Sunday, August 20, 2017



Ritual is an often neglected part of modern life, and without the strict (sometimes too the minute) structure of work, we might find that our productivity goes out the window, and it isn’t obvious why. We might blame ourselves: Why am I being so lazy today? Why can’t I focus? Why does this feel like an uphill battle this time?

Ask an insomniac what people don’t realise of his experience; it isn’t just the toll that sleeplessness has on the mind and body, but also the strange, head-spinning sensation that the day doesn’t end; day blurs into night.

As a retiree you cannot allow activity and non-activity to bleed into each other; they have to be as distinct as night and day.

Cultivate distinction in times and places
So let’s put that into other words; It’s getting easier and easier to work anywhere, and this has meant that we could write that oh-so-important article in bed, in your pyjamas. And sometimes that pays off; but our question is - Is that a good way to get fired up?
A common piece of advice for insomniacs is to only use your bed for sleeping, and if you can’t sleep, get out of the bed. Why? Because you want to build up a trained association between a specific time and place, with a specific state, or performance. In working from home, or for yourself, we can often get into a state in which we are not really working, nor are we are really relaxing. Beds are for sleeping. Offices are for working! Respect their sanctity!
Live by the clock
What you need is a starting pistol; some trigger that flicks your switch from relaxed to working. This line has to be crystal clear and the reaction simple - the alarm has chimed, therefore I have begun.
Know what it means to dis-engage
Sometimes we work in contrasts; opposites help define each other, and recharge our abilities.
Those that work hard are more able to relax, and vice versa.
Those that sleep well are able to feel more fully awake, and vice versa. Empty your cup so it may be filled, as they say in Buddhism.
Be aware of Your state and know your triggers
Imagine a surgeon that religiously insists on spending five minutes playing the same twenty-year- old video game before going into theatre. A rock star, hearing the chants of ten thousand fans stares at himself in the mirror repeating a compliment one character gave another in his favourite movie.
What do these examples have in common?
They are all examples of performers that have found a way of controlling their state; no matter how silly and irrelevant to the task at hand it may seem to the outside world.
Managing our own state and influencing the states of others is one of the most important skills in life. The majority of business people will make decisions logically, but it’s their state and the strength of their state that will that will get them to take action and persist with an action through challenging times.
It is a major part of our emotional intelligence.
I found a useful way of developing state skills is to start to notice how various states impact us and others.

A simple learning experience for myself is when I play Lumosity, a brain-training game. Occasionally I get annoyed with myself for getting an answer wrong. The immediate impact of this is that I don’t pay attention for the next few minutes, and invariably get the next few answers wrong. In this context it’s more effective for me to accept a wrong answer as useful information, and a trigger to focus better for the next exercise. This significantly improves my performance

This is the continuation of a weekly serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Wamala and Cooper, which book is available through for $0.99: 

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