Here we are at just about the half-way mark of the year already, and I hope you're having a great start to your summer. I'm travelling at the moment, having a look around to see what interesting ideas are coming up in different places and promoting my book, Your Writing Coach. While away, I also hope to finish a novel I started quite a while ago, and a proposal for my next non-fiction book. Now, a few notions I hope will interest and inspire you:
1: Dream On!
There have been some interesting results from new dream research. One is that recently divorced people who had angry dreams about their spouse coped the best with their divorce. The implication: if you're purging your emotions while you're sleeping, you may be able to handle them better when you're awake.
Other studies confirm that there is no universal dream symbolism, we each have our own symbols, and we need to record a lot of our dreams until we can begin to link them with our waking issues.
ACTION: If you want to remember your dreams better, keep a pad and pen near your bed and jot down as much as possible of what you remember every morning (you'll find this easier the more you do it, especially if you can wake up naturally rather than being jarred awake by an alarm).
Look over your dreams and try to make connections between what's happening in them and what's going on in your waking life. Pay particular attention to symbols that occur repeatedly, and after a while you will be able to attach personal meanings to them.
2: How Many Do You Have Left?
In the book, "Conversations With Millionaires," Mike Litman quotes personal development expert Jim Rohn on time management. Rohn's take on it expanded my mind, so I want to pass it along. He says, "In ninety years you have ninety spring times. If some guy says, you know, "I got twenty more years." You say, "No. You got twenty more times."
"If you go fishing once a year you only have twenty more times to go fishing. Now that starts to make it a bit more critical. Not that I have a whole twenty more years, but just twenty more times. How valuable do I want to make these twenty times? It doesn't matter whether it's going to the concert or sitting down with your family, or taking a vacation. There are only so many."
ACTION: When you think about your life in this way, what 'times' are the most valuable to you? How can you make them the best possible?
3: Is It Time for Us to Start Seeing Other People?
In my recent right-brain time management workshop, the number one issue people raised was e-mail addiction. The next was spending too much time on the computer in general. And here's a shock: the New York Times reports that some schools are beginning to drop their efforts to give every student a laptop to use:
"After seven years, there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement - none," said Mark Lawson, the school board president in Liverpool (N.Y.), one of the first districts in New York State to experiment with putting technology directly into students' hands.
"The teachers were telling us when there's a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way. It's a distraction to the educational process."
ACTION: Is it time for you, too, to start seeing more of other people rather than more of the computer? Could it be time to focus more on life than on Second Life? And, yes, I do appreciate the irony of suggesting this hereÖ
One way to start: check email only twice a day, maybe at 11am and 4pm. Announce this policy and suggest that if people need an immediate response they phone you.
4: Make Good Decisions
The current issue of the New Scientist magazine features a long article on recent research on decision-making. One key conclusion: "Don't fear the consequences."
It turns out that we are very bad at judging the emotional impact of our decisions. For instance, most people overestimate how happy it would make them to win the lottery and how unhappy it would make them to lose their jobs. We also tend to be risk-averse, fearing the consequences of a poor decision.
Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert points out, "We're very good at finding new ways to see the world that make it a better place to live in."
ACTION: Rather than guessing about the impact of a decision, find someone who has made a similar decision and see how it worked out for them. Remember that it's unlikely that you're taking as big a risk as it may seem, that the effect (good or bad) will probably not be as strong as it may seem, and even if it is, you will be better at adapting then you think you will.
5: And a quote to think about:
"The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others." - Hasidic Saying