Quarter-Life Crisis

Most of us have heard about a middle-life crisis, a stage of life stereotypically accompanied by an impromptu purchase of a fancy red sports car and new out-of-character hobbies, but how about a quarter-life crisis? Since it is safe to say that the majority of us at 25 years old are still broke and living with our parents, our quarter-life crisis may not be projected with a luxury car purchase. Conversely, it can be accompanied by overthinking about the future, anxiety about achieving our goals, being unsure about making a new move, and fearing we will not have done enough with our lives by 30 years old.

The irony of having such doubts about ourselves is it can be debilitating and the exact reason we will not achieve our goals. It is easy to look five steps ahead to our ideal life, but how about all of the steps in-between? When we focus too heavily on step five, it hinders us from taking steps one, two, three and four.

So now I beg the question, “Would it be better if we did not set goals at all then?!”

I am not sure about my own response to this question. I believe we do need an objective that will drive us into action, but perhaps my response would have more to do with allowing ourselves to be flexible and do more acting and less planning to inch our way closer to reaching our objectives.

For instance, we should be open to changing our path if interests or lifestyle changes. Sometimes we are too scared to change because of the time and money we already invested in the field we are in, the degrees, the years, the relationships, and to jump into a new field of interest is often less appealing for these reasons. However, if we are not flexible in catering our goals to match our new interests, we will never be able to become that person we envision at step five.

Furthermore, planning less means taking time away from creating a vision board, writing out a five-year plan or creating a business plan, and giving more time to taking action towards our goals.

If you too are going through your own quarter-life crisis, my advice is to put less pressure on yourself, live in the moment, be flexible and focus on taking step one rather than constantly thinking about and planning for step five.

Think about the person at step five. What was the most basic action that person needed to take to get them to where they are? Take it today.

The Power of Likeability

The Power of Likeability is a concept that possesses a greater influence than often realized. How often do we go out of the way to go to a certain gas station, hair dresser or bank teller, for the sheer reason that we like the person we interact with in those instances? Does it mean that this bank teller is the most experienced of all of the tellers in the window? Does the gas station attendant at Exxon pump more skillfully than the one at Shell? Most likely not, and we do not care!

From this observation alone, we can understand what the power of likeability has on our decision making, and how we can use it to our advantage in our own lives. It is so easy to get discouraged from going for a job or pursuing a new career because you feel you are too inexperienced, for example. We have all been there. What happens next much of the time? We allow for inexperience to weight more heavily in our minds as a disadvantage than our real hidden advantage, our likeability. The reality is that we are already well-equip with all of the influence we need to land that job or make that deal as long as you commit to using it!

Likeability is comprised of authenticity, charisma, empathy and confidence. We all possess these characteristics but it is bringing them out.

5 Tips to Be More Likeable:

  1. Be present, be attentive, be yourself.
  2. Make eye-contact and open your body up to audience.
  3. Speak with enthusiasm.
  4. Engage in active listening.
  5. Mirror audience’s speech, pace and tone of voice.

For more likability tips and anecdotes check out the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie!

When we begin to believe in the power of likeability and use this as an advantage in our everyday lives, we will be surprised at how many opportunities will come our way and not because of experience. Try it out, and see what comes your way!

9/11- A Day for Remembrance, A Day for Reminder

First off, God please protect those directly affect by 9/11, and give them the strength to live well. I can only imagine the pain they feel on this day. We remember the souls who left us and hope their loved ones have found peace. These souls shall live on and continue to be a reminder to recognize what is truly important in our lives.

Through the tragedy and sorrow, this day reminds us how precious and fleeting life is. In just an instance, a life can be taken, but this is the reality we often choose not to think about. We much rather comfortably assume that tomorrow will come for us and everyone around us. As a result, we may treat the ones we love unfairly at times.

How many fights have we gotten into with family members over something so trivial, and now we do not speak? How many relationships have we had where we were too prideful or scared to tell the person we love them, and now they are gone? How many times have we yelled at our sibling and angrily walked out the door, taking for granted he or she will be there upon our return? We do this all of the time because of how unaware we are in the moment that things can change in just the same amount of time, one moment.

We can be more aware by actively expressing gratitude for the ones we love daily, not only once per year on their birthday because they or we cannot be guaranteed a next one. The latin phrase, Memonto Morti translates to “One day you will die.” This phrase is not meant to be morbid, for it is simply a reminder of how lucky we are to have today because we cannot be guaranteed tomorrow. If this is still too dark of a principle for you to adopt, more popular phrases like Carpe Diem– “Seize the day” or even Drake’s very own, YOLO– “You only live once,” have been coined to embolden this same principle.

Today I encourage all of us to reach out to the ones we love and tell them how much they mean to us. Think about a moment you have experienced with them and indulge in its memory as if it were happening right now. Take notice of your emotions and the feeling of love this experience with this person gave you.

