Don’t Waste Your Time!

Recently I’ve happily discovered Medium.com. It’s a refreshingly open-minded site where people can post their writing about pretty much anything.

You might find some things there that will offend you with vulgarity, “forbidden” topics, “out-there” opinions, or whatever. Nonetheless, I applaud a site where people can post what they choose.

I just ran across a good article on avoiding time-wasters. Probably more people than not waste time on one or more of the pursuits Sean Kernan discusses here.

Protester Holding sign by max-bender-ODotTSKv_BI-unsplash.jpg

Of these three time-wasters, it seems to me the “elephant in the room” is reading and posting negative chatter on social media. As Sean points out, people are more willing to blurt out whatever’s on their minds when they feel anonymous.

During my years as a professional pilot, I heard many stories of quips offered by pilots on the radio. Unless a pilot chooses to give his or her call sign, no one knows where a radio transmission comes from. Many of these stories were quite amusing, some downright slanderous. Of course, I heard a few of these anonymous remarks first-hand. Of course, some stories no doubt “enhanced” the truth!

One crucial thing comes to mind here. When you speak what’s on your mind, it’s a whole different experience for you than just entertaining a private thought. We all think thoughts that should never be voiced. That’s natural – our minds wander. With that said though, steering your mind in a positive direction is a worthwhile exercise. Think of the glass as half-full, not half-empty.

Putting a thought into spoken words is totally different. The person receiving your message may not know who the message issuer is but, if it’s you, you know who sent it. If it’s a negative message it affects you as much, probably more than if you received it from who-knows-who.

You can quickly dismiss a negative comment from someone you don’t know, or even someone you know but mistrust. When you send a comment, you remember that comment. If it’s negative, it can poison your mind (more than the receiver’s) for a long time.

Two rules to live by if you want to be viewed positively – by others and, most importantly, by yourself:

  • Maintain a positive, productive mindset by keeping your negative thoughts to yourself. If you wouldn’t say what you’re thinking to the other person’s face, don’t post it! (Productive dialog with someone with whose opinion you differ is fine – and positive.)
  • Don’t waste your time reading others’ negative dribble. It too will poison your mind.

To me, reading negative comments on social media or anywhere else has a parallel effect to watching shoot ’em up movies or playing that kind of video games. It can make the reader, viewer, or player begin to believe nasty comments or randomly shooting people is maybe not so bad! I’m convinced the experiences with violent games and movies are behind some mass shootings.

Sean’s article mentions two other pursuits that can sap your time. I haven’t dwelled on them here, since I think the internet drain overshadows them. Nonetheless, these others can drain our time reserves if we ignore the advice Sean offers.

  • When a relationship is dead, save yourself hours of anguish by letting it die. You’ll know if it’s honestly recoverable, but don’t delude yourself.
  • Passion is a wonderful thing. Temper it with consideration of the consequences of mindless passionate actions. Those actions might cost you many hours, dollars and anguish!

New Year, New Habits!

Which of your habits (we all have many!) are serving you well? Which are detrimental for you? What new habits would you like to establish?

Want to :

  • Quit smoking?
  • Lose weight?
  • Make your bed every morning?
  • Eat a small amount of healthy chocolate each day?

Last week I got a recommendation for a book which I’m pretty sure will change my life.

What causes habits to form, or disappear? This book, by B.J. Fogg, can probably help you make some worthwhile adjustments as well. Fogg analyzes habits. What causes them to form, disappear, or change.

He analyzes what makes it possible to adopt habits without difficulty. His core principle is B=M+A+P.

Behavior results from

  • Motivation to do something – what makes you want to do it. You want to lose weight.
  • Ability – how easy it is to do. Often that’s one ridiculously easy step. You put half a teaspoon less sugar in your coffee. A new behavior is easier if you reduce the practice to a tiny fraction of your full intent.
  • Prompt – a natural, easy key to remind yourself to do it. Tie a ribbon on the handle of the sugar spoon, or on the handle of your coffee cup. It’s actually better if the reminder is something already in your routine. E. g. you sit down at the breakfast table, or you pour your coffee.

At times when motivation is low (happens for all of us!) doing the easy minimum meets your obligation. You can still congratulate yourself on accomplishing your new habit.

Fogg has many more nuances to refine the process of establishing new habits.

Do you aspire to building new habits or eliminating others, to change your life? I recommend you explore BJ Fogg’s recommendations.

They provide a great alternative to “resolutions” which are often forgotten after a few weeks or months.