"...it is well-known that--for men especially--the forties are a "dangerous decade, because if they have been well brought up, it takes them this long to realize that one sometimes owes it to other people to be selfish." --Chapter 13I am in my 50's, but the notion holds true. A lot of things don't happen on schedule in life.
So, for the next 30 days, from now until Tuesday June 4th, 2013, I am making my "wants" (my desires, my agenda, my goals, my preferences) a priority.
Why 30 days? I am inspired by this three minutes and forty-eight seconds of TED talk.
"Putting my wants first" is not a habit like "biking to work." This is something I think most people assume they do naturally, and indeed I have seen that some people do. I don't do this naturally, not right now. I wonder how much I can change that by 30 days of focused attention.
I don't expect to be transformed into a new man in 30 days, but I do expect that I might be more apt to take risks which I normally would not take if I know that on June 5th I can go back to the safety and familiarity of my more familiar habits.
I am doing this because I have just lived through a very unsatisfying few weeks with my closest personal friends. My innermost circle is unhappy with me, I am unhappy with them, and I am unhappy with how we all got here. I suspect much of the problem is a redundant voice in my head that keeps me stuck in scripted roles habitually. I am not responding to this moment, I am stuck in some story I am telling.
The story has a formula: If I do X, you will be happy. If you are happy, you will find out what I want and give it to me because you will want me to do X more.
This sounds very rational, doesn't it? Look again, it relies on a shaky set of assumptions.
- Doing X will make you happy.
- Your happiness will motivate you to express your gratitude.
- You will do what I want.
- You will want me to do X more later.
Ever come away from a disagreement with someone close to you saying "I just can't figure out what they want!?"
I'm going to give this formula a try instead: If I do X, I will be happy. If you like X too, come along! If you'd rather I do Y, that's okay, but I am still doing X.
I fear this is going to be a little bumpy, but doing what I've been doing has been no cake-walk. I'm not trying to make a change because things are going so well.
I am not committing to a post about this every day because that kind of commitment isn't something I want. I know doing a blog post every day about something is admirable and impressive, but that's not the way I want to get there. Not until June 5th anyway. I'll update this when I want to.
The inspiration for this idea comes substantially from Dr. Robert Glover's self-help book "No More Mr. Nice Guy." That's not my only source of inspiration, but it is an important one. I am also taking this period as a time to work through the self-awareness exercises in this book (actually on paper, instead of just reading them and imagining what I would do if I actually did those things). This work is too personal to share online, but I will summarize my insights as best I can in a public venue via my posts.
Now I want to be finished with this blog post and move on with my day. :-)