Plan Your Own Life

Everybody and their suburban cousin has apparently become obsessed with that tumblr graphic that says “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”, and while I understand the sentiment, it is a bit misleading. You do have the same amount of time, yes, but (unless you are hella famous in which case 1. Thank u for reading 2. Sponsor my life) you presumably DON’T have access Beyonce’s money. Or influence. Or – most importantly – her team. I assume in this day and age we are all familiar with the concept of an entourage. Whether it’s a publicist leaking carefully selected stories to enhance a certain facet of their image, or a stylist making sure they don’t wear their Birkenstocks wrong (tbh I don’t really think there’s a way to wear them right but that’s not what we’re discussing right now), it’s pretty safe to assume that anyone above a certain threshold of success is being supported by a carefully selected team.

Now this may seem like a bit of a downer, but bear with. You might not be able to have a team, no, but you CAN become one. Oh yes. 
Let me work my magic and lead you down my path of scheming into the garden of success. 
We shall soar together.

Over the past year I have come into the knowledge that I am extremely good at planning people's lives. My own, those of my friends, a lot of the time people I don't actually know who are making poor, poor choices... I have the answers. I really do. And at some point between giving my friends hour-long pep talks in Starbucks and planning the post-band careers of all of One Direction I realised there was no reason I shouldn't be applying this skill more proactively to my own life. Sure, I scheme, I have always schemed, I will always scheme... but this is a different tone and an entirely different level.

Efficiently planning your life and becoming your own entourage takes commitment, because in order for it to work you need to have a very specific mindset, but once you get it right you will be unstoppable. Yes, this is coming from a considerably privileged 22-year-old sitting alone on her bed, but if you knew even half the mental and tangible changes that have unfolded in my life over the last year you would listen the heck up. It's like Freaky Friday, but just from one me into another better me.

Now this is quite a complex topic and I'm sure there will be countless posts to come on every facet of becoming your ideal self, but for today we're just going to focus on the planning aspect. Because action is important, yes, but there's no point running blindly forward with no idea what you're doing and just bashing around like an idiot ball in the pinball machine of life. No fun. Lots of bruises. Waste of time. Let's break this down.

Become Your Own Manager
First up, you need to assess yourself. Figure out your strongpoints and shortcomings so that you know what to improve, and more importantly what you can use to your advantage. There's a certain kind of freedom that comes with viewing yourself as a product, and although it is difficult to get to that stage of removal and objectivity it's very handy once you're there. Viewing yourself from a critical outside perspective doesn't necessarily need to be a negative experience - in fact, for me it's pretty much the opposite - but you do need to be willing to come to terms with some home truths and deal with them in a constructive manner. 

I would suggest sitting down with someone who knows you well and writing down a list of your good and bad points. But make sure you do it with someone who actually does have your best interests at heart and is on the same page as you in terms of the goal of the exercise, otherwise somebody is going to get their feelings hurt and we don't have time to deal with that. We have a life to run. Once you have your lists you may even find that some of your negative points can be turned into strengths, for instance turn your stubbornness into perseverance and dedication, or learn to use the fact you can be overly emotional as a creative source to tap into. You can't improve issues you're not aware of, and pretending your flaws don't exist won't get you anywhere so this is an important step.

Secondly, the same sense of removal can be used to find and assess your strengths. In my experience I tend to be most critical of myself in relation to the things I'm actually best at, or that matter the most to me, and so every now and then it's important to take a step back and process the fact that despite my own perfectionism these are real strengths, and people haven't just been lying to me my entire life. A solid understanding of your strengths is one of the most important weapons you can have, because you can then begin to figure out how to apply them in areas of your life that you may not have thought of before. I'm trying and failing to think of a tool-based metaphor here but all I'm coming up with is pokemon so we're gonna roll with it.

When you're playing pokemon you can catch as many as you want (preferably 'em all, if you want to do your job properly) but you can only carry six with you at a time. Given this limit, unless they're a damn fool, no one's walking around with a shitty level 5 pidgey, a metapod and a magicarp. 
You pick your best six and work on training those up to be the best they can be. 
Rather have a level 120 Charizard than twelve level 10 Zubats any day.

Furthermore, if you really need a weaker pokemon because it can learn flash or cut or whatever the kids are using these days, you catch the best one you can and then run around in the grass battling Rattatas until it reaches an acceptable level. Similarly, if there are areas you're not quite as strong in but really do need in order to get where you want in life then put your energy into improving those, so that eventually - although they might not be stunningly impressive on their own - they can get the job done as a part of your team. 

I'm sorry if you weren't into pokemon as a child. Partially because none of that will have made sense, but mostly because that's really sad for you.

The last (and probably biggest) part of being your own manager is learning to seek out, recognise and create opportunities for yourself. This is something that I'm still working on so I won't go into much detail, but the other day on my break from work I was sitting near a woman who was talking on the phone and kept saying "opportunities don't appear, you create them", and that really resonated with me as I ate my apple crumble muffin.

Become Your Own Life Coach
Figure out what motivates you. Make vision boards. Print out quotes. Watch inspirational videos. Read self help books. Write a detailed list of everyone who has ever wronged you so that you can beat them at life as revenge. Whatever you need to do in order to feel your horizons are being broadened and to keep positive new ideas flowing through your life, do it. Have an arsenal of motivation and positivity ready so that when you do feel like you're losing direction or having a down day you can pull yourself out of it and remind yourself why you're doing things in the first place. What you're doing here is essentially laying motivational foundation blocks for you to use as a consistent, reliable base upon which to build a home for your various dreams'n'schemes. 
Which would be a great name for my autobiography.

