A year ago yesterday my daughter was born. That also means I’ve been a father for a year. If those first two sentences seem redundant, believe me, they’re not. They’re absolutely two different and independent facts and events.
It’s definitely necessary to assess situations more often than yearly but Continue Reading…
This is a very common saying we hear in our capitalist society. Of course time isn’t really money. Time is time and with your time you can either be working to make money or any number of other things on your priority list.
With my time I like to:
Work to make money
Spend time with my daughter and family
Study for university
Hang with friends
These are not in any particular order. Some of them are almost universally seen as Continue Reading…
One of my greatest struggles in the past year has been trying to find what many describe as work-life balance. Matthew Kelly would argue the reason for this is because the term “work-life balance” is fundamentally flawed.
The term suggests that work is stressful and has to be balanced by life outside of it for us to be happy. In reality the two are woven together and cannot be separated. If you are unhappy at work it is almost impossible to leave it there and not be mentally and physically affected. The same goes if you are unhappy with life outside of work, it is hard to focus on work when your mind isn’t there.
After unsuccessfully achieving a work-life balance in this past year I came to the same conclusion that Mr. Kelly realized. People don’t want a work-life balance, we want satisfaction.
Satisfaction means different things to different people. Regardless of whatever ratio of work-life you desire people want to be happy. This means you could be a doctor who works 80 hours a week and have hardly any social life and be just as happy as the part-time call center employee who gets to spend her days with her new baby and family.
I would agree with Matthew Kelly on another point, that it is hard to nail down exactly what the details of “satisfaction” actually are. He suggests that what will guarantee satisfaction and success in life is if we try to be the best possible version of us that we can be. If we are continually striving for self-improvement each day it will add up in the long run.
I would suggest forgetting the details! Have a plan for your life but don’t stress over it. I try to ask myself at every decision, “Will this make me a better version of myself?” If you are answer yes more than no, you’re well on your way.
The Art Of Adaptation: A jug fills up drop by drop… but it empties in the same way.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel. It is perfect as is.
Can you imagine what would happen if your motorcycle tire was shaped like a triangle or your car’s tire was shaped like a square… It would make for a bumpy and inefficient ride. The wheel is a symbol and artifact of our adaptation as human beings.
There was a request for a post on relationships so I thought I would share this with you.
I drew a diagram a long time ago and over the years it has helped me immensely. It is a diagram and a theory, which probably does have a psychological name or term, but I actually just stumbled upon it realizing how all of my relationships were interconnected. Here is the diagram:
There are three sections and three levels to this diagram of relationships I call the three pillars. My intention here is not to tell you or assist you in fixing, maintaining or nurturing these but to simply show you the importance of having healthy relationships. Also, I would like to show how having unhealthy relationships in one area will affect another. The following examples may seem obvious but I guarantee we all have or know someone who has trouble with one or multiple areas.
Believe it or not, the simplest area to build relationships in is family. Mostly due to the fact that you have to know these people your entire life and they are your blood… they have to love you. Of course there are going to be exceptions to every rule. In Canada we have a high divorce rate which speaks to the complexities that could arise in these relationships. We also have many cultures and religions which are difficult to set boundaries around. Your job is to navigate through all that to foster healthy relationships. When you have strong relationships and support these relationships can be a great resource which you will need when we talk about the second level of this diagram. In my life my family had been my rock. I’ve taken many risks when it comes to work and sports. The day I said I was moving to Argentina to train for the Taekwon – Do World Championships everyone I had around me supported my decisions and helped out. I remember the first time I quit my job. It was for a number of reasons. Feeling a little insecure about the decision I thought my family would criticize my decision but the exact opposite was true. I knew at that point I had developed healthy family relationships along the way.
Love Your Self
Self is a fairly complex relationship and a strange one to navigate. I will have to say that most people who I meet have no idea how to develop this relationship and very few people make an effort to develop a relationship with their self. I don’t mean that in any type of egocentric way. I mean, knowing yourself, being kind and understanding to yourself and wanting to know how you feel and relate to different things like family, work and your environment. Some people go to psychologists or some type of councilor as a reactive measure and some a proactive measure. I am very fond of proactive measures. Getting there before the problem begins is important because there will always be problems.
For me Buddhism has been my vehicle for self reflection. It allows me to discover who I am and work on developing a relationship which is understanding and kind. In doing so I realized that who are and who you think you are may be two different things altogether. Really liking who you are has been an important factor in what success I have had so far in life. Not having to look outside myself for approval and appreciation has let me channel that effort into other areas of my life.
The third Pillar, Work, is probably the most complex. This is due to the number of relationships and the complexity of them all inter-mingling. Most people work 40-60 hours a week for a third of their life. They do this with a number of people. Depending on where you work you may have co-workers, assistant manager, managers, district managers, media contacts, CEOs, consultants and countless other people you have to navigate around.
It is quite obvious how having relationships in their area can help you in your career when it comes to getting promotions, making money and developing as a professional. Fortunately most people understand this. Unfortunately, often this is a fast paced environment and methods of communicating today will not be the same in 5 – 10 years, take Facebook. It is important to make efforts to keep up with methods of communication and to foster mutually beneficial relationships.
Admittedly this is probably the hardest pillar for me to strengthen. I have found my life that the line between working relationships and friendships is very thin. It is often the person who can straddle this line that will be successful. I have had situations at work where I have carried to much friendship into the work environment which can lead to poor performance and I’ve also missed out on building great relationships for fear of sacrificing work performance or not being able to discern when it was proper to carry on more than a working relationship. Networking has been one of my greatest weaknesses… but I’m working on it.
How each one of these Pillars influence each other is the next level. Once you have established relationships in each you need to look at the effects of them all coming together. There are so many combinations or situations that could happen between each. I will give you one so that you may analyze the rest on your own.
Lets take Family and Work. There is a section in the diagram that represents the situations when both of these relationships come together. Maybe you own a business together with a family member. There are many family owned businesses. If the relationships in both Work and Family are healthy this section will be healthy as well. You will likely work together and be able to keep up a healthy family relationship. On the other side, if you work with a family member and you really don’t click as co-workers then that tension in the work place may carry over into your family relationship in different ways. This also works in the reverse order which you see a lot in family owned businesses. If the family relationships have issues this may carry over into the work/business side of things affecting the bottom line.
The point is that it is key to have healthy working relationships in the three areas because issues are amplified once they start to mingle.
The Real World
In the real world all three areas are pieced together. For the most part this occurs naturally. People have families, they go to work and have to be with themselves, their strengths and weaknesses as they navigate life. There are outliers like the law school student who graduates and work his/her ass off for the next couple years interning, never seeing or being involved in family. There are some situations which need an extreme focus that may involve eliminating one of these three Pillars for a time. Can you think of any?
For the majority of people though you will have to build, support and repair relationships in the three pillars because they hold up your environment.
The Art Of Adaptation: Focus on building, maintaining and repairing relationships in the three pillars because they are each interrelated and each play a role in establishing the balance of your environment.