Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Initial Hurdles: Get Someone To Carry You Over

As a toddler, you were still new to the whole walking business. The standing up on your own business was still pretty fresh in your still forming infant mind. But you stumbled along, occasionally falling down and getting up again (or lying on the floor bawling - you had simple choices back then). Until, that is, you came to some stairs. Now, you might have wanted to attempt the climb the stairs... you had seen the other, bigger, people overcome the fitted carpet Everest. But all you could do was stand there, hands atop the first step, wondering what exactly it was you were meant to do next.

And then you felt the clutch of hands on your tiny midriff, and felt the ground fall away from under you. Your feet touched the first step. Then the second. Then the third. "well, done!" you heard the voice say. It was mummy. She had given you the lift up you need.

Sometimes we still need helping hands when we face hurdles. We're not going to jump them on our own, but with the aid of another, we'll get across easily. Some people I know - extroverts - find almost anything easier if someone is working with them to keep them company. By fulfilling their need for company they are masking the pain of the job they're undertaking. But other people can serve other purposes: I have failed at dieting in the past because I was living with people who weren't dieting - but I have succeeded at exercising when I went swimming with a friend: not only had we scheduled a time,m knowing that the other person was going to be at the pool at that time meant we had to make an extra effort to be there.

But the best use of other people is to give you ideas. As you talk to them - or read their blogs - you can find out what has worked for them in similar situations. Everyone is good at overcoming hurdles - indeed modelling how other people overcome hurdles without even thinking about them is the best way for you to do the same.

Its like a giant giving you a lift with two metaphorical hands

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Getting your groove back

Some ruts are nice. They work. We tend to call them good habits - noone minds being stuck in that sort of rut. It isn't really a rut at all, its a groove.

But sometimes you get out of your groove, and its hard to find your way back.

This happened to me recently.

I was writing on this blog... and then I stopped. For a couple of months. Now, I had an excuse. I was ill. The whole gluten thing. I had no energy. Which meant I hads no time. So I called it a day, stopped blogging and started just coping.

But then I stopped eating gluten, and got my energy back.

But I was out of my groove.

And I still didn't blog.

Because... well, because I had left it. I had failed. I hadn't kept up with my goal of writing for it. It was another dead project. I was a failure. And I was guilty and didn't want to have to admit to being a failure. Best to just mysteriously vanish.

So why did I come back?

Because I remembered that blogging gave me something.

It took a long time to remember this. I was thinking to myself "You know, I ought to have a reason for all this learning I do. I ought to have a place I can put the results" I was thinking about buying lots of journals and log books. Maybe writing a book. It took me hours to recall that I had a blog. and that by writing here I was achieving exactly the things I wanted to achieve.

If you had a groove, you had it for a reason.

It isn't just the groove thats missing from your life - its all the things yiou gained from the groove and all the things that motivated you to throw yourself into it in the first place.

And you've probably forgotten them.

But they won't have forgotten you.

They're probably still sitting around going unfulfilled int he back of your head.

And the groove is still there, waiting for you to jump back in.

So just becuase circumstances took you way from your groove, it doesn't mean you can't go back.

Dive back in. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Initial Hurdles: Run around the side

Hurdling is hard. All that jumping.

Or you can run around the side of the hurdle.

By which, I mean, why do something the hard way, if there is an easy way of achieving the same goal.

Sure - you might have to put up with running more - if you run around every hurdle you face, you'll be running twice the distance of everyone else. But you won't be jumping. And you'll still get to the finish.

So exercise isn't fun? Try dancing. Or Wii-Fit. Or anything that is fun which might involve a bit of exercise.

Cleaning might not be fun - but can you resist waiting until everyone is out of the house, tying some clothes to your feet, and polishing the floor while pretending to be a world champion figure skater? You can? Really? Deep down?

Sometimes fun doesn't last - it becomes a chore - but its a way of helping you move things on.

And if all else fails - you've had fun. And maybe won a set of perfect 10s for your attempt at the bolero.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

100% Genuine Authentic

I've been thinking baout authenticity. Because being authentic is being happy in your skin. If you're authentic, then you are happy, and getting in flow is easier, faster, simpler.

Being authentic means being honest with youself. And being honest with others.

Honesty to others is easy. More or less. You just have to be straightforward, and tell people how you feel.

Honesty to youself is harder.

And if you're not honest to yourself, you won't be honest to others - because you won't know what the truths really are

All my life, I've believed I wanted things - money, wealth, fame, success. But I'va also believed I wanted to please others, to stand in line, to be a good boy. In fact none of this is quite true. I want some of these things - and I want some of the things these activities can give me. But I don't want them. They are not who I am inside - they are just how I act.

So let me introduce myself.

I'm a paradox. 'sokay, so is everyone else I've met. One thing I've learned is that so long as people admit they are a mass of contradictions, then they are some of the best - and most consitent people you meet. Be consitently contradictory, and you're alright by me.

