciting! I can talk about rock climbing and the outdoors and about every technical detail of SharePoint. I write about what I love.
It’s About Who You Know
No matter how hard you work, or how much time you invest, life is not fair. Everyone has heard the saying ‘It’s not about what you know, It’s about who you know’ – Well never has a saying been more true. This is 100% spot on. It is Human nature to be subjective. The person with the contact/family friend in the managerial position will, more often than not, get the job. People also judge by the first impressions that you make. I have taken this point on board in my job and made sure that I speak to absolutely everybody that I can. Whether it be a cleaner or a senior manager, you never know the underlying connections. You never know what colleagues are friends (or even married)! I enjoy speaking to all these people. There is a lot of comfort in being surrounded by familiar faces. Speak to someone new tomorrow – just try it.
Let’s use the example of blogging here. If I had made certain moves then I would probably still be writing this blog to myself. Instead, I networked, contributed to other blogs, used Yakezie and have made some good friends. These friends have given me some great advice and have mentioned Savvy Scot on their blogs. This has brought traffic to my site and I now have a decent-sized base of readers. It wouldn’t matter how great my content was, if I didn’t network and make connections; then I would never grow my blog.
Don’t take things at face value. Consider extreme alternatives
When I say extreme – I mean extreme. Don’t just go with the status quo having failed to consider common sense. We see a girl who is a stripper and immediately think she is a slut. A guy applies for a job who has a criminal record and we instantly think he is evil. We didn’t stop to think that this might be a single mother with 5 starving kids, or a guy who was charged with assault protecting his wife. It is far too easy to judge.
By taking things at face value we can often rob ourselves of great riches. By judging someone negatively by first impressions, we can often prevent ourselves from finding the value that they could add to our lives. Equally, we prevent ourselves from being able to make a difference in their lives. Remember the guy at school with no friends. He was a bit different so we never spoke to him… You could have missed out on being friends with a certain founder of the biggest social media outlet in the world, or you could have passed up the opportunity to change somebody’s life. This is not an exaggeration: The smallest gestures can have the biggest impacts.
Don’t ever think you know better.
As we get older and see more of the world we know better right? We have learned lessons and have experience, so we know more than those that are younger or who haven’t done the things that we have right? – WRONG!!
Never dismiss others. Everyone has their voice and often it will surprise you. Make a point of giving everyone the time of day. If they are foreign, younger, or just different – it doesn’t matter. As the Desiderata says:
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant
they too have their story.
The Grass is always greener (I am a Cliche-machine tonight!!!) – but stop and look at your own patch. It’s not all that bad – is it :).
Self improvement is about making the best of your own situation; not longing to be in another. After all, Life is what you make of it; It is all based on perception.
The biggest life lesson I learned after I finished school was to never underestimate anyone. While working at a local car dealership I had to drive a customer back to his house (He was extremely strange, and this was noted by many of my co-workers.) I found out that he was actually a self-made millionaire that tours the world as a job.
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Wow – that is a prime example of what I was getting at! Do you keep in contact with him still?
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
One thing I’ve learned, particularly throughout my education and work dealing with people – the thing that people tend to hate the most about other people is usually something they struggle with themselves. I especially agree with the last one!
Daisy @ Add Vodka recently posted..Change: Why You Should Embrace It
Absolutely! If only we could channel that anger into motivation for change!
Marina K. Villatoro says
So very true. I see it more and more with ‘who you know’ episodes. And you can see it sprawled all over hollywood and nepotism.
People take everything at face value, unfortunately. Living in Latin America, I am always looked at as the Gringa without spanish and money. But untrue since I speak it fluently, and am not yet at the ‘have tons of money stage’:)
Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Deciding What To Trade and Then Sticking To It!
Hey Marina – nice blog. I agree – nothing worse than stereotyping people. It is funny how wrong people can be! Do you ever find that people talk about you in Spanish, assuming that you don’t understand?
I’m definitely a “who you know” guy. My biggest and best accomplishment have been through networking and asking for introductions. Great stuff, Scot.
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You Don’t ask – You Don’t get. Also, I believe that you should always talk to everyone and give them the time of day. I meant what I said – you NEVER know who is connected or when that person may be able to do you a favour!
Frugal Fries says
I love this list and your underlying theme. I think it is really important to build connections and bridges with people. It will not only help you financially, but socially as well.
Positivity can go a long way too 🙂
Frugal Fries recently posted..What’s your financial plan?
Absolutely! I think a lot of people think that because they have 5000 facebook friends, they are well connected – they don’t realise it is the personal connections that matter. There is a lot that can be said for picking up the phone or meeting somebody. Email/IM/Internet is much less personal!
Great list – I have the most trouble dealing with the second thing. I’m a total introvert, so I have to work extra hard to make and maintain connections with people. Thankfully, my dad is a natural at networking, so I’ve been able to learn a lot from him and see the benefits of business relationships.
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That is good that you have a role model in your Dad! I have the exact same thing – mine is also a natural! Being Introverted has many advantages over being extroverted too remember. Usually you are able to make much more personal and longer-lasting connections….. Glass is always half full 😀 (see what I did there)
Whooww!… Wish i knew most of these when i was young.. But still it is well appreciated.. Maybe you could give us more of these kinds of advice!.. im really a sticked reader from now on!..
Hey! I am glad you like this post – Will definitely be following it up with another one shortly. This is they type of writing that I am passionate about. 🙂 Thanks for commenting and following – means a lot
For a start, I don’t think you’ve given yourself nearly enough credit for your writing skills! This isn’t a adrenaline post yet you had me completely engaged from the beginning! Completely agree with you, everyone has a different bag of marbles (you stole the card analogy) it doesn’t matter how good/crap yours are, it’s how you use them. Many people are given a perfect life on a plate, yet don’t take advantage of it as much as they should! x
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Jen – you are too kind!! I am excited to hear you enjoy reading SavvyScot! I must admit I love the humour in your blog 😉 ! You make an extremely valid point that often people are born into a great life and don’t live it to the fullest. That is like been dealt pocket Aces and folding in Poker – We could say that the cards mean nothing – it’s the player. Getting a little carried away with the analogies… 😉
Rick @ Invest In 2012 says
The main reason why America was once so attractive to newcomers was that “even people without connections can achieve the American Dream”. That’s no longer the case (just look at Wall Street!).
Rick @ Invest In 2012 recently posted..Random Predictions About Iran, China, and the U.S.A.
You are absolutely spot on! We live in an incestuous world now!