work or play?

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I must finish my work before I can play

or

I can play anytime I like

Which of these is more you?

Often when I ask a room of people to make their choice, the room divides.

Those choosing the former, talk of not being able to enjoy their relaxation or play until the work is done. The list of jobs needs to be ticked off. Completing the work is in itself enjoyable. The play is a reward for completing the work. They sometimes mention responsibility or duty.

Those choosing the latter, talk of performing better when they have had down time, play or relaxation. They speak of choice. They describe making work into play, to increase their enjoyment.

Occasionally someone stands between the two, recognising a different stance in different circumstances, such as work or home.

I’ve never experienced someone not knowing.

I don’t recall the lesson in school where we learned this? I don’t recall the conversation with mum or dad, where they explained the pros and cons or the virtues of each approach?

It seems we just know. Somehow in life, we have learned through experience. That learning is often so well ingrained we don’t even see a possible alternative. It just is.

There are many opposites like this, not just work and play, where we have a position, a life stance. Many, I suspect, we have never been consciously taught which is best, we have just absorbed this into our existence, our way of being.

Weird eh? Enabling sometimes, disabling at other times. Strange that such life impacting choices seem invisible, out of conscious awareness. They just are.

they’re your rules, believe it or not

truth

We all have beliefs.

I’m not referring here to spiritual, religious beliefs. I refer instead to the invisible beliefs we hold about the world, about who we are and about what we are capable of.

I’m referring to the truths we hold, sometimes consciously, but mostly out of consciousness, such as “I can’t sing”, or “I’m not beautiful”, or “People are amazing” or “If I set my mind to it, I can achieve anything”, or “I’m stupid”, or “Working hard brings rewards”.

Such beliefs are typically generalisations, typically unconscious patterns, meta to our experience. They can be enabling, or they can be limiting. They act as a post-hypnotic suggestion and they direct future behaviour to confirm them.  They provide context, meaning, causation, structure and as such are irrefutable.  We will deny their inaccuracy, even in the face of cognitive evidence. They are in effect our own personal rules of the world.

Take “Working hard brings rewards”. A generalisation, in that it assumes always. A generalisation in that it doesn’t define work, or how hard, or what rewards? But, someone believing this, will work hard, they will, in all likelihood, value the rewards that work brings and justify or explain those as being earned by the hard work. The ‘truth’ of the belief, or personal world rule, is both acted out now and assumed to be required in future – after all, its truth is without doubt, its cause and effect undeniable, its outcome inevitable – such is the nature of a belief.

Meanwhile, work that doesn’t bring rewards, or rewards unconnected with working hard, may be dismissed as of little note, or simply go unnoticed. The belief could be enabling, in that it provides motivation, the believer will doubtless work hard, will attain and will get rewards. It could also be limiting, in that the believer will probably give up leisure time, family time, time for self and may be pressured with a weight of reward earning responsibility, or may burn out over time.

So what do you believe?  Do you know?

How do your beliefs enable you and how do they limit you?

 

learning blind

mylearningplan

What could you never learn?

Make a list.

It’s easy to begin with skills and knowledge – we often equate learning to what we know and what we can do. I for instance would find it hard to ski jump.  I don’t like heights, feeling out of control or physically hurting myself, which all seem to me possibilities with ski jumping.

But explore further. Maybe you could never learn to behave a certain way, or to feel certain things?  Maybe you could never learn to be calm? Or to physically strike someone for example?

Maybe you could never learn to believe something or to value something – maybe you could never learn to be envious of material wealth for example? Maybe you could never learn to love red meat?

Maybe you could never learn to be a different person in some way? Maybe being a racist is beyond your learning capability? Or to take a life?

What we are blind to learning tells us a lot.

Be curious.  What does it say about you?

buildings wear hats now

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There are many new buildings being erected nearby.  It’s interesting to see the construction and in particular one common feature I have noticed. They all have an ‘add on’ on the roof, to house, I presume, the heating and ventilation equipment.

I guess many years ago, such ‘hats’ on our buildings weren’t required?

