In the previous lesson, we discussed the importance of balancing engagement and disengagement for good relating, and that good relating makes our relationships more sustainable.
Back in Lesson 4, I said it was a good idea to intersperse short personal growth activities with each other, to maximize the brain's experience of pleasant contrast.
In this lesson, we're going to flesh that out a bit.
In showbusiness, they say to always leave your audience wanting more because then they'll come back.
Let's apply this to personal growth. Whatever you leave yourself wanting more of will be what you return to. What you return to, over and over, will become a strong relationship.
And strong relationships make your brain feel safe and make you feel alive.
An efficient method of proactive good relating is to alternate, a bit of attention on myself, a bit on other people, and a bit on my goals and aspirations.
Cycle your attention through them all, keeping each focused episode shorter than you think you should.
For example, say you sit down to fill out a spreadsheet for work, and it takes you 15 minutes. We might call this putting attention into a goal.
Then, even though you might feel like you're in the zone, instead of moving right on to another work task, or goal, you get up and stretch, putting some attention on your relationship with your body.
Or you could spend a few minutes on your social relationships by calling or texting a friend.
Or, perhaps you meditate for a few minutes to feel peaceful. Then you give your parents a call and throw all that peace right out the window. Then breathe deeply and water some plants to get centered again.
Then go back to work.
Now, if you hit all three types of relationships in a row, self, others, and goals, you've hit a relational trifecta.
Say you design a page of your website, then send a silly picture to your significant other, then do some jumping jacks, you've just hit a relational trifecta.
Of course, you don't always have to hit a trifecta, but when you do, you're likely to remember your wholeness, that your happiness is not contingent on any single thing being perfect.
When I tell people about this strategy, a question I sometimes get is, "How will I ever get anything done?"
To which I ask, in an Eckhart Tolle accent, "what is the purpose of your life?"
This question arises from a misconception about the nature of getting things done.
Getting things done does not lead to freedom. In fact, it's the opposite. The faster workflows through you, the more workflows to you.
So the point of getting things done must be so you can take on more things to do. But then what's the point of doing those things?
The _essential _point of getting things done can only ever be to feel more connected to life.
But you can feel that connection to life even before getting the things done, and if you want to get things done so you can take on more things, then you'd better enjoy the work while you're doing it.
Rushing ourselves through miserably pressurized work drains our life energy. Doing it routinely makes us more tolerant of being drained, which means we're less likely to try to improve the situation, even when we have the opportunity.
If you prioritize good relating, balancing engagement, and disengagement with all your relationships, you build life energy, which makes you more effective at everything.
You won't try to rush what can't be rushed, but you will get things done, with more energy, with less suffering, along the way.
The only real threat to productivity is suffering itself, which comes from thinking that our whole life is defined by just one aspect of it.
By how well we play the piano or play the stock market, or how strong or skinny we are, or how much somebody likes us.
A shrunken view of our life unravels our web of connections.
Whenever you get stuck in this unraveled mindspace, it's worth reminding yourself:
Your wholeness is the truth. Your Aliveness is all of you.