Each day, I wake up with a personal goal of being the best person I can be. However, this goal does not mean that I do the same generic things every day. I view each day as a new set of obstacles. Due to this, I define what will make me the best person I can be on an individual case basis. Now, I’ll admit, what I decide to do and what you choose to do may be two very different things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Salvaging individuality is all we have to differentiate ourselves from others.
So, at this point, you may be asking: “Alicia, what do you mean? Be about it?” The answer is simple; “it” is whatever you need “it” to be. The most important part is that “it” matters to you or you benefit directly or indirectly.
What Matters Most to You?
In today’s world, many of us make decisions based more on how it affects others rather than how it affects us. Whether it’s the news, a beauty magazine, or celebrity gossip, mass media reconstructs our way of thinking. Words and opinions are recklessly defining belief systems relating to food, clothing, success, normalcy, the values of the people around us, etc. Regardless of topic, as an individual, it is important to decide what you value and why. In many cases, you just do not care about the issue or find that it does not affect your life.
If something matters to you, it definitely deserves your time, attention, and focus. On the other hand, if you feel that something is being forced on you or adds no value or benefit, it should not take up any more of your time or thoughts. With this said, I understand life is not always black and white, very much gray area exists. For these gray areas, be real and be mindful.
One of the things I appreciate most in this life is integrity. Integrity in its simplest terms is explained by the old expression: mean what you say, say what you mean, and do as you say you will do. For me, integrity is being 100% real with those you come in contact with 100% of the time. At times, this will seem abrasive to the other party; however, in life, there will always be people who disagree with you.
Being real isn’t carte blanche to criticize or condemn others; rather it is an opportunity to stand out and add value. It requires listening with the intention of understanding, allowing you to interject your wisdom appropriately. At the end of the day, be who you say you are going to be.
Mindfulness is a practice where you stay present in the moment, aware and conscious. Meditation is the best-known way to practice mindfulness, but mindfulness practices work in almost all activities.
Being mindful doesn’t come as naturally as one would think. Over the past few decades, technology has rapidly advanced to the point where we hold a lifetime’s worth of information in our pockets and connect across the world in seconds. As fantastic as this is, it comes with great consequences, such as constant distractions, 24/7 media, animosity, and feelings of being overwhelmed or ignored just to name a few.
We’ve become so wrapped up in nonsense and unimportant things that our minds no longer maintain focus. Driving down the road, you can see how distracted drivers are, go ahead, and count off how many people in a row of ten vehicles are not paying attention to the road. In conversations, most commonly with those closest to you, how often we space out into our thoughts and casually ignore our interlocutor. (Excuse my word choice, “Brevity is the soul of wit” – William Shakespeare)
When you are passionate, it incites excitement in and entices others. That glow in your eyes and spirit in your voice brings you to life. Even the most introverted soul shines brightly when they exhibit or discuss something in which they are passionate. I’ve noticed that passionate people inspire me even if what they love has nothing to do with my interests.
Working within in your passions compels you to become better every day. The biggest competition you have in life is staring at you in the mirror. For many of us, myself included, our passions are held back while we try to figure out how to be successful. Ironically, the answer was already right in front of us.
Surprisingly, helping others can be a double-edged sword. There is an adjustable, yet fine line to draw when helping others. In many ways, I am passionate about helping others, but I require that it be on my terms to maintain integrity in what I provide. The disease of self-victimization knows no boundaries and quickly spirals out of control. Be the player, not the pawn.
The people closest to us have the keys to our hearts. Whether intentional or by accident, we allow other people’s issues to affect our day and mood. Emotionally or financially taking on someone else’s problem provides no lesson and often increases the risk. Beware of the friend or family member that only reaches out when they need something. Reiterating two of my earlier statements: be real and be mindful.
Acquaintances and Unknown Recipients
The act of helping others exhibits itself in many forms. Charitable donations to verified, legitimate groups and volunteer work are most common. What you may not realize that the smallest gestures, actions, and words commonly have the greatest impact. Say hello to strangers, or better yet, compliment them respectfully. Wave or smile at the random passerby. Interject a positive spin on a complaint or problem you overhear.
Small efforts result in potentially unlimited outcomes. Many stories exist citing that a hello or a smile from a stranger changed their mind about suicidal thoughts. In my own experience, I have witnessed many times the figurative “light going off” in one’s head over an outside comment. There is something about the outsider looking in that magically adds value it seems.
Like Minded People and Mentoring
Surround yourself with like-minded people. As time passes, people change, needs change, everything changes. Create mutually beneficial relationships in both your personal and professional life. This simple task can save you time, money, and stress while enhancing your creativity and passion. There is no book with all of the answers to our problems. Also, there is no limit to what we can achieve both individually and with others. Those who we surround ourselves with drive the direction we move in life. Either pushing us forward or holding us back.
Ideas into Action
On this journey called life, each of us has thousands of excellent ideas each year. All too frequently, these ideas never come to fruition. Whether it is procrastination, naysayers, or some internal voice that says we won’t succeed, brilliant ideas come and go. Of course, it is impossible to turn every idea into a reality. If you believe in something, you won’t regret taking actionable steps toward the end goal.
Be Part of a Community
The advent of the Internet and, more specifically, social media shifted the landscape of communities. In years past, our community was commonly our neighborhood or parish, a local group, or our political party. Today, the world is at our fingertips, and with a quick search, we can connect to billions of individuals around the world. Developing an active community where people can build off of each other is invaluable.
The idea of Dirty Windshield has grown over the past year. It shapes and shifts as it sets forth into action. In life, there are distractions or dirt on our respective windshield. Each day, I work to clean my Dirty Windshield and see the world in a better light. I believe in curiosity, adventure, and sharing with others who want the same.
If you enjoyed this article, please like and share. Keep the conversation going, share your journey, let us know how you become better every day.