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Cover image for Ten advice I should follow and probably you too.

Ten advice I should follow and probably you too.

taverasmisael profile image Misael Taveras ・7 min read

Original Spanish version on my blog: taverasmisael.com

Those who follow the blog for a while know that from time to time I like to write letters to myself that I then review; It’s my way of sharing with you what is in my head and how I plan to face it. I hope when you read this you can take advantage of it and help you as much as it has helped me.

You can't connect the dots looking forward

How many stories and moments in our lives we feel completely lost because we do not know what will happen next. I assure you that it is not something that only happens to you. Likewise, today you look at the past to those moments where everything was going to collapse, but you can feel now how they had a purpose.

If you look carefully, you will appreciate that the things you took out of that experience (bad or good) made you who you are. So if right now you can't tell if what is happening to you have some "Higher Purpose" keep marching forward, and you will see.

Put yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable

The more we expose ourselves to situations that make us feel uncomfortable, the more we open ourselves to a world of possibilities.

I believe that many things were imposed on us from at a very young age: society, religion, our parents, our environment, they have limited our true potential. We stopped doing things (even super beneficial for us) because of those limitations. Occasionally try to put yourself in a situation you don’t think you are capable of being or handling, go ahead and learn from the experience. You may discover something interesting about yourself hidden for a long time.

Start with the why

I heard it for the first time years ago from the mouth of Simon Sinek in one of those videos that YouTube recommends and since then it's something I think about sometimes, but very passively, and I should give it a little more prominence.

Instead of thinking what or how to do it, ask yourself why you want to do it. Everyone has a what they want, and more than twice as many people you know think they know the how, but no one knows why. When you get up or start a new project, ask yourself why you want to do it. Or even better, why do you continue/want that job/relationship? It is a question that will help you get to know yourself better, and of course, it will keep you motivated longer than the other subjects. Based on the why look for the how and finally the what will come.

Time is a non-renewable resource

This is difficult to understand, because even though we all know that this life is finite, sometimes we overvalue our mortality. Those who have read or heard of The 7 habits of highly effective people will recognise the second habit that is: Start with the end in mind.

Knowing that one day we will cease to exist can give us a little more perspective and help us manage the only resource that is identical for all beings, 24 hours a day. I’m not going to tell you not to watch the last season of Bojack Horseman for the third time in one sitting, just remember even if you get all the money in the world nobody will give you back the time you wasted.

Learn to visualize not to fantasize

They may sound similar, but they are different. I'm not here to tell you the fundamental forces of the universe or to talk about The Secret; this is all part of having a clear goal.

If someone has told you about visualisation, you probably thought about fantasising. In comparison, v*isualisation includes the work required to reach a goal* while fantasising focuses almost entirely on the moment of glory with the mansion at The Hills.
Make sure you don't waste time fantasising but invest it visualising the result you want and how you plan to get it.

Let's stop buying mansions in our minds with the money that we are going to earn with the cow that our father will inherit when the calf gives birth.

Breathe first

breath

To take a break from this list, we are going to take a pause. Do it; it's free. Inhale and Exhale. See? It wasn't that difficult.

In stressful situations, our primitive brain wants to fight or flee. And although this saved our ancestors from being crushed by the meteorite that the mammoths sent to destroy the dinosaurs (or something like that), today's problems have less immediate consequences than before and in most cases are not as fatal. So before making that decision, letting yourself be guided by your primitive cave hunter mind, breath for at least 10 seconds. And then proceed. You can't imagine the difference that makes.

What gets measured gets managed

How do we know that we are making progress if we do not know where we started? How are we sure we’re moving?

You don't have to create an elaborate pulley and lever system and record if you eat breakfast and whatnot, and then study whether this is related to your job performance (unless you think so, in which case: go ahead). Create a record of what you have tried and how you did it. In that way, you know what to repeat and what to avoid in the future.

Our minds are not to be trusted since we don’t have real and absolute control of the information that it thinks is relevant and decide to keep and what is not, but a piece of paper, a notebook, an Office document, there’s no way to get it lost. We can use our self from the past to help us today. Just remember to have a backup (this applies to analogue media too).

There is nothing wrong with not finishing something

The only thing that is mandatory to finish, as we have seen before, is life. Other than that, if you see that what you are doing is not working, if you have already lost the passion, if there is no way to save the relationship, if you feel forced in your work nobody forces you to self-scourge and stay.

Move, go forward, restart and achieve. It takes twice as much strength to drop something, especially if there is an emotional background to it, but if we remember that our time on this earth is finite, investing it the right way and in the right projects should be our priority. I know this is easier said than done, so if you need it, seek help, talk it with someone.

On the other hand, if you NEVER finish anything, you are not going to advance, and you may have another kind of problem. So, the tips above and this one go hand in hand. Always measure where you come from, where you are going; be clear on the WHY you are starting or abandoning a project, in that way you can do a self-evaluation on your decisions and improve.

Deliberate practice is necessary

Whether it's to break or create a habit or learn something new.

If we want to learn to drive and every time we get into the driver's seat the car turn it on and off and touch all the buttons, we brake like crazy, and we accelerate all of a sudden we will never learn. Isolate the parts that make what you want to do (or stop doing) and deliberately focus on one or two at a time.

Learn first the ritual of getting into the car, putting on your seat belt, starting, removing the brake before accelerating like crazy every time. Once you have mastered this you won't have to "feel the vehicle a little slower than usual” to realise when you park, after travelling about 5km that you never took off the parking brake, it happened to a friend, obviously not to me.

When you had master one of the parts, learning more and more will become more natural, but you must do it consciously and deliberately. Otherwise, there will be no result.

It gets easier every day, but you must do it every day

It gets easier Bojack

One of my favourite quotes from Bojack, Horseman obviously. Which can also be read as Consistency is the key to success.

If you go out for a day and you can run 20 km round trip without getting tired and then not walking 200 meters in 100 days, congratulations but you are not an athlete. If you want to succeed in something, grow as a businessperson, learn to drive or whatever, along with deliberate practice and measurement, you must be consistent with what you do. Remember that anyone can make a shot of three with enough attempts, but that does not assure you a place in the NBA.

Delivering consistent results is what separates amateurs from pros.

Conclusion

I sin not to follow my advice, especially the last one. Consistency is not something that comes naturally to me, but it is something that I deliberately try to improve, so I hope you can appreciate my attempt to keep a post every week.

Last week there was no blog post, but a new episode in the podcast that is taking shape. Listen to it here (español); it's short.

If this has helped you or do you think it can help someone else: Share it. I would like to know which of these tips has been the one that has most impacted you or with which you are having the most difficulty right now so don’t hesitate to write to me on Twitter (I accept DMs). Together we can do more.

I hope to hear from you soon. Ciao.

NOTE None of the links are affiliated or anything like that.

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Misael Taveras

@taverasmisael

#JSDev functional programmer @taverasmisael anywhere else

Discussion

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Many good advice in there. Thanks for that!