Tag: goals

You Care too Much

I contend that most of the anxiety and unhappiness you experience comes from giving a shit about things that don’t warrant your attention. Every day you agonize over whether I will get that project done on time, or will I accomplish that ever-growing list of to-do items. Let me be clear, I’m not saying you don’t need to accomplish things in your life, but you’re playing this game as if it were life and death and it’s eating you up inside. You give all this shit that you feel must get done a high priority, in effect you care too much. Every project, every endeavor you undertake is not intended to be done as if it were some kind of death march. You not someone else is sucking the fucking joy out of everything by taking it all too seriously. 

We perceive what we do as so important when in the grand scheme of things the shit we are doing is just stuff that we feel needs to be done and we are going to bust our ass to make sure it is accomplished regardless of how it affects our well being. I work as a consultant and on a daily basis, issues are being escalated. The end result is that 90% of the work that needs to be done is considered high priority and only 10% can wait. These escalations are not self-imposed but instead, the priority is being dictated by the customer or my leadership. Is it any wonder that we care too much?

Listen whether this sense of urgency is self-imposed or being imposed upon you, really doesn’t matter, either way, you are screwed if you continue to react in the same way you always do. So what can you do about this overwhelming avalanche of high priority shit on your plate? There are several things to consider:

  1. Choose carefully from the list of things everyone thinks must be done right now and prioritize 3 to 5 things you can do today and defer the rest. This may not make you more popular, but it will improve the quality of your life by providing some much-needed focus and strangely enough your productivity will actually increase. Not being burdened by a list of 15 things and instead focusing on just a few things allows you to be more present and take back a little bit of control over your life.
  2. While those around you will think the world will come to an end if this or that is not done you can rest assured that this stuff they deem so important just isn’t and not nearly as time-sensitive as everyone makes it out to be. Sometimes you have to push back and ask for more time to accomplish something or even ask why in the fuck are we doing this in the first place? Stop believing in this insane idea that working more is a badge of honor, or makes you more productive. Don’t buy into all the memes that say you won’t achieve anything unless your working 18 hours a day, it’s is just bullshit and unsustainable. 
  3. Finally and this is maybe the most empowering, which is why I wrote the quote above. You cannot and should not take all this shit so seriously, hell you shouldn’t even take your own life so seriously. You can’t spend your life making everything a high priority, in fact, this thing you call your life is really just a journey, yet we make it into some fucking project. Once our life has become a project it is just a series of milestones and tasks that get checked off, never stopping to enjoy the process. I love this quote by Kurt Vonnegut “We are here on earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different”.

This thing you call your life is not a series of goals to achieve or some fucking death march. Start today by taking things less seriously, living in the moment, and stop making all things you are compelled to do of equal priority. Years from now you will thank yourself.

Namaste

 

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Reframing goal setting

One of the books I have been reading is called “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks and in that book, they have exercises for helping you manifest what you want with the law of attraction. One of the exercises they advocate is basically framed as:

I want “something” because “what it provides you”.

The idea is to list what you want and why for various categories of your life such as material things, career, relationships, health, etc. So naturally, I start listing shit I want such as a bigger house, a new car, a boat, and some gym equipment. Why did I jump right to listing the stuff I wanted instead of experiences, new behaviors, or being more mindful? I think much of this is the programming we receive from society and the media. Take Instagram for instance and you see all of these posts with expensive cars, extravagant homes, and private jets. We are literally being programmed to think first of acquiring more shit, when we know in our hearts the satisfaction from all this stuff has but a momentary effect on our happiness then it is off to buy the next piece of crap we don’t really want or need.

