Monthly Archives: May 2018

Doing What you Don’t Want to Do

Sometimes you are told to do something you don’t want to do and that can be hard. Sometimes you’re tired, or you wanted to do something else: your friend just called and told you that he or she was at the mall or the library or at the skateboard part and wanted you to be there to have some fun. But you can’t have fun because you have homework, or your mom or dad have asked you to do something for them right now, something that can’t be put off. So you feel disappointed and hurt, but you aren’t supposed to feel that way: after all, this is something your family needs, or that you need. But you still don’t want to do it! 

Of course there are several things you can feel about the situation: you can feel resentful and do the job poorly. You can be defiant and just go off anyway, leaving the homework undone, the dishes unwashed, the garbage still in the house or whatever. You can feel sorry for yourself: why do you always have to do stuff when your friend never does? You could do the work in a rush, go and try and meet your friend and then, when you missed your friend you would have something you could use to make your mom or dad or any other family member feel guilty. Yes, you might do any of these things, and a lot more.

But why? Because you are a little disappointed, suddenly everyone else has to feel bad and unhappy? Because you felt hurt and didn’t get what you wanted, you feel it is perfectly all right to hurt other people? These things might possibly feel good right now, but it’s a bad use of your anger and hurt.

A better use of your anger and hurt is to spend a moment feeling your hurt, really feeling it. You’re sad. You might even feel picked on and unloved. You might feel anything but if you allow yourself to feel that way for a moment, and then even get angry, guess what? The bad feelings go away after a little while. And then if you’re still angry you can use that anger to do the job you’re been asked to do quickly, efficiently, get it done and then go have fun.


Do the Little Extra

There is an old folk tale about someone whose house was very crowded. Now only did he have is wife, daughters and sons still living with him but also their spouses. He was a loving and caring man and he knew times were hard, but pretty soon the noise and bustle were wearing him down, to say nothing of trying to make peace between everyone. Just getting breakfast together for the whole family was practically a military campaign! He had to wake up early with his wife and make sure everyone had what he or she liked, that it was cooked properly, served properly, and the person’s whose turn it was really washed the dishes.

But it was so tiring! He and his wife really did love everyone, but it was just getting to be too much. So one day his wife suggested that he ask the local wise man for advice and, galvanized by the idea, the weary homeowner went there that same afternoon.

However, the wise man’s advice seemed to make little sense. “What you need to do,” he said, “is to finish fixing up the attic and make take that shed near you house, attach it to the house, make it waterproof and safe enough for someone to sleep there, and put a bed in it. Then you invite your two cousins and put them in the new shed. Then see if your brother and his wife can move into the attic.”

Even though he trusted the wise man, the kind man didn’t see how this would help.  But he did it, and pretty soon he did almost nothing but cook for people, tell people to clean up after themselves and charge rent. This went on for three more months! At the end of his patience, the kind man sought advice again. 

He was told, “Tell your cousins and your brother to go home. When they have left, tell your eldest daughter and eldest son to take their spouses and live in the attic and the new shed.” The kind man did so, and the next day he returned. “Oh! it is so much easier now!” Thank you!”

The point of this story is: when you have something to do, do a little extra. Then, when you only have to do the work you usually do, it will be so much easier.


What Does Your Body Say About Lazy?

If feels good to rest after you have worked hard on something and it is a good thing to do, too. Sometimes you need to rest because you have been doing physical things and sometimes you need to rest because you have been doing hard mental things, like homework or trying to understand something that isn’t easy. Your body doesn’t mind too much when you do mental things but you do have to remember that your body really needs to move: it’s designed to move, to work, to bounce around and have fun. So when you go walking, or play a game outside, the body knows it’s doing what it was meant to do, and it’s happy.

However, when you are doing something mental like reading, writing, sitting and watching a movie, texting or playing a computer game, your mind might be getting a lot of movement, a lot of exercise but from the point of view of your body, you’re just staying still, sometimes for hours. If you have ever tried to stay still, very still, on purpose, you know how hard that really is: your body keeps wanting to move. Your hand jiggles or your foot twitches or at least your body feels tired.

Tired? How can you be tired form not moving? By forcing your body to be still too long, you are actually making it work very hard indeed but it isn’t the kind of hard work that gives your body benefit. When you are too still for too long, you forget to breathe deeply, and your lungs aren’t giving you enough air. When you sit too long however much fun your mind is having, the blood in your veins is dragged down by gravity and makes little pools here and there, where you’re sitting or lying. Those pools of blood are hard for the body to move. 

So: move around, wriggle your feet, stretch your arms and move your head even when you are working with your mind. Your body will love you for it.

When Work is Difficult

If you look at something new and think immediately, “Oh, that’s going to be hard!” you have stopped yourself even before you have begun. Most new things aren’t harder than any other things: they’re just new. There are hard things: learning how to be kind to people you don’t like, doing things well under pressure, being patient when it’s the last thing you want to do and missing a dear friend that has died. These things are truly hard. Work? Well, the more you do it the easier it gets. The less you do it the harder it gets. 

This seems strange, but it’s really so: when you do a job, you not only get stronger if you do the whole thing, and do it well, the next time you do it you can get into the dance of working: you remember what you did before and naturally, automatically, find more efficient ways of doing things. This happens without your having to think about it, because your body likes balance: work this hard and then rest. Use the strength you got from the last time to work and then rest when you are done.

However, if you don’t do something “Because it’s too hard!” or because you would rather do something too easy, then the next time you need to do the job, you have to carry the laziness of the time before. Really! You didn’t gain any strength, efficiency, courage or feeling of accomplishment when you sloughed off and didn’t do what you needed to do or intended to do, so you made yourself a little weaker. So the next time you tried to work, you have added that weakness.

And it’s the same with the next time, and the next, and the next. Pretty soon you are carrying such a load of weakness that you can hardly move! Better to work, get it over with, and get the benefits of working: a little more strength, efficiency, courage and feeling of accomplishment.