We’re all told to stay in balance. Nice sentiment, but awfully hard to accomplish at times. To cope with the demands of calls, meetings, deadlines, flights, family, health, etc., a few years back I came up with three “self tests” to run through every day – kind of like the system checks the old PC’s used to run through during the interminable start-up routine. They don’t have to take you that long, but you may find they’re a good reference point worth spending a few of those precious minutes on during your day.
It seems to me that, if you feel the following conditions/emotions every day, you’re still grounded, still human, still doing the best you can, despite the circumstances:
1. Hunger: Yes, you need to actually experience real, physical hunger every day. How many times do you hear someone say, “I’ve gotta get something to eat, I’m starving.” If that were true, the fitness/nutrition/wellness industrial complex would cease to exist! Seriously, feeling true hunger (not starvation) at mealtimes is natural, it confirms that you’re being efficient in your diet, and it brings you back to reality.
2. Introspection: Introspection is definitely a medication to be taken in moderation, but it must be taken. Slow down and examine where you are, what you’re doing, and how you’re going about doing it all. Of course you’re right, but maybe you could sand off the edges a little? No doubt they’re wrong, but there is a grain of truth in what they’re saying, isn’t there? Hey, the point is that we have to recognize and admit to ourselves that no one is perfect. The disciplined exercise of introspection allows us to examine our pathways and mannerisms and, hopefully, to make better decisions.
3. Compassion: Compassion for others is a building block of happiness, an amino acid if you will. Another great lesson I learned in the Army was that, for every combat soldier, seven or eight others stood behind in support roles. To be truly happy, we must all employ our gifts for the betterment of others. This could be as simple as stopping by the cube of someone you know who’s having a tough time and offering some words of encouragement, or making a ten-minute congratulatory call when you see online that a friend has a new job. These are minutes well spent and they will inure to your benefit as well.
Thanks as always for reading and for your comments. Take care.