I'mn a scientist and an engineer. I love to play with things and see how they work. I love to take things apart. I love to make predictions and be proven right - or - even better - be proven wrong and laern something in the process. I'm good at it. Cambridge degree, all that sort of thing. But I'm not like lots of scientists.

Because I like to think out of the box.

Now lots of scientists do this, but they stay inside the box called 'what is acceptable for a scientist to talk about'. I'm different - at least on the inside. I love to learn about heretical theories and beliefs. And I love to see what I can synthesize into my own worldview. Itsa all part odf the engineer in me. I'm like any true engineer: If I see a big red button maked 'Danger, do not touch', I'm bloody well going to pressit, firmly and with relish, if I think it will teach me something about the world.

And so, yeah, I have self help books. And new age books. I meditate. And I care about my dreams. I practice the law of attraction. But I don't belive any of it. I use what works. The law of attraction - well, books on that subject might as well be called 'a system for integrating all the really useful things positve psychology has discovered into your life'. You don't need to belive it. Somewhere in the process, I find things that work. Some of these things need thr trappings - there is obviously something in the weird and wonderful trappings that make them work better - others just work on their own. Either way, they're fun. They keep me occupied. And, I think, they make me a better person.

I love to learn. But I lack focus. So my areas of interest are wide and shallow. This isn't a problem, because I'm good at learning, and good at joining the depths - you find things in my shallows which you'll never see in the deepest trenches of some more focused peoples oceans. My interests, as of today are various things computer related (languages, pattern recognition, embedded programming), business systems, financial trading, self improvement, physics - and what I can only describe as 'alternative physics', writing, reading, mysticism, meditation and positive psychology. There is probably more... but this is todays choice.

I hate people. People annoy me. Its amazing I'm married. People are these horrible, changable, uncontrolable things that seem to care more about their own problems than they do about mine. Actually, thats a lie. I care too much about people. I care about what they think abouot me -0 about how much I embarrass myself in front of them, about how much better they are than me... and about how unworthy I am. You see, I'm conflicted. What I know is that I'm an introvert. I get engergised on my own, and tired by people. I do need people -but people I trust, in small doses. And I'm shy. Because thats a defence against being hurt. Hurt by other people. Its a battle I face. Work - where I'm surrounded by people - hurts. Its tiring. More tiring than it would be if I was entraverted.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a fantastic actor and a great public speaker - these are skills I've picked up in the process of fighting against the shy. I enjoy them (in the right sized doses) and they pick me up, and send me on endorphin highs. But I still havn't learned how to cold call, or how to do that mingling with a room full of people I don't know at a conference thing.

And I'm writing this - because it gets me over some of these things. I get to use what I learn - and to put it into shapes that work for me. I get to talk about it - breaking down some of my barriers of shyness. I get to play with writing wonderful, witty, whirly, words. And I'm doing something. Creating something. Making a mark on a map that is mine and mine alone.

I need to make this mark.

Thats me.

Actually, I havn't got started yet. I'm disorganised - but need things to go exactly to plan. I'm scared, yet sometimes hugely confident. I could rule the world - but have trouble getting promoted at work. I have delusions of grandure somedays and adequacy the others.

I'm not authentic. But I'm becoming moreso.

And now you know me better.

ANd I hope to lie to you less in the future.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Initial Hurdles: Make the initial reward greater

So you don't want to jump the hurdle? And winning the race isn't every going to be enough to get you started?

What if there was a prize for being first across the hurdle?

Thats it.

Thats all you have to do.

Just the hurdle. And then you get a break. Then you get to do whatever you want.

Then you get to feel satisfied with yourself.

And... after you've had your reward... look at the problem again. Is there another hurdle you have to attack, or can you start running?

Friday, 2 July 2010

Initial Hurdles: Make the prize bigger

If you're not trying to jump the hurdle, then the prize on the other side isn't great enough. If all you had to do was one little thing, and you'd be awarded all the money in the world, you would make the jump.

But people get rewarded in different ways.

And the only form of reward that is right, is the reward that works for you

So, if someone says "Playing the game should be reward enough" but playing the game doesn't make you jump the hurdle. Well, then they're not worth listening to.

What would make you jump it?

A cash reward? How much? One of the things that keeps me coming into work is getting the money to pay off my house. I certainly wouldn't do exactly the same work for free if all my expenses were magically covered by an expenses fairy.

The satisfaction of crossing something off your todo list? It works for some people.

The enjoyment of spending time with others. Its unlikely to do it for me - but I i know people who are far happier starting projects if other people are involved.

Points on a wallchart?

Seeing a line of a graph go up (or down)?

Giving yourself a sweetie... or a hunk of cake? Just for getting started?

Think about your reward - and if it isn't enough, think about how you could increase it!