Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith

Life is for living. I want to live the life that when I am on my deathbed, I will have no regrets. No what-ifs. No if only’s. None of that. But sometimes you get scared. You want to settle. Settle into normal life. Be complacent.

And last week I had that moment. Last Thursday I got a phone-call offering me a job back in Dublin (where I am from) with a good enough firm doing a good enough job. And how did I react. Well I was happy that I had options, but the thought of taking the job made me want to die inside. The security made me happy. The thought of returning to Dublin and finding an apartment and living there for the rest of my life made me want to give up on my life. But what other choice did I have? I had no job. No place to live. Nothing.

And then I rang my brother and told him the news. He was happy but (obviously sensing my lack of enthusiasm) asked me if this is what I really wanted? Was this my dream? And hell no. I knew it wasn’t my dream. But aren’t grown ups supposed to stop chasing their dreams? Aren’t we supposed to settle? Realise that that is what our dreams were. Simply dreams?

I told him what I thought my dream was – to work in an NGO. To do something good. As cringey as it sounds to make a difference. And you know what he told me to go for it.

Why go for it? Well I am in the lucky position that I am still rather young and have zero responsibilities (bar myself). I have no student debt, no loans, no accommodation, no significant other, no job. I have just me. And I can do anything and go anywhere (within reason, my family would probably not be too fond of me leaving Europe). But essentially I am free to do as I wish as long as I can afford it.

So with this in mind, I decided I was moving to Brussels. The city which has the work I want to pursue. The city that is saturated with NGO’s. And with this goal in mind. I booked my flights, found a part-time internship, found possible employment with a pub, and have a place sorted to live. Is it going to be easy? No probably not. Is it going to be worth it? I hope so. But I know one thing for sure. If I don’t see this dream through, or even see if there is a possibility of this dream working, I will regret it on my deathbed.

Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and dive in.

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What is the point of life?

This is a question that I am constantly trying to find the answer to. And yet time and time again fail. The amount of times I have questioned friends on it, turned to Google for answers and multiple self-help books. And the response I have summed up is there is none.

It is up to you to give your life a point. 

If it is up to us to give life a point then why are we getting stressed up about all the small bullshit that hassles our life. Why aren’t we living life exactly as we wish? In the end, am I going to care whether I got the law credentials or not. Probably not, as long as I had sufficient amount of money to live the life I wanted and made a difference, I do not really care if I get my law credentials.

Why do we keep on pushing ourselves to live this ideal life. Keep on pushing ourselves into this rat race which is making us sick and tired and stressed. This life where you wake up every morning not wanting to get up, not wanting to move, praying for the day to be almost over so you can just get back into bed. Why don’t we instead rejoice when we get up and celebrate the fact that life is so goddamn precious. 

We all get obsessed with money. Making money our God. And along with that security. Craving the security. Living life inside a box, never venturing out of the box, because god help if you stray from the path. BECAUSE IF YOU STRAY everyone will be able to laugh at you if you fail, and if you don’t fail, people won’t like you as you have proved all their limitations and excuses invalid.

STRAY FROM THE PATH. I urge you, especially if you are young and healthy, stray. Make mistakes. Fuck up. That is the point of life. Life is not there to play it safe. Life is there to make mistakes and learn from them. The definition of failure is allowing fear to dictate all your actions. GET OVER THE FEAR. Life is scary. Get used to it and embrace it.

So stop sitting in your box living your customised by other people life and make your life yours. Give your life a point.

Prioritising your goals

One of the issues I face regularly when it comes to pursuing my goals is the manner in which they can clash. This happens on a regular basis for me.

To explain: As described in a previous post, I have the goal of getting a fit and healthy body. Great goal. However, I also have the goal of having more fun. One of my action steps to the broad umbrella goal of ‘have more fun’ is to socialise four times a week. However, most people socialise by getting food or getting drinks together etc.

This is where the clash occurs.

In order to get a great body, I have to commit to a fairly strict nutrition and exercise routine. This goal is compromised by my other goal to have fun which involves eating out with friends, going to the pub for pints etc.

Now, before I get to the essence of this article, I want to note one thing, socialising does not have to mean your routine goes completely out of the window. Make healthy choices when eating lunch/dinner out, go for coffee with friends instead of lunch/dinner, go for walks with friends and catchup instead of sitting in a cafe, have diet coke when you go out to the pub instead of alcohol, go to the movies instead of dinner. These are the things I do which allow me to still catch up with friends but it not affect my diet to a massive extent.

