Busyness has become a badge of honour in this day and age, which means that, in order to cope with bombardment by ever-increasing amounts of stimuli, we spend much of our life asleep or on standby, stuck in our routines. So how can we wake up?
Author, keynote speaker and founder of Upping Your Elvis, Chris Baréz-Brown specialises in creative leadership and aims to help people and businesses unleash their creative potential. Aware of that we can all get carried away in our own busyness, he has produced Wake Up! - a series of human, playful experiences to help us get off autopilot. Here, he explains how the key to waking up is to embrace new experiences - however small they may be.
At times, we all feel dissatisfied.
At times, we all feel stuck.
Many of us, when we think about our lives, find that, although many aspects of it are fulfilling and fantastic, we can't help but wonder, ‘Is this it?’
The nature of life is such that we get carried away with our own busyness. Jobs become a big part of who we are, and the way that we manage our time means we are constantly on the go. Busyness has become a badge of honour - a behaviour that we are often not actively conscious we are doing.
Sorry. Am faaaaar too busy.
Author Brené Brown explains, "I often say that when they start having 12-step meetings for busy-aholics, they'll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who've bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough the truth of our lives won't catch up with us."
Our relationship with this avalanche of demands on our attention is becoming increasingly fraught as we are becoming hyper-stimulated, and our only way to deal with it is to filter stuff out.
Every day, we are bombarded by ever-increasing amounts of stimulus. “We now consume about 100,000 words each day from various media, which is a whopping 350 percent increase, measured in bytes, over what we handled back in 1980,” explains the journalist Winifred Gallagher. To cope, our subconscious naturally seeks out things that it is familiar with so that it can save energy. Therefore, as time goes by, it is likely that we will develop more routines and habits as a result; thus taking that percentage higher. We need habits in order to survive, but when we are stuck in constant habit loops we are numb to the world and loose our shine.
Stuck in a routine to survive an onslaught of stimulus
This means that we spend much of our life asleep or on standby.
It's a waking sleep, where we look as if we are functioning perfectly and seem efficient as far as us working through our to-do lists, but we are anything but conscious. We are on auto-pilot. We are going through the motions. We are zombie worker ants.
Much of our time is spent thinking about the past and the future, and not about the present. We suppress our emotions by overindulging in sugary foods, caffeine and alcohol, and then escape into the world of social media, television, gaming and film.
We are surviving this onslaught of stimulus, but by protecting ourselves with numbness, we are not truly living.
The key to getting off autopilot more often is to embrace new experiences. However small they may be. An extra 5 minutes of consciousness a day will change your life. Something fun that will grab our attention and help us become more aware of ourselves and the world in which we live.
Focussed on the future - but what about the present?
Wake Up! is a series of human, playful experiences I have designed to do just that. Introduce them into your life one by one over a period of a few days or dip in as feels right for you - ‘I will help a stranger every day’; ‘I won't buy anything beyond food and water’; ‘I will slow down and see the beauty in everything’; ‘I will only eat when I am hungry’… all these experiences can help people break free of their habits and live a more fulfilled, engaged and creative life.
When we tap into who we really are and learn how to get off autopilot deliberately everyday, we have a genuine opportunity to make sure that every day counts.
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