The more people I talk to and interact with, the more I hear it. Oh, it isn’t necessarily the same words, the same circumstances, or the same reasons but at the core, so many of us are overwrought with fear. There are plenty of sources that we blame for it, and certainly, almost a year into a global pandemic and all of the socioeconomic repercussions and fallout take it to the top of the list.
The truth is, if we didn’t have a pandemic we would create other excuses. Although most everyone knows what they need to do to overcome it, few people actually do it. Why is the pullback to comfortable so, well, comfortable? I don’t have all of the answers but the prevalence of this phenomenon cannot be ignored, and I hope to not only expose it with this post but to give you suggestions for how to overcome it beginning today.
One of the detriments of our distracted, byte-sized addictions to all of the opportunities for distractions that exist in our world today is that I believe we have lost the ability to sit still for even a few seconds. Especially to sit still and think, without being distracted. I confess I struggle greatly with this.
I am neither proud of this, nor am I content to allow it to continue at the ever-increasing rate that it has overtaken my life in the past several years. I am committed to creating more margin in my life to be able to sit quietly and think. Indian-born philosopher and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti said this: “The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” Whoa!
My handy dictionary app on my phone (my primary distraction) defines observe: To see, watch, perceive, or notice. To regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something. Ok, let me see your hands, how many of you in the past week took time to perceive or notice something? How many in the last month regarded something with enough attention to learn something. Yeah, me either.
Let’s take it one step further. My dictionary app says this about evaluating: To determine or set the value or amount of. To judge or determine the significance, worth, or quality of. Now, this is convicting. Again, a show of hands for everyone who has not been conditioned by our world today to look at something quickly and not make a snap judgment. Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Here is the conundrum. Can we observe without evaluating? Of course, we can. But it takes patience, practice, and intentionality. Is there a place where you can go that makes this easier to do? Some room in your house, a coffee shop in town, or even just a favorite chair where you can sit and think with no distractions?
For me, there is no better place than outside in nature. I love being outdoors. Of course, a beautiful day doesn’t hurt, but even if the weather is less than perfect, I find that doing outside allows me to connect with myself and to connect with my Creator. It could be almost anywhere. I prefer the beach or a golf course but since I don’t get to do that every day, an early morning walk with my dog is a good substitute.
No matter where you do it, and how you do it, I believe we need to fight for our intelligence and create some margin to think, to ask ourselves questions, and to listen to the answers that come. I like to do this with God too. I have to admit, I don’t always get the answers I think I am looking for, but I rarely come away from such a session without feeling more relaxed, more clarity, and more purpose as I go through the rest of my day.
I’d love to hear from you. What practices work for you? What do you need to stop doing to create more margin to start thinking? What questions or comments do you have? I’d love you to share them below.
I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These highly valuable hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.
By now, I certainly hope you have figured out how much I love quotes and sayings. They sometimes may seem contrived or even pithy, but even if they are, we like them, memorize them, and most importantly, remember them. Therefore, I offer for your initial amusement, followed by a knowing acceptance, finished with a nod of gratitude the following:
Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery.
Before you accuse me of being Captain Obvious, allow me to expound slightly. Why do we (which most definitely includes I) spend so much time worrying, wishing, and wasting time thinking about the past? For that matter, ditto for the future. I have some ideas which I hope you will consider and then follow me in directing your focus where it belongs.
As we settle into the new year, I want to encourage you this week to continue to keep at the forefront of your mind those ideas, dreams, and goals you started the year with. Many people who are not reading this article and are not focused on becoming the best versions of themselves have already long forgotten all of the things they said they were going to do this year.
This brings me to my first encouragement for you in this post. Ideas are just dreams until they’re written down. If you haven’t already, it’s never too late to start but wherever you fall here, get your dreams, visions, ideas, goals, and any and everything else you want to accomplish down on paper. Got it? Good.