Two days ago I wrote that I’d “techniqued” myself into inaction. I was trying to do so many things, seemingly all at the same time, that I could do none of them well, and some of them not at all.
There’s what I’ll call a fad right now that says improving yourself — be it your productivity, your accomplishments, your health, your whatever — is all about establishing the proper habits. There are a multitude of blog posts, articles, and books on how to go about doing that.
It has a fad-like feeling to me. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few years from now we’ll haved moved on to a different productivity or self-improvement fadtechnique.
And yet, at a practical level, I’m paying attention. Fads often carry nuggets of wisdom.
I’m not a self-improvement junkie, but it’s certainly something that I have interest in. The process began years ago when one of my managers at Microsoft introduced me to an assortment of books and resources on the topic, most notably Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since then I’ve done a lot of reading, tried an assortment of time-management tools, watched videos, and tried various … I’ll call them “techniques”.
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I was recently interviewed by Josh Spector, the man behind For The Interested, a curated newsletter of interesting articles and other information that Josh both finds and occasionally writes himself. There’s an associated For The Interested Facebook group made up of newsletter subscribers, and as part of an experiment to learn more about the people in it, Josh has been conducting a few short interviews.
(I’ll wait for everyone that knows me to stop laughing….)
I tend not to be terribly shy about sharing said opinions.
(Again, another pause for the audience to catch their breath….)
I recently read an article that discussed how the Dutch are somewhat more “brutally honest” when it comes to opinions, and are often puzzled when people don’t accept and understand that they’re offered with the best of intentions. My Dutch heritage apparently runs deeper than I thought.
Of late, though, I’m trying to take a different approach when I react and want to share something I think important. And a simple phrase is helping.
I was talking to a friend yesterday about our meditation practices. The observation we both made was that meditation, mindfulness, and related concepts were becoming more and more mainstream. What was once considered a fringe and somewhat “woo” activity had made its way into common discussions around everything from personal performance, to medical and mental health discussions.
But on one observation we differed in an interesting way.
In mid-August, sixty days prior to my 60th birthday I started a writing exercise I called “60 Days of Gratitude“. Ten years ago I wrote a thought piece entitled “Half Century Mark“. I wanted to do something similar to mark the next decade, and using a writing exercise focussed on gratitude seemed an appropriate approach.
Now that I’m done I decided to capture some of what I learned in the process.