"And for what reason do you suppose it has four gears?"
This chapter is a bit different from the others. In the other chapters we talked about things to do to keep you in the flow of a positive experience. In this section I'd like to talk to you about when to change gears. In another words, when to stop doing what you are doing and do nothing or replace it with something else.
Sometimes it is quite easy to get into the habit of doing an activity on a regular basis. Over time you may grow bored with it or simply not enjoy it. Since it has become a routine, you are somewhat comfortable with it. You resist the internal voice that is encouraging you to alter or completely stop participating in this endeavor.
The activity in question may be the bowling team, or softball team you are a member of. It could be the chamber of commerce, or garden club you are part of. It might be the chore of cutting the lawn, or shoveling the snow. Any of these could have been very exciting and enjoyable when you first started participating in them. However, over the months or years they become mundane or no longer enjoyable. One reason why you continue these tiresome activities is that peer pressure may prod you.. Maybe its the fear of no longer being part of this group or being able to perform the activity that makes you hesitate to give it up..
One way to put the activity into perspective is to realize you have only so many minutes and hours here on the planet earth. Why waste them doing things you don't really want to do. There are far too many other things you can learn about and experience. Why waste your precious time on something that does not add joy or enhance the quality of your sojourn here on earth? Life is far too short to be wasted on activities that are unnecessary or that you do not enjoy..
One technique to help you decide when to stop doing the routine in question is to use the Ben Franklin Technique. Any time old Ben would have a decision to make about whether or not to do the activity in question, he would take out a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle of it. At the top of the left-hand column he would write "reasons for", at the top of the right hand column he would write down "reasons against". He would then list all the reasons for or against his decision. Along with his gut reaction, the list that was longer determined what action he would take. You can do the same thing with the activities in question in your life.
When the time is right, don't be afraid to change gears.
Excepted from the book Natural Prescriptions for the Good Life- A book on staying positive in a sometimes negative world. by Tom Borg.
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