Slow Down

Dear reader,

we live in a culture who tells us that we are only all right when and if we are constantly developing, changing, adapting, moving and growing.

I think this makes us miserable.

Several reasons to underpin this thesis. First is quite obvious: the world keeps telling us that no matter how well we perform today, we will have to do more the next year or month. Be more productive, innovative, creative, responsive, agile, be it whatever adjective you choose. We will always have to do something else, something additional. This way we are never good enough and in case we fail, guess who is to blame. Nobody else but ourselves. Because we live in a world where we can become whoever we want to be, we can reach to the highest mountain of dreams, only if we choose to do so.

Second, based on the first, we are not allowed to stop and put down our roots. We are not allowed to take a breath, admit that we have had enough and that we want to live a stable and secure life.

Strivings towards excessive self growth is nothing but a capitalistic discourse undercover. Self help and self development industry is not there to help you live a fulfilled life worth living. It is trying to turn you into a consumer, be it by telling you that you have to invest in yourself by either being enrolled in dozens of courses and fitnesses, buying goji berries and maca shakes or strive towards constant progress and growth.

How about we look out for an alternative for a change. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Sometimes you are already giving your maximum, so perhaps it is time that you tap yourself on your shoulder and say to yourself that you have done a good job. And you do not have to do more. Instead it might be perfectly all right to spend an evening out with your dog or friends, or watch telly or have that fattening meal out.

We are not machines. We are human beings. And as such far far from being perfect. And we will all die. One day all of our aspirations and hard work will be forgotten. Once you are in your fast lane before dying, it won’t matter how much you have accomplished. It won’t matter that you know everything about yourself (or others). It won’t matter that you were always rushing, always trying to exceed yourself. Because you will die anyway, same as everyone else will.

I don’t know what a definition of a good life is. But I am sure that self help and self development movement does not aim at that. It only wants you to become what you already are – an obeying consumer.

Your life. Your choice. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Biba

IMG_0739.JPG

From our Coaching for Change training course in 2016. We couldn’t care less about progress 🙂 

Just Do It!

Dear reader,

I’m burying my morning run sneakers today. They’ve served me well for more than 4 years and as from today, they will rest in peace. I discovered holes on both sides of both shoes and as I was thinking about all the mornings and miles we run together and all the ideas I got while wearing them, they’ve inspired me for this post.

For a while now, I’m writing a chapter in my thesis about identity and self-concept that comes with it. I do this, because it is important to understand how identities are shaped in order to later on understand activation of stereotypes and prejudice. It’s fascinating how our contemporary world is imbued with concerns about the Self, from within the Self and for the Self. The self-help industry and happiness industry are thriving as we are sinking deeper and deeper into isolation and lack of trust on one hand and try to cultivate sometimes even super powers, skills and competencies on the other, all in order to prosper, make progress/profit or to impress people who often don’t even care about us.

What about our character? Our moral responsibility for this world? Our sensitization for injustice? We are too busy finding ourselves and we get lost in overthinking (a nice word for that is ruminating). We forget that overthinking often leads to negative thoughts and can even detach you from your basic life purpose. We don’t become good by thinking about being good. We don’t master a certain skill or learn a new habit if we only think about it. We don’t solve our problems with our partner if we analyse our relationship until there’s nothing left to analyse. We don’t find ourselves by constantly being soaked in our thoughts and by spending every second we have, focusing on ourselves.

That’s, in most cases, a mere waste of time. Time you’ll never get back.

As usual, this is nothing new to discover. I’m always impressed how we as mankind have learned so little and that the Greek philosophers have figured most things out already.

If you want to get on with your life, get moving. Go, stand up now and DO all the things you are thinking about doing. Or simply stop thinking and start doing. Aristotle suggested this, as he said:

We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.”

Character is forming through doing, through engaging with others in meaningful conversations, through getting on with your life, wherever that may be. So put away your self-help book and go out. Stop thinking about all that could have been or all bad things that have happened to you and call somebody who is about to celebrate their birthday and ask them what they want for a present. You don’t need a therapist to “fix” you. You don’t need an expert to tell you how to live your life. You just need to start DOING things and through doing things that are meaningful for you and have benefits for the community, you’ll shape your character in terms of self-respect, courage, moral responsibility and empathy. If it scares you, good. It means it is worth it. If you have doubts, great. It means you are doing something challenging. Are you afraid you’ll fail? You probably will at least sometimes, and that’s awesome, because you can’t learn if you don’t fail every now and then. Don’t follow others who want to make you a happiness industry consumer. Go figure out what makes YOU getting on with your life. And figure it out by just doing it.

What difference would that make for you?

bajbaj shoes

Meet my sneakers. They will go to a trashcan now, but the story will stay on the web probably forever. They might even get famous!