10 Thoughts on Life – Inspirational ideas for cultivating sustainable joy

by | Podcast

When I decided that 2023 is my reset year, I didn’t realize I was signing up for Unexpected twists. Beautiful surprises. And terrible defeats. But I guess that’s where we are. 

Here’s a full transcript of the episode:

This is Justin and you’re listening to SoCurious About, a weekly podcast about creativity, marketing and joyful living. 

And today, I’m so curious about 10 thoughts on life and inspirational ideas on how to have sustainable joy. 

So I mentioned this is my reset year. 

A year to dare to believe that all the good that I imagine is possible.

A year to put myself out there in new and unexpected ways.

A year to let down the barriers and allow my dreams to truly flourish.

But this has also been a year of slowing down. 

A year of significant loss. 

And a year of figuring things out trial by fire. Like 2023 is giving that meme of that dog sitting in a burning room saying it’s fine. Dog that is not fine. It’s not fine at all. 

But then when I think about it – that’s what growth usually looks like. 

We like to think that it will be sweet, easy, beautiful, and natural. 

And growth is gross. It’s raggedy. It’s ridiculous and its confusing. 

It’s also of course ultimately beautiful. 

In elementary school, we did that classic hatching butterfly experiment. Where every person in the class gets a caterpillar (I almost said worm). Everyone gets a caterpillar and it’s like in this little cup with some dirt and some random plant. And you wait and eventually, they go into their chrysalis. And hang out for like a week or two and if everything goes according to plan they end up turning into a butterfly and you get to release them in this cute little ceremony. 

Of course, my butterfly didn’t make it. So everyone is laughing and running behind their butterfly having the time of their life.  and I’m standing there contemplating my mortality. First-grade Justin is like: Wait if the butterfly can die, so can I? Wait everyone will die one day. 

I wonder if not for that experience if I would have been a different person. LOL

Let’s dive in 

1. This is your life and you are empowered to make change as frequently as you see fit.

The only thing standing in the way of what you desire is dedicated effort and a positive mindset.

I believe this so wholeheartedly. Change is possible. For you. For me. For everybody. It just takes time and effort. And you have to believe like for real for real that it is possible. 

And the place I think we all get tripped up is that many of us (myself included) will limit how far we think we can go because our brains can only imagine what we’ve seen so far. 

Or we’ll focus on the types of changes that are irrelevant and unnecessary. 

You can’t make yourself taller short king, but you can change your career field. 

I cannot immediately be a billionaire. But I can save enough money to take a year off of work and reset. (I really did that. I need to make an episode about how I took my yearlong sabbatical. 

2. It’s okay to say how you’re really feeling.

If someone asks “How are you doing?” take a beat to consider your answer.

I’m a happy guy and so most of the time when I say I’m great! Like I really mean it. Ya boy is great. 

But the past few months have been giving “I’m okay”

And some days it’s really giving “I’m making it.”

My point here is that we have all these embedded scripts in life where we just say what we’re supposed to say.

How are you? I’m good. 

But if you interrupt that pattern, all of a sudden you can make a deeper connection with somebody. 

All of a sudden you create a space, where you’re a little more real and so are they. 

3. Books are the gateway to new worlds.

Try to read every single day. 

You will become a better writer and more likely to impress people with interesting tidbits.

Ya boy is a reader. And it’s not just personal development and self-help. While I do read a lot of those. Especially ones about creativity, marketing, and spirituality in all its different forms. 

But I’m also reading sci-fi and young adult fiction. 

I’m clutching my pearls while I’m reading a spicy romance novel. 

And all of this is making me more well-rounded. It’s exposing me to different belief systems and different cultures and expanding my perception of what is possible in this big beautiful world. 

4. Conflict is healthy. But remember, conflict does not equal having a screaming match.

In your relationships, you should be able to confidently say your opinion on things, but also be flexible enough to hear other people and their opinions. 

This one is hard for me. 

I grew up feeling like having an argument about something was the worst possible scenario. 

And this is deep because I was abandoned by my dad. So embedded in that trauma was this idea that if I say the wrong thing, they’ll just leave me. 

This is the part where I say out loud. This is why you should go to therapy. 

So you can get to the heart of your patterns so you can understand them and hopefully grow through them. 

And if you can’t, at least you can understand your triggers and let the people in your life know how to better support you. 

