How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world ~ Anne Frank
Quote of the day.
Nowadays, we’re in an entirely different game. Instead of looking to have more and have the best, we are under pressure to actually be better, work harder, strive further, and improve faster. And although this is a positive shift, it can be just as exhausting. We need to realise that it is ok to relax, slow down, laze around, and be still. It is ok to take time to re-cooperate, re-energise, and revitalise. It is ok to breakdown, to mess up, and to feel off-beat. We are not machines. We cannot keep going forever. And that’s ok. All we need balance, because no extreme is sustainable. Only balance will give us the optimal results. Balance is the way we win the game. So relax.
Rewarding ourselves and taking breaks from periods of hard work as a form of motivation is much easier said that done. Procrastination is only a simple click away and hitting the snooze button on the various tasks we have to accomplish is much more appealing than getting our hands dirty. It’s easy to reward ourselves without actually having to do the work in the first place. So that means this form of motivation has gone out the window, right?
Wrong. We need to strip down the idea of work-then-reward. To me, at least, guilt and anxiety always underpin procrastination and laziness; in the back of our minds, we know that we will eventually have to get to work and we have nothing to look forward to. Besides, what have we really done to earn or deserve that time to ourselves and time to enjoy? There is something so much more pleasing and refreshing about getting tasks and targets done before rewarding ourselves, because we earn that reward. The reward becomes so much more valuable and special. Those undercurrents of guilt, anxiety and misery are displaced with feelings of accomplishment, fulfilment, relaxation and satisfaction; there is no work that needs to be done because we’ve already crossed it off our lists! If you have trouble with procrastination or getting to the point where you can reward yourself, be realistic but start small; take regular breaks between your tasks and then slowly increase the intervals so that you start to train your mind to not only crave the reward but also crave the feeling of achievement that accompanies the reward and is even a reward in itself. Get the work done, and that reward will taste all the more sweet.
Some of us have this notion that some people are lucky and other people are not, where we usually categorise ourselves in the latter. But in truth, we can all be lucky and we can all be unlucky. Seneca says that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”; luck actually comes down to the tools and the attitude we have. And the right tools and the right attitude are things we can all give ourselves. They are free. If we try to better ourselves at our craft or something we are passionate about, or if we try to learn new skills or take on new challenges, we will open ourselves to the opportunities that we envy in ‘lucky’ people. Our tendency to call people lucky and ourselves unlucky is born out of envy that someone has achieved something we want, but it is also born out of fear, because we don’t believe that we can get to that place too. Let’s not give up on ourselves because we think we don’t have a certain talent or a certain opportunity. With hard work, perseverance and a dedication to bettering ourselves, we can improve our station in life on whatever train track we want, whether work, happiness, school, relationships and so on. Let’s not bury ourselves in the idea that luck is random and unattainable. We make luck ourselves.
“It’s not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always” – Henry David Thoreau
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them” – Albert Einstein
I think that a part of the psychological Being is the balance between self-acceptance and self-improvement. This balance sometimes corresponds with your past self and your future self. Both require learning. Learn to accept those past mistakes, past choices, and past actions. Learn to accept, embrace, and see the beauty of your body and its inner workings. Learn to see the good parts about yourself. But at the same time, don’t become complacent or idle. Learn to detect those areas of your psychology or your life that you can improve on, whether its to become healthier, more motivated, kinder, more helpful, maybe even to learn acceptance, and so on. Then act on those musings. Don’t be extreme, just take courage and be persistent. The balance between self-acceptance and self-growth corresponds with your present self. Every day you can make a choice to learn to accept yourself and learn to grow. It’s up to you to decide what you will accept and what you will improve on. But I would advise you to do one or the other, because not to accept or not to work on those parts of yourself that you feel negative about only invites that negativity to stay.