We could argue all day that there’s no such thing as a “waste of time.” Regardless of what you’re doing, that time is still in use. So if you declare that it is a “waste,” then that’s just your poor perception of it. Through all of our experiences in life, good and not so good, we use up the most valuable resource of all – time. We can make more money, we can generate more energy, we can even grow more food. But alas, the one resource we can never, ever get back is in fact, time.
Can we waste the other resources? Yup. Most definitely. Have you ever taken a long drive to an appointment and you’re told that there’s been a mishap? Whether the client you were supposed to meet went to work early, the doctor you were meant to see took a personal day, or even just plain ol’ got your days mixed up… it happens to the best of us. Yet, it can still be a waste of your other resources. It’s a waste of gas in your vehicle, it’s a waste of money if you had to spend it, it can drain your energy a bit, who knows. Remind yourself though… those are resources you can get back.
Time, we cannot.
When we spend our time (reminder – you spend it like any other resource you have possession of) there always has to be a lesson to take from it. There HAS to be. It can be to confirm your appointments via phone call or where to find a bathroom when you’re in a specific town. It could be to switch doctors or to switch careers. Regardless, the time was spent and since it logically cannot be wasted, what was the lesson? Sadly, sometimes these instances feel like they can be a waste of time.
It’s frustrating as all hell when an appointment gets mixed up on you. You took time that you were going to spend in other ways, maybe in a more recreational or productive manner. Either way, that was your time that you spent somewhere than where you actually would have spent it. It’s like spending vacation money on a car repair or spending your rainy day fund on your business. You didn’t want to spend it in that manner, but it happened… and now you need to learn.
Maybe when you’re taking a trip home from your wild adventure of lost time, you stop by a store you’ve never been in before or a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. How can we take a negative and make it a positive? That’s the segway ground. The “how.” We hear all these prolific sayings scattered along the internet. Instagram is spammed with infinite positivity quotes from girls showing off in yoga pants. It’s everywhere. Different postings of stoic sayings, Tony Robbin-isms, everyone and their mother wanting to be a life coach.
I get it. Positivity, positivity, positivity. I’m just as responsible for it. But the real question is, “HOW do we get there.” A good chunk of us understand WHERE we need to be…we know it’s over there somewhere. It’s always the goddamned “how” we can get stuck on all the time.
Most people would say, “by practicing.” Yeah, that too. That’s how you get better at any skill. Staying positive in tough times, frustrating times, sad times…it’s a matter of practicing it daily. We certainly get better each day, but it’s never really all that easy. It might happen quicker, but it’s not easy. The more we do it, the faster we can make the transition back to that positive mindset and let the negative emotion pass through us.
There’s different ways to get better at this and I guess that’s why they’re called “practices.” You have to practice them. Aaaaaah. Makes sense. That’s the difficult part. We can talk the talk, but do we walk the walk? You better, otherwise you’re at a crawl.
Meditation. This one helps tremendously. When the feeling sticks, when it lingers, when it won’t pass…take a few minutes to listen to some ambient sound, lay down, close your eyes, breathe and let your mind wander. 20 minutes is usually enough, but you’ll find you want to go longer once you get to the sweet spot. When you get really good at it you’ll start to become one with the sound you’re listening to. It’s pretty fucking trippy but also a difficult wave to surf. There’s also different styles on how to do this. You could focus purely on a style of breathing, you could hum a certain tone with each exhale, or you could just focus on loving yourself and working outward to the people in your life. But regardless, they’re all better than letting that emotion stay within.
Stretching. That’s another one that helps. Being stuck in a car for hours on end, a desk, a conference room will make your body a rock. Think of your emotions like water… they’re supposed to flow and pass through you. If your body is a rock, how well will the water pass through? Take a few minutes and run through a set of stretches. Start from your top and work to your bottom, or your core to your extremities, or to your anterior to your posterior chain. Who gives a shit, just stretch. 20 seconds in a pose is just enough to let the muscles release a little bit. If you want permeant change, sit in it for 2 minutes. Personally, I’ve found that hitting everything for a few seconds feels great, but I don’t have the time or patience for 2 minutes everywhere. Maybe 2 minutes for problem areas, but maaaaaaaaan…I got shit to do too.
Talking. Without bringing someone down in your emotions, maybe just verbally walking through the issue with another human being will be helpful. You can talk, then the more you talk you hear your own thoughts come out and that might be the end of them. Or not, but it’s worth a shot. It goes hand in hand with…
Journaling. Stream of consciousness, write as fast as you can, no hitting the backspace button. Give yourself a minimum time or word count. This feels better than talking for me because I don’t have to worry about someone else being upset about something I’ve said. It also gives me a chance to check myself before riggity wrecking someone else… and their state of mind. Think of it like doing your math problem out so you can come to a conclusion, it’s pretty similar.
We’re not perfect, we never will be. The opportunities to grow stronger, to become a more positive person, to heal are bountiful. We just have to see them and act upon them. Do the hard work, practice. Nothing worth doing is easy… or some other positive language quote. How do you like my yoga pants? Do you need a life coach?