Lest I forget
From the Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
‘Some men hate it. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like a friend, make thyself like it. Don’t mind because it is hard. If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well to carry the water for the plaster. Promise me, boy, if thou get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does not appreciate all thou do, never mind. Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.’
From Getting Things Done by David Allen
Why Bright People Procrastinate the Most
It’s really the smartest people who have the highest number of undecided things in their lives and on their lists. Why is that?
Think of how our bodies respond to the images we hold in our minds. It appears that the nervous system can’t tell the difference between a well-imagined thought and reality.
To prove this to yourself, picture yourself walking into a supermarket and going over to the brightly lit fruit-and-vegetable section. Are you there? OK, now go to the citrus bins-oranges, grapefruits, lemons. Now see the big pile of yellow lemons. There’s a cutting board and a knife next to them. Take one of those big yellow lemons and cut it in half. Smell that citrus smell! It’s really juicy, and there’s lemon juice trickling onto the board. Now take a half lemon and cut that in half, so you have a quarter lemon wedge in your hands. OK, now-remember how you did this as a kid?-put that quarter of a lemon in your mouth and bite into it! Scrunch!
If you played along with me, you probably noticed that the saliva content in your mouth increased at least a bit. Your body was actually trying to process citric acid! And it was just in your mind.
If your body responds to the pictures you give it, how are you likely to feel physically when you think about, say, doing your taxes? Are you sending yourself “easy,” “let’s go,” completion, success, and “I’m a winner!” pictures? Probably not. For just that reason, what kinds of people would logically be the most resistant to be reminded about a project like that – that is, who would procrastinate the most? Of course, it would be the most creative, sensitive, and intelligent people! Because their sensitivity gives them the capability of producing in their minds lurid nightmare scenarios about what might be involved in doing the project, and all the negative consequences that might occur if it weren’t done perfectly! They just freak out in an instant and quit!
Who doesn’t procrastinate? Often it’s the insensitive oafs who just take something and start plodding forward, unaware of all the things that could go wrong. Everyone else tends to get hung up about all kinds of things.
Do my taxes? Of, no! It’s not going to be that easy. It’s going to be different this year, I’m sure. I saw the forms – they look different. There are probably new rules I’m going to have to figure out. I might have to read all the damn material. Long form, short form, medium form? File together, file separate? We’ll probably want to claim deductions, but if we do we’ll have to back them up, and that means we’ll need all the receipts. Oh my God – I don’t know if we really have all the receipts we’d need and what if we didn’t have all the receipts but we claimed the deductions anyway and we got audited? Audited? Oh, no – the IRS – JAIL!!
And so a lot of people put themselves in jail, just glancing at their 1040 tax forms. Because they’re so smart, sensitive, and creative. In my many years of coaching individuals, this pattern has been borne out more times than I can count – usually it’s the brightest and most sophisticated folks who have the most stuck piles, in their offices, homes, and heads. Most of the executives I work with have at least several big, complex, and amorphous projects stacked either on a credenza or a mental shelf. There always seem to be hobgoblin thoughts lurking inside them – “If we don’t look at or think about the projects, maybe they’ll stay quiet!”
So what’s the solution? There’s always having a drink. Numb it out. Dumb it down. Notice what happens to many people when they get a little alcohol on the brain. It should drop their energy immediately, because it’s a depressant; often, though, the energy lifts, at least initially. Why? The alcohol is depressing something – it’s shutting down the negative self-talk and uncomfortable visions that are going on in these folks’ minds. Of course my energy will increase if I stop depressing myself with overwhelming pictures of not handling something successfully. But the numb – out solutions are temporary at best. The “stuff” doesn’t go away. And unfortunately, when we numb ourselves out, we can’t do it selectively – the source of inspiration and enthusiasm and personal energy also seems to get numbed.
