The problem with daily routine

Many of us have a daily routine to optimize our time and energy to make the most out of our days. However, have a daily routine can have drawbacks if we are not conscious of it.

With a newborn at home, my daily routine has turned upside down in the last few weeks and this made me wonder about the topic even more. Instead of having a daily routine, a better strategy would be to have daily “routines”. When things go wrong, we have an alternate routine to fall back into and it can keep us sane. This way, instead of our routine owning us we can own our routine. This also makes us more conscious of our day-to-day activities instead of doing things in an autopilot mode. We will hence be able to handle change in a better manner.

Discipline is a form of freedom, but left unchecked becomes a form of tyranny.

 

 

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How to do better work

I came across this brilliant quote on Seth Godin’s blog on how to do better work over and over again and it actually made sense to me. “Relentlessly give credit, and take more responsibility.” The reason this works is that when we take more responsibility we are embracing blame when something doesn’t work and giving credit to someone else when it works. When we give credit to someone else over and over again, that person would come back to us to do more of that thing that worked. It’s the work that matters and the fact that we are getting to do more great work is what matters more than getting the credit for the work we have done. Enjoy the doing part without inflating our egos.

 

A yogic perspective on work

I came across this interesting video that describes a yogic perspective on work. Any work that we do with full involvement can be used as a process of our growth. However, there is a significant difference between using an external activity and using an internal method for our growth or ‘sadhana.’ Since our external activities are subjected to a certain level of performance, rewards, and results, our internal process becomes even more important on a day-to-day basis. Many people start on to do many things with passion at first but, eventually, this passion has burnt them down. That’s why it is important to do at least one thing every day for ourselves as an end in itself as not as a means to an end. The process is more important than the goal. In other words, it’s always important to do our work right instead of looking for the right job.

Therefore, we need to establish ourselves first and then, act. Otherwise, we will use our external activities to make ourselves who we are. If we are using our external action to make ourselves into something, anything that comes the way that doesn’t allow us to become who we want to grow as it can destroy us.

Don’t try to be a yogi by teaching yoga. You become a yogi first and when people are interested to learn from you, then teach. Otherwise, simply close your eyes and sit and just be a yogi.

 

Signs of extreme careerism

I came across this article that introduced me to the concept of extreme careerism. The thing about extreme careerism is that we may suffer from it but, we may not be aware of it yet. Hence, it’s important to be mindful of it even to recognize the symptoms. The below excerpt from the article explains this concept well.

Marketing and trying to manage other people’s impression of one’s work becomes much more important than the work itself once few people can tell the difference between work that is good enough and work that is better. It happens when people begin to tell you how to manage your appearance rather than your work, e.g. what to wear, what to say, who to talk to, and where to be seen.

 

 

What if everyone did it?

This question is called Kant’s categorical imperative. We use this theory for things that are convenient for us and not for everything. When it comes to saving money for the future, we usually do not ask this question – what if everyone saved their earnings and not spend at all? We usually take it as a given that everyone spends their money to live in the present and be a consumer.

Since careerism and consumerism go hand in hand, one of the questions I am interested in knowing is what if everyone stopped having careers.

The problem with goal-setting

It’s a new year, and I am sure many of us would have already made our goals and resolutions for the coming year. While we assume goal-setting is right, it has its downsides too.

Whatever goals you arrive at, they are all in some way within the limitations of what you already know, or maybe a little exaggerated versions thereof. Is it not tragic to spend a whole year trying to achieve what you already know? My intention is things that you do not know should happen to you. Things that you have never imagined should enter your life. Only then will your life be truly enriched. What is the point of only doing things that you already know?

There was a time when you could be happy with one dollar. Now for the same happiness, you need a million dollars. That’s called inflation. That’s not enhancement of life. All that you do with life is create inflation. Inflation is neither good for the economy nor for your life. Now you are consciously causing inflation in your life – that is not an intelligent way to go about it. By setting time-bound goals, you may achieve a few things, but it will be of no consequence to the life that you are.

This is no different from how the caveman was, how hunters and gatherers were – “gather as much as you can.” On a material level, it looks different, but fundamentally, it is the same rudimentary thought of accumulating things. Anything that you gather, whether it is your knowledge, your wealth, your relationships, or whatever else, is only of value for the current transactions. If you keep it active, it will facilitate a few things for you. It has social consequence, but it has no life consequence. Instead of setting goals, it is best you find ways to nourish this life that you are. If you are nourishing this life, you only have to measure the growth.

Whatever goals we may set, on some level they are within the limitations of or exaggerated versions of what we already know. To get from where we are to where our goals are, we create tension, and it merely causes an inflation of existing things. The unwanted increase of current things can limit us from experiencing new things in life.

To simply live here goal-less is what a spiritual process is about. That does not mean being lethargic and lax. A spiritual process means to live in intense involvement with what is there right now but with no goal. If you have the courage to sit here in such a way – “Wherever the hell it goes tomorrow is fine with me, but right now I will do my best in whatever I am doing,” you will naturally be spiritual.

Life works best when we throw ourselves into doing things with absolute involvement without bothering what we gain out of it. Goal-setting ruins this element of life as it merely shows the means to an end. We must consider things as an end in itself by being more process-oriented and less goal-oriented.

Instead of setting goals for the whole year, just set this one thing: By the end of the day, you must be a little more joyful, a little more enhanced, a little better. This will not work as a goal – it is better to look at it in retrospect. This is not about you being joyful or peaceful. This is about you being conscious of as many aspects of your life as possible. You will do your best about whatever you are conscious of. Most of the nonsense happens because you are unconscious about so many things.

The real key to effective goal setting lies in developing a vision of how we want our lives to be.  If we would tell ourselves, “My only goal is to live a happier, healthier, more joyful and more loving life” – and actually mean it – we’d find that realizing this goal is as simple as making it the defining vision that guides our lives.  We would no longer need to concern ourselves with incremental, New Year’s Resolution style goals that don’t address our true character.  Instead, we would see our lives naturally moving towards the direction of our visions.

If you’re currently struggling to build your life around the tiny, fractious goals you believe will make you a better person in some way, just stop.  Stop worrying about whether or not the future you want is attainable based on where you are today and instead, set a clear vision for what you’d like your life to be.

That said, here’s another perspective on goal-setting.

Having goals is a pain in the neck.

If you don’t have a goal (a corporate goal, a market share goal, a personal career goal, an athletic goal…) then you can just do your best. You can take what comes. You can reprioritize on a regular basis. If you don’t have a goal, you never have to worry about missing it. If you don’t have a goal you don’t need nearly as many excuses, either.

Not having a goal lets you make a ruckus, or have more fun, or spend time doing what matters right now, which is, after all, the moment in which you are living.

The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.

It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.

Perception supercedes expression

I came across an interesting article that talked about a yogi’s perspective on marketing. Our education system and the internet has made today’s world the age of expression and not perception. We are enhancing our activities without is trying to improve our capabilities. As a result, we live in a world where confidence rules over clarity.  Our adverts are an example of this.

We have been taught to be too goal-oriented, and consequently, we consider everything as a means to an end and not an end in itself. Goals must be a side effect of the process and not vice-versa. If we become too goal-oriented, our goals are decided by other’s capabilities. Keeping up with the Joneses becomes the norm, hence. We will never think of the other possibilities we could have done. Instead, we merely follow what our neighbors do. Since marketing focuses on people’s wants and not the needs, we had to do ‘marketing.’