Today we remember those we lost, as well as those we have for the moment. #neverforget

How to Love the Job You Hate (Pt. 2)

My main commitment to this site is to offer mindset and life advice to anyone who in interested in a DIY sort of approach to self-help. All I can offer is tactics based on my own personal experiences, which have help me greatly.

This posts topic seems to speak to the most people so I will expand upon ways to “love the job you hate.”

The two previous methods I have mentioned were, generally, Self-awareness and Gratitude.

Here, we are encouraged to recognize the tasks or annoyances that bring us negative emotion, and choose to react more positively to them. Furthermore, we are encouraged to reflect upon all of the good in our lives and focus on these in times of difficulty at work or everyday life.

To take these concepts a step further. I will share my specific morning routine, which helped change my mindset about my job and my life.

Mourning Routine:

  • Drink a Glass of Water
  • Brush Teeth
  • Journal Three Things I am Grateful for
  • Journal Three Reasons Why I Am Already Successful
  • 5 Minute Listen to Breath
  • 5 Minute Listen to Positive Audio (TedTalk, AudioBook)
  • 15 Minute Stretch/ Workout
  • 10 Minutes of Reading
  • Give Yourself a Smile in the Mirror

Repeating these simple tasks before going to work will make your day, I guarantee it! You will enter your work day with a sense of accomplishment from the start.

As previously mentioned, a habit typically takes about 30 days to stick, so practice this routine as consistently as possible! Finding this 30 min- 45 min of extra time in the morning will be more than worth in the long run. This is time for yourself, before the world wakes up and starts asking things of you.

You deserve it.

Please contact me in the Contact section or comment with email below if you would like me to email a copy of the Morning Routine Check-Off List I have created. This consists of all of the above tasks in check-off list form for each day of every month! (And it is free, of course).

Enjoy!

 

How to Love the Job You Hate

I was thinking of expanding upon this topic at a later time because of how many people complain about their jobs more than anything. It is understandable! We spend 33% of our days, on average, in the workplace. If we are unhappy for 33% of our days and spend that time just waiting for the other 67% to come, we might as well try to make that 33% of time more satisfying.

Now, to begin, I do not hate my job, personally, but there WAS a time when I could not bear it.

So, what changed? My position? My company? Nope.

The answer is… I did.

Some of you may think your situation is unique. If anyone else had your job, they would hate it too, and there is no way your job can be as bad as theirs. Everyone’s experiences are relative so how can we possibly compare? What may be a great experience for you, may be a terrible experience for me. However, the one thing I think we can all settle on is having the feeling of dread getting ready for work in the morning, feeling that drop in your stomach when you realize it’s Sunday and Monday is creeping behind, or watching the clock with anxiety, frustrated that the time will not hurry the heck up!

If we can agree on all of those emotions, I think it is fair to say we all share in this experience.

Today, I am free from the feeling of dread in the morning, enjoy my sits in traffic to work and home, and I do look at the clock but I no longer curse that slow ticking hand.

I know it might sounds crazy but it also sounds pretty good, right? The good things is everyone has the capability of doing the same, but WE need to change!

So, Alex, that’s great and all but HOW do I change?

Good question. The solutions will vary depending on the person, but all I can share is what I did to change my perspective and ultimately changed my life.

This change came primarily with the adoption of two simple concepts: Self-awareness and Gratitude.

Making these a HABIT is critical in changing your way of thinking and your attitude towards everyday life.

First, having the self-awareness to understand the moments in the day that prompt a certain emotion is critical to making a change. Oftentimes we can all get caught up in this auto-pilot mode, where we react without reason.

For example, when I get a message from a frustrated, rude client who hurts my feelings, my initial, auto-pilot reaction is to tell them off and prove my point. However, this would indicate a lack of self-awareness. My self-aware self then brings reason into the equation. In this moment, I stop, reflect on the emotion I am feeling, which words exactly triggered this emotion, and be proactive about what the client’s response would be if I said something as a reaction rather than a reasoned response. Here, we might want to think twice. At the end of this reflection, most likely, I would resolve to keep it polite and professional. Here, I did not risk my reputation in the matter and felt I was the bigger person in the moment. Simply, “Not a problem. Have a nice night.” Not much too feel bad about after that response, huh?

The assessment of our emotions and our TYPICAL reactions to these emotions allows for us to make adjustments. How could we ever change our behaviors if we are never aware of them in the first place?

To assist in my quest for better self-awareness, I began journaling. While journaling, we are able to express our emotions on paper and read them back. Hmm, why did I feel that way? What can I do in my control to improve my reaction to this event that made me feel this way? Journaling provides us with an avenue to take a deeper dive to get to know ourselves better.

