Thursday, February 05, 2009

Please yourself

Being fully engaged with the process of change – even making small changes – is not something I find easy.

I know where I am with the “same old, same old”.

Wherever I am, I quickly settle into routines – whether my own or those of the people I’m with. Maybe they provide a sense of security, or maybe I’m just lazy.

But I think it goes a little deeper.

In school, being reasonably bright, I could get away with doing just enough to get by and to stay out of trouble. The same pattern emerged in University. While my friends were hard at work I would be out and about sketching or just daydreaming. I would do essays and assignments at the last minute. I learned to speed-read and to pick the bones out of a subject very quickly. I also learned the art of bullshitting.

I remember in my teenage years reading a “self-help” manual that advised “avoiding the extremes of gloom and levity”. I took that on board and began to live my life on a more even keel.

This led to increasing levels of passivity.

This was then reinforced by certain organisations I joined where “doing the right thing … regardless of how you feel” was the order of the day. I fitted right in.

My opinions and preferences will often be couched in words and phrases like “maybe” and “perhaps” and “kind of”. If you ask me what I want, I will usually deflect the question back to you … I’ll find out what you want, and we’ll do that.

All in all, it was a recipe for mediocrity.

To this day I avoid being openly critical, confrontational or challenging. If anyone is upset with me it worries me and I begin to expend massive amounts of energy in making things “right” again.

Aren’t I nice?


None of that serves me well in this time of life redesign. I’m realising that it’s not just about the external things … it’s about me. It’s not just the external patterns that need to be shaken up and changed … it’s my internal patterns of thought, choice and behaviour.

I’ve already made progress, so this is not doom and gloom. I’m not down on myself. I’m feeling more resolved than I have for a long time, and that’s why I’m working this stuff out.

I’m changing the patterns – not yet as quickly as I’d like or as much as I’d like. But the process has begun and I’m getting engaged with it.

No more mediocrity.

"...speed-read and to pick the bones out of a subject very quickly. I also learned the art of bullshitting" -- wow, Peter. We could've been twins. For those of us for whom things come easily, discomfort becomes foreign soil. It's learning to tolerate discomfort rather than avoid it that makes us achieve above and beyond. You and I have learned to avoid it by cruising and using our considerable wits. How many great things were ever achieved that way? I fight it EVERY DAY.
Hi Pete Steve Elford here was wondering how you were doing (I have heard nothing by the way) and enjoy your blogs and wanted to say hi
like father like daughter in so many ways!!!
I guess you and andrea and I could have been triplets! So much of this is so familiar.
Andrea ... I thought it was just me!!!! What you say about learning to tolerate discomfort is SO helpful.

Steve ... hello! I'm OK thanks for asking! Hope you're doing well.

Claire ... I thought you might say that! True though!!!

Angela ... I was expecting to get a bit of stick over this post ... instead it seems we're all identifying with it! yay!
Do i see the start of a spine growing???????????????
Anonymous ... LMAO ... could be ...
Love the last line - come on!
I'm a little tea pot.
Yep Jo ... that's the challenge!

Anonymous ... does the word 'relevance' mean anything to you? Or am I missing something?
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