A winter mojo

Maybe it’s a general malaise, winter, too much work or not enough on reflection time. In a moment of escape from the intensity of work it occurred that I’d lost my mojo. A colleague said it wasn’t anything that a holiday wouldn’t fix.  He’s probably right.

It got me thinking about why and how we lose our mojo. Paris on stephendrain.comIs it one thing? Work perhaps?

Experience tells me it’s never one thing, not often just two things but a combination of too much and too little.

For me too much of the same, too many deadlines and too little reflection and things that add meaning to be personally.

The last bit is it. Meaning. Which is why for me the first blog in two months. A place I went to, to start getting my mojo back.

What will you do?

Stephen

The theory of luck

Apparently Stephen Hawking is fortunate to have acquired the disease “ALS” at an early age. This is one of the factors which has contributed to him living over 50 years since the diagnosis. It’s also the variable nature of the disease and he’s lucky that he has a form of the disease that appears to have stabilised. Only a very small number of sufferers of the disease are lucky enough to have the variation of ALS that he has.

Lucky too that he’s got such a big brain.

I thoroughly recommend his books. They’re challenging reads and for me, not being a scientist, turn the impossible into the manageable.

You can learn about Hawking’s life too, in the movie The Theory of Everything.  Eddie Redmayne was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor this week, and he does put on a pretty impressive performance. Hawking liked it too.

There’s a lot of luck in what makes us what and who we are. Some people say that we can make our luck too. Whether that’s true or not, we can certainly make the circumstances around us that shape our lives, using what we have.

Stephen Hawking had the most extraordinary back luck as a 21 year old to contract such a debilitating disease. It’s trite to say he has made an enormous difference, and continues to do so, in our understanding of the very meaning of our existence. We’re lucky to have him I reckon .

He uses his luck of a fine intellect and the good luck that went with the rotten luck in the disease to the maximum effect for himself and all of us.

I count myself as pretty lucky. But I do wonder whether I use all the luck that comes my way to the maximum effect.

Stephen

Burst

Your day job will pay the bills and hopefully give you some freedom and choices. If you’re fortunate it will also provide a level of satisfaction and future prospects.

Work is not everything but it can feel like it at times.

I’ve given up many things for work at times. It’s not just the time it’s felt like not being in the groove of doing the “other things”.

Bursting into action
Bursting into action

I’ve noticed some people travel by booking and going. Go the movies by, well, going. Having a picnic.

I enjoy all of these things and blogging too. Blogging about leadership and personal development provides me with a deeper reflection time and a level of satisfaction that complements what I get from work.

But I’ve been neglecting it these last couple of years. There’s been blogs most months, with a promise to myself that “I’m away again”.

The last week or so, as one reader commented I’ve “Burst into Action”. I just started and kept going. Like going to the movies not worrying too much about what movie (within reason, it can be a lot of fun).

So what are you wanting to do? Burst into it and do it. It won’t wait until work is complete. Thankfully, work is never complete anyway.

Stephen

p.s. Photograph by my father in Christchurch.

A summer’s day in the city

You don’t need to go away to enjoy an exotic summer’s day. There’s so many cruise ship tourists downtown at the moment, stepping out for lunch it can almost feel like you’re on holiday.

I got chatting to a couple from England on the escalator in Westfield Downtown the other day. They were staying in Mt Eden, visiting their daughter and family.Summer in Auckland

This place has changed a lot since we were last here seven years ago” he said, “there’s well a lot more, feels like a European city now and there’s you know…“, more people I offered “yes a lot more people, it’s really gone ahead“.

We parted after this brief exchange. We’re all ambassadors for our country and city. I didn’t really have much to add, they were clearly loving their time in Auckland on a hot summer’s day and wanted to share their enthusiasm.

It’s easy to ignore the pleasure of what we have every day. Outsiders can see it quite differently.

On a summer’s day in the city.

