Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mindset Correction

Driving one insane is a good title for the constant effort to be on top. It’s a play of words on the movie ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ – the classic movie starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Indeed, one feels a constant drive to learn and experience new things that maybe one is driven to mental exhaustion. In one’s mental evolution and growth, the first struggle is controlling one’s mind via meditation and perhaps journal writing. The second struggle is cognitive therapy where one understands one’s thinking errors and the steps towards fixing them. Perhaps, the final struggle is to relax and slow down the thinking process into a state of acceptance and serenity. Otherwise, the mind is driven to collapse. The mind flits from one subject to another and never achieving focus. The solution perhaps is a combination of cognitive therapy, meditation and journal writing.

One experiences constant change that one is driven to adapt and excel. It’s satisfying one’s curiosity that drives one forward – a constant urge to satisfy one’s desires. Will it help that one can satiate a portion of that desire? For example, purchasing a new gadget and returning it after 45 days to fulfill the customer return policy (and thereby avoid spending money). It’s too much work and one would be a gadget freak to keep doing this exercise for each new device that comes to market. There are other more meaningful things to do with one’s time. From one’s point of view, understanding one’s needs and looking at the market for that item that meets those needs is best. One just needs to avoid the consumerism that may take root. In fact, understanding one’s core needs is important rather than being always in the know.

The stuff that is free is the true challenge. Free movies, books and songs in the library and Internet are what consume one’s time. It’s like walking into a candy store with everything free. Soon the constant indulgence of free stuff is what blunts one’s edge that one is lost in quantity – a flood of information and stuff that one loses touch on the important details. Last weekend, one rushed again at reading 3 books, one magazine, watching 5 movies and not getting anything done. There is a constant desire to be smart and learn the new stuff while not gaining any real skill. One has cast a wide net to gather all that one can get (because it’s free) and now that the fish has come, one is constantly gorging oneself. I guess that is the problem. One gets fat because one has free buffet for breakfast in the hotel. Hence, it is not the lack of opportunity perhaps but an immense over availability as one tries to get all the freebies.

One is drowning in the land of the free and material stuff. So how does one focus? An interesting exercise is to list one’s goals and then list how one uses his time. Normally, one does not spend the time needed to achieve one’s goals. Hence, a disconnect exists that results in stress and mental exhaustion. For example, what is the typical goal of a middle age parent?

•    Earn more money (to pay for kids’ college tuition, provide a good lifestyle to the family) 
•    Learn new skills (and, thereby, earn more money) such as writing, programming in the Internet with the latest tools, i.e. social networking, blogging, etc.
•    Learn financial literacy (and, thereby, earn more money)
•    Be healthy and grow as a person, ex. go to the gym, jogging, hiking and canoeing
•    Help your family grow

Does one spend time to achieve one’s goals? Reading too many books, watching too many movies does not help unless these activities further one’s skills or financial knowledge. The easy solution is to watch only 1 or 2 movies in the weekend and reduce one’s reading list. Hence, planning and controlling one’s time. One thinks that now is the time to focus and accept the situation. One does not need to be constantly aware of the new stuff in the fear that one will be left behind. But one can make technology one’s friend. The latest apps allow one to receive the information one needs. Focus on the push technology rather pull saves time. Pushing one’s activities to the cloud to be more productive is also a good tactic. One should slow down and accept what one has achieved and start growing the skills that one has accumulated.

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