When it comes to Life, tomboys, we’re sorry because it didn’t come with a manual. Most of this journey is an experience and everything we know are lessons we’ve picked up along the way. It’s stuff no one will teach you, so we’ve rummaged through our own lockers at the school of hard knocks to bring you 7 valuable life skills you can use to stay on top of your game.
Imagine this. You’re sipping a Corona on a white, pristine beach and seconds later a meteorite punctures the peaceful blue sky you were enjoying a few seconds ago, its head flaming with raging fires, heading towards your direction. Without a moment’s hesitation, you jump off your deck chair, knowing it’s a matter of life and death.
As you make your frantic getaway to a place as far away from the point of impact as possible, you realise there’s so many things you regret not doing and suddenly those moments in which you’re running away from certain death become the most precious ones you can think of.
You realise all the things you could and would have done like given your exes a piece of your mind even though they labelled you a ‘hysterical bitch’, been truthful with the people you love, had moonlight sex on the beach or travelled to a third world country by yourself – if only you had just broken through all those inhibitions, fears and mind fucking stories you told yourself all those years.
That’s OK though because that’s just humanity’s defence mechanisms reacting to Life in general. It’s what we generally call ‘survival skills’ and while survival skills are essential to ensuring our physical safety, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for your emotional and spiritual growth.
A friend of ours once said that if there was a hell, it was here on Earth and you know what? She could be right because no matter how much we try to cushion our lives, we are always somehow thrust into a collision course with uncomfortable and risky situations in our lives.
There’s no other place to get such mind boggling lessons than your time here on Planet E and tomboys – unfortunately you’re not excluded from this VIP Club either. Much as a lot of us like to think we come off looking like chicks who’ve got it together, we’ve also got eyeliner-bleeding moments too.
That’s where important life skills come in. Stuff you can only learn within the nuked hallways of the school of hard knocks. If you’ve got your hazmat suit on and a dollar to donate to us after this article, then here’s 7 life skills to help you stay on top of your game. Got your dollar? Then here goes…
#1 ESCAPING THE CHICKEN COOP: BE BRAVE BY DOING THINGS YOU FEAR THE MOST
We get it. Collecting eggs at the chicken coop sometimes seems like a better option than jumping off a bungee platform, getting lost in a new city or moving out of your parent’s home for the first time.
That brick-shitting Macaulay Culkin moment is not everyone’s favourite thing to do because those chickens love hanging out at the comfort zone and we love to hear them clucking in paranoia.
You, fortunately don’t have to live like that. The good news is that we all go through these situations at some time or the other; those self-sabotaging moments of self-doubt, worry, panic, anxiety or sheer paralysing fear. The secret is to literally or figuratively close your eyes and remind yourself to remain present.
Some of the most courageous things we’ve done were made up of an accumulation of moments. If you can focus and remain present, all those negative feelings will go away, right there and then or eventually. If all else fails, then don’t feel pressured to do something you’re not ready for and walk away. You don’t have to be hero if the time isn’t right. There’s always next time.
Meanwhile ditch those flappy chicken dance moves. They’re not attractive. Really.
#2 GETTING OVER YOUR SPEED BUMP: STOP TAKING THINGS SO PERSONALLY
Everyone has an ego. Yes, even tomboys. Who? Us? What are you talking about? Hey look, if anything, your ego is like going round a housing estate with speed bumps every minute but while running the STOP sign, a bus collides right into your car and it’s over – until your ego builds itself back up and you’re at it again which makes some of us tomboys come off being over-confident, over-ambitious and over-everything basically.
Due to that unfortunate side effect of our consciousness, we’ve come to think that everything that takes place in our lives is about ‘me and my lollipop’, when really it’s not.
Whether you failed your exams, your romantic interest broke your heart, a car cut you off in traffic today, the news pissed you off, your boss gives you a raise, you got a new apartment, you didn’t get invited to a good friend’s wedding etc., etc., etc., your ego is either going to make you dopamine-happy, depressed, angry or hurt.
As a result, we have this tendency to think all things that happen to us, good or bad, is all about us. It’s a complex web our egos have weaved for itself by a self-preserving part of our brains that has cleverly manipulated us into thinking the world revolves around us and no one else.
Unfortunately guys, newsflash! Get over yourselves. Once we realise we are all one and part of a global community sharing one planet with the same human experiences, we can stop taking things so personally. It’s only then that we can become happier and a little lighter on the shoulders.
Sure, go ahead and be angry or sad if your feelings get hurt but after the pity party is over, be aware that life goes on and you should move on with it.
