This activity was awesome 🙂 Seriously though, it was a great 30 days. I didn’t find it exceptionally difficult to incorporate this into my day to day life, mainly because I think that on the whole this is my general nature. But let’s look at it in a little more detail.
It’s all in the Attitude
On the whole I would say that I am a positive person. In his talk Neil talks a lot of attitude when life doesn’t go according to plan, at those times we can make a choice about the attitude we adopt. And in those situation I think that I am a pretty positive survivor.
Having said this, internally I know I spend far too much time considering the worst case scenario, how things could go wrong and how I might deal with those outcomes. I also spend far too much of my life thinking about things that have gone wrong in the past and how I might have stopped/changed that outcome. This will be a whole other activity at a later stage so I won’t dwell on it here.
So how did I go with this part of the activity? I think that it really worked well for me focusing on being more positive for the 30 days. It certainly made xmas a lot easier, and I think that when I was doing it well it made a difference to how I generally approached things in my life. I wouldn’t pretend that I kept it up for the full 30 days, there were times I caught myself talking in less than positive ways about things, but when I did catch myself I would correct my language to be more positive.
Awareness enhances appreciation
I didn’t really struggle with this part of the activity, enjoying the small pleasures in life is something that I do try to do on a regular basis. This might have a little bit to do with suffering from depression, where it really helps to find those little bits of joy in a day, because finding joy in the bigger things is more difficult (for me anyway). I was more aware of doing this though, and that helped with the positive attitude at times as well.
I think that this is something that everyone should do more of. There are a lot of first world problems that we gripe about in our lives, and I think that the vast majority of people able to read this blog should do more to remember that we live in an amazing world that makes our lives very simple and comfortable. Doing this awareness activity is a really good way to be more appreciative of how good we really have it.
I’m not saying that I didn’t make any first world problem statements during this time, but if I caught myself saying something like “my phone is taking forever to connect to the internet” I would smile to myself and think/say “my phone connects to the internet, how cool is that”.
Being my Authentic self
I predicted that this would be the hardest part and I was right. There are a lot of activities that I have undertaken and will undertake that are about discovering my authentic self and being authentic to that self. Being so early in the project I knew that this would be a struggle, since I have spent so much of my life as a non-confrontational people pleaser – and not surprisingly that requires me to suppress my authentic self.
I have spent a lot of the last decade trying to change this, since these are things about myself that I really don’t like. I have allowed myself to go through really bad situations or miss out on wonderful opportunities because of these characteristics, and that is something I really want to change.
There were a number of times that I did say something that I normally wouldn’t say, speak up in an environment I would usually stay quiet in and identify times that I wasn’t being completely authentic. Simon Sinek says that being authentic is “saying and doing the things that you actually believe”, I think that this is a very simple and clear definition of the word, and it is how I think of authenticity.
I require a lot more practice with this, and I need a lot more self-confidence before I can consistently do it well, but I am proud of the small steps that I made during this activity.
So will I keep this in my life? I will keep focusing on trying to be authentic, Activity 6 that started today requires me to work harder on discovering more about my authentic self, so this part of it is definitely in.
With attitude and awareness I want to maintain more focus on these things, but probably not as much as the last 30 days. I think that this one will require a second reflection in a month or so to see if I am able to retain these characteristics without having them as a focus activity. I would really recommend this activity to everyone, just to reset yourself and realise all of the positive things that are part of your life – especially if things don’t appear to be going to plan.