12 Myths that Lead to a Busy, Unfulfilling Life

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

 

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There ain’t no rest for the wicked: Our attitudes towards sleep

While sharing this TedTalk, I must confess that I had watched it at 2am, on a work night, when I should have been catching some z’s.

My relationship with sleep has always been a bit of a love and hate situation. I love sleeping but hate that point of going to sleep. My bed loves to keep me warm and I hate to get out of it. My main issue with spending those 8 hours rejuvenating my brain, is that I have been made to believe that I am wasting time.

Think about the number of things the average person does on a daily basis. We work; we eat; we travel; we pick up the kids; we shop; we love; we cry; we rest.

Now think about the things that the average person also wants to do. Explore our passions; make our hobbies into a side business; Read that book your friend let you borrow 3 months ago; go to the gym for more than 45 minutes; love a bit more; cry a bit more; all at the same time.

Both of these sets of things are on the checklist of daily life in order of their priority and therefore, rarely completely ticked off. We don’t have time to pursue those extra things that we want to do, while maintaining the quality of the things we are obliged to do. In some cases, we are actually expected to do all of these activities. All my life i’ve been asked ‘so what else do you do’. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

So how do we tackle this? Many of us have come to the conclusion that ‘something has got to give’. It is highly interesting that the activity that ends up being sacrificed is sleep; not work, that takes up the largest proportion of our day, but the most important cognitive function.

The idealist inside me wishes that this wasn’t the case. It wishes that the ‘daily grind’ would step down a gear and allow us to live life at a less stressful pace, where we are allowed to give time to other things that are important to us such as our passions and sleep. It also hopes that we realise that we have spent so much time ‘economising’ our time, that the actual value of time has been lost. It is a shame and I am hoping that I will start to appreciate the science of sleep a bit more.

Over and Out.

Shivers from Chivalry?

As a 90’s child, I have been brought up in quite a confusing era. The mix of traditional values mixed with liberal progression has put us all, especially women, in a huge predicament.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about chivalry and ‘Gentlemanly’ behaviour. I’ve spent a lot of time living in different British cities as well as abroad in Boston. I’ve also extensively travelled in the East. The same thoughts always enter my mind when I encounter a situation when a man opens a door for me and even when they don’t. Should a man feel obliged to open a door for me? As a feminist, should I allow them to do it or does this signify a weakness or inferiority? Do I have to offer to open the door for him? I JUST WANT TO GET THROUGH THE BLOODY DOOR!

9_chivalry-lessons-from-legendary-gentleman-flashAlas, this ‘palava’ occurs almost daily, especially as I enter the world of work. Just this morning, a man opened the door and signaled me to enter first. I declined and said ‘oh no, after you!’ but he insisted and I yielded.  Furthermore, my brother would shave his sideburns before allowing me to carry my own suitcase, and believe me, he loves his sideburns…

A few points I have thought about and have read on this issue…

I’ve tried to think objectively when assessing whether there are gender issues at play. Hard, I know, but I have to try. I have began to use Caitlin Moran‘s test for whether something is sexist or not – simply – ‘Are the men doing it?’. If they are not, then something must be wrong in the gender balance that needs to be assessed. In this case, are the men worried about chivalrous women or alternatively, are women extending the same ‘gentle-womanly’ courtesy to men. I would argue that they do and therefore chivalry is not benevolent sexism. In a post-feminist society, where women are (or should be) just as likely to offer to pay the bill or open the door, I think it is more appropriate to assess chivalrous behaviour as just simple politeness.  One person extending a courtesy to another based on their common decency. I might even go as far to say women seem to be expected to do these kind of things whereas men seem to want a gold star for helping a girl with her coat. I fully understand that this is quite a Western concept of manners, however. No one in China will give up a seat for you even if you were pregnant and/or on crutches…

Another, probably more controversial argument for the return of chivalry is to protect women from the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are generally the physically weaker sex. Personally, I do agree with this notion but I understand why many women may object to this statement. I’ve read that the original point of chivalry in the Middle Ages was to ensure the protection of women from men who could do them harm, had they not had the respect and civility that we can chivalry. This social construct was created to prevent violence, domestic abuse and general hostility. We all know that this may not have been wholly successful, but I fully believe that the construct of this ‘kind’ behaviour may have prevented many males from having a hostile nature towards women. We can see, for example,  a current trend  in lack of this social expectation and a dangerous increase in ‘Lad” culture.