Stephen

Dead easy

Dead easy

It’s an easy jog from the Olympic Pools in Newmarket through the Domain and over Grafton Bridge.  Under Grafton Bridge is the remains of a cemetery.  Most of the graves are in disarray, broken from vandalism, tree roots and the shifting ground.

Down into the gully and over a little creek and you’re at the new cycleway under construction. Can’t wait for that to be finished but I’m one of the first to run on it I’m sure. Back up the hill, more of a bush climb than a run and all of a sudden you’re at Governor Hobson’s grave. Signed the Treaty of Waitangi on behalf of Queen Victoria and six months later dead. Aged 49.

Running after the pool was quite hard for some reason so it was the end of K’Road and back.  A cold day, wet and nice to be in a hot shower and in warm clothes. Going out for exercise when it’s cold and wet is hard.  It’s definitely easier not to go out!

As I’ve said before from the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, life is short, life is dull, life is full of pain. But it’s not that hard to make something specDSC_0849ial for yourself.

And in the winter where there’s not a honey bee in sight, just rain, cold, and at Grafton Cemetery a stark reminder of how long you’re gone when you’re gone, time to give yourself something simple for an uplift.

Might be a run, a movie, time out with a friend or connecting with family.

An easy uplift for a gloomy winter’s day.

Stephen

Geloso

It’s the Italian word for jealous. There’s something much more appealing about a jealous Italian love story than the nasty everyday variety. Or may be it’s the disconnection from such an event that makes it sound softer.

I was reading a blog over the weekend on being grateful. It’s a great topic to explore and then to remind ourselves about being grateful for what we have, as opposed to being anxious about what we don’t have, or geloso of others’ things or situations.

If you read the comments on a New Zealand on-line news article, there’s a good chance that the vast majority of contributors have something to complain about. And maybe they do. But I’m sure, like all of us, they also have plenty to be grateful for, despite injustices and unfairness.

So why the complaining? Why the geloso (on occasion)? I’m not sure I know the answer to this any more than anyone else does. But in watching leaders and others I know, those who don’t complain and who aren’t jealous appear more content, more at peace, and happier.

You might say that those that display these characteristics don’t have so much to complain about, and you could be right.

But you could be wrong for yourself. Being grateful in my experience requires less energy, doesn’t require justification, can disarm, and give that most important of gifts to yourself. The freedom to move on without holding something that you most likely can’t change.

Many of the respondents to the blog I read “accused” the author of living a life without challenges. They could be right.

I suggest you try out being grateful next time you’re confronted with something which brings up the unfairness or jealousy gene. Just try it. Even to yourself, but even better out loud to others.

The weekend is a great place to start trying it out. It’s only 4 days away. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Stephen

Short, dull and full of pain

And so it is said on the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Of life.

Life has put a long time between blogs for me at the moment, but I’ve still been thinking!  A lot. Life is busy and it’s certainly short and for some I guess it is dull and full of pain.

We only need to look at any news site for the pain the many people are in. Take a walk at lunchtime and see how dull many people seem. They might not be of course. But it looks like it to me.

But if it’s true that life is dull, then what? Or maybe it’s pain? Caused by circumstance or by others. You might even be a victim.Image

But time has passed. A short time, because that’s all there ever is actually. But does it need to be dull? No.

I’ve watched another of Allen’s work, Midnight in Paris, a few times lately. The protagonist Gil Bender escapes his current dullness by visiting the 1920s. Yes, it’s far fetched.  Gil meets up with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Hemingway and others. He reshapes his life from a potentially mediocre existence of comfort and wealth to one of living a life that has meaning and adventure, for him.

You might have pain and I can’t judge or minimise that.  What then? Life is short. That’s a fact.  Dull? No way, there’s no excuse at all for that. Wake up and get on with life I reckon. Now. Which is why my blogs are few and far between right now.  Enjoy.As Cristina says on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, watch out for the “appropriate police”.

Stephen