If you're looking for a place to start I would suggest making a core playlist of songs that make you feel completely on top of your game, and checking out this playlist I've made on youtube of some of my favourite motivaitonal/life inspo videos (I was meant to make this last night but fun fact I was moving out of my apartment so that will be coming soon, #sozheaps. For now this post on Mimi, who I mentioned earlier this week, is a start), these posts (one and two) I've done about vision boards and that scene from Keeping Up With The Kardashians where Kim is talking to her psychic about positive visualisation.

The aim of this is basically to provide yourself with personalised motivational and informative resources so that you feel equipped and supported on every level possible, whether that be mentally, emotionally, physically, intellectually or spiritually through the help of a moon-based cult; from charting Mercury to pinteresting innovative recipes for green juice, just be proactive.

Become Your Own Stylist
Overall, this one is pretty self-explanatory, and luckily for you I've got an entire post on how to purge your wardrobe and therefore refine your image right here

Regardless of how things would be in a perfect world, the way you present yourself on the outside is extremely important in terms of how people will perceive and respond to you. I personally believe two of the biggest turning points in my life thus far to have been the first time I got my eyebrows waxed and when I learned to fill them in. Pride in your appearance shows pride in yourself, and other people can't see inside your brain so even if internally you have no idea what you're doing, having a solid grip on your sartorial steering wheel can hide almost anything. I say almost because if you're physically weeping then people will probably know something's wrong. But at least you'll be weeping in a good outfit.

Save photos of anything that appeals to you, whether it's a lip colour or an entire outfit, and keep them all together. Figure out what it is that people you look up to or all the things you've saved have in common and work that into your own look. You can do it in subtle ways like buying a new jumper or trying something slightly diffierent with your hair, or you can jump right on in. There's no wrong way to do it (unless what you want is Birkenstocks, again I am sorry, I just don't get it), what's important is that you're evolving. Go through your clothes and get rid of anything that doesn't suit your new image. If you don't want to throw things away, at least put them in a different section so you can keep the important pieces together.

Basically take what I said in this post and add an enhanced sense of calculation and metamorphosis.

Become Your Own PR Team
This is the fun part, in my opinion, and also where social media comes in. I made this video about how to use social media after a breakup, but honestly most of it is applicable in everyday life. Platforms like twitter and instagram are some of the most powerful assets we have nowadays, in business and in our personal lives, so there's no reason not to take full advantage of them. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that couples who consciously share positive aspects of their days with each other are more likely to stay together, and this is a principle that applies in probably every area of your life whether you realise it or not. No one likes people who sit around complaining all the time. It's pathetic. It's annoying. It doesn't contribute anything positive to society and it doesn't get anything done. Similarly, no one wants to be around someone who constantly puts a negative spin on things. None of this means we should be insensitive or belittle other people's feelings, and I'm not advocating the idea of pretending things are fine when they're not. What I'm trying to say is there's a time and a place for everything, and if there is an aspect of your life over which you have complete control you should probably use it in the most positive, constructive way possible.

Think of your social meedz as a portfolio. When someone scrolls through your instagram they get an idea of your life, and when they read your tweets they should gain an insight into your personality. If you make videos you get to choose the setting, the content and how you look, and the same goes for blogs. For the most part you have control over everything people are seeing, so take advantage of that. If you super want to I guess you could construct an alternate reality where you exist amidst a tangle of lies and deceit until someone inevitably calls you out and publicly plucks apart your carefully woven web, but barring that I would suggest just having a clear idea of what it is that you want to accomplish on each platform and overall, and moving forward based on that.

Personally I only really go as far as occasionally stressing about my insty aesthetic & trying not to subtweet, but you can do as little or as much as you want. 
My only suggestion would be as follows:
Don't overshare. 
This is a blanket rule. From the explicit (your grandparents could read your tweets. I know for a fact mine do hashtag hello granny if you are also reading this) to the straight up stupid (anything that could put you at risk like your address or where you work), less is more. If you wouldn't say it to a stranger, don't say it on twitter. The internet is not your diary. No one needs to know you're lonely at night, and tweeting about it isn't's not... it's not gonna help. 
It'll probably make things worse.

At the end of the day this is about putting your best foot forward, and if you're genuinely at your best when you're crying into a bowl of mashed potato, using Gilmore Girls reruns as an outlet on which to project your own emotion issues and subtweeting about your ex then you have problems on a level I don't think I'm qualified to deal with and you should possibly seek more specialised help.

The key to this entire system is absolute self-belief; even when you don't completely feel it, push through. It's natural to doubt yourself, and at one point or another quite literally everybody does, but what sets successful individuals apart from people who settle for mediocrity is the ability to experience that doubt and not give in to it. Yes, you need to be able to look at your own life from a removed perspective, but if you don't #belieb in yourself then no matter how objective you try to be you're always going to second guess your own advice. And if you second guess your own advice you're probably not going to follow it. And if you don't follow it it's not going to work and if it doesn't work then you're going to doubt yourself even more and that is just a cycle of negativity that we do not need to create.

It takes teamwork to make a dream work, but there's nothing to say you can't be your own team.

Happy scheming, gang.