Do Not Listen With The Intent To Reply – But With The Intent To Understand

I recently  finished reading the book Twenty-Two Letters, recommended and lended to me by a close friend – and boy, was it an eye-opener!

The stories were inspiring, because I often found myself imagining what it would be like if I were in any of the situations described. This led to a deeper mikala-morgan-central-park-nyc-2018understanding – then appreciation for the characters in the book, which reminded me of why listening to others is not just important, but necessary.

Everyone has a story of their own and one of the most valuable life lessons that I have learned so far is the act of simply listening – without the intent of replying but understanding.

Sounds simple, yet the digital-first society that we live in has made the very act of listening seem like a time-consuming and unrealistic task.

However, I think mindfully listening is one of the best skills that anyone can possess.

You will never agree with what everyone has to say – that’s human nature – but by taking the time to hear their side, their story and their reasonings you might just surprise yourself with a more observant mind, better patience and heightened gratitude.


MM

“All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.” ― George Whitman

Mikala Morgan's Complete Digital Marketing Course Certificate

Ironically, graduating college made me fall in love with learning again. I like to think of the phrase “learning something new everyday” tactically. The world is now my school and I’m loving every minute of it. 

With that being said, I am so thankful that I work for a company who puts continued education and interdependence first. I recently completed the Complete Digital Marketing Course on Udemy and would highly recommend it to anyone who is passionate about staying up-to-date on digital marketing trends.

 

 

Trusting Your Own Intuition

“Think of your intuition as your cells’ way of communicating with you. Trust your cells, girl. They know what’s best for you.”

 

 

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have always been a stickler for trusting my own intuition and encouraging others to do the same, especially at the point of my life that I am in right now, (newly college grad) but how do we ever truly know if our “gut” is leading us into the right direction?

I love this blog post by Imani Brammer on Elite Daily, as she went straight to a trustful source: a mindfulness-based psychotherapist named Lena Franklin.

Check it out!

“You know when you feel it in your gut? Like, you just feel it. You don’t really know what you feel, but you feel…it. It’s the “it” that makes your mother call you randomly to make sure you’re OK, because somehow, she just knows. It’s intangible, but it feels oh so palpable. That “it,” my love, is your intuition, or your “gut,” if that’s your jam. Depending on who you are, you might trust that intuition wholeheartedly, or perhaps you don’t listen to it enough. Either way, the question remains: Can you really trust your gut instincts?

Elite Daily spoke with mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin, who lends a bit of insight on what that strong gut feeling actually is, and whether or not you can totally trust it.

She explains that, in a society oversaturated with information, for some people, the gut feeling can get a bit muddled among the muck and the mire of everyday life.

Trusting your gut is easier said than done in a society where we privilege intellect over intuition,” Franklin says.

If you already naturally trust your gut instincts, you likely have a strong sense of self, and you trust your body and your intuitive feelings not to steer you in the wrong directions in life.

But that doesn’t mean you’re any less secure in your sense of self if you don’t currently trust your gut instincts. Maybe you just need to know a little bit more about it.


So what exactly is a gut instinct, and what does it mean to trust it?

According to Franklin, “gut instincts are body-centered, conscious messages fueled by subconscious insights that we’ve been building since birth.”

Gut feelings, though internal, often initially come from some outside influences. You perceive something — someone’s facial expression, their tone of voice, whatever it may be — and though you may not even be aware of your perception, it’s triggering something inside of you.

Needless to say, it’s a bit different from the logical thinking you’re probably used to.

In fact, Franklin explains that when it comes to intuition and logic, those are two very different playing fields. Just because logic is, well, logical, does not make it more trustworthy than intuition.

She tells Elite Daily,

Trusting the gut is a whole different ball game than trusting logic. Gut instincts come from a bottom-upprocess, meaning that these messages stem from the body rather than from cognitive thoughts.

Logic is a top-down process of thought-based information. If we can distinguish where these messages originate from in the body, we can begin to actually trust the powerful wisdom of our guts rather than making impulsive life choices based on top down, fear-based thoughts.


If you’ve never really tapped into these intuitive gut feelings before, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to start trying.

Franklin suggests meditation as your best bet, as it taps directly into your gut feelings, but in a calm state.

She explains,

Meditation strengthens our self-awareness, so much like doing bicep curls, we’re making our mindfulness muscle stronger.

The result is that, when we’re outside of our meditation practice, we create a habit of tuning into ourselves through awareness of the body, where intuition lives and thrives.

So the next time you are unsure of if you should listen to your gut or your mind, don’t be so quick to rule out that intuition of yours. It actually comes from a physical place in the body: your cells.

