The Little Guidebook - Finding Composure In Your Chaos
These are my rules and values. I don't have to think about them as they're a part of me and what I feel is important; they my life simpler, richer and more fulfilling. These "rules" are not to be taken as gospel, but to help you shine a light along the way. I can only advise these because I have made the mistakes, and want to help you learn from my errors. Be a positive, energetic source in others lives - and therefore bring out the best in yourself.
1.) Surround Yourself With People Who Make You Feel Good About Being You
These are the ones who want to see you succeed, who encourage you to achieve, who want you to be happy and who let you be you, without any stress to impress. You don’t need to have a huge number of friends; keep your circles small, but full of genuine people who accept you for the person that you are on your good days and bad days. We all need a little help from our friends.
“Your friends and the people you surround yourself with tell you a huge amount about yourself.” - S.Pearson
2.) Be Kind to Yourself
The most important relationship you have with anyone is the one that you have with yourself; make it an honest relationship that builds self-respect. Don't put too much pressure on yourself and reward yourself where you can. Life can be incredibly tough, so cut yourself a little slack and support yourself through your actions. It’s important to have an inner critic, and to strive towards greater things, but be realistic. Treat yourself during the tough times as you would another person during a struggle.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - J.Goodall
3.) Be Kind to Others
Kindness costs absolutely nothing. Putting in a little time and effort for someone else reminds us that although the world can be chaotic, helping others is our most valuable gift. Although some people would say that I'm too nice for my own good, I don't bother holding grudges and I'm not going to change that. Respect the people you encounter and support them; kindness is an act that reciprocates, and you can make this world a better place by treating others as you would want to be treated. Don’t mistake kindness for weakness; it’s a choice to support those around you.
“The world is full of kind people. If you can't find one, be one" - Unknown
4.) Be Patient and Trust The Process
Everything that is worth your while is challenging and is never going to be easy. We always want more and expect success simply to drop at our feet. Don’t wait for things to happen to you, make them happen for you. The things that come easily aren't going to last long, and the things that take a long time to get won't be easy, but they will last. Trust the process and, given time, the things you want and work for will occur. The climb is always much more fulfilling than the view.
“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” - F.Frederickson
5.) Do NOT Compare Yourself With Others
You do not need to be like someone else to be somebody. Comparing yourself with other people is the most detrimental thing you can do; you are exactly where you’re supposed to be and creating negative self-perception will throw you off the path you’re heading on. Worrying about what other people are doing does nothing for you. Set goals that matter to you, measure yourself against the person you were yesterday, and not against the people around you. It's important to have role models, and people to look up to – but use them as motivation to help you reach your best self. You are unique, so why spend your time trying to be like someone else?
“Every minute spent wishing you had someone else’s life is a minute spent wasting yours.” - Unknown
6.) Learn From Your Mistakes
The feeling of success is like no other, but the opportunity presented through failure is the greatest lesson of all. Look back at what you did and ask yourself the questions that were previously difficult; what can I do to improve? Where can I change? How can I grow? If you don't learn from your mistakes, there was no point making them. Make your errors virtuous deeds from which to move forward; turn negatives into positives.
“Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.” - Unknown
7.) Get Off Your Phone
Phones are incredibly addictive devices that are designed to take advantage of your human nature. Social media apps were designed by the same people who created games in casinos; they sap you of your sense of self and overpower your goodwill. Get stuck in the world around you and interact wholeheartedly with those who love you – not just those who give you attention and likes when it suits them. I don’t want to be sitting in a chair when I’m 80 wishing I’d spent more time out there experiencing the beautiful world for what it is, and less time watching a screen.
“Technology is, of course, a double-edged sword. Fire can cook our food, but also burn us.” - J.Silva
8.) You Can’t Please Everyone
There are 7 billion people on this planet and trying to keep everyone happy is a battle you cannot win. The most important relationship you have with anyone is the one that you have with yourself, so make that person your priority and stay true to yourself. We can pretend to be someone different when we come across different people, and become incredibly likeable people – but shouldn’t your day to day life be effortless, and not a continual performance?
