Time is a paradox. We never seem to have enough time, yet we have all the time there is. The problem is not a shortage of time, but how we choose to use the time available to us. The key is to concentrate on the essentials, and ignore the non-essentials.
“You always find time to ‘do’ what you ‘really’ want”
Your attitude is the key to achieving work-life harmony. Attitude… attitude… attitude – we hear this all the time and on a daily basis. I’ve had people who ask me to keep a ‘positive attitude’ with very little being offered in terms of ‘what?’ it means and ‘how’ to achieve it. I thought it will be a great idea to explore as to what is this attitude all about.
What constitutes an ‘Attitude’?
How do you identify someone’s attitude? Can provide you with the answer. You identify someone’s attitude only by what is observable – ‘words’ and ‘actions’. There is unfortunately nothing like a blood test which will reveal someone’s attitude.
What is important to learn however is there are underlying influences for the words and actions of people. The picture below will give you a fair idea.
Thoughts are Critical In recent years there has been an analysis of people’s attitudes toward controlling their environment. At one extreme are the “internals,” people who believe strongly that they can make a difference in their world. Although they may not be able to control everything, they believe they can at least have some mastery over the things that happen to them. At the other extreme are the “externals,” people who believe they are at the mercy of their environment. They believe they have no control or influence over the things that happen to them. They feel pushed around. They simply react to their environment – and usually complain about what happens to them. The more you believe you can control, the more you will try to control, and the more you will control. Of course, there are certain calamities that none of us can anticipate. However, letting the possibility of such disasters govern our daily behavior is self-defeating. Most of us can probably control far more than we believe we can.
Our thoughts can either ‘empower’ us or ‘disempower’ us. “The Way You Think Is The Way You Become”
Be mindful of your thoughts. Practice mindfulness. One way to identify how your thought process is ‘disempowering’ you is to observe your self-talk. Whenever you are confronted with a challenge or a problem, what is the self-talk? Is it “I can’t”; “I am not capable”; “I don’t think it’s possible”; “It’s not my responsibility”; “It’s tough luck” and so on. If such thoughts cross your mind, then you are really going to find it difficult to take charge of your life.
You have to immediately change the negative self-talk to “What can I do?”; “What skills do I need to …”; “How can I make this possible?”; “What can I do to make the difference?”. Take the help of others to catch you using these negative phrases as well, so that you can practice rephrasing and empower yourself.
Values and Beliefs Our values and belief systems play a major role in shaping our attitude towards life. You will have to re-examine those to find out if they are coming in the way of your personal growth. For example if you have been brought up in a culture where ‘questioning’ or ‘challenging’ behavior is punished and a more ‘passive’ approach is expected then it will negatively influence your work-life harmony. Some grow up in families where the roles of people are carved in stone – like men should do outdoor work, the women folk are responsible for household chores etc. I have no problem with that, but when it starts to come in the way of relationships by the way of conflicting values and interests then you are in trouble. Identify and list down the values which you believe in and examine if they are in any way contributing negatively to your work-life harmony.
Knowledge and Skills play an important role in getting a sense of harmony in life. You must not remain one dimensional. Gain knowledge other than work and in all dimensions of your life. Learn new skills. All these can help you at least to de-stress yourself in times of need. Can reduce irritability and the feeling of a loss of control. The Covid19 pandemic has exposed these holes in your life and you need to plug them soon. Those with no skills or knowledge other than work have had a tough time and have been irritable and emotionally drained.
Avoid Regrets Most of us have regrets about what we did or didn’t do in the past. Regrets are just part of life. Having regrets is not necessarily bad, unless you let them hinder the future. There are two lessons we can learn from regrets. The first point is that some regrets are irreversible. We need to think carefully about what is really important. The second point is that some regrets are partially reversible. For instance, if you regret not going to college, you can always choose to go later. However, you can’t go back to an earlier time or place and change things. We should look back and learn from the past, but we must always realize that we are free to change the future.
Self-Discipline Pays Most of us have discovered that there is a big difference between knowing what to do and doing it. We know the bridge between the two is called self-discipline, but we can’t seem to cross it. Yet, self-discipline is the significant difference between winners and those who need to try harder. It is the difference between those who achieve and those who only dream about it. Self-discipline is the key to personal freedom. It moves us from the prison of our habits and releases us to fulfill our lives.
“The way you think is the way you become” – Words and Actions are the external manifestations and a measure of your attitude.
Work on your attitude to get some ‘harmony’ in your life.