Spring is the perfect time to spring clean. But before you decide not to read the remainder of this blog, I’m not thinking of spring cleaning the family home. I’m thinking about thought patterns and emotional response processes that have become habitual, but not necessarily beneficial for your present or future.
For example, the way we respond to criticisms, such as a negative performance appraisal, or a critical comment from your spouse or a close friend. If you are the sensitive type, any of these may take you a while to recover from. If you are thick-skinned and not inclined to take much notice, you may simply ignore them and move blithely on. In the latter case you would be wise to take account of what you are hearing and talk to a trusted friend about the validity of the criticisms being made: Some of them may require your adjustment. In the former case (sensitive type) you may need both encouragement and perspective. Again, these can help you make realistic adjustment to your current way of thinking and your future responses and behaviour.
A second example is the way you respond to compliments. Some of us thrive on praise and encouragement: It is good for our self-confidence and general well-being. A word of warning here: If you brush off compliments or try to give someone else the credit, you could be engaging in false humility. You may need to learn to accept a compliment gracefully and with thanks. I’m not talking about brushing up your ego, but rather accepting and enjoying your self-worth (as seen by someone else).
One important check with respect to criticisms and compliments: Take note who is making them, because that will determine there valuation. A high valuation from someone who is trustworthy and honest is worth a great deal. Therefore take it as a genuine encouragement.
A third example with respect to your way of thinking is: Do your current behaviours and actions match your passions and ambitions? If they don’t, you will need to give some serious thought to how you will change those behaviours and actions. Otherwise a few years down the road you could be very frustrated or even bitter at your lack of progress. You need to engage in things that really “float your boat”, in order to derive the satisfaction in life that you need. It’s not just about earning a living and keeping people (even family) happy, as important as that is.
Author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin says that people should become minor experts in a subject that interests them. Very few people have just one thing that is their life-long passion and purpose. Having other interests and passions brings variety and richness to life.
Finally, working harder is not the same as working smarter. Building breaks into your routine can refresh and rejuvenate your motivation and thought
processes. Short breaks, like a walk, or an afternoon out are a good habit to cultivate, as is a day off per week. Refreshment often leads
to new ideas or ways of doing things that had not previously been evident.