Each day, I read The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. With highlighter in hand, I peruse the current day’s passage and highlight the parts that give me hope. Today, I re-read all of March, the theme of which is awareness.
One of the messages I took from the March passages was to become self-aware. We must all realize our strengths and weaknesses in order to be our best authentic selves. In my case, I’m very detailed and organized. I’m no leader, though, because I’m too much of a perfectionist. Knowing this about myself has prevented me from making the mistake of ever accepting a job that requires me to supervise other people. As a supervisor, I know I would be constantly annoyed or frustrated, and the poor people under me would hate me and their job. Everyone, me included, is better off with me not being a boss.
Another message from the book’s March passages was not to try to impress people by doing things we don’t want to do. Most people are not worth impressing if it means making ourselves miserable by not being ourselves. For me, this has meant not having kids even though it is very much expected by society. Quite frankly, being a parent is not for me. To me, it’s sort of like being a boss. See above for why that wouldn’t be a good idea. In addition to my perfectionist tendencies, I lack assertiveness. Being an advocate for your kid is a necessity, and I don’t have the level of confidence needed to be a successful advocate for anyone, including myself. In this respect, I’m happier not living up to society’s expectations.
The last message I took from March was to maintain control over our thoughts. We can make our situations better simply by thinking about them differently. For example, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor of my state issued a stay-at-home mandate. Almost immediately, I started going stir-crazy because my regular routine was disrupted. I would go to the store just to get out of the house, and I took a lot of naps. Now, I’ve changed the way I think about having to self-isolate. I’ve started to think of it as an opportunity to get stuff done around my house. I make lists, and I feel hugely accomplished whenever I get to cross off a task I’ve completed. I’m also working from home because my office is closed due to the coronavirus, and at first, I couldn’t concentrate on work. Then I started including my work tasks on my lists. The fact that I get to cross off an item on my list has helped me focus on the work tasks I need to complete. All it took was a shift in the way I thought about my situation.