Friday, November 30, 2007

Split personality – work hard or do nothing?

I’m sure many of you suffer from this same condition. For fans of the movie Office Space, you know the pure enjoyment that comes from doing nothing. It’s almost like there are two separate people vying for control. One wants to learn new skills, earn money, and test their abilities. The other says that life is right here, right now, you just have to slow down to enjoy it.

So what is the right answer? Do I work hard to get ahead while doing my best to enjoy that journey? Or do I relax, let go, and experience the world in the now; alive, vibrant and infinitely interesting? Both options intrigue me, excite me and fill me with energy. Both help me explore the world, learn and grow, and get in touch with life around me.

Right now I seem to be stuck in the middle. I get excited about an idea or project, but after the initial excitement the energy starts to run out. I hit a roadblock or two, my determination falters and I slow down. In that slower state I notice the sunlight filtering through the green leaves of the trees, and the birds singing and think “Ahhh, this is the life.” My work comes to a stumbling halt.

Both types of being have their advantages, but how does one bring balance so these opposing forces work harmoniously together? How do we find that delicate equilibrium that allows us to honor both sides of ourselves without sidetracking our plans and goals?

For myself I find that it usually helps to follow my own moods and emotions. If I’m tired, rest – for an hour, a day or even a week. If I don’t pick it back up then it’s probably not for me anyway. Also, a good balance of rest and work helps. By not overdoing either one, you get more benefits from both.

This past year as I’ve been out of work it was a real eye-opener to discover how much I actually crave the demands of work and everyday interaction with people. I even recognized how being around people who annoy and irritate you on a daily basis can give you great insight for dealing with similar problems at home.

At the same time I absolutely LOVE the quiet and solitude of the mountains. I am captivated by the stars so vast and distant and so plentiful. It fuels the imagination to imagine other planets, solar systems and galaxies and the type of life that may have formed there. I am enchanted by the vibrant green blades of grass and myriad array of insects; from ladybugs and butterflies to bumblebees and beetles.

How do you balance these two sides of yourself? What strategies do you use and how well do they work for you? I look forward to hearing your comments.

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