But back to conflict. 

I used to be afraid to say what I was really feeling if it was different than the group consensus or if I thought it might hurt someone’s feelings in a one-on-one conversation. 

But baby, now, I’m the difficult conversation King. 

I don’t want all my intense emotions to be bottled up and come out at the most inopportune time. 

Now it’s like: Hey, I noticed (fill in the blank). And that kinda made me feel a way and I wanted to talk to you about it. 

That framework is for when I have a little inclination that something was off but I need to verify if they were trippin’ or if it was just in my head. 

Then there’s: It hurt my feelings when you said blah blah blah blah

Or it can be even more direct: I know we used to do this, but I’ve changed. I don’t want to do that anymore. 

And it’s hard because it is awkward saying what you need or clearly communicating your boundaries. But the more you do it, it does get a little bit easier. 

Like your self-worth goes up when you have those conversations. 

And it helps you to know who can have what level of access to you. 

5. Time is your most precious gift.

You gotta use it wisely.

And I’m not trying to give you productivity bro at all. 

Time well spent can be sitting with someone you love and just genuinely talking.

Time well spent can be focusing on your favorite hobby. Working out. Playing a sport. Doing a little meditation.

Time well spent can be sleeping in on a Saturday morning because you deserve. Go off Sleeping Beauty! 

But the key here is that we all only have a limited amount of time. So you really want to think about, where am I spending my time and does that make me feel in alignment. And it’s simple. Somethings you have to do to support the lifestyle you want to lead. 

Like me. I hate cleaning, but I’m not paying a maid to come through here, so its up to me to spend the time cleaning because I like the way living in a clean house feels. 

I hate going to the doctor. Like I hate it. But I’m scheduling those appointments and showing up cause I wanna make sure I know what’s going on inside me and feel as easeful as I can. 

And I don’t always feel like reading, writing, and illustrating. Now granted they are literally my favorite things to do most of the time. But sometimes I don’t want to make my weekly email. Sometimes I don’t feel like planning out the podcast or making new content for Instagram. 

But I do it. I show up even on the days and weeks that I don’t really feel like it because I’m committed to being a professional creative. 

But then on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m not mad at all to spend a full Saturday and lay across the couch and catch up on my TV shows or to listen to music without doing anything else. Those two activities for me bring me back to life. 

You know like your cellphone is plugged in the wall and you’re still playing on it so it’s taking forever to charge. 

Sometimes literally doing nothing but binge-watching a tv show or genuinely listening to music to see how it affects me. That’s like putting your phone in airplane mode and then plugging it in. It recharges me so quickly because I’m not out here trying to be a productivity zaddy. 

6. You have to exercise a few times a week.

This has nothing to do with losing weight or trying to look hot. Just do it cause it will make you happier and healthier. For me, it’s a win if I get outside for a 20-minute walk. Committing to something small and getting moving is the place you start. It’s the place you build on.

And I don’t love working out. But the endorphins working out makes me feel so good. So energized and refreshed. Like sweating and being out of breath is a gift. Because at least for me its a reminder that I can do hard things. I can push myself and my limits and I can grow. 

It’s annoying to have to take extra showers and have those smelly clothes everywhere. Y’all I love smelling good. My nose is sensitive. But having some rank workout clothes in the corner is worth it if my heart is strong. If I’ll be a little more limber as i get older. If it will help me not feel winded after walking up three flights of stairs with groceries. 

7. You have to eat vegetables every single day.

This seems obvious, but I know waaaay too many people that avoid their greens. 

Eat the salad. Or make some broccoli. They basically go with every meal. And then your body will be like “yessss, I needed that. Thank you boo. I wanted fries, but high key the greens are giving! LOL”

And don’t get me wrong. Eat the fries too. I’ve been training myself to no longer eat fast food, but I keep a bag of fries in the freezer cause sometimes that’s the energy the day is giving. Dip dip crunch crunch. LOL

I’ve liked vegetables my whole life, but I’ve not been a salad fan. In my head, food should be hot. That’s random and definitely I like a cool piece of fruit. But like I don’t want that gazpacho. Give me some tomato soup. 

But I started eating way more greens when I would make a salad with some warm vegetables. It’s so freaking tasty and I’m getting twice the amount of veggies. And also it actually makes me feel full.  