A good example would be how we at Tomboy Tarts take rejection on a daily basis, from getting our interview requests rejected to people just saying no to our funding needs. For the last 3 years, despite our niche status and not seeing high traffic growth, we know the people that like us will stick by us no matter what and we keep putting our head down and just churning out content for our little site and podcast. Despite all the discouraging signs and even our friends telling us to quit this site which can be very hurtful, the team here still carries on each day.
Had we taken half of what people have said and done seriously, we’d have closed this site down a long time ago instead of just building on its foundations and not letting our egos get in the way.
And if all else fails, think of your ego as a dog. The older it gets, the dumber it becomes. Case closed.
#3 THE BEER BELLY DIET: LET GO OF OLD BELIEFS
You know that horribly obese guy that spends his entire day, blowing his welfare checks at a bar just downing on Buds cultivating a beer belly he just can’t seem to get rid of it? Well, that’s pretty much what happens when you take on a belief and keep adding more to the mix as you get older.
Your once trim waistline you enjoyed as a kid has now morphed into one that protrudes over your pants and knees and eventually melts itself onto the pavement too like lipo gone horribly wrong. Ugh!
The beliefs you hold onto whether they come from personal experience or stuff you Googled are additional calories you need to let go of immediately because they only serve to limit your perspectives on life. It’s self-imprisonment without that one phone call.
Besides, everyone else is also carrying their own beer bellies of beliefs and not everyone is going to agree with your version of the truth either, so it’s time to loosen up and lighten your load.
Take out a notebook and jot down 10 things about yourself or the world you think could go wrong. Once you list them out, go through the list and start questioning why you had those assumptions in the first place. As you ask the why behind the why (let’s go Inception here for a minute) you’ll uncover the emotion behind each belief.
Keep going and once you identify the various emotions behind each of those beliefs, you need to ask the complete opposite of that and from there you’ll discover that there are two sides to every story. You’ll realise a lot of your ‘I’m lazy.’ or ‘I hate rude people.’ beliefs are really rooted in your own insecurity about something about yourself that you need to heal.
Once you see the other side of the coin and start accepting all the different versions of life, it can not only be freeing, it can help you be more positive without that annoying nanny-voice constantly nagging you about your flaws.
So cut the calories and trim that fat on those old stories you keep telling yourself, or you’ll find yourself starting a tab with good ole beer belly guy.
#4 THE OVERTHINKING CAP: DITCH IT AND GO FOR HOME RUN
As we write this, we bet at least 95% of you are either multi-tasking, multi-texting and yes, multi-thinking! All the while feeling proud of how much you’re getting done every minute, right? Wrong!
As we embrace our super fast-track lives down this rat racing highway, the more pressure you put on yourself, the faster you’ll reach Burnout-ville. Population: Too many to mention.
Switching from your laptop or desktop to your mobile and then to the TV, your face constantly glued to a device while having a million other things race through your head is just kamikaze on all levels and you need to ditch that over-thinking cap asap and go for home run on your own terms.
So how do you do it? A great way we’ve found here at Tomboy Tarts to calm our ADHD nerves is to find time to consciously stay present.
Overthinking is caused by our human tendency to be anxious about everything in the future and the past, while we conveniently forget about the present – the one important moment in time that really matters because it is happening right now.
How you attempt to focus your mind on the present is really up to you. Some people like to meditate or do yoga, while others eat mindfully, take a walk out in nature or decide to focus on a hobby or interest. Whatever it is you decide to do, just make sure you get the hell out of your mind so you can get your heart rates back to normal.
In fact, living in the now is such a HUGE idea that everyone from Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle espouse on the importance of living in the present. Once your mind is tuned into where it needs to be in the now, overthinking and all the negative consequences of it (anxiety, stress, burn out, depression etc) disappear like Los Del Rio and that horrible song of theirs, “Macarena”.
#5 THE 24 HOUR CHATLINE: COMMUNICATING AND SELF-EXPRESSION
While most of us are introverts and others a hybrid of both intro and extroversion, there’s something to be admired about a person who can rattle off at will about any topic with just about anyone and their dog’s ticks.
Just what they would talk about with a tick, we don’t really know. What we do know is that the ability to communicate clearly, whether you’re at work or in your personal lives would be considered another valuable life skill. In fact, even Warren Buffet swears by it.
Being able to express your thoughts in a clear and truthful way is important in keeping your relationships blooming. According to a Psychology Today article, one of the top 10 reasons why relationships fail (platonic, professional or otherwise) is because of communication issues.
Unless you decided to be a Buddhist nun who took a vow of eternal silence, you can’t cruise through life acting as if you’re a gagged detainee at Abu Ghraib prison, can you? Absolutely not, so start small. Take baby steps into the big, wide, world of communicition and self-expression.
Start being honest with the people you love, adore and feel most comfortable with. Share with them your problems and issues wherever you feel is appropriate. Don’t do it over social media. You’re too good for that. Once you’re able to open up sincerely to the people around you about what’s troubling you or even making you shoot for the stars, you can start seeing the difference it makes to your relationships.