Intelligent Dumbing Down
There is another solution: intelligently dumbing down your brain by figuring out the next action. You’ll invariably feel a relieving of pressure about anything you have a commitment to change or do, when you decide on the very next physical action required to move it forward. Nothing, essentially, will change in the world. But shifting your focus to something that your mind perceives as a doable, completable task will create a real increase in positive energy, direction and motivation. If you truly captured all the things that have your attention during the mind-sweep, go through the list again now and decide on the single very next action to take on every one of them. Notice what happens to your energy.
From This is It by Osho
A sannyasin who is a photographer said she was feeling low energy and disinterested in photography.
This comes again and again in everybody’s life: whatsoever you are doing you get tired of, you get fed up, you get bored with it. It is very easy to be interested in a new thing – it needs great guts to remain interested in an old thing. That’s what makes a person a genius. Otherwise everybody will become a genius. The only difference between a genius and an ordinary person is that the genius has the guts to stick at something even when he is feeling bored, fed up.
These are plateaus that come. Mm? you work with great joy because something is new – there is a great exploration, new territory and you are enchanted… it is like a romance, a honeymoon. But by and by you become acquainted with the territory; you have looked into all the corners of it and there seems to be nothing new. Now you know all about it so the sensation is no more there, the thrill is no more there.
Now, it is at this point that if you can stick at it and make efforts to find something new in it, you will break through one plane, and on another plane the exploration starts again. If you simply listen to this boredom and you drop out, then those seven years will have gone down the drain.
That’s how many people lose their life energy: they don’t stick at things. It really needs courage to remain with the old, because when the plateau comes and everything seems to be just a repetition, doing the same thing again and again and again, one feels to change – change the wife, change the husband, change the job, change the friend, change the town, go somewhere else, do something new. But with the new again after seven years the same will happen!
You can change ten times in your life and after each seven years the same will happen, so the whole life will be a wastage. If you go on digging on the same spot for seventy years you will reach to some depth – and it can be reached from anywhere.
Now photography is such a creative thing and it is going to be more and more creative in the future because more sophisticated instruments will be available – they are available. You can do a thousand and one things with photography now; just a few years ago they were just impossible to do. One has to be creative, inventive… one has to look for new ways, new visions, new dreams. And sometimes this is natural, this is part of nature: one feels stuck.
Those who drop out are the rolling stones: they don’t gather any moss. And it has nothing to do with the work itself – it is just the tendency of the mind. Photography or painting or music, or dancing – anything – will come to the same point, and once you have made a pattern it will be repeated. This is really a sheer wastage of energies.
Go on working in it. If you are feeling stuck, that simply means that you have to explore new ways, new directions, new dimensions in it; and they are always there! Life is so mysterious that it is never finished. A man can go on working with a small thing and can devote his whole life to it and still there will be much to be explored after he has died.
This is the whole art of being a genius. The genius is just a little more stubborn than ordinary people, that’s all. He does not listen to the mind – he goes on hammering: he digs a hole. A sufi master – Jalaluddin Rumi – once took his disciples to a field. There were eight holes in the field and no hole had any water; the whole field was wasted. The disciples asked, ’Master, why have you brought us here?’
He said, ’To teach you something. This farmer wants to dig a well. He digs eight feet, ten feet, then he gets fed up with it and he thinks that this place is not right; he is bored so he starts digging at some other place. He has done this work the whole year round – he has destroyed the whole field and not a single hole has become a well. Now if he had dug at the same spot that well would have been one hundred feet deep.’ Jalaluddin said to his disciples, ’Remember this – the same applies to the inner world too.’
Just gather yourself together and don’t try to find excuses – simply start working with your total energy. From tomorrow morning start without thinking about it! Just go ahead, and within a few days it will be broken… and when it is broken, you will feel so thrilled. Whenever any plateau is broken, life takes on such a beauty and the work becomes such a joy. Then it is a second honeymoon and on a deeper level. And I am saying this to you to be remembered as a golden rule – it is so in every way, in every direction of life.
