On self-awareness, themes, and reticence
On self-awareness You have freedom, but with more freedom comes more responsibility. With your newfound freedom, self-awareness must now be your top priority. When you are failing at anything—personally or professionally—it is your own task to recognize and fix it. Your employers might not care to work with you to fix an issue, and you will simply be fired if you fail to be self-aware of your own downfalls. You are free to be as much of a failure or as much of a success as you desire. Everyone wants to choose success, and that carries a completely different meaning for each and every person. How will you reach your definition of success? These are questions that you have to ask yourself, because there is seldom a reliable source of outside questioning that can be with you at all times and put you back on the right path. You must fill that role for yourself.
On themes Set yourself a theme of growth for the next week, month, or year (or all three). Rather than assign yourself a metric to meet, which is simply a number, make that more principled and develop a theme that encompasses more than just a metric. For example, in language learning: As you have set yourself the numerical goal of studying your third language for 10–15 minutes every day, you have met that goal. It is an easy goal to reach. However, that's where you stop. 10–15 minutes is not difficult to fulfill, and sometimes you are more focused on the daily task of practicing for 10–15 minutes than you are on the more general theme of learning the language. However, when you are more focused on the entire theme, you take meaningful and positive action. You might begin reading in your third language, or begin to think about the words throughout your day, because your theme for that week, month, or year is to become a better speaker in that language. Find ways to make the theme a reality with smaller tasks, but take care to never lose sight of the larger vision while you do so.
On reticence Cease to explain yourself! Prefacing your questions or statements only makes you appear unsure. Explaining your own being and personality is redundant and comes across as self-obsessed. Hedging on a declaration serves to make the declaration considerably less impactful. Edit your speech with the same ear that you edit your writing with. Remove unnecessary words and get to the point. Practice defaulting to silence rather than speech! Speech must be done correctly to help you. In all other cases other than perfectly spoken word, you will diminish your own image both to outsiders and yourself. Say less, be more.