“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
There is a new addiction gripping the world. One that has arisen with the modern age. This is the addiction to ‘Busy-ness’. Most of us wear this proudly and tell anyone who asks how busy we are. We have filled every moment of our lives with things; stuff that has to be done, places to be and people to meet. Then we get to the end of the day and wonder where all our time went.
The modern rituals that we have unknowingly made ‘essential’ to our life ensure that we never notice the passage of time, like in a casino, we block out natural light, fill our ears with distracting noise and keep our eye focused on bright lights with lots of movement. From the moment we get up to the moment we put our head back on the pillow, and then are unable to sleep as we have been over-stimulated for the last 18 hours, so we add a bit more stimulation in the hope it will distract us off to sleep.
As with any addiction, there first needs to be a desire to change. Something has to give, you need your own individual ‘what the f*@k’ moment. This drives awareness of the problem and allows you to look for information on how to change it. Changing rituals and routines takes a bit of discipline, but it is through this structure that we find our freedom.
For me, this started after reading Tools of Titans. I had heard a bit about meditation, but always thought it was too Hippy/woolly/flowery (choose your own derogatory adjective). After seeing example after example of how top performs in all walks of like make use of mindfulness techniques I decided to also give it a go. Headspace’s Take 10 worked a charm. 10 days for 10 minute and I already started to feel different. I was looking at things through a different lens. Questioning what I was doing, why I was doing it and what value it was bringing to my life.
From here things started to cascade. Exerciser and fitness made me feel good, so I ensured I prioritised them. Social media was adding less and less value to my life. I became conscious of how much time I was spending trawling through news feeds, seeing the same content delivered from multiple sites. My usage has dropped, suddenly I have free-time away from distraction. My mood also shifted, possibly related…
I started to look at things differently, food for example. While I love eating, it also serves a purpose. My meals started to become very consistent, eating the same things at breakfast/lunch/dinner. This seems strange to people, with the omnipresent question, ‘don’t you get board?’ No. If you took some effort (most people stop listening here) and followed what you actually ate over a long period of time, you will see that you eat a variation on only 3 or 4 things. Accepting the boundary on meals frees your mind. You always know what is for dinner/lunch, there is no choice complexity here. More brain power for other endeavours.
The latest ritual I am looking at is sleep. As something that has always been taken for granted, there are some potentially huge upsides to unlock here. More to follow!!
What does your day look like? How much effort are you wasting in the rush to get through it? When was the last time you took stock?