Why academics need to laze around
Let’s face it. As exciting as science can be, sometimes it is just tedious, boring, taxing. When you are plodding through your data, drudging over a pile of exams, or pegging away at your PhD, it is difficult to feel that enthusiastic flow. You are working hard, draining your energy, feeling low. Naturally, you do not want to be in that space of negative energy. So you look for an escape. Maybe you start daydreaming about a tropical beach where you are relaxing, doing absolutely nothing. Or perhaps your daydream looks a completely different, whatever you fancy.
The problem is, these escapist fantasies do not bring your dream closer to reality. Here is a better way to deal with the drudgery of some academic work.
Instead of escaping your daily grind with unproductive daydreaming see what happens when you take control of your energy levels. Make sure your batteries are charged. That will change your outlook on the work at hand. Do work that you love from the heart with abundant positive energy, and you will notice that doing nothing on an empty beach suddenly loses its attraction. You will want to work. But to keep that up you have to pay attention to your “energetic bank account”.
Better than daydreaming
To be able to create, to innovate, think of really new stuff outside the box, you need abundant energy. This means you sometimes have to seek out silence and emptiness. Do not sit there and dream about it, but actively go after it.
Go for a walk to get fresh air and energy. Meditate, do yoga, run to stop the constant chatter of your mind. Take a break from your computer and social media and do something that truly energizes and inspires you. Sleep in, read an inspiring novel. Go to a museum, a concert. Whatever replenishes you.
No, your data will not all of a sudden sort themselves out. The exams will not magically grade themselves. And your PhD thesis will not write itself. But you will start to actively shape your world. Do this regularly and new ideas will come to you. Unexpected possibilities will open up that you literally could not see before. Instead of walking the treadmill, dragging a heavy workload, you become the designer of your reality, builder of your dreams. Emptiness no longer beckons as an escape from negativity. You can use it deliberately to increase your performance.
If you maintain high, positive energy levels you will see that you can intentionally use emptiness to achieve clarity. Unexpected solutions, clear vision, and a relaxed desire to perform in your best possible way making full use of all your talents. All you have to do is turn the switch of your mindset to abundance and recharge your energy timely. These are core elements of the art of Working Soft.
Right now, you are probably thinking: That cannot be true. Vague bullshit. Impossible. Irresponsible. Too risky. I would not dare. I cannot afford that.
The key to turning the switch from negativity to a positive energy of abundance is courage. It feels like a leap of faith. But it is worth it, believe me. Do I have scientific proof? No. But you will see what I mean when you experience it.
Take my proposal as a working hypothesis and try the experiment. Start observing yourself during several days in a row. Note down your findings at the end of each day. What gives you energy? What makes you really happy, joyful, content? What costs energy? E.g. what makes you feel irritated, tired, angry, depressed, scared? What kind of activities, environments, people? What difference do you notice about your outlook on life when you have abundant energy and when you are low in energy?
No scientific proof, but an encouraging data point
This is how a client explained to me the other day about how she managed to turn her switch from negativity to abundance. She realized that not getting a VENI research grant feels like a failure only if your goal is to get one. If your goal is to do cool research that you love, there are many more options and means to reach that goal.
In the Working Soft course she discovered that “it is sometimes very difficult to switch from a negative perspective to a positive mental state. What has helped me a lot is the realization that it is not wrong to feel fear. You can cultivate courage so that the fear is no longer predominant. If I feel fear now, I keep looking until I find courage somewhere. With that, I can always get back to a positive mental state.” I have written about courage a couple of times before on my blog. It is not a coincidence.
Do you want to learn more about Working Soft and performing at top level with abundant energy? Check out the Working Soft in Science page.
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