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 than 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 primary purpose.
I will give you my example. During the summer of 2011, I worked on 7 projects (see more details here). But, 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 who 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, 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 gets 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 way for Western civilization 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, leading 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!” But, you know, it takes an effort to do what you like.
2. I took a large paper notebook (A4) and started writing everything that came into my mind while doing something else.
3. I took a few strategic hours and wrote tens of motivational quotes in SMSes, which I sent to my friends every 2 days. Sending them reminds me of what I should be doing myself.
4. I started to relax and stopped working on Sunday. I went for walks, went to the movies, met with friends, ate a lot of things I like, and, most importantly, went to 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 about 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 made an effort to get 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 increase my sense of humor, can smile more while walking on the street and can inspire other people to a better state.
6. I cut more than 100 pieces of paper, noting a specific small task or preoccupation (a.k.a. “to-do list”), and put them on the floor, creating a massive quadrant like this.
7. I sorted my friends. Yes, as you hear it. Of course, making a list of your friends at a particular moment may be difficult. But for me, since I have about 30 of them, it’s essential to keep track and remain in touch with each of them. But as anyone knows, some people change and go in different directions, and what brings you together doesn’t keep you together. Then, some others abuse the friendship and only take all the time without giving in return. Some other people may be very good friends from my perspective, but I am not contributing in any manner to 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 many 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 as a metaphor and result in important insights. Learning from others’ experiences or stories is more accessible than your own experience. And it’s more comfortable to watch movies than read books for most people.
Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2011-present, all rights reserved.
Graphic copyright © Diana Andreea Bădrăgan, all rights reserved.
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