Haven’t all of us seen hard times? Hard time – when things don’t go as expected. In my case, what comes hardest is sick time; time when I have ailing body. I find pleasure in a body that can cope up hardships. When it ails, I feel down. It is said smile eases the pain but is it possible to smile when you are surrounded by hardship?
Yes. I can smile but deep inside I know it pains and I am looking for way out of the hardship. When the hardship is over, that is when only I truly feel relieved. In fact, hardship is brought by my wrong attitude; attitude that is seeking health to the extent that when it is not there – floods me with frustration etc. I can work towards good health but good health always is not given. Secondly, when I am frustrated with ailing health deep inside – smiling on surface only acts as easing the pain a bit but does not relieve off the pain.
Seeking no hardship will lead to – sadness, fear, anger, narrow vision whereas accepting hardships only can lead to – enthusiasm, courage, compassion and broad vision. The key to solution is to not feel frustrated at all. Is it possible? Yes, it is. Only if I realize difference between – “Good health. hence, I smile.” Vs “I smile (I am). Hence, there is good health.”. In the simple reversal of words – the premise – changes. Good health is not premise of the smile. The smile is my natural self, my natural trait. Realizing that and by removing the “good health” (no hardship) – premise – for my smile, it is possible to smile deep inside when being surrounded by hardships.
My favorite pic when I think about a true smile!
Anytime I am stumped by need-to-do-more (more work), the first thought or approach is to add more hours to the day. I have found it hard to add more hours to the day because 1) It is very hard to compress the sleep time and remain productive still 2) Life chores don’t compress either easily 3) Reducing empty hours start to pinch since they only help me unwind and learn.
Also – it is the norm. Haven’t we heard so many times – “It has been hard week. We are putting 80 hr week.” I really wonder how people are able to sustain such work hours. Getting more done means putting more hours. It is the norm; talk of the town. If you aren’t putting long hours – you aren’t working hard enough. Isn’t that sound familiar?
I realized that putting more hours won’t help unless I have learnt to make best use of hours (that I am already putting). I can add 2 more hours fetching me 20-24% more productivity. but it can’t get me 2x-5x kind of productivity gain.
Yesterday, I had a bad day. I was continuously bombarded with one after another incidences that were not as expected. Everything seem to go unexpected way. I progressively got frustrated/angry with myself. Eventually towards the end of the day, I spent 4 hours and bad night sleep over an incidence which I could have resolved in 10 minutes (if I had right state of mind – or carried that little smile!). If I compare that, I was order of 24x time (10 min vs 4 hours)worse in my productivity to deal with a problem. Why? because I got “unsettled with the unexpected”.
Putting long hours can well be need of the hour at times. but it can’t be the norm to boost productivity. Remaining settled with whatever-come-may and carrying that little smile may get me 2x-5x and at times even better productivity!
Do I want to be Dumbo? answer is astounding NO. no way. I want to be learning and growing intelligent every hour, every day. but don’t I get angry and frustrated daily if not hourly? I do.
What happens when I get angry? Rationality stops. Triviality starts. All I want is situation to mend my way, nothing else matters. Boxed thinking starts. Broad thinking stops. My sight gets limited to only the situation; can’t and don’t want to see anything outside the situation. It is as if it is so damn important while it isn’t.
My mind is heating up. The neurochemicals released have already blinded my common sense. My sight is clouded and short sighted of course. I feel terrible. I get into repetitive thinking (head noise!). My body is flooded with toxins. Muscles are tightened. Soothing warmness and healing stops. Coldness and vulnerability to diseases starts. I am ready to fight with anyone at the lightest spark (argument). It is as if petrol is flooding the veins. Fun stops. Humor vanishes.
Still I want to be angry? I’m not a Dumbo.
Let me bring up that little smile and keep my anger at bay!
Haven’t you faced days when you want to run away from everything? Why – because you are not thinking straight. You are bombarded with thoughts rather thought noise. Things are not working out the way you want. You disparately looking for peace and solution. You feel as if world has fallen apart while it hasn’t it. You feel you are heading a doomsday while you aren’t. What you do?
Be patient. Trust yourself. That is all I can do. I can exit some of the worst nightmares. Thinking more won’t help. Be silent. Let all worst within you surface and present before you. Don’t deny it. Let it present itself. World has not fallen apart a day before (when my head was clear). Everything will be all right. Just do what I can do.
ps. from bing dictionary. patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious:
Today morning I got engaged in a unproductive conversation – seeking free advice. I slipped the slippery slope – to start giving free advice; you know that feeling of ‘of use’ when you are ‘advising’ someone. By the time, I realized I have given my self-control to the person seeking free advice or rather I would cleanup his mind of the confusion he was going through. Since I did not maintain self-awareness; not kept the required ‘distance from his thing’ and got involved, I did not ask myself some of the key questions:
- What is he looking from me?
- What can I provide him?
- How much time should I be invested in this?
I got carried away to have a long phone conversation – not knowing what am I doing or what is he looking from me? It did not end with 1 hr phone conversation. Thereafter, I had promised the person that I will get back after thinking about the software solution – he is confused about. I spent 1-2 hr – jotting requirements, thinking about rough technical design, software components and areas to research. In short, sketching the software solution. I thereafter called him to get his email id – to send the advise as one page document. He did not come back with the email id!!
I got utterly frustrated realizing – How stupid I have been? I lost valuable half day of time getting caught up in the free advice syndrome!
Before investing time in a conversation or problem – there is so much need to think – why am I invested in the problem? There are many incidences I have gone through in past – when a friend will open up his problems & frustration in a casual – face or phone conversation and I have spent time in and after the conversation “trying to help” him.
Only today – did I realize – not always people are looking for a solution – they are simply looking up to you as a sounding board; Be self-aware; Be empathetic; but switch off from the conversation the moment it is through and switch on to your priority of the day!