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!
Have you seen days when you dream/plan to change but when time comes to act differently – old habits rule! You feel it is so hard to change. You look for a distraction & excuse – to not change. After all, old habits die hard. I am also going through a phase where I am/have to bring about lot of changes.
Few days back, I read an article on linked in which briefed how habits function – cue -> routine -> reward ->craving and referred the book – The power of habit. I am missing the link to the article since I can’t find it. It touched how it (habit) bypasses reasoning for efficiency. but works against us when we try to change the habits. The book is excellent read – I have read only partially yet.
The key to change is some of these parameters (cue, routine, reward) that drive the habit. What I found most interesting in my case is to present myself the reward of habit – smile – without doing it. What the habits usually bring after doing it – is smile. I kind of break the rule and smile nevertheless. For example – when I finish a delicious meal – it brings smile! When I smile even without having the delicious meal, it helps & eases to control/counter the urge (craving) to eat unhealthy.
Smile is mine. Why to make something else a premise for that?
After knowing the power of habit, I tend to smile and do things differently or by intent – rather than following the habit pattern and seek pleasure in the habit. Habit helps but habit pattern can act counter to me when I want to act differently. The beginning of breaking the habits and living by intention – is to bring on that little smile!
The 5 minute syndrome – I see this almost everyday and to some extent, I am not exempted from it. I too have it to some degree.
Have you seen such incidences?
- You are waiting on a shop. Shop owner: It will take 5 minutes. Again, you check after 20-30 minutes and again says just take 5 more minutes.
- Spouse asks when you are reaching home; Reply: just 5 minutes, I will start back home. It is not before 1/2 half hour and another reminder that he starts home.
- You call a cab; Cab driver is late. You check with the cab driver – he says – just 5 minutes sir. Reaches after 20 minutes.
- You are waiting for a friend (who is late) on dinner table. You call him. reply – just 5 minutes. Reaches after main course started.
This is 5 minutes syndrome. 5 minutes essentially means – I don’t know how much will it take? be patient! There is related 2 minute, 1 minute syndromes also but that for another time; It means I know it will take short time but don’t know exactly how much. Anyway but isn’t it harmless? For the incidences of kind above, it is harmless except that the person on the other end may lose his mind for minutes to hour. I had faced this recently at hospital where the lady at billing section kept promising 5 minutes – eventually taking 1.5 hours!
The subtle issue behind this is assumption – It’s ok to take more time as long as I am still invested in task and finish the task late. This can cause lot of harm & grief. Not everything can be delayed. For example – your project deliverables may not wait and may cause cascaded delay in overall project timeline. As a manager, I remember I have to keep two timelines internal (to team) and external (for partners) to manage team commitments. As a self employed person, I see myself falling in trap of “taking more time” and thinking I can still manage it.
While deadlines should not mean – I am dead if I don’t meet the timeline. but at the same time, It’s not ok – to not meet timelines – without serious reasons. It forces us to define the scope (instead of trying to solve problems like world hunger or make whole world a better place!) and finish the task or know/communicate affront what is not achievable in the given timeframe.
A timeline and scope are essential part of the goal and having a 5 minute syndrome may act counterproductive for me.