|« Apr||Jun »|
When you are thinking how to best reach a particular goal it’s important to understand whether you need an intervention or establish a habit.
An intervention is something that you do once or several times over a limited amount of time. Writing a gratitude letter or keeping a humour log for a week are examples. Chances are that you will feel happier for a while after doing an intervention. In some cases, though this should not be expected, we have some kind of epiphany or shift in perspective, in which case, the good effects might persist way longer than the actual intervention duration.
However often we waste money and energy chasing one-off short-term interventions while the only thing that would actually help us achieve the goal is habit change. Dieting versus changing your diet for good is the prime example for this.
So whatever your goal is, try to figure out whether you just need some inspiration and possibly a change of perspective or whether you need sustained effort.
Yesterday I walked through an exhibition of groceries which contain palm oil which is really bad for the environment because it encourages people to cut down the rainforest. I looked at it and thought ‘gee we are not allowed to buy or eat anything anymore’. And that made me think that this is not just true of groceries but of thoughts, feelings and emotions as well.
Negative emotions can definitely be useful and we have talked about this in several other posts. However not every time when we get angry or sad is it all that useful. The essayist Tim Kreider pointed out that physical symptoms of anger are very similar to excitement or lust and that we therefore enjoy being angry. That is why we keep supporting media that is not there to inform but infuriate us. We gladly accept. He calls this ‘they tried to fuck me but I showed them’. Yes I do this too, mostly at work. I totally get myself into that state of righteous anger. Do you get angry, judgmental or sad just for the emotional gratification of it?
Rules were designed to keep us from thinking. That can be a good thing. Who wants to ponder every day whether to brush their teeth or not? Just do it. But sometimes rules just become relics: they used to make sense way back, when that old computer system with more limitations was operating. But now the rule is followed to absolutely no benefit. Those kind of things can bog us down. They can bum our customers out who might be a bit less jaded.
Lots of toupets are ridiculously obvious to the rest of the world and only serve to fool the wearer into the idea that nobody is noticing, when in fact, everybody is noticing the precise thing this unfortunate guy is trying to cover up. But curiously, as Tim Kreider puts it, the people around us often don’t give a damn about the thing that we are trying to cover up and that is the cause of so much shame and pain for us. He says that we all wear toupets on our soul, desperately trying to cover something up, that is obvious to everyone around us. What makes it bad is not the issue itself but the lies and shame we build around it.
Do you often use phrases like ‘first-world-problem’ or ‘in other countries people have nothing and are happier although their problems are tougher than mine’ or some variation of that?
Sometimes resistance is there for a reason: we have not researched a topic enough, we are unsure how to proceed or perhaps we didn’t take care of ourselves enough and can’t get going due to lack of energy, sleep or healthy food. But other times it seems resistance is just there to play power games with us, to show us who is boss. And in such cases good old alpha-gorilla tactics are not a bad idea. In some areas we are successful, we are the alpha and keep our resistance in check. How does that happen? In which areas of your life are you best able to keep pointless resistance in check? How often do you engage in that activity? Do you have a set time to do it? What are the conditions that enable you to beat the pointless resistance down? Can you copy it in other areas of your life?
Keeping up is easier than catching up.
– Gretchen Rubin
Whenever we put something off for tomorrow we are adding to our burden. It is easier to do little than to go big every once in a while.
Rejection sucks. People yelling at you on the phone suck. So when you need to face it fairly regularly it can be pretty stressful. That is until you start seeing it as a game and not taking it so seriously anymore. I know easier said than done.
At a job I used to have a couple of years ago I struggled because I was just not used to being exposed to jerks yelling at me for no good reason. Then a friend made a passing comment that changed everything
So how are you deluding yourself? What is your version of success and happiness
Some sounds just never get boring: rain falling on the blinds is one of them. There is something about that constant rhythm that’s almost reassuring. Rain seems to whisper ‘stretch out in bed with your favourite book, listen to music or just listen to me.’
Which sounds bring a sense of calm to you? Which sounds make you slow down and realize, that right now, everything is ok?