“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’.”
I am a little under the weather today so here is another reprint.
Ray’s Daily first published on July 8, 2008
Lately a few of our readers have told me how hard it is to walk away from the burdens they carry. I wonder sometimes if we just are conditioned to feel like every minute must be filled with duty, responsibility and reflection. I also find that many of the people I spend time with are locked into their world and just don’t know how to break out of it, unfortunately many of these good people are unhappy and if the truth be known are lonely as well. Well today I have some good news I found the following piece written by Scott Young a university student who writes about productivity, habits and self-improvement. He reminds us that it is perfectly alright to devote some of our time to what he suggests are unproductive pursuits. I don’t totally agree with the unproductive label for I think what he is offering to us is the opportunity to devote some vital time to our effort to recharge and enjoy life. Here is what he wrote:
The Art of Laziness – How to Be Happily Unproductive
- Get a Hobby – Pick up a creative activity that doesn’t have any goals attached. This is something that you enjoy doing, but doesn’t have the looming deadlines, schedule or to-do lists that is common to your workplace. I know corporate executives that manage to squeeze twenty minutes a day into their hobby and love it.
- Learn a Skill – Learning can be incredibly enjoyable when there is no GPA, performance evaluations or letter grades. Try learning a new language, take up martial arts or learn public speaking.
- Store Opportunities – How often do you see a flyer for an event or activity, but dismiss it because you don’t have the time? My suggestion is to save those interesting activities so that you can apply them when you do have time. Prepare opportunities for your time off in advance.
- Write Your Book – I’ve heard statistics that say 8 out of 10 people would like to write a book in their lifetime. Perhaps now is the time to start working on the first draft. I’ve found personal projects like these can be an enjoyable diversion from the externally imposed goals of work or school.
- Exercise – If you don’t like running or going to the gym, don’t force yourself. But there are many different interesting sports and activities that can move your body. Exercising can releases hormones in your brain which improve your mood.
- Always Have a Book – Unsatisfied with channel flipping? Having a book (not just reading blogs) requires you to use your brain. Light reading can be a great way to stay engaged without burning yourself out.
- Use Your Social Circle – Conversing with friends is actually a fairly complex mental task, requiring you to read signals and body language, think fast and respond to comments.
- Games – Games have been around long before Nintendo came around. The prevalence of games in most cultures is probably because playing games is a challenging mental task that produces a state of flow. Learning and playing a game can provide an engaging environment without the stress.
- Create Something – Creativity is often seen as having good ideas. But if you look at the root word of creativity, create, then creativity can be seen as simply building something new. Pick something small, but meaningful, to create. Spending an hour or two working building something can be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.
- Appreciate – I’m sure I’m not alone in that I like listening to music to relax. Improving upon this would be trying to go deeper into the music you are listening or the art you are looking at. Try to appreciate how different elements work together and build on each other. This can be a more engaging experience than simply building off your first impression.
- Be in the Now – Focus on whatever you are experiencing in the moment. This sounds trivial at first, but it is actually incredibly difficult to sustain. Being in the now is what Eckhart Tolle believes to be the secret to happiness. Concentrating on your muscles, senses or the environment around you takes mental effort when buffeted by distracting thoughts.
- Work on Yourself – I’m sure few of us can claim that 100% of our time is used exactly how we would like it to be. Commitments with work, family and school can mean that a sizable portion of your time is working on goals that aren’t entirely your own. Spending your free time working on yourself, your habits, your goals and your projects can take more energy but can ultimately make your free time more rewarding.
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”
A grandmother was pushing her grandchild around Wal-Mart in a buggy.
Each time she put something in the basket, she would say, “And here’s something for you, Diploma” or, “This will make a cute little outfit for you, Diploma” and so on.
Eventually, a bewildered shopper who had heard all this, finally asked, “Why do you keep calling your grandchild Diploma?”
The grandmother replied, “I sent my daughter to college and this is what she came home with!”
“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.”
Norman Vincent Peale
My wife was in labor with our first child. Things were going pretty well when suddenly, she began to shout, “Shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t, can’t!”
“Doctor, what’s wrong with my wife?!”
“Nothing. She’s just having contractions.”
A bill collector came to my house the other day, so I gave him a huge stack of old bills.
A gentleman was having some physical problems and his doctor told him that he had to drink warm water with Epsom salts one hour before breakfast. At the end of a week he returned and the doctor asked if he was feeling better. The man said that he actually felt worse.
“Did you drink warm salt water an hour before breakfast each day?” the Doc asked.
“No,” replied the man somberly, letting out a sigh. “I could only do about 15 minutes!”
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
After a trial had been going on for three days, Finley, the man accused of committing the crimes, stood up and approached the judge’s bench. “Your Honor, I would like to change my plea from ‘innocent’ to ‘guilty’ of the charges.”
The judge angrily banged his fist on the desk. “If you’re guilty, why didn’t you say so in the first place and save this court a lot of time and inconvenience?” he demanded.
Finley looked up wide-eyed and stated, “Well, when the trial started I thought I was innocent, but that was before I heard all the evidence against me.”
To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.
Because my mother had a habit of losing her cordless phone, I bought her a phone with a clip on it, so she could attach it directly to her belt.
A few days later, I walked into my mother’s home and found her standing in the middle of the living room, halfway dressed. That didn’t strike me as odd so much as the fact that she was holding her pants to the side of her head and speaking into them.
“Don’t look at me that way,” she yelled. “The phone started ringing and I couldn’t figure out how to undo this stupid clip!”
I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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