I’m not going to mince words here: the unwavering belief you have in ‘self-evident truths’ is a complete trap.
Maybe cliches like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are generic enough to slip through the cracks without causing any damage…
But I guarantee that you currently hold beliefs that are harming you. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Oh, did you think this was going to be a light-hearted post full of sunshine and glitter? Don’t worry, that’s coming up. I just feel obligated to start with the doom and gloom, because that’s my still my default setting.
I’m working on it. Stop judging me!
Anyway, I’m a stubborn human being that has the conviction of a martyr in my beliefs. As I’ve become more open to new ideas, I’ve realized how many garbage thoughts were clogging my brain.
So I decided to try some minimalism for the mind and dumped some my more outdated beliefs over the years.
Check it out:
1. The ‘Traditional Career Path’ Isn’t the Only – or Even the Best – Way
I am shocking exactly no one with this revelation, but it had to be said. I’m just a renegade that doesn’t know how to play by the rules…
You can’t see me right now, but I couldn’t type that last sentence with a straight face.
It may be clear to everyone I interact with now, but I actually spent YEARS thinking I was stuck on a trajectory I didn’t want to be part of.
I watched my parents hate their jobs, and I spent all of my formative years thinking I was doomed to the same fate.
Now I truly believe that enough hard work and determination will allow you to design the career you want.
2. There isn’t a Single Person on Earth Who Has it All Figured Out
At any given time I used to think one of two things:
- That there would come a time where everything just clicked into place and I would be the perfect adult.
- I would fail to acquire the necessary knowledge and be completely doomed.
I used to admire people who clearly had it all together, and make myself sick trying to figure out their secrets.
Now I know that life is about constant learning, not about reaching some arbitrary summit and just sitting there for the next 60 years.
So, please don’t feel like you haven’t succeeded because you still feel unsure of yourself. That is how you and everyone you know feels. We’re all just making it up as we go along.
And if some cocky bastard tells you they know better, they’re full of shit, don’t trust them!
3. You Will Regret the Things You Didn’t Do, Not the Things You Did
I wish I could find the video now, but I once watched an interview with several elderly people about their regrets.
It was striking that every one of them talked about the things they wished they had done. Not one of them talked about actions they regretted taking.
I don’t want to look back at my life and wish I took bigger risks, so I am dedicating myself to taking them now.
4. My Parents Aren’t Perfect
This should go without saying after reading #2, but when you’re a kid, you think that your parents are superheros.
And for far too long, I lived for the validation of my parents, even when it meant doing and saying things that betrayed the very foundation of my being.
It felt wrong; it was wrong.
And for those of you wondering, no my parents are not terrible people, they’re wonderful, but they have many (STUBBORN) ideas that I deeply disagree with.
Realizing that I don’t need their approval for what I do has allowed me to breathe easier than pretty much anything on this list.
5. One Person CAN Have a Big Impact
This always seemed a little to idealistic to me. It seemed that society was too set in its way and that anyone looking to make changes would get trampled by people with a history of power who would stop at nothing to keep it.
Although I still know this happens on a daily basis, I have a lot more hope in individual achievement. I mean, as long as a six year old can raise enough money to impact the lives of foster kids in her area, I will have hope.
6. Worshipping Youth is a Waste of Time
This list could go on and on and on. We are obsessed with people who achieve greatness before 30. The younger the better. And I get that I mentioned the age of the girl helping foster kids in the last section, but that just highlights how ingrained it is.
Focusing so heavily on the age of the achiever tends to make people feel like there’s a sell by date on their dreams.
It doesn’t matter how old you are when you get there. What matters is getting there. End of story.
7. Discrimination Will Always Exist, But I Don’t Need to Give In To It
I hope everyone has gotten over the idea that we are living in a post racial society at this point. I mean, just turn on the news or look at the comment section of a black YouTuber. There is still hate to spare.
And if you think women are treated equally, just look to the Me Too movement or the fact that only 32 Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Not to mention that once Ursula Burns Left Xerox in 2016, ZERO black women are running fortune 500 companies.
Coming from a background in Psychology, and knowing that most people would not take me seriously (generally subconsciously) as a young black woman, I seriously considered signing up for Upwork with a fake name under my fiance’s (a white male) picture.
But I decided that I wouldn’t give into the bullshit. If I needed to work harder to make the same strides as my white male counterparts, that’s what I would do. And be unapologetically myself while doing it.
8. You Can Still Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Your Dream Job
I used to think that working for myself would mean the end of my problems.
Sometimes I resent the work I’m doing. Sometimes I want to push inquiries to a higher level that no longer exists. Sometimes I’m burdened with the need to figure out how to drop clients that aren’t profitable.
It’s scary and stressful.
But there is nothing in this world that you can 100% love 100% of the time.
Last fall I got into a rut because I started thinking I made the wrong decision. I realized that the path was right, and it was my expectations that needed to change.
Now I’m more happy and motivated than ever before.
9. What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business
This is a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again. It’s so easy to fall in the trap of worrying what other people think about you.
Luckily, there’s a simple litmus test to decide if you’re worrying too much. Just ask yourself two things:
- Am I risking the opinion of someone I value?
- Is risking that opinion worth changing what I’m doing?
If you don’t value the person who is judging you, or you believe in what you are doing more than you value their countering opinion, who cares!
Following the herd will get you nowhere, so you might as well be true to yourself!
Do you disagree with any of my realizations? Have you had realizations that have changed you life? Let me know in the comments!
Title photo by: Ricardo Gomez Angel