I’d like to start recording lessons each year to reflect on the past year and see how I may carry those lessons into the years to come.
1. Always listen to your first gut instinct
When I can’t rely on my brain for better judgement, I listen to my gut. Sure, the brain helps you to not make stupid moves but sometimes stupid moves are what’s needed.
2. Practice makes progress
Forget perfection; strive for progress each time. We know that we can’t really achieve perfection, but progress is achievable — a continuous journey rather than an ultimate goal.
3. Confidence helps everything
I used to dislike having to “build confidence” but now I see why people talk about it so much. The more confident you feel about an action, the more likely that the action generates a desired outcome. Going to dance classes regularly and pushing myself to make more vlog type videos have helped with being more certain of my actions and what I wish to achieve.
4. Your voice is unique — use it
I had always thought that whatever I think, say or do doesn’t matter, and that there are other people who can say or do better. That may be true, but I realised that that doesn’t mean I should shut my voice out completely. Everyone has got something to offer, no matter how small.
5. Don’t wait until you are [insert an idea of success]
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, plan the steps accordingly and start NOW!
6. Humble yourself
While ego may help in situations when you need a boost of confidence like trying out something new or risky, too much of it can be damaging. It’s okay to be proud of your achievements but always take a moment to bow your head and show gratitude.
7. Don’t be either a passive or angry vegan — neither helps
Being passive may seem like a safe zone especially for new vegans who may still not be certain of their decision or who just don’t want to get caught up in any drama. On the other extreme, being angry (understandably a result of the frustrations of human ignorance) may create discord within the community. I think they are both less beneficial than being an active but calm vegan. Unless of course, you’re okay with the consequences of being passive or angry (or both!).
8. Regularly meet vegan friends to keep you sane
I can’t say enough how important this is! In this age of Social Media, it’s likely that most of us came across veganism online. We’ve made virtual friends and learnt a lot about the lifestyle through them. While that can be great, real-life interactions shouldn’t be ignored. If you can’t find any vegans in the area, at the very least make it a point to meet people of similar interests.
9. Get out and reach out
If you want to take your vegan advocacy to the next level, do exactly this. Although we’re going through a paradigm shift, there are still people who are not aware, or worst, don’t care!
10. Most people don’t like to be changed
It’s easy to understand this but difficult to accept. How can people not change when faced with facts? People can certainly change, yes, but if you make them change or challenge their current perception, it’s more likely they would resist.
11. Hopelessness never lasts
Realising the previous point, it’s no wonder that most vegans may feel hopeless at some point. But guess what? Nothing ever lasts including this feeling.
12. Let go once you’ve done your part
One of the ways to effectively move on is to let go. You can’t be focusing on changing each and every person you meet — you’ll burn out. So once you’ve made your point and did your part, leave the grudge, the anger, the hopelessness at the door and shut it nicely.
13. No action no result
You dream of doing something but you’re not doing anything. Dream on. Don’t expect opportunities to come shower down. WORK FOR IT!
14. Focus on one thing at a time
I struggled with this big time. Saying yes to a few things is not the problem but not honestly asking myself whether I can commit and then structuring my time well were the problems.
15. It’s okay to be unproductive
Productivity equals road to success, right? That’s what I thought, too. But I realised we do need breaks and moments of doing nothing. It’s those moments that we reflect and recharge, which actually contribute massively to productivity.
16. Deal with distractions
I know, we can’t help but surrender to Netflix or Instagram sometimes (or all the time). Distractions are everywhere and irresistible. But if you truly want to be productive and live a better life, you need to acknowledge and eliminate distractions. It’s no easy task but with effort, you’ll find that your conscience is indeed more powerful than your desire for instant gratification.
17. Get a mentor or accountability partner
We humans tend to forget even the simplest things. Even though I have written down my every why for every action, I’d still need to look back at it and remind myself of it every now and then.
18. Keep fighting for what you believe in
No matter what anyone else thinks or says, you know best for yourself. No one else is living your life and they certainly could not possibly see your point of view as well as you do. Trust yourself and make your past and future selves proud.