Tuesday, 18 September 2018

When life’s comfortable – and you’re not seeing it!

For many of us, life a few years ago most likely wasn’t as comfortable as it is today. We habitually focus too much on where we still want to improve, but tend to overlook what we’ve already achieved, what we can truly be proud of, what should make us feel good about ourselves!

I’d never thought about this much until my recent visit to Erlangen, where I lived from 1999 until 2002. I was studying languages and translation at the Institut für Fremdsprachen und Auslandskunde (IFA), yet I never aspired to actually become a translator… As I was walking past all the places that I have such vivid memories of, I couldn’t help but admit to myself: I have moved on a lot in the last 15 years.


We habitually focus too much on where we still want to improve, but tend to overlook what we’ve already achieved.

Life’s comfortable today: not only do I have a secure job in translation, I’ve also lived in the UK for many years, so my English-language skills (both written and oral) are much more refined. What’s more, I’ve hit upon new passions, such as writing for this blog! And passing the bridge where I’d meet my mate Carolin for runs in Erlangen’s Meilwald, I realised: I didn’t particularly enjoy running then, whereas I derive a lot of pleasure from it today.

We often do not see the things that have worked out well for us.

All too often in our thoughts we dwell on what still doesn’t work for us in our lives, or what we’re still not good enough at. The income aims we’ve noted down in our business plans and this year again haven’t achieved. The client we’ve always wanted to work for, but still haven’t secured a relationship with. The long working hours in the evenings that we’d vowed would be a thing of the past by now.

If we leave all that aside for a minute, we can shine a spotlight on something else: past achievements to be proud of, personal crises we’ve mastered, or all those measures we have implemented successfully! Let’s recall notable stages in our professional development, the ways in which our work lives have changed for the better, or bespoke strategies we’ve devised to improve how we manage our day-to-day business.

A recent trip to Erlangen taught me that our minds are programmed to focus on what we’re still not good enough at, and to not see the things that have worked out well for us. Chances are for quite a few of us life today is more comfortable than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago – we just need to sharpen our awareness of it!