“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”
— Iyanla Vanzant
— Iyanla Vanzant
— Seth Godin (via bepresentthinkless)
Our second part of the task was based on the topic of “vitality”. So, what is vitality? After much research into the description, I came to the conclusion that vitality refers to someone who surrounds themselves with positive energy. This includes having a balanced life, being mentally strong and active, and overall being in the right mind-set to achieve “flow”.
All in all, there are five factors that contribute to my vitality:
When do you feel most tired?
Out of curiosity, I decided to complete a mini experiment this week by writing down my energy level every couple of hours, before comparing it to the activity I was currently completing. The only con of this experiment is the fact it was half-term, therefore meaning I had the entire week off college. After a stressful month of hard-work, I decided to dedicate the entire week to socialising. Although this means the experiment isn’t a true reflection of my day-to-day life, I was curious to spot any factors that increase/lower my energy levels. After concluding the results, I learnt that:
What did I think of the breathing activity?
I tried completing the assigned breathing activity several times but despite my best efforts, the activity left me feel neutral. I’m not sure if I wasn’t in the right mind-set to feel carefree, or if it was just my superficial assumptions towards breathing activities not allowing me to concentrate, I shamefully couldn’t get my head my head around the activity.
If you could do one thing to help increase your vitality levels on a weekly basis, what would it be?
All in all, this has been my favourite topic I’ve covered on the Spark & Mettle programme so far! I now have a greater understanding of my energy levels (and what attributes increases/decreases them) which as a whole, will have such a profound impact on how I choose to spend my time in the future. As a main contribution towards my vitality is based entirely on how many hours sleep I get each night, I will make sure that from hereon out that I learn to switch off at night. Instead of watching enough “Catfish” episodes for me to feel as though I was part of a three-way conversation with the candidates, I will switch off all electronics and catch some sleep.
A Resilience Test: Part #2
After completing the personality tests, we were set the task of coming up with a question that could be included in the “mettle detector” test. The only catch was that it had to be work/uni/college focused.
Question One: It’s Thursday and you’ve just received an email, telling you you’ve won tickets to see your favourite band on Saturday night. The only catch is that it’s in London and you need the day off work to travel down. What do you do?
Question Two: It’s your first week as a sales assistant at your new retail job. You’re serving a customer on the till and have just spotted a customer shop-lifting nearby. What do you do?
A Resilience Test
For our third week, our key goal was to gain a greater awareness of our vitality and mettle; how to test and evaluate ourselves, as well as developing in both of these areas.
Mettle Detector Quiz
To begin with, we were set the task of completing a "Mettle Detector" quiz to a hope to gain a better understanding of our real-life grit score. After completing the quiz as honestly as possible, I was told I have a "medium to high" level of mettle. Apparently I:
On reflection of this quiz, I feel a bit so-so about the results. In some sense, I agree with the results as sometimes I have a profound amount of mettle (but only when it comes to activities I enjoy). As soon as I’m in the “flow” of an activity I’m passionate about, I can’t seem to stop and have a great deal of mettle. I do however struggle with completing activities I’m not interested in. I tend to start, get side-tracked after a short period and then (shamefully) give up, promising to do it tomorrow. This usually results in me leaving the activity until the last minute, which is a trait I most indefinitely need to work on.
As I thoroughly enjoyed answering the quiz and overall gaining a better understanding of my personality, I decided to try out some of the other questionnaires. The second quiz tested how great of an understanding I have of my ability and skill-set. After completing the "Ability Test", I discovered that I scored a rating of "medium to high". According to the test I understand that:
Unlike the first test, I completely agree with the results of this questionnaire. I find it easy to understand what I’m good (and not so good) at, and use this knowledge to the best of my ability. I also realise that life’s too short to focus on something I don’t enjoy, so it’s okay to move onto something more fulfilling (kudo’s for being mega cringey). For example, I changed courses after my first year of A-levels. Even though I achieved moderately high grades (A, A, B), A-levels made me so unhappy. Other than sociology, I didn’t enjoy any of my courses and overall this affected my entire mood. I knew that fashion was my real passion and that I wanted to gain a career in this industry, so I decided to switch courses to study Fashion Business and Marketing. I absolutely adore my course and couldn’t be more happy with my decision!
Lastly I completed the "Influence Quiz" in a hope to understand how much I’m in charge of my personal life. I soon discovered that I have a "medium to high" level of influence on my future. This means l:
I agree with the results of the “Influence Quiz”. I am incredibly ambitious and optimistic when it comes to the future. I realise that my ambitions in life are possible if I work really hard. Moreover, I also realise that accepting help from other people isn’t seen as a cop-out. Although I try to remain as independent as possible, I’m not afraid of asking for guidance when needed.
