This past week, I celebrated by 24th birthday. I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. The amount of birthday wishes I received along with cards and phone calls was overwhelming. I also got to spend time with some of my favorite people. Overall, ringing in 24 was a huge success.
Every year around my birthday, I think about how I want this next year to be different from the last. What areas of personal growth do I want to focus on? How can I step up my game at work? I usually get overambitious and write a list of goals for myself. But this year there’s one thing I need to focus on: assuming everyone thinks like I do.
I’ve talked about the comparison trap, managing exceptions and professional F.O.M.O. before. But as I was planning out each piece of my week-long birthday celebration, this idea occurred to me. Not everyone operates like I do. No two people think the exact same thing about a situation. I’ve assumed the people close to me think along the same lines as me. But just because we’re close doesn’t mean we have the same opinion on birthday celebrations, politics or anything else. Diverse perspectives are what makes the world go around!
My consistent issue is that I assume people (mostly in my personal life) have the same values/intentions/beliefs that I do. I expect my family and friends to fall in line with my thinking. News flash Alex, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes it’s really hard when people don’t prioritize the way you do. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, upsetting and downright disappointing. But you live, you learn and begin to understand why that person might feel that way. Easier said then done most of the time.
Yesterday, I attended a brunch held by Temple Women’s Network, where their keynote speaker Yasmine Mustafa, a Temple alum, told a story about biking Death Road in Bolivia. Named appropriately, this path is along a steep mountain with a variety of twists and turns that would cause the most adventurous individual to become skeptical. Yasmine said once she “let go” and stopped trying to control the bike, she was in less pain. She moved along the mountain with more ease and less fear. She made a perfect analogy for life: once you stop trying to control everything and everyone, life become a lot less painful. JUST. THE. MESSAGE. I. NEEDED. TO. HEAR!
So my goal for year 24 is to stop controlling how everyone in my inner circle thinks. I can’t make everyone see things my way nor do I really, truly want to. Am I still going to do things I want to do? Absolutely! But I’m not going to expect others to follow suit or to prioritize the way I do. Do you struggle with expectations and wanting others to think like you do? Share your thoughts below!