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If that’s the definition of insanity, are you mad?

May 24, 2011

It was something of a “eureka” moment. Complaining bitterly that my life wasn’t panning out in exactly the way I’d envisaged, it suddenly struck me between the eyes that if I wasn’t getting what I wanted, then it was up to me to change it.

OK, so it’s hardly rocket science – and to my shame, I’ve been teaching this kind of progressive thinking in my courses for some time. Some wag once defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different outcome!”  And I have to confess that I’d been living an insane life – working harder and harder and doing more and more of the same thing!  No wonder I was just getting a lot more of the same results…

So, having experienced this moment of enlightenment, I decided to make the most of it and start to examine every area of my life – from the “opposite” of the microscope.  It wasn’t long before I could see that working so hard was making me over tired…and that over-tiredness was at the heart of my frustration.

I don’t know about you, but when I get overtired, I get crabby. Very crabby. And with the general crabbiness comes an unpalatable propensity towards being judgmental – a characteristic which I loathe in others and despair when I see it in myself.  (It was only a short while ago that I realized that if I were going to be truly non-judgmental, then I was going to have to drop my judgment of judgmental people!)

When I’m in the judgmental zone, everything starts going pear-shaped – and at an amazing pace. Relationships start to crumble, nobody (including me) meets my high levels of perfection which means that we’re all living under a heavy black cloud of negativity.

I was in a vicious circle – the more tired I got, the harder I worked. Sound familiar? And yet, while I could assuage my ego with the thought that I was working hard, in practice I was just being a busy fool.  Worse, I was so exhausted at the end of each day that I was simply slumping in front of the TV in the evening. What I could see was that until I changed something – anything – the equilibrium would remain…which would make me…insane!

First I released myself from the tyranny of the TV by investing in Sky + (hey, I’m not against TV, it’s just that I’d rather choose what I watch and when) and then I set about changing my eating habits…learning the lesson at long last that by looking after myself, I can achieve more.  (Up til now, my car has been getting more tlc than me – how mad is that?!)  I also started looking at where I “leak” time and energy – and discovered that a few so called friends were actually leaching from me. Ouch. It was an uncomfortable discovery – but they had to go!  And with more energy, I now had the drive to set about throwing out all the “old stuff” that seems to have been accumulating and gathering dust around the house ever since we first moved in!

Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  As well as having more energy and more time for real friends, I’m much more focused on the work that’s really going to make a difference to how I live my life. I’ve ditched several projects with the result that some amazing new opportunities – that I’d only ever dreamed about – are now coming my way! 

Try this yourself: Become consciously aware of everything you do.  What are you routinely repeating because you haven’t stopped to investigate why you’re doing what you’re doing? Think about your relationships – who enhances your life and who actually doesn’t? Think of someone you admire and who’s living the kind of life you aspire to – if they were to shadow you for a month, what advice would they give you?

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