Now I’m pissed off for wasting my precious time dreaming about shit I don’t need when the things I really want have little do anything in the material realm. So it occurred to me that I needed to reframe the way I think about setting goals and what I really want in life. Let me be clear I’m not saying material things shouldn’t be on your list, but there is a price you pay for pursuing those things often at the expense of goals such as cultivating a more mindful existence. Let’s say we flip this paradigm upside down and our goal categories become something like this:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Relationships
  3. Experiences
  4. Knowledge
  5. Health
  6. Career
  7. Finances
  8. Material Things

What the hell, now we have some really worthwhile things to focus on, things that bring happiness and personal development, and guess what items one through five either cost nothing or are relatively inexpensive. This revelation came to me after I had completed that law of attraction exercise and still felt uninspired. I need to go back now and rework my list to look something like the one above and dig deep into each category and focus on those things that will really enhance my life and not just drain my bank account.

To be continued………..

Namaste


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You live in the future

I think this quote is self-evident and I don’t want to elaborate endlessly on its meaning. You and I and every other homo sapien spend their time thinking about what I need to do next. It wouldn’t take too much convincing to say we all live in the future.

Here is the thing, living in the future burdened by a to-do list a mile long and an endless striving for one or more goals, leaves us forever unsatisfied. We have checked out of the present moment, trading it for the next achievement. We all live in this materialistic, goal-oriented, society that says you are never enough, and you need to work on yourself. Being unsatisfied with who we are has spawned the self-improvement industry where millions of dollars are spent by us in the hope that we can change ourselves to become a better version of ourselves.

My response to all this self-improvement bullshit is as follows:

  • You are not broken – You are a human being with unique talents and skills. Don’t let other people tell you that there is something wrong with you.
  • You don’t need to work on your weaknesses – I really hate that shit when people spend so much of their time focusing on their weaknesses. It’s such a fucked up approach to your life. I mean you will never overcome all your weaknesses, instead, we should focus on our strengths. Do you know why they want you to focus on your weaknesses? To sell you more shit and this focus on what I’m not good at leaves you feeling inadequate.
  • There is no future – I’m not saying don’t have any plans but stop sacrificing today for tomorrow. I know this goes against all the goal-setting maniacs that are always advocating that you achieve more, acquire more, be more. Do you really want to miss out on time with your friends or family so you can drive a BMW or live in a million-dollar home?

Enjoy what you are doing right now, focus on what you want to do, and stop looking to someone else to give you the answer to living a life of your dreams. If you can begin to love yourself just the way you are, things start looking better, and you begin to actually make more progress in your life because you are not thinking about how fucked up you are. You must begin to start shifting from thinking about the future to being totally engrossed in the present.

Say this to yourself every day:

I’m not broken

I love myself

I have something to give to this world

I am focused on the now

 

Namaste


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Make them better

We all have a finite amount of time most of which we waste on pursuing material crap and satisfying our ever-increasing need for pleasure in various forms. Then we spend whatever time we have left searching for some kind of meaning in our life. It is unlikely that we will find a whole lot of meaning chained to a desk and computer, knocking out work day after day so we can buy more stuff. Knowing that our time on this earth is limited we better come to terms with a need to make these days better as Thoreau suggests.

As I have gotten older I have become less enamored with the stories that this world is constructed around. Stories like work harder and you will achieve more and these achievements will provide satisfaction. Other stories tell us that we must be goal-oriented ever pursuing greater things and not wasting our time. Still, other stories tell us that only through growth in revenue and GDP will we fulfill the capitalist dream of greater wealth for all. Most of these stories are bullshit and have been created to keep everyone in line, following the same path. While I’m pursuing all those goals, making money, and generally working my ass off there is no time for getting to know who I really am or what I really want out of this existence. I’m simply too fucking busy doing what everyone expects of me and adding to my investment balances.

The fact that you spend some time with your family, read a good book, take a walk, write a blog post, or take some time to do nothing but think is, in fact, making your days a little better. I currently work for a company that wants to dominate the world, and instead of my work being part of my life, it is more akin to being in a cult. You know the routine, work, eat, sleep, and repeat. I would guess my situation is not unique and that unless you take the reigns and regulate your behavior your life will never get any better. Remember you are an individual not a cog in the machine, as much as you relate to the organization you work for, their loyalty to you only extends one day at a time.

