In hindsight, everything makes perfect sense – thoughts on my anniversary

Thursday marked the 9th anniversary of my arrival to the United Kingdom.

During this time I have met a lot of wonderful people who fostered my growth in one way or another and I can truly say it has been the best decision to start a new life here.

I am very greatful for everyone who provided constructive feedback about my working practices, it has been very useful to further develop myself.

I am also grateful for the closed doors that never opened to me during this time as these events diverted me to a more suitable and enjoyable career path in a completely new sector. Knocking on and entering to a different door was a risky step in my career at that time, but in hindsight I realised, it has been the best step outside of my comfort zone.

Looking forward to all the new and exciting experiences this country can offer! 🍸🍾

Challenges

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We need challenges to help us grow – but most of them are meant to protect us from something that is not meant for us. It can feel daunting in the exact moment as our dreams can be at stake but these roadblocks are actually diverting us to a much better and more suitable path – however we will not be able to recognise this at that moment as our mind is clouded by our biased perspective. But in time, from a healthy distance, everything becomes clear. As Steve Jobs said, we can only connect the dots looking backwards.

Self-reflection

Doing a self-reflection analysis has never been my cup of tea. I have never been so mindful about myself and did not treat this type of evaluation a major milestone of my life. But if you are a regular follower of my blog, you may know that 2015 was a very challenging but indeed meaningful year of my life and it is a must for me to reflect on this year’s happenings with the aim to identify the most remarkable aspects of my personal development.

Self reflection can be seen as a ritual where you are determined to be extremely honest about your main achivements, to understand and get over your losses and clear your head in order to treat the upcoming year as a fresh start with endless possibilities.

It is important to make sure that you don’t start making any resolutions for the next year before doing your reflection on the last as the gained insights of your last year can provide an invaluable raw material for your future goals and personal development. Having said that, it is easier to make a resolution to do something great that you discovered and benefited from in the last year and, in parallel, identify the things that did not work for you and you want to avoid them like the plague.

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I would like to point out that it is imperative to think through the most challenging times not just the best ones. Life is definitely not black and white and you most likely experienced difficult times: maybe you were diagnosed with an illness, lost something meaningful or somebody wronged you. But I do believe that every bad situation can function as a catalyst for further progression and our biggest lesson is to find the silver lining in these happenings.

Self reflection can be a valuable tool to discover the major milestones of your personal growth and to figure out the main obstacles that you encountered in your path. This ritual is best achieved if you have the right answers to ask.

Here are my questions:

1) What was the single best/most challenging thing that happened to you this year?

2) What blessings have you found in your challenging times?

3) In what ways have you stepped outside of your comfort zone and grown?

4) What was the biggest thing you learnt this year?

5) How well did you take care of your body and your soul?

6) Where were you feeling stuck?

7) Who do you need to forgive?

Do you have any meaningful questions to ask? Please share it with me in the comments.

Book review: Writing Away from Lavinia Spalding

“When travel is viewed through a lens of personal development, it becomes more than a getaway and more of a gateway; we travel not just to change location, but also our perspective. Yet it’s only when combined with active observation and self-examination that a voyage truly change us.”

I have been procrastinating this blog post for quite some time as this book made a wonderful impact on my writing but if you are a regular follower of my blog, you may have noticed that I am referring to this special writing in some of my previous posts. The purpose of procrastination was to allow time to ripen the gained insights.

Writing Away should be every travellers’ bible: both on their shelves and in their backpacks. This profound piece of art is not just about how to chronicle our travel experiences but also about the way we behave, feel and perceive the things that are happening to us outside of our comfort zones as unfamiliarity is something that can truly change us and the way we look at the world. Its aim is to show how to observe the new environment – and our role in it – and preserve the meaningful aspects with a more conscious approach. Having said that, this book has psychological and anthropological meanings: we can learn how to slow our cognitive process down in the moment and learn to preserve the newly gained insights in a way which would not only help to re-experience the written world again but also to provide a profound story for our future generation.

The author recommends having a blank journal in order to not feel limited between the lines: it helps you to spice your story up with pictures, drawings in order to truly preserve a memory. Creating your own creative world without being restricted is the core thing in travel journaling as “an absence of lines leaves room for imagination to take over.”

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The end of Chapter 3 focuses on writers’ block and provide some ideas on how to move on from this limiting period. As far as I am concerned, I don’t believe in writers’ block. Chances are that infertile days, weeks or months occur without chronicling anything meaningful, however, it does not mean that there aren’t any ongoing war in the wild woods of a writer’s soul. So my core theory that a writer’s mind is never empty, it is always observing and analysing something, it is unstoppable. And the silent periods are indeed and inseparable part of any creative process where the purpose of time is to ripen any meaningful realizations into something innovative.

I am not a highly experienced traveller, like Lavinia Spalding, but since I live in London, I have first-hand experience about the forming effect of leaving our familiar environment. Wherever we travel, wherever we relocate, one thing remains the same: our inner barriers, the never learnt lessons, the insurmountable obstacles that we are carrying with ourselves to everywhere. Chances are that a new environment won’t reveal these things for a short period of time because of a new experience, but as the new becomes a well-known routine, we will soon face the problems that we have not solved in the past.

