Anatomy of a Moment

Patience has not always been my strongest point.

For me, the flipside of enthusiasm is invariably impatience. Quite often I find that when I’m feeling most motivated and energised, my patience levels evaporate.You’d think energy and motivation would be good things. But the impacts of reacting instinctively, without pause, can range from simply missing opportunities to a blazing row.

The other form of impatience that I’d like to address is the one born of being self absorbed or introverted. The sort of impatience that says we don’t have time to talk to the person in the street carrying out a survey or raising money for charity. Or the impatience that turns down the offer of a cup of tea or something similar at work, for fear of getting drawn into a long conversation or the expectation of having to reciprocate (heaven forbid!). I’ve found myself being guilty of all of the above but the strange thing is that almost every time, I regret it when it’s too late and the moment has gone.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’, he talks about “taking charge of the first two seconds”.

“Every moment… is composed of a series of discrete moving parts, and every one of those parts offers an opportunity for intervention, for reform, and for correction”

Opening the fridge the other day, this carton design (by Innocent) reminded me of the idea.

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In an attempt to do something about it, I’ve been trying meditation. It’s not hard to find suggestions about how to meditate on the Net. For a superb, comprehensive and simple guide, the best I’ve found so far is contained in HHDL’s “How To See Yourself As You Really Are”

Peter Bregman’s excellent HBR blog talks about another benefit of meditation that is increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.

Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance.”

After attempting and giving up in the past I’ve been making a more concerted effort over the past few days to set aside time. This means an hour or so before the rest of the family wakes up in the morning and ten minutes or so before a planned meeting, especially one-to-one sessions. So far so good. I’ve not missed a morning session yet and I have noticed myself being more positive, calm and focused. But above all, I do feel more patient and in control of those first 2-3 seconds. Just got to keep it up now!

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Journey Inwards

It feels as though I’ve reached a turning point and the start of something new.

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With questions about “why?”, “what’s the purpose?” and “where are we headed?”, I’ve been digging into some new and old philosophical and psychological literature.

Before Christmas, I attended  an intense workshop with Charles Eisenstein and the thought provoking Meaning Conference (see previous post).

In December, we took eight weeks out to travel to the other side of the World; I turned 40; and completed five years at my current job. This year we will have been married for 10 years, with a whole new focus.

Three weeks ago I embarked on a stripped down diet removing gluten, sugar, meat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol (although I have to confess to one or two spectacular descents from the wagon on the latter!)

And this week I attended an enlightening four day leadership and self awareness exploration.

Without doubt, I’m more at the beginning of a journey than the end. I think it may be what Jung describes as a process of “individuation”. What’s been interesting so far is the deep realisation that much of what I thought was true may not be quite so certain, especially in terms of what I think others need versus what they actually need. Similarly, I’m finding out more about what I need, both consciously and unconsciously. It’s been illuminating, shining a light on the blind spots.

What’s also dawning on me is that, paradoxically, the way forward to achieving a deeper understanding of what’s inside requires the help of others.

Be Bald

I’m shaving my head.

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I’m doing this because my wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I’d like to support her and others facing cancer. The treatments will take 5 years or more and one of the side effects is hair loss.

At the time when we found out, I knew very little about cancer and I had no idea that more than 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed in their lifetime. So for me, it’s as much about raising awareness and confronting the social challenges as it is about raising funds for better prevention, care and treatments.

I’ve set up a Just Giving page here with any donations going to Cancer Research UK. There are lots of other great charities and ways to show support.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, be bald! 🙂