If you love a man, one day you will feel finished; that is the right moment to go on loving, to gather your energies and to explore the man again. If you can break that plateau you will see a new man arising before you… fresher than ever, younger than ever, more beautiful than ever. In fact you had never known such beauty and such depth. You have broken one more screen – the man is more available to you… again one day you will feel stuck! And remember: those who lose heart and escape, are great losers. Be a little more stubborn, stick to it. For three months do all that you can do with effort and then you tell me, mm?
What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it. Who was it who said, “Blessed is the man who has found his work”? Whoever it was he had the right idea in his mind. Mark you, he says his work – not somebody else’s work. The work that is really a man’s own work is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man’s work and cannot lose it. When we talk about the great workers of the world we really mean the great players of the world. The fellows who groan and sweat under the weary load of toil that they bear never can hope to do anything great. How can they when their souls are in a ferment of revolt against the employment of their hands and brains? The product of slavery, intellectual or physical, can never be great.
A real education will not teach you to compete; it will teach you to cooperate. It will not teach you to fight and come first. It will teach you to be creative, to be loving, to be blissful, without any comparison with the other. It will not teach you that you can be happy only when you are the first. That is sheer nonsense. You can’t be happy just by being first. And in trying to be first you go through such misery that you become habituated to misery by the time you become the first.
By the time you become the president or the prime minister of a country you have gone through such misery that now misery is your second nature. You don’t know now any other way to exist; you remain miserable. Tension has become ingrained, anxiety has become your way of life. You don’t know any other way; this is your very style. So even though you have become the first you remain cautious, anxious, afraid. It does not change your inner quality at all.
A real education will not teach you to be the first. It will tell you to enjoy whatsoever you are doing, not for the result but for the act itself. Just like a painter or a dancer or a musician….
In the coming century the whole education system is going to be totally transformed and changed because of the computer. It will be stupid to teach children history, geography — unnecessary, there is no need. All that can be done by a computer; the child can carry the computer. And my own observation is: the less you depend on memory, the more intelligent you become. That’s why it happens that in the universities you will not find very intelligent people.
Professors, chancellors, vice-chancellors — I have seen many, but it is very difficult to find some intelligent person there. You can find more intelligent people in the farmers, in the gardeners, in the villagers. And the reason is clear: because they are not knowledgeable they cannot depend on the memory. They have to respond to reality, they have to respond to challenges, they have to bring their consciousness to respond — their consciousness remains more sharp. A farmer, a villager, is far more wise than a professor in the university. The professor can depend on the memory, the farmer cannot depend on the memory.
From The Orange Book by Osho
Work as meditation
Whenever you feel that you are not in a good mood and you don’t feel good in the work, before starting work, just for five minutes, exhale deeply. Feel with the exhalation that you are throwing your dark mood out and you will be surprised within five minutes you will be suddenly back to normal and the low will have disappeared, the dark is no more there.
If you can change your work into meditation, that’s the best thing. Then meditation is never in conflict with your life. Whatsoever you do can become meditative. Meditation is not something separate; it is a part of life. It is just like breathing; just as you breathe in and out, you meditate also.
And it is simply a shift of emphasis; nothing much is to be done. Things that you have been doing carelessly, start doing carefully. Things that you have been doing for some results, for example, money…. That’s okay, but you can make it a plus phenomenon. Money is okay and if your work gives you money, good; one needs money, but it is not all. And just by the side if you can reap many more pleasures, why miss them? They are free of cost.
You will be doing your work whether you love it or not, so just bringing love to it will reap many more things which otherwise you would miss.
From The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition)
It is not in the nature of man–nor of any living entity–to start out by giving up, by spitting in one’s own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one’s mind; security, of abandoning one’s values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man’s nature and of life’s potential.
From The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
“Will power!” retorted Arkad. “What nonsense. Do you think will power gives a man the strength to lift a burden the camel cannot carry, or to draw a load the oxen cannot budge?
Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?