Life is impermanent by nature, and your employment status is even more precarious. Some of you know what I’m talking about and have been laid off so that the balance sheet looks a bit better. In my work life this happened a couple times and each time something better was right around the corner. I’ve seen people literally crushed by a layoff because they had invested so much of themselves, were extremely loyal to their employer, yet they were naive and couldn’t understand how this could have happened to them. I have a friend who once told me “At the end of the day we are even” and that is that. This is the attitude you need to have in this economy, don’t expect loyalty from your employer, because it does not exist.

Maybe this post has been in many ways a therapeutic exercise to take this quote to heart.

I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better.

Henry David Thoreau

Each day is a precious gift, and it up to you to find some kind of balance in your life.

Namaste


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About the author

Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American essayistpoet, and philosopher.[3] A leading transcendentalist,[4] he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and attention to practical detail.[5] He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs.[5]

He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau’s philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo TolstoyMahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.[6]

Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist.[7][8] Though “Civil Disobedience” seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government—”I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government”[9]—the direction of this improvement contrarily points toward anarchism: “‘That government is best which governs not at all;’ and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”[9]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau

 

 

Moving On

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Moving On

Is every day a repetition of the last?

Move on

But the money and the benefits are so good

Move on

Have you quit dreaming and setting goals?

Move on

When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep?

Move on

Are you tired all the time?

Move on

Are you drinking a little too much to forget this shit show?

Move on

Are you waiting to have enough money to retire?

Move on

Are other people maybe your family members telling you just one more year and you can do anything you want?

Move on

Have you mastered this job to the point you are no longer learning?

Move on

Do you spend a lot of time doing pointless work that adds no value?

Move on

Has the line blurred so much that you can’t tell your work from the rest of your life?

Move on

Is your work so demanding that you have abandoned all your hobbies?

Move on

Afraid you can’t do better?

Move on

Will you miss the long days and continuous demands?

Fuck No!

Move on

 

Namaste


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Always Seeking

Random Thoughts / Poetry

Always Seeking

We are always seeking to improve ourselves

We think if I master this or that I will be content

We pursue a litany of goals only to achieve them and still feel unsatisfied

We think once I have this or that I will be happy

We wish our life away

We are never happy as our goals and desires are a moving target

We never live in the present moment

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

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Now is the time

Maybe you have heard about the Power of Now, a book written by Eckhart Tolle. It is a good book to read if you are trying to figure out what is really most important in your life. If you would like to know more about this book The Power of Now check out my book review: https://inspirationalbookreviews.com/2018/11/22/the-power-of-now

We live in a world of illusions created by the stories we are told, starting as little children and then throughout our life. It is up to you to determine what is real and what is just a story you are being told to advance society’s agenda. There is no simple answer to seeking the truth other than your rational mind and focusing on the present moment. We use our rational mind to question a story and then analyze what is true and what is false. We use the present moment to clear away the unconscious bias and allow us to focus so as to not let thoughts of the past or future distort our thinking.

You cannot keep repeating the same stupid behavior that has got you where you are today and expect your life to change for the better. We all fall into patterns where we repeat the same mistakes over and over, which ends up leading us no closer today to our goals than we were yesterday. The second illusion that we tell ourselves is that we have time to pursue our goals or dreams in the future. Honestly, we know better, but we put off taking action so as not to upset other people or sometimes just out of laziness.

When I say wake up! I mean do it now, while you still can. None of us are guaranteed that there will be a tomorrow, and wishing doesn’t make it so. You need to make a choice today. Am I going to take steps towards following my dreams, or am I going to keep doing the stupid shit I always do?

Your choice my friend!

