Although I am a child of the 1980s, I never fully embraced its music; too much hairspray and synthesizer for me. But for all of the studded leather jackets and the poorly designed Buicks of the ’80s, the famed duo Hall and Oates did have a song title that still resonates, Everywhere I Look.
They decried, “Everywhere I look I see people waking up, so why are we still sleeping, everywhere I look I see people shaking off all the old ways, so why can’t we follow through”.
A modern version of that classic 80’s rock dynamic might declare, “everywhere I look I see wealth and stuff, so why are we so anxious and unnerved?”
In the west, we equate material wealth with personal success. I heard a statement last week that stunned me, “success is the sickness that is slowly killing us”.
Wow. Is that true?
Could it be that success (or our response to success) has a part to play as a catalyst for the significant decrease in human wellbeing?
Regardless, we have solid evidence and reason to believe that the wellbeing of our souls, our minds, our bodies, and our spirits are teetering on the cliff of discontent and isolation.
There has been increased attention lately from companies (Shoreline Construction, Nike, Bumble, Hootsuite, and LinkedIn to name a few) providing a week off for their employees. A senior leader within Nike explains their suggestion to, “take the time to unwind, destress and spend time with your loved ones. Do not work…”
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This could be misconstrued as another line item in a long list of employee benefits companies are hoping will provide a reason for talented leaders to remain long-term. But this is more than a corporate benefit strategy. This is a real recognition that what we have been through, and are going through is unique, peculiar, and something worth acknowledging.
Everything is shifting.
Just last week I was attending a conference where leaders from a variety of faith and commercial backgrounds were in attendance. During a general session, a researcher began explaining the seismic shift up ahead for faith communities (churches, synagogues, etc.) Even the religious leaders, those most thought to be “stuck in a rut” are being presented with significant changes that culture is about to impose on their outward manifestations.
Minus the hairspray and synthesizer, we are about to find ourselves echoing the lyrics of John Hall and Daryl Oates, “Everywhere I look I see people waking up, so why are we still sleeping?”
Sleep is healthy, in moderation. The question is what do we do with the time we’re awake?
There are four disciplines that we can embed in our day-to-day that will provide us each a good rich soil for human well-being.
First, practice the simple (and hard) art of thinking.
Meditation is a common word used when discussing this personal discipline, but I don’t want your mind to immediately cliche this idea with a trance-like “ohming” exercise that most of us think of.
Part of the challenge of human wellbeing is that our minds are cluttered, confused, and foggy.
Just yesterday Ashley and I took our cars to the carwash. We drove in feeling loud and cluttered because our cars were loud and cluttered. After a wash and a lot of time cleaning out and vacuuming, we left feeling just a touch more peace-filled and orderly.
Making time (don’t miss that…making time) to think deeply provides you with opportunities to begin decluttering, organizing, and culling all of the thoughts, impulses, and invitations your mind has received.
Making time to think also allows for the space to replace negative, unhelpful, and degrading lies with uplifting and progressive truths that will literally renew your mind, providing that same sense of peace, orderliness, and clear-headedness that you know you want.
Merely thinking is highly valuable, and is a step that most of us do not intentionally take leaving us wondering why we remain so cluttered.
I literally schedule time to think…and then follow my schedule!
The second discipline to encourage wellbeing is reading and writing.
We now have no excuses to not read and write. Audio books are pervasive, and books have never been more accessible.
Imagine if I asked you, “would you pay $20 to spend six hours with Peter Drucker?”
Of course, you would. Books allow you to do that.
We obsess about getting to meet famous people in person. Why? Honestly, so we can tell our friends we met them. What’s more powerful is to actually learn from the people we hold in high regard. Meeting them will last for a minute or two…learning from them will last our entire lifetime and will continue to return.
If I had to pick one discipline in all of human existence that I would want for everyone to learn and implement…reading.
As you read, it is most helpful to write.
I’ve heard it said before, “if you don’t write it down you don’t own it.”
For the last couple of years, I have been writing a sentence a day (for most days) in a journal that is titled “A Sentence A Day Journal”.
Even just a sentence a day of what you have seen, heard, or read will be a powerful display of all that is being invested inside of you, and it leads to a life of wellbeing.
Thirdly, to have a sense of wellbeing, try to sweat multiple times per week.
Weights, running, wrestling, kickboxing, infrared hot yoga, dri-tri’s, biking, or a good ole’ fashioned powerful walk. Whatever you’ve got to do, and more importantly, whatever you enjoy most…go do it multiple times per week and sweat while doing it.
Get out of your chair. Stop staring at the screen.
In the same way that books are now pervasive, fitness is equally pervasive. You can sweat just about anywhere for any reason and call it fitness.
My personal goal is to sweat for at least 30 minutes a day for four to five days per week.
That takes the pressure off from feeling like I have to follow a perfect routine. I can just sweat, and enjoy.
A final helpful discipline to promote your personal well-being is to practice periodic restraint.
What are those things that you love and have been relegated to auto-pilot in your day-to-day life? Scrolling social media? That quick stop-in for an energy drink and a donut mid-day? Coming home and turning on the numbing entertainment of that same show everyday?
What if you mixed it up once a week and did something else? What if you restrained yourself from that familiar creature comfort, and did something different during that time?
When we restrain from the comfortable, it pushes us to new places and new things allowing our eyes to see things we would not otherwise see, our ears to hear things we would otherwise not hear, and our souls to begin understanding new things that can provide a unique peace and orderliness.
Let’s write a new lyric, “Everywhere I look I see well-being and flourishing”. We can when we begin to intentionally practice those things that lead to well-being and flourishing.
Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters. Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.