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When’s the last time you felt happy about a skill or something you create and didn’t want to change a thing?
Especially in self-development it’s common to always improve and want to be better. We often complain about the rat race the economy forces us into only to walk into a different kind of rat race: the skill and art rat race.
Yes people who have made meaningful contributions develop their craft. We should too. But not at the price where we can never enjoy it.
I wish employees would stare out of the window or look at cat videos more often. Because in many cases that would improve productivity. By sending emails to people who are not concerned you create work for the company, not actually work yourself. By inviting people to meetings you take them away from something that might be more urgent. By sending emails chat style instead of thinking them through and putting all your questions in one email you create more work for other people.
At least when you are staring out of the window vacantly nobody else has to stop their work. You gain focus and might make more sense and thus prevent useless follow-up. So be mindful who you involve in what. And don’t get caught with the cat videos.
The princess is waiting for the prince to save her riding a white horse. Well that is dumb we say. But yet we all carry on this idea:
- in sitcoms where the protagonists get discovered and make money from their art or eloquence as a public speaker they never once trained to be
- when we wait for the salary increase to solve all our financial problems
- when we seriously believe the whole country to change once the current president is out of the White House
Wonderful miraculous things happen out of nowhere. But if all we do is grow our hair so that our prince can climb up the tower to save us we’ve got a problem.
A fast is not just for food. It can be for anything: media, Facebook, how-to books or technology. It can take any duration: half a day, a day or several weeks. It’s not wasted time. It’s time that you give all those seeds inside of you space to breathe.
The comedian Amy Poehler said that she decided early on that her currency would not be beauty. What makes you the most persuasive and what do you use to get ahead? Your looks, your intellect, your creativity or some mix?
The currencies we ignore is usually the stuff we can be pretty relaxed about, a bit like Korean money: if you don’t know it’s value and you are not going to Korea any time soon, you won’t pay attention to its banknotes.
But chances are that we can freak out if we feel our currency is being devalued in the eyes of others. And once we know that we can decide, whether we go through the process of increasing the value or switching currencies all together.
What are the sources of positive emotion for you? Do they change? For me it changes all the time: hip-hop dancing, a new friendship, a new project, studying a language or playing soccer are just a few of mine. Their importance can shift a lot even within a few short weeks or months. Sometimes we notice that one thing that brought us joy is not really doing much for us anymore. But in a culture where quitters are losers we hold on to things that don’t help us grow or make us happy. In relationships or with jobs we might not be able to immediately let go of what’s not working. When it comes to leisure time however it pays to think about whether we can let go of some things to have room for more joy.
If you must know there was a time that Kim Kardashian enjoyed wearing wigs and calling herself Natasha or Britney. ‘How strange. I am weirded out. Has the divorce driven you crazy (yes it was a back episode)? And why are you wearing a wig.’ As I watched one family member after the other refusing to go along and have a little bit of fun it made me think of how narrow the parameters of normal behaviour can be (well my first thought was that I would like to put on my wig and go play with Kim if nobody else does). Yes people act normally in very predictive ways but if we don’t want to be be put in boxes ourselves, the prize to call someone Natasha for 15 minutes seems pretty small.
Write that review now. Send flowers for no good reason. Thank a musician without millions of followers for that great song. Do you also have impulses like that and then override them with arguments that go something like this?
‘Oh that person is busy with something else right now.’
‘Oh they must be bored by people telling them how good a job they do.’
‘I will do it later.’
Let’s try to not override our goodness but act on it.
We are often encouraged to push through rough patches. But how do we know that the resistance that we feel is not telling us something important, that something is not right and could or should be done differently?
The distinction that occurred to me is whether we are constantly in need to push through something or if the resistance we feel is temporary, possibly just a few minutes or hours.
Running is a good example: you might feel a drop of energy and the desire to stop. However if you decide to continue for 15 minutes you suddenly find that you tap into some other energy source and that it is all good. This is the healthy kind of pushing through.
However if you feel pain, it doesn’t go away and you feel it every time you go for a run pushing through is not a sign of courage but a way of jeopardizing your health.
What do your functioning relationships teach you? What do you do there what you don’t do in other situations? Could you care for a stranger or love your coworkers? What would happen if you tried?
Today on Swiss National Day is a good time to remind ourselves what we are grateful for. I appreciate Switzerland for extremely unsexy reasons:
- our public transportation and overall traffic situation is such, that I don’t really have to think about traffic at all when making plans. In lots of other cities around the world it is normal to spend anything from 2-6 hours daily in traffic without even leaving the city.
- we can actually vote four times a year and not just vote for someone who will vote for us
- the food quality is pretty good and we have relatively low if any GMO
- there’s a general climate of trust: the clerk at the store will not try to trick me into giving me less spare change or anything like that
- compared to other countries there are laws which ensure that we are protected from working overly long hours, weekends and most regular employees have anything from 4-6 weeks of paid vacation
These things are not sexy like having the kind of culture that produces international rockstars, writers and blockbuster movies. We might be a bit boring but at least there are opportunities and there’s a peace. What do you appreciate about your home?