Franklin explains that your cells carry memory. They remember experiences that you’ve had throughout your life, and how you felt when you went through those situations — even if your brain can’t actually conjure up the memory.

Think of your intuition as your cells’ way of communicating with you. Trust your cells, girl. They know what’s best for you.”

Life Lessons You Learn After College

I’m so excited for these next few years of my life as this is my time to truly discover my passions, work hard and be free! With that being said, this blog post by Brendan Marshall is a must read!

Mikala Morgan Life After College

When I look back on the last twelve years of my life, they appear in thirds.  It’s a simple visual really, since the first four make up my high school years, next four are dedicated to college, and the most previous four years were spent gaining the education that I cannot live without.

Ages 15 to 22 are first and foremost a time for physical growth.  Our bodies and minds change rapidly through those formative years, as we are exposed to a wide world of influences in preparation for the next step.  Whether your future includes higher education, the Military, professional sports, or even taking time off to travel, these years set a foundation for what is to come.

The highly impressionable young adult mind suddenly taught how to think on a global scale is entirely ready for the real world, right?

The most important education begins after the tassel is turned, with diploma in hand.  If formal schooling is practice, the game has begun.  As someone who didn’t have a plan coming out of the University of Delaware, I’d like to share some of the things I now understand that recently have become more useful than anything I ever absorbed in the classroom.

As you get older, habits become more difficult to kick.

This idea applies to everything from cigarettes to relationships.  Doing something over and over again eventually becomes natural.  Your subconscious takes over, and you will have to try much harder to change it if that eventually becomes your intent.  The sooner you realize this, the sooner you begin to cultivate the habits that will mold you into the person you wish to become.


Every single person you meet has a story.

As the office hierarchy goes, chances are, the manager with 20 to 25 years of experience is going to have a lot to share.  Well, the same goes for the peers you come across socially or otherwise.  And the beauty of new interactions is that you never know what people have to offer or what you might have in common. It is important to engage people, asking questions that could shed some light onto why you crossed paths.  Chemistry requires a catalyst.  After all, everyone’s favorite subject is …themselves.


It’s okay not to have a plan, but remember to network.

There are those who grow up knowing they will one day become a doctor, lawyer or police officer.  Likewise, there are others who cannot seem to put the pieces together when it comes to pursuing a career.  There is nothing wrong with either direction, but it is important to maintain steady inward and outward communication throughout the process.  Opportunities and epiphanies are born from a long string of ideas sewn together over time.

Most great things do not often happen overnight, so when you are searching for the next move, the least you can do is talk to people.  It could be Uncle Jim the accountant, or a recruiter from the university-sponsored happy hour – the flow of information will keep the wheels spinning.  If you confine yourself to a quiet, inactive box, you will quickly stall your momentum.


Don’t burn bridges.

Our freedom allows us to chase any career that we choose.  With that in mind, there are those that fit into our life plan and those that do not.  When jumping from place to place and industry to industry, do it professionally and responsibly.  Even though you no longer work for a particular company, useful references come at a premium and your paths may cross again one day.

Do your future self a favor and prevent the awkward, uncomfortable situation of facing bridges burnt.  We all make mistakes, but foresight is a very valuable skill to hone.


People want to work with problem solvers.

My friend Tim shared this tidbit of knowledge in casual conversation without the slightest idea it would have such a profound impact on my professional life.  From entry level to expert, be ready on day one to use that brainpower to help solve issues of all sizes.  Volunteer your services to tackle the daily organizational hurdles.  Eventually, once confidence and knowledge builds, you may earn the chance to take on bigger challenges.  From there, the possibilities are endless.  Start with something small and watch it grow.


Taking risks is important, but have a contingency plan.

There will be opportunities to take risks in all avenues of life, but make sure they are somewhat calculated and include a plan in case it does not work out.  Strive for success, but plan for the alternative.  Valuable items in your life usually require insurance, right?  The same concept applies to important intangible decisions.


Everything happens for a reason.

This idea has become seemingly more apparent each year since it became my mantra at age 17.  While it bounces somewhere between prophetic and cliché, I find continual motivation to build on successes, dwell only briefly on failures, learn as much as humanly possible, help those in need, always be kind, and wake up each day with a sense of purpose – even if, at this present moment, I’m not quite sure what that is. In the end, the best life lessons are those that cannot fit on a transcript and surprise you in ways you never dreamed possible.

