Bust Your Paradigms By NOT Sticking to the Plan

So the other day, my father told me a dreadful story where he went to nuke his leftovers in the reused cottage cheese dish. Only problem was, he got scalding hot cottage cheese instead of the lunch he was expecting. Gross! My natural assumption was holy @#$% that’s nasty, and that got me thinking about paradigms and their effect on our stress levels (Note: it’s amazing where the inspiration for my blogs comes from). Naturally, it was assumed that the cottage cheese leftover dish didn’t actually have cottage cheese in it. Oops! What a way to start the day…

As a very high stress person, I can easily get queasy and panicky if some situation doesn’t fit a blueprint paradigm that I have in my mind. Yes, I’m predictable and like sticking to my routine, but that’s how I’m wired as a person and get through life.

Almost without fail, I will play out a conversation or event in my head to run through all of the possibilities before they occur. While this makes me a stellar athlete and brutal competitor, I feel that it may slow me down as a person since spontaneity and “just go with it” aren’t really habits of mine. I’ve got a plan and I’m sticking to it (until it fails miserably!) Any time one of my paradigms is disrupted, it takes me a bit to adjust, but eventually I see the positive side of the change and let it go.

I thought this would be a great chance to talk about the many paradigms that we all hold onto… and to challenge my own. Usually, our day to day expectations are based on the paradigm that we’ve spent years establishing. We have a general idea about what our days will contain (or at least what our Outlook calendar tells us is going on) and arrange the rest where it falls into place based on the previous 365 days.

I can expect (within reason) that I will have a solid breakfast at around 7:15 am, after an hour and a half of exercise, and then off to work. Between 8 and 5 I’ll be fulfilling my job duties, and post work activities will either include dinner with friends, a Netflix movie, orchestra rehearsal, or a walk by the river. But where do we lose that sense of adventure? Do we allow our expectations for the day, week, or month to ruin the spontaneity of the moment or the thrill of living on the edge?

Anyone recognize these plans?

Anyways, keep this in mind as you go through the week. Life is what you make of it, don’t let your “plans” get in the way :-) Do you have a hard time letting go of your plans?

Picture credit. Photo credit #2.

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3 Comments

  1. Ummm… Russell, that would be the Batmobile. Let’s try for something a little more challenging next time, shall we? :-p

    But, I totally understand everything you wrote. Life is a schedule. It doesn’t have to be. It’s simply been made one by society. And because society sets a schedule for itself, the members of society also feel the need to create personal schedules around said societal schedule. Why? Because it’s easier that way. Since work or school – or both – take up the majority of our existences, we assume that component to be the most important. So, we fill the remainder of our time in a way that is easiest – a way that is certain. Because if something is certain, it’s not going to cause any undue worry or stress.

    If we know that Monday is “raw fish” night at Renny’s place, that Tuesday is bowling with the league, and that Wednesday is movie night, we are more secure. Because, like society’s certain schedule, our personal schedules are a comfort: If everything falls into the place as it should – as it always has – nothing can go wrong. It’s the feeling of certainty which drives people to create schedules for themselves and to stick to them. (After all, that is why businesses have them.) It’s about productivity, ensuring the maximum amount in the least amount of time. But, life shouldn’t be run like a business. Ever see that episode of I LOVE LUCY?

    If life is supposed to be gaining the most out of the least, then the business model is entirely wrong. Businesses require people to do the same or similar tasks nearly every day. It’s for efficiency’s sake. And while a business can have its employees run like clockwork, people shouldn’t. Because the bottom line of business and the bottom line of life are entirely different. Businesses aim to make a profit. There are several proven models. People aim to make life worthwhile. There is no set plan for this. Everyday should bring with it something new – something challenging, something odd, something mind-blowing. If a person were to have the same results from life every single day, he would have lived his whole life in one day. The rest of his existence would be in vain.

    And while I can preach about living life unscheduled, I probably couldn’t do it. Like you, I like to be in control of it all. And so what we must do is to take our schedules, our constants, and mix them up every now and then. I think we both do a good job of that. We could do better, yes. But, walking the path well traveled and then taking a detour every now and then is probably the most secure way of LIVING – the certainty makes it comfortable and the detour makes it LIFE.

  2. Wow Jonathan, fantastic thoughts! And the video was great, I Love Lucy always makes me happy :-) I definitely agree that the focus of society is completely different than what the focus of our lives should be. The business focus is on money, while our focus should be on friends, self-improvement, an enjoying our lives! What is the point of working if we have nothing to show for it…

    Definitely in the same boat with you about leading unscheduled lives. I’m TERRIBLE at it. Basically, I construct everything around my training and work schedules an go from there. However, I feel like skydiving will be a nice break from the norm 8-) and by break I mean HOLY CRAP WTF AM I DOING!?!

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