It’s possible to see the pipe work and cabling in the guts of the building, criss crossing the currently naked ceilings. An infrastructure to support the future comforts, efficiency and effectiveness of the eventual inhabitants. Of course once they take up their positions, this wiring and plumbing will remain invisible and only the fruits of its work will be in evidence to the people interacting and achieving inside this house of work.

Many of the things which enable us to work as individual human beings are equally set up thus.

Much, created as we were being built. Now invisible. Sometimes keeping us comfortable and enabling us to be at our best. Sometimes having the reverse effect, limiting us and making us in some way uncomfortable.

We don’t have the luxury of simply removing the ceiling tiles and being able to maintain or improve this infrastructure. Well, not easily. In truth much remains hidden to us.

Maybe time to check under your hat?

 

can you imagine…?

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What if Brussels sprouts were square?
What if turkey meat was blue?
What if parsnips tasted of coconut?

Believable things? Maybe, maybe not. But you can imagine them.

What if next Christmas you were more aware of what you do and why?
What if next Christmas you knew your purpose in life, why you are here?
What if next Christmas you understood more about your unconscious beliefs and motivations; what made some things possible and some things hard for you?

What if knowing these things gave you more choice, more freedom, more joy?

Imagine that.

Merry Christmas

image by t1na (deviantart.com)

just what is unacceptable?

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Spitting shells of nuts out on a packed train?
Breaking wind in a lift?
Stealing food so you can eat?
Wishing ill of someone?
Swearing in a public place?
Eating with your mouth open?
Undertaking on a motorway?
Borrowing a book and not returning it?
Sex in a public place?
Judging someone’s dress sense?
Judging someone’s accent?
Drinking too much?
Dressing your dog in clothes?
Not being able to spell?
Wearing double denim?
Getting into debt?
Certain tattoos?
Not sharing a gift of chocolates?
Talking about someone behind their back?
Not visiting your old, lonely relative?
Speeding?
Wearing the same socks twice?
Claiming expenses you aren’t owed?
Not washing your hands in the bathroom?
Rude fruit and vegetables?
Cleaning your ear and then eating the wax?
Not sending Christmas cards?
Not showering in the morning?
Taking the last malteser?
Not letting the wine breathe?
Not looking both ways before crossing the road?
Thinking you’re better than someone?
Wishing you had a better life?
Blaming others that you don’t?
Accepting your lot?
Not knowing who you are?
Not caring?
Giving up?
Judging the woman spitting shells of nuts out on a packed train?

does Father Christmas exist?

belief future Christmas
When I was a child I believed in Father Christmas.

In part because my parents told the tale and I believed in them. I trusted them as parents. As adults.

In part also because it served me well. I was rewarded. Brightly wrapped presents, sweets and other childhood delights were bestowed upon my compliance. My letter to Santa, brought me gifts.

In part also because everyone else in my child world believed too. I was fitting in by believing, rather than being outside the group.

*Spoiler alert* I don’t believe in Father Christmas now; although I perpetuated the myth with my own children when they were small.

Our beliefs about the world change over time. So too our beliefs about ourselves.

What I believed about work when I was 12 was quite different to what I believed twenty years later at 32. What I believed about the value of money has shifted again in the last twenty years. Certainly my beliefs about girls were very different at 12 to those I held at 22. My beliefs at 40 about human beings, compassion, possibilities are quite different to those my sixteen year old self held. My beliefs about what is important have shifted too. So too my beliefs about my abilities. And much more.

The point here is that our beliefs change over time.

I wonder how would it be if we set an intent to shift a belief in advance? Rather than it shifting simply through the ageing process and maturity, as a result of situation, life experience, context. What if we decided now, what we wanted to believe in say a decade?

What do I want to believe in ten years about money, about fun, about time, about learning, about being healthy, about happiness, about relaxing, about pleasure, about society, about religions, about conflict, about equality, about difference, about humanity?

Can I in some way change my future if I set out, now, to have a different belief about these things in my own future?

Maybe different gifts are possible? Not those delivered by Father Christmas, but by increasing my awareness of myself and by setting out to believe different things about me and the world I live in… what might be?

Now that, might be worth wrapping with a bow.