Should I say to myself, ‘For a hundred days as I walk across the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble and cast it into the stream,’ I would do it. If on the seventh day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to myself, Tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as well.’ Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble. Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, ‘Arkad, this is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every day? Throw in a handful and be done with it.’ No, I would not say that nor do it.
When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefore, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks, because I love leisure.”
From Self-Discipline in 10 days by Theodore Bryant
Regardless of whether you’re trying to stay on a diet, clean out the garage, or be more productive in your occupation, the secret to success revolves around your ability to recognize and deal with the part of you that offers resistance.
While you’re growing up you’re told what to do by parents, teachers, and other authority figures. If you go on to college you’re governed by professors. When you get a job, you have a boss. The discipline provided by these types of authority figures does not depend on whether we are in total agreement with what is asked of us. Usually, we are told what to do, how to do it, and when to have it done.
Under these circumstances, we don’t have to struggle with any inner resistance. Therefore our self-discipline muscle doesn’t get exercised. Without exercise self-discipline becomes weak and flabby. Then, in situations where we are called upon to be our own boss, we seem powerless to overcome contrary inner influences, both conscious and subconscious. Therefore, the part of us that doesn’t want to be disciplined takes control of our behavior.
In other words, you don’t tell you boss at work, “No, I don’t think I’ll do what you want me to do. I think I’ll watch TV instead.” But if you’re your own boss, you’ll repeatedly come up with such resistance to your own directives to yourself. You’ll let yourself off the hook and say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Because we’ve spend much of our lives being disciplined by others, we seldom develop the necessary skills to discipline ourselves. Again, self-discipline is like a muscle; it needs to be developed and exercised in order to be strong, to be available when we need it.
From Conversations with God – Book 1 by Neal Donald Walsh
Go first to your Highest Thought about yourself. Imagine the you that you would be if you lived that thought every day. Imagine what you would think, do, and say, and how you would respond to what others do and say.
Do you see any difference between that projection and what you think, do, and say now?
Yes. I see a great deal of difference.
Good. You should, since we know that right now you are not living your highest vision of yourself. Now, having seen the differences between where you are and where you want to be, begin to change-consciously change—your thoughts, words, and actions to match your grandest vision.
This will require tremendous mental and physical effort. It will entail constant, moment-to-moment monitoring of your every thought, word, and deed. It will involve continued choice-making—consciously. This whole process is a massive move to consciousness. What you will find out if you undertake this challenge is that you’ve spent half your life unconscious. That is to say, unaware on a conscious level of what you are choosing in the way of thoughts, words, and deeds until you experience the aftermath of them. Then, when you experience these results, you deny that your thoughts, words, and deeds had anything to do with them.
This is a call to stop such unconscious living. It is a challenge to which your soul has called you from the beginning of time.
From Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Socrates thought that no one could possibly be happy if they acted against their better judgment. And he who knows how to achieve happiness will do so. Therefore, he who knows what is right will do right. Because why would anybody choose to be unhappy?
What do you think, Sophie? Can you live a happy life if you continually do things you know deep down are wrong? There are lots of people who lie and cheat and speak ill of others. Are they aware that these things are not right-or fair, if you prefer? Do you think these people are happy?
From The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
“I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but for his own joy? Every one of them wants it. Every part of him wants it. But they never find it. I wonder why. They whine and say they don’t understand the meaning of life. There’s a particular kind of people that I despise. Those who seek some sort of higher purpose or ‘universal goal,’ who don’t know what to live for, who moan that they must ‘find themselves.’ You hear it all around us. That seems to be the official bromide of our century. Every book you open. Every drooling self-confession. It seems to be the noble thing to confess. I’d think it would be the most shameful one.”
“Look, Gail.” Roark got up, reached out, tore a thick branch off a tree, held it in both hands, one fist closed at each end; then, his wrists and knuckles tensed against the resistance, he bent the branch slowly into an arc. “Now I can make what I want of it: a bow, a spear, a cane, a railing. That’s the meaning of life.”
“Your work.” He tossed the branch aside. “The material the earth offers you and what you make of it…..”