20/20 – Day 18: 20 things you unintentionally let get in your way

Life is tough.  Half the time you don’t even realise the things impacting upon your decisions.

Below is a list of what can get in the way without your full awareness.  It’s hardly an exhaustive list…If only that could be done!

  1. Friends. You love your mates. So you let them dictate some aspects of what happens in your life, even when you don’t realise.  Nothing wrong with this in small doses (hey, that’s why they’re friends).  But draw the line at peer pressure!
  2. Peer pressure. Drawing the line doesn’t always happen because peer pressure is not always easy to spot.  Doing something you wish you weren’t doing?  That could be down to peer pressure.
  3. Alcohol. Students and alcohol…the combination is a cliché in itself.  There will always be a number of students for whom a night of drunken revelling is the pinnacle of entertainment.
    But even if you only get a little tipsy on the rare occasion of craziness, that alcohol gets in the way of your thought process and your body.  As with most things, in moderation is unlikely to do much harm.
  4. TV.  Who doesn’t watch TV?  Few people can admit to watching nothing whatsoever.  I hardly watch television, but still make time for the odd show.  That’s all time sat in front of a box doing little else productive.
  5. Internet. All I need to mention is Facebook and Farmville and Mafia Wars and messaging and YouTube and so on forever and ever and ever…
    You know the Web’s brilliant.  But it can take over your life without you realising.  Be careful not to browse your last breath!
  6. Music. My big weakness lies here.  My taste in music is so eclectic that I don’t have enough hours in the day to listen to everything I love, even if I listened for 24 hours each day.  As soon as I realise the music is unintentionally eating up time, I cut down on my consumption.
    That lasts about a day… :-/
  7. Other people’s opinions and comments. If someone else hadn’t got in the way, you’d probably push on without a second thought.  But now a remark has stopped you in your tracks.  Be it a friend or a stranger, a thought out speech or a throwaway comment, it’s hard to let go of an opinion once it’s out in the open.
  8. Your own opinions.  You get in the way of yourself, you really do.  Adamant you’re right, unwilling to look at alternatives.  You seek affirmation for what you believe rather than finding new ways to succeed.  Who needs enemies when you’ve got yourself, eh?
  9. Outings. Go on, I’ll stay for one more.  Okay, I’ll stop working to see the others for a bit.  Fine, if everyone else is doing it.
    The most organised of people can succumb to unscheduled visits and staying longer than expected.  You can’t get that time back…
    …Neither can you afford to be totally rigid, so be aware of the changes instead of letting them get in the way and spin out of control.
  10. Relationships/Love.  There’s too much to say here.  I don’t think I need to explain, mainly because it’s impossible to find words.
  11. Money. A necessary evil.  The best we can do is temper the beast.
  12. Perfection. The word sounds pleasant enough, but don’t be fooled. Perfection may seem like the ultimate control, but perfection is actually losing control.
  13. Chaos & false perceptions of future certainty. You don’t know what’s around the corner and you don’t know how sudden changes will impact upon your life.  No matter, you probably try to plan abstract events in your head that are so far ahead it’s never going to turn out that way.  Why bother at all?  Because we don’t realise how random the future is.  If you want to see how random, just read “Fooled by Randomness” and “The Black Swan“.
  14. Weather/Time of year. We recently had a lot of snow.  It changed moods.  When you open your curtains and look outside, the state of the weather gets you thinking.  The weather is so changeable in the UK, no wonder we always like to talk about it. I’m not surprised we let it dictate our mood.
  15. What’s expected of you.  It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t care what others think.  For most of us, we aren’t doing what we want to do in isolation, we’re weighing up all sorts of decisions (real and imaginary) that sway what we’ll do.
  16. Your own expectations.  Do you cut yourself some slack?  You probably don’t as much as you think.
  17. Fitting in. It’s not always cool to stand out.
  18. Standing out. It’s not always cool to fit in.
  19. Sex. When it comes to impressing others romantically, we’re known for doing all sorts of crazy things.  Or is that just me…?
  20. Gossip. Hearing stuff on the grapevine is dangerous.  It changes perception, even if you subsequently find out the rumours were untrue.  The damage has already been done.
Title image: original by tiffa130 (cc)  /  Bottom image: InfoMofo (cc)


  1. ohh, with the presence of all of these external forces a person might never be able to be himself, pointing them out was a great idea

    1. Thanks, Farouk. If we’re aware of these factors and how they impact upon us, at least we can try to get past blocks or understand why we act the way we do in particular situations.

  2. Hey Martin,
    Still loving this series! Internet is my biggest issue. I can spend hours working on projects or watching YouTube Videos. I hope in the future I can learn to pull myself away from the computer 🙂

    1. That good old feeling of looking up a specific point only to find that, half an hour later, you’ve gone way off tangent. How on earth did I get from epidemiology and public health to the virtues of edible shoes!? 😉

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