Self-help – book one

Well my self-help book cherry is well and truly popped.

Today I sat down and read from cover to cover ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k: How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like‘ by Sarah Knight (link).

I guess that the point about these kinds of books is that they enable to you to question what you agree with and decide what works (or does not work) for you. In that respect this book has been a triumph – because in large part I totally agreed with most of it.

However, any profound revelations that I uncovered lay in the fact that realised I already gave way less f***s than this lady originally did – and I’m not at all surprised that she had to find a way of giving up so many of them. Some of her chief concerns appeared to be seriously middle class – and I can’t imagine myself ever losing sleep over whether or not I should be guilt tripped into buying a friend’s home made organic peanut butter.

(Hint to any friends currently blending organic peanuts into paste with a view to selling them to me – it will end in disappointment.)

However what it did make me muse upon was the fact that I appear to have nailed (or at least be in the process of nailing) the ability to say ‘that’s just not important to me any more‘.

There are some key takeaways for me though from this book that were useful.

The author came across her philosophy in life (and a title to partially rip off it seems) while reading ‘The life changing magic of tidying up’ by Marie Kondo (link). Oddly (at least from my perspective) the only thing that she seems to have taken on board from this Japanese ode to neatness was ‘tidy up your sock drawer’.

I don’t actually possess a sock drawer. I possess instead various piles of folded laundry which never seem to complete their migratory journeys back to storage. I’ve continually put off (after many false starts recently) the task of truly becoming zen and uncluttered. I always get bored before I get done, which is a bad thing. The argument is that a tidy space leads to a tidy mind – so this is something I’m going to take away from the book and try to work on.

I’m going to try to get rid of things I haven’t used for a while and only keep the things I love.

Then there’s honesty.

I like to think I’m pretty honest anyway (after all you’re reading the output of this aspect of me) but the importance of saying how you really feel about things in life can’t be underestimated and it never hurts to remind myself of this.

Being honest with yourself and others is something that will set you free.

If you really want to complicate your existence then try and be someone that you’re not. It’s exhausting when you hide who you really are – and the only way out of this self imposed trap is to rip off the band-aid, say what you think and what you want from life.

Next – finance.

I’m going to try and stop worrying about money.

The author makes a great point. Time is a finite resource. Money can always be earned. There will always be a way to make ends meet – but time is fleeting, and you can’t get it back. Every hour I waste being unfulfilled is an hour closer to my end.

It’s way more important than my bank balance.

This is a difficult one for me to be truly unconcerned about though – after all everyone needs money. However – reading this has helped me unpack my feelings regarding work and the process of earning it a little, which helped.

I’ve always been quite proud that (prior to my current stage of life) I’ve never been unemployed – apart from brief periods when I was a student. My family struggled a lot with this in the 80’s and I grew up wanting to always have a job, and more importantly wanting to be a stable and trustworthy employee – which I think comes from my mom’s rhetoric (she was very much a worker bee like her parents before her).

They’re laudable aims.

However they’re also motivated by my feelings about how other people see me – which brings me to another of the author’s points.

I need to stop caring what other people think.

Some years ago I went on a life skills course, and it suggested that there were two kinds of human beings. Those that were ‘away from’ and those that were ‘towards’.

Truthfully I think this approach may be a little too reductive to stand up to intense scrutiny – but I like the simplicity of this way of looking at things because in my case I relate to it strongly.

The away‘s were people whose motivations were related to consequences. They made their decisions based upon what the outcome would be if they didn’t do anything. For instance – they were on time for work because the result of being late would be getting into trouble. In order for them to change course there had to be something disagreeable on the horizon.

The toward‘s were people who were goal oriented. They were motivated by objectives and things they wanted to achieve in life. They were on time because that was the standard they aspired to and they succeeded through planning and following role models. These were people who wanted to win.

It may or may not come as a surprise that when I took the tests associated with this my scores were way off the chart on the side of ‘away from‘. I realised that because of this I was often a leaf in the breeze. My decision making process was simply to take the easiest path that brought the smallest amount of conflict, effort or resistance until something disagreeable came along and then use that as a catalyst for change.

I didn’t do forward planning or goals. I took life as it presented itself and consequently events often shaped me rather than the other way around. It’s probably why I never decided ‘what I want to be when I grow up.’

With regards to employment my only driving motivation for a job has been that I’ve always been worried what people might think of me if I was unemployed or decided for a while to not work and do my own thing in life.

The question is – ‘why should it bother me?’

The answer is of course – ‘it shouldn’t.

Ultimately I have to succeed and make a living, but how I do that and the timeframe in which I decide which route to take is one that needs to be of my own choosing. Anything else will result in a repeat of the last few months.

Finally the author also noted that not giving a **** about puppies is a bad idea. I can’t agree more.

Everyone should give a **** about puppies.

Cute-puppies-dogs-37395739-1600-1200 2.jpg

So – the next book I think has to be about goals and structure. I know how to NOT do this, but what happens when I try and build my life around goals and objectives (other than those related to health and fitness)?

Is that even do-able for someone like me?

We shall see internet.

This is my next book. Own It: regain control and live life on your terms – by Sandra Webber (link)


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