Tag Archives: reflection

Wait… Things Went RIGHT?

As often seems to be the case, the good people over at Lifehacker have provided inspirational fodder for this humble blog of mine, this time in the form of a referral to a blog post over at Psychology Today. It’s not a long post, but hey… who said they had to be long to be good? No seriously, who said that? Because Lord knows my posts tend to ramble on endlessly! HA!

*ahem* Anyway, onwards and upwards. The blog post looks into something that is simple, but interesting: While most people (myself most definitely included) seem to take an inordinate amount of angst-filled time hashing out why something went wrong, very few people will do the same about why something went right. If you have to give a PowerPoint presentation to the VP of your department and you just flop about like a fish on the dock, 999 people out of 1,000 will wail, gnash their teeth and spend endless hours rethinking why they blew it, why they should have done better, where they should be looking for their next job, etc. It’s an ugly little cycle, my friends, as I am sure anyone reading these words well knows. We’ve all been there. Less than good times.

But what about when it goes well? In thinking of myself, it seems pretty plain as to why I don’t think much about why it went well… I’m just too stoked to give it much thought. Let’s take lifting as an example. Suppose I just absolutely crushed a set of military presses for a personal record. Just absolutely smoked them. What would be my reaction shortly thereafter? Probably a battle cry followed by a little victory dance. No seriously… that’s what I do. I kid you not. There is also then a decent chance of following it up with a slightly larger-than-average meal to celebrate.

What’s missing from all of that? Not even a moment’s reflection as to what got me to that good spot. Don’t mistake me – the spontaneous moment of jubilation I engage in after the accomplishment is a great thing. Hell, I do this lifting thing because I love it, not out of some horrible sense of obligation. Ugh – how awful that would be. However, I am also missing out on that little sliver of analysis that might make those moments come along more regularly going forward. So what should I consider shortly after I bust out my funky dance moves?

Did I get good sleep the night before? What did I eat today? Was I stressed? Relaxed? How did I prep for the lift? Was I focused? Did I take enough time to warm-up? What has my lifting program been looking like up to that point? Had I incorporated any different exercises or rep schemes that might have borne fruit for me?

All those things should be considered in some way, shape or form. And guess what’s most remarkable about that list of questions above? Go ahead… give it a moment… I don’t mind… ready? It’s easy.

Not a damn thing is remarkable. Nothing. El zippo.

It’s all a matter of mindfulness to pause and consider all these good things. Also, it’s not as if the analysis would be unpleasant because you are focusing on why a good thing happened. I might not be a fancified PhD in psychology and such, but I am pretty confident that thinking over a good thing is a nice experience… but I’m kooky like that.

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So celebrate and drink deep the cup of victory. You earned it and there are few moments as sweet as those. But even just a brief glimpse inward may be just the thing to keep those good times returning again and again and again… and wouldn’t that be a nice little treat?

The Quiet Drive

I have a list of things I wish I would do (or do more often), not unlike many people.  It’s a fairly simple list:

  1. Date Scarlett Johannsen;
  2. Demand recognition of my rightful claim to the Polish monarchy; and
  3. Devote more time to thinking and reflecting.

The first one got screwed up by the allegedly dreamy Ryan Reynolds and on the second one, I just need to figure out how to recreate the Winged Hussars.  Boy, I get me some of those bad boys, it’s game over.

On the third one, I used to find myself often lamenting, “Every time I spend some quite time to myself just sort of thinking over life and whatever pops into my deranged noggin, I really enjoy it, get some good ideas and generally feel a lot more relaxed.”  But you know what?  I would almost never do it.  Genius, I know.

So in around November of last year, I was getting myself ready for my morning commute which usually runs me between 20 and 30 minutes and for some reason, I decided I would do it with no music or radio.  The result?  The quiet drive, something I have done pretty much every morning commute since.  And as you can tell from the photo below… my morning commute is not exactly an eye-popping visual treat (at least not during your typical gray New England winter day).

Generally I am a morning person and so some time to think things over before the hectic rush of the day swept over me was ideal.  The commute home is just decompressing from the day and music then is ideal.  But first thing in the morning?  Not so much.

The end result of this new practice is I feel like I am making really good use of my commute time, much more so than I have at any other point in my life.  It does help that my commute is actually longer than it used to be at my old job (since that was 7 minutes door-to-door) and I can actually allow my brain to wander a bit.  I might use the voice memo feature in Evernote on my Droid to record some random thought or get down what I want to do as a blog post.  Whatever it may be, I feel like it’s almost a form of mental stretching or warm-up before the work day begins.

If you have a commute that is 15 minutes or longer, I highly recommend giving it a try.  At first it can be odd without the constant distractions you have become accustomed to of music or talk radio… but after a few days, it becomes a great fit like a perfectly broken in pair of jeans.

And maybe… just maybe… it will be the solution to my Winged Hussar dilemma.  Seriously, I need me a Polish cavalry to wreak some serious havoc, people.  CRY HAVOC AND LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!

The Polish Winged Hussars bringing some sweet justice.