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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Jigsaws, a project in perseverance

My daughter is completing a jigsaw puzzle. It is quite a complex one, with 1000 small pieces. When I go into her room I’ll see her patiently sitting there working on it, usually while watching something on a screen at the same time.

I have written about jigsaws before, after finding out that the actor Hugh Jackman is an enthusiast. With both my daughter and Jackman I can see why people enjoy this timeless activity; it’s the process of working on a challenging task through to its completion. There’s a clear goal to be achieved; the beginning starts off relatively easily as the edges are done. However, things get harder and more complex as you work through the middle parts, perhaps a section of an image of the sky with everything being the same colour. Eventually, as you can see the end in sight, things get easier as the number of pieces to place get smaller, as do the number of places to put the pieces in.

We can treat any project like a jigsaw puzzle. We know that there will be the initial excitement as we start out with the easy parts. However, just like a jigsaw, progress can slow down and become harder. If we persevere and get through this things will pick up again and we’ll achieve the success that we are all capable of.

Question things
I heard an interview in which a group of people were questioning the way in which other people look at particular issues. It is often the case that those who question a narrative in today’s society are seen to be completely off track in regards to the perspectives they have. This could range from views on a type of exercise, the food we eat, the way art is expressed, political thought, anything at all, really.

I am by no means suggesting we have to take on board every new and different way of seeing the world in regards to any topic or theme. However, I do suggest we take the time to look back in history to those who were also ‘out there’ in regards to the ideas and theories they shared. Here we could include the likes of Galelio, Buddha, Steve Jobs … the list goes on and on.

Be prepared to look at things a little differently; this could lead to wonderful insights that you never before considered.

Positive change
I read about an author who shares positive content on YouTube. When he was in a restaurant a staff member approached him and said how he had enjoyed the content and had started applying what the author was sharing. Whereas in the past the worker had been critical and cynical about the job he had, he decided to start approaching his job more positively and with a better attitude. This led to things starting to change almost straight away, with results that included: promotion; more money; enjoying his job more; feeling better about other areas of his life; these being just some of the benefits from his change of perspective and attitude.

Yes, I know there are many people in careers which aren’t satisfying or rewarding, however, in many cases a shift in attitude could be the catalyst for positive change. The change could happen in that same career or job, or perhaps it could come with a change to doing something else.

Success measures
Talking to author Steven Pressfield on his podcast, host Joe Rogan answered a question he was asked about nerves in regards to performing on stage as a comedian. His answer made perfect sense, this being that when he knows he has done all of the required preparation he is far less nervous, as he knows that thorough prep makes it far more likely the show will be a successful one, whereas going into a performance knowing the work hasn’t gone in beforehand is going to have him knowing that he won’t be at his best.

Regardless of what we do we can all learn from this message from Rogan. Whether it be a day as a teacher in a classroom, a participant in a sports competition, or pretty much anything else, the likelihood of us doing it well and being successful largely depends on the effort we have put in. The empowering thing about this is that this prior effort is something we can control, making us, to some extent, the person who has the most control over how successful we end up being.

Cleaning up
I just love what I saw with the Japanese fans after their World Cup Football match on Sunday, with them cleaning up the stadium after their game against Germany. This is something I remember them doing at the previous tournament, which led to the fans of Colombia [who Japan had just beaten in a big upset] doing the same thing. This shows the power of setting an example; even when it’s not done intentionally, it still has the power to influence others in a positive way.

Actions like this are what make the world a better place, taking responsibility for the things we do and taking action. Imagine if we all did this, essentially’sweeping the porch’ of our own mess. Not only are we taking personal responsibility, we’re also encouraging others to do the same thing.

Workarounds
Watching the excellent new National Geographic show, Limitless, featuring Chris Hemsworth, I saw him doing something we can all learn from, this being a ‘workaround’ for an activity when the situation isn’t ideal. The example in Limitless was when Hemsworth injured his foot when preparing for an extremely tough physical challenge. However, rather than giving up, he adapted his training so he could still prepare for the challenge.

I believe we can too often give up on a goal when things aren’t ideal for one reason or another when, in reality, some adaptation is all that’s required to see us through. Yes, the modification may not be perfect but, if applied, it will take us closer to our goal than giving up would.

Clearly I’m no Hemsworth, but I did use his strategy when meditating. Ideally I like to breathe in and out through my nose when I do my daily meditation. However, due to hay fever, I couldn’t because my nose was blocked. Normally I would have skipped my practice, but instead I breathed through my mouth. This isn’t the ideal approach, but it’s better than doing nothing at all.

Subscriptions
I heard this idea about an issue we have all confronted many times, this being subscriptions we have for things we no longer use but are still paying for, or even email subscriptions we no longer have an interest in. Those we pay for are the ones we really need to pay the most attention to. The example so many have been impacted by are gym memberships; if you’re paying for one it either needs to be used or cancelled. However, there are so many more in the time of online subscriptions, as it’s so easy to get trapped in subscriptions that we had free trials to start with; the one month free can so easily become years of paying for something we never use.

What should be done is a regular review of our online subscriptions. Set a reminder to check monthly and if you notice something you haven’t used for a given period of time, such as the month just gone, unsubscribe from it. The same applies to email subscriptions; if you’re doing nothing more than deleting them as they arrive in your email inbox, it’s time to unsubscribe from these too.

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