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

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Archive for the tag “focus”

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

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

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