The Treadmill Grind

While it’s not my intention to write about a new coffee blend, this blog does share something common with our welcome morning cup of joe.   Some of us like it straight black while others will hold out until they hit the nearest ‘bucks’ and order a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Regardless, most of us will take a moment with that initial sip and savour it.  “Ahhh…”

So my question to all of you today is, how many of you step out of your daily routines long enough to savour whatever is happening in the moment?  If savour doesn’t strike a chord then try appreciation. If still nothing then what about a reflection on gratitude? Still no? How about any moment in which we experience a genuine moment of contentment.   Anyone?

If the last paragraph caused you to dig deep into your hard drives for any recollections that fit the bill, chances are that you are suffering from ‘LTGS’ or Longterm Treadmill Grind Syndrome.  Has the focus to get ahead, check off another box, meet another deadline, deadened us to life itself? Despite all our responsibilities and timelines are there really, truly, no opportunities to experience moments of real happiness during the day?

If so, how did we allow it to get that way?

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes 10,000 hours to master your core skill or ‘craft’.   Let’s break that down: 40 hour work week (I’m hearing “hah, 40 hours – I wish”) x 50 weeks a year works out to 2,000 hours a year.  Using that reference it would take the equivalent of 5 years of full time ‘practice’ to become expert in our talent.

When asked what their ultimate goals in life are most people inevitably state they ‘wish to be happy’.  While this seems like a sensible objective, is it congruent with our day to day practices? If our focus is on everything exclusive of any moments of genuine contentment, how can we expect to achieve the objective of being happy?

The proverbial ‘take time to smell the roses’ is an expression we’ve all heard but few practice.  If we take the time to regularly pay specific attention to the people around us during the day a startling reality emerges – there are very few truly happy people on the treadmill.  

May this insight prompt you to explore life off the treadmill.

Stephen Roehrig
Managing Director
InTrust Communications Inc.

Have you ‘lost the plot’?

Everything is constantly changing.  Nature is likely our greatest teacher with this and yet often we’re reminded that we still don’t ‘get it’.

When it dumps snow in May we’re surprised and yet it does happen, doesn’t it?  We might all grumble that it ‘shouldn’t happen’ but none of us would say it ‘couldn’t happen’.

How many of us step outside the door in the morning in a rush and neglect to pay attention to our surroundings?  The sky is dark, it’s windy and yet nothing is registering that it might rain.  Our intuition might even whisper ‘take an umbrella’ and yet we forge ahead and ‘hope’ it stays dry.   And then, of course, Mother Nature has a giggle as she waits for the most inopportune time to ‘express’ herself.

How is it that we’ve become so oblivious to the signs around us?  You might all say of course everything is changing, Stephen – duh – everyone knows that!   And yet, everyday we have unwelcome experiences that highlight just how out of sync we are with reality.   All too often we lament “If only we had done this or that we could’ve avoided this.”  Isn’t it true that a brutally honest post-event reflection often times reveals that there were opportunities to make better choices and yet…we didn’t.  Why is that exactly?

How does one become more in touch with the dynamic within our busy lives?  What is it that promotes tunnel vision rather than a reliable awareness that alerts us to the potentialities in our worlds?  Have we allowed ourselves to become so consumed with material pursuits that we’ve deviated away from our values?  Does it take an ‘accident’ to finally stop the metaphorical ‘texting while we’re driving?’

The practice of reviewing the ‘surprises’ in our lives naturally leads to becoming more conscious of ourselves and our surroundings.  One could think of it as an ‘early warning system’ that helps us manoeuver more skillfully through our lives and lessen the chances of ‘losing the plot’.

Stephen Roehrig
Managing Director
InTrust Communications Inc.