Embrace The Authentic You…

How often do you feel forced to censor yourself; your thoughts; your feelings; your expression?

I work in an office and am generally required to do this a lot; they call it diplomacy skills. I call it a slow erosion and degradation of my soul and core being.

The stronger my distaste for this fallacious behaviour grows, the more I seem to embrace my authentic responses regardless of what the consequences may be.

Today, I received some feedback from a client. It was conveyed with a remarkable degree of drama and ignorance, almost verging on plain rude, but because the person in question is a C-level executive, there is an expectation that the response would be tailored appropriately. Despite my burning desire to just let my response flow unadulterated, I proudly maintained my composure and gave a fair and polite explanation. An hour or so later, I got a reply.

The response was unexpected, not in itself, but the tone; I could not make up my mind about whether he was being mildly humorous or just plain pitiful. I decided to take it in a positive light and, in the politest possible way, laced my response with both humorous, honest and sarcastic subtleties in the hope that he would take it the way it was intended. I then paused for a minute or two before committing myself to putting it out there.

Click.

Knowing that I could not now take it back, I relaxed into the sensations of both satisfaction and mild anxiety about how it would be taken.

I am a decent, good-natured, laid back, realistic guy. Why should I feel as though my honest response would be taken the wrong way? Well, because I am also playfully sarcastic and rely upon facial expressions and tone of voice to fully convey the irony of the words I choose to use – in e-mail, the only thing one has, is words. That is why. That, and the fact that I hate people.

Joking aside, if you cannot embrace the authentic you – if, particularly at work, you have to consistently self-censor, curb your enthusiasm, stifle your laughter, bite your tongue – then you will slowly lose touch with what it is to be you. Life will be empty and frustrating, each day a battle to endure; your free time will be left equally empty as you are drained by the sheer demand of keeping yourself in a box.

Embrace the ‘authentic you’ and you will find your place; don’t fight to fit in where you don’t belong.

Embrace The Authentic You…

I Want Monkey Feet…

Have you ever had that feeling that what you are doing really is not right for you?
I suffer that a lot these days. Fortunately, I can sense the pull. I really was happiest* back when I was writing on my blog – it was a free platform on which I could write about anything that came to mind; whether it be serious or tongue in cheek. I miss that.

When you allow yourself no restrictions – when you just let your thoughts and creativity flow – that is where the magic happens. My convoluted thought processes result in some remarkably amusing output – even if this is for my own amusement, how could I possibly be disappointed with that; to be able to entertain and amuse one’s self, that’s a quality most often observed in children.

As adults, we become too dependent on input-based entertainment; TV, computer games, social networking (sounds far more productive than it actually is, doesn’t it!). With children, although they may have props, the entertainment is output-based, relying on their imagination to create stories and scenarios. For example, a toy car is no fun if it is just sitting on the floor, so the action and fun has to be created.

As adults, how often do we create our entertainment as opposed to absorb it?

Music, art and writing; three things that can act as a fast track to output based entertainment. For me, music brings peace, and writing brings humour. Sadly, due to my sense of humour, the writing doesn’t always translate, but I do the best I can to convey my thoughts as accurately as possible. But when all is said and done, I get it, and it cracks me up. What greater gift could you ask for than to be able to make yourself laugh? Monkey feet would be a close second – and clearly I mean to have instead of human feet. Although finding some smart shoes for work would be a nightmare…
*not saying I’m unhappy now, but just not as happy as when I was writing every day.

I Want Monkey Feet…

Struggling with Willpower…?

Willpower is what allows you control your behaviour. Willpower is the thing that turns off the T.V. because it’s time for bed, or gets you out of bed because it’s time for work. Willpower is what helps you do the things you don’t want to; it’s what helps you not do the the things you do want to (like calling your boss a jerk?). Without willpower society would crumble; without willpower we would all live (not very long perhaps) on steak, pie, donuts and beer; ok, I speak for myself there.

Willpower is essential in the pursuit of goals, we need it in order to effect any change in behaviour; motivation alone is not enough.

Imagine willpower as energy of the mind; much like you get exhausted after physical exertion, you can also get exhausted through mental exertion. Another similarity to physical exertion is that the rate of depletion can vary depending on the strenuosity of the particular task. The psychological term for this is ego-depletion. Numerous psychological studies have shown that willpower is an exhaustible resource and understanding this could have a profound effect on the way you approach your goals.

There is no question that willpower varies between people; however, there are things you can do to maximise your own.

First, what drains your willpower?

There are physical contributors; lack of sleep, poor diet and illness. All three of these share a common link and that link is glucose. Adequate sleep is essential for healthy metabolic function and the amount of sleep you get can have a big influence on the type of foods you choose to eat; paradoxically, what you eat can influence the quality of your sleep, and, of course, how you eat will affect your glucose levels. When you are ill, your glucose are also reduced. You will probably note that when you are tired, ill or hungry you have less willpower to get things done and you are more irritable (i.e., less able to control your emotional responses).

There are also psychological contributors; dealing with stress, making decisions, controlling thoughts & emotional reactions and controlling behaviour – consider those hard days at work and getting home thinking you cannot be bothered to cook.

How can you recharge it?

  • Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – self-flagellation is stress inducing and will drain you more;
  • Have healthy snack (or meal if the time is right); get those glucose levels up;
  • Take a time out; relax and do something that doesn’t require you to think or make decisions;
  • Laughing and other positive social interactions can also be rejuvenating.

How can you optimise it?

