Each year on my birthday, I reflect on my learnings from the year.
This year has been a year of happiness and thriving. I started new relationships and nurtured existing ones, improved my social skills, and started setting up a new business. All this while doing a PhD and continuing to improve my understanding of the brain and the mind.
It's hard to boil things down into 3 pieces. But it is also a good exercise in reflecting on what truly matters. Here are my three (personal) learnings:
Congruence unlocks energy
Congruence is the feeling you have when your thoughts, words, and actions are fully in alignment. For example, if you are doing the work you love, you're happy with your health, etc., you feel a sense of alignment. On the contrary, when you are stuck in a job just for the money, or when you're not moving or working out when you want to, you experience a feeling of incongruence.
No one is perfectly congruent, and certainly not at all times. But your degree of drive/energy/motivation is proportional to your level of congruence. I noticed an upsurge of energy after I started creating my first online course - The Fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence. I've always been keen to teach personal psychology at the highest levels, and when I was actually doing that, my body was lit up.
I am still riding that wave.
For more on congruence and its relationship to energy, check out this episode of my podcast
Marketing is an Act of Great Service
I don't know about you, but marketing for me was synonymous with snake oil tactics. I thought it was manipulative and just a means to extract money. Having studied marketing from various amazing people, I'm happy to report a 360 degree change of mind.
I now think of marketing as an act of service. Here is why. The entrepreneur's dream is that when you create something great, people will just flock to buy it. Reality is different, howoever. Unless you are selling something no-brainer like water, you need to inform people of the merits of your offering.
People have different values. People also are busy and cannot stand more advertisements. In this clutter, I consider it my responsibility not just to teach emotional intelligence, but also to convince people of its importance.
Monetary security begets emotional security
Growing up, I despised the pursuit of money. Similar to marketing, my moral compass on money pointed in the direction of deceit and manipulation.
Over the last few years, I have developed a different view of money. I view it as a tool to exchange value. By and large, I have also eliminated my blocks around asking for money, and also paying a lot of money for services and products I value. I no longer squirm when looking at a sales video, and in fact am fascinated by how they guide their audience into a purchase.
What's changed this year, though, is I realized first hand the impact financial security can have on mental health. When you know you have enough monetary means, you can act much more confidently in this world, and need the approval of fewer people (if any at all). This takes away all the stress from talking to your boss, or having an assertive conversation with your colleague, or even public speaking.
What's interesting is that the mental health benefits often come with the process, not the outcome. I certainly have not made any big money, but knowing that I'm likely on track is in itself empowering.
Last year I wrote about how physical security begets emotional security, and how learning jiu-jitsu has made me a more confident human. This year, I can say the same about money.
Much more can be said about each of these topics. But I'll end here. Thank you for being in my world, in whatever capacity you have been. I am blessed to have many cheerful, heartfelt, and inspiring around me.