Following the cathartic experience of constructing and publishing Sticks and Stones: 15 Lessons 2015 Offered, I figured what better way to welcome the new year than to share the trial and tribulations of 2016, for the benefit of 2017 (hopefully).
1. Enjoy the small luxuries in life
Whether it be a triple scented candle, decadent body wash, visiting the salon, meditating or using luxurious self-care products – spoil yo’ self.
When you are content with the bare essentials of life, small indulgences can lift your spirits and be a source of gratification.
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, to some what may seem menial can be lavish to another – indulge in what makes you feel nourished, maintained and worthy.
2. Love your friends irrespective of their life choices
Irrespective of how abhorrent their decision-making skills are, how poorly they have managed a delicate situation, or how much you want to slap some sense into them – a true friend offers nothing less than unconditional love and a willingness to understand.
Never forget, that everyone deals with heartache differently. It is difficult to sit at the bed of a friend falling apart, accept their vices and not cast judgement on their actions; how they’re dealing with a situation, in comparison to how you would deal with the situation.
3. Take every opportunity and up-skill with time
Say yes to every opportunity and learn on the job.
No one is born all knowledgable and powerful – even the most successful people relied on mentors and the assistance of others to perfect their craft.
If an opportunity is offered to you, appreciate that said individual or company is communicating belief in your current abilities and your future potential. Mirror the trust on offer to you and take a leap of faith.
4. Body transformations should be fuelled by love
Physical transformations should be undertaken with nothing but self-love as the primary drive.
If you fail to love yourself through the various steps of the process, you are less likely to appreciate the final result – neglecting all that you worked for. If you are genuinely putting in the hard yards, take a step back and appreciate the ride.
5. Travel often
You return to that adult life, a little poorer, a little more tanned and with a lot less phone memory – but you return with something money can not buy. You return with experiences, memories that you can hold dear and reminisce about and your return with practical experience. You travelled to a different continent and survived. You return with beautiful images of unspoken places imprinted in your head and memories or the drunken conversations you had with people whose names you can not recall and memories of the scent in the air. Somehow you have changed but the world continues around you. Whilst I wouldn’t say no to a designer bag or a car upgrade, experience trumps every imaginable material object said money could have paid for.
I return home empowered that I am an independent adult, proud that I was frugal to enough save the funds and impatiently awaiting the next stamp of my passport.
I assure you – if you are in a position to and there is something you should do –
6. It’s okay to take two steps forward, one step back!
There is no shame in accepting that you bit off more than you could chew, or that your chosen path has proven unfulfilling to you.
7. Purchase with the ‘cost per wear‘ formula
Cost per wear is the magic formula of shopping. Whilst many dismiss the notion as a ploy sales people use to up-sell, I genuinely believe in the cost per wear merits.
Cost per wear is effectively conceputalising your potential material good as something that can be rented. If the GG Blooms Dionysus Bag retails at $2805AUD and I was to theoretically wear it on 250 occasions within the year, the cost per wear ($2805 ÷ 250 = $11.22) – meaning you are paying $11.22 everytime you wear your bag. The more you wear your item, the lower the cost per wear is, meaning you made a successful purchase.
I correlate this formula with a ‘renting’ scenario , as I compare cost per wear to the renting dress and luxury goods market. Yes, you can pay a handbag connoisseur $300 for the weekend to borrow their Chanel – but at the end of the day you are paying off their purchase.
Whilst I love this business model and would be the last person to criticise it – why pay off another persons item, when you can pay off your own?! Likewise, I would rather pay slightly more and own my own home, rather than someone else’s investment (again, I’ll probably live at home until I’m forty-five, so no worries there).
8. Dont let people plant doubt in you
Yes, the blogging industry is over-saturated.
Yes, the legal profession has a high rate of graduate unemployment.
Yes, houses are ridiculously expensive.
So what do you propose I do about it all?
Delete every remnant of my online presence?
Drop out of law-school?
Live with my parents until I am old and grey? (likely to be the case)
Give up on everything I want in life because statistically certain things are hard to achieve?
Be realistic and appreciate that these are statements of fact, however, an unwavering work ethic, determination and a genuine passion to be successful in your chosen field is a formula without fault. Keep working in silence and have faith in yourself and your hustle.
9. Know how and when to pick your battles
Be antagonistic only when you can afford to be antagonistic.
If you are travelling through a rocky part of your friendship of relationship, be self-reflective enough to know when to back off.
10. Empower, do not compete
Confident women do not hate or compete with one another. These women help one another with guidance, mentoring, love, support and above all – respect.
Confident women better themselves for their own sake, whether they achieve more than other women in that process is secondary to self-growth.
I cannot speak for confident men (for the obvious reason that I identify as a woman).
11. What others think of you is none of your business
You’re darned if you do, darned if you don’t.
Do not preoccupy yourself with the views of others.
12. Write about your goals
Make a habit out of writing what you are grateful for, your goals and how you plan to achieve said goal on a day to day basis. For me, it is a battered diary, full of scrawls, lists and ideas that have either blossomed into something bigger and better, or have rightfully never seen the light of day.
The ability to reflect and foresee how you are progressing is an effective way of holding yourself accountable for your action and/or inaction.
13. The ‘Social Media Self’ is merely a guise
Instagram has been used as a simulacrum of ones’ life, where over stylized, overly glamorized and deceiving images are used to create an online story that isn’t necessarily representative of the person’s life. For some, these identities have become invaluable with their content winning over vast audiences and attention from companies who are willing to monetise this following, by paying for plugs. Those who work tirelessly on their media presence, often leave their jobs and live off audience engagement and the monetary benefits associated with doing so. It is no wonder why the 21st century lay person is so preoccupied on over-glamorising their lives and sharing it with the world.
I do not hastily point my finger at others, without first looking at myself and how I have engaged in this practice. I am a self-confessed lover of Instagram and I do undoubtedly engage in this process. I could think of nothing better than to put my law degree on hold to post pictures of myself on the internet in lavish places, with beautiful people, wearing the newest and most sought after clothing.
Quasi-celebrity status is what we are all after, whether you are honest enough to admit it or not, is another story.
14. Take pride in ‘breaking the mould’
Be multifaceted; offer different views, opinions and talents to those around you.
Do not try to fit yourself neatly into a box or a stereotype, it is a disservice to the complicated and individual being that you are.
My primary fear in pursuing my blog was how I would describe what I write about in twenty-five words or less. Isawisniewska.com is a springboard for the many thoughts, inspirations and passions that I have. I am multifaceted, as are the topics that I write about. Own the fact that you are full of light, shade and various gradients of grey.
15. Know when to swallow your pride (and be transparent about it)
For the sake of a long-standing friendship, for the sake of your partner, for the sake of your family, or for your own sake – own up to your shortfalls (we all have them after all).
16. Old-school romantics are still out there
Perhaps romance isn’t dead – perhaps, through various disappointments and experiences, we protect and condition ourselves into thinking romance is dead.
Like scorched bushland, our minds become blinded by the desolation of ash and smoke and ignore the potential for renewal.
Similarly, when you find yourself cynically wondering when romance died (and why you didn’t get the memo) – breathe. Allow your childhood innocence to take a front seat and guide you, after all, you never know what is to come next.