More often than not, most people have an interesting procedure for self-sabotage. They may unconsciously want to experience more attention, more diversity, or simply to elude the responsibility of dealing with their own problems. In fact, they have (access to) more resources they would like to admit. This is by no means an intention of wasting other people’s time. It just so happens often that, caught in the flow of things, we forget the main purpose.
I will give you my example. During the summer of 2011, I worked on 7 projects (see more details here). Of course, I haven’t finished any of them. In exchange, I seem to have been caught (this is just a figure of speech – actually, it’s all my fault) in a lot of small time-occupying activities, which won’t actually matter in 5 years, and which are only urgent stuff about which you forget after doing them – like mounting parquet, getting involved in other people’s issues (living other people’s lives while I’m borrowing mine to other people), being sick; I blogged on Debug Your Mind [en, blog] and Discerne [ro, blog], I met with a lot of people which shared me their business ideas – out of which none of them earned me any money, compiling and re-organizing my professional files, doing shopping, cleaning and re-arranging the house, fighting with some tough-headed people, etc.
All these non-strategic activities got me involved in other people’s plans instead of involving others in my plans. I forgot that I myself, as a coach, have a set of tools designed specifically to prevent such things from happening. Time is the most precious resource any person has. Doing things without a sense of purpose gest motivation down. One day, you wake up and find out you don’t like what you have to do. You find you are the prisoner of your own life. Using freedom to lose it is the most current manner Western civilization uses in order to feel useless and purposeless.
So I adopted some strategies which I would like to share with you.
1. When all sorts of thoughts came to my mind, which would lead me to waste my time, I would tell myself: “What crazy ideas you have! It’s no wonder since you avoid doing what you like!” You know, it takes an effort to do what you like.
2. I took a large paper notebook (A4) and I started writing on it everything that came into my mind while I was doing something else.
3. I took a few strategic hours and I wrote tens of motivation quotes in SMSes, which I send to all of my friends every 2 days. Sending them reminds me of what I should be doing myself.
4. I started to relax and stop working on Sunday. I went for walks, I went to the movies, I met with friends, I ate a lot of things I like and, most important, I went to the Church. It’s a real challenge to absolutely clean your thoughts for a few hours of all the mental pollution (“I’ve got to do this”, “I don’t like this”, “I’m so angry at X for doing this to me”, “where am I gonna get these resources from”, “Why is the person in front of me dressed that way?”, “I wonder who just called me”, “I have a new idea how to make money”, etc.) Just STOP rewinding and recycling all this shit for more than it’s worth and concentrate on communicating with God.
5. I really made an effort of getting into bed earlier, and stop staying until 3-4 in the morning, working like crazy. My sleep timetable moved from 3-10 AM to 11 PM -6 AM. This way, I increased my sense of humor and I can smile more while walking on the street and I can inspire other people to a better state.
6. I cut more than 100 small pieces of paper, noting on each a certain small task or preoccupation (a.k.a. “to-do list”) and I put them on the floor, creating a huge quadrant like this.
7. I sorted my friends. Yes, as you hear it. Of course, it may be difficult to make a list of your friends at a certain moment. But for me, since I have about 30 of them, it’s important to keep track and remain in touch with each of them. But as anyone knows, some people change and go in different directions and then, what brought you together doesn’t keep you together. Then, some others abuse the friendship and only take all the time, without ever giving in return. Some other people may be very good friends from my perspective, but I am not contributing in any manner for their well-being and whether I keep the connection with them or not, it’s the same for them – there is no reciprocity, therefore I cannot call them friends. There are also a lot of people with whom friendship brought me in specific proximity. Meeting with them again doesn’t provide that same closeness. So cut, cut, cut. And connect, connect, connect. It may be difficult recognizing you have lost a friend, but as soon as you figure nobody actually cares about that except you, it will surely be easier to go on.
8. I watched a lot of movies (eh, summer) and that might have been reflected in my posting activity in the “Film” category and I’ve been writing on my new film blog, Debug Your Mind [en, blog]. Seeing films offers insightful parallels to other realities. It can serve you as a metaphor and result in important insights. It’s easier to learn from other’s experience or from others’ stories than from your own experience. And it’s more comfortable to watch movies than reading books for most people.
Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2011-present
Graphic copyright © Diana Andreea Bădrăgan