10 May, 2013

The Trite Stuff

We all have them. It isn't the least bit unexpected. You know those days - the days when the usual is not going to be enough, the days when you simply need more to get through the day. You rarely know, of course, just what it is you need more of. Those are the days when you are asking yourself why this or why that. On some days your query is simply a plaintive "will it ever end." On other days you're singing AC/DC's Highway to Hell.

It's difficult to know what triggers "one of those days" - especially when the general conditions leading up to it have usually been in place for quite some time, but something happens to provoke such musing - a comment, a memo, a current event, a phone call, a political ad. Anything. And that's when the troubling thoughts begin to cascade.

I've had those days when I found myself more cautious about where I was attempting to go or what I intended to accomplish. On the worst of those days I was perhaps even fearful that my Perch in this world had somehow become less secure. In recent years I've learned to be far more mellow about these occasions.

There are lots of ways to deal with such moments. There is an initial coping strategy of which I am a big fan. It's called assertive delay. In lay terms: take a moment. Take control by postponing action until you're ready. It works wonders and allows you opportunity to organize your thoughts for a more productive rebound.

During that moment you've taken, it would also be good to assess whether your latest preoccupation concerns anything of real importance. Much of what we let get to us is trite or insignificant. The sooner we recognize this the better, and the ability to gain perspective is an invaluable skill in today's world.

Last week a younger colleague wondered if things were ever going to change around here and wondered if he could stand another 30 years of things the way they currently are. He was having one of those days - the kind of day I've had when I needed inspiration or a little more encouragement. I certainly needed perspective on those days.

I offered those to him by way of a metaphor. I suggested that he view each irritation as if it were a pendulum. No matter what point in its arc the pendulum occupies it will soon be in another. Change is a constant. Ever astute, he asked where we were on the pendulum's arc. I assured him that it had reached its extreme and was now on the way back to a healthier and happier place.

If gaining perspective isn't possible for you or in your situation, then it's time to take a moment. Go for a walk. Somewhere beyond the swirling mists you will surely find your own Inspiration Point.