It has been a while since I was writing here, and I want to start doing so again. I suppose that I have learnt quite a lot since I last wrote, although maybe much of it is just realisation of the old truths I already knew deep down. I do find that when I do improv classes, many of the notes are just reminders of the things that I knew, and the better I am getting at implementing them, the better I am at seeing and taking opportunities.
So, the rules I am running my days with at the moment are as follows. Works for me, and I enjoy them.
It is strange that I should have to have this as a rule, and yet it is a fundamental. Have fun as a rule seems to prepare me for everything, and make everything that happens be something that is eagerly anticipated. It is a great motivator to just get things done. And it’s fun to Have Fun!
A subtopic of that, which I like for the nonsensical rightness of the statement is:
Save Time; Start Now!
I love how this makes no sense, and yet complete sense. I know that so often I procrastinate, but there is an inherent part of me that doesn’t want to waste time. When I describe the jobs that need doing as things that will save me time, suddenly they are so much more appealing to do. Strange the way the brain works.
Which leads me on to loss aversion. When we “throw good money after bad”, or fight the fights that are not worth the time that we waste on them, or simply continue watching a film that we are not enjoying, just to finish it, that is because we don’t want to waste our initial investment. But we are losing our time to this thing, and time is not something that we can get back. It feels abundant as air and water, but like them, is precious. So, my new rule (which will take some serious training to overcome what my normal is!), is to Save Time; Start Now!
It’s an optimistic thing, and humans are natural optimists. And the next rule is to play to that strength. Like Have Fun:
That Is The Best!
The idea that everything that passes, from receiving news or information about something, to someone’s idea or suggestion, to an event that happens, are all the best things they could be. This is a great way to optimistically jump in with both feet. In improv, this is saying yes to things, and preparing for good things, which then seem to come to pass. Maybe it is confirmation bias, whereby if you look for something, you tend to see it, but whatever it is, seeing the best in everything leaves us feeling prepared, and when whatever it is does happen, we are ready, because it could be no other way if That is the best!
My sister has a version of this called “What if”. Whenever the doubt creeps in and that part of me thinks that the reason for something is bad, or I am worried about something happening, an interview maybe, changing my head to thinking what if the opposite of that negative thought instantly makes the worry less. And after all, us humans are very bad at predicting the future, so the positive version is just as likely as the negative – and more so if we believe it, as by our actions and thoughts, we get them to come to pass.
All this relies on and encourages us to trust ourselves. I like to ask myself:
What Does My Gut Say? Act On It Now
It has been shown that lucky people tend to be those who listen to their gut feeling, and act swiftly on it. The enteric nervous system (i.e. the gut brain) has been shown to be separate from the head brain, and contains 100 million neurones – more than the spinal cord. Changing gut flora can change our personality, and the reason we call it a gut feeling is because it is like a subconscious understanding of the world.
When I listen to my gut (I do have to ask it specifically, which feels weird, but normally no one is looking…), it usually knows what it is that I want to be doing next, what is the best way forwards. I don’t know how it knows, but it is a great decision maker – and you know that it’s right! Given that procrastination is so often just a case of not making a decision or acting on one, listening to What My Gut Says and Acting On It Now, suddenly means I get what I want done, done.
Wanting to get stuff done also turns out to motivate more than putting pressure on:
Not “Should Do”; “Want To Do”
There are many things that I should do, but the reality is that having that obligation over me doesn’t make me happy, it puts me under pressure and diminishes the fun to do something and therefore the desire to do it. Simply changing “I should or need to do xyz” to “I want to do xyz”, and I then do feel like doing a thing. It is an amazing thing, the desire to Want To Do something!
And now, what I Want To Do is to follow My Gut and Save Time by Starting my next thing Now. And that’s because it’s The Best, and I’m going to Have Fun doing it. Trite maybe, but effective – and it’s a great place to be!