The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
Speaking of time, the one good thing that comes out of my long-haul plane journeys is the time to think about my next blog post. Over the years, I have observed the behaviour of others and myself and noticed a few things that I thought is worth taking the time to write about.
Sometimes life does just come in the way: as we grow up, have new goals, duties, move around the world, get jobs, priorities change or we want to achieve new heights. All of which often result in even more responsibilities. The opportunity cost is often: our time. Although we are all apparently meant to live until 90 (so I have heard), we do not know how long we will actually live, so time is in fact limited, so we need to spend it wisely. Sorry to lower the tone...
When you do not or cannot give something (or someone) your time, it is worth asking yourself if you have genuinely prioritised them in your life in the first place. Sometimes, we are genuinely spread thin and it is impossible to give our time to others or our long to-do lists, but a routine check is always helpful when it comes to ensuring we do not neglect vital people or duties etc. with further consequences.
Physical vs. Virtual time
Sometimes beggars cannot be choosers. We all know that there is nothing better than a good catch up with someone close to us, in person (in most cases), but some contact is better than none, right?
Despite how much the media and even mobile software tell us to get off our phones and minimise screen-time, technology has enabled us to stay close to people, much faster. Whether it is one emoji or GIF or photo via instant messages, text messages (for those dinosaurs out there), video or audio calls, we have plenty of ways to share our time with those we would like to (or have to). Although it is not quite as having dinner with someone or the hand-written letter from your grandma, it is something.
If we look at the time we give ourselves, I know at least three people who have gym memberships for several months, but have not been more than a few times. Apart from being a total waste of money, it shows how they are not giving time to themselves or their plans to get fitter or healthier (or generally feel good).
Determined to do (something).
âWhere there is a will, there is a way.
This modified version of a proverb from the 1600s was hammered into our heads by our father, when my brother and I were growing up.
It is true, though.
If you really want to make an effort with a project, a challenge, a person or relationship... you will do everything you can to make it happen. If you become complacent about it, and your intent is weak, it probably will not happen or may not happen soon, and if it happens, it may not be that great.
The reason behind that could be that the intention was not strong enough, or was not really there in the first place.
The process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.
We need to have the intention to give time, then we need to act in order to make things happen. Whether it involves keeping our loved ones happy, or becoming healthier, getting a promotion, changing our lives around to do what we love, we can act on it by:
1. Writing it down;
2. Giving ourselves a deadline;
3. Doing something about it.
When someone prints out a list of flights for your next trip and leaves it on the table, or cooks your favourite dish the day you come back from a long journey, or bakes you cake when you are sad, or puts your name on their university coursework when they know how busy you are interviewing for a job... they are acting on their intentions to give you their time.
They do not always have to come to you and say: Look what I do for you. They just do it. They act.
Once we have figured out how much time we intend to give something or someone, we could use the SMART rule for these goals to actually (or be more likely to) happen:
To conclude, I hope I have been able to go slightly beyond stating the obvious, that when we seriously want something, or someone, or for something to happen, we should do anything except nothing.
The equation is simple:
Time + Intention + Action = Outcome
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A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.
There are several causes of anger and it’s important to know how to understand it and manage it. When something doesn't go our way or feels unfair in life, inevitably many of us can become angry.
You know the feeling of a ‘switch’ that flicks itself on when something happens and all you can feel is an excessive build up of (negative) energy. Muscles tense, hearts race and there’s the urge to do or say something with immediate action. In extreme circumstances, people can shout, break things, do or say things that they may regret in future and more.
In moments like this, I wish I was a monk. But I’m not, and if you’re not either, what we can do is learn how to try and manage ourselves and our reactions when we become angry, while living a normal life so we use our misplaced energy and actions correctly.
There’s a book by Dr. Gary Chapman: Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion, which highlights that when you’re angry, you should:
If we take the necessary time to keep our anger under control and ask the right questions, we could be closer to a more positive and constructive response. At least more often than never.
keep calm and speak up
Not everyone reacts positively to this idealistic behaviour, even if we were to follow the steps we mentioned here.
Sometimes people can continue to be unfair, rude, hurtful, etc. This is when we should say what we think is fair and if it’s not reciprocated well, we should step away from the situation and make peace with the fact that it was unproductive and ineffective to try and resolve the issue, at least for the time being.
Having said that, it’s important that we do confront some situations. Whether this is done at that moment or at another point in time, soon after the event. We should aim to remain calm and if need be, assertive (not aggressive).
Another approach that could help us calm down is visualisation or meditation, which I'm sure our monk friends would agree with.
Visualising a positive outcome (rather than the worst case scenario) and avoiding a vicious circle of more negative, angry thoughts that could add fuel to an argument, as well as meditating with deep breaths (this could work alongside counting till ten), even for a couple of minutes, can help diffuse the flame inside us.
This obviously takes some time and practice. I have personally felt the positive immediate effects myself (probably just once or twice... but it's a start!)
“Imagine yourself being grounded as the energy passes from you into the earth below and is transformed from negative to positive, from dark to light.” - DailyOm
I don’t believe anger is always wrong and it’s often likely that our values and beliefs have been violated, which is why we react automatically and also when we should decide to do something about it.
Some of the positive outcomes of anger could include:
We’re only human, so as long as we try to manage our natural reactions to external events, we have done our bit.
Maybe even monks get angry, after all, but probably less and they are most likely to be better experienced at dissolving the anger quickly and turning it into positive energy, acceptance and so on.
We just need to decide: when or what we say or react and how.
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