The present-day human being is conditioned to get up in the morning, brush his teeth and plan the rest of his day as if he knows exactly how things are going to turn out.
Or even worse, plan the next day before going to bed at night. What could be worse than this? You are telling a person to imagine every adverse possibility that could happen and tries to figure out how to avoid them — just before going to bed.
Imagine going through these traumatic visualizations right before going to bed and what it does to your subconscious mind. Why put yourself through this torture?
Unfortunately, that is how we are conditioned.
Every action of every hour needs planning for a majority of the people around the world.
Even in the face of adversity, we need to pull out our calendars and block time for work, family, kids, a date-night with a loved one, a piano recital.
Even something as simple as calling your mother needs a diary entry and a scheduled time-slot.
Am I right?
This is how we have been conditioned since we were kids and told that compartmentalisation is the key to success. Too often we hear management gurus telling us to block out time and not let anything interrupt us.
I am sure those books were written at a time where the COVID-19 virus was not wreaking havoc on the world.
They were written at a point in time where people were not expected to work at home, forego all luxuries, not eat-out, not travel – just stay at home 24×7 in fear of catching the deadly coronavirus.
In this current health-crisis, we are all stuck indoors and need to pitch in to take care of the kids – putting them to bed, washing, bathing, feeding, cooking for them, and so much more. And not to mention, we somehow need to squeeze in a full day’s worth of work 😉
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against planning and leading an organized life.
What I am against is
- the attitude against fluidity
- and, the attitude that claims that a life divided into tiny bits and compartmentalized is the ideal way to live.
Have you been able to compartmentalise your life?
Have you? And how did it work out for you? Did you ever schedule a meeting and forget that your son needs you to practise soccer at the same time? Or do you often have to choose between family and work?
I have had to in my days working a 9-to-9 job and it stressed me out a lot. To hear my baby boy cry for me outside the room while I was taking work calls at 9 pm made me question my life’s purpose and direction.
Yes, I was earning the big bucks – but, what was the trade-off? What was I giving up for the large salary? And, most importantly – was it worth it in the short-term and in the long-term?
No amount of pleading to my boss helped and that brought me to the realization that I need to take a stance, prioritize, and define what success meant to me and then, figure out how I’d be successful.
What does success mean to me?
I worked on it for days and analyzed several years in the past. I looked through the sad, happy, bad, fantastic, tear-jerking events in my life and boiled it down to this.
Success to me means
- gaining a deep realization of who I am
- bringing up my kids with a sense of love towards everyone and everything
- helping people to the best of my capabilities
The question that remains to be answered is “How do I go about achieving success?”
Achieving goals through mindfulness
Through my meditations, I have realized one thing.
Life is fluid and it cannot be sliced and diced into partitions with hard boundaries.
Well, sure it can be, but it will result in sacrificing something or the other and the problem arises when the thing that you are sacrificing means a lot to you. It could be your peace of mind, your joyful nature, your time with your loved ones, etc.
The best way to be mindful is to immerse yourself in every tiny action that you perform and give yourself to it.
Involve every fibre in your body and give everything you have to the task in front of you.
Live in the present.
Let your mind focus only on the coffee-mug that you are rinsing and not anything else. When your mind wanders to the next task while you are performing this one, then you aren’t doing justice to both.
Are you teaching your child how to walk? Then, do that, and only that. Give him the attention and love he deserves while his neurons are firing in a state of panic. Help him with every fibre in your body. Don’t talk to your boss or your client while you are at it … both tasks will suffer.
One of things that I am personally focusing on is finding the intersection of the things that I need to do / have to do / love to do so that I can work towards my definition of success.
Sure, there will be roadblocks and I will have to deviate from my ideas. Yes – I will be teaching my son to walk and talking to my boss at the same time. It’s understandable that sometimes there are circumstances that we cannot control.
But, the whole point of this exercise is “delibrate effort” and making sure that every step and action is thought through and then done. And if we slip up, then we delibrately make note of it and remind ourselves not to do it again.
Consistently watching ourselves and course-correction is a life-long task and I am confident (by looking at past-masters) that it will lead us to a fulfilling life and a mindful life.
Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. Nothing makes me happier than to hear your voice!
Until next time, I hope you live in love and happiness!