“Celebrate the varied splendor in this world, and remind yourself that it can also be found in you.”
― Dr Salma Farook, Seychellois author
I live in a country where we have sunshine almost every day. But in the last few days, something magical happened: every single day, morning and evening, we had breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
First light slowly softens the night into morning. As the sun rises behind the mountains, it tints the sky and clouds with rose gold. When it emerges fully, its light makes everything burst into full color.
In the afternoon, the sky slowly changes from bright blue, to orange, to a deep, rich gold. The mountain range we see from our house turns charcoal gray, and the dam we overlook turns into liquid gold.
This beauty lasts but a short time before dusk gives everything a soft gray tinge. When evening arrives with its black veil, it calms down the hot earth and allows us to rest.
Being in the Right Place
We’ve only lived in our current home for a few months. In that time I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but not every day. When I browsed through the sunrise and sunset pictures on my phone, I wondered why all of sudden it was so beautiful every day.
Aha! Lightbulb moment! Do you know what has changed? I made time for reflection early each morning, and went for a walk at sunset every day.
My reflection corner, where I sit each morning, has a huge window that allows me to watch the sun rise over the mountains. My evening walks take me west toward the setting sun. I walk uphill, which gives me a fantastic view.
The beautiful sunrises and sunsets were probably there all along; I just didn’t put myself in a position where I could see them. Looking through the window and going for walks allowed me to enjoy the beauty.
Beauty All Around Us
In our #MTtalk Twitter chats, we all put ourselves in a position where we can see the beauty of what others share.
Throughout 2018, our wonderful participants shared wisdom and knowledge. Sometimes we debated, and sometimes a tweet about a personal experience gripped my heart. We laughed often and, thanks to Terry (@BrainBlenderTec, one of our regular participants), we danced almost every time.
Here are some of the tweets that stood out to me this year:
What values underpin your ability to say “yes” or “no”?
@JoynicoleM: “It’s easier to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when I am clear on my purpose, capacity and expected outcomes. When I value my identity in the situation, I stay on course. When I don’t, I am often led astray.”
What kind of comments or questions should you avoid when talking to a colleague about his or her mental health issue?
James, a regular participant we know as @Jikster2009, pointed out that well-meaning individuals often don’t realize what they have said, and that they can make things worse. Taboo statements include: “Cheer up, I’m sure it can’t be that bad,” “Why do you think you feel this way?” and “Man up.”
Which beliefs do you need to change to help you stop self-sabotaging?
@jeremypmurphy: “The false negative beliefs we hold about ourselves.”
We were also reminded during the chat about self-sabotaging behavior. To stop self-sabotaging, you need to practice your willpower and your “won’t-power.” Say “yes” to what serves you, say “no” to what doesn’t.
In our chat about willful blindness, we asked:
What makes us, as individuals, prefer ignorance? Why don’t we want to see what’s in front of us?
@Midgie_MT: “Ignorance can be easier when people ‘turn a blind eye’ rather than speaking up. Finding a voice and speaking up, at times, takes courage.”
We love it when a person from one continent carries on where someone from another continent left off. Here’s a great example:
What personal characteristics do generous people share?
@SaifuRizvi: “Generous people: 1) Talk nicely. 2) Share the credit. 3) Take the responsibility. 4) Educate people.”
@carriemaslen: “Generous people: 5) Open doors (figuratively and literally) for others. 6) Trust others. 7) Believe and look for the best in others. 8) Make time for others.”
What can you do to help yourself and others feel “enough”/adequate?
@temekoruns: “Inadequacy can be remedied by: a) not comparing your life to others’; b) using strengths more; c) being around those who empower.”
Our tweet chat about books and reading was one of my favorites of 2018:
Who shared a book with you when you were a child, and what was its effect?
@GThakore: “My dad is very fond of reading. Even at 84 he keeps on forwarding me some books!”
We also discussed wisdom in the workplace, and asked:
Why might there be a lack of wisdom in the workplace?
@MicheleDD_MT: “The focus in many organizations is on getting results, increasing productivity, and gaining market share. Time is not taken to learn from experience – reflection is viewed as wasting time.”
Our first Twitter chat of 2019, on January 4, will be on the subject of learning from experience. Watch this space for the usual pre-#MTtalk blog post.
Lessons From 2018
In 2018 we also learned that you have to use your time wisely, and devote each day only to the things that are worthy of your attention. Focus on the things that matter. Spend enough time with your loved ones. Be kind, gracious and generous. Rest when you need to rest. Take time to breathe – and to look through the window or walk into the sunset. You owe it to yourself.
To help you to plan a balanced 2019, take a look at the resources below. (Please note, some of the resources listed are only available in full to members of the Mind Tools Club.)