Thinking With Your Shoes Off

January 4, 2013

The turn of the year seems a punctuated moment to reflect on the previous 365 days and make an abbreviated list of the “Yes, keep that” and “Oof, let’s stop that.”

I felt a great sense of peace this year that, in looking back on prior introspections, I certainly didn’t have. Many of my resolutions (if you’d call them that) were angry or negative, framed something like “Stop letting people take advantage of me” or some other musing that seemed to justify apprehension toward everyone else. That’s alright if it suits you, but it can leave you lonely.

The reason a lot of resolutions fail is that they’re a goal without a plan. One might resolve to lose weight but have no idea when and how they’re going to work out or diet, so big surprise when it doesn’t happen. Any sort of “be better at ___” goal requires answering the question of what sorts of thing you’re already doing will help you get there. Do more of those. What sorts of things hinder that, and are they things you can cut back?

We’ve all met people with some eccentric habits or rituals, things that help them put their game faces on and embrace life at hand. it always struck me as the type of quirkiness you see at the cusp of genius, but one that was only right for certain people. I’ve come to think of it as inherent in all of us. The people you see daring to be weird are simply those that have been that honest with themselves, those who are willing to embrace what works for them to make it happen while the rest of us complain about how unproductive we feel.

One of my favorite TV characters, John Cage of Ally McBeal, would write his closing arguments pacing around his office barefoot. His colleagues thought of him as strange, but also conceded he was the firm’s strongest closer.

Everyone can make it happen if we’re really willing. If you find that singing in the shower pumps you up for your morning, or that putting your feet up and listening to jazz at lunch time helps you find your center, don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for it.

You can’t stop them from judging, but you can stop yourself from being affected by it.

Excuses keep us from these things, whatever shape they may take. Excuses about how self conscious we are or even excuses about how busy we are and don’t have time. We owe it to ourselves to fill our lives with these things every day and stay at our peak as often as we can. If we consistently hit a wall of being “too busy” to make time for things that help us be better, whatever IT is that’s making us so busy is probably the real thing we’re too busy for.

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2 Responses to Thinking With Your Shoes Off

  1. Marty watkins on January 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I agree with you,but my problem is, I’ve spent my life worrying about what others think of me. At this point in my life it’s hard to change. In some aspects I don’t care,but then I do,which can be very frustrating.
    I wish I could learn how to be more outgoing. That would make my life much easier,especially at work.
    As or being lonely,I Amanda I blame that on the fact that most all those in my life can’t or don’T feel it necessary to stay I touch, and I’m tired of trying to be the one who basically begs them to stay in touch.
    Then there are those who act\seem to want to be friends, but then I never hear from them.I give them a few times of me contacting them,but if they don’t reciprocate,then I drop it.
    It gets too frustrating to keep trying and not get any friendship back.
    As foe new years resolutions, I don’t bother IR believe in the as, like you said,they never happen. We’re all too busy IR too lazy to put forth the effort to follow through alleged with our resolutions. Or we just forget at some point.
    It’s likely those who smoke and we a resolution to quit. Only a very small fraction of those will actually follow through with quitting.
    It all boils down to..YA GOTTA REALLY WANT TO, Sincerely

    • Brian Watkins on January 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Sometimes I think it comes down more to the fact that we don’t give ourselves the path to achieve the resolutions. When the way forward isn’t clear, we give ourselves a large obstacle to overcome, and when we find ourselves struggling to make headway it’s easy to convince ourselves the goal was unrealistic or that maybe it wasn’t that important after all. Rather than the goal being unrealistic, it’s often simply disorganized.

      Like a business coach told me once, as long as the pain of change seems greater than that of not changing, we’re unlikely to do it. We need to either want something bad enough or feel that not changing carries a greater cost than what it would take to change to make the sacrifice to see it through, and that clarity is not easily gained.

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