Random 2023 reflections

It’s around this time when I start thinking about next year, and reflect on the past year. Below are some random reflections that popped into my head while writing.

Overcoming Overwhelm

Trying to think through the day, the week, the year, and everything that needs to be done is the worst psyche out for me. My brain believes that I can’t possibly do everything I need to or everything I have planned, and it starts trying to talk me out of stuff or come up with reasons not to do things.

To deal with this, the “no-lists philosophy” I have always had has changed. I now use lists so that I can write down a list of to-dos, in the order they need to be done and then put it away out of sight and, focus on the current thing, then move on to the next. I still have to consciously dismiss the thoughts that try to creep in, but the conscious change in behavior definitely helps.

Generally, this has decreased my stress load significantly and increased my happiness. I am not living through the worry and stress of thinking through all that must be done in the near or distant future.  Any stress or worry is limited only to what I am doing at that current moment. I feel like focusing all brain power on the current task has increased efficiency too.

Not limiting potential

I am unsure how common this is, but I have seen examples of it in parents and the workplace (including myself). We put limits on how much we think others have the ability to do. There are many reasons for this, which may include protecting people (especially relevant to parents – though there are valid reasons to do this when safety is a genuine concern), feeling guilty for placing a burden on others or protecting ourselves from having to pick up the pieces if expectations are not met. This can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy, where people start placing limits on themselves in response, or it erodes confidence. 

This year, I have had to let go of this habit for various reasons, and I was pleasantly surprised.  Expectations have been exceeded in nearly every case.  This demonstrates trust, which, in most cases, people respond to by bearing the burden of the trust given. People can communicate when they reach their limits, and/or independently learn where they need to develop, giving them more incentive to do so. 

Realising the value in stories

There is a proliferation of texts with theories and case studies on successful personal habits, management styles, or the road to business success. If you read enough of these, you will find that many of the specifics may contradict each other. 

I have had many interactions in different contexts where people become attached to a specific strategy they are currently reading.

I think it is dangerous to become attached to applying specific strategies in any context and expecting the same success. The value in stories is the inspiration they provide, and the realisation that there are many different methods to employ for leadership and business success. 

The key thing is knowing when you need to try something different, having the confidence to know there is something that will work, and finding that something. All the stories serve as helpful reference points, opening our minds to new ways of thinking, rather than blindly applying a specific strategy we’ve read about to our own situations.

Just like fairy tales when we were younger, the lessons we learn from stories are the underlying themes rather than the literal words.

Most of the above relate to a change in behavior or thinking. As it is personal, it is not intended to be advice (bad or good), but at best, provoke some thought, at worst, you can disagree with me and we can have some interesting conversation on this at some point…

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