Until the age of 34, I have learned 3 important things and 4 regrets I have.
About the lessons I have learned I will talk to you in detail, however, the regrets are harder to talk about.
Eventually, both the lessons and the regrets are the ones that make our daily lives. It’s what we do with them that determines our way of choosing how we live and why we live for.
3 lessons I learned
1. Create your own working system.
I never thought I would create a favorable working schedule for myself. A system that would help me juggle multiple professional projects, a system that would help me maintain a healthy mind, and also help me do the work I don’t prefer while being constant in everything I do. My working system is only mine. It’s a personal one that I developed in time and a system that I still work on sometimes.
They think that their ideas just come in and they wait for that in order to get on work. But things don’t work like that, at least they don’t for me. I had to create my own working system that would help me be creative, help me create, that wouldn’t put me in front of a clock and force me to come with new ideas. My working schedule has 2 important elements:
a. A place where I put all my ideas.
Meaning those ideas that come to mind while I’m talking a walk. The ideas that I have while reading a book or watching a video. I have put these ideas in Notion and they are divided into multiple categories. Be it we’re talking about ideas for the content I create, or ideas for Creatopy, or simply just general ideas about marketing and life.
b. A calendar.
Everything I do, everything I intend to do, everything I plan to do, I put in a calendar. My calendar has two other calendars. Creatopy calendar and my personal calendar. The Creatopy one is contained of meetings and tasks I have to do. The personal one is contained of my professional projects, meetings, and tasks (professional ones, personal ones, etc). Without these two I couldn’t have created my working system without running into the problem “I want to work but I don’t have what to do”.
2. Set your expectations in the beginning of any relationship.
I have learned from my friend Ionica Grigorescu that every time I start a relationship with someone or something, I should set my expectations right in the moment of the beginning. This happened right between me and him when we started working together on a project. We sat down and told each other the expectations we have. This one thing did nothing else than help clarify the limits, understand the point where we want to get and where we can get.
Setting expectations is not an easy thing to do. It needs a lot of transparency and maturity. The expectations are not told in order to satisfy the other. They are neither told like the conditions in a contract or points to be considered in a project. Expectations are the limits we put on the table when starting this journey.
But many times we should set expectations for ourselves when we start working on a project. What are my expectations for this project? What are the expectations that I want to achieve in time X or in time Y? How much can I dedicate myself to this project? Questions that again, help us set the limits and understand how much we are willing to offer, ask for, and receive.
3. A creative discipline doesn’t intimidate you in front of a white sheet.
My working system pushed me to develop a creative discipline. Each creator assumes for himself a certain discipline. And many times this discipline starts with the order between ideas. But because our mind is not only created to maintain ideas, we have to be careful to make an order. That’s why I try every day to discipline myself from this point of view. Given that my life revolves between the personal part, the professional one, and the spiritual one, I think that I need to find a creative discipline that doesn’t intimidate me in front of a white sheet. An instrument that helped me with this is Notion.
Actually, I went from Apple Notes to Notion because it offers me many other characteristics, templates, and others that help me write an idea, an article, do a road map for a project or write down ideas for the next IG carousel. So, since I’ve taken this discipline seriously, I’ve never run into a creative block. Actually, since I’ve started putting my ideas on a page (even a digital one), I don’t know what a creative block even is. Maybe Set Godin was right with this creative block and we should consider that this doesn’t exist.
But at the age of 34, not everything is pink and shiny. We hit reality or maybe we feel this reality harder when we look at the regrets we have. I have listened to many podcasts and interviews of successful people and I roll my eyes when I hear “I don’t have any regret in life.” And I ask myself, well, how do you know if you did something good or bad? How do you know to learn to grow, to evolve, to learn something? Actually, I think that regrets should be a part of anybody’s life. But not only live with them but also learn from them.
4 regrets I have lived
1. I chose the urgency in favour of importance.
Most often I realise which are the urgent things and which are the Important ones only after I do things. And I admit that I’m sorry and I promise myself that next time I’ll be more careful. But guess what! The next time also happens like this, and so on. Yes, I fight with myself to stop choosing the urgent things in favor of the important ones, but it’s a hard fight. And here intervenes “just to reply to this email”, or “just to see what someone texted me on WhatsApp” and then I realize that they are not so urgent. However, I choose them and regret after.
2. I talked more than I listened.
I talked with sportspeople, entrepreneurs, people that had done something extraordinary, and I wanted to speak and impress by giving opinions. I thought that if I was having this opportunity to stand in front of these amazing people if I could impress them, I would increase my self-esteem. “But hey, why do you have a podcast? To talk, right?” Well…no. These people took their time and gave me an hour from their life. For them to talk more and me to talk less. And I regret pushing myself into the lights when there was their time of glory.
3. No and Yes are a response.
Your yes should stay a yes and your no should stay a no. What’s so complicated? But I got to the point where I complicated situations when instead of saying yes or no, I said “maybe” or “we’ll see what we do”. Each one would understand what they wanted and would go home with the response they wanted. Until I realized that a simple yes or a simple no could be more relieving than a maybe. From my own experience, maybe is a loss of time, and a stress creator.
You can’t rely on “maybe”.
4. I wasn’t present in the season of my life.
It’s the biggest regret I have. I used to forget to be present. I used to forget that that was the season of my life and no one else’s. If I was on a date, my mind would be in another place. If I was working on a project, my mind was in another place. If I was spending time with family, I was thinking about work. I was physically present, but mentally not available. And when was time to realize the truth, it was too late most of the time. And if everything will be alright, at the age of 35 I’ll manage to write another article on what I will have lived until that age, how I will have lived, and what I will have finally learned.
And if all this is somehow helpful for you, I can’t help but rejoice.