What time is it ? 2.0

As we have discussed, time is valuable. It’s up to us to make the best use of it. We decide what we do with our time. Now this sounds good on paper and most of you will agree that this statement is true, but why is it so hard then, to put this into practice? If you can remember in one of my earlier post the “duality of individuality” I discussed how our brains functions with a constant struggle between the rider, as the rational side, and the elephant, as the emotional counterpart. You see, when you are faced with a choice, each side will see different benefits and reasons why their arguments are better. This is because the elephant and the rider often have divergent objectives. The elephant is looking for things that feel good; the rider is trying to reach an objective. Each side has different ways to achieve their goal. The emotional side controls the hormones that control our bodies. Just think about all the marital affaires that go on every day, although there may be a thousand reasons and every case will be different in it’s own way, one thing though that they do have in common, they are all driven by their hormones. The rider on the other hand has the ability to plan and think ahead, giving this side the ability to weigh short term pleasure against long term pain; marital affair vs. divorce and lost of family. As this internal struggle goes on, we continue to be bombarded by information from the outside.  Social pressure, religious norms, work pressures, family needs, neighbors, etc.  It’s a tough world! I don’t think there has ever been an era in the history of man when we have been confronted with so much choice and possibilities. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a good thing; in the end is this not what evolution is all about? As you know, with evolution also comes extinction, we just have to make sure we don’t fall in the latter category. The problem is that with all this choice and opportunities it’s easy to get distracted. It’s a bit like politics and communication today. It doesn’t matter if what you are saying is wrong or a lie, what is important is to brainwash the voter’s into thinking what you want them to think. Sadly that is the reality we live in today, Americans don’t have an obesity problem because they choose to be fat, they have a problem because they are not able to resist the constant appeal of  “getting your money’s worth or a great deal” and the fact that now a days there are not so many alternatives anyway. Everyone knows that eating fast food every day will make you fat. Within the context of the constant internal struggle, the rider loses out to the elephant on nutrition or perhaps the rider is trying to concentrate it’s forces to win the war against the elephant and is willing to lose the nutrition battle, staying focused on the bigger objective. The fact that Americans have gained weight over the last 50 years, evolutionary scale, is what is troubling and give me grounds for concern about becoming extinct in the long term. Could we, as a species, eat ourselves to death?

Ok, I know what you are thinking, this is all nice and good but what can I do about this? This is where we tie this back to time. Eckhardt Tolle talks about time in a different matter. He gives us a different perspective on time, by saying that the only real time is now, the moment. You see most of us will live our lives on auto pilot, what I mean by this is we get caught up in the daily routine and miss don’t live each moment as if it were it’s last. One of his techniques is to observe yourself from a distance. In other word, it would be as if you could detach yourself and observe yourself from a few feet away. This may seem strange but it is like in the movies when you die and the camera rises from your body and you have the impression you are watching yourself, except that in the movies you are usually dying and in our case your rider is arguing with the elephant. This type of visualization exercises are also used in sports, where you can concentrate and run through a perfect jump, run or shot before taking it. What this does is make you aware of what the situation really is; and very often you quickly realize it is stupid to be arguing about such an insignificant thing. When you are aware you are living the moment and that is when you are truly living.  Some people need to sky dive, bungee jump to get their adrenaline kick, others prefer fast driving, whatever your preference the adrenaline kick is just a consequence of your body being aware, it gets released after you have assess danger. Now I’ll grant you that in comparison to sky diving you won’t get much of an adrenaline kick from tee up on the 9th hole on Saturday morning, nevertheless you cannot play golf without being aware of what you are doing and are able to concentrate.  We often find ourselves however just kind of mechanically going through choirs, thinking or wishing we were somewhere else, or reflecting on the past and all the things we could have done differently. During these moments we are not 100% aware of what is happening. These are the moments where, depending on your job or what you are doing, bad thing can happen; like losing a finger on the saw bench or metal press, or simply missing the exit on the highway. A lot of progress has been made in industry to increase safety at the workplace, but nothing can replace awareness and concentration on the task at hand.  The interesting point here is that: when, you are aware and concentrated you are living the moment as Eckhardt Tolle proposes. Awareness is the state in which both the rider and the elephant (to continue on the theme from previous posts) not arguing but are focused on the situation.  It is a kind of inner peace that can also be achieved through mediation and prayers.

So in keeping with our theme of finding out what time it is in your life here is the next level of diagnostics you can perform. In the “What time is it?”  (27/08/2012) there is an exercise at the end called a DILO.  If have taken the time to do it you will know how you spend your day, and will be more aware of your personal efficiency and effectiveness.  The next level of analysis involves assessing how much time in your day are you truly “aware” and concentrated, how much time is spent living the moment. So take your DILO notes and mark each activity with a “0” when you are aware and a “-“ when you are not.  Then you tally up the score. Here are some examples to help you score:

A)   during the meeting this morning, where you aware, concentrated on the conversation, or thinking about your wife’s birthday and the present you haven’t yet bought.

B)   While you made breakfast this morning, were you thinking about your day or were you concentrated on making this the best breakfast you have ever made

Increasing awareness in people generates results. People who have been halfheartedly working along realize that they are not happy and find different work where they enjoy being aware, making them better employees or workers. This is essentially what is at the core or “Kaizen” and operational excellence programs that can release tremendous benefits for all involved.  By discussing and sharing with their co-worker, employees increase their awareness and through their engagement (living the moment) they develop a bigger stake in their work.  How can it be that a machine that run 24 hours a day, on 3 shifts, runs at different performance? The most frequent cause is different machine settings   set by different shift operators, whom each thinks, he has the best way to run the machine. It’s a classic!

So if you are interested go ahead and do the DILO exercise, you may find it?s later than you think.

Zabok,HR – 27th August 2012

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