We each have a border – an event horizon in our existence – that we cross over and over, back and forth throughout the course of our lives. When we’re within the border, we’re completely taken up with the day-to-day details of our lives and the associated headaches and heartaches that go with them. But when we can escape that part of our lives and get past the border of our day-to-day, we gain perspective on our existence and can see the big picture. In this state, we are significantly less impacted by what is happening around us. We’re aware of it, we respond to it, but we are not controlled by it. Some people live their whole lives within the border of the day-to-day – they have a limited perspective and they are unable to step back and take a deep breath. Others have learned to live beyond the border. They engage and they take care of business, but they don’t allow the details to control the flow of their lives or their emotional landscape. If you can be aware of this border, you can learn to live beyond it and control your existence.
Self-loathing is so easy. Everyone has setbacks or makes mistakes, and many go through a period of being very hard on themselves afterward. After a mistake, you may be focused on the consequences or the sequence of events that led up to the mistake, but many people make beating themselves up a higher priority. Of all the options that you might consider after a mistake, beating yourself up is the least helpful. It’s important to be aware of when you’re doing this and replace it with other reactions. The first among these must be learning from the mistake, with forgiving yourself a close second. If you’re able to incorporate these reactions to mistakes into your life, there will be no room for self-loathing.
What’s your approach to holiday gift-giving? Many have people they want to (or have to) buy gifts for, and they make a list and go online to find something to buy. Holiday shopping is, for many, a burden—something they just want to get over with. This attitude plays right into the hands of marketers, who post celebrity shopping ideas, gift ideas for specific categories, and sale days, like Black Friday. There are also gift cards, or as Jerry Seinfeld called them, “I don’t give a crap” cards, for when you want to make as little effort as possible. People put the buying first—they walk around a mall or peruse gift sections on websites. They don’t try to get to know the person better or consider what will make them happy—they just check the box on their shopping list. But there is another way—a way that makes enhancing our connections with people the first step, a way to add meaning to what should be an especially meaningful time of year.
So much of the modern approach to work is based on an antiquated model that is very narrow in scope. You show up in the morning, you work for eight to ten hours, and you go home. Five days a week. The problem with this model is that very few people can actually be productive for that long of a stretch and be consistent for several days in a row. We end up with many people finding ways around this challenge. They break up their days into chunks of time when they are more or less productive, creative, and social. Then they schedule their days accordingly, so that they are not just doing the same thing (or failing to do the same thing) for the whole day. Of course, some people don’t have that luxury and have to do the best they can and try to muscle their way through the day. It’s not ideal.
But what if we considered a different approach? One that takes advantage of the ebbs and flows of individuals’ energy. One that isn’t tied to specific times during the day. One that focuses on the work instead of on the time spent working.
Social media is bad for society.
Oh, sure, it has resulted in some good outcomes. Families are able to keep in touch more easily and share pictures of their latest adventures. Old friends can reconnect and have a sort of correspondence, when otherwise they might not have. People are able to be creative and share their creations with the world. But people can also group into like-minded factions, feed on each other’s fears and paranoia, and only acknowledge the information that supports their own perspectives. Social media has supported and sustained the divisions that exist in our society. It has so much potential for good, but social media is like any other tool—it’s only as good as the people whose hands wield it.