And now to the point of this article: prioritise your goals. Decide whether your health is more important than your social life. Decide where your family sits on your list. Decide where your career sits on the list. This list does not have to be static and can change.

Say for example, this time last year, my biggest priority was my education. I chose studying over going out with friends. I chose studying over going to the gym. I chose studying over eating healthy. Everything revolved around finishing my law degree as it was my priority.

Now,  my priorities have shifted. I have finished my degree and I am in my first graduate job. My studies are no longer a priority for me. Furthermore I have been shaped by experiences of the last year which have put health, relationships and having fun as priorities in my life. For this reason, I gym everyday, I stick to a nutrition plan, I keep in regular contact with my family and friends, I go out a lot, I try to travel, I have postponed further post-graduate studies for the meantime.

This shift can also occur for some people when they begin to have a family. Their attention shifts from their career to their partner and children. This shift can occur when someone has a health scare, they go from being a 70 hour a week workaholic, to cutting down their hours and spending more time on their health.

So in order to focus on what you want in your life and achieve your goals, make a list of your priorities and make sure your goals and time accurately reflect these priorities. This will enable you to achieve your goals and to assist you when you are faced with making a choice between two conflicting goals.

Let me know if you have any tricks or tips in the comment section below.

 

How to small talk: FORD

No I am not talking about the car, I am talking about the perfect technique to make small talk: FORD. Each letter stands for a topic of conversation you can have with a new person.

F: Stands for family. It is recommended to ask people about their family, however, I might be unusual in this regard, but I would be uncomfortable if a brand new stranger asked about my family life. I think family can definitely be brought into small talk but in a general way by referencing your own family. This will encourage others to talk about their family if they so wish. For example I could be engaging someone in conversation, and we both see an Audi, and I could say something like ‘Oh I love Audis, my brother has one and since then I am obsessed’. This allows people to feel comfortable bringing up their own family members, rather than a question of ‘where do your parents live?’ which given the person might be awkward, as perhaps their parents are divorced, perhaps they don’t get on with their parents or perhaps their parents are dead. Therefore, I would put caution on this topic and use family as small talk fodder by introducing the topic of your own family and see how the other person reacts.

 

2. O: Stands for occupation. This is particularly useful in a work setting. You can talk to anyone about their job when you are at work. What do you do? Any advice for this? What area do you like? How did you get into that area? etc. I would generally stay away from this strand of conversation however when I am out at night as I feel it’s a rather boring start to a conversation in a club/pub as it’s the wrong setting. However in the right setting, being a workplace, it is a perfect way to develop small talk.

 

3. R: Stands for recreation: This is perhaps my favourite thing to talk to people about. I love to know about peoples’ passions and what lights them up – this all falls under recreation. I like to ask questions like ‘if you wake up anywhere in the world where would it be’, ‘what are your hobbies’; whats an ideal Sunday for you etc. This conversation works very well in clubs and pubs where people are very open to discussion.

4. D stands for dreams: I feel this links in very well to the above topic. Asking people what their dreams are in life. What they want from it. What are their priorities in life? Where do they see themselves in ten years time?

 

There are four categories of discussion to start a conversation going. So in order to keep it going (a) ask follow-up questions and (b) relate your own experiences. Remember this is a conversation not an interrogation. So for example, perhaps the person mentions that they were on holiday recently in Greece. You could follow-up by saying one of the following:

(a) Greece, wow I was there a few years ago. I stayed on this tiny little island where there was barely any English speakers. It was amazing. Where were you staying? You see here not only do you relate your own experience but you also have a follow-up question to provoke further conversation.

(b) Greece, oh I have been dreaming of going there for years ever since I saw Mama Mia. Where would you recommend is the best place to visit there? This allows the person to follow-up with telling you their own experience and also opens the opportunity to converse about movies. 

(c) Greece, that seems such an amazing place. There is a little greek restaurant on x street that I used to love going to. I love mezzo platters. This again allows the person to follow-up talking about their food experience in Greece or about food in general – etc ‘Oh I like Greek food, but I got to say, Italians know good food. I love a good pasta.

So now you see how you can develop a conversation. And if all else fails and these topics do not spark a conversation, there is always the weather. No one can resist commenting on the weather especially in Ireland.

 

Let me know in the comment section below if you have any suggestions of how to make small talk.