“It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am, and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes my life so much easier.” - A.Hopkins
9.) Be Grateful For What You Do Have, Rather Than Focus on What You Don’t
The things you take for granted are the things someone else is praying for, so have a little gratitude for your current situation. It’s very easy to become concerned with what everyone else has rather than what you don’t, but remember this the next time you think about complaining: while you worry that you don’t have the newest Jordans and your friends do, there is a child in South Africa walking 8km to and from school without any shoes just to get an education. While you feel down about the fact that you don’t have the newest iPhone, there is a woman stuck in poverty in India who has no electricity in her home. And while you complain that getting out of bed in the morning is too difficult, there is a man on the street whose pavement is his pillow. Be grateful. Get a sense of perspective.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” - O.Winfrey
10.) Enjoy the Little Things
There are a few things that mean the most, that bring moments of joy and wonder, that really last a lifetime. The way that we feel in a given situation. The glee we feel around true friends we haven’t seen for a while. The long country walks with a warm cup of tea and your golden Labrador. The gratitude you feel when being able to celebrate Christmas or an anniversary with the people you truly care for. It is not the material things that bring us true joy, or the achievements along the way – we need the things that truly make us feel complete. Wholesome days make us truly feel. Live for them.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” - R.Brault
11.) Don’t Limit Yourself
There is absolutely nothing that you cannot do. The only way to truly discover our limits, is to see how far you can go. Push yourself. Create new highs. Be the hardest worker in the room. Improve every facet of your life where you can. The world is yours to explore; work hard, play harder. Travel to every corner of the world; discover the outdoors and learn about yourself. Take every opportunity as it comes your way.
“Don’t just survive, thrive. Do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” - M.Angelou
12.) Ask Questions; Be Curious
What frustrates me more than anything now is how naïve and stubborn I was during my teenage years in the face of education and opportunity. Getting the lowest results was always seen as funny, and not achieving much was cool. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Ambition is the key. Education is cool, and knowledge is power. Friends of mine have mastered 5 or 6 languages, and have the reward of being able to travel to many corners of the earth and fit in with the societies that they find themselves in. Improving your knowledge improves your wealth of life – your ability to truly carry and utilise information is more valuable than monetary measurement.
“Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.” - D.Ford
13.) The “Now” Is A Gift; That’s Why We Call It Present
The now is all we truly have. Thinking about the future brings us anxiety, dwelling on the past makes us depressed. Concentrate on what you have in any given moment; how you feel, what you think, what you see and what you desire. The past has passed, so don’t let it get you down – it has already happened, so giving it all your effort and emotion cannot change it. Accept it and move on. Your future will be decided by the work that you do today; every action has a reaction, so control the outcome by giving the present your all.
“Hope is the magic carpet that transports us from the present moment into the realm of infinite possibilities.” - H.Jackson Brown
14.) Thoughts Are Just Flickers
We spend a ridiculous amount of time overthinking, worrying and reflecting on thoughts that are merely passing through your mind; they are powered through the attention that you feed them. I have found that the greatest route of all my suffering has been following my train of thought, overthinking and getting myself down in the dumps because of it. Worry about things only once they’ve happened, don’t bother with them unless they occur. Take the time to meditate, calm that brain noise, make positive thoughts instead of following anxious ones and create a peaceful headspace.
“Worry is the interest paid in advance for a debt we may never owe.” - K.Caserta
15.) Be Honest, Thoughtful and Caring
It’s easy to be dishonest; that’s why we do it. To wriggle out of an uncomfortable situation, to inflate our image and improve the way people see us. But it’s also incredibly unfulfilling and not real. Be as honest as you can be, so that it doesn’t have to become difficult. Be true to yourself and those around you, even if facing the truth is difficult. Look out for other people and show them the kind of respect that you hope they would show you. What’s most important is that you are actively trying to be a good human being – a positive addition to your society and social circles.
“Great spirits have encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.” - A.Einstein
16.) Always Look Out For The Little Guy
There are people in the world around you who don't have the confidence, positive experiences, privileged upbringings or friends that they'd hope for – the advantages that many of us are lucky enough to have. Be there to offer a hand to those struggling around you and make someone else's day better by looking out for them. Small acts of kindness can really make someone’s day.
“Among the qualities a hero should have, I would include determination, loyalty, courage, perseverance, patience, focus, intrepidity and selflessness.” - Unknown