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The Dangers of Having Too Little To Do

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The Dangers of Having Too Little To Do
The Dangers of Having Too Little To Do - Articles from The School of Life, a gathering of the best ideas around wisdom and emotional intelligence.

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The Nature Of Work

The Nature Of Work

Work, by definition, requires continuous effort, as completing anything of value, like attaining a college degree, building a business or writing a book, is a slow and steady process which spans mo...

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When Doing Nothing Becomes Difficult

The mind seems terrified of the states of calm and relaxation as if work was a distraction to not let the mind come close to the worries and the existential queries. It saddles us with guilt an...

243 SAVES


We Have To Keep Engaging Our Minds

Our work has a little known value: protecting us from a sense of despair and agony, and keeping us from doing the most difficult task: Doing Nothing.

The mind has to be kep...

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Your inner critic

Your inner critic

We almost all have a character inside our minds that tends to visit us late at night when we're very tired, telling us terrible things in order to destroy our self-confidence and self-c...

Every story has two sides

You could tell everything as a tragedy, or you could tell an equally valid and far kinder story. You could say that you made some serious errors, as every human will, and you paid the price for them. Nevertheless, you tried to be good and loved a few people properly. Despite everything, your heart is in the right place.

The difference between hope and despair depends on the way of telling conflicting stories from the same facts.

Your inner critic was always an outer critic

... who has been internalized. You're speaking to yourself as someone else once talked to you or made you feel.

You should acknowledge your failures and be happy to make amends. But you also have to stand back from this critic and question what they are doing in your mind. They don't have a right to walk as they wish through the rooms of your mind.

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Mental Wellness

Mental Wellness

Being psychologically well does not mean being super excited, happy or exuberant at all times.

We are seldom aware of the stability of our ‘pendulum’ of thoughts and feeli...

The Window Of Tolerance

In psychological terms, our minds have a certain bandwidth within which we can tolerate discomfort, a certain speed range in which we can drive with ease, taking care of the challenges and problems. This is known as the window of tolerance.

If we cross the upward barrier in this speed range, we feel terrified, guilty or shameful. If we are below the bottom threshold of this window, we feel lonely, bored, alienated and numb. Remaining within the Window Of Tolerance is our daily challenge as we zig-zag between various emotions and try to keep ourselves sane by self-regulating the mind to remain in the ‘harmonious’ window, while not being stagnant.

Piloting Our Mind

If we continuously feel a lot of distress and draining, we should recover ourselves by moderation in eating and drinking, meditation, reading, exercising, and ample rest.

We need to be aware of the direction and trajectory of our moods, emotions and feelings, and make use of introspection and self-observation to get us out of possible pitfalls, avoiding a ‘crash landing’ at a later stage if we do not pay attention.

The start of diplomacy

The start of diplomacy

Diplomacy evolved initially to deal with problems in the relationships between countries.

Instead of leaders infuriating each other and making decisions in the heat of the moment, they ...

Diplomacy is an art

Diplomacy is the art of promoting an idea or cause without unnecessarily inflaming passions.

It involves an understanding of the many parts of human nature that can lead to strife and a commitment to handle these with foresight and grace.

Direct confrontation

Within a negotiation with someone, there is often a request that they change in some way.

A diplomat knows that it is futile to state the call to change too directly as many insist on having their way. Behind the arguing may lie a need for appreciation and esteem.

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How we manage our indignation

How we manage our indignation

We may sometimes be in situations where a stranger will do something very irritating or discomforting: They may turn up their music too loudly. They may assign us to a hotel room where the air ...

Intentions vs action

When dealing with someone annoying, the way forward is not with silence or rage. We are ideally looking for a way to be polite and honest, or civil and forthright.

To achieve this, we should accept that not everything we desire will please others. We could explore and hold on to what we want nevertheless. At the same time, we should distinguish between what someone does and what they meant to do.

Our idea of a motive

We're seldom very good at perceiving someone's motives when an incident drives us mad. We see intention where there was none and escalate a situation when the agitated response is not warranted.

The less we like ourselves, the more we may appear in our own eyes as plausible targets for mockery and harm. The ideal complaint emerges when we remove the paranoid assumption.

