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.

The Success Sacrifice.

I think there is a lot of pressure on twenty something year olds to have it all figured out. We have the media telling us we are useless, the worst employees to date etc, we have people younger than us, those in their teens who are making millions and creating amazing apps and then we open our newsfeed and we see our friends and acquaintances travelling the world, getting married, starting families or rising up the career ladder. And then we look towards ourself and wonder what we have achieved. Have we even achieved anything? Am I not supposed to be a multimillionaire right now? Am I not supposed to be madly in love with the person I am going to spend forever with right now? Should I have not travelled the entire globe by now? What am I doing with my life?

Relax. Take a deep breath. Take a few more deep breathes. Now read this.

Everyone has their own timelines for success. And everyone has their own definition of success. Some people I went to university with will be fully qualified fledging lawyers before 25, while others will have married and had kids, while others will have travelled to a few countries. Some people will work 70 hour weeks and will become partner by 45 but may not have children, might never be home to see their partner, might not get the time to travel the globe, might retire by 60 and get to see the world. Others might postpone their professional careers and travel the globe, see the northern lights, eat pizza in Naples, dance in the Monsoon rains in India and enter the corporate world at 28, a few years behind others, forever perhaps playing catchup.

Every success requires sacrifice. If you want to become a CEO, no matter what, you are going to have to sacrifice some aspect of your life. You will not make it to every single one of your child’s recitals, you may not make every single meeting, you may not make every training session, every date night or see every country in the world. But you will make the ones that are important.

And thats the thing, to be great, to be an expert, you need to cut other elements out of your life. Figure out your priorities and eliminate anything which is not a priority. For example: when I was studying for my final law exams, I cut out socialising and sport for a year as those were not priorities. What were priorities? Study, sleep and my mom. That is where my time went, if I was not studying, I was sleeping. If I had time off from university, I was at home with my mom. Those were my priorities. And that is how I came out with a first class honours in law as I knew what my priorities were.

Now, that university is over, my priorities have shifted. The things I want to achieve in life are different. This brings me to my second point. Your priorities or the things you expend your energy on, don’t always have to be the same things. As soon as a priority is not bringing you happiness or a sense of achievement, reevaluate and change it. For example, health and fitness has been a massive priority for me the last couple of months. This meant I was eating clean and getting up before work to gym. Now, between being sick and in bed for the last week and getting on a flight to South Africa to spend two weeks with family, my priorities are shifting. I will be focusing more on family time and less on fitness and health. I will still be keeping myself accountable but will not be doing intense gym sessions, simply for the reason that if I stand up I feel like fainting, and due to possible time constraints.

What to take from this article: figure out your priorities, time is limited so you only have so much time you can expend. Make sure your time is going to a worthwhile place. Secondly, your priorities are not set in stone and can shift. Just because you make something a priority or a goal, does not mean it always has to be, as soon as you don’t feel a burning passion for that goal or it does not make you happy anymore, reevaluate it and change it if required. 

Stop netflixing your life away

Netflix. Such a great invention. The ability to access millions of movies and series at the press of a button. Even better now that you don’t have to change for a new episode, it just continuously runs.

I recently made the brave move to delete my Netflix. Why you ask? Well, Netflix is a distraction. It distracts us from our goals, from our vision, from what we want to achieve in life. This may sounds extreme, but think about it. See the below infographic as provided by the Business Insider:

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Here we can see how long it takes to watch an entire series. I have spent hours upon hours watching series after series and I kid you not, some series three times (Gossip Girl in case you were wondering). With this knowledge I decided to do a little calculation. Using this website ‘The Binge Clock’,  I could calculate how many hours I have spent watching Gossip Girl. Well, the truth is, I have spent over two weeks of my life watching Gossip Girl. TWO WEEKS. Lets put that in perspective:

15 days 3 hours = 363 hours

363 hours could have been better spent:

-> Going to the gym every day for a year (and would still have an extra 7 hours);

-> Sleeping more (I am constantly giving out about how little I sleep and how tired I am);

-> Taking up a new hobby such as learning to play the flute, or learning a new language;

-> spending more time with friends or family by giving them a call;

-> working on your side hustle.

But why do we watch it? I think one of the main enjoyments I derive from watching Netflix or any other sort of television series provider is the ability to live vicariously through the lives of others. Take Gossip Girl for example, I get to get a glimpse into the elite world of Manhattan socialites that I would never otherwise be allowed into. And this luxury makes me forget for a second (or for forty minutes) all my problems and brings me into this world of luxury where I almost believe, I am part of that world. Furthermore it is a distraction, a distraction from my current worries and problems, a way to ignore my issues and pretend everything is fine. Netflixing our weekends away is a modern-day phenomenon which is leading people to numb their lives by distracting themselves from their problems and not leading the life they could live.

 

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Now this article is not meant to make any one cold-turkey themselves from Netflix, but just to highlight the amount of time that is wasted on Netflix which could be used far more productively. There is a lot of good to be said for watching series as it is a great way to shut off for a while, but the bring home message of this article is to simply be aware of the tiem you are spending Netflixing especially if you are complaining about not having enoug time to do things.

What I learned when my mom died

A lot of people have that aha moment. That moment of clarity where you realise how fragile life truly is and how pointless 99% of the things you do in your life are. My aha moment was when my Mom got diagnosed with cancer. She died shortly afterwards (and by shortly, I am talking weeks).

The greatest lesson I took from her death was to stop waiting. She always was waiting. Waiting until she had more money. Waiting until we went to South Africa. Waiting until I went to go to university. Waiting until I left university. She lived in the future never fully appreciating the present. Perhaps the reason for this was that her present was too harsh a reality for her to live in, and therefore she chose to live in this fairytale future. Who knows. I will never know.

But we all have to stop waiting. I see it with my friends. I see it with my family. And worst of all, I see it with myself. I wake up in the morning and I cannot wait until the day is over. Its a Tuesday today, and god I cannot wait for it to be the weekend. In two and a half weeks I go to South Africa and I feel myself counting it down. My brother is worse, he cannot wait until he retires. Its all he talks about. Sometimes I stop. I hit pause on the treadmill of life, and I sit there and I realise is this it. Is this what life is, a series of shitty days which you endure in order to get to the day you have been waiting for, be it Friday, Christmas, holidays, retirement etc. Thats not good enough. I do not want to wait. I want everyday to be a day that imbues me with such joy that I truly am in the moment. 

I want to stop putting off all those things I said I would do like go pole-dancing, read books, date, travel, have fun. Stop making excuses and waiting for fun things to happen, and just do them now.

I think my brother put it best when he wrote on the day my mom died:

“What I can take from this is you have to do the things you talk of now. Cause later might not come. So kiss that girl on the first date, tell your wife how beautiful she looks, buy that puppy and have the baby girl you always talk about. Tomorrow I will continue with my life and make every day one to remember. As for the rest of you. Go hug your mom.”

 

 

Discovering yourself: Who am I

More often then not, we let other people define ourselves. Before we are able to form our own idea of who we are, we are told. This is why it it is so important to define yourself in order to achieve the life you want.

Today’s exercise to help you discover your true authentic self is to fill in the blank: I am _______

Write down, without consciously thinking, what you are. Are you a lawyer, a mom, a student, a friend, tired of life, bored, interested, ambitious etc. Look at these words and decide, do these words/labels correspond to the life you want to live, to the goals you wish to achieve?