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Have you always been like this?

How to find a balance of growth and happiness

March 16, 2023 - 1051 words - 6 mins Found a typo? Edit me
habits focus discipline


I’ve got this question recently, a couple of times, and this is a great topic to share.

“Have you always been like this? Constantly reading books, writing blog posts, public speaker in conferences and meet-ups, learning in your private time, etc…?”

The short answer is: no, and let me tell you how I ended up in this situation.

I used to be introvert

I used to be an introvert, but with work and effort, I managed to master some public speaking skills.

Sharing knowledge is hard because first, you need to have it.

I used to dislike reading; I always preferred other sources of getting information and learning new things. Of all of them, reading was the most boring one.

Reading is hard, because it needs your entire attention.

However, I have always enjoyed writing since I was a kid. For personal circumstances, writing was a way to express and reflect on me, doing regular retrospectives about the ideas in my head.

Writing to the rescue

Combining “sharing knowledge” and “reading” from and to myself.

Writing was (and still is) a way to sort out my thoughts, especially during hard times; writing was a way to escape from the world. It helped me to understand myself better the day after. And it worked.

Knowing your limitations can help you understand your reality and fight against it. Life is hard enough to accept whatever “is there,” even if you are dissatisfied with it - especially if you have a reason for that.

I learned that I don’t want to waste my time in a life I will regret when I die. For that reason, I started seeking opportunities to grow at everything I do all the time.

Will I always be like this?

“Are you all the time 100% learning and being productive?”

You cannot be 100% productive all the time. That’s impossible because of our human nature. Life is about constant “ups and downs,” which is also part of its beauty. It’s your responsibility to understand yourself; I mean, truly understand your emotions and your persona.

These are questions that can help you keep the focus while building yourself. When asking these types of questions, try looking from a rational and external point of view. Leave out emotions and personal feelings.

Within your context and possibilities, you are what you choose to be. And that’s what differentiates you from your past and your future. The actions you do, the way you communicate and interact with others, the decisions you choose, etc…, differentiate you. That’s what differentiates you from yourself at another point in time.

This is why I enjoy reading – or listening to a book – per month. This is why I enjoy learning anytime, all the time. This is why I like to share what I know with others. This is who I choose to be.

A few years ago, I wrote about the process itself as the goal, which says basically: “Repetition is the key. Make it easier to do what you want to do. Make it harder to do what you want to stop doing. Enjoy the process: that’s the goal.


How much time do I have?

I like to prove myself wrong and challenge the status quo. I even decided to investigate, for example, how I could be one speaker in an international conference last year. The hardest step is always the first; once you’re there, it’s more fun than you initially thought. I might write a dedicated post about this “public speaking” topic. For now, you can check some tips I wrote about improving your public speaking talks.

Regarding reading, I need around 4 to 6 hours (on average) to finish a book. A typical working day can be divided into 3 slots of 8h; 8 sleep, 8 work, 8 leisure (or other obligations). I don’t work on the weekend, so those days are 16h each of leisure/obligations. So, assuming I work 5 days per week, this means 5 days x 8 hours (working days) + 2 days x 16 hours (weekend) = 72 hours of leisure/obligations time within a week!

Time is not the problem

Within a month, I have 72 hours x 4 weeks = 288 hours of leisure/obligations time to spare with my girlfriend, talking to my family, playing music, partying or chilling with friends, going to the gym, walking in a park, traveling to other cities…, but also going to the supermarket, doing the dishes, preparing the evening meals, clean the apartment, commuting to work…, all of this requires time as well.

The problem isn’t time but the priorities I define. Within a month, I can really do a lot of things. The issue I usually encounter is not having a clear goal about what I want to reach in the middle-long goal for myself.

There might be others, but The power of habits and Atomic habits were the books I read so far about habits that impacted me the most, and I think they might help you if you are struggling with habits that you would like to change anyhow. It all starts by understanding yourself within your context.

I don’t expect things to change from one day to another. I enjoy experimenting, combining habits, and trying different approaches to improve and get the best out of them over time. Losing fear of failure and seeking constant and continuous improvement is a life-changing mentality.

What keeps me moving is the time I have left and the idea of thinking, “what would I like to have changed?” And in such a case, “Why didn’t I?