Diaries Magazine

Personal Development

Posted on the 19 March 2018 by Tlog

Being out there seeking to create my own way in life, to leave the the trails left by others is not the easiest task for me. Sometimes, I get lost. Sometimes, I go backwards. Sometimes, my feelings betray me and I wish someone would guide me, tell me what’s right; tell me what’s wrong; tell me everything is going to be alright.

These thoughts are surrounding and following me. When I was struggling to write my thesis or to get over that girl. When I got injured and was unsatisfied with my performance as a goalkeeper. When life presented me with a frequency of setbacks I wasn’t ready for. As you can read in my other post, things have changed since then. I am still on the seek for my own way but I am less worried about the future and what it possibly holds for me.

Friends and Confrontation

I am lucky to have a caring and supporting family. I am also really lucky to have met people in my life that I truly believe I can count on at any given time. I know I mess up from time to time. Despite that they are still around. I hope they also understand that I’ll be there when they are in need.

They have open ears, helpful thoughts and sometimes just a nice comforting hug. I probably wouldn’t be where I am if it wouldn’t have been for them. Supporting me with countless pep talks or by just being there for me. I try to return the favour as friendship is not a one way road.

For me, it is important to be nice and polite. Not for getting something in return, just for the purpose of being nice and helpful. It sounds really esoteric or whatever but the feeling of doing something that helps others makes me happy. I am surely no angel, but at least I can try to be most of the time. I am really far away from what could be possible and I think this TedTalk by Sally Kohn is an interesting view on this topic.

Sometimes I get myself into shitty situations, just because I am afraid of confrontation. Just like not asking for feedback early enough because the work isn’t “good enough” yet, and ending up doing the wrong thing to begin with. I keep on going into one direction thinking I should stop doing it. This is coming to a point where I am getting more anxious with every day that passes. It is like a bubble of anxiety growing up which eventually bursts. And it usually does burst, the confrontation is inevitable and worse than if I would have just opened my mouth in the first place. But also this I take as part of my journey, reflecting about it and trying to improve every day how I approach confrontation and personal issues.

Books

As a support I read self help books or other non-fiction to develop my personality and educate myself in different ways. Last year, I read “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck” to learn from someone else’s experience of how to care less about irrelevant things. The book was recommended to me by a friend who had an open ear for me when I struggled the most. The book is nice but the title is in my opinion a bit exaggerated to what it actually really says. As I took it, it wants to readjust what we care about; where and what we spend all the fucks we have for. For instance, I always try to be nice to a point where I don’t feel entirely comfortable with myself, just to be liked or whatever (see I am spending fucks for something I don’t really know what it is). I think I will dial down that a bit; well let’s say I am going to try at least. I really shouldn’t care too much about what people think about me; except my friends of course!

I do understand this might look opposing to my view earlier in this post, but I think it is just a matter of where to spend the resources. It is about not showing dishonest kindness where not appropriate and where it makes yourself uncomfortable.

Another book I read over the Christmas days is the classic “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I never felt that I have troubles to find friends, once I feel comfortable. Nevertheless, I thought it would be an interesting read anyway. At first, I was actually surprised to notice that the book was first published in the 1930s, but this also shows that the matter of proper communication has a long tradition and it is still as relevant as 80 years ago. For me personally, the book goes in some aspects too far, or at least for what I am aiming for. I think, it holds the danger for the reader to become overly nice and a pushover if applied too carelessly. A lot of the points could be described as common sense, e.g. not to condemn people, but rather try to understand where they are coming from. It is really interesting to follow all the stories the author is telling, but I think it is up to everybody to figure out the meaning of the stories for themselves. The author wants you to find something you like in everyone you meet. I can imagine this requires a lot of investment, which sometimes I am not willing to do. I save that for people I actually like and care about!

The book really aims for people who want to make it right for everyone. Not to hurt feelings or to wake resentment. In my opinion, a little candor and honesty is important too. Here and there we shouldn’t hide behind the curtains of misplaced politeness. I don’t want to say: Be an asshole from time to time. What I want to say is to be direct and not paraphrase what has to be said in an overly polite way. If it is going to hurt you might as well rip the band aid off. Don’t try to make pretty what in fact isn’t.

I will continue to read more books, to hear other voices and make my own experiences with them. There is not one true book or path to go. A common saying and probably also study – what do i know – explains that we are the average of the 5 closest people around us, and recently I saw a video telling to make one of those people books and you will have an endless input of smart and inspiring people to learn from. In 2018 I want to read at least 1 book per month and now in March I am more or less on track. After two fiction novels I am now starting “The pragmatic programmer”. A classic in my field of study that I bought several years ago but never completed to read and I trail back my schedule already again.

Responsibility – Work and Handball

Another goal I set myself is to take more responsibility. For what I do and for other people. Long enough I have only been a member of a group, be it a handball team or a group of friends, without participating in the leadership. I am ambitious to share my motivation with others, to change what I am unsatisfied with instead of complaining. Of course, the way and extend of leadership I can claim is different form which environment I am in, be it at work, around friends or at handball.
At work, I am the new guy (even though not that new), so it is hard to get out and try to lead. That’s just not my job right now; but it poses new responsibilities which I am eager to take. I want to take the challenge to grow. I learned already that I add valuable expertise to the team based on that I am coming from a different background than my colleagues. Given that I see it also as an opportunity to take the responsibility to help out and support the others where I can, as I know they have an open ear for me, too.

At handball, I am already more involved. I see myself as one of the leaders of the team. Try to be a motivator, to hold them accountable, but also support them with investing everything I have. I want to lead with a good example, be focused and perform well when I am on the field or on the sideline. Now more recently, I have started to take even more responsibility; I want to get more involved in the training. After all these years of doing sports, I think I have at least some knowledge which I can share with my teammates, my friends, my family. This stems from the fact that I am unsatisfied with some things and also from being injured for a while; I want to be part of the team, one way or another. I put in some initiative to establish some more goalkeeper training within the team training or planning a more intense warm-up session. Despite knowing that I’m not the best keeper this world has ever seen, I still think I gained a considerable amount of experience from the training I had under different coaches. I am confident I can help, and while doing this, I think I can also learn a lot from actively observing the others. This will give me some space for reflection of the whole job of a goalkeeper. I mean, after all I feel good and I want to share it.

On top of this I volunteered to take over the position as treasurer beginning of May for the handball department of the club. Small but steady steps towards a better me.

Challenges

For 2018, I want to challenge myself even more than I did last year with the “No-facebook-challenge” and the “No-alcohol-challenge”. I am already repeating the “No-alcohol-challenge” and actually make it a part for every year. Just to remind myself that I can have the same pleasure without stimulants.

The rest of the year, I want to spend doing one challenge every month. Big challenges, small challenges, just what I feel up to in the moment. I want to try living a month vegan, studying Spanish every day (February, check), taking a picture every day, and so on. Maybe some things get stuck and become habits. We’ll see, the year just started, and I am up for some new adventures! Those challenges help to keep the year exciting I think and something to aim for and give a meaning to the days.

Walking along my own way, leaving a mark, maybe not for the world but for myself to look back on and smile. Those are my goals for 2018 and every other year to come. There will be struggles ahead but with enough courage and a little extra support I am sure I will manage to overcome them.


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