Why escapism is integral in times of need.

Freedom

The Oxford English Dictionary defines escapism as “the tendency to seek, or the practice of seeking, distraction from what normally has to be endured.”

Thus far in my life, I have deemed escapism as two-sided, as both delusional and a necessity for maintaining higher perspective, a broader vision. Indeed, escapism, in its multiple forms , such as music, film and dance, grants one the ability to transcend their reality.

Nevertheless, reason is placed above passion in today’s education system. 

Of course, not fundamental to the functioning of society, the arts are never pushed, and the logic and rationality of the academics: maths, science and English, take precedence, and so it was English, the most creative of the three subjects, that I pursued. 

However, isn’t it ironic, that the creative subjects, music, film and dance, integral pieces to a wholesome culture, are undervalued, when various studies, and the experiences of so many, indicate them as forming the societal backbone? A psychological crux? Many take full advantage of music throughout their education, using uplifting and classical genres throughout essay and exam season, to offer the emotional zest that’s craved.

Many point to obsessive video gaming, TV addiction and manipulative music as causing people to neglect their responsibilities. And yes, obviously, immersing oneself in a fictional reality to the point where it feels more true than true circumstances, can be destructive to your own life, as well as the lives of others.

Even so, we cannot deny the incredible healing capacity of mental escapism. Psychological transcendence from the mundane, with alternate situations, mentalities and emotions can facilitate real change. Indeed, say, if pursuing escapism, through movie immersion, a Spotify playlist or Instagram feed is the only natural means through which a cancer patient can escape emotional trauma, besides physical pain, then does escapism become essential? Of course it does. And if a struggling medical student did not have access to, say, uplifting music, words of encouragement and self-expression, would they be as self-motivated and emotionally charged to change their situation? It seems unlikely. And, is it a coincidence that top-performing athletes accredit their success to, besides physical training, their ability to imagine a circumstance, perception and feeling different from their own? Not really.

It appears that a thriving society would look like one wherein the invisible divide and hierarchical structure in place between logic and emotion is relinquished. A society wherein logic is taken from it’s pedestal and recognised as most effective when in harmony with feeling. The intellect valued would be, not only rationale forming the framework for medical, engineering and operational industries, but the creative, transcendent expression, that offers the glue.

Do you perceive escapism as integral to enhancing your daily experiences? When has it eased, improved or changed your situation for the better? Comment your thoughts below.

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Why you need to be an optimist regardless of your life situation.

Happy woman

Perhaps this seems like quite an oversubscribed piece of advice.

We’re all told by friends and family to “be positive” when the pessimism sets in when times get tough. It’s not as simple as that, we think to ourselves. Adopting a new mind-set is not going to remove me from these physical circumstances. Because it’s true, in certain ways.

We can change the way we perceive a situation. Maybe a better attitude will even help us to become more motivated to identify more solutions to change our situation. But it can’t be denied that, in life, we can find ourselves in a position that renders us powerless.

Say, for instance, you lose your job, have to move out of your flat, and move back in with your parents. Or you find out that you have an illness that’s incurable.

You can wake up at 7 am every morning, write dozens of job applications each day and reach out to hundreds of hiring managers, but does that mean you’re guaranteed to land the sort of role you want within a couple of months? Not at all. And maybe you can take a certain medication that will subdue the illness’ side effects, pursue activities and goals that will distract you from the illness, or surround yourself with people that will uplift and support you, but do any of those things actually make the illness disappear? Nope.

Positivity will help you to take actions that’ll place you in better stead for improving or changing your circumstances, but it can’t promise to deliver.

But in spite of this, in spite of the fact that it does not always have the capacity to immediately transform your physical situation, you need to realise the trans-formative spiritual and psychological role that optimism can play in your life.

On a spiritual level, the determination, joy and peace that will emanate from you in the midst of your endeavours will have more of an influential capacity than you’d expect. Your decision to keep going regardless of the challenges and obstacles that you’re facing will not only strengthen your faith, but inspire others to adopt a similar outlook. Have you heard the bible verse, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”? In the biblical context, it means to trust in God and the plans that he has for us, to trust the process, and not be disheartened by any temporal, physical, life situation.

It takes a great deal of spiritual strength to sustain a blinkered perspective that disregards the physical reality, and looks to the light. And it’s always refreshing to meet others that view the world this way. They tend to be the kind of person that lights up a room. That dances in the rain. In a sea of negativity and gloom, they form a raft of hope.

In a psychological sense, the feeling of empowerment that you’ll receive as a result of your continual optimism, your intrinsic decision to never give up, will strengthen the faith you have in yourself, your self-confidence, and your self-esteem. Moreover, you’ll develop mental grit, mental toughness. Invaluable in a world that just loves to throw us hurdles to clear and mountains to climb in every direction.

So, before resorting to throwing in the towel, taking your head out of the game, or refusing to join in with the rat race, know that your choice to be optimistic is a choice that you’re making regardless of the end destination. A positive outcome, as a consequence of your positive thinking, is obviously desirable, but, in the meantime, you’re doing it for the sense of morale it will bring to others, as well as yourself. Never forget that.

