As my work days get longer and the stakes get higher, I sometimes feel extremely confused. Some people may not completely understand why I do what I do. Many people don’t actually know what I do, let alone understand why. In stressful times, these voices can latch onto your mind and make you question these things yourself.
I wrote something down in my iPhone notes a couple of weeks ago that made me realise that this was all nonsense.
“The impact you might potentially have on others has proven to be a phenomenal thing for those who want to change the world for the better. Many of us are overcome with this desire after an experience has shown them just how much work our world needs. We see that someone or something needs to bring justice to the less fortunate.
One you see this, you can never un-see it. Once you realise that you could make a difference, this becomes all you think about. Once you see how your own actions are helping someone else’s life, pursuing these actions becomes an addiction as strong as an adrenaline junkie’s thirst for adventure. You must be the change.
We spend the more important part of our lives in education being encouraged to make our mark – but not to disrupt things too much in the process. We can do whatever we like and what ever makes us happy, as long as you colour within the lines.
This creates a life of constant battle between quenching the thirst for change and satisfying the part of you that wants to play it safe.”
Just another one of my whims that I forgot to write down on time. I read it now and again, and everytime it makes me realise how thirsty I am.
Over & Out
a.k.a The 12 things that we say to ourselves everyday without knowing that there are other options.
By Gregg McKeown, New York Times Bestselling Author
as published on Linkedin, 02.06.2014.
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Myth #1 “I’m Too Busy Living to Think About Life.”
A friend of mine once said in passing, “Oh, I am too busy living to think about life.” These days you need to be always on, always plugged in, and always on the go. If you wan to be stressed and unfulfilled, make sure you have no time to think, read deeply, reflect, or get perspective.
TRUTH: In order to have focus we need space to focus.
Myth #2 “If You Can Fit It In You Should Fit It In.”
Do you want more pay or more time with your family? For a stressed and unsatisfied person, the correct answer is “Yes.” Do you want to do to the event at work or go watch a movie with your family? “Yes.” When faced with a tradeoff, go for a bit of both. Assume you can have the best of both worlds.
TRUTH: We can try to avoid tradeoffs, but we can’t escape them. We have to make a choice.
Myth #3 “If everyone is doing it then I need to do it.”
Do everything that’s popular—now. Let the fear of missing out consume you. Buy into the cultural bubble that glorifies being busy and checking social media and email constantly. Don’t pay attention to the quiet voice telling you a different life is possible. Just go with the crowd.
TRUTH: There is a joy in missing out. Discover it.
Myth #4 “Everything is important.”
One sign you are a going down the wrong road is if everything feels important. If this is true for you, your only option will be to emphasize everything. Don’t make the hard choices just call them all priorities and work flat out to do them all.
TRUTH: You can’t emphasize everything—it’s arithmetic.
Myth #5 “Being a team player means always saying yes with a smile.”
Be helpful to everyone, all of the time. Don’t worry about whether you can actually execute the tasks you’re taking on—be a good team player. It’s the kind of corporate citizenship you should embrace fully without thinking about it.
TRUTH: Saying yes to everything is a form of madness.
Myth #6 “It’s not enough to help people, I need to save them.”
You need to get good at making other people’s problems your problems. It’s not enoughto listen to a challenge someone is facing; you need to take it upon yourself to solve it. It’s not enough to support someone—you need to save them. Don’t worry about boundaries. Make it personal. Own it fully.
TRUTH: You need not, and should not, rob people of their problems.
Myth #7 “If I have said I would do it then I have to do it.”
As Edgar A. Guest writes in his famous poem, ‘It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.’ And if it’s in a poem, it must be true right? If you have said you will do it, then you have to do it. If you have started then you have to finish. You are committed, and you cannot walk away. After all, nobody likes a quitter.
TRUTH: If you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing then doing it isn’t the thing to do.
Myth #8 “I’ll stay up late and get it done.”
If you ever mention sleep to someone remember to talk about how little you’ve had lately. Boast about getting five hours last night, or about how you pulled an all nighter earlier
this week. It’s okay to be tired and to admit it. But don’t show weakness—or worse, laziness— by suggesting you need a full eight hours.
TRUTH: Sleep is for high performers.
Myth #9 “When things don’t fit, force them.”
When people say, “I don’t think we can fit that in,” take it as a personal challenge to prove it can be done. Don’t worry about the stress you cause yourself or others. In fact, get so used to the pressure that you don’t notice it anymore. Ignore the strain in your neck and shoulders. Keep telling yourself you aren’t stressed.
TRUTH: You should never force anything.
Myth #10 “I have to do this.”
It’s okay to admit that, theoretically speaking, you have a choice. Just act in practice as
if you didn’t. This will allow you to say, “I have to” a lot, which is a handy phrase when dealing with conflict. If something you’re doing inconveniences a customer or a friend, it’s okay because it “has to” be done. It’s not that you want to create a hassle but that there is no other choice. Eventually you can think this so often, you will believe, deep in your heart, that you truly have no choice. Bravo!
TRUTH: The ability to choose cannot be taken away or given away— it can only be forgotten.
Myth #11 “More is better than less.”
Remember that the key to is having more of a thing than someone else, whether it’s money, prestige, or personal satisfaction. Facebook is a good place to start. The goal is to have more friends than anyone else. Choose shallow interactions over real relationships.
TRUTH: Choosing quality over quantity makes us more truly fulfilled—always.
Myth #12 “I have plenty of time left to get to that.”
Of course you aren’t doing exactly what you feel like should be doing, but there will be time
to do what you want to do after you’re finished doing what you have to do. You’ll get to it later. It’s a long life.
TRUTH: Life is pathetically short.
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While reading this blog post on LinkedIn, I was amazed as to how many of the myths applied to myself. It was as if Gregg McKeown himself had jumped into my brain, analysed my entire life and extracted the problematic areas in my thinking & in my actions.
These myths aren’t just applicable to the situations we find ourselves in in the workplace. They are common misconceptions that affect your everyday decisions and therefore your family, relationships and even your passions. I cannot wait to read Gregg’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and to understand how I can become an Essentialist, free to live a fulfilling live.
Over & Out