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

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Discipline

discipline-for-Random Thoughts post

It has been a while since I’ve written anything philosophical as I’ve been writing mostly book reviews of late. If you read my last blog post on InspirationalBookReviews.com called Cant’ Hurt Me you might wonder what affect a book like this might have on your life. There are a lot of takeaways from that book but for me the primary ones include:

  • Toughen up – Both mentally and physically. If you read the book David Goggins uses a lot of physical challenges to toughen not just his body, but also his mind.
    • Are you seeking some kind of easy life where people throw money or accolades at you because you think you deserve it?
    • Are you expecting certain outcomes, that all work out due to your magnificent plans?
    • Neither of these scenarios are likely to happen and most likely you will be challenged on a daily basis and you will need more than a little toughness, perseverance, relentlessness, or whatever you want to call it to make shit happen.
  • Discipline – Get your lazy ass off the couch or chair and do something everyday that you can be proud of. This might be going for a run, practicing yoga, martial arts, Pilates, strength training, studying, writing, playing music or whatever floats your boat. Don’t say it’s too cold or it’s raining outside, just lace up the shoes and go do it. You can’t just hope you will gain some form of mastery or health sitting around thinking about it. You need to do it and do it over and over again, because that’s what discipline is all about.
  • Complaining – We have a litany of excuses such as my legs are sore, I’m just too tired, or I am just not feeling it today. Maybe something happened at work and we feel it necessary to complain about some perceived injustice committed against us. The list of things to complain about goes on and on and on. Stop this shit! Complaining about anything serves no useful purpose and will only drag you down and increase your level of despair.

The next little bit of advice comes from the book Unfu*k Yourself by Gary Bishop that I wrote a review for in July of 2018. Let me preface this with saying this is my list of stuff that pertains to my life and you can just insert your own list. Gary Bishop essentially said:

If it doesn’t serve your goals, then quit doing it.

The context that he was using that statement was around free will and he was saying if you want to know how much free will you have just try and stop doing all the shit you know you shouldn’t be doing. However for me I looked at it as more of a challenge to identify all the crap I was doing that didn’t serve me.

Now we all have a list of shit we need to stop doing because these behaviors don’t even remotely serve us in any capacity. My list of shit I need to stop doing, which is on my whiteboard as I write this includes:

  • Living in the future
  • Resenting people and situations
  • Letting my ego control my thoughts
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Caring about what other people think
  • Unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating crappy food

This is by no means an exhaustive list for me as I continue to find ways to mess stuff up in my life, but it’s a nice start.

If any of this resonates with you I would love to know what your list of things you are going to give up that don’t serve you anymore.

I am a strong believer in incremental improvement, so you might start with just one of the items on your list. Maybe you are not exercising or can’t seem to get your work done on time, so the thing you want to stop doing is “procrastinating”. The incremental approach to un-fucking your life dictates that you start slow and go for a walk in the morning or go to work earlier than usual and work on your assignments. Now you are starting to build some self discipline that begins to replace your tendency to procrastinate. Guess what your life is getting better and it wasn’t all that painful or was it?

Giving up something also implies you will need to replace it with something else. This helps you fill the void left by abandoning that thing that didn’t serve with something that is either the opposite or a healthy substitute. So in my case some endless fascination with “Living in the Future” would imply I need to start “Living in the Present”. I’m not going to go into details about how I am doing that in this blog post; that is a topic for another day.

I wish you all the best!

Namaste

 

There is no destination

Ralph-Waldo-Emerson-Quote-Life-is-a-journey-not-a-destination

I am a Project Manager by profession, and as such I do a lot of planning for the future. One of the things we found over the years is that it is difficult to predict the future with any degree of accuracy and thus agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban were born. Well if you can’t even predict what needs to be done and how long will it take for something as finite as a project then why do you expect to do this in a more complex scenario called your life.

I’m not saying you should not have goals or for that matter you should not plan things out that can be planned. The problem lies in having some stupid attachment to the plan while watching the failures accumulate as you doggedly follow a plan that is flawed. Like I said it’s good to have goals, but think of them more in terms of what you need to accomplish in the next couple weeks or a month instead of having detailed plans that span months and years. If you use an agile method like Scrum you would have a backlog of goals (Epics) and things you need to do to achieve the goal (user stories and tasks). Instead of making yourself crazy just pick a couple user stories from the backlog that will help you achieve your goal and focus on those for the next couple of weeks.

