The Push-Pull of Growth and Fixed Mindsets

“Do or do not – there is no try.” – Yoda

Not long ago Josiah Henry over at Skylarity shared an interesting video on the topic of Growth versus Fixed Mindsets…

The video provides a simple, Goofus-and-Gallant style explanation of the differences between Fixed and Growth mindsets. In short, a person is either of the Fixed Mindset – believing that one either does or does not have a singular ability to do something – or of the Growth Mindset, wherein a person is open-minded towards learning and self-improvement in the face of adversity. Continue reading “The Push-Pull of Growth and Fixed Mindsets”

Rest for the Weary

“I am weary, let me rest” – Pete Roberts (song)

That’s the title lyric to a song from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. It’s a very beautiful track, as performed by the Cox Family, if not very remarkable. You hear it only briefly in the film, and it stands as a pleasant, low-key interlude amidst the soundtrack album.

That title line has also been the anthem of my past year. Not even the song – I have not felt close to death altogether, per se. But I have felt tired; very, very tired.

“Weary” in particular has felt like the best word for it. Tired was long ago; simple exhaustion has come and gone. If this last year’s journey has taken any sort of toll, it has left me weary of the travel.

To be clear, I’m in a far better space now. After many months of insecurity and uncertainty, my path is now well lit and smooth. There are still many miles to go, but that’s neither here nor there. Things are simply better.

That said, I still feel tired. My body and my spirit still call for rest, for reprieve. That is to say, I haven’t had a real break in a long time. At best almost a year ago I spent a few days visiting friends in Kentucky. But even fun trips can be filled with so much activity so as to warrant the old saying, “I need a vacation after my vacation.”

A self-destructive pattern emerges, wherein I guilt-trip myself for imaginary slights. Within my desperate search for steady work since Fall of last year, there have been many gaps without income. And during those gaps I would do nothing but fret over the hours wasted not making money. The result was time spent not having to work, but not being able to enjoy it.

Stability was the goal. Even as I mulled over and reconsidered and reimagined what it could mean for me to make even a basic living, all I ever longed for was a certainty that my monthly expenses would be met. With that in place I could let go of that anxiety, my vision clear to pursue other goals more confidently.

That time has come. My current work situation allows me my minimum monthly income, and mostly does not wear on me physically and mentally to the point that my outside hours are wasted in exhaustion. The day-job is also just shy of full-time, so as to allow time for pursuing my writing career which also brings in a bit of extra money.

In short I am in a position to both work and live comfortably, even if I’m not yet becoming wealthy.

But financial wealth is not yet the goal. I’ve been aware and honest about the current job market and financial times. Again, mere stability is what I’ve been looking for. But that’s not all. I need the rest. Lord knows I need a break.

But I’ve also needed permission for a break. I don’t mean asking for time off work; I don’t mean running away from responsibility and toil. I simply mean – I desperately need – permission from myself to not worry and fret over these problems, if only for a short while.

This is where self-forgiveness comes in; this is where simple self-kindness and love enters the play. I have worked hard for a long while now, and deserve a break. It’s not fair to myself to disavow this.

One of my biggest faults is self-imposed pressure to always be working, to always be productive. Even my off-time is filled with productive leisure, making music or reading books or watching films. There’s always something to do, and it always needs doing, even at the expense of relaxation.

It’s time to put those pressures away. To re-prioritize. This calls to mind cultural staples of “getting away from it all,” in order to “recharge”. They say, “Life is too short.” And I think I’m finally starting to get that, both consciously and unconsciously.

I’m not one for three-week vacations. Fun in the sun on sandy beaches, pampered pleasures, I’ve never really known that or longed for it. And to be honest I’m not in a position to take that much time off. Not without perpetually worrying about wasted time and money, anyway.

But therein lies part of the problem – the sheer worry over everything. I don’t know what it is to properly let those concerns go, in a healthy manner. But I can learn, and will.

I may not be able to take whole weeks off. But I can at least not fill my days with self-imposed pressures of productivity.

I am weary, and deserve rest. I owe myself that much.

© 2017 Day By Day Mental

Morning Coffee: Pressure and Progress

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This is my morning coffee.

To clarify: I’m not actually a coffee drinker (blech). Which is not to say I don’t have difficulty starting my days. But my difficulties are more in terms of motivated productivity rather than brain functionality, even if the two are somewhat connected.

No, I don’t need to be juiced up first thing in the morning, so much as motivated to get up and about. Historically speaking my mornings have long involved  being off to either school or work within 30-60 minutes of waking up. As such my inner drive is conditioned to expect productivity within the first couple hours of the day. Contrast this with weekends: Sleeping in means not having to do anything first thing in the morning. Those first few hours are inherently about relaxation. Continue reading “Morning Coffee: Pressure and Progress”

With All Due Respect: Negative Opinions In Music

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I work in a record store. Which is to say, I work in a world revolving around music. Millions of artists, billions of albums, trillions of songs… there’s a lot out content out there. And a lot of ears listening to it.

With listening comes interpretation, and with that comes opinion. Obviously, everyone is allowed to theirs. No person is the same, and taste is subjective.

Or is it? Continue reading “With All Due Respect: Negative Opinions In Music”

Last Day, First Steps (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Day 40)

Here we are – last day. And I feel great.

That may even be an overstatement. But quite frankly I’m tired of understating things. I’m tired of cautioning my words, anchoring and humbling everything I say with reserve that smacks of cynicism. Backhanding my own positivity with self-sabotaging assurance, following everything with “But…”

I also know damn well how my emotions can shift – I may not feel this good tomorrow morning. But I’m going to enjoy it, and use it to my advantage the best that I can, for as long as I can! Exclamation point! Continue reading “Last Day, First Steps (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Day 40)”

Patience Through Whirlwinds (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Days 37, 38 & 39)

Alright, we’re doing this, hook or crook!

As tired as I am, I’m actually in a good mood. And it’s a far cry from how I’ve felt the past couple of days (especially the nights), including this morning. In short, some depression hit me hard. Like, sit in one spot slouching, not doing anything else. My spirit just begging to cry out, my heart wanting so bad to let the sadness be fully realized. But of course it never happened. Continue reading “Patience Through Whirlwinds (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Days 37, 38 & 39)”

Tempo Moderato (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Day 36)

Today saw an experiment in what I listen to at work.

Working in a record store, the option of listening to music is completely opposite from most jobs. In fact, most coworkers are surprised whenever they happen upon me not listening to music in the back (where I work mainly). For a music lover like me, it should be a dream job.

Continue reading “Tempo Moderato (40-Day Mental Health Writing Challenge, Day 36)”