And then I started sneaking in dark leafy greens into my smoothies. It really does taste exactly the same but you’re working a little more greens into your diet. 

And then once you do that enough, you’ll be craving it. 

I went on a vacation recently to New Orleans and you already know the food in new orleans is top-tier. Like you go into a hole in the wall and get the best burger you’ve had in your life. 

And I’m there eating. A fried shrimp po’boy. Cochon de lait – my favorite breakfast. Some fried catfish cause you know I’m from the south and Imma get some catfish any chance I can. 

But by day three I was feeling heavy and gross and I needed some veggies.  

I went to a cute, farm-to-table situation with some friends. And I’m eating this beet salad like it’s a gift from God. 

And then they had these crunchy heirloom tomatoes. I don’t even like tomatoes like that, but I don’t know if it was just so fresh cause they got it from the farm that day or my body was desperate for whatever you have in tomatoes ut I was getting my whole life. 

8. Always be impeccable with your word.

If you say you’re going to do something you have to follow through. 

That goes for the promises you make to other people because you want to be trustworthy. 

But this also goes for the promises you make to yourself.

I genuinely stand behind this sentiment. 

This can lead to some awkward experiences because it also means that I’m slow to commit to some things. Like people will ask me to help them with something and I’ll be like: I don’t think I have bandwidth for right now. 

Sorry Charley! 

But then when I say I’m going to do something. 

I also will follow all the way through. I’m gonna be at your birthday party with an outfit that’s on theme and I will be there all the way engaged because I said I’m doing this thing. 

Now I want to really sit in the idea of keeping the promises to yourself. 

In the same way, I don’t take it lightly the promises I make to myself. 

If I say, I’m going to launch a new podcast by such and such a date. I do the things that are necessary to hit that goal.

And honestly on the promises I make to myself sometimes I be late. 

This podcast was supposed to launch around my birthday. 

But you know what I committed and I completed it. I did the thing. I showed all the way up. I just underestimated the amount of time it would take to do it the way that I wanted. 

I used to struggle with this, and if you do too this is the best advice I can give you. 

Make super small promises to yourself. 

I will cook dinner twice this week. 

And then follow through 

Get that quick win. 

And then as you get more confident in your abilities and start to trust yourself more. You can start to set bigger and bigger tasks for yourself. 

And as long as you continue to fulfill those goals your confidence will continue to grow and encourage you to aim even bigger. 

9. If being perfect stops you from completing projects, stop trying to be perfect.

As a recovering perfectionist, it’s hard to ship something when I know it’s not perfect. But I’m learning that my 80% is pretty damn spectacular, in comparison to choosing not to finish.

This has been both liberating and also very challenging if I’m 100% honest. 

When I put something out in the world I want it to be meaningful. I want it to be useful. I want it to have the power to change hearts and minds. 

And often I would conflate perfection with something being good.

But there’s such a vast difference between the two. 

Something can connect with someone and not be perfect. 

Think about those early viral videos. The video quality is terrible. Sometimes the audio is trash. But the story connects with you. 

Cough cough: “Charlie bit my finger.” 

That was a terrible impression, but let me tell you. That video had me laughing my ass off. I’m sending it to everyone I’ve ever known because it sparked a little bit of joy for me. 

And that’s the point right there. 

It’s better to share it than to not share it. Because that’s your opportunity to actually connect with people. 

10. Some days you will need a nap, a cry, or a vent session to reset.

You don’t have to be strong all the time. 

And you don’t have to be productive all the time. 

Listen to your brain, your body, and most importantly your heart.

And choose to respond accordingly. 

If I’m honest, the last few months have been challenging for me. I’ve experienced some of my greatest highs and some of my most terrible lows. 

But I’m beginning to realize that it’s okay if everything doesn’t always go according to plan. 

It’s okay if things don’t always work out. 

It’s okay if things actually go terribly wrong. 

Because I am here. 

I am bigger than any challenge, any circumstance, any health issue, any relationship.

You just have to let will be, be

And then have the capacity to zoom out on a situation and know that this is a moment is a long beautiful life. 

If I can survive this, I can probably survive anything. 

Wait! That’s it. 10 thoughts on life. Inspirational ideas for cultivating sustainable joy. 

I’m thankful yet again to have the opportunity to spend a little time with you. 

And I’m looking forward to chatting soon. 

You’re pretty cool people.

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