Saturday, 19 December 2015

Star Wars, Pressure and Thoughts

Today has been a good day - I got to see Star Wars: A Force Awakens and despite my massive misgivings about the continuation of the saga I loved it. Can't claim it's perfect but it comes close enough for me. Fear not - no spoilers here. But if you haven't seen it and you loved A New Hope, you have to watch this one; you're going to love it.

I'm in the process of clearing out the many emails I have as I'm terrible at keeping up with them. This has resulted in a present I was buying not being sent, as apparently I had an invoice sent to me a week ago which I didn't see. Why businesses can't just take the money when I've given them my Paypal details I don't know, but here we are; one pleading email of "please charge me again, I promise I'll pay this time" and now waiting for a response. Fingers and toes are crossed.

One email that got my attention was from Goodreads, "Your year in books". It listed how many books I've read, how many I challenged myself to read, how many I added to my "To Read" pile... essentially a lot of numbers that told me I've not been particularly productive this year. That got me to thinking, Why do we put this pressure on ourselves?  It makes sense for companies to bombard us with messages and what better way to prompt someone to interact with their product then setting goals, otherwise known as "gamification". But why do we so willingly play? In my case I think it's a fear of missing out, of not doing enough in my life and just turning into a couch potato mindlessly consuming and never creating. We see so many inspirational stories of people who turned their life around through hard work and dedication, so many examples of how good it could be if we only put a bit of effort in. In reality though "effort" can often translate into burning out or being unhappy. Spending hours on something that you don't really enjoy all in the hope of a pay off at the end, whether that's setting up a small business, or trying to read your way through a Colossus sized pile of books.

This is not me saying it's not worth it; it is. Of equal importance though is your sanity - I've been much happier since I put the brakes on my writing and instead focused on doing little things one at a time or one big thing over a period of time, rather than everything plus day job, plus reading, plus games, plus keeping up with TV shows... There's only so much the brain can cope with. So this year coming will be my year of focus on only one thing at a time, with no guilt if I change my focus to relax or to learn or to grow in other ways. Because while there are many paths to success, you can't walk all of them at once. Sometimes you've just got to stick to the one your own and not worry about what you might be missing.

Happy Winter Solstice!

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