being still and fearless… and foolish and hungry, too.

Happy New Year!

Things I learned in 2016 (and things I’m still learning in 2017): 

1) stay hungry

By the way, I don’t mean staying hungry in the sense of wanting something to eat, but if that’s how you interpret it, that’s cool too. I’m referencing Steve Jobs’ commencement speech he gave at Stanford University.

Steve Jobs encouraged the crowd of new Stanford graduates to “stay hungry”. He meant staying hungry in pursuit of our dreams. He meant staying relentless in pursuit of our goals. He encouraged us to never stop chasing our dreams even when when we feel we cannot go on. Sometimes we grow complacent. Sometimes things aren’t going our way, so we give up the whole dreaming thing for a bit. However, we must always stay hungry!

I enjoy setting goals- big or small.

Whether I look back over my year’s completed goals or just the day’s, it feels good seeing what I could and did accomplish.

2) stay foolish

I define this as staying lighthearted, carefree, and authentic.

I love the twenty one pilots lyric where he says “I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink, but now I’m insecure and care what people think.”

I believe that as we age we grow more insecure and uncomfortable with ourselves.I wonder why that is… I feel like it should be the opposite. I would think we would realize that the opinion of others mean so little.

I noticed my need for validation from other people and the need for constant affirmation.
I got to the root of the problem and realized that it stemmed from my lack of confidence in myself. I began looking at the good qualities in myself and became my own biggest fan. It’s been a process, but I’ve learned to embrace the fact that none of us are put-together all the time. We are all deeply flawed individuals. I’d rather put more energy into choosing authenticity than choosing the facade of perfection.

I’m learning to laugh at myself when I make mistakes, give myself grace, and to use my mistakes as the opportunity to learn.
I’m learning that it’s okay to fail. I’m learning that it’s okay to ask a million questions. You seem more human that way. After all, we’re not robots.

I’m choosing to do the following this year: laugh more, find the fun in everyday life, and at the end of the day, remember that life is far bigger than any of my problems.

to hear more on staying hungry & foolish:
please watch steve jobs’ speech. it helped shape my worldview honestly.

3) stay fearless

Fearlessness. Some of us have it, some of us wish we had more of it, or some of us live vicariously through people who are fearless. I fall in the second category.

I used to be afraid of every little thing. The main reason I chose to go off to college was because I feared trying new things and I hated having to make new friends. I grew close to the friends I made, so why change my life if it’s going well?

Man, am I glad I took that leap. Going away for school might not be considered a leap to some of you, but it definitely was for me. My mom and sister hadn’t even left yet before I began crying and already missing them.

I thank myself for doing that. I needed that ounce of courage to enter a new season in my life. A season in my life where more things changed than stayed the same.

That was probably my first truly fearless thing I did.

I cherish those times when I surprised myself. I cherish the times when I did something I never thought I had the courage to do.

Big or small. We all have those moments. I put off creating this blog for the longest time because I didn’t want to subject myself to criticism. I didn’t want people to question why I had a blog when there are hundreds that exist already. I didn’t want people to say negative things about my writing because writing in a way shares a bit of myself with you all.

I’ve really enjoyed writing in this space these past few months. I’ve had a few people reach out to me with encouraging words about my blog! So, thank you guys. Your encouragement and positive feedback motivates me to continue this when I almost wanted to stop writing. Seriously. 

4) and last, but certainly not least, be still

Before I say anything on this one, listen to my favorite song, Be Still by The Killers 

I love the message of this song and The Killers, too of course.

The biggest lesson I learned in 2016 and the biggest area of my life I’m still working on is stillness.

There are many times when I’m not sure what I’m doing with my life. It’s easy to want all the answers right here and right now. However, life doesn’t quite work that way.

We have to remember that everything will work out as it is intended to.

Sometimes it means not pursuing an opportunity at the moment, so you can direct attention to another priority in your life. Sometimes it means being okay with being single because you can work on yourself, appreciate the good people in your life, and relax in knowing your time will come.

A friend of mine invited me to church with him this past weekend. During the sermon, the preacher said “sometimes we create more problems trying to fix everything” and I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes we need to just let go and leave it up to God (or karma, or fate, or whatever you find solace in).

I’m working to strengthen my faith and realize that life is a series of battles and blessings as one of my devotions I read pointed out. There’s never one without the other in our lives. Seriously, think about it. There’s always pits and there’s always peaks.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for us and we need only to be still. I’m choosing to worry less (or as much as I can).I’m learning that I don’t have to fix everything on my own. Life’s not meant to be lived that way. We’re meant to do what we can and life will meet us where we are.

I hope everyone has an eventful, emotionally satisfying, blessed, adventurous, and fun 2017. I hope it’s full of love.

As we enter new changes in the political climate, remember to fight for your marginalized brothers and sisters. Remember that we can and will continue to make changes and progress in this beautiful nation. The American people and our resilience are part of just what makes this place so great.

Also, remember to embrace people’s differences. I came across a quote recently that says “We don’t have to think the same. We just need to think.”

But let’s not forget the dark areas that need a light shined on them and the work that needs to be done.

And in the words of Barack Obama, “The sun will rise in the morning”.

Until Next Time,

Nicole

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