would versus could

Disclaimer: Right! You’ll have to bear with me here, and excuse any pseudoscience/lack of historical accuracy; this is just a bit of a brain dump of some thoughts I’ve had recently on ambition and personal development, inspired by books I’ve been reading. If you dig any of what you read below, I’ve put a list of books with similar ideas in the footer 😉


It’s my belief that we all have the potential to achieve anything.

We all could, but the question is, would we?

Back in the prehistoric day, humans lived in a much tougher environment than modern day Western civilisation. This meant taking persistent action was essential because it was literally the difference between life and death. Everyday Caveman John woke up, he had to fight for his food and shelter, otherwise he was dead. Clearly this isn’t the case for us today – I could wake up tomorrow and decide to do nothing – and there would be zero consequence to my imminent survival.

So, what’s my point?

Should we sack Western civilisation off, and revert to living in a prehistoric manner, just so we have to work harder? Absolutely not, I think the security and free nature of our modern civilisation is absolutely admirable and amazing. However, it does mean, in order to be successful at something we usually have to put evolutionary pressure onto ourselves.

Now I’m not talking Caveman John pressure, where we are acting purely out of survival, but enough pressure so that we get a little out of our comfort zones – something I’ve talked about before in 3 gym classes you should try.  We all could do this,  but would we be willing to push ourselves, and experience some discomfort, in order to achieve?

I’ve had instances of pushing myself to my potential over the years, but also innumerable times when I have taken the path of least resistance. Last year, I landed an interview for a job I really wanted at a fashion retailer in London. After the preliminary stages, I was fully aware I would have to improve my Excel skills quite dramatically, and I had 3 weeks to do it in. I definitely could have learned the Excel skills, but the point is that I wouldn’t commit to doing it.

So in order to develop, I need to take the lessons from this experience, and implement them. For instance, this is something I really want to put into practice with blogging.

I know that I could:

  1. Keep to deadlines to produce regular, scheduled blog posts
  2. Put myself out there to meet and collaborate with other bloggers & photographers
  3. Optimise social media accounts to drive traffic to my blog

But will I?

I’ll have to make sure I put enough pressure on myself everyday, and not let myself off the hook. I believe that if I do commit to these 3 points, a longer term snowball effect might occur, and I’d get to a situation where people are reading the blog regularly, and most importantly gaining value from it.

blog_flatlay

Yet, as I’ve said, this will only happen if I stick to small DAILY habits that then compound into long term progress. For example, regularly planning and writing blog posts,  and shooting and editing imagery, as well as indirect (but critical) habits such as getting 8 hours sleep per night and hitting the gym. I’ll also, in the short term at least, have to be willing to give more than I will necessarily receive.

Finally, it’s important to say that I have friends, colleagues and mentors who are much further along their journey than I am. So I write this post from a place of humility, a place of noticing that there is at least one thing all these people have in common, and that’s their persistence in taking action. They put enough pressure onto themselves to make sure they’re habitually taking action and, as a result, developing themselves. This is why I strive to be around people like this as frequently as possible. They make it a matter of course to step out of their comfort zones with a willingness to learn,  which is something I’m trying to do every single day.

Thanks so much for checking this post out – follow me on Insta for updates on all new blog material 🙂


Source material and self-development books I’d 100% recommend:

my first audiobook

If you’re anything like me, you LOVE the idea of reading.

Like…

  1. One of your New Year’s resolutions was to read more often because of the obvious benefits to your mind, body & spirit
  2. You bought a lorry full of books from Amazon (with an Xmas gift card from ya fave Aunty)
  3. You proudly stacked them somewhere in the house (with that smug #winning feeling)

However…

The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

For some reason there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to begin this literary odyssey of the mind. To pick up that book and read from cover-to-cover seems a daunting challenge at best, a crippling one at worst. I mean, after commuting to and from work; hitting the gym; cooking; and doing whatever else may fill your day, little time is left to #read.

But wait! They said,

What about that period of time between jumping into bed and falling asleep..?

Fair point. I thought.

But, to be honest, I tend to read four and a half pages before beginning to nod off (the way you do on a flight or long car journey, where you snap awake in panicked, embarrassed confusion). Either that, or I have every intention of reaching for my paperback, I instead opt for the adrenaline fuelled, passive satisfaction of scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or whichever social platform we’re all currently addicted to.

But then… I had a brainwave… Wait for it…

I spend at least an hour every weekday on my commute; so why not take advantage of this time?

Whether, like me, you walk and get the train to work, or if you drive, audiobooks are the perfect way to get those pages (figuratively) turning. I’d considered listening to audiobooks before, however, this wasn’t as practical when CDs were the order of the day. Now, it’s as simple as downloading an app to your smartphone, and you’re good to go.

I decided to try the Kobo Books app (there are tonnes to choose from) because of the ease of signing up for the free trial, where you get one free credit which you can exchange for one audiobook. Nice if you want to give it a go without commitment (something I’m def NOT afraid of…😳). It’s also a fair price thereafter, £6.99 per month for one credit. If you’re a data-saving-warrior like I am – it’s great – you can download the audiobooks so you don’t have to burn through data every time you fancy dipping into your latest listen.

The app, too, seems awesome across different genres of audiobook. My first download was Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, which I’d highly recommend if you’re interested in evolution and how we’ve got to where we are as a species… Obviously some pretty heavy content at points, but the book is clearly read, and funnily enough, I probably maintained more focus than when actually reading it. The second book I listened to, in contrast, was Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a fantastic fiction detective novel, which was read aloud in an equally gripping manner.

audiobook_agatha_christie_kobo_books

Overall I’d def recommend at least giving audiobooks a try as it’s a great way, with the busy modern lives we lead, to read without needing to find the time to actually read. Ideally, I’d like to get to a position where I am both reading and listening to amazing books that will enhance my mind and life outlook, but for now, I’m ‘appy with my little app 😉

As always, thanks for listening reading 🙂

Peace.

A

X

Feature image taken by Charlotte L. Owen