  • Eat proactively – not leaving it till you’re too hungry. Studies have shown that low blood-sugar levels are linked to low willpower, which means that it is incredibly important to eat properly;
  • Make sure you get enough sleep; if you don’t rest properly and are thus tired the effort required to function is that much greater, and as a consequence willpower reserves are depleted quicker;
  • Exercise regularly (keep fit)
  • Practice; start small, by sorting your posture or making tiny tweaks, like recognising when you’re stressed and relaxing your shoulders more – over time, exercising control will get easier.

In order to be successful when pursuing your goals, you need to be smart about how you approach them, this includes understanding what stresses you and keeping it to a minimum or, if you can’t avoid it, plan your activities around your willpower peaks; for example, if you are trying to get to the gym regularly, you might consider going before work rather than after, the idea being that you will have higher levels of willpower in the morning.

As stated, every time a decision is made and control is exercised, you are left with less willpower; once the reserves are gone, people are much less likely to power through with positive action. Knowing that simply making decisions taxes our reserves can be transformational; the trick is to try and develop habits and decide in advance.

Saying that you cannot do something because you do not have the willpower is an entirely defeatist excuse; instead you should better understand the nature of willpower and how you can maximise, and make the most of, yours.

One of the fundamental things to take from this is that if you want to maximise your chances of successfully achieving your goals, you need to take care of yourself; understand your day and what drains you; schedule your time so you eliminate the need to make choices, especially in the evening. Above all, eat and rest properly.

I am Sage.

Struggling with Willpower…?

The Thing About Life…

The thing about life is that there are so many choices; how the heck are we supposed to pick a direction? It’s seems as though whatever direction you choose, you will be missing out on something else.

I suppose the art is in finding a balance; a balance between exercising your responsibilities and engaging in the activities that bring you joy and fulfilment. There are the restless souls, like myself, that still believe that it is possible to amalgamate the two, but until then, my approach remains thus:

Find whatever satisfaction I can in my day job; for the moment it pays well and gives me the freedom and flexibility to pursue my other areas of interest.

Engage in the activities I find myself naturally drawn to; if I find I am having to force myself too much, then it is probably not the right direction.

Allow myself room for mistakes and experimentation and not chastise myself when things don’t work out; we learn through our failures and, without trying, we’ll never know. 

Understand that life is much bigger than myself and my time here is limited; endeavour to make the most of it.

The thing about life is that it is hard to enjoy the present when there is so much focus on the past and the future; however, without the focus on the past and the future, we would not learn nor would we have ambition. The key is to recognise these things but without allowing them to dominate your thoughts.

To put things into perspective; when planning a journey, on holiday or a day trip for example, do you decide not to bother because there’s a chance you may crash the car on the way and not get there? No, or course not. It is sensible to assume that you will be able to make it without incident; so too, with life, it is sensible to assume that you will live to reach old age and to make allowances for that. This is where that word balance comes up again; by all means, plan for the future, but do not let it dominate the present.

Prepare for the future by all means, but do not make the mistake of living for it; likewise, learn from the past, but do not make the mistake of living in it.

I am sage.

The Thing About Life…

Nothing Like Staring at a Blank Piece of Paper…

Oh wait, yes there is: staring at a blank screen…

I know what you’re thinking, a cop-out post… yeah, well… my little black book is short on 15 minute material. What’s a fella to do?

As I started the timer over two minutes ago, I am now aware that every second that passes where I don’t write anything is a wasted opportunity, so with this in mind, I will just write.

You may or may not know that I am a manager; an ambiguous title these days, I know. It seems most people are a manager of something, but I am a manager in the more traditional sense in that I have several teams of people that are in my employ to perform functions as part of a wider operation. Officially I am an Operations Manager, but in reality, it is not the operation that needs managing, but rather people; thus, I am a People Manager.

Continue reading “Nothing Like Staring at a Blank Piece of Paper…”

Nothing Like Staring at a Blank Piece of Paper…

15 Minute Posts…

The problem with being so busy is that it is very easy to make excuses not to write. So I have come up with a plan. Yes, the clue is in the name…  aren’t you clever! 

15 minute post – the perfect amount of time to cook some fish fingers. In fact, if you told me I only had fifteen minutes left to live…. no, wait… 20 minutes left to live, I would put some fish fingers in th… wait. If you told me I only had 25 minutes left to live… oh bugger it. You get the point, I really like fish fingers. Anyway…

I decided I want to write more; I was happier when I wrote more, but then I got, what some might call, a responsible job and then basically stopped writing. I don’t even write in my journal much these days. Shame on me. So my plan… is to just stop making excuses and write more. You may recall a post I wrote many moons ago in which I was lamenting the use of my great material – I am modest, I swear – on this blog where very few people, in the grand scheme of things, will see it. This led me to think that surely if there are few people coming across my blog, and the most that do are merely following/liking with the hope of reciprocation, then I really am doing no harm in writing crappy little 15 minute nuggets. I told you I was modest.

In all seriousness, my desire is to just write more, but with the limited time I actually have. So there you have it. And I still have time to spare… hmmm.

The little black book needs to be taken out of retirement, I think.

I have been terribly negative recently and want to change that. I have been reading on happiness in the hope that by merely changing my focus and what I give attention to, I will somehow passively absorb good vibes. It seems to be working a bit.

To be continued….

15 Minute Posts…

It’s Just One of Those Phases…

What the flippin’ sausage is going on here?!

Indeed, I hear you. And I can answer your question:

Continue reading “It’s Just One of Those Phases…”

It’s Just One of Those Phases…