Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Keeping Life Ship Shape

Under the general umbrella of ‘Life Lessons’, the October issue of Psychology Today has a series of mini-articles metaphorically spreading from branches of the life tree. The perspectives attempt to clarify what is deemed a paradox – our instincts can be flawed biases that science attempts to overcome, meanwhile, personal wisdom emerges from lived experiences.

Thus, here are some thoughtful comments under the heading of ‘Shaping Your Life’:

  • Taking advantage of life’s opportunities to behave with spontaneity acts an as antidote to being stifled by fear or defaulting to act habitually; it means responding positively to openings “to act with a view toward an experiential gain, without worrying it might feel good”; learning our own potential means exploring and experimenting; acting with spontaneity differs from acting impulsively or randomly in that one is mindful of others as well as one’s own well-being; start easy by stopping to smell the flowers or talking with a stranger
  • Achieving progress in attitude or behaviour often requires us to move out of the comfort of ‘the back seat’; taking steps or making changes may not be easy, nor will they always be successful, but growth comes from trying, from “facing the fear and letting go”
  • Some degree of obsessive compulsiveness can be helpful, especially for certain pursuits; for example, “prolonged thinking is the way to discovery”; this works, at least in finding fulfillment, for occupations like musicians, artists, and scientists
  • Multi-tasking and multi-focusing lead to a range of results, not always good; however, rejection or failure provide valuable feedback, helping identify what is useful; searching beyond the known sometimes leads to dead ends, but also sometimes to achievement; rebelliousness can be inferred if one zigs when others zag; “When it comes to work, if nobody is upset, you are doing something wrong”

Of course, there are some other worthwhile perspectives:

  • Walk, don’t run, unless being chased: best to conserve energy for those surprise peaks and valleys which periodically burst on you, where enhanced survival skills may be required
  • Act like everything is negotiable: since the vast majority of people live daily with needing to be flexible, the average mindset will be prepared to listen to a negotiable offer
  • Leave a trail only when beneficial: while the expression ‘covering one’s tracks’ tends to have a suspicious implication, there may be times where you want to be found, possibly for support, maybe for reinforcement, perhaps for a ride
  • It’s not who speaks first, but who is heard best: some like to speak in a lead-off position because they like to get it over with, or would like to make the first impression on a certain point; however, messages which embody vocal variety and clarity massage with greater impact
  • To reflect life between white and black, shade light and brighten dark: almost every action has a cause and result, often confronted with multiple component forks in the road; tangents are everywhere; best to shade one’s vision to avoid being blinded, and shed light in the dark to provide focus
  • A wild pitch and a passed ball have the same effect: while baseball references, the analogy to either overdoing something or whiffing one’s part in completing it provides a similar impact – someone has to scramble to avoid a negative snowball

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