I was talking to a friend who is stressed with many things they have to juggle. Stressed because they are not sure if they’d be able to complete the task, whether they will do the task correctly, whether they will do justice to the other tasks (not just at work) etc. I wrote the following. With permission, I am sharing this with you.
What-if land is a terrible place to stay at. But we want to go there to plan for and control all eventualities. When we see there are many possible endings, our mind start thinking about the worst ones and since our inner mind wants us survive, it keeps thinking about and warning us about the potential failures. The more we think about and focus on the failure, failure will eventuate.
I seem to manifest whatever I am scared of. Probably because I think of what I am scared of and worry about regularly.
When anyone asks me what I want in my life, I say I want to be happy. Yet, I focus on all the problems I want to solve. I focus on the problems and NOT on being happy. Not focusing on the problems as they arise is ignoring the problems. The problems won’t go away just because I am not focusing on them. I focus on the problem as long as I need to. Once I finish what I need to do, then I don’t need to dwell on it. A gazelle chased by a cheetah, focuses on the problem (of being chased) and tries to escape. Once it escapes, it starts grazing. I, on the other hand, will probably won’t get out of bed for the next two years a. feeling sorry for myself and b. wondering when the cheetah would come back. If I want to be happy, then I need to keep focusing on being happy. When I need to focus on the problems, I should and when I know I have done what I could, then change my focus on my happiness. This is what I (try to) practice.
If you want to read my journey away from depression, here are links to my Blog posts – wrote in 2016
Being overwhelmed with the task at hand is related to being in the what-if land. Our minds make us wonder if that is achievable given all the other things we need to complete. We are left wondering if we will complete the task, as it appears to take a long time. We also think, if we do this task what will happen to the other tasks. But if we focus with the task at hand and not on others (i.e. NOT multi-tasking), we increase our productivity, efficiency and the quality of the work we do.
The way I handle is by remembering the quote attributed to Dr Martin Luther King Jr.: You don’t need to see the whole stair case. [Faith is just looking at the first step and taking the first step.]
Break the task down into smaller tasks and plan how to fit the tasks in our time frame so that we can do all the other things we are supposed to do. Breaking the task down in to chunks and focusing on working on one chunk at a time helps me.
Abraham Lincoln said: Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Probably because I plan like this, my colleagues gave me the Plany-Plan-Plan award 🙂
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.