Writing Away functions as a profound life-discovering journey and it is highly recommended for every traveller for an exciting journey throughout the world and into ourselves.

Offline introvert – online extrovert?

I have just recently came across to a blog where I have found the description of my entry title. It made me wondered a little bit regarding the forming effects of the digital world.

This description introduces the forming effects of improving technologies in the online context which has an influential outcome on the self and emerges some kind of identity crisis. Being an extrovert online and showing the distinctive introverted personality traits in the real world implies the existence of an undescribed boundary. The maintenance of this boundary is completely up to the individual; choosing to rely on their real identities or staying in an anonymous state as well as practicing a different form of behaviour with regards to self-presentation.

It is easy to admit that the Internet is an enormous place for self-expression and its digital platforms provide different types of interactions. In terms of online context, Introverts are free to decide their own term of engagement outside their primary social environment which basically requires some form of structured interaction. This can possibly be a pressure for people who are literally “in their head’s” most of the time. That is the reason why the term “anonymity” provides a suitable form of online existence for Introverts who would like to exploit their maximum potential without risking the possibly awkward recognition of their primary social circle.

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It is worthwhile to consider the role of creativity regarding the anonym online context. Having known that anonymity enables people to operate in a virtual world without no exact rules and boundaries, it is safe to admit that this kind of blossoming environment is the basic root of creativity. Staying unknown can function as a motivational factor with its unrestricted form of possibilities which is beneficial for the ones whose primary goal is to save face.

Under these circumstances, I have started my own English blog 3 years ago as an anonym Introvert. As time has passed, I have received enough positive feedbacks and some enquiries regarding my non existent “About me” section so it clearly showed that I haven’t been judged. It literally boosted my confidence to be proud of my own emotional brand so I no longer continued my blog without a name. I have never liked writing about personal happenings in my own virtual space, however, I have let others know what is really going on in the wild woods of my soul.

Of course in the beginning, I just wanted to escape from the real world and build a digital space for myself like a defending shelter but my goal has continuously changed with regards to the blogosphere. I have just realized recently that the digital frontier between my real and online self is not too strict to be able to split my personality as I treated my online participation as a creative self-extension and not a separate form of existence in another world. And that is why I have come to the following conclusion:

As beautiful as anonymity may seem in the online context regarding the enormous amount of possibilities of creative self-expression, it can never function as a suitable substitute of true self-extension. Chronicling your most remarkable theories in the digital world can only be true if you have the courage to create a distinctive framework for your writing with revealing your invaluable personality as it adds more value to your online brand.

Having known that my long-term goal is to conduct some kind of social experiments regarding my special writing called Outside the Bud, I am keen to discover several kinds of methods to enhance my theories further. I am particularly interested in the behavioural patterns of Introverts in the digital world as well so it is not a surprise if I admit that I would like to invest more time and energy in this issue.

The end of dreadful eroticism

Things which can be figured out easier will soon have a vividly grey shade for us as it is not needed to think them further. On the contrary, complex things create a deep thought-flowing process in us and can activate our brain’s excitement factor – which should always be the goal of any creative artwork.

H. R. Giger who just recently passed away at the age of 74 was obviously able to accomplish this goal with his genuine contribution to the art world. The swiss artist has become famous with his weird design of the Alien movie which has made a downright disturbing effect on millions of people. However, he has created much more than that.

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As far as I am concerned, I have always been attracted to complex things which basically means that it is a must to wonder about the hidden meaning.
I was a member of a writing circle in my country a couple of years ago and I clearly remember the day when I have got my first task. There was a painting exhibition in a small hotel in Budapest and the leader of the circle asked me to write a poem about a particular country painting. I have found this task a little bit daunting as country images for me are way too hard to annotate as the seen things are quite obvious and it is really difficult to grasp the enormity of the seen facts. In my opinion, an artwork should never be too obvious as it kills the excitement of the thirsty act of discovery.

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This problem would never happen in terms of H. R. Giger’s work as it possesses the basic illogical attributes of a surrealist art. And these unusual visionary ideas are the ones that can force us to wonder and figure out what is going on deep down.

His work can be defined as a rare and genuine combination of dreadfulness and sweet erotics and this strange contradiction is indeed the great beauty of it.

On the black and white board

Chess has always been the center of attention of science regarding its enthralling effects on human thinking and is indeed a serious dose of inspiration for artists.

People in my environment knows that I rather quiet than bubbly so whenever I open my mouth it means that I have something important to tell or ask. Maybe that is the reason why I am deeply attracted to this silent logic game where your steps are literally speaking instead of – and about – you.

It has been statistically proven that the white wins the majority of the games simply because its advantage with the very first step. However, I would argue with this statistic as I am usually playing with the black on my phone and I am regularly beating the computer – I know its not the same as playing with a human being but I don’t really have a partner who would like to take part in this intellectual game.

