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First things first | Just Reflections - Issue #35

First things first | Just Reflections - Issue #35
By Bhekani Khumalo • Issue #35 • View online

I came across this video this week.
Forget the budget, look after your emotions
Forget the budget, look after your emotions
I’m sure I’ve watched it a hundred times now and I die of laughter each time. He’s so passionate. For those unable to watch it, here’s what he says:
“Spoil yourself. I say, listen, you got paid this month, "thanks God.” And if that happened my man, there’s a pair of sneakers and your budget is tight. Forget the budget! Look after your emotions. Go buy that pair of shoes. It gives you positive energy because the world is up against you. Nobody’s going to look after you, you gotta look after yourself. And nobody’s going to give you a big gift of positivity but a series of events that are positive. Even in a meal, go prepare the best meal…“
I think veiled behind the jokes and the laughs is a pretty important message for us all.
I came across the fantastic world of storytelling this week and I’ve been bingeing episodes of the Moth podcast. My first point of contact was this TED Talk by Matthew Dicks.
What is a Story? | Matthew Dicks | TEDxBerkshires
What is a Story? | Matthew Dicks | TEDxBerkshires
On it, he talks about his very first experience at the Moth StorySLAM, where he ended up taking first place.
What is a Moth StorySLAM? You ask. Well, according to Wikipedia,
The StorySLAM is a live storytelling competition in the vein of poetry slams organized by The Moth, a non-profit literary society from New York City, since 2001. Storytellers have 5 minutes each to tell a story, based on a theme chosen for the event. No notes are allowed: stories must be told and not read.
So true stories from random people competitively told live and without notes. What’s so fascinating about that? I had the question, but I persevered with the TED Talk because someone had recommended Matthew Dicks’ book “Storyworthy” to me and I wanted to see what this guy was about before committing to his book. I was completely hooked, and I watched everything I could find by him on YouTube. He has many interesting talks but the one that’s in theme is his talk at TEDxNatick titled, “Live Life Like You Are 100-Years Old.”
Live Life Like You Are 100-Years Old | Matthew Dicks | TEDxNatick
Live Life Like You Are 100-Years Old | Matthew Dicks | TEDxNatick
Here’s the primary idea; when you have to make a decision, whether it be monumental or minuscule, don’t rely on your current self. You’re an unreliable decision-maker at the moment because you don’t know how to put things into perspective and decide what’s truly important. Instead, look to the future, to the 100-year-old version of yourself and ask him/her to decide for you. That version of you is at the end of their life. He/she knows what truly matters in life.
One of the most-read articles in my newsletter is issue #4 titled, “Your work is not your life”. As a self-identified workaholic, I wrote it from a place of deep introspection where I felt I was giving more importance to work and chasing ambition than I was to other parts of my life. I’ve thought about many areas of improvement since then and one thing I have started doing is saying yes to opportunities to spend time with people who matter to me.
You want to chat on WhatsApp in the middle of the day on a workweek? Sure, let’s do it. You want me to come to a football game on Sunday? I don’t even like football, but I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter how busy I am or how much work I have in my backlog when my sister or my mother or my friend says they’d like to call or they’d like to meet up for something. I don’t line them up for a slot in my calendar in three days’ time. I put work on hold and go out for the coffee and have the call. No more, “we should hang out sometime”, let’s set the time now, better yet let’s go now.
Sure, work is important and needs to be done and it will be, even if under a lot of pressure. But I have not yet thought—as I slave away in the middle of the night trying to make up for the lost time—I wish I hadn’t stayed so long at that restaurant with Nobue or I wish I hadn’t spent so much time chatting with my sister on WhatsApp and just finished this task instead. Sure, working under pressure is irritating and really painful sometimes, but usually, after a week or two, I realise that I’ve forgotten the pressure. It really didn’t matter that much. But the memories made still linger on and they’ll probably live with me for much longer.
So the next time your son asks you to come outside and play catch with him (I don’t know what kids play with their parents, but in American movies, they play catch) and you have a task that’s due tomorrow. And you have an email from your boss saying this needs to be in their inbox first thing in the morning. Ask yourself, 10 years from now, will it matter more that I stayed up all night to meet this deadline because I spent time with this boy? I’ll tell you right now, the sleepless night will come and go and the fatigue will be gone by the end of the week. But if you say no to that little boy enough times, regardless of how important the alternative is to you, one day he will stop asking. And when you’re 100 years old, at the end of your life, looking back, you’ll hate yourself for not taking that 30mins to play catch with your kid. For missing that moment of connection.
Sure, the important things are important. The work needs to be done; the deadlines need to be met; the bills need to be paid and we’ve got to chase our ambition. But if that comes at the cost of the more important things, like spending time with our loved ones, being there for our friends when they need us and doing the things that truly make us happy. We’ll find ourselves with a lot of achievements and a lot of things, but also with a lot of regrets.
So you know what? “Forget the budget! Look after your emotions … nobody’s going to give you a big gift of positivity but a series of events that are positive.” Bills will get paid, work deadlines will be met, but some moments in life won’t come around twice.
That’s all I have for you this week. If you like the newsletter, consider sharing it with others on TwitterWhatsApp or Facebook. Hit the thumbs up or thumbs down below to let me know what you think.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about this week and I wish you ever-increasing curiosity.
Until next week.
2022 Resolutions:
I don’t know what my weight is today and I won’t for the rest of the week. I will not do any work and I’ll probably break all my sleep time records because I’m out here living my best life, sipping on cocktails by the beach on an island in the Maldives. 😁🍹🏝
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Bhekani Khumalo

Impactful ideas that challenged my thinking.

I have a lot of interests so I'm always learning all kinds of things, some of which really challenge my thinking. In the Just Reflections newsletter, I'll be sharing with you a summary of the ideas that challenged my thinking recently and hopefully they will challenge yours too and we grow together.

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