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Archive for the category “regrets”

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

Busy is bad


Busy is bad 

Photo credit: Ralf Weiser, Brett Blair’s book “From Autopilot to Authentic”. It proves the point that slowing down is what we need rather than just doing more stuff

Multi-tasking is multi-wasting (click to tweet this). Perhaps it’s no myth to you, but it so pervasive in our culture that the vast majority of people probably do not even know that they overdo it. Multi-tasking is when you attempt carrying out all sorts of tasks and thoughts at the same time, or at least in close progression of each other. It has a few terrible side effects.

When your mind is racing because you want to get as much as possible of your stuff done, you no longer think about how much sense there is in doing them in the first place. When we are in motion we are just not making high quality decisions. Just think about the ruckus about texting while driving, and also being on the phone while driving. We are distracted when we do any of these things. Don’t just take my word on it. Here is Coach Brett Blair’s blog post on the same topic.

Here we are multi-wasting instead of multi-tasking and the time we saved may have been a total waste of time. It’s best to make a weekly and even better daily list the day before we actually have to do anything. Make sure to have some quiet time to really contemplate how important the tasks are. Assign a priority to them. Think about if you actually have to do them. Can you perhaps delegate it? Sometimes you may find that you don’t have all the information you needed in order to do the task. Some of the tasks will not end up on the list. You will end up erasing them because they no longer make sense now that you had time to think about them. Finally, some of the tasks take so little time that you get them done after your planning session (beware of scope creep though).

Don’t waste away precious time. Sometimes it is better slowing down instead of speeding up. Your friends and family will enjoy a happier you and at work you will be recognized for being extremely effective. Effectiveness beats busyness any day no matter how hard you think you work (click to tweet this).

Ralf

It is not the critic who counts – just do the stuff you are meant to do


It is not the critic who counts – just do the stuff you are meant to do 

Someone whom I consider to be a good friend just shared the following quote from Teddy Roosevelt with me.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I read it once and made so much sense to me. I read it again right away as it pulled me right back in. I have tried homing in on the things that only I should be doing. I used to care a lot about what other people would say and I often tried appeasing them. It did not feel right not being all-inclusive with everyone. I had to learn a hard life lesson that I cannot always avoid folks not being happy with me. Do not misunderstand me here. I will always attempt first figuring out how I can make everyone better off with what I am doing. I will just no longer compromise on things when I know that there is a better possible outcome just because there are critics out there who will spend ample time pontificating about what could be done rather than starting to do something themselves. I am with President Roosevelt here. I would rather be the one whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. I need to be part of the solution and not the problem.

Are you with me?

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

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