What fascinates me really is the initiative-reaction parallel which is able to make my creative juices flowing in terms of Outside the bud. I mean, the goal of the game is to checkmate your opponent – and the way to achieve this task is indeed an art.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the famous Hungarian professor who spent years on researching his innovative principle of Flow, said that if we would like to create something new which has never existed before, learning the particular field in a thorough way has to be our paramount principle. And then, when the basic lessons have been properly learnt, our own visions and initiatives have to be added to the picture creating a more productive outcome.

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In chess, it is quite obvious that we need to be aware of the basic rules, however, the art of chess is indeed to smuggle creativity into the strict aspect of this game. Starters usually play in a defensive way which is indeed a hindrance of exploiting the creative functions of the brain. Being a passive participant on the black&white board literally kills the chance to challenge your opponent. On the other hand, taking initiative and forcing your partner to be reactive rather than an active participant in the game is the only way to win. Being in charge and thinking ahead more steps in a cautious way basically requires us to get out of our comfort zones…

So it is not a surprise if I admit that this game is an invaluable raw material for Outside the Bud so I will carry on playing and examining my thinking will be my biggest task in the next couple of months.

The 40 comfort zone postcard project

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I am one of the most grateful people in the world right now. I have finally finished my qualification and my biopsy came back with a normal result. Being extremely strong and perseverant has finally paid off and now I am full of with energy and would like to concentrate on my next goals.

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This postcard is from my colleague who wished good luck for my final exam.

I have already started studying towards the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning in my not so much spare-time, however, the so called ‘literary gipsy’ which is indeed my creative self has desperately started screaming again to be taken into account. I mean, my e-book about the comfort zone (Outside the bud – A guide for Introverts) is still just a draft but I would like to take a new approach to my ideas and will continue living in a close symbiosis with my special writing. My all time inspirations which are able to make my creative juices flowing (Writing Away from Lavinia Spalding and the album Division Bell from Pink Floyd) will be my loyal companion in the future as well if the writer’s block syndrome eventually starts knocking on my door.

And what is so fascinating about the comfort zone?
If you know the story about my arriving to London 2 years ago, you might say that I was extremely brave as I have jumped out of my rusty, old-fashioned cage that I had been creating for myself in the last couple of years. It’s true, it was a big challenge for me. However, it does not mean that my comfort zone has completely changed as I have found myself reacting in the same way to common or unfamiliar situations like before in spite of the fact that the faced challenges were downright rewarding.
What I am trying to say is that jumping out of your defending shelter and creating a new, more productive personal boundary is in fact absolutely not the same. The previous is just a one-time experience which is indeed a successful battle with the ‘Beat about the bush effect’ (check out this entry of mine for more information). The latter on the other hand requires a constant feeling of discomfort for a particular amount of time while your old, obsolete responses are continuously being replaced by a new, more conscious approach. This new approach soon becomes an automated involuntary action so the next time facing with a similar challenge, your response will be consistent with the newly learnt habit and this is the real sign of a new personal boundary.

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A quick glance at my past entries shows some great ideas and remarkable raw materials in terms of this issue, however, I find them insufficient to create the core principles of my theory. So a more flexible and opened approach to study this topic further could even enrich my understanding of its essential attributes – the smooth defending mechanism in parallel with its invisible limiting effect.

I just recently came to the conclusion that conducting some kind of social experiments could be a beneficial enhancement to my research. As a person who’s mind is never empty and constantly pondering on several kinds of issues, I started wondering what would be the best researching method to be able to add more value to Outside the bud. 

I had a lot of concerns about approaching people on the street with the specific attitude of objectivity as it tends to be insufficient and less informative if the major aspect of my research is to gain thorough insight of personal boundaries. On the contrary, bombarding people with too intimate questions can even lead to awkwardness which can function as a hindrance of examining true behavioural responses. The venture of this research could also play an important role in creating my final theory: the centre of my attention is basically restricted to introverted people as the main subject of my research is to prove that introverts are all able to overcome any obstacles of their comfort zones and can create a new one with a more productive but safe place.

The mentioned aspects all need to be taken into account which makes this research a little bit hard to accomplish not to mention its time-consuming existence. Having known that Outside the Bud is a voluntary self-discovering journey of mine, I would like to keep my research as easy (and creative) as possible.

Under these circumstances, I have just invented the idea of the 40 Comfort zone Postcard Project. It means that every single month of this year, I would like to create 40 creative postcards and hide them in bookstores (within best-seller self-help books) so as somebody with a same interest buys a book will eventually have my postcard as well.

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The first creative postcard of mine.

The idea is to create an online questionnaire in terms of the psychological attributes of the comfort zone and advertise its availability on my postcards. It is quite obvious that the result will not be as representative as it should be because not just introverted people will find my postcards, but taking into account the fact that the majority of the self-help book buyers are introverted, it has to be efficient enough to be used as a suitable source for my research.

Truth is, writing an interesting book has always been my biggest dream. However, I am not highly experienced in terms of the English language and projects in general so any kind of comments or advice in terms of research methods, online marketing or design would be very much appreciated from anybody.