My Manifesto: Don’t worry.

Don’t worry. Do. If nothing can be done, don’t worry.

This one is at the very top of my manifesto for very good reason, it is the single most important guiding daily principle I have. If it were not for this, I would be an insane, crazy making, bi-polar mess. You see, what really triggers the feelings of depression and anxiety that would otherwise rule my life, is stress. This is one of the reasons that personal productivity systems like Getting Things Done appealed to me. Just look at the subtitle – “The art of stress-free productivity” (emphasis mine). Stress is very bad for many reasons for most people. Based on my history, it is even more so for me.

The fact is, and I know most will find this hard to believe, stress is completely avoidable. Really. It is. It is as easy to avoid as going through the simple process that is distilled in this entry of my manifesto. You see, a lot of stress is caused by worry. Worry over getting something done at work. Worry over having too much to do and not being able to do it all. Worry over how your relationship with your significant other is going. Worry over bills or money. You get the point.

Whenever I feel worry coming on, worry that will lead to stress (and thus suffering) – due to a situation with work, a relationship, a bill I have to pay but can’t because I don’t have the money, whatever – I go through this little circus of logic in my head:

1) Worry takes energy, a lot of energy.

2) If it is something that I can do something about, than I should spend that energy doing something towards resolving the thing that worries me instead of worrying about it.

3) If it is something that I can’t do anything about, than there is no point in expending energy (worry or otherwise) towards it because it has no effect on changing the situation. Therefore, don’t worry. It will cause only suffering.

Now, I will take this moment to tell you that a lot of my feelings on this these ideas derive from my belief in Buddhist philosophy. I wont delve too deeply here but let me just go on record and say that the idea of worry and it’s many names and causes (want, greed, ignorance, desire, etc.) is addressed very highly in Buddhism in what is called The Four Noble Truths. Should you read further you will find a lot of parallels therein.

The bottom line is this – we are all in complete control of our own suffering. Therefore, we are in complete control of ending it. All we have to do is, logically, convert energy to action or, where appropriate, convert energy to peace. Is it as simple as I make it sound here? No. I am human after all. I struggle with truly being worry/stress free. But I can tell you that it has become a lot more easy since adopting this approach. I can also tell you that my struggles with depression and anxiety are effectively won in large part because of this belief.

Series Introduction: My Manifesto

For many years, I have maintained a short list I like to call my Personal Manifesto. These are simply little statements that I believe as truth and try, despite my many failures, to live by. I review this list every so often, just to remind myself of what’s there and fact check my daily living against it.

Some of the items are original thought or distilled from a larger personal beliefs. Some are simply truisms I heard elsewhere, believe in, and I feel are important enough to deserve a place on the list. Therefore, I add to it occasionally. It is a “living” document that, while an important statement of some things I believe, is open to change and growth as I am.

Here is the current list:

* Don’t worry. Do. If nothing can be done, don’t worry.

* The past serves us only in having taught us the lessons needed to thrive in the present and strive towards the future.

* Time is very precious. More precious than money. One can always make more money but one can’t have back this moment… Or this one.

* Do not place blame with others. Instead, look inside yourself, recognize your own shortcomings and work to overcome them. That way, others may be able to learn to do the same.

* The courage to speak your own truth will free others and allow them to do the same

* Time not spent on the front end of a task will usually be double on the back end.

* Get over the need to make others happy and worry more about making yourself happy.

* Wisdom is knowing what to do. Skill is knowing how to do it. Virtue is getting it done.

* The strongest position in any negotiation is held by the person most willing to walk away from the table.

* In the tightrope of life, if you start to feel unbalanced, simply stop where you are and find your center.

* Travel as light as possible. Carry only what you need to have. 

* All notes, lists & ideas worth keeping should converge in one location, be readily accessible and easy to locate quickly.

* Reserve at least 1/2 hour before bed to read. This will help to sleep soundly and dream easily.

* Turn off the TV, turn the radio on more often and listen to more stations.

* Play games. They improve your cognitive response and focusing ability. Allow them to let you escape to other worlds.

In the coming days, I am going to explore many of the items here in depth. This is more of an exercise for me to flesh out these items a bit but It is also my hope that you, gentle reader, may find some value or inspiration herein.

Quick Look: Circa Note Pads

I recently acquired some more Levenger goodness. Amongst the items received were some of the newish Circa Note Pads and I thought I would do a quick video review. Enjoy:

First Look: Circa Note Pads from Patrick Rhone on Vimeo.

home/ books/ dash/plus/ archives/ rss