A favorite book of mine is The Rudder of the Day, by Dan Miller, which I got at his awesome “Write to the Bank” workshop for authors. He has a chapter about how busyness makes us, well, nuts. In our quest for a better whatever (income, position, stability, house, etc.) we work our proverbial fanny off to achieve the whatever. Been there. Done that. …And still doing it. How about you? Anyone in your mirror resembling this guy?
Back In The Day
Remember back when you were a kid and the hardest decision that you had to make was what you wanted to play…first? Sure, life was full of busyness then, too. But the busyness had a very different feel to it, didn’t it? Because you’d be busy doing things that were fun and fulfilling. So even though you were “busy” doing stuff, the stuff you were doing was pleasant, appealing and, more often than not, joyful. Not all busyness is created equal.
Back To The Future
Dan uses the phrase “soul-less work” to describe what our current levels of busyness bring us. It’s an apt description. When you engage in busyness for a long enough time, you really do feel as if your soul was sucked out of you somewhere along the way. And it didn’t require a Dementor from Harry Potter’s world to do it. Just your own merciless, too-often-unquestioning march towards that whatever. Sorry, but you know it’s true.
At least now in my world, my busyness is directed at “move-toward-goals,” rather than “move-away-from-goals.” In other words, my activity is focused on building our businesses, instead of submitting to the busyness requirements of the enterprise I was employed by. In my old corporate world, complaining to my superior didn’t get me much. At least not much of a positive response. Now if I complain to the boss, I’m looking at him in the mirror. And that’s a much better situation. Much, much better.
What are your thoughts? Are you in a busyness spin-cycle? Have you found a way to shut off the machine and return to a time of busy play? What’s your story?
Engage here. And who do you know that should be thinking about this problem of busyness? Engage them, too.
1) Reset: By now, many New Year’s resolutions are struggling. At least one reason that resolutions are faltering is that they’re too big…in the sense that they’re annualized. Resolutions are like business plans on drugs. Which is bad, since business plans work like this:
You start thinking about the need for a business plan right after Thanksgiving dinner.
You sit down and seriously start planning, half way into December.
Frantically, you “craft” your plan in the final hours of the year.
Excited, you review your new plan on the 1st working day of the new year. Awesome, you think! Big, humongous, audacious goals. Yeah!
Sometime in March, you remember to review your plan again. Hm. Trailing some targets, you think. Double-down your efforts. Maybe that will work this time.
A week or so before Independence Day, your heart sinks when you look at your plan for the last time…until Thanksgiving.
So, business plans are built on hecticness. Resolutions are born out of chaos: Man! New Year’s starts in 4 minutes–I need some resolutions!
While annual goals are important, they’re simply too large to act on. Break your annual goals down to 24 two-week bites. Assume 2 weeks will just completely blow up on you; assume you’ll take some time off. All the remaining weeks’ goals and action steps are small enough to hunker down and work on.
2) Reboot: By now, some regret may have surfaced. Reboot your resolve by releasing your disappointment and expecting setbacks (2 steps forward, one step back…right?). No more oughta, gotta, shouldas. Let them go. Each day is new and fresh. Make each one count.
3) Recommit: Don’t “try harder,” just chip away at those goals consistently.
4) Risk Reasonably: “No pain, no gain,” right? True—up to a point. But people sometimes risk rashly, too often with negative physical, emotional and financial consequences. So yes: risk! And yes, based on your thought-out reasons, not rash impulses.
5) Re-Believe!: Too often we abandon an important goal because we simply lose faith. Life is what happens after you make plans. This is the other side of “reboot.” Believe it will be better. If you don’t, it can’t.
6) Reach Out: Whether your resolutions are professional or personal makes no difference. It’s easy to feel isolated even in a hot-wired social media world. So, reach out:
If you can, partner up with someone aiming at similar goals; talk once a week.
Volunteer somewhere; get out of your bubble and just give back.
Get a coach or trainer.
However you do it, reach out. You matter and what you can give matters. You’re needed.
What do you think? How do you do with resolutions?
Even non-smokers smoke hopium from time to time. In fact, lots of people smoke loads of hopium. Especially between major disappointments. So, it is smoked literally from time to time, one time to the next time. It would seem that hopium is just as addictive as its rhyming cousin: opium.
Intense jags of hopium smoking begin with the declaration, “It will be different this time!” Smoking jags are accompanied by considerable avoidance behaviors. Hopium addicts pretend that the laws of the universe won’t apply to them. Secretly, they believe that Forrest Gump got it wrong.
“Stupid isn’t as stupid does.”
At the same time, hopium smokers believe it’s really random circumstance that directs their path in life. So no one can influence how their life goes. “Life is what happens after you make plans” is an anthem for hopium smokers.
But what if they’re wrong? What if personal responsibility and consequences to actions are both true? And what if there are unseen side-effects that come with smoking hopium?
While there are plenty of undesirable outcomes from smoking hopium, there are some that are far more serious:
Lack of discipline
A hopium habit is counterproductive to a fulfilled, happy and engaged life. Expecting a different outcome from the same inputs is, well, central to smoking hopium. And nuts. Remember the definition of insanity?
Words to Live By
Taking on each day with hope and confidence is exactly what living in a hopium-induced fog is not. Living life from a hope-filled core is based on faith, demonstrated in action and forward steps. A life built on smoking hopium is based on timidity, which is demonstrated in paralysis and lack of movement.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy
What are your thoughts? Have you experience–direct, or observed–of hopium use?