*Re-Blog!* “6 Amazing Destinations That Are Perfect For Women Traveling Alone”

I’ve always embraced having my own opinions about every persona across the U.S. & abroad (despite some backlash) and traveling alone is something I cannot wait to experience one day!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

With that being said, this blog post by Izabella Zaydenburg, has been such a blessing in my life!

As I write this, I’m dangerously in the throes of wanderlust.

I say “dangerously,” because it’s the first of the month tomorrow and my rent is due within 24 hours. The only kind of travel I can afford is on Pinterest boards and in magazines.

Yet, I’m dying to travel. I live for long flights, meeting new people and trying as much new food as I can shovel into my mouth. I’m also all about doing it alone.

Adventuring alone, especially as a woman, gets a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain parts in the world I wouldn’t recommend traveling to solo, regardless of your gender. However, the amount of negative media surrounding solo female travelers is enough to put me off leaving town ever again.

According to the first “Taken” movie, every cute guy with an accent is out to get us, right? Not quite. In fact, there are tons of places in the world that are safe for solo ladies.

Going on an adventure with just your own two feet to keep you company is just as fun as going in a big group. Renew your passports, ladies, because it’s time to book some flights.

If you want to party, head to Phuket, Thailand.

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Hard partiers might tell you Ibiza is the place to go for a good time. Unless you want Justin Bieber-level crowds, your best bet is a place that’s just as known for its relaxation as it is for its party scene: Phuket.

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, home to five-star resorts, stunning beaches and, of course, an unrivaled party scene. Go bar-hopping with friends you make earlier in the day, or make new ones at one of the many clubs.

Also, don’t forget to try the street food. Your life will change.


If you’re looking to splash out, try Reykjavik, Iceland.

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One of the scariest things about traveling alone is not being able to communicate with any of the locals. Plus, my awkward inner voice is terrified of insulting the locals because I’m not fluent in the native tongue. Iceland, thankfully, eases all those fears.

On top of being absolutely beautiful, most Icelandic residents speaks near-fluent English. If you’re not much of a nightlife junkie, Reykjavik (and all of Iceland, really) boasts hundreds of day tours paying homage to the majestic landscape of the country.

Crime is practically nonexistent here. Hear that, America?

The one caveat? Iceland is f*cking expensive. Your dining options range from “fancy as hell” to “three Michelin stars.” All those cool Nordic spa treatments will run you a pretty penny, too. What did you expect from the fourth most expensive country in the world?


If you’re looking for an adventure, New Zealand is your best bet.

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For ladies who want to create their own “Lord of the Rings” epic, New Zealand is the place to do it. The variety in landscape — from volcanoes, to beaches and hills — makes it easy for even the pickiest female backpacker to find her happy place.

No need to splurge on a five-star resort here. The country has tons of hostels, which are perfect for meeting fellow solo travelers. You also don’t really need a car to get around, either. New Zealand is built for backpackers and even has devoted bus routes for the ultra-adventurous.

The only problem? Getting there. If you’re traveling from the US, it’s whole day’s worth of flying.


If you’re craving yoga time, hop a flight to Costa Rica.

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If you’re uninspired by your local studio and want your sun salutation to actually have the sun as a backdrop, drop by Costa Rica.

This tropical paradise has a great mix of activities, regardless of what you’re in the mood for. Head to the beach, the jungle or the bustling city life of San Jose.

Plus, Costa Rica is equipped for tourists (even the ones traveling solo). You’re likely to meet other fellow yoga junkies at one of the many retreats in this Central American country, or other beach bums on their way to a bit of R&R.


If you want to find yourself, get your “eat, pray, love” on in Bali, Indonesia.

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The best part about traveling to Bali isn’t the beautiful temples, awesome beaches and more yoga than you know what to do with — it’s the inexpensiveness. For real, you can get a beer for less than two bucks, a bottle of wine for around $12 and an apartment for around $170 a month.

BRB, moving there immediately.

But, really, there’s a reason virtually every girl getaway I plan mysteriously segues into a conversation about how much I want to go to Bali. It’s full of young backpackers and there are plenty of resorts, if you want to go the expensive route.


Stockholm, Sweden is perfect if you’re thirsty for style.

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Ask any true fashionista, and she’ll tell you Sweden has hands-down the best street style of any country. There’s a reason so many models are from here: The country is filled with beautiful people and even prettier fashion.

Even if you’re not much of a street style guru, Stockholm boasts stunning architecture, excellent food (ever tried gravlax?) and was named one of the top 5 happiest places on Earth in the World Happiness Report.

Additionally, most people here speak English, which makes befriending locals way easy. Like most of Scandinavia, it’s one of the safest places in the world, so no need to always be looking over your shoulder.