Hi. It’s been a while. How are you?

Today you’re gonna read something that is going to make your eyes roll and want to punch me in the face. And that’d be great news, because that’d mean you’re smart and you have your own shits figured out. Well, I don’t.

Reading my articles be like...
Reading my articles be like… (Happens to me too.)

I’m a slow animal. I need to read, I need to experiment, experience, I need to see different perspectives, to fine-tune.

I had to unlearn a huge amount of crap that was put in my head when I was small and still, quite often, I need to remind myself.

So this article is a big reminder. From me. To me.

And maybe a good exercise for your ocular globes too.

Now bear with me.

Don’t Assume…

“Well. Fuck. Why?” you might ask in a straight and polite manner.

And here it is: making assumptions is just projecting your own fears onto the world and this never—ever—helps you.

What would you rather do? Make decisions based on fears and arbitrary beliefs you’ve never questioned, or make decisions based on truths and the reality of the world you’re living in?

Switzerland? Look again. Hello Pakistan!
Switzerland? Look again. Hello Pakistan!

I’m talking about assumptions here, not about knowledge. If you get under the running shower, you don’t assume you’ll get wet. You know it. This is an important difference.

Assuming is judging without knowing, without having had the experience.

I remember when I was about 10, I spent way too much time being upset because of one thing: the inability to experience every single thing in this world. If I die beheaded, how can I know how it feels to give your last breath being electrocuted? (talk about extreme curiosity…)

Miam miam...
Well I can’t experience every single kind of death but I can experience chicken feet dim sum, which is kinda the same thing. (And also my favorite.)

The problem with assuming based purely on emotional hints is that you are not dealing with reality, and you let your unconscious-fucked-up-biased brain make the decisions for you. This is an extremely limited way to live.

This closes a lot of possible opportunities for new learnings, projects, relationships, creativity.

And it is self-inflicted. It is setting oneself up for unecessary suffering.

So rather than assuming, ask questions. Don’t overthink: wait till you have a tangible answer. If you don’t want to ask questions, then let it go. Focus on what you can control: what you think, what and how you express yourself, what you are supposed to do.

Stay connected to reality.

…but have Strong Boundaries

“Yeah but dafuq man, there’s so many places and things and projects and people, how can I welcome all that shit in my life??!!?” would you ask, again, in the most respectful way known on planet Earth.

The answer is rational boundaries.

So it is not a choice made by unconscious emotions; it is a rational choice. This is how you control (a bit) your life, know (a bit) what you are doing, and build (a lot of) confidence.

You do not want to spend time on certain things, in certain places or with certain people because you can use your time and energy in better ways.

Time is the only thing that you cannot get back. Friends, you can. Money, you can. But time is gone forever, and is therefore the most important currency of your life.

So don’t set up boundaries based on arbitrary feelings; set them up based on deliberate, rational choices over the use of your own time and energy. Spend time on projects you care about, spend time with people you care about. Get energized.

I don’t know for you but for me, on my deathbed, reflecting back, I know that this will be all that ever mattered.

How does it look…

…in Life

Take every new experience as a fresh one. Start emotionally from scratch: no judgment. Try, experiment, experience, and then only make a decision on how you feel about what you’ve tried. That includes new places, new people, new food, new sports, new types of music, any kind of new activities, etc…

But once you know, prioritize. This is where the boundaries come into play. Be ruthless with how you use your time and energy. That again includes people, places, activities, projects, etc…

In no time you’ll take the good from everything, and let go of the bad. You’ll pull away from toxic people or situations, will make better choices, will take better care of yourself, and—as a wonderful side effect—of others.

…especially in Relationships

I find there is something quite common in relationships. People come with their own defaults, and they believe——probably unconsciously——that their defaults is the norm. They don’t get, at least at first, that their defaults is just one way to perceive, that others might hold different views, and that those views might even be more valid than their own.

That may sound dumb, but even with basic acquaintainces, this is something that I’ve seen coming again and again.

The way not to assume in relationships is through healthy communication.

All you have to do is ask.

If you’re not sure, ask. If you don’t know, ask. If you’re wondering, ask. Listen. Discover one another. Do not judge. Understand. Realize that your way is just one of many. Accept that others have lived different stories, and may have made different conclusions for their own life.

But be strong on who you are too. Share your views, express yourself, whether it is love, gratitude, or annoyance. Let the other person know who you are. Let the other person know what is OK and what is not OK with you. State your limits. Draw your boundaries.

And then, if one of you don’t like what they hear, make a choice. Or you accept and let go. Or you don’t accept and move on.

Both can be done with love and respect.

Why does it matter?

Well, let’s be selfish for a second. Who doesn’t want to have a fucking great life?

Who doesn’t want to feel better, to be happy, to treat oneself with more respect and compassion?

Those are not vain or greedy states to aspire towards. The better you feel about yourself, about your life, and the better you are equipped to treat others with respect, dignity, admiration and love.

But ultimately one cannot give what one doesn’t have. And ultimately one is responsible for getting for oneself what one needs.

This is done by asking, listening, and understanding, rather than judging. This is done by saying yes when one wants to say yes, and no when one wants to say no.

And by living not in one’s own head, but in reality.