Do you remember a time when your optimism got you through a situation, or, uplifted and encouraged others along the way? Tell me about your experience by commenting below!

How to stay motivated in any circumstances.

Focus

Many of you will know that your motivation levels can, if you let them, fluctuate with the changing circumstances in your life. Maybe the people you’re living with have little aspiration, you’ve had to move back home after living independently at university, and feel like you’re taking a few steps back, or your friends aren’t as supportive as you’d like them to be. It’s so easy for us to look ever closely at our own disadvantages in life, that we begin slipping into the victim mind-set.

But this only takes us on a downward spiral.

With the defeatist mind-set it cultivates, it makes us question: Why even begin if I’m already so far behind?

Hundreds of life coaches, authors and inspirational speakers will have their own tips on how to stay motivated, though, if you could narrow these down to several, here’s the pieces of advice I’m set on absorbing for 2019.

Chunking.

Divide your goal into short stretches and create in-between targets (and rewards!). Giving yourself little incentives along the journey will help you with sustaining your will-power. Possibly one of the greatest personal development coaches and motivational speakers, Tony Robbins, stated that: “A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an impossible number of things to do. If you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once, you’re going to be overwhelmed.” Why overload yourself? It’s not efficient. Tackle your mountains one mole-hill at a time.

This, yes you guessed it, is called “chunking”.

Chip away at your project in a series of achievable steps. Have you ever wondered why ticking boxes on our to-do list bring us so much joy? Well, Neuroscience explains that each little victory triggers the reward centre in the brain, flooding it with the feel-good chemical, dopamine. Unsurprisingly, this makes us more inclined to repeatedly focus our attention on set activities. Try this technique perhaps, when working on a passion project, or organising your folders.

Get clear on why you want to reach this goal.

With so many distractions, much busyness and plenty of noise, it can be incredibly difficult to stay focused on a goal. Think about what meaning achieving a certain goal will bring into your life. Will sticking at your passion project enable you to eventually work solely in a sector that you love? Will doing those 100 press-ups every night, no more, no less, help you reach your end goal of feeling healthy and happy? If you have a deeper reason for pursuing a goal, it’s more likely you’ll persevere in seeing it through – even when your motivation levels begin to flag.

Visualization.

See it, smell it, feel it. Some of the greatest athletes and most successful business people swear by this technique. If you can imagine the process, complete with all of it’s nitty-gritty details, the more likely it’ll be that you take the challenges in your stride. The screwed-up concentration face you’ll adopt as you knuckle down to complete a record several job applications in one sitting; the way your breathing will sound as you conquer that hill near your house, or the sensation of sweat dripping from your face as you cross the finish line. If you can envision yourself going through a trial – avoiding the knocks and blows – you’re more likely to make it a reality.

So, dreamers, keep dreaming.

Have a plan, but be open to adaptation.

So what if your strategy doesn’t seem to be working straight away? Maybe there’s a few little tweaks you can make on it to make it more efficient, more effective. If you can sense that your plan isn’t working out quite the way you hoped it would, don’t throw in the towel. It’s all about trial and error. As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.

Take a look at the grand scheme of things.

Why should you keep doing what you’re doing? Let’s take a moment to absorb the words of the renowned Jew, Mr Rabbi Hillel: “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” You’ll find it tougher to slacken up the treadmill, when you recognise that you’ll only have to put in more work further down the line, if you want to be effective, that is.

Figure out how you’re going to cope with flagging motivation.

Accept it. At some point down the line you’re going to get fed-up, tired or plain bored of pursuing that goal of yours. You’ll need to get your spirits lifted somehow. One way you can do this is by thinking of all those that have had to endure so much more than you to reach their target. Take the suffragettes, the people in Auschwitz, or African-Americans before the banning of slavery. God forbid, you ever go through suffering as profound. Nevertheless, it might be worth glancing back as these experiences to put your journey into perspective. Step away from self-pity. Realising that your struggles are not as bad as you may think, will help you keep moving forward with an extra spring in your step.

Don’t be afraid of seeking support.

It’s a powerful thing, announcing your plans to the world. It’s the reason why people get married in the public-eye. The inherent value that resides in sharing your plan, resides in the fact that openly expressing your intentions can help you to stay accountable to the goal you set for yourself. Though make sure you’re ultra-picky about who you share this with. You’ll need a crowd that you know will cheer you on when your voice begins to waver, not drag you down.

Keep reminding yourself of all the reasons for carrying on.

Steve Jobs, the American business magnate and interviewer, encapsulates this excellently. On one occasion he expressed to an interviewer: “I think most people that are able to make a sustained contribution over time — rather than just a peak — are very internally driven. You have to be. Because, in the ebb and tide of people’s opinions and of fads, there are going to be times when you are criticised, and criticism’s very difficult. And so when you’re criticised, you learn to pull back a little and listen to your own drummer. And to some extent, that isolates you from the praise, if you eventually get it, too. The praise becomes a little less important to you and the criticism becomes a little less important to you, in the same measure. And you become more internally driven.”

