Maintaining Perspective

Disclaimer: Note that while I work as a public servant, this is entirely my own initiative and what I post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, my office or my position there in.

Lately, I have been tired.

Working long hours and studying a second language, in addition to the time I am (or should be) enjoying with my family and friends, takes a lot of energy. At times, in fatigue, I struggle to see the good in situations and to correct my perspective. I can fixate on a single point and logically trek down narrow mental paths a long, long, long way, trying to anticipate all the things that could go wrong and formulating numerous plans for alternative ends. It is not that things actually go wrong more than usual when I feel this way. The odds stay pretty much the same regardless of my mental meanderings. (Hmmm, so I am not THAT important after all!)

So what do I do to return to myself and take a healthier perspective on my life, on events that are happening around me and on things I can and cannot change?

1. Stay healthy. I try to eat well, exercise and get enough rest. My wife is my best support in this department and pretty much all others.

2. Take time for myself. I find this one the hardest, as I tend to gravitate back to the internet or read a book or do something “productive”, or my brain continues to chew up cycles thinking over a problem and trying to find the best solution (see above). I need to spend time just breathing.

3. Remember my “why.” This one I seem to be pretty good at, but I can always improve. Perspective for me goes like this: While I like my job and the people I work with, I love my wife, my family and my friends. I work primarily so I can provide some level of stability and so I can spend time enjoying the things I love outside of work.

These may not ring true for everyone, but they seem to work for me. These three tasks help me be better at, well, pretty much everything.

I will end off with a great quote from the late Harold Ramis:

“You should start each day with a note in each pocket. And one note says, ‘The world was created just for me today,’ and the other note says, ‘I’m a speck of dust in a meaningless universe.’ And keep them both … because neither is true and both are true.”

Now it is your turn: What do you do to stay centred?


Craig Sellars
Craig Sellars is a passionate Canadian public servant and biologist. Connect with Craig on Twitter @CraigSellars.

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