Stay Calm, Be Disciplined, and…Be Happy

ZazenI was considering two goals early this morning during my regular K-9 Circuit (a two-mile march through the neighborhood in the pre-dawn darkness that’s become my ritual during the week).

The first goal is, “not letting life get to you.”  In other words, handling the usual trials and challenges and unexpected circumstances that inevitably come up with a calm response, sans the emotion that can take you off your game, unravel you, etc.

The other goal I was thinking about focused on productivity. At certain times we all end up with a lot on our plate. Some of us live in a constant state of activity with demands on our time. Others have more of an ebb and flow to what’s required of them. Either way, we’re all busy some of the time. And it’s during these times that we usually want to be as productive as we can be to get things done.

With these two goals come two helpful (if not earth-shattering) insights.

First, we tend to feel like “life is getting to us” when we’re busy. If not busy, life tends to get to us when we’re faced with things that stir emotions, things we care about. It could be a relationship, it could be an important project at work, a personal goal we’ve set for ourselves, whatever.

The insight is, “life getting to us” just means we care a lot about whatever it is we’re focused on, whatever we’re trying to accomplish. It might mean that we’ve run into obstacles (for-seen or otherwise), difficulties that present challenges to our work.

The important point here is, DIFFICULTY IS JUST PART OF LIFE. It doesn’t need to invoke angst. Rather, it should strengthen our resolve, spur our creativity, energize our efforts to persevere.  Don’t stress out, STAY CALM.

The other insight, related to productivity, is this:

We strive to be productive so we can accomplish the things we care about. Be it at work or at home or somewhere in between, working to be as productive as we can be means we care about the time we’re spending engaged on whatever the task may be.

If we have a lot of tasks, it means we’ve taken on a lot of activities because we care about them. The longer the list, the more things you care about. And that’s OK. A perpetual to-do list means you’re deeply engaged in life, and STRIVING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. For yourself, for others.

The thing to focus on is not how long your list is, but your DISCIPLINE, how focused you are to do what’s necessary to check items off the list.

So the next time you feel anxiety, angst, stress, etc. try this:

1) Pause and take a step back

2) Take ten deep breaths.  Feel the Calm.

3) Remind yourself WHY you’re doing what you’re doing

4) Reset your DISCIPLINE

5)  Be HAPPY now, as you re-engage and move FORWARD

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