— Susan Sotang
For out R&R activity, we were set the task of completing a riddle in twenty minutes. As much as I’m partial to a cheeky challenge, my heart definitely skipped a beat as soon as I realised how difficult this was going to be:
"Three gods A, B, and C are called, in no particular order, True, False, and Random. True always speaks truly, False always speaks falsely, but whether Random speaks truly or falsely is a completely ran- dom matter. Your task is to determine the identities of A, B, and C by asking three yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one god. The gods understand English, but will answer all ques- tions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. You do not know which word means which."
To prepare, I spent a good seven minutes selecting the perfect ringtone for my timer on my phone (I ironically decided on Drake’s “Lord Knows”). I then set the twenty minute timer and began by reading and re-reading the riddle until the “Forehead Frown of Concentration” had become so indented I started to get a headache. I then decided to try a different route by writing down possible questions on a piece of paper. However each question was shortly crossed out and now thirteen minutes in, I was stuck in the same position as I started. Now feeling irate, I tried an alternative route of thinking of questions that could possibly trick the Gods into giving me the answers I need. Nope, still no progress. I was now eighteen minutes in and feeling extremely frustrated with myself for not coming up with the correct answer. I spent the last two minutes reading and re-reading the riddle until the timer eventually went off, and I was able to cheekily google the answer while singing along to Drake’s “Lord Knows”.
On reflection of the task, I think I handled the task okay. Despite giving the task my all, I realised that I become rapidly irate after not being able to complete the task. Overall I guess I was a little harsh on myself but I think this is mostly down to being a uh, naturally high achiever. As I’m such a perfectionist, I find it really difficult when I “fail” any form of activity. Completing this task has made me realise that this is definitely a trait that I need to work on over time. It’s okay not to get something right first-hand. No one’s perfect.
The aim of this weeks task was to discover what we love (and hate) doing, while also discovering other activities we might enjoy. To begin with, I watched Mihaly Czikszentimihalyi’s’ inspirational video, "Flow, the secret to happiness". For me, this was a real eye-opener.
Mihaly begins by discussing a theory that indicates that materialistic goods have no association with a person’s happiness. According to Mihaly’s theory, despite the considerable rise in the average American wage, the percentage of people’s happiness has stayed the same (as shown by the red dots). Mihaly believes this is a universal idea. As a (rather shameful) lover of materialistic good, this theory was a real eye-opener. I often find that whenever I’m stressed out or am having a bad day, I purchase myself something in a shady attempt of achieving happiness. Whether it’s buying myself some Nudo sushi or that pastel pink, fur coat I’ve had my eye on, I always use shopping as a means of happiness. Of course it cheers me up for it a while but until the “new” feeling wears off (or I’ve not received as many “likes” on Instagram for the photo of my sushi, as I’d hoped), I’ve got my eye on a new materialistic item. Mihaly’s right, materialistic goods only help benefit someone’s current happiness (until they’re swooning over the latest, flashy item).
Instead Mihaly believes that “flow” is the secret to eternal happiness. So, what is flow? It’s where:
Overall this section of the talk really stuck out for me. It made me realise how much time I waste procrastinating with miniscule activities, that don’t engage me, such as watching TV or refreshing Facebook every ten minutes, to see people’s opinions of the latest fad TV show. It’s just a pointless circle of procrastinating, when really I know that there are more beneficial ways of relaxing, when needing some down-time after a stressful day at college/work. Moreover, Mihaly made me realise that I don’t spend enough time focusing on my one, true passion – writing. Instead I’ve (naively) made myself believe that writing is too stressful or time-consuming to undergo at a time when I want to relax. However Mihaly’s theory has made me realise that this isn’t the case at all. Writing’s only stressful because I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to writing. However as soon as I find my voice, I often find myself in a flow. Writing’s not time-consuming at all; instead time just flies by rapidly. I get caught in a flow.
Anyway after researching “the flow” in more depth, we were set the task of compiling a list of activities that engage us. My favourite personal activities include:
As someone who often blogs, I love reading (and discovering new) blogs on a daily basis. Not only do I gain styling tips from personal style blogs, but I LOVE reading up on the more theoretical side of fashion, especially from the Queen of Fashion Blogging, the “man repeller”.
Like most people, I like to keep myself busy at all times. Overall my social life differs – there are times where my entire week revolves around my social life and other weeks where I won’t see my friends for days on end due to other commitments (such as this week). All in all, my favourite activities including eating out (I’m a sucker for a good carvery) as well as night’s out with my best friend.
As a child, I’d rather impressively read a new book every week whereas this year, I’ve shamefully only read one book from the beginning to the end. It’s honestly something I enjoy doing and as a child/young teenager, I’d often find myself being so mesmerised and in the flow of a good book. I often find that I never have the time and focus span to read.
