Fill Your Own Cup First

In March I went on a fabulous run as far as blogging is concerned. I wrote 21 posts, and recorded 21 videos in 24 days which is among the most consistent I’ve ever been. During that time I produced a lot of content for the blog, and greatly improved my public speaking skills. At the end of that time, however, I felt like I was running out of things to give.

Blog posts became stretch ideas rather than things I’d extensively tested, and put into practice. I felt like the stereotypical housewife who is so busy doing things for others she herself falls apart.

My life turned into a repetitive grind. Wake up, go to school, practice juggling, write a blog post, record a video, and then go to sleep. Every single day.

I think having a highly disciplined lifestyle is great, but after a month of repetitiveness I wasn’t tired; I was drained. Being tired is something you can fight through, but being drained is simply not having anything left to give.

I was overly stressed and had difficulty laughing or relating to others in social situations. I became less grounded, and was having trouble finding motivation. I’d been working so hard to contribute to others that I’d forgotten the most important person. Me.

When we think of selflessness that overworked housewife is who first comes to mind, but should she? The reality is that the greatest giver isn’t he who never allows himself to receive. The most significant contributor is he who cultivates something worth giving, and then openly shares his fruit with the world.

To fill others cups you must first fill your own. Do not misinterpret this as meaning you need to leech off of others that already possess the resources, or energy you’d like to contribute to the world. It’s unlikely that’s necessary.

Just plant the seeds you need for your own endeavors. If you’d like to inspire others, become inspired yourself. If you want to create a more positive world, become more positive yourself.

Everyone looks to change the world, but few look to change themselves. However, those who work to change themselves usually become the ones with the most leverage to influence the rest of the world.

Also keep in mind, however, that what fulfills you may paradoxically drain you. Too much of a good thing is never good. Three weightlifting sessions per week? Good. Three sessions per day? Your body quickly withers away.

Writing regular blog posts to contribute, and internalize lessons you’ve learned from real life experiences? Awesome! Not having time to acquire real life reference experiences, because you’re so busy writing? Not so good.

Of course, ideally you’ll build a life that allows you to constantly pour into others. Writing a meaningful blog post everyday is entirely possible if you’re in a position where you’re traveling the world, or otherwise rapidly acquiring unique reference experiences.

However, until you do reach that position it’s best to contribute when you’ve got something worthy of contribution and spend the rest of your energy building a life that allows you to cultivate energy and ideas the world would benefit from receiving.

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