Monday, February 7, 2011

20 Questions Part 2

11. Where am I wrong?
"Your ego wants you to avoid noticing where you may have bad information or unworkable ideas."

I think this is most helpful in personal relationships, such as with a spouse. I am wrong when I think "woe-is-me, I have it so hard." I don't.

12. What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?
"Every time you choose social acceptance over your heart's desires, or financial gain over ethics, or your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience, you're making a similar deal. Don't."

This is definitely something I considered when I chose to go to Kris Carr's book signing. At first I thought I probably wouldn't go. I'd just get home, get cozy and not want to go out. But then I realized it wasn't worth missing! So I went and I'm glad I did. It's the same with going to the gym. I had the best yoga workout yesterday and I almost didn't go.

13. Am I the only one struggling not to {fart} during {yoga}?
"Substitute your greatest shame-fear: crying at work, belching in church, throwing up on the prime minister of Japan. Then know you aren't alone. Accepting this is a bold step toward mental health and a just society."

I hadn't read this question before I mentioned yoga, but I certainly thought about this last night! I actually had a great yoga instructor the first time I ever took the class and she actually said not to worry if it happens. I had a terribly embarrassing incident in middle school gym class concerning farts and sit ups. Reading this blog post reminded me, but also made me feel better about it. Of course, it's one thing to have such an incident happen as a preteen and another to have it happen as an adult. Take today, for instance. I had sweat marks on my shirt and it was more noticeable than usual, so I put a sweater on to cover it up. As I did so I chastised myself for even worrying about it, but then I told myself that if it makes me feel better to wear the sweater then I shouldn't give myself a hard time. (Do you have this much inner dialogue with yourself?) I have gotten over a LOT of stuff while growing up and am less embarrassed about faux pas now than when I was younger. Still, I obviously have some growing to do.

14. What do I love to practice?
"Some psychologists believe that no one is born with any particular talent and that all skill is gained through practice. Studies have shown that masters are simply people who've practiced a skill intensely for 10,000 hours or more. That requires loving—not liking, loving—what you do. If you really want to excel, go where you're passionate enough to practice."

My answer is obvious to those who know me: art. But why don't I do it more? And there's another question.

15. Where could I work less and achieve more?
"To maximize time spent practicing your passions, minimize everything else. These days you can find machines or human helpers to assist with almost anything. Author Timothy Ferriss "batches" job tasks into his famous "four-hour workweek." My client Cindy has an e-mail ghostwriter. Another client, Angela, hired an assistant in the Philippines who flawlessly tracks her schedule and her investments. Get creative with available resources to find more time in your life and life in your time."

I left this entire quote in because I find it kind of ridiculous. The examples are a little over-the-top compared to the life of an average person. No ghost writer for me. But then again, I don't get more emails than I can manage. I think I do a pretty good job of using my time wisely at work. I utilize my planning periods to type up handouts, worksheets and tests. I grade in the time after school before my girls are done their activities. All this makes it easy to focus on other things outside of work: exercise, dinner, my family and their activities, play practice. I don't bring much work home, if any.

16. How can I keep myself absolutely safe?
"Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer: You can't. Life is inherently uncertain. The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi-life, but to develop courage. Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this."

This goes along with "why worry?" I want to travel, I want to drive to new places, I want to fly in a plane. If I worry about the dangers, it won't be enjoyable.

17. Where should I break the rules?
"If everyone kept all the rules, we'd still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery, and public hangings. The way humans become humane is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book, where the justice of a situation lies."

I was once asked this question in a job interview: "What would you do if you didn't understand why there was a certain rule? Would you have a problem adhering to the rule?" I responded that I'd uphold the rule, but if I was curious or didn't understand the purpose I would ask just so I would be better informed. It was easy enough to answer. "Rules are made to be broken" jumped into my head, but of course I wasn't going to joke in a job interview!

On a larger scale, there are two rules that I would like to be changed: gay marriage and legalization of marijuana. Not allowing two consenting adults to have legal rights in a civil union is against freedom. Why do I want a DRUG legalized? Because I want it regulated (i.e. not in the hands of 13 year olds) and because it is on the same level as alcohol. A student once asked me if it were to be legalized would the legal age be 18 like cigarettes. I told him that it would more likely be 21, the same as alcohol. Why? they asked. Because it's a mind altering substance! It kills brain cells! Same as alcohol. That's why children and teenagers who have developing minds and bodies should not use either substance. (BTW, I did not share my thoughts on this subject. A student just asked me the question. They must have been talking about it before class.)

18. So say I lived in that fabulous house in Tuscany, with untold wealth, a gorgeous, adoring mate, and a full staff of servants...then what?
"We can get so obsessed with acquiring fabulous lives that we forget to live."

I can't deny I think "if only I had more $." I'm not dreaming a crazy fantasy of wealth and luxury, but seriously, what if I didn't have to worry about finances. How would that change the focus of my life. I would be less restricted and I'd probably have more crap (clothes, shoes, manicures, etc.), but would it really improve my life? Would it improve yours? My answer is "no." I have what I need and I have people I love and who love me. I really do not need any more than that.

19. Are my thoughts hurting or healing?
"Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering. Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness. "

I agree 100%!!! This is something I am trying to ingrain in my children, especially S, who is a victim of "stinkin' thinkin'" much of the time. A few years ago I told her we all have energy and it can be positive or negative. After exercising, I explained, I felt full of positive energy and her whining and complaining was giving me negative energy. Her response was, "I don't believe in that." Ha! She's finally getting it, though.

20. Really truly: Is this what I want to be doing?
"It's been several seconds since you asked this. Ask it again. Not to make yourself petulant or frustrated—just to see if it's possible to choose anything, and I mean any little thing, that would make your present experience more delightful. Thus continues the revolution."

Actually, it's been a few days since I first answered this question. Today was a pretty easy day, as far as my job is considered, which makes it even easier to say "Yes! Coming to work every day IS what I want to be doing!" But even on days that are less enjoyable (or even awful) I still want to be doing this job.

Let me put the focus on my life outside of work. Is going to the gym what I want to be doing? Yes. Is blogging what I want to be doing? Yes. Is watching a Disney movie with my kids what I want to be doing? No, not at first, but then I realize it can be fun. Is cooking dinner what I want to be doing? Yes. Is going to bed each night with the person I chose to spend every day of my life with what I want to be doing? Y-E-S!

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