Anyone disagree with these as being top tips? What are your top tricks for staying motivated? Feel free to comment below!

How to bounce back

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At some point you will need to know how to bounce back if you’ve been/are going through a period in your life when everything seemed or seems to be going pear-shaped? If you’re a pretty sensitive person especially, the little knocks, bumps and shoves you receive as you walk through daily life can seem more like heavy blows. Blows that can take their toll on you emotionally, physically and psychologically, and leaving you feeling as though you’ve entered an inescapable black pit. A dramatic analogy, perhaps, but it’s undeniable that when you repetitively take your mind to a place of fear, self-doubt and hopelessness, it’s toxicity feeds into your daily behaviour. You feel tired, unmotivated and dissatisfied, amounting simply to a downward spiral.

If life isn’t being too kind to you right now and you’re on the verge of reaching to binge on the custard creams you said you wouldn’t touch and skip the spinning class you know you should go to.

Listen to this.

Live intentionally

You need to live intentionally if you want to build positive momentum in your life. Maybe you recently suffered a family loss; received a bad exam result that you weren’t expecting or broke up with a partner. You need to focus on lifting your spirits and bringing your sparkle back. Loving life again. If you work an intensive job, then give yourself an hour in the evening to pursue an interest, spend time with a close family member or friend, or to practice self-care.

The goal is to bring as much passion into your life as possible.

A big mistake that people can make is plodding on through life as if their misery is no big deal – and yet – their unhappiness has a detrimental effect on the lives of the people around them, as well as their own.

Joy is infectious, as is sadness.

Choosing to be happy, or at least to trying to be, is a gift to others, as well as yourself. Every time I feel myself slipping into stress or despair, I quickly and mindfully tell myself to snap right out of it. Indeed, if I’m going to live my best life, bad vibes and bad feelings are a no-go. As ever, I’m going to keep forcefully pushing them out of the picture.

You have one life. So, live the movie reel you want to see.

Failing forward

motivation

Ever heard of the concept of failing forward? Maybe you once messed up on a test you worked really hard towards in school? Or lost a race on sports day in high school you thought you would win? Though we find it so hard to admit it, failure happens to all of us, and in our culture we can’t help but allow it to make us feel crushed and ashamed, even if no one knows about it but ourselves. With “failure”, or, not meeting a goal or particular standard in something, being so frequently associated with inadequacy, stupidity and inferiority, is it so surprising that we choose to keep it bottled up inside of us and suffer in silence? Hardly.

Society, Schools, have got it all wrong.

We need competition. We need to be pushed, to be encouraged to be our best selves and live our “best lives”. But if this competitive environment gets entangled with sympathetic nods at parents evenings, friendships turning toxic with crushing comparison, and us reducing our self-worth to the score we get on a test, it’s damaging. It isn’t pushing us to do better, it’s pushing us to our limits, and then pushing us over the edge.

Fail fast

If you fail fast, this can actually set you on the best path for success. So, we need to change the way we look at failure.

OED defines failure as a ‘lack of success’. A lack. Not an absence. Here is where we introduce the idea of growth and of moving onwards, of moving upwards.

Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. Thanks Google. He has a point. If you never bother to try hard at anything then you will neither fail or succeed (which, in my opinion, is far worse). The thing with making mistakes is that, yes, it can be upsetting and, yes, it can even be gut-wrenching. But you learnt something from it, didn’t you? And learning is all apart of making progress. Apart of success.

Setbacks

So whatever setbacks it is you’re dealing with right now, brush yourself off, get up off the ground and stride forward as confidently as you did before.

Want to fail forward?

So, do you want to fail forward? To end with Miss Susan Gale, “As long as you feel pain, you’re still alive. As long as you make mistakes, you’re still human. And as long as you keep trying, there’s still hope.”

You’ve got this.

Motivational speaking

Speaking Life Pexels

So, I have finally started a proper blog and, like so many individuals that practice motivational speaking that I admire, this is something that I have wanted to do in years. I had stopped myself before due to varying commitments. University had been a big one of these, and I’m sure that many of you out there will feel my pain and resonate with this. Thus far, I have had various highs and lows in my life and other than reaching out to close loved ones for support and guidance, to fill myself up it has been my internal monologue, and rather interestingly, internet testimonies that has sustained me at my weakest points.

Types of motivation

Words are a type of motivation that has helped get me through some of the toughest trials in my life. Words. words are so powerful, which is why I am willing myself to start this blog and speak truths and words of encouragement that I so wanted and needed to hear during these trials in my life.

Best motivational speakers

The best motivational speakers I have come across have been individuals that lifted my spirits when I needed it most. Have you ever heard the quote along the lines of, “Be the person you needed when you were younger”? Well, I feel like that is the vision I have for this blog, and I’m not going to, (and neither should you, if you are thinking of starting your own blog) underestimate the impact that words can have, and the lives that words can touch. I hope that your experience of this blog will serve to enrich some facet of your life in some way, and through motivational speaking, help you to become, to be, the person you were meant to be.