This weekend, I considered writing a thoughtfully-researched post, or one focused on promoting a particular geographic location. I’ve had a busy few weeks, however, and didn’t want to strain my mental faculties or cater to other’s interests on a rare day off.
I firmly believe that one of the most positive, life-affirming mental activities you can undertake is to focus on action rather than avoidance. Thus, when you decide that you’ve had too much work to do recently, rather than listlessly complaining about it or apathetically procrastinating over it, either get it done or start looking for more enjoyable activities to take the place of that work.
This could also apply to a situation where you decide that you want to be healthier. Rather than regretting all of the ‘bad’ foods that you eat, or time that you spend glued to the television, find a way to enjoy healthy foods and an active way to spend your relaxing time, like walking around the block.
Action gives you a sense of accomplishment. The feeling of accomplishment will build, and you will start wanting the positives more than the negatives. It will spur you forward on your chosen road to success.
I also firmly believe that it’s important to meet your own needs and entertain your own projects first, before anyone else’s work takes up your time. I talk to many people who feel guilty for working on their own projects. These projects often don’t build their career or receive public recognition.
They’re the most fulfilled people that I know, however – they are actively avoiding burnout and enjoying the spoils of their true interests. Burnout happens when you’re constantly striving to meet other’s demands, and can’t initiate your own work. You start to feel helpless, cynical, and resentful. Your productivity and energy declines rapidly. The remedy, it seems, is to take control of your schedule and work assignments.
(I also recently re-read my own November 2013 blog article about self-experiments documented publicly only for fame and fortune – a reminder to myself that I still think this is an inauthentic approach to growing your personal understanding of and relationship to the world).
I have a few projects ‘on the side’ which are a part of my daily schedule – a small contract here, a volunteer Committee there, and some time spent doing volunteer office work. They aren’t much individually, but collectively they add up to a significant proportion of my time on top of the regular requirements of adult life.
What would I be doing without any of these commitments? My days would start with awe-inspiring sunsets and end with pumpkin beer and an open book at my elbow. I’d be a tree-gazer and a cloud aficionado. I’d walk. A lot. I’d return to my earliest proclivity for reading a single book in a day.
Why are these kinds of activities pushed to the fringe of our lives when we’re adults? Why do we crave public recognition, unexpected fame, and endless fortunes?
I wrestle with these thoughts and desires just as much as anyone else, and so write this blog article as a reminder to myself. I need to commit to doing less for others, and more for myself – by actively doing the things that are important to me!