One of those Saturday nights

I thought I had done so well. I was organised: had a mate lined up; had bought tickets for a band I had been trying to see for months; and it had all fallen on the Saturday night of my week without the kids.

Saturday morning I check my Facebook messages, and another friend is inviting me to an event that night. It is something I want to go to. It is a one off. I know I will have my mind blown. I will meet some amazing new people. Do I cancel on my friend?

I decide not to cancel. I decide that the incremental growth of a friendship is more important than one night of buzz.

The day goes on. I am not at my best...it has been a week of strange news and uneven flows, and I had a late night on Friday night.

The afternoon arrives. Right when I am at the peak of my anticipation about seeing my friend and the band, he calls - can't make it. Too much work on and too stressed. I am deflated. Not only am I now unable to see him, or the band, but it is past the 10am deadline to RSVP for the other event.

I stew and brood for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. What a fuck-up.

Thankfully, despite my tendency to want to dull the pain by watching TV, I managed to go to bed at 9pm. It has not been the best day of my life, but at least I can set myself up for a good day tomorrow by getting a good night's sleep.

I sleep well, and wake feeling much better. The demons of loneliness from the night before have not completely gone, but I feel clearer and stronger, like I may be able to deal with it a little bit better.

Ready, aim, hold...

The time to hold and the time to fold...or fire.

Sometimes I know the decision that needs to be made, or the action that needs to be taken, but the timing is not right. I get a sense of it in my stomach.

Holding my nerve can be one of the hardest things to do when my head is assessing all the evidence and telling me one thing, but my intuition and gut another.

As I experience this more I trust it more, so that I do not prematurely act. 

Bias

I watched football with a friend last night. His team was playing. His team has been so good lately that I find myself on the side of whatever team they are playing against.

What was fascinating to observe was the bias he had for his team against the other team. This is not doubt not surprising, but funnily I am actually surprised when I see it played out so starkly. My smart, aware friend had a strong bias, a bias he seems to have chosen and enjoy.

My hypothesis is that this happens in other areas of our lives as well. That we choose to be biased towards or against something, or as Julius Caesar said 'Men (people) willingly believe what they wish'.

If this is true, I think we are doing something that is against our own interest. It will make us feel good for a period of time, like we are right and others are wrong. Like we are on the right track. But reality will eventually take hold.

Better to look at things with eyes open, without bias, trying to perceive reality as it is, no matter what discomfort it brings. Because as we do this we can make decisions based on the way things are, not the way we want them to be.

Deciding with mind or body

I am picking up my son from kinder. He is playing with four different wooden trucks. I walk up to him and lay down beside him.

He asks me of the four trucks, 'Which one is your favourite, Dad?'

I look at each of the trucks in turn. When I look at one of them it seems to leave me with a nicer feeling than the others. I struggle to understand why this is the case. There is nothing too different about it. I grasp for reasons. But all I am left with is an intuition that for whatever reason, this one is my favourite.

I have coffee with a friend I used to work with at a big 4 consulting firm. I am sounding him out about work opportunities. He starts describing the areas he is now working in, and most of it is around decision making and how to provide the right data for managers to make decisions, and how to understand how customers are making decisions. So much of what he talked about was about making decisions using rationality: sifting through data, weighing up pros and cons, looking at numbers.

As he talks I remember the four trucks, and  wonder if it could ever be taught in corporate circles to listen to your body when making decision.

It seems that over the past 18 months one of the big changes for me is in understanding the different ways I can make decisions. How my whole body seems to be some kind of brain, able to interpret and process information, and provide me with an answer that I don't often have words to justify.

There are times when it is best to use our rational minds for making decisions, and times when it is best to use our whole bodies, our feelings or our intuition. Trusting my body, having faith in what it is telling me even when it doesn't seem to make rational sense, is leading me in an exciting direction.

Looking responsible

I used to go to church every Sunday, and while there was a lot of not so sound thinking coming from the pulpit, every now and then there was a pearl. 

One particular Sunday a travelling preacher made a comment that has stuck with me to this day. The comment was along the lines of, as we get older, every one of us is in a large way responsible for the way we look.

I was a teenager around the time that I heard this; a time when I was incredibly self-conscious about the way I looked. I had pimples and my body was changing. I did not like the way I looked, and at the time I did not want to think that I was responsible for this.

As I think about that comment now, I realise that at this point in my life it is true - the way I look, and how healthy I am, is in a big part because of the decisions I have made. I am responsible for the way I look.

There are so many ways the decisions we make impact on how we look: the job we choose; the food we eat; the way we move; the scars we have; the plastic surgeon we choose.

Something I realised recently is that even the lines on my face I am responsible for. I meditate regularly, and have become aware of different poses I hold on my face, usually in an unconscious way. I have a particularly big furrow between my eyes, however when I am relaxed and free of anxiety, this furrow disappears.

I don't think that we are responsible for every part of the way we look today. Obviously genes, tragedy, and the actions of other have an impact. But I find it useful and empowering to think that I have some responsibility, and therefore control, over the way I look from this point onwards.

Appetite for change

Sometimes the best option overall is not the best option for this moment. One scenario I have become aware of recently where this holds true is when there is an incumbent option, and there is effort and change required to move from the not so ideal incumbent option, to the better alternative.

If the resources required to make the change between the two options are significant, including emotional, social, logistical, and financial resources, and the resources available in these areas are depleted, then the status quo is probably the best option for this moment.

I recently had to go through this process in terms of schools for my kids. There is a school which I think would be better suited for them and is more aligned with my values. However there has been a large amount of change in my own life over the past 12 months, as well as in the kids' lives. This has depleted our resources for social, emotional and logistical change, meaning we have decided that the not so ideal school is the ideal choice for the next period of time. Until our reserves for change are renewed again. 

 

 

 

Courage is saying no to your only option

Although it can be stressful to decide between two options, your courage and conviction is really tested when you only have one option, and you know you need to so 'no' to it.

Whether it be a job, a relationship, or an event, and something inside you is telling you it is not quite right for you, it is still overwhelmingly tempting to say 'yes' to it when there is nothing else on offer.

I think that if we are able to say no at these moments we create space in our lives for things that are aligned with who we are.

I have done this recently with my job. I knew that it wasn't right for me, however I continued to use it as a security because I was afraid of not having another option ready to go. Once I backed myself to say no, my perspective changed and opened my eyes to some other opportunities around me.

I don't yet know how the story ends, but I feel like the story is now alive rather than being on life support.