So guys, my thoughts get constipated and, well, as if Twitter and Instagram and tolerant friends aren’t enough, I have to let it out somewhere. I totally forgot what I made a blog for in the first place. Wasn’t that what blogs were made for, to journal with? I try to excruciatingly organize my thoughts, pressure my writing and catch myself going, ‘but, you have no intention of getting famous for this, why are you so worked up?’
Haha, long story short, I needed an outlet, but I refuse to put stuff down on paper. My hands get shaky, I don’t understand my own handwriting, plus my thoughts flash like the speed of lightning and my grandma fingers can’t chase them with a pen. And I’m putting this up here because someone might just get something out of it, even just a teeny-weeny bit of wisdom would be a great pleasure. It’s your fault, my friends. You guys encourage me to babble too much.
Kidding aside, I want to start writing a weekly roundup of some nice thoughts. I hope they spark something in some way.
It’s okay to take your time in the shower
I know too many people who live and breathe their work. They toil heavily over the daily routine (which may be, yes, enjoyable; even addicting), which may be problematic–compromising their physical, mental, spiritual (existential) and emotional health. In doing so, they end up fighting the fire without preparing for the approaching hurricane. Undue stress arises because there is no time to re-process and re-orient their direction.
Such is why, although seemingly counter-productive, idle time may be extremely beneficial. By idle time, I mean a combination of 1) allowing our thoughts to free flow and 2) analyzing our patterns of thought and behavior (a reflection). The point is that we allot time to allow our minds to rest so that ideas can breathe and ‘mingle’ with each other. Like a river, allow them to meander effortlessly, adapting, and at their own time and pace.
Did you ever have an epiphany in the shower? Start a revolution from your toilet seat? Scramble for your phone to take down a note as you drive? Traffic can be a good way to massage knowledge into ideas, it could turn into a conversation between you and yourself. We who constantly press ourselves to become productive don’t want to stop working or learning, without properly processing or internalizing, which is what free-thinking allows. One might’ve acquired vast amounts of knowledge in a week (technology breeds overstimulation!!), and it might be too much, too crowded in our heads that there’s almost no room for us to process it into application. There is no remaining space and time for thoughts to process into original ideas, which is what differs us from the intelligent machines we’ve become so crazy about. It’s ironic how we fashion ourselves after the latter.
We must push past the friction and realize that the pleasure of rest and relaxation may spell the difference between zero achievement and meaningful contribution.
The things I learn from exercise
I went on jog earlier tonight and I LOVED it. The stimulating, euphoric feeling of the wind on my body as I translate stress into physical energy. I pushed on to move my legs consistently, as One Tree Hill’s theme song plays in the background, I don’t wanna be anything other than what I’ve been tryna be lately. Without realizing, I pushed myself to run farther than planned, not with short bursts, but by sailing through with the same pace throughout. As I ran, almost breathless but feeling triumphant, I took it as a metaphor for my life’s work: exerting consistent, moment-by-moment effort was more meaningful than sprinting to the point of breathlessness. In the economy of true success–as defined by our inner spirit, endurance is more important than speed.
A reminder on hiring
As an employer, there comes a point when you’re so out of options that you find it so tempting to settle on mediocre talent. Where do we find the right people? We’ve yet to answer this question years after holding office. This week was a massive reminder not to scrimp on good and promising people, who will, in fact, generate a higher return on investment than otherwise.
Employ for purpose, remember that you’re providing an opportunity for self-fulfillment, so choose wisely those whom you believe deserves a fighting chance in life, and help them build a bright future for themselves. What a great advocacy it is, and what benefit it brings to surround yourself with people you can learn from, with people who complement your skills and fill the gaps.
Listen twice as much as you talk (or consider not talking at all)
One of my greatest joys is listening to people talk passionately about something I am not familiar with. They’re able to build colorful pictures in my head about what they do. Meaning suddenly exists in a once-esoteric concept. Another piece of the puzzle has been put in its place. In the midst of my fascination lies a bit of envy over the depth of their knowledge, however. How I wish I could one day become a subject-matter expert, and be the go-to person for discipline x.
Then, it hit me. I put so much pressure on myself by wanting to be ridiculously good at something without any experience to back it up. I pictured myself talking knowledgeably and convincingly about something, like a TED speaker would, knowing my inner motivation was mostly to show off what I know, this early on in life. What have I really done for me to deserve recognition? And shouldn’t the fulfillment of what I’ve done be enough, despite not receiving credit for it?
I realized: I would be in a much better place if I did the reverse. Instead of having to talk about something I already know so well and is second-nature and can be boring if done over and over again, I am more engaged, learned, and fulfilled by inviting others to talk more about themselves. There is always something unique and interesting and worth learning from every person. Rather than expend energy and breath, I inhale wisdom with little effort. It is less stressful to ask than to talk, and it is a hundred times more valuable. I ought to shrug off the occasional crappy feeling of not contributing to the conversation and instead engage my curiosity, with the vigor and humility of a child. I shouldn’t pressure myself to level with accomplished people when I approach them and rather ask for a nugget of wisdom that I can hold on to for the rest of my life.
A refreshed perspective on leadership
In an episode on Curious Minds podcast, Sam Walker, a former sports editor of The Wall Street Journal, enumerated the make-up of high-performing sports teams. His findings blew my mind. Leadership was the main differentiator: it turns out that charisma, strategy, skill–all facets we were conditioned to think all great leaders have–have no bearing at all.
The findings were so unexpected, but I’m happy for the slap in the face. I haven’t read the book yet, but from the interview, I realized value of servant leadership–the genuine concern for others to grow, as translated in these behaviors: building a relationship with each one in the team, emotional maturity and control that encourages high morale, setting a prime example of incredible drive which organically inspires others to do the same, and more.
Great leaders deflect the attention, they like to work behind the scenes, they don’t scramble for the limelight. They sacrifice personal glory for the benefit of the team. What a wake-up call. What a model to follow after.
What thoughts came up as you read this entry? What’s one positive thing you learned this week? Feel free to share! Comment below or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!