7 Powerful Things You Should Have Gained from Surviving 2020

Everybody runs his own race.

Jessie van Breugel
Nov 20 · 5 min read

2020 ain’t no joke.

Let’s not go down the rabbit hole of all the crazy things. Just one thing — Why does my calendar already say we’re in the midst of November? I remember my last day at the office as it was yesterday. Friday, March 13th to be precise.

In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t expect to be part of a global social experiment this year.

Anyway.

Although I’m stuck in my house, like many of us, 2020 has treated me well. I’m curious to see what those last 50 days or so have in stock for us. Every one of you reading this survived 2020 till now, but we can’t deny that it has been a mad teacher. Late Nelson Mandela said it beautifully:

Great Things Are Born out of Great Discomfort

Without the need of surveying the public, I do know one thing: 2020 has been one of the weirdest, uncommon, strangest, hardest, or toughest years I can imagine.

By far a year that pushed so many of us over the absolute boundaries of our comfort zones, into the danger zone: discomfort. Ouch. For me personally, it meant leaving a stable job and following a long-cherished dream — starting my own business.

I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. But here I am, building my digital business one day at a time. Connecting with people I didn’t know before and sharing my work with the world in a way I never saw possible.

In the end, I can always deliver pizzas to pay rent.

Nobody Beats You at Being You

The most important thing 2020 has taught me — nobody beats me at being me. How quirky, weird, insecure, unproductive, incapable, or stupid I may feel at times, I am still the best at being me.

Let me repeat that — I’m the number 1 of the world in being me. How about that? I beat 7+ billion beautiful souls to it. I find that fascinating.

The best part?

Exactly the same applies to you, my friend.

Trust the uniqueness that’s already in you. Work on the projects you want to work on and with the people you want to work with. Life’s too short to throw your time away being unhappy or unfulfilled.

Everybody Runs His or Her Own Race

This morning, I went for a run. As I hate running, I focus on getting it done as soon as possible. I’m not a slow runner, but people take me over. I can get frustrated about this, but deep down I know that I don’t spend any extra effort in becoming a better runner.

We shouldn’t compare our level 3 with what appears to be someone else’s level 17. We can’t see the effort that went in — all the failures that came before.

One thing that worked brilliantly for me when I found myself comparing myself to someone else is the following — I ask myself if I would be happy if I had that exact thing I was envying. Two things can happen:

If the answer is yes, it’s a kind reminder to work harder. More often, the answer is no. This way, you’ve proved to yourself, it’s a nice-to-have and no must-have. Move on and keep chasing the most important things in your life.

We’re all a work in progress. And at the same time, we’re a masterpiece — remember that.

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Photo by Diogo Tavares on Unsplash

You Don’t Have to Do It on Your Own, but You Have to Do It Yourself

We are not on this planet to do things alone all the time, we’re in this together. 2020 has helped me to see the bigger picture — what can I do today to help someone else out?

It also helped me to see it the other way around. It’s okay to ask for help — you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just ask the people around you for help and guidance. You will be amazed by their support.

It has been a year full of hardship and challenges we’ve never seen before and you don’t have to do much — just ask for help if you need it.

Look for Inspiration Outside Your Bubble

Too long I spent in my bubble: reading the same kind of books, tuning in to the same podcasts, conversing with the same people, and listening to the same music. Sure, it builds expertise, but it also made me narrow-minded.

I made a conscious effort to read different topics, see what got my interest, and dove into that. The same applied to music, podcasts, and the people I followed online. By connecting with people outside of my direct expertise, but with 1 overlapping interest or common interest, I found myself in a whole new playfield.

With all the weird stuff going on in the world, it will be a great advantage if you can stay open-minded and are able to connect with people and ideas of all levels. Embrace new ideas and look for things that challenge your beliefs and practices. Always stay a work in progress.

You Can’t Keep Running

We can’t live your life without reflecting and adjusting our course every now and then. We will end up nowhere or absolutely at the wrong spot — which is basically the same.

The journey is as much of a prize as the destination, maybe even more.

We’re here for the long term, so we have to be mindful. Spending time on mental health is evenly important as spending adequate time and effort on our physical health. The one can’t go without the other. Everyone has his or her own preferences for self-love and practices, but allow yourself to make yourself a priority at least 1 time a day.

Trust Your Instinct, It’s Wiser than Your Intellect

It’s funny because what we think is our instinct is often a product of all the information we consume in our lives. We’re so perceptive as a sponge, and even though we think we are all unique, we are influenced by externalities. That’s okay, just accept it.

2020 has taught me that some of my decisions couldn’t even be made with every source of rationality worldwide. Some decisions needed to be made based on a gut feeling.

As with so many things in life, I found myself in a position of not knowing what I wanted to do next. One thing I did know: resigning from a well-paid job in the middle of a pandemic and a looming recession, wasn’t the most responsible choice possible either. On the other hand, I felt that my mental wellbeing was at stake the longer I stayed in that toxic situation.

After 10 months in, I resigned from my job.

Trust your instinct, it knows so much more than you think.

Thanks for reading.

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The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Jessie van Breugel

Written by

writing on the crossroad of mindfulness, self-development and product management 🎯 5-day course to improve your content game → https://creative-process.ck.page

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 138,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Jessie van Breugel

Written by

writing on the crossroad of mindfulness, self-development and product management 🎯 5-day course to improve your content game → https://creative-process.ck.page

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 138,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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