As your journey through life happens your goals will change, some may disappear and others will become more grandiose, and this is good even though it might not adhere to the plan you had in your head. Remember your not married to the plan, at best your just dating it. Life is unpredictable and when it’s all said and done the journey is your life. The plan is just a manifestation of your need to create some form of certainty in the future and deep down you know this is just bullshit. Let your belief in your goals or dreams drive you, but abandon the fucking plan. So what happens when you quit the long term planning game and focus on the short term; you might just find you will be living in the present moment and shit starts to happen for you and I don’t mean bad shit.

Eckhart tolle realize the present moment

Again dream big, have goals, and work towards them, but try just for a while to bring that planning into the short term as tasks that you can actually accomplish. I personally like Google Tasks because it shows up in Gmail and Google Calendar. I then see these tasks when I’m using my laptop, tablet, Chromebook, or my phone. Choose some things you need to get done today, tomorrow, and a week from now and leave it at that. I encourage you to stay focused on today and guess what all the rest of the shit begins to happen for you. Do this for a week and let me know if you start to see and feel the difference in your life.

Namaste

The Cure for Expectations

house_sitting_expectations

I recently wrote a review on the book UnFu*k Yourself where one of the authors rules for life was “I expect nothing; I accept everything”. As you think about this for a while it begins to make sense. Expecting things to turn out a certain way or for people to act a certain way is the road to disappointment. To start out with it takes you away from the present and instead you are living with expectations of the future. Let’s take a few examples:

  • While I’m driving I expect people to follow traffic laws. Little things like stop signs, traffic lights, speed limits, etc. Now this is one hell of a stupid expectation. When humans get behind the wheel of a car they turn into complete morons.
  • I expect that I will be recognized for my work at my place of business. Occasionally this happens, but never enough to live up to our expectations.
  • I expect that my significant other will appreciate the things I do for them. So what is it that they must do to live up to these expectations?
  • I expect that my children will be as motivated and driven as I am. That’s a real crock of shit.
  • I expect that my government will spend my tax money smartly and not build up trillions of dollars in debt. How silly is that?
  • I have expectations for myself surrounding being constantly happy or healthy. Set the bar high my friend and disappointment will find you.

These are just a few examples of how we all live with expectations that are literally sucking the fun out of life. There is no better way to mess up living in the present than by having all these stupid expectations. I’m not advocating that you don’t have dreams or goals, but be aware that if these are laden down with heaps of expectations you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Things rarely turn out the way you expect, often things turn out much better or much worse. You have so little control about how things will turn out, or what someone thinks of you, and planning on how things will turn out is a risky proposition. Do the best you can but don’t be so definitive about the outcome.

So what is the cure for this never ending life of expectations? I’m guessing if you read Gary Bishop’s book you know the answer. One little, but powerful word Acceptance is all you need to understand. By accepting things as they are, you are taking a big step towards living in the present. Give yourself a fucking break; you can often be accepting of others, but you can’t cut yourself some slack. If you can start living with a mindset of accepting life as it is, you will begin to really enjoy what you have and maybe even the things you do. Here are a couple of different ways to look at acceptance:

Acceptance-1Acceptance 2

You don’t need to throw away all your dreams or vision for the future, but don’t get so specific that you put yourself in a corner when things don’t turn out exactly as you expected. Throwing out those silly expectations leaves you open to a whole new perspective and to enjoy how things unfold. All of this can provide amazing levels of joy instead of comparing what happens to your expectations.

I will leave you with one other quote from Gary Bishop that really resonated with me.

“Plan for victory and learn from your defeats.”

Here are a few quotes on acceptance to ponder.

Happiness can exist only in acceptance. George Orwell

The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Brian Tracy

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Nathaniel Branden

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox

Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness. Eckhart Tolle

Namaste