One thing I learnt early on in life is that we tend to value things when we don’t have them anymore. I spent 3 years of my childhood sailing around the world on a traditional sail boat. We relied on sail power (for the most part) and had no technological instruments aside from GPS and ham radio. We had no fridge, no running water, no phones and very little personal space.
It’s when we are put into situations of discomfort or when we lack a resource is usually the moment when we place an enormous value on comfort and resources. It’s like in a negotiation when we suddenly feel a lack of air or a rise in room temperature; we suddenly want the negotiation to end and place value on fresh clean (free) air. I wrote an article relating to this in America Economia magazine (in Spanish) and how good negotiators take advantage of these types of elements during negotiation.
So here’s the observation: when we have them (resources, assets, etc.), we usually take them for granted and look for the next professional challenge, innovative project, new market or exciting product. Greener pastures to speak metaphorically.
How do we, as professionals, leaders, and human beings, use the tools at our fingertips to bring benefits to our business and community but without losing sight of valuable assets such as our health, our families, our friends, our creativity and our natural talents?
Here are my thoughts:
1) Reality Check – take a break from social media, your smart phone, TV, caffeine etc.
2) Gratitude – an expression of gratitude for a job well done or a small gesture of civility like holding the door open when entering a building is a way of recognizing the other person and their action. It is also a reminder to oneself that we live in a connected (not just IT connected) world where our highly evolved social interaction is what makes humans different from animals.
3) Bucket List – write a list and start to cross off things you have always wanted to do. Don’t just wait for New Years; I found Michael Hyatt’s life plan here extremely useful.
4) Take Care of our Bodies and Minds. We appreciate our health when we are sick. If we look after our health every day we are placing importance on the tools we need to survive – our minds and bodies.
5) Down Time – I am a firm believer in white space – in having time in your day when you don’t do anything. For me, this usually results in more creativity and productivity! It helps me see what’s important from what is a supposedly “urgent”.