Less Screen Time, More Me Time

Less is more.

Less screen time. More me time.

Four books finished in just two weeks. I don’t think I’d finished four books in the previous four years! That’s what a broken phone and a lazy repair process will do. And getting rid of Facebook.

It’s been freeing. I feel reborn. I feel I am now learning, progressing, not just seeking ways to pass the minutes.

Rituals are changing. Morning and evening swims have become the norm. And that almost five year old gym membership has now found a new home. Outdoor training and a set of gymnastics rings its replacement.

For years as I have juggled the financial pressures this world creates. I have, often with great despair, stared at my excel spreadsheet as I added in more and more and more debits and payment schedules.

‘Pauly J’ has been balancing precariously on the edge of insolvency as his debt to equity ratio continued to suffer. But a trimester of Accounting Fundamentals helped to better understand what was required from here.

Restructuring has meant I am now able to delete some of those rows and remove expenses from my outgoings. A weight is lifting from my shoulders and I can breathe that little bit easier.

There are sacrifices of course, as I ride the bus and walk the rest, but with each suitcase of clothes I donate to my housemate, or the Salvos, an enormous weight lifts from my shoulders. My bedroom feels bigger. I can find things.

I still don’t know what 2018 will hold for me. But without the distraction of my phone these past weeks, as I’ve floated off the sands of Coogee Beach, I’ve realised something:

Do not spend as much time determining what you do as you do on why you are doing it.

I have placed so much pressure on what I should be doing that I’ve been overlooking the most important thing. I am now resolving a clearer image of who Paul is and why he goes about his business. The who and the why are not dependent upon the what.

This reminds me of the old saying:

If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything.

Life can be uncertain. It’s fluctuations necessitate detours at times. It’s so easy to feel demoralised and to question the basics. This is healthy. But through these times it is important to breathe, rediscover our center, our purpose, our why, and not just to become lost in the myriad of whats we have at our disposal.

The world will tell us what we need. It’s up to us to tell us why we need it. A reminder here that the shortest and most complete sentence in the English language is No.

Power.

PJ.

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When FOMO Strikes Hard

I arrived home, exhausted. Tonight was the night. A short nap and then it would begin. Tomorrow was deadline day in which that bitch of an assignment would be due. It was going to be a late one. As late as was required to get it done. Focus was going to be important. Calm and quiet therefore essential. Though surely there were powers conspiring against such desires.

I tried to have that nap. To give me at least some small remnant of the energy required. But the lives of those others with whom I live had contradictory plans. I guess it was a Saturday night after all…

Intoxicated ecstasy fueled laughs and questionable social interactions; the entire flat an amphitheater of care-free joy. I sat upright in my bed. My notes sprawled across my sheets and my laptop perched upon my knees. I tried to block out the noise. But my broken earphones allowed the backing chorus to remain a persistent distraction.

I guess I could have shut my door. But still there was something inside me that wanted to remain connected to the night’s activities. Surely a better prospect than the bore my night would soon become?

Hours went by and visits to my room from increasingly drunk friends rose in frequency. As I looked back down at my laptop screen and noted the stagnant word count, a growing feeling of dread came over my body. Surely I must have known there would be plenty more nights out such as these? But in that moment it seemed as this would be the last of such opportunities.

I am proud to say that I stayed in that night. And I am proud to say the results achieved, despite my internal doubts upon submission, were well and truly worth it.

It is not all about the results, of course, however these small successes are instilling a growing sense of belief within; a sense of direction; a sense of, ‘if I switch on, focus and commit myself to this shit, then there’s really no stopping me.’

Part of my is falling for this arduous grind. More than financial analysis, consumer behaviour analysis and strategic human resource planning, I am learning just what it takes to achieve; just how much hard work and sacrifice is required.

Since that night there were many more occasions in which the word ‘No’ would again become a reiteration of just why I was putting myself through the sleep and social deprivation. It’s not the piece of paper I’ll have in four months time. Nor then the ability to make mention of these sleepless nights on my CV.

It is instead the the knowledge that all those bullshit excuses I once told myself will be cast from my life once and for all; that the many pages of my journals, listing the myriad of things I had started but never finished, can be torn out [and burned] and replaced with far more helpful affirmations of my potential.

And to be blunt with you, that gets me feeling pretty fkn excited.

 

PJ.

 

 

Are you a Number One or Number Two?

‘Oops, sorry, is it possible to get two marshmallows on the side with that? Thanks.’

I arrived at the cafe a little early. I had fifteen minutes to spare before a friend arrived. My double espresso brewed. And then, not two but three marshmallows arrived in its company. Win.

I got out my laptop, opened my WordPress dashboard and paused for a moment to reflect on life’s present events.

Recently, my anxiety has been fluctuating at levels far beyond places of comfort. Certain events had created stresses unforeseen. And whilst I can appreciate the value these events were offering my life, certain inescapable realities remained:

How do I pay rent next week?

I can’t say I’m as stressed about the situation as I would once have been. Months of hard work, nights in and the substitution of Uber Eats for half price mi goreng noodles are, for now at least, keeping me afloat.

Every time I’ve had a setback – like losing a job – it has served as a kick up the arse that directed me onto something even better. Without fail.

Earlier this year I resolved that it was time I started to invest more time into building my empire. I resolved that I needed to begin putting myself out there more, to expand my network, to build relationships and to solidify ideas that have been on my mind and in my soul for much of my life.

