DAY 10. 4 APRIL 2020. SUNDAY
BE LIKE A TREE. LET THE DEAD LEAVES DROP. – Rumi
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference”
Today I considered my life spent from routine cycle rides on Sundays, going to malls, eating out, going to work, attending meetings, busy with all sorts of things for some purpose or another and this week I saw all of that drop from my life like dead leaves off a tree. This, I realised is the new normal.
Yes, two roads diverged into the forest of this modern life and we all took the road commonly travelled and this LOCKDOWN has forced us on to the path less traveled and it has given us one great opportunity to shed bad habits and establish new ones. We have, as a result of this LOCKDOWN, realised that the life we built for ourselves is hugely dependent on consumerism. Therefore, the difficulty we are facing now is a new routine that has to be normalised because, if it does not, we will be like a leaf falling off a tree. Life like how we know it to be has stopped therefore, we have become dead in our ways. This dead feeling is what we are fighting because its uncomfortable as it gives us no urgency.
The urgency is to take the road less traveled with rigour and vigour because that is going to make all the difference. Difference! Yes, that is what separates competitors, predators, bosses, pilots, captains and the likes from the rest. However, you must want to be different to stand out and be counted as unique. We need to see life differently with the inward eye and question our oft held theories of life and death. As the venerable Uthman, the Fourth Caliph said: “That eye in which there’s no discernment bred. Is like a foe within its owner’s head.” is so apt for us to absorb. Reflect on this and ask yourself if you are your own enemy.
The new normal is going to be different for most of us because we will be forming a closer link to simplicity in these days of quarantine. With so much time on your hands and if you have not filled it with quality things then, your normal after the LOCKDOWN will still be a lazy life. Make a new difference each day so that the incremental change will be a beautiful path to behold.
Here is a small exercise to make you take the road less traveled which will make all the difference in your life. Write down your normal life before COVID-19 using the technique of Peter Senge cites in his book. In his book the FIFTH DISCIPLINE, he teaches the LEFT HAND COLUMN (LHC), although a tool for management and leadership, it can be used for personal management too. He explains the LEFT HAND COLUMN as a technique to ‘see’ how mental models work in particular situations. Draw a line down the page so that you have two columns. In the RIGHT HAND COLUMN (RHC) write your experience and what you did with it. In the LHC write down what you think you could have really did with it. Then at the bottom of the column write how you intend using the LHC now to spur on change. Lets use the example of Rashaad who drowned himself in his world of work, he was always on the move, had little time for friends and family, made special to watch his favourite series, ensured that his social media platforms were in sync and his wife was like a worker’s widow.
|Time for family was never compromised. When I would come home, the issues of work were left at the door. I would take time to eat with my family and talk about their day’s experiences. I took time to watch my kids do what kids do and play with them too.||The work gave me all the pleasure I needed to be in authority, in charge and busy with projects gave me that sense of urgency. I came home late, had supper, had transactional chats with my wife and kids.|
|Social medial platforms are limited because I have the kind of leverage in my home that is enviable. There is a space in my life that’s mine and the family’s. With little time on these platforms my children see me behaving such that more importance is given to people than things. These values makes them quality children.||Social media improved my leverage and boosted my image and ratings at work. So I had to be on it all the time. My life has a facade for this space and at times I take the phone into the toilet to get through some messages.|
|TV and series are limited to just on the weekends for about 2 hours. We don’t become mall rats but, outdoor junkies – hiking, cycling and lots more.||The TV – I must watch ERTUGUL and now UTHMAN. The day cannot pass without it, so I have it on my phone now and yes, I took a week off from work to finish the series. .I never performed my salaah regularly and my children hardly saw me pray.|
The LEFT HAND COLUMN is the ideal and no one is going to be honest with you but yourself. If you look at the last 10 days and the routine you had measure it against what you really wanted to do if you had the time. Do this exercise for the days ahead and you will see that it would spur you on to change because you will realise that you can change what is in your control.
Take the road less traveled and you will make the best change in your life. You need to begin a new normal because the old normal got you stuck in a rut or a grave. In the end know that the difference between the two is just depth.