I’ve been interacting with a lot of new people lately, at work and in Madison. I’ve discovered an alarmingly common trend of unhappiness. This unhappiness usually stems from, at least from what people will tell me, being overwhelmed with everything they have to manage in their lives. These interactions and discussions are the inspiration for today’s thought. Before getting to that, however, I want to tell you all that I’m finally moving on to combos with my pen spinning! Yay! I’ve gotten the Sonic, Reverse Sonic, Inverse Sonic, Thumbaround, Neosonic, and Infinity down, and I’m working on putting them together. Also, I get my next paycheck on Monday, so look for poker updates soon.
Thought of the Day
People have a lot of difficulty managing their lives because they try to find a slot for everything. There’s a little compartment for your significant other, for work, for books, for TV, for exercise, for going out, etc… The trouble is that psychological studies have shown that willpower and attention are finite resources which cannot be generated on command. People feel overwhelmed because they feel like they are directing their attention toward an almost infinite number of things, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to deal with all of them.
A much more effective way to frame your life is to realize that there aren’t parts to it. There aren’t little facets that need to be managed and organized. There is just your life. Either you live it or you don’t, and that’s it. Once you understand that you’re not actually juggling a bunch of different things, and you’re just juggling one life, you’ll find that everything just becomes easier. You don’t magically have more time, and you aren’t magically a more efficient person. That unwarranted feeling of stress that hinders you just disappears because your willpower and attention are now only being directed at one object as opposed to several. Developing this frame takes a lot of practice. Often, it can involve eliminating schedules and being more spontaneous. It can involve stepping out of your comfort zone and risking missing some important appointments because you don’t remember or put them on your calendar.
For you readers, try getting away from the management mentality. Step toward a view of your life which is more complete and less segmented. Understand that you don’t have to juggle a bunch of different little responsibilities. You just have one life to live. So stop managing it, and start living it.