Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the category “balanced life”

Get busy living, or get busy dying


Get busy living, or get busy dying 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser, Resistance to change. Do not get stuck on the left side of the “U” – for long

Life is too short for long pity parties. This week made me think of my best college friend who passed away too early due to cancer. She was such a fighter. When your life suddenly changes because you have just found out you have a challenging medical condition you can either keep feeling sorry for yourself, or you can already see the new path and plan that goes along with it. Some folks just get stuck in the anger, grieving, and resistance mode: “Why did this happen to me?”, “I just do not believe this!” It can lead to a state of utter confusion and self-pity. And it is a pity when you do not get out of that mode.

Feeling sorry for yourself however wastes time and lets your brain go on a down spiraling path to severe depression. Neither is helpful if time is of the essence. I will never forget the incident where my mom was sharing a hospital room with a woman who was exactly in this state of mind. Her illness was severe and her outlook on how long she was to live did not look great at all. When nurses and doctors asked her what she wanted to do she constantly changed direction. When she was alone with my mom or visitors she was constantly complaining about the medical staff, her condition – nothing seemed to work out right for her. It was painful to watch, especially when she snuck out the room to go downstairs for a quick smoke in order to “calm her nerves down”. Calm your nerves down, but stress your body even more with the effects of smoking? The woman went in a circle of self-destruction – she got really busy dying.

Compare this with my mom who had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer 9 months prior. At the beginning of her journey of the long goodbye that is cancer, she had been given a few weeks to live. Not our mom, nope, she would have none of it. Hope and faith let her go through the anger, grief, and resistance time period really quickly. Plans were made to see specialists, treatments, and she even got new glasses to be able to see and read better. She had not gotten new ones in decades.

In the end cancer finally claimed her life 10 months after diagnosis. At the time the above mentioned story happened things were already not looking good at all, but my mom found the time helping the woman with advice, thoughts and prayers. The irony puzzles me to this day. Bottom line though was that mom was always busy living.

When things look bleak it may be easier succumbing to self-pity. Two processes are at work here. One is how a sudden major change goes through a U shaped process (explained here in more detail) and what you are going through is normal: Resistance, anger, grief, etc. That is the downward side of the U on the left. There comes a time when you hit the bottom of the U (figuratively speaking). You can either swing back up to anger etc, or start looking at the upside to the right leg of the U. It is the onset of careful optimism, hope, and exploration of opportunities. The other main process is that you have a choice. Are you choosing to get busy dying, or are you choosing to get busy living? What will be your choice?

Ralf

Perseverance – continuous growth through challenges


Perseverance – continuous growth through challenges 

Take a close look at the center of the picture. Notice the trees that are growing on the rock? How can a tree successfully find footing on solid rock and actually thrive too?  To me this is the perfect analogy to our own lives and how we are always invited to ponder the question how far we can and perhaps have to push ourselves. Just because life throws challenges at us, does not mean it is impossible. Think about it. How many challenges during your life’s journey have you not been able to master in some way shape or form? We are made to grow with our challenges. Sometimes, it is the challenges that actually made us the better for it in the long run.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

The very first time my body and mind had been challenged beyond what I thought my mind and body could handle was during my stint at the German Army. Back then young men were drafted to serve their country in the military or also in other non-military functions. During the first three months we needed to go through boot camp. That meant many forced marches with full gear and at times lasting for more than half marathon distances. When comrades could no longer go on, we had to carry them and their gear. I sustained many a blister and not to burden my friends, I kept on going. During athletic exercises I sometimes thought that my lung would come through my throat. Jumping, push-ups, crawling, running, walking – you name it and we did this in any weather that you could imagine.

Pain, lack of sleep and constant drilling by the superiors continually stretched my mind to the maximum and just when I thought it could not get any worse it usually did. After a while my brain realized that this state of being could not only be endured, it was actually a sustainable process. There was an externally influenced push and the mind and body adapted. The amount of adaptability and flexibility still amazes me to this day.

Do not relent. Be like the tree and dig in your roots as deep and best as you can. Perseverance does pay off. It anchors you for any storm that may come.

Ralf

The one who rest, rusts or how running away from a tough choice is not a good idea


The one who rest, rusts or how running away from a tough choice is not a good idea 

Life is pretty much like a tread mill: Even though it is exhausting to be on it, you really have no other choice than to keep running once you are on it. No matter how fast you are running you are not really getting any farther – you are stuck in many ways. The final lap is only coming around when our life ends. Not very uplifting, huh?

There are good portions to this as well though. It’s your choice to get on or not; if you do not like the current treadmill version you are on then get OFF of it! Upon getting on another one, what speed will you pick? Will you pick an incline once and a while? For how long will you exercise away at it? What is the sense of it in the first place? When will you get off it? Will you jump off or slow down little by little? Why can you not apply what you know and build a completely different version of a treadmill? Tough choices are part of life and giving up because they are difficult to make are simply a fact of life. Get used to having to choose and do not give up because you feel like you are not fit enough to deal with some of the consequences.

Like it or not, if you are on it just to go into idle mode, you will never really get anywhere. Exercising your body will push your soul besides of building up your stamina. Isn’t that why we are made to keep in motion and be in good shape (mental jogging included)? You have to make a few hard decisions about all the aspects of your life. Choose mental toughness and building up your endurance by exercising. The one who rests, rusts.

Ralf

Fighting the status quo


If you always do what you always did, you are always going to get what you always got 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

You are in agony because you are not happy where you are in life. It may be comfortable, yet something is missing. Perhaps your social and work life is complicated and you are facing the dilemma of really rocking the boat if you start making changes. You are stuck between making a change and this could set off an avalanche of good, bad, or indifferent things and remaining the same and being miserable. During the day your thoughts may not cross the path of these issues, but at night you may not be able to sleep well because you cannot turn off your brain.

The reason why you are not sleeping well is most probably related to you not wanting to hurt people. The daily routine would be disturbed when you start being candid about what you really want to do and where you want to go. Your thoughts are mainly affected by what other people may think about you. In the end you rather put up with the pain in your brain rather than making going through the pain of changing.

Bottom line is that if you do not make a change, you will always get the same results and nothing will change – ever. Do not expect a different outcome when you do not change your approach and do not be disappointed. Change is easier to come by than you think though. This starts the moment that you decide to take action.

There are two basic approaches to handling a situation like this. For one you can apply the abrupt method that I would compare to taking a Band-Aid off with one swift motion. Sure, it will hurt a bit when you make drastic changes, but you are typically done relatively soon after the change. The other method, which I prefer is to slowly test the water and make gradual well planned changes. These will allow to plan, act, review, and re-adjust your path along the way. Planning the change is the most important part of this strategy. Break what you believe to be the big issue into more bite size chunks and see how you can implement them step by step.

The good thing about changing your status quo is not necessarily the actual impact the change has or achieving the final goal of it. Your even bigger reward is how you feel about having made the change in the first place. The path to your final goal is more important than your final goal by itself. Just realize that you have to start somewhere, otherwise you face a lifetime worth of regret. What is your first issue that you will tackle? Make a promise to yourself that you will choose fighting the status quo.

Ralf

 

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