I logged in today and clicked the link to add a new post. I was going to tell you about how quickly things change. (Talking to myself: “No, that’s not it.”) I was going to tell you about how quickly emotions seems to change. (I talk to myself a lot, “Nope, still not there.”) I wanted to talk about how Monday-ish my Monday was. (Last one, for now, “I’m just not feeling it.”)
In the process of figuring out how to start, I realized how to end. Our emotions (or at least mine) seem largely pre-programmed. We already know how we feel about Mondays. We already know how we feel about work. We know how we feel about risk-taking, money, time management, and people who stop you in the hall when you clearly have somewhere else to be.
So, when the time comes, we just pull that emotion out of the box, and put it on our face. It’s not new. It’s the same one we used last time. It fit then, it’ll fit now.
If our emotions and reactions are boxed up and ready to go, I wonder if I can choose a different one to put in some of those boxes? I hear it all the time, “you can choose to be happy.”
“Well, look at you Mr. Smiley Pants. Congratulations! Go sit on a rock.” I don’t know, that’s the best I could come up with. Sometimes I get tired of being happy and just want to relax my face.
Monday was one of those days that started off with a surprise and hurt all day long. It didn’t have to, but it did. I put on my “overworked” face and kept it on until 5pm. I caught myself several times and tried to take it off and put on a smile, but it just kept creeping back. I’ve apparently programmed myself to be unhappy when things don’t go according to plan.
Tuesday didn’t start much better. It started off with a flip-flop in my assigned priorities and hurt all morning long. It didn’t have to, but it did. I put on my “pick a side” face and kept it on until about noon. I caught myself several times and tried to take it off and put on my “change is good” face, but it just kept creeping back. I’ve apparently programmed myself to be unhappy when people change my priority list “too often.” Whatever that means. (Do I even know why I’m upset?)
Since we have our emotions queued up and ready to go at a moment’s notice, why not try to edit those in advance? Can I re-program myself to not become upset at certain types of changes? I mean, I’m not getting physically hurt by anything, I’m still getting paid, it’s just different work, right?
The part of me that wants to just get along, and the part of me that wants to be treated fairly are becoming disillusioned by the ongoing spectacle of the battle between what’s normal and what’s right. I’m not really even sure what that means, but it sounded good in my head while I was typing. I want to make sure that I’m doing the right things at the right time, but I also don’t want to get the short end of the stick in the process. My default programming is to do what I enjoy, and consequently, to be happy while doing it. It’s the difference between what I value and what I’m doing that can cause the stress or anxiety which makes me unhappy. This difference is caused by the changes to my plan — let me run that one by you again, my plan.
I’ve been practicing the art of figuring out what matters, protecting those things and getting to where I can stop doing stuff that doesn’t matter. I guess the tough part is correlating those choices I make in my life, with the choices I would make at my place of employment. I love building things that matter. I love supporting my team and helping them reach specific goals. Is it the ambiguity in my goals that leads to frustration? Or is it my reaction to ambiguity that causes the problem?
How much of my job should be centered around doing what I’m told so I can be paid? How much can I invent for myself, so that I can maintain a closer bond with my plan for my career? What about outside of work? Whose plan am I executing? Mine? What about my higher calling? It’s food for thought. Thinking is good. Planning is good. Adapting is good.
In the meantime, I suppose I can squeeze out a smile. 🙂
I hope you’ll try to do the same.