But those ‘jobs to pay the bills’ can be distracting. As I have now found. It’s so easy to get sucked into the demands of the daily grind; it’s so easy to fall victim to the trap of the comfort and stability they offer; and our dreams can so easily stall unless we retain the focus and discipline, every day, to keep taking the time to edge that little bit closer to our desired destination.

I had an interview recently for a marketing role. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had like this and my first step away from the sales and customer service roles that I’ve typically pursued over the past six years.

The owner of the company sat down with me and asked:

‘You’ve got all of the skills and talents, you present yourself well… why don’t you just start your own business?’

He continued:

‘Are you a number one? Or a number two? Are you the leader, the visionary, the guy who steers the ship? Or are you the guy who is content working beneath someone? Getting through the workload they pass on to you?’

The answer had never been clearer.

Two days later I met up with a friend and quickly began talking about business ideas, strategies and ways in which we can make a positive impact in the world. Something clicked. We had the type of conversation that I love having most. The types of conversations that give birth to potentially world changing action.

This is exactly what I want to do. These are the conversations I want to be having!

I guess I haven’t really known a life in which I haven’t had a ‘side project’ to work on. Yes, focus is important, as I wrote about in one of my recent blogs. But retaining the motivation for what you’re doing is surely just as important. And I’ve been missing this motivation recently.

My mind is lead now to think of many of the great entrepreneurs over the years. They were going through the motions, but at the same time, they were building their empires. Think Mark Zuckerberg. Think Elon Musk.

Sure, there is merit to following the conventional path. And yes, there is merit in pursuing the known entity. But if your gut, if that little thing inside of you, that little thing that keeps chirping up in the times of hardship, that little thing that says, ‘Why don’t you just give it a go?’, then why don’t we?

Why must we choke on the dust of the many others walking the known path when we know deep down that we are nomads? When we know that we are, and always have been, destined to forge our own path in life?

It takes courage. And confidence. But surely it’s worth it?

I’m about to find out. Are you?

PJ.

 

 

I can do all things but not all at once.

I’ve been waiting a while to write this blog. Time has not been plentiful enough in order to dedicate the time [and mental energy] required to do so.

For the past three months I have been reunited with my pursuits for tertiary qualifications. Last year served up a false start to such endeavours. Simply, I did not believe I could do it. I conjured up all manner of excuses as to why I could not.

I’m not designed for ‘structured learning’.

I can figure all of this out myself anyway.

And most [in]famously:

It’s just not meant to be…

I dropped out of four subjects with no intention of ever resuming my studies. This was in August last year. As 2017 began, this stubborn belief remained. I was unsure how the year would unfold. I was nervous and apprehensive. How could this year ever compare to the roller-coaster of 2016? A year which featured a move to Sydney, a trip to America and my first forays into the world of film and TV? On the cards were little exciting prospects.

I realise now the value of what 2017 is offering to my life. Intertwined with daily life at present is a simple message:

You can do all things but not all at once.

There was a time not that long ago in which I would draw in my journal mind maps detailing all of my life’s present endeavours: Businesses I wanted to start, friends I wanted to help, blogs I wanted to write, speeches I wanted to give, adventures I wanted to embark on, changes I wanted to make in the world, charities with whom I wanted to work. Not to mention the race car driving or fitness challenges I was also working on behind the scenes!

When you’re standing in the middle of this complicated web posing a myriad of possible directions about where your life could lead, inevitably making a step in any direction becomes rather hard. As I have found it to be.

This year I began to emit an energy that sought clarity over what I needed and where I needed to step next; what I needed to focus on. Fast forward six months and I have now concluded my first trimester of study (take two), albeit at a reduced study load.

I doubted myself in the early weeks. As the first round of assessments loomed large, the voice of negativity spoke loudly in the back of my mind, seeking to convince me once again that this just wasn’t for me. It did a good job too. In fact it was so convincing that at one point I emailed through my intention to withdraw from the course, mistakenly thinking I could do so without financial penalty having misread the dates on the student web portal.

Acknowledging the pain of having another $5,000 added to my student debt for nothing, I said to myself, ‘F*ck it, I’ll submit the work I have done and hope for the best.’

I only just passed my first exam, largely a result of attempting it with no preparation and beginning just half an hour before it needed to be submitted! But the other assignment I not only passed but received a High-Distinction.

Maybe I was on the right track after all?

As the trimester wore on, many distractions would rear their heads. But I chose to remain focused. All of the things I wanted to do, all of the things that were tempting me away, I began to put as reminders in my calendar for when I was on uni break.

I kept saying to myself, I can do all of these things but just not now.

Two bouts of sickness and some brutally long days at work served as continued attempts to lure me away from completing these subjects yet somehow, as the final due dates came and went, I’d somehow managed to submit everything. Now the anxious wait for my marks to come back…

***drum roll***

Two High Distinctions on my final two assessments and two distinctions overall.

Maybe I was on the right track!

It might only be the very beginning of a looooong three year course but in this short time I have learnt that I can do this. I’ve learnt that I can focus. I’ve learnt that all of those creative juices and ideas that flow through my mind every day for businesses and creative exploits are good enough.

But with these lessons acknowledged, by far the biggest thing that I’ve learnt so far – aside from creative strategy and integrated marketing communications – is that for me to succeed in all of the dreams and ambitions I have bustling around in my mind, I must learn to become disciplined in saying no to the ideas that serve only as distractions. Yes, I can do all of them, but no, not all at once.

I think there is a lesson here for all of us.

We wake every day with a multitude of possibilities at our fingertips. At any given point we can begin to write a completely different story for our lives. And whilst it can be hard to choose just one, only when we do will be able to realise the magnitude of the success that awaits us.

PJ.