One of my favourite pass-times is going for a walk, especially with my best friend. Whenever I’ve had a stressful day or I just need some time away from people, I often find myself walking home from town (which is a good two hours walk). By the end, I feel so much more calm and clear-minded.
As lame as it sounds, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. From riding speed-boats to sky-diving, from climbing water-falls to sailing, I love the feeling of aliveness as I complete each activity. I try to book as extreme sport activities as possible (I have a sponsored bungee jump coming up in three weeks), but I’d love to take up one of the activities as a regular hobby. The only thing that holds me back is not knowing anyone who’d be interested in joining an extreme sports club with me.
Although some could argue that this isn’t an activity, staying organised is a daily activity in which I thoroughly enjoy. As soon as I wake up, I make a “to do” list for that day. Moreover I find it extremely therapeutic having a bedroom clear-out every two weeks, as well as tidying my room entirely (to the point where my books are colour co-ordinated, my shoes are categorised by style under my bed and where my leather pants have their own shelf in my IKEA wardrobe system). I always make sure every part of my life is as organised as possible.
There are also a range of different activities, which engage me in a professional flow:
As mentioned above, I love writing and expressing my voice. Writing my fashion blog enables me to do this. At the moment, I’ve only wrote a handful of posts but after watching Mihaly’s video, I’m eager to start writing on a regular basis.
I absolutely adore my job as a sales assistant for H&M. I tend to work around 16 – 20 hours a week, but am always eager to do overtime. As someone whose worked all over the retail sector – from River Island to Topshop, H&M is the only place that allows ambitious people (like myself) have the ability to thrive. Overall work has such a positive atmosphere to the point where my co-workers feel like a second family, even though I’ve only worked there since June. Not only do I get on with my co-workers, but every shift is a learning curve as we’re urged to use our initiative and create our own pathways.
This is a rather general topic, but overall I’m incredibly captivated in questioning everything. As well as enjoying reading theories (on anything), I’m a keen learner in all aspects of life. Although I’m only a sales assistant, I spent my own spare-time researching the entire company structure of H&M so I could find out their key values, and begin to understand the company a bit more. Moreover, I have a fascination with finding out how things work, which I guess comes naturally as a (Fashion Business and) Marketing student.
I really hope to:
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "Flow, the secret to happiness"
"What made you smile this week?"
My best friend, Ellie, as usual. Despite us having extremely different life-styles; I’m still in education studying Fashion Business & Marketing (and working part-time), whereas Ellie works full-time for the council. My favourite pass-time is vigorusly refreshing the “Best Vines” Facebook page like a girl with a pending restraining order, whereas she spends 80% of her day comparing every woman on earth to a Sex & The City character. Moreover my favourite food is Nudo Sushi whereas she prefers a good carvery at our local pub (with a coke of course).
Differences aside, Ellie is the most selfless, carefree and overall incredibly witty friend anyone could ever have. From her hearing about my stressful day and showing up to my work with a cupcake to cooking me a three-course meal (complete WITH a very suave centre piece on the table), her generosity never fails to surprise me on a regular basis. She’s also incredibly bubbly and her happy-go-lucky personality has inspired me to live in the moment (even if that means dancing in public, just because we feel like it). Whenever I’m with her, I get a stitch from laughing so much and feel as though we’re in our own little bubble of happiness. She’s the best friend I could ever ask for. Everyone needs an Ellie in their life.
After completing the '16 personalities' test, I soon discovered that I have an ‘ENFP’ personality.
Three strengths of ENFP personalities are:
Three weaknesses are:
What is your favourite smell?
My favourite smell is of the Continental Food market, which comes to town every November, just in time for Christmas. From German currywurst to Spanish paellas and from Dutch waffles to French crepes, each stall smells absolutely delicious and brings back childhood memories of visiting the market every year with my family.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I put too much pressure on myself. Although being ambitious and hard-working is often seeing as a positive trait, I often find that I’m far too critical of myself, and find it hard to deal with “underachieving”.
What is your most treasured possession?
My gold Casio watch. This was the only thing I purchased in Paris, which was funded by the incredible Make A Wish foundation. In the three years I’ve had it, I could count on my hands how many times I’ve took it off. To me, the watch not only reminds me of visiting and falling in love with my favourite city in the world, but also of all the hardships I’ve had to overcome. It’s also used as an incentive to keep on working hard and eventually live in Paris.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Marie Antoinette, without a doubt. Not only is she a feminist icon but the chance to dress in whimsical 1800s gown wear is pretty rare.
What is the important lesson life that taught you?
That life is like a roller coaster. You will have many highs and you will also have many lows. What’s the important is how you handle each of these situations as this will help define and shape your persona.