Second, gratitude. There is a Tony Robbins saying that I’m sure I have mentioned before, which I will paraphrase here. “It is impossible to feel sadness while also simultaneously expressing gratitude.” No matter how terrible a job might be, there is SOMETHING in this life I am sure you can find to be grateful for in those moments of frustration with your boss, annoyance with your co-worker, or confrontation with your client.

When you notice the feeling of worry or anxiety in the workday, think of that one person or thing that brings you joy and purpose for being alive and say, “Thank you.” That moment of anxiety just changed to joy by just doing that, if only for a brief moment. But, imagine how the accumulation of all of these brief moments of joy would improve your overall day experience.

Don’t allow for those 33% hours to be wasted in feelings of owe and frustration. Make something out of it! Again, this is a habit we are trying to establish within ourselves. So, the consistent and constant practice of self-awareness and gratitude will be crucial in the success of this how-to. Try these tips out every day for the next 30 days, and see if you notice a difference! Feel free to comment with your results. Enjoy!

Social Media Sobriety

Today I found myself getting caught up in Facebook posts for almost an hour, which made me think of all of the time we must waste on social media. There are people in this world with the most creative minds and talents, yet social media has become such a distraction, they spend more time online than they do working on their craft or taking advantage of the opportunities. This very post is an example of putting off writing to waste non-value-add time looking through social media. For what? I did not find out anything interesting, nor did it advance my writing craft in any way. This post could have been completed 30 minutes ago if I had not been distracted by others’ photos, videos and posts. What a shame.

What makes social media so addicting? Sadly, it is mostly because it is mindless and gratifying activity. It is easy to do and results in high reward, often. We are thrilled to get new comments, likes and attention on our profile, and to do it, all we have to do is post a picture and a moderately-clever caption. It makes us feel like people like us! There are not many other things in life we can say has high reward and low effort or risk. Usually, high rewards come with a high investment of time, money and energy.

Conversely, we can be putting some energy into a skill we have a passionate for and EARN a return, not be handed one. Doesn’t that sounds more gratifying? …… I know, sounds tiring.

It has been proven that when we receive a notification or like on social media, it releases endorphins to our brains to make us feel good. This feel-good feeling is addicting, similar to that of a drug. We are a generation of social media-addictions and it is an epidemic. For myself, I went on a months-long hiatus of abstaining from social media. I literally feel like I was telling people about my lengthy sobriety journey when I would talk about it.

Recently, in joining the field of real estate, heavily set in social media, so I have been back on it. Ideally, social media is supposed to be a good resource for getting leads, networking, etc. but I have found it has broken my social media-sobriety (we will call it), making it more difficult not to get caught up in its antics.

Breaking the social media habit can only lead to us being more productive and more present in our world. I am going back to my social-media sobriety journey starting today. I encourage you to do the same! Let’s kick this habit and start doing the things worth spending that time on!

Where Brooklyn At?!

BK

As I raced toward the subway station area, occasionally glancing up from my Google Maps, my attention was grasp by a site wondering in my right-side peripheral. It was the Brooklyn Bridge! All of the times I have visited this part of the city and I had never realized how near the bridge was! I pivoted instinctually and gazed at the two sturdy arches stoically standing in the distance. From where I was standing, I predicted it would only be about a 5 minute walk to the bridge. I must take advantage of this opportunity!

My right foot ventured toward the bridge but shortly froze as I realized I might be late for my networking event uptown. I quickly contemplated the opportunity cost for being late to this networking event versus potentially never having the opportunity to walk on the Brooklyn Bridge ever again in my life.

Well, when you put things in this perspective, the response to myself was, in the words of the great Biggie Smalls, “WHERE BROOKLYN AT?!”

Off I went!

With a backpack loaded with my two journals, agenda, computer, peanut butter sandwiches and my rain jacket, I maneuvered through fellow tourists shopping for trinkets and bikers angrily yelling at pedestrians in the designated bike lane. I was determined to reach those two beautiful stone arches and make it to my networking event on time!

My feet began to swell and the thought of turning around lurked as the time neared the start-time of the event uptown. The bridge was much further than it had seemed when looking from the street. Still, determined not to miss out on this brief adventure, I continued, and took in the sights of the entire city in the process. Onward had been Brooklyn, while the sites behind me consisted of the World Trade Center building and the full eastern coast-line of Manhattan. It was gorgeous. I would not have given up this travel for the world.

I finally reached the arches, touched the stone and read the displayed plaque, which narrated the history of the Brooklyn Bridge and its creator, John Roebling. I took in the sites one last time before beginning my trek back to the subway to get to the networking event.

When I finally arrive at the event, I was only 10 minutes late and the presentation had not even started! I thought of all I would have missed out on if I got too caught up in worry about not making it to an event that did not even start on-time. I knew this might have been the only time I would go to the Brooklyn Bridge, potentially, and if I did not go then, I may never go.

We do not know what tomorrow brings, so think about what CAN be saved for tomorrow and what MUST be done today. Enjoy!