Friday, May 07, 2021
Lifestyle Uncategorised

4 Simple Steps to Be a Better Person

Me
Focused, and ready for growth.

Self improvement has been a fascinating focus for me lately. I have been taking a more mindful approach to my life, and trying to see what areas could use improvement. From productivity tools, to mindful practices like meditation, I have shifted focus to 4 Rules for myself to be a better person.

1. Don’t Focus on Success

Handshake
A firm handshake isn’t all it takes to be a success

I’ve been dissecting my fear of failure recently. Through this, I’ve discovered how it was in part manifested by my misguided vision of ‘success’. It seemed to be an ever growing list of belongings, credentials, and social standings. This isn’t an unhealthy definition of success for some people, but it certainly wasn’t working for me because no matter what I was crossing off the list, the bottom was always getting longer.

More commercials are selling me things, more services are telling me to pay them to get my life in order. Gurus, influencers, employers, and seemingly everybody else in the world had a checklist for me to complete in order to achieve this tangible ‘success’.

When I think of success, while looking at my life now… I see the 3 beautiful children I’m privileged to help raise. Our oldest has an empathetic heart like no other. Our Four year old, is an enigmatic genius. The itty bitty 11 month old is a beacon of personality and joy. In these three little bundles of happiness and chaos, is where I find my greatest success. 

Chess Board
I’ll never be a pro chess player. But maybe I’ll learn to make my own moves. (Some day)

I also have to be able to look internally and find success. I’m privileged for my belongings, and my career, but those are not what make me a success. Where I can pinpoint success is being able to walk into every day ready to face it as myself. Success was achieved when I was able to stop looking at situations and think “How would x handle this.” Now I can think
“What is the best way for ME to handle this.”
The self awareness, self respect and life experience needed to achieve this warrants success in my eyes. Being able to do this is starting to free me from that unhealthy ‘Focus on Success’. Freeing the mind from so much stress, opening it up to avenues of creativity and curiosity.

2. Keep Healthy Hobbies - Staying Curious

With an unhealthy focus pushed away from the forefront of my mind, I’m able to spend more energy on the healthy habits in my life. Writing and nature walks are two habits that dispense joy into my life. Every time I finish an article, or see a beautiful flower on the side of a dirt walking path, I fuel my journey in this life. For me these two things are from the same part of my brain. Curiosity.

Me and Amber in the Forest
Life is pretty simple when your in the forest

In my writing, I am motivated by curiosity. Whether it’s taking a deep dive into an aspect of my life, or just finding an interesting way to string words together in a poem. In nature, I just soak in curiosity. Bombarding Amber with “ooh look”s, “Woah”s, and “Prettyyyy, awww”s. In very different forms, these habits satiate that curious hunger.

With my focus shifted away from unhealthy goals, and my curiosity fueling my creativity, I create enough healthy space in my mind to help me communicate effectively in all of my relationships.

3. Express Feelings Directly

No Anthony. It’s not always a good time for a metaphor. Sometimes it would be more effective to just say directly what is meant, no matter how difficult it may be to summarize the thought. To do this, I had to come to the realization that my brain actually processes things as metaphors for my own understanding. Whether that is a healthy, or an unhealthy trait, well that may be another endeavor to dig into… 

Thinking writer
This isn’t me… But if it was, all that crumpled paper would be impulse responses.

Since my brain immediately muddies my words with messy metaphors or silly similes, I have to give myself enough time to thoughtfully understand my own emotions and feelings. The very nature of anxiety, relies on the weakness of impulses. I have to collect my thoughts orderly and convey them in a thoughtful, but direct manner. This is certainly a work in progress, but I am seeing major improvements with a mindful approach to simple conversation and the pace at which I keep myself at. This pacing, proving to be a huge help for me.

4. Meditation. Meditation. Meditation.

Me, meditating with a view
This one is me, and one beautiful place to meditate.

Meditation is consistently providing me with benefits in my life. With a renewed focus on it, I’ve been able to scale back my perspective and critically think about the pace at which I was living my life. Looking back – allowing myself the use of a metaphor – I’ve had the gas pedal against the floor since I buckled into this rally car we call life. That misguided focus on success forced my only mission to be forward. That way of living can certainly be successful, but I know I’ve missed some beautiful sights, and some big opportunities simply because I sped past them. 

Meditation has allowed me the restraint to let go of that gas pedal, slow down, and take in my surroundings. A greater respect for the world around me is possible, because I finally slowed down enough to see more than blurry faces and landscapes in the rear-view.

We have so many distractions in life, and they take us away from what we are here for. Our life. With these 4 rules I have set for myself, I’ve removed so much of the negative weight that was wasting my energy and stealing moments that could be cherished. That’s what it means to be a better person. 

Anthony McGuigan
July 2020

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