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Talking horizontally and encouraging honesty

Talking horizontally and encouraging honesty

Sigmund Freud discovered that there is a remarkable difference between what people will tell you when they are sitting up and looking at you in the eye, and what they will say to you when they ...

When we feel discouraged to speak

We perhaps don't realise that seeing another person's face can discourage us from speaking the truth. We may hold back and edit our presentation in the light of their reactions.

With Sigmund Freud's example in mind, we should find our own forms of horizontal conversation. After dinner, we might suggest that we all go and lie down somewhere and become newly conscious of voices and nuances when we don't have to look at others' expressions.

How We Perceived Freedom

How We Perceived Freedom

Not even a century ago, the concept of freedom was extremely limited. Lack of communication and news meant that most of us were aloof and content in our lives, which consisted of our parents, relat...

Modern Life and Freedom

Modern life has provided us with a level of freedom that few of us know how to handle. Most of us are going through life doing whatever we want to do, and yet, paradoxically, we are not experiencing what real freedom is.

It’s the mentality of our early years, the education thrust upon us, the belief patterns, rules and regulations that make us fearful of even thinking of changing anything about our lives.

Questioning Our Reality

We find out that the people we trusted were not trustworthy, the religion, belief pattern, family value or company policy that we blindly followed, was not worth it.

When we begin to question reality and true happiness, when the uncertain moments overwhelm us, then we are shocked to see that no one really cares or knows.

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The Complicated Relationships With Our Parents

The Complicated Relationships With Our Parents

Parents, for many of us, are a complicated relationship. They can be a source of joy and can also feel like an emotionally draining ordeal.

Confronting them and making them understand how t...

Discussing With Our Parents: Unrealistic Expectations

Even if we feel that we have made our point, painstakingly making our parents understand the time we felt they did us wrong, we erroneously assume that our twenty-minute discussion will suddenly cure them of behavioural patterns that are in effect from several decades.

An outright bad parent is easier to handle, but the problem is complicated when the same parent is also caring, loving and is a genuine well-wisher.

Conflicting Emotions: Between Love and Hate

While we may think that our parents are conflicted personalities, we are unconsciously having the same kind of behavioural patterns.

We periodically love and hate our parents, and have them imbibed in our body and mind, right down to mannerisms and quirks. We care for them yet sometimes wish to stay away from them.

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How We Choose Our Jobs

How We Choose Our Jobs

While choosing our career path, we should normally look for the kind of work we enjoy doing, and that pays us enough to meet our needs. Our real-world needs make us pursue a job that:

Giving The Impression That We Have An Awesome Job

We have additional pressure towards the kind of work we do, a psychological drive to be powerful, well-known (to people we do not know ourselves) and impressive to others.

The pressures of society and the constant need to prove oneself restrict our every move, and we cannot be truly free to do what we want to do, as any miscalculation, failure or loss will result in a public embarrassment.

Doing What We Love

  • A child does not yet have the pressures and demands of society jamming inside the head all the time.
  • Like a child who just does what he or she loves to do and does not have to prove anything to others, we need to find an ‘Adult Love’ inside us.
  • We need to let go of our ego, pride, insecurities and rekindle the experience of love.

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The Perfect Partner

The Perfect Partner

We expect our partner to be perfect in every way. As we spend our life with our partner, we seem to mistakenly believe that the other person will have everything i...

Essential Things To Look For In a Partner

Instead of making relationships complicated and overambitious, we can just take care of these three essential but overlooked aspects:

  1. Kindness: A person who is humane and kind, gentle and not too serious.
  2. Shared Vulnerability: A person who is a good, empathetic listener, and makes us open comfortably about our anxieties, problems and worries.
  3. Understanding: Someone who has a deep understanding of our traits, quirks, features, obsessions, and the way we see the world. Someone who is interesting enough for us to want to understand.

A Simpler Life

Paradoxically, by limiting our expectations about our relationship, we can concentrate on the three critical ingredients of kindness, understanding and vulnerability, and have a simple yet loving connection.

By simplifying and clarifying, we can release ourselves from our complicated conflicts and pursue a deep and profound bond.