I wanted to write about the pandemic and my observations on how, while it’s been tough – very tough at times – there have been some positives. They say ‘Necessity is the Mother of all Invention’ and I don’t think that’s ever been more evident than in how we both professionally and personally found new ways to get stuff done. I wanted to write about that.
However, after a number of false starts, (cue the clichéd image of screwing up of yet another piece of paper before tossing it into an already-overflowing bin) I gave up.
I needed to rethink this. And that reminded me of a book I’ve been reading, and then a list of tips I saved from an article on the internet about mental health which lead to buying the book in the first place.
It occurred to me that, throughout the last 18 months or so, I’ve referred back to this list many times and in different ways. I’ve applied the list to myself. Not entirely, but when and where I felt it appropriate. I’ve periodically revisited it to remind myself of its content and I’ve drawn from it to make suggestions to others around me, who I felt may benefit from it.
The book by the way: ‘Fail Fast & Fail Often – How Losing Can Help You Win’ by Babineaux & Krumboltz.
Back to the list. It’s not my list, I found it on the internet when reading about managing and maintaining mental health. Unfortunately, I can’t find the link to the original article in order to share or, better still, give due credit to its author, but, hopefully, in referencing the tips and how they’ve helped me, that’s a form of recognition and credit in itself.
And that brings me to the purpose of this post. This list has helped me (and I’d like to think from my best-intentioned advocacy, it’s helped others too). In posting it here, I hope that it might help you.
Another quick housekeeping point: below is my version of the original list. I’ve adapted the context and takeaway to suit me. I hope the original author would approve.
So, here it is;
- Make Things Happen; Don’t Wait For Them. Change is challenging. Challenging ourselves to do something better or differently is, well, challenging. So often we fear it and we might make unrealistic plans to delay it or better (worse!) still, avoid it altogether. Start with little things, break it down, get it started. It’s never as bad as you think and it’s easier once you get rolling! Oh, and see Tip 6.
- A Fun Life Will Make You Happy and Successful. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy, right? But ‘work’ isn’t just what we do for a living. In this context, it could be anything that constrains, burdens or obligates. For every one of these, balance it by doing something fun!
- The Fastest Road to Success is Failing Fast and Often. This is the tip that led to the book purchase. It’s a personal favourite. No one likes to fail. It doesn’t feel nice, but Yoda was right when he said: ‘If no mistake you have made. Losing you are.’ Crack on! Go get stuff wrong! Just be sure to learn quick – and repeat it you must not. And see Tip 4.
- Enjoy Your Journey and Embrace Your Failures. Look at a baby learning to walk, they don’t feel embarrassed about falling. Instead, they get up and try again. Take a risk, do the things you fear, and learn from them. In time, you’ll be a Jedi.
- See The World Like a Child Again. I took the spirit of this one and encouraged a friend of mine to adopt it. I’ll spare you the details, but being more curious and open-minded helped them become more of an active participant in their own treatment and less negative and prejudiced about the potential outcome of particular therapies or remedial actions. Be curious. Be openminded. Don’t be afraid to ask. You don’t have to know everything.
- Have Big Goals, and Take Little Steps. Big goals are good. But they don’t come easily or quickly, in my experience. Do something every day that takes you closer to the end goal. Celebrate these steps as mini-wins – this helps keep you motivated and focussed.
- Have Some Fun Hobbies. See Tip 2. Possibly add a little of Tips 4 and 6. Do it with Tip 9. My daughter and I can almost call ourselves ‘paddleboarders’ now! Learn something new.
- No One Can Succeed Alone. Involve others – family, friends and colleagues. Surround yourself with positive people. Find like-minded individuals and experts to support and guide. But, most importantly, be ready and willing to put back into the community. Use the help you’ve received to help others. Join some groups, clubs and forums. Get connected.
And that is that. I hope it’s been useful.