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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Taking the time...

To stop and smell the roses. And being thankful for the things I have, and not crying about what is not in my control. By this regime.
 Temple play ground. It might be something from your childhood, or when you were playing around as an adult.Think about times in your life when things seemed to have quality or value and times when they didn't. Select one of these to test, preferable one that had a lot of value to you, because these are easier to handle without creating unpleasant feelings.

  Look carefully at the memory, firstly to see if it is still fresh and accurate and not too dulled over a long time.
  Consider that there might be the case where the event seemed exciting at first, but over long term handling or experience it seems dull, like a "commodity".
  Even with fine food, if you have it everyday it no longer seems that interesting or special. For example, you might find at first going out for a meal to be exciting and fun, but if you have to buy your meal everyday, it soon seems ordinary and loses interest. Where a meal cooked by yourself or by someone you care for is a different experience.

Free Money Collection in Cash. Why is it so often the thing we all want, but always find out it never brings happiness? Consider how much money was involved in the experience as this can effect the quality or value. There is a case where a person may hold the view have said that if you don't charge for services, no one will appreciate its value.

 What really happens however is that the cost paid for it dulls the experience, because the money itself has to be earned so it has its own cost. It returns to being a commodity as you are paying for it, therefore you have an expectation of a return of investment. Both parts actually make quite special things seem very ordinary and unimportant and the experience of quality and sense of value is lost.

 However this exercise really is not about expecting people to do things for nothing. Many needed services just won't exist without money, you have to work out which one is a money making operation and which one isn't and the differences.
Home grown tomatoes. Why do home grown and hand picked taste better?Consider times that you have found satisfaction in doing something by yourself. A simple case is working in the home or garden. When you decorate your space yourself, it feels so much more genuine than if you paid someone to do it for you.

Life of a salesman. Some insurance & used-car salespeople get a bad reputation for being dishonest or sleazy. Why is that? Is it just because dishonest ones use dishonest methods, or because people got sucked in?Consider likewise if your experience had a mental "cost". Such as you were manipulated, pressured, begged or flattered into doing something that if you had a choice you would say no to. Many methods exist in coercing a person to do something they don't want. This has a terrible cost to both sides.

The alternative is when you do something for someone else, or vice versa (without any obligation or expectation, but just out of friendship, kindness or compassion) it seems so much more precious and these are the memories people cherish. This is because there is no physical or mental "cost" paid.
It's not about right or wrong, even when an issue is valid. Its all about asking what cost are you prepared to pay and why. 

 There are cases more mundane such as you want to buy a particular type of car, so you over-extend your finances to be able to get it, even when you only use it for something a more economical car would be appropriate.
Primarily its self importance that drives people to do it, whether a person just wants it, or through peer-pressure is encouraged into doing it.
 This also has a terrible cost, because it develops into the feeling that nothing becomes important anymore and its a pursuit of the next thing either in the hope it will bring that sense of that "high" and value back. A person may also go into the habit that they will only do something for someone else, if they get something in return. Quality is diminished very easily and its largely when it is tainted by greed or obligation.

 Think about this: Proportionate to the attachment or passion you have with anything is equal to the dangers most people are willing to go to, this is most self-evident in wars. Also equal is the amount of pain and despair you may feel if it doesn't go the way you want (such as if you lose what you had that investment in).
Many people do things for other people and have fun and satisfaction from it. Consider experiences you've had where simple or free things seemed to have the most value. It might be something like a picnic with family or friends, doing some basic housekeeping for someone you care about, growing a plant or cooking a meal from scratch, or tidying up any clutter you may have at home to give yourself some fresh space. Whatever occurs you from your experiences.
Now imagine that same event, but change it slightly, such as if you were obliged to do those things that you didn't want to, or that you were doing it to get something, or that you were possessed by the urge to "buy it" when you really didn't need it. What has changed? Did the feeling stay the same, or did it become slightly tainted and quality or value is lost?

The goal now is to learn when you are being manipulated or greedy and make a stand to say "thanks, but no thanks". This isn't easy, but you have to ask yourself if the small unpleasant feeling of saying no, is more or less than the price paid for saying yes.
This is hard because many cases exist where a person is manipulated by their close friends and family, but are afraid they will end up alone as they don't have anyone else. On one hand its certain that this is a low quality life, essentially being used as a doormat, on the other it is not unreasonable for the person to want to tolerate it for the sake of keeping the relationships. This simply is the cost that must be paid for the association as it is.
Have you ever noticed how much of art and music has dis-satisfaction so often as the theme? Beware of extremes. It is possible a person may suddenly feel horrified at all the manipulation and exploitation and want to get as far away as possible from it. As it is a central part of ordinary human interaction, it can't be avoided without becoming a recluse. The other extreme is trying to change people. As it is an effective method (after all, only until a person realizes they are being exploited will they know), so any extreme response leads into horror or misery, so less quality of life. The only way to handle it is make a choice to let go and do what you feel is right.

Fun isn't always hard work. Try and find ways to improve the quality of your life and make it fun, without their being a harm factor. Once you feel comfortable in saying no or yes according to the event, see what you can do to make life more interesting and better quality. This might be to learn something new, change bad habits, do something for yourself or other people without obligation, while keeping a balance so you aren't becoming another doormat. Then you are a free agent, because you have the choice to be.