I read a blog about 2 months ago that looked at the excuses we all make when we rationalize doing less than great work for someone (or ourselves) – because he or she is too demanding… because this isn’t really our job … because I’m having a bad day.
Well, these days of pandemic lockdown, every day can be a bad day, and it is so very tempting to turn on the TV and stay in front of it for as long as possible, feeling helpless and controlled, over-restricted and deprived. All of us have these kinds of days in the best of times. And the reality of today is not the best of times for anyone.
Today, I had what began as a difficult meeting online. At the end of it, I’d planned on going for my (now) daily jog. But instead, I was really tempted to “take the day off”, simply chill out and forget about this blog and the studying (an opportunity I’ve picked up, given I’ve got more time). Only do what was absolutely necessary and let go of everything else.
Every once in a while, it’s OK to do just that. However, if I do it too much, it becomes a habit and I can end up missing days of living a life that makes me feel good about myself. Those days that make me feel good are the days I do quality work, either for myself or for others.
There are basically 2 kinds of things we can do that make us feel good: things that give us pleasure, and things that give us mastery. Things that give us pleasure might occasionally include watching TV and taking a break, but they will stop giving us pleasure if that’s all we do.
The things that will always give us pleasure are those things we feel we’ve earned – a long hot bath after finishing a project, or sharing a glass of wine, or being with a loved one, or going for a leisurely walk after finishing something that needed finishing. The things that give us mastery could be learning a new skill. It might be paying a bill, or cutting your bangs, or going for a jog, or writing a blog. Doing it well – with quality.
These 2 activities often, as you can see, go hand in hand. Quality work à earned pleasure. Even if all you can do that day is one piece of quality mastery for 10 or 15 minutes, rewarding yourself with one small pleasure, it makes the whole day feel worthwhile. It might also make you feel good enough about yourself to go to bed looking forward to tomorrow. Even more importantly, it’ll help you do a better, more quality job on the things you need to do today, because there won’t be anything at the back of your mind distracting you.
Now for that jog.
You don’t have to be an expert to solve big problems
Quote of the Week
“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
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