A good example again is the team here. When we first started out, we (the founders of this site) agreed on everything because it felt like the most easiest way to keep the partnership going. However, when we observed that it was compromising the look, feel and value of the site, we began to be more truthful and honest about our expectations of each other and what the site and podcast meant to us. We have to admit, we’ve had pretty ugly arguments about expectations here and there but it’s helped us have a better perspective on how the team works and how that benefits the site and podcast. Oh and heaps of maturity helps because if you can’t take honest criticism, don’t expect to dish it out.
Today, the relationship between us, the founders, now feels stronger, solid and more resistant to the storm because the team is able to be more open and honest with each other, without feeling like a dick about it. 🙂
#6 A HUNGRY SPIRIT: LEARNING AND CURIOSITY
So I’m not talking about the Hungry Ghost Festival that most Chinese celebrate in the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. I think we all know future President Trump already fulfils that role as he haunts us with his never-ending, far from self-effacing, bombastic vitriol on the media for the next four hundred, er, I mean four years.
Learning, no matter what form it takes – in the classroom or outside of it, always involves some level of failure, which eventually sets us up for success.
Asking questions, being hungry for knowledge, physical, mental and spiritual, allows us to honour our child-like curiosity about our world.
That need to evolve, grow and eventually contribute to our communities is really the driving force of life. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we are losing our ability to learn and grow because we are so inundated with information that’s coming across to us in various digital formats. This encourages us to want success to come to us faster as we focus on the summit of the mountain and not on the long, arduous climb to get there.
This world of instant noodle gratification is ruining the art of perfecting a skill because unlike previous generations, where people were more focused and had little to distract them, folks were more conscientious that learning and mastering anything required dedication, commitment and oh yeah, a helluva lot of time. Like years. Not months.
These days, however, people just expect to get the best with zero effort! ‘Who heard of such a thing?’, you may ask but unfortunately, in today’s fast food world, it’s true. We’ve witnessed in our lives, so many people who are just not interested or disciplined to master a skill. They think it’s too much effort as opposed to sending a like on their friend’s Facebook update or uploading another meaningless selfie of themselves on Instagram. Really?! Sigh!
So don’t get trapped with the rest of the droids tomboys! Get out of this mindset now because the world doesn’t owe you anything. You’ve got to go out there and earn your stripes soldier. Whether it takes months, years or decades, you gotta be patient and willing to go the distance, no matter how far, if you want to make an impact on the world. It doesn’t just happen overnight.
How you can do this is to start off by spending at least an hour each day (and we don’t mean while you’re sleeping or in the bath) by ditching the mobile phone and the desktop. Disconnect and free your mind so you can find other ways to add learning to your life.
Think Jedi Master not disposable Stormtrooper.
#7 THE COMA PATIENT: MAKE A DECISION WITHOUT KNOWING THE RESULTS
One of the most annoying things about humans is that they complain about their lacklustre, comatose, ordinary lives when they don’t realise that most of it is spent living vicariously through others, obsessing about celebrity or issues that they seem charged being critical about but not passionate about lifting a finger to take action.
A possible explanation for such behaviour could be fear. Opting to live your life vicariously, makes it utterly predictable. You don’t even get to think for yourself.
Your boss tells you to work 72-hour weeks and you roll up your puffy sleeves and eyelids without resistance. Your teacher gives you a deadline to hand your homework in. You do it. Your mum tells you to take the garbage out while doing cartwheels. You get it done, eventually injuring yourself and smelling like trash.
Life is simple. You just do what others tell you to do because it’s easy, totally risk-free and you know you’ll get your 30-day money back guarantee. Before you know it, you’ve pulled the plug on yourself.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppppppppp. You get the picture.
Change it up people! Roll with it. Life is unpredictable and there is no right or wrong answer. There is only what is. Profound but true.
If you decide to change your job, only you know what feels right for you. If you’re in a relationship, you can’t predict if that person you’ve committed yourself to isn’t going to break your heart. The same goes if you own a business or are self-employed. Who can advise you if you’re treading the safest path because there is no such thing because everything is a risk.
This level of uncertainty or adventure, if you’d like to call it that, is inherent in every human experience we have. There’s no running away from it. The only way we have been able to do it is to avoid those experiences altogether and when we do that, we avoid making decisions.
So what do you do? Stop overthinking it (Point 1) and just randomly start making decisions on stuff you know absolutely nothing about and see where it takes you. The more you start making concrete decisions on things you have very little guarantee or information on, the more likely you’ll be able to make that crucial jumpstart on catching the ‘no regrets’ train.
All you have to do is wake up from this coma.