A story from the life of Samuel Proctor (d. 1997) comes to mind here, that I read in The Atlantic. Proctor was the  pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. The story goes, he was in the elevator one day when a young woman came in. Proctor tipped his hat at her. She was offended and said, “What is that supposed to mean?”

The pastor’s response: “Madame, by tipping my hat I was telling you several things. That I would not harm you in any way. That if someone came into this elevator and threatened you, I would defend you. That if you fell ill, I would tend to you and if necessary carry you to safety. I was telling you that even though I am a man and physically stronger than you, I will treat you with both respect and solicitude. But frankly, Madame, it would have taken too much time to tell you all of that; so, instead, I just tipped my hat.”

What a babe.

633768982298016740-chivalryI figured, that as a young women, I needed to establish my position on issues such as these. I choose to view chivalry not as an act of condescension, but as a kindly respect of men for their counterparts. Sometimes I think women need to have a little less pride and men a bit more tact. This isn’t to say I would think badly of a man if he didn’t hold my door open. I would probably start blushing if he tucked in my chair at dinner or opened my car door. But, it does allow me to appreciate the awkwardnesses and limitations of both our sexes within the ever changing society we are growing up in. None of us know what we are doing and we are stuck in etiquette-limbo…

I would absolutely LOVE to hear your views on this, more than anything else i’ve written. I’ve not covered all bases, just a few quick thoughts (or whims!), so comment away!

Over and Out.

If you haven’t already, find out what adoseofpersonalwhim is about in About Sanum Jain

Good Kid, Maad City: Week 4

Hey Kids! Can you believe i’ve finished Week 4?!

To be fair, after suffering from tonsillitis for the week, it does feel more like Week 3! I have lots to share with you about the amazing things I have done this week. I’ve managed to watch at least one episode of Game of Thrones a night, discovered how edgy Shoreditch is and sampled almost all the japanese food chains in Old Street.

In all seriousness, considering Edwin (my boss) is still out saving the world one droplet at a time, I have taken it on myself to be proactive and I am quite surprised at myself! It all started on Monday when I stumbled across a Google Campus event on ‘Doing Your Own PR’. Aimed at start-ups without PR experience, the workshop set out to allow new entrepreneurs pick the brains of PR, Camera and Business specialists as to how to make the most of publicity. New to both the world of business and public relations, I registered straight away knowing it would help me out.

I was not wrong at all. Yes, I got a few tips and tricks from Bernie Mitchell on how to maximise social media publicity. Yes, I got some golden advice from Paul Blanchard about doing your own PR. However, the most useful aspect of this event is the confidence it gave me in what I was doing. I realised that I was on the same platform as these brilliant people and learning the same thing. This made me feel a lot more at ease with what I am doing and got me to understand that I don’t need to have it all figured out just yet. I’m still learning! Great experience!

The other exciting thing I did this week, was embark on a GiveMeTap bottle photography shoot with my fellow intern, Ben. We thought we needed some more bottle paparazzi and therefore took it on ourselves to get out there and get some snaps of the bottle in London. Not only did I learn a lot about visuals and photography (in terms of placement and lighting – not actually taking the photo as that was Ben’s expertise…) but I got to discover a bit more of the City as well. We shot two sessions this week and really had a great time. Learning on the job!

Here are a few snaps – Ben was cheeky and got me in a few of them!

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I’m also quite proud of what GiveMeTap have achieved this year as a social enterprise. This week, we found out that we have been nominated for 4 awards. Yeah, FOUR! Two of these awards are in separate categories in the same competition – The British Young Business Awards. The BYBA have nominated us for Social Enterprise and Social Corporate Responsibility of the Year. Virgin Money Be The Start Campaign has also named us as a finalist, chosen to pitch our movement to a panel. Last but not least, RSM Tenon have nominated us for a European Business Award, acknowledging our position as a small but mighty force.

After a really busy Friday, I finished the week at the infamous Uderbelly festival near the London Eye. Close cousins, old friends and new places. Too many drinks, a realisation that London transport pretty much blows and an avid reminder that if I’m going to sustain myself in this brilliant city, i’m going to have to soon start earning some dollar…

Back to reality it seems… until next week 🙂

Over and Out!