Showing posts from September, 2017

Focus + Fun + Friends = Energy

Do you have enough energy to do everything you need to do every day? Most of us would reply "yes" from between clenched teeth, and mean "obviously I get it done so I must have enough energy." Or we would be honest and say "I don't have enough energy to get it all done and feel good."

It's hard to manage your time if you are not managing your energy. You need to monitor which activities give you energy and which ones drain it. You probably already know what drains you, but you might not have thought beyond napping when it comes to finding the energy you need to enjoy your life.

Here's a formula to consider: focus + fun + friends = energy.  It means that anytime you are focused on a task that involves laughter and a satisfying social connection, you're likely to be energized. This is true for extraverts, and it's also true for introverts. When we are focused on getting something done with people we like in a state that includes laughter,…

Small things that capture attention

Do you get trapped into thinking that something has to be big to make a difference?

Take a look at the picture. I bet there are two things you noticed: the pathway and the golden leaves.

Neither of those occupies much space in the picture. The picture is more green than gold, but what you noticed was the cue that signalled a change. In the same way, the path changes what the picture means. When there's a path through the woods, the setting is not the wilderness, even if the rest of the picture looks wild enough.

Now think about that thing that isn't big enough to make a difference. How can you make it a focal point so that it takes up more attention than it does space?

Don't Fixate on Labels: Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

I was reminded this week of how important it is to keep looking out at the horizon instead of backwards. Words help us stabilize thoughts so we can remember them. That's useful much of the time. But sometimes, those words transform a temporary problem into a permanent identity.

Therapists are not the only ones who offer us labels and invite us to own them longer than we should. Bosses do it, and so do teachers. Maybe you owned "messy" a long, long time ago (when it applied to your grade 2 printing). Maybe you owned "fearless" at a time when it applied to going for the goal in a soccer game (not impulsively leaping into a relationship or out of a job). Maybe you owned "analytical" so thoroughly that you forgot that the most creative people are often analytical too.

Don't go back to fight with your labels. Just take a look at the picture here and notice that if you said it was dark or cloudy, you would be missing the point. It was going to get dark…

Stuck? Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

We have two illusions about solving problems.

The first illusion is that smart people think best when they are alone. We imagine people hunched over computers or pacing in front of whiteboards until they have an AHA moment  and solve the problem using their solitary genius.

The other illusion is that we only learn from experts.  We expect therapists to help us with emotional problems and subject matter experts to help us with everything else. After years of conditioning in schools, we think that the people who make us smarter are people who know more than we do.

The result of these illusions is often that we stay stuck for much longer than is necessary. We wait for access to an expert. We beat ourselves up for not being smart enough or competent enough or confident enough to think it through all alone. But it's all based on a faulty premise: we believe that smart people think best on their own.

Take a closer look at what really smart people are doing. They are hanging out with oth…