4 Necessary Isms of Life Work
In the simplest terms, we want to have the experience of our mind and our body being in the same place at the same time; we want a certain quality to our attention. Thus, our deepest joy comes from the quality of our attention and our innate desire to be fully present to our experience. This experience of absorption in what we are doing has been examined from a lot of different angles, but the description that most resonated with me comes from the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
In it, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience that we have when we are so absorbed in what we are doing that time drifts away. We have a moment of forgetting about ourselves and letting go of our own self-consciousness, and the mind forgoes its natural tendency to drift into the past and the future.
What is likely true in those moments is that our attention is directed in a certain way that allows us to be absorbed in the moment-by-moment experience. We are relaxed, alert, and free.
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Alas, it seems that our body is frequently in one place while our mind is elsewhere. And we give ourselves all types of excuses and reasons to continue in this disjointed state. Minutes before I began writing this post, I sat here in my armchair contemplating how I have so much to do, yet nothing to do at the same time.
I know it doesn't seem to make sense but it doesn't for me either - as someone with two assignments due this coming week and an active Netflix account, how can I still get bored in my life? It's frustrating thinking about it because I feel like the perception I have developed of myself in the eyes of others is that I'm some crazy, red-bull fuelled maniac who runs from A to B without rest - part of that is true, but I do have my down days you know. As I've explained to many of my friends before, my social energy runs like a battery: if I end up stuck in meetings back to back on one day, my "introvert mode" kicks in the next day and I hide on campus in my hoodie, hoping that no one can spot me for those of you who were wondering why Matt looked like a hobo and was so on edge, now you know.
I'm not sure if its the same with others, but I reckon it's due to my lack of self-confidence when I first started university.
You deserve work-life balance—even if you don’t have kids
Fair enough - if you moved overseas from a neat, orderly household into lonely, psycho chaos, you would probably understand to my friends who have told me about how their exchange experiences was similar to how I described it, this is my shoutout to you. This extreme change in lifestyle taught me to categorise my activities into different task items, in order to differentiate my chill leisure activities to my important, to-do responsibilities.
You see, it all becomes a blur when you live in dorms - you could be studying one minute and the next minute, you're about to pass out from pres before you even get to the bar. I've mentioned to many of you before that my first year was nothing like my life now: I would come home from my single, two-hour lecture of the day and feel like I deserved to binge another season of Scrubs.
It was difficult to be "responsible" because after all, this was my first taste of freedom outside of home. The rules didn't apply to me anymore, I could do whatever I wanted. It wasn't until my first networking event that made me realise how driven and prepared others were for their life beyond university when I finally decided to take action and get myself back into the swing of things. I took one different roles to explore my options and one-by-one, my fear of saying "no" buried me deep into a life of no chill and overcommitment.
There's a nickname for me that tends to float around, resurfacing every now and then when someone decides to make me feel bad about overworking myself. My life isn't as exciting as it sounds - my struggle this year has been trying to find things that I enjoy doing in my spare time something which I have too much of this year. Since the past two years has been fuelled by adrenaline and constant excitement, I struggle to accept and be grateful for the times of calm and solitude that I once used to rarely have.
What if waking up every day at 8AM was the only way of keeping me from losing my pace and progress?
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