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The Plan

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time.  Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”  E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web)

It is increasingly apparent to me that most of us are not programmed to proactively plan our lives.  And why would we be?

When we are children, our parents and then school, tell us what to do: when to eat, when to sleep, when to get up and where we can and can’t go.

We are not taught to choose the things that are important to us and follow them passionately.

Imagine the difference in the mindset of the next generation, if we set about learning this as adults, and then passing the message on.

Be Aware or Beware?

Knowing how important and urgent an item is will enable you to decide how to plan your day. 

Take exercise as an example.  For most people exercise is important, yet very few people actually make regular time for it.  Why?  More often than not, there is no real sense of urgency associated with it.

In fact, even the thought of doing it, causes us to shudder because we feel very comfortable with where we are right now.  We find it hard to project into the future to how we will feel after the exercise, and instead indulge our comfortable feeling in the moment (as I learned from a great friend and marathon runner).

The only way to combat this state of reactivity is to bring yourself to a higher consciousness.  By this I do not mean to channel a spiritual being or a higher self, but to make a decision to be more aware of your state; your physical and mental being.

You are not a victim of your life; you have choice in every single moment. Like it or not, you choose how to spend your minutes, your hours and ultimately your life.

Make sure the choices you are making are good ones.

Systems Save Time

All of us have routines. 

Human beings crave control and predictability because it helps us to feel safe.  When we have experience of a situation our fear is lessened, which helps to give us greater peace of mind.

However, routines that serve us and save us time can work really well, as long as we remain flexible in our approach.

In my house during the week, the children are not allowed to come down for breakfast without dressing first.  Hunger is a powerful motivator and I find that if I let them eat breakfast in their pyjamas, trying to get them to get dressed after breakfast, when they are engrossed in playing, is stressful for everyone involved.

Having them get dressed first, then make their beds and fold their pyjamas on their pillows, means that one job is finished before the next is started.

In what areas of your life could your routine be tweaked to save time?  Could you change your morning routine to get up ten minutes earlier to shower and make your bed before the kids get up?  How much could you prepare the night before, so it is sitting, ready to go in the morning?

Personally, I usually empty the dishwasher and lay out the breakfast things before I go to bed.  This way I always have time to make myself a welcome cup of coffee, and actually sit at the kitchen table and drink it hot.  This is my one morning indulgence, and it helps me to mentally prepare for my day.

When you start the day as if on purpose, you take control and more often than not, remain in control.

Remember, systems save time.

Before I Die

Imagine that you are at the end of your life, on your deathbed; barely able to talk or move, but able to clearly hear what those around you are saying.

As you lie there, people visit you to pay their last respects.  They do not know that you can hear them, and so talk freely to each other about you.

What do they say?

What would your children say?

What would your family and friends say?

What would they say your major achievements were in your life?

What would they say about your quality of life?

What would they say you had missed out on in life?

If the answers you are imagining are not what you would like to hear, then it’s your responsibility to change them.

Life is marching on you won’t get another chance at this one.

How are you choosing to spend it? 

 

What Will We Teach Today?

“An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”   Carl Jung

My oldest niece has recently started high school and it has been a very traumatic time for her and for my sister.

She is nearly twelve years old, and just on the cusp of womanhood, but yet in every way is still so much a child.  She is innocent, pure and sweet, but also has a maturity beyond her years.  The is thoughtful, inquisitive and quietly observant.

It has disturbed me just how difficult the transition into high school has been.  She has moved from a reasonably small primary school, where the teachers were kind and thoughtful, into an academic institution where the main mode of motivation seems to be humiliation and shame.

It has deeply troubled me, thinking of her innocence being stripped away layer by layer, with every degrading comment and scathing look, the downtrodden teachers have bestowed on her, and the other innocent incomers.

It astounds me that these teachers don’t seem to comprehend that they are raising the next generation of society.  Every day I hear people complain about the state of the world, yet why do we not speak up and do something about it?

Our footballers are paid thousands if not millions of pounds every week, yet we pay our teachers a pittance.  Where is the logic in that?  Would the world be a better place if we had more sports stars, or a more deeply loved generation of society?

Einstein is quoted as saying that the world is not a bad place because of the people who to bad things, but because of the people who stand by and say nothing.

Please, don’t stand by.  Speak up when you see something not right.  Do not allow it to be acceptable.  If not for yourself, then for your children.

Let’s make this world a better place to live, so they may be treated with respect and kindness, and not live in fear or humiliation or shame.

Changing The Status Quo

“We cannot change anything until we accept it.  Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”  Carl Jung

But the problem is that many of us aren’t actually willing to stand up for change, we just want to complain about the way things are, as if complaining will make a difference:

Isn’t it just dreadful…

It makes me so mad…

If only things were different…

I wish…

It’s the government/school/company’s fault…

Starting our dialogue, whether internal or external, with any of these prefixes only reinforces our own feelings of futility and strengthens our belief in our inability to affect change.

Yet, if we spent as much time doing something about the situation as we do condemning it, the world might be a different place.

Fear usually makes a situation seem more complicated than it is.  We get so caught up in our own internal process, that we can’t assess a situation rationally.  Either that or we are unwilling to do what is necessary to change something we are unhappy about.

So we don’t.  We stay as we are, and continue to suffer over a situation we feel we can do nothing about.

And herein lies your choice:

Condemn the situation, suffer and complain

Accept the situation, let go of the drama

(Or the most effective of all strategies)

Accept the situation, let go of the drama, and take active steps to change it.

 

 

 

Fighting For Vs Fighting Against

As you all know, I’m a big fan of the marketeer Seth Godin.

In his blog this week he wrote:

When there’s a change in your tribe or your organization or your trusted circle, you face two choices:

You can fight with the person creating the change, push back against them and defend the status quo.

Or you can fight for the person, double down on the cause, the tribe and the relationship, and refocus your efforts on making things work even better than they did before the change.

They’re similar emotions and efforts, but they lead to very different outcomes.

This particular post has stuck with me all week, and I have been using his message when dealing with those in my close circles.

On a couple of occasions, I have felt myself wanting to judge someone for a choice they were making that directly affected me.  My urge was to cut the person off and show them where they were wrong.

But I did neither of these things.  

Instead I made a conscious effort to put myself in their shoes, and see the situation through their eyes: to fight for the person rather than against.  The shift in perspective was enormous.

Each time I did this, my interaction with the person was different.  I was able to make a more rational decision, which ultimately benefitted me, as well as the person involved.  I felt more centred, less reactive and more in control.  Ultimately, I felt less like a victim.

Next time you find yourself reacting to someone in your business or family, stop and think.  Make the decision to fight for them, rather than against them.  I predict that you’ll be astounded at the results.

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