|« Apr||Jun »|
Gratitude exercises often get stale because we answer like robots: I am grateful for my family, my health and having a job. What have you never been grateful for? Look out for the unexpected gratitude boosters today.
Hard work is glorified so much that we often forget the value of ease. Your strengths make things easy for you that are hard or impossible for others. What comes easy to you? And what happens when you do more of that and sharpen your skills?
We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
I caught myself repeating something along the lines of ‘I have been writing everyday for over 5 months, it’s only natural for creativity to decline’. Self-defeating thoughts don’t necessarily come in overtly negative tones. This one sounds quite innocent. It could even be true, that something to replenish creative resources might be in order. However if I don’t deal with this or similar thoughts immediately chances are I will start believing it and before long not writing anything anymore.
What’s really confusing is that some thoughts cannot be clearly categorized into good and bad. This thought might be appropriate, if I am getting into a state and beating myself up for not having any fresh ideas. However it’s dangerous if I think it too often because it might undermine a great habit.
Sleep and food are not the only resources which need to be replenished. Whatever powers your day, be it willpower or creativity, needs to be charged as well. We often treat willpower like an unlimited resource despite science clearly showing that we have less willpower after our willpower has been used. Creativity is not necessarily the same as willpower however the building blocks still need to be in place, for creativity to renew itself: exposure to new ideas, sharing them, extending and modifying them. Make sure to charge yourself up, because there is really no reason to treat your iPhone better than you treat yourself.
The stuff we refuse to throw away is revealing of our dreams. If you can’t throw something away it might represent something you want to become. Take a look around. Is there a book on how to learn to draw? A musical instrument? Or organizing folders? Instead of feeling guilty of the clutter maybe these objects tell a story of hidden strengths waiting to be expressed.
It’s so easy to share and like articles nowadays that more people know what to do about anything than ever before (presumably).
But did you actually give it a try? From all the advice and ideas and inspiration what did you try? Did you try it once or give it some time? Or are the phantasies satisfying enough, that trying becomes obsolete?
What are the things you are happy about as they are? It can be big stuff like a happy marriage or something small like breakfast. It’s liberating to think about the things you neither have to or want to change.
Here are a few examples from my own life to get things going:
- breakfast (seriously)
- the walk to work
- work-life balance
- trying out new things for the inspiration and experience and not pressuring myself to continue with everything
So what about you?
Hard-working people are busy. Thinking about abstract stuff like values, the meaning of (your) life and guiding principles is something that only people have the luxury to do, which are somehow shunning the responsibility that life throws at us (and trust fund babies). Who after all has time?
Taking our bodies for granted and ignoring existential questions is a luxury the terminally ill don’t have.
-John Green, author of The Fault is in our Stars
What’s in it for you if you question your thinking patterns and try to change the climate of your mind? Why go through the effort?
Working out a question by yourself creates a ping of instant pride and happiness. Lots of things on this blog are designed to make you ask questions and I hope every once in a while you get this ping of excitement, when you stumble upon an answer or an even better question.
If you can’t deal with something today tell yourself that one day you will be strong enough to face it. When that day arrives you will feel it. Until that day comes let it be.
It’s worth repeating: water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Maybe you and your efforts have reached 92 degrees. Keep going. At some point one single degree will make all the difference.
Your vision has to be greater than your resources.
Personally I would change that to
Your vision has to be greater than the resources you are using.
If we unlock our strengths we can go after visions which might otherwise seem wildly out of line.
There is this inherent pressure to do things quickly: get home quickly, learn stuff quickly, walk quickly and get over trauma quickly.
I was never exactly living life on the fast lane but I seriously started questioning this imperative when I observed Mr. Ellis. Mr. Ellis was my English teacher and while students and teachers alike were scurrying through the school building Mr. Ellis always walked deliberately and obscenely
We need validation to know we are on the right path, that our desires and dreams are not completely crazy, our action plans are sound and that we are not alone in our suffering. Ideally we can give some of this to ourselves. But a significant chunk will need to come from others.
Lots of pain is created because we expect our loved ones
We can pin the motivational quote or picture of our family to our computer screen and still never see it. We get used to things and they become invisible. What has become invisible, that have you ceased to see but would like to remind yourself today, to perceive again?
Do you have this great life that everybody tells you, you should be grateful for? But it just doesn’t feel that way? Or does someone close to you feel like that?
It’s of absolutely no use to tell people that they should be grateful. We can’t turn on gratitude like a button. We can be told to cheer up, but if anything changes at all, we just put on a mask.
We can’t order each other to feel in particular ways. Stressing the need to cheer up or feel grateful just contributes to more misery. Sometimes it’s better to just be there and say and also expect nothing. That person has every right to be sad right now. Let’s be okay with that sadness and not pile on our own discomfort by expecting someone to shape up. Especially if that person is you.
I’ll be happy when XY happens or doesn’t happen is quite a sneaky happiness myth. I have to catch myself every once in a while too: I’ll be happy when I can live off of positive psychology full-time, can grow my readership or have the freedom to work and travel wherever in the world I want to. These are cool goals but if I keep delaying happiness today for some imaginary happiness tomorrow chances are, that I will always strive for tomorrow.
What’s your version of the happiness myth? Will you be happy when you have found your perfect partner, job, have kids, get the promotion or the house?
That’s great but what can we do to strive for goals without falling for the myths?
After a growth experience you can’t go back to your old comfort zone. You have outgrown it. To regain any sense of comfort you will have to accommodate for this different you. Otherwise you will feel like a grown-up in a classroom designed for 8-year olds.